כִּפֶּר) cover over, pacify, make propitiation.
Closely related to ransom or the price of life
Job 33:24-25) Atonement, in Hebrew
contains the letter and word
kap, which is the cup, hollow,
or palm of the hand.
“And he went a little
further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O Abba, if it be
possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will,
but as thou.” (Compare:
Luke 22:42 considering
ST John 5:19)
The full magnitude of the Messiah’s suffering is beyond
mortal comprehension. His
divine heritage and faculties allowed him to suffer vastly more than
humans are capable of suffering. Numerous sons of Israel before him had been tortured and crucified. The Anointed suffered this and greater. As God
with us, in olive skin, he suffered the fierce and crushing press
of divine retribution.
The most dreadful of all revelations he endured in the valley,
and again on the tree, so that in his deep knowledge he might reconcile
and make righteous the penitent and believing.
His spiritual torment found no mortal comforter; and still most
Christians focus more on the agonies of crucifixion than that
spiritual ordeal which they cannot comprehend. The human mind, more readily grasps the physical.
Though we are incapable of
comprehending the full magnitude of Messiah’s suffering, we may
nevertheless begin to understand why he had to endure the torments that
he did. The theo-physics of
his atonement needn't remain a mystery to those who yearn for
understanding. The question, why did the Savior have to suffer and die,
divides into two questions. Each of these questions needs to be answered
in order to understand how his atonement works:
The first question is; why must there be a punishment attached to
sin? In other words, why
can’t God simply forgive
us when we are truly penitent without anyone having to pay a penalty?
The second question is; how can it be right for one to suffer the
punishment that another deserves? Does not Torah teach that “The fathers shall not be put to
death for the children, neither the children be put to death for the
fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin”?
Ironically, there are many who cannot adequately answer these two
questions, and yet are convinced they can tell others how to be saved. Perhaps if people better understood the workings of the
Lord’s atonement, some of the controversies over how
salvation is obtained, would be resolved.
To answer the first question, we need to understand
some things about the universe in which we live. The universe with all its glory and beauty, order and variety,
exists because a majority of the entities that make up the universe obey
God in the realms in which they operate.
(2 Kings 6:15-17)
GOD, the true Elohim, do not
hold the universe(s) together by force. (Ezekiel 34:4)
Physical force does not exist. Physical force is a useful mathematical figment.
The smoothness, or continuity implied in the mathematical definition of force (F = dP/dt,
P = mV; a note to interested mathematicians) is only
virtual. On the scale of
the very small its nonexistent. Take for example,
the macroscopic pressure (force per unit area) exerted by a gas against
the walls of a container. This so called “force” results from numerous separate, and discontinuous
exchanges that occur on molecular, atomic and quantum subatomic levels.
We may then ask if so called “forces”,
such as electromagnetism and gravity; break down into discrete,
discontinuous exchanges? Many physicists believe they do. In order for
“force” to really be force (as defined), it needs to be perfectly
continuous over a continuous interval of time. Here the human idea of “force” fails to be. Yes, the physics of force is useful
for modeling the behavior of large-scale influences and aggregates of
matter. But it fails to describe the
discrete and discontinuous reality of things on nature's more fundamental
levels. How then is the universe really held together if not by real forces? The universe is really maintained by choices
- choices made
within mathematically describable constraints.
(LDS Doctrine and Covenants 93:30;
Conservation equations describe the basic laws governing the behavior of
things in our universe. After all mathematical constraints are accounted
for, what happens when the system of equations, which predict the
outcome of an interaction, has more than one solution? In other words,
what if, for a specific interaction, there is more than one possible
outcome? There are instances in nature where this is really the case -
where physics cannot make a definite prediction because there is more
than one possible outcome. The question then is what decides the
outcome? Is the outcome purely random? Does pure chance really exist? Or
is the outcome predestined by something hidden and perhaps unknowable?
Or does the outcome depend on something sublime like a conscious, free
will decision? That wonderful, deciding something which involves yet
transcends mathematical description, is here suggested as the basis of
what we call consciousness, intelligence, life itself. For lack of a
perfect term, and to explain the workings of God’s
atonement, let us call this decision-making capacity, intell-agency.
Fundamental “particles” must have some
decision-making faculty, however limited. Indeed, the existence of the physical universe cannot be fully
accounted for by conservation laws. Chaos and order both conserve. Why is there order? Intell-agencies conserve in ways that form and maintain material
structures and the world around us.
Not all intell-agencies possess the same capacity, operate
on the same scale, or have the same degrees of freedom. GOD organizes
and presides over a hierarchy of decision-making beings and entities.
There is therefore a kind of natural, hierarchical animism at work in the
physical universe. (Ezekiel 1,
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-13)
Shepherding intell-agencies are able to influence whole collections of
lesser intell-agencies in maintaining assemblies and material / spiritual
properties. The structures
and relationships that these intell-agencies form, are a testament to
higher assembly laws (”Torot”, in the Hebrew) in additions to the
ubiquitous conservation laws of the universe(s).
GOD is the giver of assembly laws, or ordinances of creation.
Though many of these laws are eternal in nature, and hence coeternal with GOD,
the Eternal Elohim are nevertheless preeminent over
the laws of creation. The LORD can if he chooses, ask entities of matter
to conserve in different ways, allowing for
example, one to walk on water or bodily pass through solid walls. These
are not lawless acts, but demonstrate the commitment of decision
making entities to follow supernal requests. The laws of conservation
can be adhered to with room for freewill and creative expression. When a
quantum entity with the ability to disappear from our
corporeality chooses to do so, the entity does not cease to be. The
entity simply goes somewhere else - to another corporeality. Note to
interested mathematicians: The momentum of an objects while “quantum tunneling” in another
corporeality may be characterized by
a factor that is a solution to
Not everything is obedient to the
commands of higher intelligence, at least not to the same degree.
(Abraham 3:22-25) While adhering to fundamental laws
of conservation, a percentage of intell-agencies
may choose not to participate with others of their order, in building, or
upholding various organizations and structures. Again, not all outcomes
are determined. Some particles may combine while others remain
uncombined in the same environment. All the while, material structures
undergo transfusions of basic constituents as they interact with the
environment. Some material patterns and structures are more permanent
than others. As is common to the behavior of all living things, the
mathematics that describes the microcosm is statistical, it is not
absolutely predestined or determined.
GOD’s supreme and universal intelligence influences
all organizations of intell-agencies. GOD is connected to all intell-agencies throughout creation and
presides as much through at-one-ment as by seniority. The God of Israel, the King of the universe, is therefore not
without body, parts, or passions. The very fundaments of matter are his tabernacle, Adam (mankind)
is his tabernacle even temples or extensions of himself;
(LDS Doctrine and Covenants 93:35)
but not all
these tabernacles manifest God’s will, glories and perfections to the
“actions” and opposite “reactions” follow conservation laws. Take away these basic laws, and take away the
that choose between allowable outcomes, and our universe would cease to
(2 Nephi 2:11-13) But, what about less
tangible things? What about
justice, honor, and righteousness, are these things less real than
material effects and patterns? No. Love, mercy, joy,
loyalty, trust etc., exist in relationships (despite our imperfect
descriptions of them) because advanced intell-agencies act and relate in ways
which define, safeguard and maintain these intangibles.
The agreements that God makes with intell-agencies,
or with shepherding intell-agencies
Hosea 2:18-22), make
sure that he will be obeyed. There are real consequences to keeping or not keeping spiritual
laws and promises. Were it
not so, spiritual things such as justice and mercy could not exist. Should God violate his covenants with allied beings, he would
lose the power of enforcing his commands through them and chaos would
ensue. As it is, there have
been powerful beings that have rebelled against GOD,
(Isaiah 24:21) but
the righteousness and faithfulness of our Father, Jehovah (Eternal) Elohim, ensures that dissidents will always be isolatable,
though they will always exist.
2 Kings 6:15-17)
The assembly laws that guide the behavior of
advanced intell-agencies, so that justice may exist, require the
establishment of counter actions or punishments incase the assembly laws
are violated. (Genesis 9:6) Penalties are necessary for restitution, and to deter the spread
of menacing acts in a universe that allows, and is built upon choices. Without the establishment of appropriate penalties, the advanced
concept of justice could not be made real. If the Elohim, the Godhead ceased to be just, in order to be “merciful”
towards a fallen and culpable species, the rest of the intelligent
universe would no longer be able to exercise faith in a just GOD.
The hierarchy of intell-agencies would lose fidelity, and
creation would be jeopardy. (Alma 42:22-26)
Our behavior is never so isolated or private that
it cannot affect other intell-agencies. All of our choices have consequences.
As a species, we are guilty of offenses against seen and unseen
James 3:2) We deserve
to suffer the consequences of our disharmony with the higher universe. Despite all that God loves in us
(Psalm 8), pain and death have
become our lot.
(Ecclesiastes 2:15-17) The
potential tragedy of our condition is that even if we could pay the
demands of universal justice ourselves, it would not be enough to change
our natures, so that we could then dwell with the Elohim. We deserve to be quarantined - removed from the societies of
Now let us address the second question; how can one
justly suffer punishment for others?
Look around you, everything that you see,
everything that you consider to be one - one this, or one that,
is really made up of more than one part. Take a peanut that has not been shelled - crack open the shell. How many peanuts do you now have? Split the peanuts apart. How many friends can you each give a peanut?
Is a peanut one thing or many?
Suppose we were to insist, that because “the LORD
is one”, that the number one must be indivisible like a geometric point
- an ideal singularity. This
belief would limit our number system, making it inadequate for fully
describing the world around us. Our extreme monotheism would deny us the advantage of believing
in rational numbers like 1/3, 1/4, 1/7, 1/12, etc.
In contrast to this unnatural notion of “oneness”,
the unities that we see in creation are composite unities; much like the unity of a
an endlessly divisible
organization of similar parts. All things are compounds, or aggregates -
pluralities acting as one in some sense.
2 Nephi 2:11) We think of ourselves as one, and it is true, but it is also true
that we are many things. If
we could explore the microcosm of one person, we would find a vast and
interesting universe of seemingly distinct living things. On a small enough scale, the distances between structures might
seem astronomical, and yet the totality of this micro-universe is
unified and constitutes a person. Likewise the Godhead, the supernal Elohim
are one; and the covenant body of Messiah on earth (the Church) is striving to become one.
(ST John 17:22-23)
Nature models the unity of GOD.
See Romans 1:20. A direct translation of
1 John 5:7-8 from the Greek Textus
Receptus reads, “Because three there are who bear witness in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three one are. And three there are who bear witness on earth, the spirit, and
the water, and the blood; and the three to the one are”. This is the only passage in the New Testament that makes direct
reference to the unity of three members of the Godhead. The verse seems to draw a parallel between the unity of GOD and
the unity of three distinct things on earth.
There are other passages that address the oneness shared by the
Father and the Son. In these passages there is no direct mention of unity with
a third member of the Godhead. It is clear from these other passages of scripture, that the
oneness of the Father and the Son can be shared with, and emulated by
more than three individuals. This oneness is offered to all of
(ST John 17:20-23,
1 Corinthians 10:17,
Unity amidst plurality is the unity of GOD described in the scriptures. A direct translation of
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 reads, “For even if
indeed there are [those] called gods, whether in heaven or on the earth,
as there are gods many and lords many, but to us [there is] one God the
Father, of whom [are] all things, and we for him; and one Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.”
The origin of the only biblical reference to the
unity of three members of the Godhead is uncertain. It is very likely a
redaction. No mention of the Godhead in
1 John 5:7-8 is found in early New
Testament texts. The texts
simply state that, “There are three that bear record, the spirit and the
water and the blood: and these three are one.”
(See United Bible Society
4th Edition, 4th Century A.D.
Codex Sinaiticus, and 5th Century
Codex Alexandrinus) Personal inspiration beyond the oldest texts of the New
Testament, may lead us to relate the unity of things on earth to the
unity existing in heaven, but the idea that the unity of GOD extends to
only three, is not scriptural.
(1 John 5:6,
3 Nephi 11:36)
To better understand how one could justly suffer
for others, it is helpful to explore instances in scripture when the
converse has been the case, that is, when many have justly suffered
because of a few, or because of one.
literally my Lords) relates to Israel not only
on the level of individual persons, but also as a living covenant
(Ezra 3:1) By wise counsel and revelation to his prophet Moses, Adonai
organized a hierarchy of prophets, priests and leaders to serve and
defend the covenant body.
There was Moses and those closest to him who upheld his arms. There were leaders and rulers of the twelve tribes.
There were the seventy elders who saw God, and the Levitical priests under Aaron.
There were the women whom Miriam led, and the General body of Hebrew and
adopted families who divided according to their genealogies in the
tribes. Israel then was
a living creature, bound to God by covenant; with a personal
distinction and independence apart from the sea of humanity from which
she was created.
As the sickness of one member,
can afflict the whole body, so one person can bring an affliction upon
the whole family,
church, or covenant community. Members of a covenant body are correlated or interconnected in a
special way and are in a real sense one. A master physician or judge will try to administer treatment to
the offending member, but often other members of the body will be
Matthew 5:29-30, see also
2 Samuel 24)
The brain conceives an evil thought and the feet
and hands carry out a wicked deed, and when justice is administered, the
whole person, even cells, tissues, and members that had no direct
involvement in the violation, may suffer. The offending parts of the
body cannot always be justly separated from the rest. If the offending members cannot be removed from the rest, then
the backside may receive a punishment that the brain and hand committed,
and yet we understand that this is just. It is desirable that a punishment should be directed as much as
possible towards those members that are most responsible for the
offense, but because the body is interconnected, the offending members
are seldom easily isolated from others that are more or less innocent. In cases where members are closely correlated and unified, as in
the case of a human body, punishment may be transferred from one living
member of the body to another, or the treatment may be administered to
the body as a whole. The
same is true for the punishments and afflictions that have come upon the
covenant body of Israel.
(1 Chronicles 21:17)
Akhan (Achan) the son of Karmi (Carmi), the son of
Zavdi (Zabdi), the son of Zerah (Zerah)
of the tribe of Yehudah (Judah),
contaminated the body of
with substance that Adonai commanded should not be taken. As a
consequence Israel failed miserably in the initial struggle against the city of Ay (Ai).
Many worthy Israelites suffered and died. By revelation Yehoshua (Joshua) found out
the cause of this calamity. The offender confessed and was justly
removed with others closely associated with him.
one person, or one member, can bring a just punishment upon the whole
body, might not one person or one member justly suffer the punishment
that the rest of the body deserves? Indeed, the transfer of reward and punishment in the covenant
body is reciprocal; because the members are unified by covenant and
(1 Corinthians 12:26) But that lamb who
efficaciously suffers for the rest must be very special –
more than an ordinary mortal.
No ordinary man can sacrifice his own blood to atone for the sins of
another. (Deuteronomy 24:16,
The lamb of God must be as the firstborn among the benei ha-Elohim (the sons of
Zechariah 12:10), without spiritual blemish, having never
broken the bones or ties of his fidelity to God.
(Psalm 34:20) While
unified with fallen flesh and blood, he must still connect with the Holiest of
all, to an extent far greater than mortal Moses. This one would lead us back into the covenant land of the
To do so, he must be sinless except for assuming the sins of others.
Though our sins become his sins in judgment, he must live in perfect
compliance to divine Torah, which is not necessarily the same as evolved human tradition
(2 Samuel 7:14-15,
The New Testament word that is often translated “atonement”
means “reconcile”, “restore”, and implies a bringing
Luke 15:32) More
than a payment for sins is necessary in order to return us to God. Our lives must be changed and made compatible with the Elohim.
The Atoning One, at the head of the covenant body, having God as
his head, can offer us this restoring, transforming mikveh (baptism) because he
has never broken his personal connection with God by personal sin.
(Matthew 3:11-13) His
atonement connects with things infinite and eternal, incompatible
with sin. Sin limits! It alters and subjugates! It makes us creatures of the moment – at odds with eternal
happiness and liberty. We lose personal continuity with our infinite selves when we
break with those principles that insure and perpetuate our godlike
Finally, no ordinary mortal could suffer enough to
satisfy the worlds of justice, and move an eternity of just intell-agencies
His name is Yehoshua (the Eternal is Salvation), a name
that comes from the throne of God.
In him we are more than rescued, we become joint heirs, his sons and his
daughters through a connecting covenant and rebirth. He became us, even one of us, so that by becoming one with him,
the punishments which we deserve can be transferred to him, and the
incomprehensible glories, honors, powers, and divinities, which are his,
can be ours.
How powerful is his at-one-ment?
How wondrous is his covering grace? Many who profess belief in him are reluctant to believe in the
full extent of his power.
His atonement can do more than cover our sins and
transgressions. He has borne
our sicknesses and carried our pains as well.
(Isaiah 53:4, Hebrew)
His atonement can do more than satisfy the demands of justice for
the ongoing consequences of our wrongs. He can turn our miserable circumstances into profound joy.
His atonement covers
the past, the present and the possible futures. His atonement ministers across ocean and space and
cover continents and worlds.
His atonement can make us greater than angels.
(1 Corinthians 6:3,
Revelation 3:21) He can clothe us as he is.
Dare any believe this much in the power of Yeshua ha-Mashiah
(Jesus Christ) - that he would
put his name, the name of his Father upon us, and make more abundant one
1 Corinthians 8:5-6;
2 Corinthians 3:18,
infinite atonement is able to make the many one, without robbing the
unity of GOD.
ST John 10:30-36,
2 Nephi 9:7;
He can do more than rescue us from death and sin; he can make us
as he is.
(2 Peter 1:4,
1 John 3:2,
3 Nephi 27:27)
∞ = ∞. Likewise 144,000
x ∞ =
Is this not also ∞ ? Yes, a more
abundant infinite! What are we if we become one with the Father and the Son? What are we if we truly become their sons and daughters? A child could answer this question though the answer escapes many of the learned religious.
ST John 1:16)
His at-one-ment encompasses the redemption
and the resurrection. His
at-one-ment affects all creatures and to different degrees. The Messiah’s physical death and resurrection insures that all
will be resurrected to immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22,
ST John 5:21,
Acts 24:15) His redemption saves from spiritual death (being estranged from
Luke 15:32), all those who spiritually become one with him by
way of his New Covenant.
9:13-28) Their resurrection
is more glorious and exalted.
1 Thessalonians 4:16,
We are saved and exalted by becoming one with
Salvation, Yeshua. How do we
become one with him? First
we must believe in him and accept his everlasting covenant.
13:20) His covenant unites us with the covenant body that he gave
(1 Corinthians 12:13,
Ephesians 5:25-26) We cannot makeup our own covenant, even with good intentions, and
expect this to be acceptable. We must accept his ways even if, like Naaman the Syrian, we do
not understand the thing he requires.
(2 Kings 5:10-13)
Does believing in the Lord save us? Yes! Faith is an
essential element of the Lord’s New Covenant, but the Lord actually
does the saving. Without the reality of Messiah’s atonement, our own belief,
hope, acknowledgements and works would avail us nothing.
(1 Corinthians 15:19)
To permanently access the enabling power of his saving atonement,
the Lord requires that we accept the terms of his New Covenant in faith.
Good beliefs, if nurtured, bring forth good words
and good deeds especially in the embrace of his atoning covenant.
(2 Peter 1:19) It is
true that as we believe in
Yeshua (Jesus), and confess him by covenant, we will
be saved (note the future tense) because true belief and confession in
the spirit, leads to the fruits of repentance and righteousness that the
Lord grows in us.
13) Saving covenant faith manifests itself in works of
righteousness by way of a changed heart and an endowed soul.
(Ephesians 2:10) Thus saving faith includes or extends to good works, while works
alone may not be the result of saving faith.
Some use Paul’s word in
Romans 10:6-10, as if
ignorant of the fact that Paul was referring to the words of Moses.
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 reads,
“For this commandment
which I command thee this day, is not hidden from thee, neither is it
far off. It is not in
heaven, that thou shouldst say, Who will go for us to heaven, and bring
it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go
over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very near thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart,
that thou mayst do it”. (Jerusalem Tenakh)
More than lip service is expected in the New
Matthew 21:28-31) Repentance
and faithfully doing the will of the Lord are essential to becoming and
remaining one with him.
2 Corinthians 7:1,
9-11) It is this unity that allows our sins to be covered by his
great sacrifice. Without
this atonement our terrible debts cannot be justly covered
by his rich account. In fact, the scriptures warn of the possibility that some may utterly break
their unifying covenant with the Lord and fall from grace.
(1 Corinthians 9:27;
1 Thessalonians 3:5,
2 Peter 1:5-10,
1 John 2:18-19)
To the young rich man who asked
what he must do to gain eternal life, Yeshua gave a challenge to repent and to follow him.
The Savior did not hand out a tract, get the young man to make a confession,
and then pronounce him saved. If we truly believe and are therefore doers of the Word, we are
assured of more than salvation from sin and death.
We know by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that
we are one with the Lord as we believe and obey him.
1 Peter 1:2,
1 John 2:28-29) The arm manifests that it is truly one with the head by being
loyal to the commands of the head. We must repent, believe, enter into the body of his covenant, and
faithfully abide in him, in order to receive his life-giving blessings
Romans 11:19-22) We are never forced to remain one with him. That which is in the belly or worn on the back has no assurance
of remaining with the body.
True and lasting members of Messiah’s family, the “church of the firstborn”
Colossians 1:18) endure all things while abiding in the Spirit and
promise of the Lord.
Believing in him does not insulate us from regret. If he allows that we ache over our sins, it is not that he is
asking us to pay for them.
(1 Peter 4:1-2) Often
we must hurt in order to truly desire change and to value forgiveness. He lifts the burden of our sin, the full weight of which we will
never shoulder if we repent, and gives us wondrous peace when we are
If we suffer
scorn and abuse from the world, if we are misunderstood and persecuted
by those who think they do God a service, this is sacred suffering. This is the suffering that the
“body of Christ” (Romans 12:5,
1 Corinthians 10:16,
1 Corinthians 12:12,
Ephesians 4:11-13) endures in bearing
the name of Salvation and glad tidings to the world. This suffering, if we are called to endure in the least, is a
testimony to our deepening unity with him. We shall also rejoice with him at his table.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7,
The Savior can enable us to obey all of his commands.
(Isaiah 26:12) The Holy Spirit, which gives life and light to the
“body of Christ”, the covenant assembly of the Anointed, can change us and empower us unto his good works.
This is true faith, to believe to the extent that Messiah can work in us and
See New Covenant
Gat Sh’maney (Gethsemane) oil press:
B’Sorot Matti 26:33, records the name of the place as Gey
Sh’manim which means
fat, or rich valley.
Oil, fat, and rich, are related in Hebrew.
His weight (koved,
Isaiah 22:21-25) has become
honor and glory (kavod).
His Gethsemane has
become our rich valley. (Ezekiel 34:14)
The forgoing is taken from an unpublished three-part work entitled Why
God Allowed Mistakes in the Bible, written between 1997 and 2006.
© Copyright 2018