propitiation and expiation

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by gb93433, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    In Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1John 2:2, 1John 4:10, some translations use propitiation ans some use expiation. How would you explain the differences in translations with this word? Or would you use another word instead?
     
  2. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    neither word, of course, is in the TR or Majority or Alexandrian texts.

    so whatever word (FORM) best communicates to the reader/hearer the meaning of "hilaskamos" n other such Greek words wld be my choice.
     
  3. aefting

    aefting
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    Propitiation refers to a blood sacrifice that turns aside the wrath of God, taking away our sins.

    Expiation is the "taking away our sins" part of propitiation.

    Expiation focuses on man and the removal of his sin and guilt.

    Propitiation focuses on God and the appeasement of His wrath.

    Many modern day translators cannot accept the idea of God's just wrath abiding on mankind, in spite of the direct statements that occur in Romans 1 and elsewhere. The correct translation is propitiation.


    Andy
     
  4. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    one (ex-) focuses on the result of the Atonement, the other (pro-) on the process.

    i agree abt Modernists backing off fr God's wrath n that the words in question incl the process (of turning wrath away) in addition to the result of forgiveness (expiation).

    however, i believe the reason many translators (modern or ancient) don't use the term Propitiation is becos it doesn't mean any more to many readers than simply transliterating the Gk word. so they choose an equivalent that carries less than 100% of the meaning (which may be better than "propitiation" which carries 0% of the meaning!).

    perhaps here's an example of something that may be best to paraphrase (in the best n technical sense) to ensure that the meaning of the Gk word is 100% communicated!

    :D
     
  5. aefting

    aefting
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    The problem with what you suggest is that the paraphase for propitiation would be quite a mouthful, especially if you attempt to bring in all aspects of the word. Here is a case where I think it is appropriate to use a rather sophisticated vocabulary word because I don't know what else would really communicate the word properly. I don't think it a problem for God's people to learn what the word means.


    BTW, I love your website. I was friends with Mark Lehman in college. Last I checked, his link was broken on your site.

    Andy
     
  6. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    yes, i concede that the paraphrase wld be longer than a single word. but if done smoothly the reader wld hardly notice it, yet get the impact of the full meaning!

    well, that only takes us back to why not learn the Caedmon's, the Vulgate, or the Greek, if it ain't a problem for God's people. i still prefer to "give the sense" in the English.


    wow, i'll let him know! Thx for the ping! ;)
     
  7. aefting

    aefting
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    You have the same problem even if you know Greek. You still have to learn what propitiation means.

    I checked several DE translations and none give the complete and accurate sense. Do you think “atoning sacrifice” does the trick? And even if it did, what does “atoning” mean?

    At some point, I think you have to ask the question, “Where do we stop with simplifying Biblical vocabulary?” Do we get rid of terms like righteousness, justification, atonement, and redemption – and just give the sense each time? I think we would lose the preciseness that exists in the orginals and that sound doctrine requires.

    Andy
     
  8. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    surely u didn't mean it! [​IMG] at the risk of being obvious, "propitiation" isn't in the Greek. the Greek word wld've been understood by its original reader--AND those who *really* know Greek (m i rite? ;) ).

    did ANY FE translation give a "complete n accurate" sense?

    this applies of course just as much to traditional language as it does to the contemporary. "justification" n other such words have diff meanings today. a symbol's just a symbol, n if we need to educate a readership to endow that symbol w a set of meanings, we'll just have to do it. the question is whether we shd rely on traditional lingo alone, or whether we shd be looking to other (perhaps more contemporary) symbols.

    Andy [/QB][/QUOTE]
     
  9. aefting

    aefting
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    Hold on while I get my out my Greek lexicon so I can look up the Greek word for propitiation. :rolleyes:


    I don’t know and that is partly my point. I could be wrong about this but I think “hilasterion” was used as a rather technical, theological term that would have required the average Greek reader to learn what it means, just like the average English reader has to learn what “propitiation” means. As Ryken argues in his book, it is a fallacy to assume that the Bible is more difficult for modern readers than for the original readers.

    Yes, if they used “propitiation.” [​IMG]

    I think every English-speaking Christian ought to develop a working knowledge of standard theological terms, such as redemption, justification, sanctification, propitiation, atonement, righteousness, etc. All you have to do is read posts on this BB and you will see that such is not the case, though. Part of the blame goes to pastors who don’t teach doctrine but some of it also goes to DE versions such as the CEV that specifically avoid theological terminology (see Ryken, p. 109). I don’t see any good reason to jettison perfectly good words for more contemporary symbols. IMO, we need to teach and maintain a sound theological vocabulary.

    Andy
     
  10. Dr. Lance T. Ketchum

    Dr. Lance T. Ketchum
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    The Propitiation of God

    “21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:21-25).

    The doctrine of propitiation is one of those truths that run deep. It is a meaty doctrine of great importance. When Paul addresses the doctrine of propitiation in Romans 3:25 it cannot be separated from what is said in Romans 3:23. Integral to the N. T. doctrine of propitiation is all the teaching of the O. T. involving the Mercy Seat of the O. T. Tabernacle. Paul is drawing all of this O. T. symbolism to reflect upon the finished work of Christ as the only and once for all vindication of God’s righteousness and satisfaction of His just penalty for sin.
    God’s presence in the O. T. Tabernacle was over the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant contained the two tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written with the finger of God. This is important to understand. It also contained a pot of Manna from the wilderness (typical of Christ) and Aaron’s rod which budded. The Ark and its cover (the Mercy Seat) together made up the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was the first holy vessel to be made for the Tabernacle. It was the only item placed in the Holy of Holies. When Jehovah’s presence was with Israel, He dwelt over the Mercy Seat. It was here, over the Mercy Seat, that God revealed His glory in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The whole of the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, the sacrifices and all else was built around the Ark of the Covenant.
    The details for the Ark and the Mercy Seat are recorded in Exodus 25:10-22. Together with the Cherubim, they represent the eternal Throne of God in Heaven.

    “10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. 12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. 13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. 15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:10-22).
    I. The purpose of the Cherubim in the understanding of Romans 3:23

    A. A number of O. T. Scriptures relating the purpose of the Cherubim are directly related with the glory of God.
    B. The Cherubim (with the Mercy Seat) were beaten from pure gold (a symbol of the righteousness of God).
    C. The whole setup of the Old Testament Tabernacle centered around the Ark of the Covenant as a physical picture of the real Throne of God in Heaven.
    D. The Heavenly Throne of God is revealed in considerable detail in both Old Testament and New Testament prophecies.
    E. The Cherubim are spoken of often regarding the Throne of God.

    “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind” (Revelation 4:6).

    “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

    “And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 15:7).

    1. The word translated “beast” in the KJV is the Greek word zoon (dzo'-on).
    2. It means a living creature.
    3. It is different from the word translated “beast” in Revelation 13:1, which is from the Greek word therion (thay-ree'-on) which refers to a vicious wild beast.
    4. The central purpose of the Cherubim is the vindication of God’s righteousness.
    5. The lid of the Ark was the Mercy Seat in that it covered the broken Law from the eyes of the Cherubim. Why is that necessary?

    “7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

    6. The sprinkled blood covered the believer’s sins from the eyes of the Cherubim.
    7. At the Mercy Seat God would meet with His redeemed.

    “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22).


    II. Christ is our propitiation because His sacrifice on Calvary was where God met sin head on and once for all paid its penalty.

    “26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away {athetesis, ath-et'-ay-sis: the cancellation; i.e., the condemnation of} sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:26-28).

    “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

    A. Christ Jesus is our Mercy Seat where the redeemed meet with God for communion and fellowship.
    B. The book of Hebrews refers to the Mercy Seat as a Throne of Grace.

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

    C. The Law is the revelation of God’s righteousness. The Cross is the revelation of His love.

    1. In the sacrifice of Christ, God reconciled those two aspects of His character and was propitiated.
    2. This is the backdrop for Paul’s statements in Romans 3:21-25.
    III. Jesus is the “righteousness of God” (Romans 3:21).

    A. Under the Judgment/Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant was the broken Law.
    B. The Law is a revelation of God’s righteousness. However, Jesus is the righteousness of God embodied.
    C. The intent here is that God would provide righteousness on the grounds of the right doing of Jesus Christ rather than the right doing of the believer.
    D. Because no man can keep the Law, God has appointed Jesus as the substitute man Who fulfills the Law for us. Therefore in Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law, He became the mediator between God and Man restoring the broken Law to its rightful state as He becomes the new Federal Head of mankind before God.

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17).

    1. This is as intricate an aspect of propitiation and justification as the sacrifice for sin.

    “17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
    IV. Because God is propitiated, all that trust in the Cross work of Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord are completely and once for all removed from the realm of condemnation, death, darkness and wrath of God and are “born again” into the realm of salvation, life, light and the eternal blessings of God’s grace.

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

    A. However, those who reject the propitiatory work of Christ will continue in their condemnation to ultimately receive the “wrath of God.”

    “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

    “4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:4-10).
     
  11. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    wow, what a mouthful. i was wondering if there might be a little of what's called illegitimate totality transfer.

    perhaps it wld be helpful to clarify ur point in a paragraph or so.
     
  12. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    don't rolleyes. what DOES ur lexicon say?

    i think the onus is on those who think it was hard for the original readers. i don't see the NT writer defining the term, altho this is often done where a difficult or foreign word is used--e.g. Tabitha cumi. the reader of hilaaterion n hilaskamos didn't seem to need much elucidation.

    sure, there's technical terminology. onus, tho, is on those who allege its presence.

    the term "propitiation" is just a symbol. it's not even a symbol authorized by the NT author, which wld be a word beginning with hilas*. it may be traditional, but haven't the stream of English bibles fr Caedmon on down been "jettisoning" various symbols n retaining others? i don't see any special halo around this symbol.


    there's nothing theologically sound about vocabulary per se; otherwise, languages without certain symbols/vocab r eternally doomed to theological deficiency. having said that, it needs to be pointed out that ANY thing in one language can be communicated into another using appropriate symbols--it might require more or fewer words, or it may require a change of idiom n word pictures (e.g. God's nostrils being "long" or "smouldering"), but it CAN be done.

    likewise, Greek symbols betinning w "hilas*" w a particular set of meanings.

    whether "propitiation" is appropriate or not can be carefully ascertained by field testing--if one can find out among its readership how much people understand the word, n how accurately. otherwise, a review of the symbolism may be called for.
     
  13. aefting

    aefting
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    Yes, they’ve been updating obsolete language, etc. I don’t have a problem with that. My position, though, is that key theological terms such as propitiation, justification, righteousness, atonement, sanctification, and the like, are not obsolete and don’t need to be replaced. If a theological term becomes out-dated, then fine, let’s use another term (I believe there have been examples of this happening but I can’t think of a good example off the top of my head), but if not, let’s teach these terms to our people so that they can be well-grounded in sound doctrine.


    I think field testing can be valuable but not in this case. People just are not going to understand certain theological words right off the bat. That’s no reason to get rid of them, though. I mentioned the CEV before. They specifically do away with technical theological terminology. I think that’s a mistake – it is unnecessarily dumbing down the Bible.

    One of the things that I appreciate about the ESV is that it intentionally retains the theological terminology that we’ve been discussing. There is one exception, though, that I think relates to this discussion. In 2 Tim. 3:16, they replaced “inspiration” with “breathed out by God.” I don’t know what connotations “inspiration” held back in the 1600’s but today it give people the wrong impression. So I applaud the ESV for changing this theological term to a more precise and literal rendering.

    Andy
     

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