Word Nerd Wednesday – Propitiation

I’m so excited today to be joined at My Messy Desk by a fellow Military Spouse (but for the other service), Anji Budzynski. Meeting her at SheSpeaks last year was like bumping into an old friend. Let’s welcome her warmly!


Propitiation (pro pish ē ā shun)  to make (someone) pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired; to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of, appease. [Synonyms are appeasement, conciliation, reconciliation, pacification, atonement, expiation, satisfaction, reparation, atoning sacrifice].

The Greek word {ἱλασμός, οῦ, ὁ} Hilasmós (hil-as-mos’) means “propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party”. The Greek word {ἱλαστήριον, ου, τό} Hilasterion (hil-as-tay’-ree-on) means “mercy-seat”.

The Hebrew word {כַּפֹּ֫רֶת} Kapporeth (kap-po’-reth) means “covering” and is used regarding the lid of the ark of the covenant.

The Latin word Propitiationem means “an atonement”; Propitiare means “to appease, propitiate”; Propitious means “favorable, gracious, kind, well-disposed”.

Propitiation means that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. 

The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners.

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.  ~ 1 John 2:2 (HCSV)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  ~ 1 John 4:10 (KJV)

In 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10, Jesus is called the “propitiation for our sins” or “atoning sacrifice.”  Here the Greek Hilasmós is used. Christ is “the propitiation,” because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations, he paid for our guilt and covered it, by the substitute punishment which he endured on our behalf.

“..whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. ~ Romans 3:25 (ESV)

“Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” ~ Hebrews 9:5 (ESV)imgres

In Romans 3:25 and Hebrews 9:5, the Greek word hilasterion is used, meaning “mercy-seat”.  It is found in Exodus 25:17 as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth, which means “covering,” and is used as the lid of the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:21; 30:6).

Hilasterion came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also reconciliation by blood.  On the great day of atonement, the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the “mercy-seat,” and so made propitiation.

Hilasmós is only used twice, both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin.  By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate propitiation.

Because God is holy, He cannot be associated with our sin. But since Jesus shed His blood as the propitiation for our sin, it is now consistent for Him to draw near to us.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” ~ 1 John 4:10 (KJV) @LizGiertz @AJustBud Click To Tweet

249293_2091325809530_3562031_nAnji Budzynski and her husband Brian, a Navy Senior Chief, live in Virginia and look forward to retiring this year after 25 years of service. They recently helped propel their 22 year old daughter, Natasha, into self-sustaining adulthood. They enjoy growing and steering their strapping 17 year old son, Chris, and feisty 4 year old daughter, Miss B, through childhood.

You can find more from Anji at her website, A Life of Gratefulness, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

One thought on “Word Nerd Wednesday – Propitiation

  1. Welcome Anji! I love that Jesus’ blood is the propitiation for our sin. It reminds me of the hymn, What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus! Jesus’ blood is the only suitable offering for my sins, my mistakes. Thank-you Jesus! Jesus is my covering! <3

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