Hebrew kippuréÆm , from kaphar, “to make atonement,” generally believed to have the basic meaning of “to cover.” The Greek katallageµ, “reconciliation,” is translated “atonement” once ( Rom. 5:11 ) in the KJV . Theologically atonement is the process by which a sinner is reconciled to God or brought into a state of at-one-ment with Him. Christ’s vicarious sacrifice upon the cross is the central, decisive, effective act in this process, and without it all else would be insufficient to atone for sin. The atonement there provided was perfect and complete. It was “once for all” in the sense that it would never have to be repeated. Having made the atonement on the cross, Christ ascended to heaven as our great high priest, there to be our intercessor and to minister on ou...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.