The Christian faith wouldn’t exist without the reconciliation that was provided for us through Christ Jesus. Because of His sacrifice, we are now reunited with God the Father and can have fellowship with Him. Today, I want to look at the word reconcile in both Hebrew and Greek. This should give us a better picture of what it truly means to be reconciled unto God.

All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.

What Does The Word “Reconcile” Mean In Hebrew?

kaphar- to cover; to atone or condone; to placate or cancel.

The most basic meaning of this word expresses a material transaction or a ransom. There are times when kaphar is used that a man is the main subject.

For example, in 2 Samuel 21:3, David askes the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?” The answer he receives is the advice to hang seven sons of Saul in compensation.

God is also the subject of kaphar many times in scripture. It’s used during Hezekiah’s prayer for the people who did not keep the whole law. He prayed, “May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” (2 Chronicles 30:18-19)

Here are some other times God is the subject of this word.

“Iniquities prevail against me;

As for our transgressions,

You will provide atonement for them.”

– Psalm 65:3

Psalm 78:38

But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,

And did not destroy them.

Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,

And did not stir up His wrath.”

– Psalm 78:38

The word kaphar is used anytime the rituals and the sacrifices of the priests are for atonement. It can be found in Leviticus 5:16; 6:7; 7:7; 14:21; 19:22. The connection of all the rituals peaks in the ceremony of the annual Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) found in Leviticus 16.

However, all the sacrifices in the world could not satisfy God’s righteousness (Micah 6:7 & Psalm 50:17-15). Therefore, God alone is the only one capable of providing an atonement of sin to appease His wrath. God provides Himself as the ransom that would satisfy Him.

ratsan- to satisfy a debt, accept, or to please.

This verb means to be delighted with; to be pleased with or favorable to; be pleased to make friends with; make oneself favored; be graciously received.

God welcomes those who approach Him according to His own appointed way. He accepts them with pleasure. Although he may offer sacrifices, an evildoer is not acceptable to God.

A man must be under the grace of atonement and have the germ of a Divine life working within him if God would look upon him in a pleasurable way.

What Does The Word “Reconcile” Mean In Greek?

apokatallasso- to fully reconcile.

This reconciliation completely transforms someone from one condition to another. It removes all enmity and leaves no hindrance to peace and unity.

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

– Ephesians 2:14-16

This is the divine purpose of the work of Christ that has been accomplished on the cross, to bring the entire universe, except angels who rebelled against Him and unbelievers, into full accord with the mind of God.

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the boy of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight…”

– Colossians 1:19-22


“The wages of sin are death. I came to expunge your record.”

-Bizzle, Christian rapper

Praise the Lord our God for doing what we never could do, paying for our sins. To be reconciled unto God means to no longer be under His wrath and to have friendship with Him. This was His plan at creation and through a lot of pain, He was able to purchase us back from hell by paying for our debt of sin.

That’s what the word “reconcile” means in Hebrew and Greek. Please share any thoughts below and share this content. Thanks for reading!

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