"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn.2:2; KJV).
The word "propitiation" is translated from the Greek word "hilasmos," and that word is from the family of Greek words that relate to the Day of Atonement. One of the meanings of that word is "the means of appeasing" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
In the Septuaigint (LXX), the Greek version of the Old Testament, the word "hilasmos" appears at Numbers 5:8 in the expression "ram of the atonement."
On the Day of Atonement the "hilasmos" was the one of the two goats which was sacrificed. The Greek word "hilaskomai" is the verb form, meaning "to make propitiation for" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon) and "hilastērion" is "the mercy seat" where the blood of the atoning sacrifice was sprinkled. All these words have the same stem (hilas) and they all relate to the events of the Day of Atonement.
Let us look at another translation of 1 John 2:2:
"He is the atoning sacrifice (hilasmos) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn.2:2:; NIV).
At 1 John 2:2 the Apostle John is making reference to the goat described as being the "sin offering" on the day of atonement (Lev.16:9), and this goat was in regard to "God's requirements." Ada R. Habershon writes:
"On the Day of Atonement there were 'two goats': the one, God's lot which was killed, the blood being taken inside the vail ; and the other, the scape-goat that bore away the iniquity of Israel to the land not inhabited--the first speaking to us of God's requirements, the second of man's need" (Habershon, Study of the Types [Kregel Publications, 1993], p.22).
Henry W. Soltau states that one aspect was in regard to satisfy the Lord, or as Habershon says, "God's requirement":
"It is important here to remark that the two goats were 'one' sin offering, and the apparent object of having 'two' was, to present two aspects of the same offering for sin. An atonement accomplished for the Lord to satisfy Him ; and this atonement made manifest to the people in the scapegoat sent into the wilderness" (Henry W. Soltau, The Tabernacle; The Priesthood and the Offerings, [Kregel Classics, 1998], p.429).
Once the goat was sacrificed to fulfill God's requirement and to satisfy the Lord the sins of no one was atoned for until, by faith, the priest took the blood of that sacrifice and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat.
Of course on the Day of Atonement the ceremony was strictly in regard to the nation of Israel. John, at 1 John 2:2, takes the imagery of the day of atonement and expands it to the whole world.
According to John the Lord Jesus is the sacrifice which is the means of satisfying the Lord in regard to the sins of the whole world. But as in the case of the day of atonement, no one received the benefit of the sacrifice until, by faith, the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat. The Lord Jesus' death upon the Cross is a sacrifice that is sufficent to satisfy God in regard to the sins of the whole world, but it is not until a sinner appropriates the blood of that sacrifice by faith that the demands of divine justice are satisified.
In His grace,