"Sin" is mainly personal alienation from God by failure to live right by God. Everyone conceived normally--everyone since Adam and Eve--has this inability (Gen.3:16; 8:21; Ps.51:5). Even the righteous of them are only so in being relatively well-behaved, having faith in God, and knowing sin is bad (Gen.9:21, 12:11-20; Num.20:7-12; 2 Sam.11; 24; 1 Kings 19:4; Is.6:5; Jer.15:19; and oth- ers). Sin first appears at Gen.3.
"Atonement" may be easy to remember as meaning that the taint of sin and un- cleanness has been removed to bring the person or thing into at-one-ment with God, making them or it acceptable to God. Though this basic concept appears earlier, the word first shows up at Ex.29:33 regarding holy things used for atonement and food.
"Sacrifices" and "offerings" in Mosaic law had a greater variety of meanings, things they were used for (such as the breaking of any of most of over 600 Mo- saic laws), and things used for them. Among other things, they could be con- sidered:
- gifts or tributes to God who deserved a share of what he helped provide (Ex.13:11-16; Lev.27:1-22;30; Num.18:12-19; Deut.26:1-15),
- a way of sharing food with God (the Israelites and surrounding cultures both offered their God or gods fat as food--Lev.3:14-17; Deut.32:37,38; also see Ex.29:38-42; Lev.24:5,6; Num.28; 29; 1 Sam.21:6; and others),
- a way to seal an alliance or covenant with God by followers putting some blood on their door posts and lintels or by blood put on the followers them- selves, which may be a variation of people sealing a covenant by sharing a meal (Ex.12; 24:6-11; and others; Gen.26:26-31; Josh.9, esp. vv.9-16), and
- sin and guilt offerings, not only for people but for things (Lev.4; 7:1-7;