Representing the Government of God: Christ as the Hilasterion in Romans 3:25

Valentin Zywietz, Andrews University



In Romans 3:25, Paul describes how the public display of Christ as the i``lasthrion demonstrates the righteousness of God. However, it is unclear what exactly Paul means by the term i``lasthrion, and how it is connected to the cover of the Ark of the Covenant for which it is usually used in the LXX.


The first chapter of this paper consists of an exegetical investigation of Romans 3:25-26 paying consideration also to systematical implications for Paul’s understanding of atonement and the character of God. The second chapter is an analysis of the meaning and the function of the i``lasthrion in the LXX. In the third chapter, an attempt is made to fill the Old Testament content of i``lasthrion into Paul’s argument about the demonstration of the righteousness of God.


Paul probably viewed the i``lasthrion as a type of Christ, and this typological connection gives insight into the role of Christ until and in the antitypical Day of Atonement as understood by leading scholars within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Christ’s role in the atonement may include the bearing of the judicial responsibilities that God voluntarily took upon himself when he granted pardon to sinners prior to the investigation at the Day of Atonement.