Justin Martyr's First Apology - The Argument from Prophecy

THE ARGUMENT FROM PROPHECY- Written between 151 & 155 A.D.

30. But lest someone should argue against us, What excludes [the supposition] that this person whom you call Christ was a man, of human origin, and did these miracles you speak of by magic arts, and so appeared to be God’s Son?—we will bring forward our demonstration. We do not trust in mere hearsay, but are forced to believe those who prophesied [these things] before they happened, because we actually see things that have happened and are happening as was predicted. This will, as we think, be the greatest and surest demonstration for you too.
31. There were among the Jews certain men who were prophets of God, through whom the prophetic Spirit announced in advance events that were to occur. The successive rulers of the Jews carefully preserved their prophecies, as they were spoken when they prophesied, in their own Hebrew language, [and] as arranged in books by the prophets themselves. When Ptolemy, king of Egypt, was founding a library, and set out to gather the writings of all mankind, he learned about these prophecies and sent to Herod, then king of the Jews, asking him to send him the prophetic books. King Herod sent them, written in the aforementioned Hebrew language. Since their contents were not intelligible to the Egyptians, he again sent and asked him to send men who could translate them into Greek. This was done, and the books remain in the hands of the Egyptians down to the present; the Jews everywhere have them too. But though they read them, they do not understand what they say, but consider us their enemies and opponents, putting us to death or punishing us, as you do, whenever they can, as you can realize—for in the Jewish War recently past Bar-Cochba, the leader of the revolt of the Jews, ordered Christians only to be subjected to terrible punishments, unless they would deny Jesus the Christ and blaspheme [him]. We find it predicted in the books of the prophets that Jesus our Christ would come, born of a virgin, grown to manhood, healing every sickness and every disease and raising the dead, hated and unacknowledged and crucified, dying and rising again and ascending into heaven, both really being and being called Son of God. [We find also that] men sent by him would proclaim these things to every race of mankind, and that men of the Gentiles especially would believe in him. This was prophesied over five thousand years before he appeared, then three thousand, and two thousand, and again one thousand, and once more eight hundred [years before]. For there were new prophets again and again as the generations passed.
32. Thus Moses, who was the first of the prophets, said in these very words: “The ruler shall not depart from Judah, nor the governor from his thighs, until he come for whom it is reserved; and he shall be the expectation of the nations, binding his colt to the vine, washing his robe in the blood of the grape.” You can inquire precisely and learn up to whose time the Jews had their own ruler and king. [It was] until the manifestation of Jesus Christ, our teacher and the expounder of the unrecognized prophecies, as was predicted by the divine and holy prophetic Spirit through Moses, that a ruler would not depart from the Jews until he should come for whom the Kingdom is reserved. For Judah was the forefather of the Jews, after whom they are called Jews; and after his [Christ’s] appearance you began to rule over the Jews and gained control of their whole land. The saying, He shall be the expectation of the nations, is a testimony that men of every nation will look forward to his coming again, as you can clearly see and be convinced by the fact, for men of every race are looking for him who was crucified in Judea, immediately after which the land of the Jews fell to you as spoil of war. Binding his foal to the vine and washing his robe in the blood of the grape is a symbolic exhibition of the things that would happen to Christ, and his actions. For an ass’s foal was standing at the entrance of a village, bound to a vine, which he then ordered his companions to bring to him; when it was brought he mounted and sat on it and entered into Jerusalem, where was the great Temple of the Jews which you afterward overthrew. After this he was crucified, so as to fulfill the rest of the prophecy. For washing his robe in the blood of the grape was predictive of the Passion which he was to suffer, cleansing by his blood those who believe on him. For the men who believe on him in whom dwells the seed of God, the Word, are what the divine Spirit through the prophet calls a garment. The blood of the grape that was spoken of was a sign that he who was to appear would have blood, though not from human seed but by divine power. The first Power after God the Father and Master of all, even [his] Son, is the Word—how he was made flesh and became man we shall describe below. As the blood of the grape was not made by man, but by God, so it was testified, that [his] blood should not come from human seed, but from divine power, as we said before. Isaiah, another prophet, prophesying the same things in other words, said: “A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a flower will come forth from the root of Jesse, and upon his arm will the nations hope.” The shining star has risen and the flower has grown from the root of Jesse—this is Christ. For he was by the power of God conceived by a virgin of the seed of Jacob, who was the father of Judah, the father of the Jews, as has been explained; Jesse was his ancestor, according to the oracle, and he was the son of Jacob and Judah by lineal succession.
33. And again, hear how it was literally prophesied by Isaiah that he would be born of a virgin. He said, “Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they will call his name, God with us.” For God testified in advance through the prophetic Spirit that things which are unbelievable and thought impossible among men would happen, so that when this should occur it would not be disbelieved, but received with faith because it had been predicted. Lest some, not understanding the prophecy which has been referred to, should bring against us the reproach that we bring against the poets who say that Zeus came upon women for the sake of sexual pleasure, we will try to explain these words clearly. For “Behold, the Virgin shall conceive” means that the Virgin would conceive without intercourse. For if she had had intercourse with anyone, she would not have been a virgin; but God’s power, coming upon the Virgin, overshadowed her, and caused her to conceive while still remaining a virgin. The angel of God who was sent to this Virgin at the time brought her this good news, saying, “Behold, you will conceive in the womb by a Holy Spirit and will bear a son; and he will be called Son of the Highest and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins,” as those who recorded everything about our Saviour Jesus Christ have taught us. We believe them, since the prophetic Spirit through the above-mentioned Isaiah said that this would happen, as we noted before. The Spirit and the Power from God cannot rightly be thought of as anything else than the Word, who is also the First-born of God, as Moses the above-mentioned prophet testified. So this [Spirit], coming upon the Virgin and overshadowing her, made her pregnant—not by intercourse, but by [divine] power. The name Jesus in Hebrew means the same as Saviour in Greek, and so the angel said to the Virgin, “And you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Even you will agree, I think, that those who prophesied were inspired by none other than the divine Word.
34. Hear also in what part of the earth he was to be born, as another prophet, Micah, foretold. He said, “And you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler who will shepherd my people.” This is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can learn from the census which was taken under Quirinius, who was your first procurator in Judea.
35. How the Christ after his birth was to live hidden from other men until he grew to manhood, as also happened—hear the predictions that refer to this. There is this: “A child is born to us, and a young man is given to us, and the government will be upon his shoulders—” testifying the power of the cross, which when crucified he took upon his shoulders, as will be shown more clearly as the argument proceeds. Again the same prophet Isaiah, inspired by the prophetic Spirit, said: “I have stretched out my hands over a disobedient and contradicting people, over those who walk in a way that is not good. They now ask judgment of me and dare to draw near to God.”Again in other words he says through another prophet: “They pierced my hands and feet, and cast lots for my clothing.” Now David, the king and prophet, who said this, suffered none of these things. But Jesus Christ stretched out his hands when he was crucified by the Jews, who contradicted him and denied that he was Christ. As the prophet said, “They placed him in mockery on the judgment seat and said, judge us.” “They pierced my hands and feet,” was an announcement of the nails that were fastened in his hands and feet on the cross. After fastening him to the cross, those who crucified him cast lots for his clothing and divided it among themselves. That these things really happened, you can learn from the Acts of what was done under Pontius Pilate. And that it was distinctly prophesied that he would take his seat on the foal of an ass and so enter Jerusalem, we will quote the words of the prophecy of another prophet, Zephaniah, as follows: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold your King comes to you, meek, and riding upon an ass and a colt the foal of a donkey.”
36. When you hear the words of the prophets spoken as in a particular character, do not think of them as spoken by the inspired men themselves, but by the divine Word that moved them. For sometimes he speaks as predicting the things that are to happen, sometimes he speaks as in the character of God the Master and Father of all, sometimes as in the character of Christ, sometimes in the character of the people answering the Lord or his Father. You can see the same thing in your own writers, where one man is the author of the whole work but introduces different characters in dialogue. Not understanding this, the Jews who are in possession of the books of the prophets did not recognize Christ even when he came, and they hate us who declare that he has come and show that he was crucified by them as had been predicted.
37. So that you may see this clearly, here is the kind of words spoken in the character of the Father through the above-mentioned prophet Isaiah: “The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib, but Israel knows me not and my people does not understand. Woe, sinful nation, people full of sins, wicked seed, lawless children, you have forsaken the Lord.”
Again in another place, where the same prophet speaks similarly for the Father: “What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool.” And again elsewhere: “My soul hates your new moons and sabbaths, I cannot endure the great day of the fast, and [your] idleness; nor when you come to appear before me will I hear you. Your hands are full of blood, and if you bring offerings of fine flour, [and] incense, it is an abomination to me; the fat of lambs and blood of bulls I do not wish. For who demanded this at your hands? But loose every bond of iniquity, tear apart the knots of the contracts of violence, cover the homeless and naked, deal out your bread to the hungry.” You can now notice the kind of things that were taught by the prophets as from God.
38. When the prophetic Spirit speaks in the character of the Christ, he says, “I stretched out my hands over a disobedient and contradicting people, over those who walk in a way that is not good.” And again: “I have offered my back to scourges and my cheeks to blows, and I did not turn away my face from the shame of spittings. And the Lord became my helper, therefore I was not confounded, but set my face as a hard rock, and I knew that I would not be put to shame, for he who justifies me is at hand.” Again when he says: “They cast lots for my clothing, and pierced my feet and hands. I lay down and slept and rose up again, for the Lord supported me.” Again when he says, “They spoke with their lips, they shook their heads, saying, Let him deliver himself.” All these things were done by the Jews to Christ, as you can learn. For when he was crucified they stuck out their lips and shook their heads, saying, “He who raised the dead, let him now save himself.”
39. When the prophetic Spirit speaks as prophesying things to come, he says: “For the law will go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and he shall judge in the midst of the nations and rebuke much people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn to war any more.” We can show you that this has really happened. For a band of twelve men went forth from Jerusalem, and they were common men, not trained in speaking, but by the power of God they testified to every race of mankind that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the Word of God; and [now] we who once killed each other not only do not make war on each other, but in order not to lie or deceive our inquisitors we gladly die for the confession of Christ. For it would be possible for us to follow the saying, “The tongue has sworn, the mind remains unsworn.” But it would be ridiculous when the soldiers whom you have recruited and enrolled stick to their loyalty to you before their own life and parents and native land and all their families, though you have nothing incorruptible to offer them, for us, who desire incorruption, not to endure all things in order to receive what we long for from Him who is able to give it.
40. Hear now how predictions were made about those who were to proclaim his teaching and testify to his manifestation; for the above-mentioned prophet and king said this through the prophetic Spirit: “Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows forth knowledge. There is no language or speech where their words are not heard. Their sound went out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the inhabited world. He set his tabernacle in the sun, and he himself, as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, will rejoice like a giant to run his course.” In addition to these I have thought it good and appropriate to mention some other prophetic words spoken through the same David, from which you may learn how the prophetic Spirit exhorts men to live, and how he testifies of the conspiracy which was formed by Herod the king of the Jews and the Jews themselves and Pilate, who was your procurator among them, with his soldiers, against Christ. [He also testifies] that he would be believed in by men of every race, and that God calls him his Son and has declared that he will subject his enemies to him, and how the demons try as far as they can to escape the power of God the Father and Master of all and that of his Christ, and how God calls all men to repentance before the day of judgment comes. These words were as follows:
“Blessed is the man who has not walked in the council of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor taken his seat upon the seat of pestilence, but his will is in the law of the Lord, and in his law will he meditate day and night. And he shall be like the tree which is planted by the watercourses, which will give its fruit in its season, and his leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will be prospered. Not so are the ungodly, not so, but rather like the chaff which the wind blows away from the face of the earth. Therefore the ungodly will not arise in judgment, nor sinners in the council of the righteous, because the Lord knows the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly will be destroyed.
“Why have the nations raged and the peoples imagined new things? The kings of the earth stood up, and their rulers assembled together against the Lord and against his Christ, saying, Let us break their bonds and let us cast away from us their yoke. He that dwells in heaven will laugh them to scorn, and the Lord will mock at them. Then will he speak to them in his wrath and vex them in his anger. I have been set up by him as king on Zion his holy mountain, proclaiming the Lord’s decree. The Lord said to me, You are my Son, today have I begotten you; ask of me and I will give you nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession; you will shepherd them with a rod of iron, you will break them like potter’s vessels. And now, O kings, understand; be instructed, all you who judge the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice before him with trembling. Accept discipline, lest the Lord should be angry, [and] wrathful, and you be destroyed from the right way when his anger is kindled in haste. Blessed are all those who have put their trust in him.”
41. And again in another prophecy the prophetic Spirit, testifying through the same David that after being crucified Christ would reign, said: “O sing to the Lord, all the earth, and proclaim his salvation from day to day; for great is the Lord and highly to be praised, terrible beyond all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are images of demons, but God made the heavens. Glory and praise are before him, and strength and pride in the place of his sanctification. Give glory to the Lord, the Father of the ages. Receive favor and go in before his face and worship in his holy courts. Let all the earth fear before him, and be set upright and not shaken. Let them exult among the nations; the Lord has reigned from the tree.”
42. Now when the prophetic Spirit speaks of things to come as already having happened, as is illustrated in the passages quoted—I will explain this too so that those who come on it will have no excuse [for not understanding]. Things he fully knows are to happen he speaks of in advance as if they had already occurred. Give careful attention to the passages quoted [and you will see] that this is the way they must be taken. David uttered the words quoted above fifteen hundred years before Christ, made man, was crucified, and none of those who were crucified before him gave joy to the nations, nor of those [crucified] after him either. But in our time Jesus Christ, who was crucified and died, rose again and, ascending into heaven, began to reign; and on account of what was proclaimed by the apostles in all nations as [coming] from him, there is joy for those who look forward to the incorruption which he has promised.
43. So that none may infer from what we have said that the events we speak of, because they were foreknown and predicted, took place according to inevitable destiny—I can explain this too. We have learned from the prophets, and declare as the truth, that penalties and punishments and good rewards are given according to the quality of each man’s actions. If this were not so, but all things happened in accordance with destiny, nothing at all would be left up to us. For if it is destined that one man should be good and another wicked, then neither is the one acceptable nor the other blameworthy. And if the human race does not have the power by free choice to avoid what is shameful and to choose what is right, then there is no responsibility for actions of any kind. But that [man] walks upright or falls by free choice we may thus demonstrate. We [often] observe the same man in pursuit of opposite things. If he were destined to be either wicked or virtuous, he would not be thus capable of opposites, and often change his mind. Nor would some be virtuous and others wicked, for then we would have to declare fate to be the cause of evils and [at the same time] to act in opposition to itself—or to accept as true the opinion referred to above, that there is no real virtue or vice, but only by opinion are things considered good or bad; which, as the true Reason shows us, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But we do say that deserved rewards are irrevocably destined for those who have chosen the good, and likewise their just deserts for those [who have chosen] the opposite. But God did not make man like other [beings], such as trees and animals, which have no power of choice. For he would not be worthy of rewards or praise if he did not choose the good of himself, but was so made, nor if he were evil would he justly deserve punishment, if he were not such of himself, but was unable to be anything different from that for which he was formed.
44. The holy prophetic Spirit taught us these things, saying through Moses that God said to the first-formed man, “Behold I have set before you good and evil, choose the good.” And again through Isaiah, another prophet, this was said to the same purpose, as from God the Father and Master of all things: “Wash yourselves, be clean, take away wickednesses from your souls, learn to do good, give judgment for the orphan and defend the cause of the widow, and come and let us reason together, says the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as wool, and though they be like crimson, I will make them as white as snow. And if you are willing and listen to me, you will eat the good of the land; but if you will not listen to me, the sword will devour you; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things.” The phrase, “The sword will devour you,” does not mean that the disobedient will be slain by swords, but the sword of God is the fire, of which those who choose to do what is evil are made the fuel. Because of this he says, “A sword will devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” For if he were speaking of a sword that cuts and at once destroys, he would not have said, “Will devour.”
So when Plato said, “The blame belongs to him who chooses, and God is free from blame,” he took this from the prophet Moses. For Moses was earlier than Plato and all the Greek writers. And everything that philosophers and poets said about the immortality of the soul, punishments after death, contemplation of heavenly things, and teachings of that kind—they took hints from the prophets and so were able to understand these things and expounded them. So it seems that there were indeed seeds of truth in all men, but they are proved not to have understood them properly since they contradict each other.
So when we say that things yet to happen have been prophesied, we do not say that they take place by inevitable destiny, but since God foreknows what all men are to do, and it is his decree that each will be rewarded according to the quality of his actions, he foretells by the prophetic Spirit what he will do in accordance with the quality of what they do. So he is ever leading the human race to reflection and remembrance, showing that he cares for it and provides for men. But by the working of the wicked demons death has been decreed against those who read the books of Hystaspes or Sybil or the prophets, so that they might frighten people away from receiving the knowledge of good things by consulting them, and keep them in slavery to themselves. But they did not succeed in this forever, for we not only boldly consult these books, but also as you see offer them for your inspection, being sure that what they declare will be welcome to all. Even if we only persuade a few, this will be a great gain for us; for as good husbandmen we will receive our reward from our Master.
45. Now hear how it was said through David the prophet, that God the Father of all would take up Christ into heaven after raising him from the dead, and then wait to smite the demons who are his enemies, until the number be completed of those whom he foreknows will be good and virtuous,for whose sake he has not yet brought about the destruction of the world by fire. The words are these: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. The Lord will send forth the rod of power from Jerusalem; and dominate in the midst of your enemies. The beginning is with you in the day of your power, in the splendors of your holy ones; I have begotten you from the womb before the morning star.” The phrase, “He will send forth the rod of power for you from Jerusalem,” is a prediction of the mighty word which his apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere, and which, although death is decreed against those who teach or even confess the name of Christ, we everywhere both receive and teach. If you respond to these words with hostility, you can do no more, as we said before, than to kill us, which will not do harm to us, but will lead to eternal punishment through fire for you and all who unjustly are enemies [to the gospel] and do not repent.
46. Lest some should unreasonably object, in order to turn men away from what we teach, that we say that Christ was born a hundred and fifty years ago under Quirinius, and taught what we say he taught still later, under Pontius Pilate, and should accuse us [as supposing] that all men born before that time were irresponsible, I will solve this difficulty in advance. We have been taught that Christ is the First-begotten of God, and have previously testified that he is the Reason of which every race of man partakes. Those who lived in accordance with Reason are Christians, even though they were called godless, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and others like them; among the barbarians, Abraham, Ananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, and Elijah, and many others, whose deeds and names I forbear to list, knowing that this would be lengthy. So also those who lived without Reason were ungracious and enemies to Christ, and murderers of those who lived by Reason. But those who lived by Reason, and those who so live now, are Christians, fearless and unperturbed. For what cause a man was conceived of a virgin by the power of the Word according to the will of God, the Father and Master of all, and was named Jesus, and after being crucified and dying rose again and ascended into heaven, an intelligent man will be able to comprehend from the words that were spoken in various ways. But since the further demonstration of this does not seem necessary at the moment, I will pass on to more needed demonstrations.
47. Hear how the prophetic Spirit said that the land of the Jews would be ravaged. The words are spoken as in the character of the people, wondering at what had happened, as follows: “Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem has become like a wilderness, the house of our sanctuary [is made] a curse, and the glory which our fathers praised is burned with fire, and all its glorious things are fallen. And you abide these things, and have kept silence, and have humbled us greatly.” You are well aware that Jerusalem was laid waste, as it was predicted would happen. That it would be laid waste, and no one permitted to dwell there, was said through Isaiah the prophet: “Their land is a desert, their enemies eat it up before them, and none of them will dwell in it.” You certainly know that under your guard there is no one in it, and that death has been decreed against any Jew caught entering.
48. How it was prophesied that our Christ would heal all diseases and raise the dead, hear what was spoken, as follows: “At his coming the lame will leap like a hart, and the stammering tongue will be clear; blind will see and lepers be cleansed, and the dead will arise and walk.” That he did these things, you can learn from the Acts of what took place under Pontius Pilate. How it was testified by the prophetic Spirit that he would be put to death, together with the men who hoped in him, hear what was said through Isaiah, as follows: “See how the just One perishes and no one takes it to heart, and just men are slain and none consider it. The Just One is taken away from the presence of wickedness, and his burial will be in peace; he is taken away from the midst [of us].”
49. Here again is how it was said through the same Isaiah, that the peoples of the Gentiles who were not looking for him would worship him, and the Jews who were constantly looking for him would not recognize him when he came. These words are spoken as in the character of the Christ himself, as follows: “I became manifest to those who asked not after me, I was found by those who sought me not. I said, Here am I, to a nation who did not call upon my name. I stretched out my hands over a disobedient and contradicting people, over those who walked in a way that was not good, but after their sins, a people who rouse me to anger.” For the Jews, having the prophecies, and constantly looking for the Christ, failed to recognize him when he came—more than that, they even mistreated him. But men of the Gentiles, who had never even heard about Christ until his apostles who came forth from Jerusalem testified to the things about him and gave them the prophecies, were filled with joy and faith, turned away from their idols, and dedicated themselves to the unbegotten God through Christ. That the slanders which would be spoken against those who confess Christ were foreknown, and how those would be afflicted who slander him and say that it is better to keep the ancient customs, hear what was briefly spoken through Isaiah as follows: “Woe to those who call sweet bitter and bitter sweet.”
50. How, being made man for us, he endured suffering and dishonor, and will come again with glory—hear the prophecies which were spoken to this effect, as follows:
“Because they delivered his soul to death, and he was counted with the wicked, he has borne the sins of many, and will make propitiation for the wicked. For behold, my servant will understand and be exalted and greatly glorified. As many will be astonished at you, so your form will be dishonored from [among] men and your glory from men, so that many nations will wonder, and kings will shut their mouths; because those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand. O Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? We have spoken before him as a child, as a root in thirsty ground. He has no form nor glory; and we saw him and he had no form nor beauty, but his form was dishonored and despised beyond [any of] mankind. He was a stricken man, knowing how to bear infirmity, because his face was turned away, and he was dishonored and not esteemed. It is he who bears our sins and undergoes travail for us, and we thought him to be in distress, smitten and afflicted. But he was wounded for our wickednesses and suffered infirmity for our sins; the chastisement of [our] peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. We have all as sheep gone astray, [every] man has gone astray in his own way. And he gave himself up for our sins, and did not open his mouth because of affliction. He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation his judgment was taken away.” For after he was crucified even all his acquaintances deserted him, denying him. But later, when he rose from the dead and appeared to them, and taught them to consult the prophecies, in which it was predicted that all these things would happen; and when they had seen him ascending into heaven, and believed on him, and received the power which he sent them from there, and went into every race of men, they taught these things and were known as apostles.
51. In order to testify to us that he who suffered these things is of ineffable origin and reigns over his enemies, the prophetic Spirit spoke thus:
“Who will declare his generation? For his life was taken away from the earth; on account of their wickednesses he goes to death. And I will give the wicked for his burial and the rich for his death, for he did no wickedness nor was guilt found in his mouth. And the Lord wills to cleanse him from the blow. If you give an offering for sin, your soul will see a long-lived seed. And the Lord wills to remove his soul from sorrow, to show him light and to form him with understanding, to justify the just One who is a good servant to many. And he shall bear away our sins. Because of this he will inherit many and divide the booty of the strong, for that his soul was delivered to death, and he was numbered among the wicked, and he himself bore the sins of many, and because of their wickednesses he was betrayed.”
Hear how he was to go up to heaven, as it was prophesied. This was spoken: “Lift up the gates of heaven, be opened, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of might and the Lord of power.” And that he is to come from heaven with glory, hear what was spoken to this effect through Jeremiah the prophet, as follows: “Behold how the Son of Man comes on the clouds of heaven, and his angels with him.”
52. Since we have shown that all these things that have already happened were proclaimed in advance through the prophets before they happened, it must similarly be believed that those things which were similarly prophesied and are yet to happen will certainly take place. Just as these things which have already happened came true, proclaimed in advance and [yet] unrecognized, so in the same way the remainder, even if unacknowledged and disbelieved, will come to pass. For the prophets foretold two comings of Christ—one, which has already happened, as that of a dishonored and passible man, and the second, when as has been foretold he will come from heaven in glory with his angelic host, when he will raise the bodies of all the men who have ever lived, and will clothe the worthy with incorruption, but send those of the wicked, eternally conscious, into eternal fire with the evil demons. How it was predicted that these things will happen we will show. This was spoken through the prophet Ezekiel: “Joint will come together with joint and bone with bone, and flesh will grow again. And every knee will bow to the Lord and every tongue will confess him.” That the wicked will be punished, still conscious, hear what was similarly spoken on this topic, as follows: “Their worm shall not rest, and their fire shall not be extinguished.” And then they will repent, when it will no longer do them any good. What the peoples of the Jews will say and do, when they see him coming in glory, was thus prophesied through the prophet Zechariah:
“I will command the four winds to bring together the scattered children; I will command the north wind to carry them, and the south wind not to keep them back. And then there will be great lamentation in Jerusalem, not a lamentation of mouths or lips, but a lamentation of the heart, and they shall rend not their garments but their minds. Tribe after tribe will lament, and then they will see him whom they pierced, and will say: Why, O Lord, did you make us wander astray from thy way? The glory which our fathers praised has become our disgrace.”
53. I could cite many other prophecies too, but pause, thinking that these are sufficient to convince those who have ears to hear and understand, and considering that such people can understand that we do not, like those who tell the mythical stories about the so-called sons of Zeus, merely talk, without having proofs. For why should we believe a crucified man that he is First-begotten of the Unbegotten God, and that he will pass judgment on the whole human race, unless we found testimonies proclaimed about him before he came, and was made man, and see that things have thus happened? For we have seen the desolation of the land of the Jews, and the men of every nation who have been persuaded by the teaching that comes from his apostles, and have turned away from the old customs in which they lived, wandering astray—that is ourselves, since we know that the Gentile Christians are more numerous and truer than those from among the Jews and Samaritans. For all the other nations of mankind are called Gentiles by the prophetic Spirit, while the Jewish and Samaritan tribes are called Israel and House of Jacob. How it was prophesied that more of the Gentiles would be believers than of the Jews and Samaritans—I will cite what was prophesied. It was spoken thus: “Rejoice, O barren and bearing not, break forth and shout, you who did not travail, for the children of the desolate are more than those of her who had a husband.” For all the Gentiles were desolate of the true God, serving the works of [men’s] hands. But Jews and Samaritans, having the word from God given them through the prophets and constantly looking for the Christ, did not recognize him when he came, except only for a few, whose salvation the holy prophetic Spirit predicted through Isaiah. For he said, speaking as in their character, “Except the Lord had left us a seed, we should have been as Sodom and Gomorrha.” Moses tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrha, cities of godless men which God overthrew, burning them with fire and brimstone, none of the people in them being saved except a certain stranger of Chaldaean race, Lot by name, with whom his daughters were saved also. Those who want to can see their whole countryside, desolate and burned and still unproductive. That it was foreknown that those of the Gentiles would be truer and more faithful, we will cite what was said through Isaiah the prophet. He spoke thus, “Israel is uncircumcised in heart, and the Gentiles are the uncircumcision,” seeing such things should reasonably bring conviction and faith to those who welcome the truth, and are not vainglorious or controlled by their passions.


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