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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
JUSTIN MARTYR: Chapter CXXIII.—Ridiculous...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter CXXIII.—Ridiculous interpretations of the Jews. Christians are the true Israel.

“As, therefore, all these latter prophecies refer to Christ and the nations, you should believe that the former refer to Him and them in like manner. For the proselytes have no need of a covenant, if, since there is one and the same law imposed on all that are circumcised, the Scripture speaks about them thus: ‘And the stranger shall also be joined with them, and shall be joined to the house of Jacob;’ 2423 and because the proselyte, who is circumcised that he may have access to the people, becomes like one of themselves, 2424 while we who have been deemed worthy to be called a people are yet Gentiles, because we have not been circumcised. Besides, it is ridiculous for you to imagine that the eyes of the proselytes are to be opened while your own are not, and that you be understood as blind and deaf while they are enlightened. And it will be still more ridiculous for you, if you say that the law has been given to the nations, but you have not known it. For you would have stood in awe of God’s wrath, and would not have been lawless, wandering sons; being much afraid of hearing God always say, ‘Children in whom is no faith. And who are blind, but my servants? and deaf, but they that rule over them? And the servants of God have been made blind. You see often, but have not observed; your ears have been opened, and you have not heard.’ 2425 Is God’s commendation of you honourable? and is God’s testimony seemly for His servants? You are not ashamed though you often hear these words. You do not tremble at God’s threats, for you are a people foolish and hard-hearted. ‘Therefore, behold, I will proceed to remove this people,’ saith the Lord; ‘and I will remove them, and destroy the wisdom of the wise, and hide the understanding of the prudent.’ 2426 Deservedly too: for you are neither wise nor prudent, but crafty and unscrupulous; wise only to do evil, but utterly incompetent to know the hidden counsel of God, or the faithful covenant of the Lord, or to find out the everlasting paths. ‘Therefore, saith the Lord, I will raise up to Israel and to Judah the seed of men and the seed of beasts.’ 2427 And by Isaiah He speaks thus concerning another Israel: ‘In that day shall there be a third Israel among the Assyrians and the Egyptians, blessed in the land which the Lord of Sabaoth hath blessed, saying, blessed shall my people in Egypt and in Assyria be, and Israel mine inheritance.’ 2428 Since then God blesses this people, and calls them Israel, and declares them to be His inheritance, how is it that you repent not of the deception you practise on yourselves, as if you alone were the Israel, and of execrating the people whom God has blessed? For when He speaks to Jerusalem and its environs, He thus added: ‘And I will beget men upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall inherit you, and you shall be a possession for them; and you shall be no longer bereaved of them.’ ” 2429

“What, then?” says Trypho; “are you Israel? and speaks He such things of you?”

“If, indeed,” I replied to him, “we had not entered into a lengthy 2430 discussion on these topics, I might have doubted whether you ask this question in ignorance; but since we have brought the matter to a conclusion by demonstration and with your assent, I do not believe that you are ignorant of what I have just said, or desire again mere contention, but that you are urging me to exhibit the same proof to these men.” And in compliance with the assent expressed in his eyes, I continued: “Again in Isaiah, if you have ears to hear it, God, speaking of Christ in parable, calls Him Jacob and Israel. He speaks thus: ‘Jacob is my servant, I will uphold Him; Israel is mine elect, I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry, neither shall any one hear His voice in the street: a bruised reed He shall not break, and smoking flax He shall not quench; but He shall bring forth judgment to truth: He shall shine, 2431 and shall not be broken till He have set judgment on the earth. And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.’ 2432 As therefore from the one man Jacob, who was surnamed Israel, all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel; so we from Christ, who begat us unto God, like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David, are called and are the true sons of God, and keep the commandments of Christ.”


Footnotes

261:2423

Isa. xiv. 1.

261:2424

Literally, “a native of the land.”

261:2425

Deut. xxxii. 20; Isa. xlii. 19 f.

261:2426

Isa. xxix. 14.

261:2427

Jer. xxxi. 27.

261:2428

Isa. xix. 24 f.

261:2429

Ezek. xxxvi. 12.

261:2430

[I cannot forbear to note this “Americanism” in the text.]

261:2431

LXX. ἀναλάμψει, as above. The reading of the text is ἀναληψει.

261:2432

Isa. xlii. 1-4.


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