Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: How the Steps in the Passion of the Saviour Were Predetermined in Prophecy. The Passover. The Treachery of Judas. The Institution of the Lord's Supper. The Docetic Error of Marcion Confuted by the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Chapter XL.—How the Steps in the Passion of the Saviour Were Predetermined in Prophecy. The Passover. The Treachery of Judas. The Institution of the Lords Supper. The Docetic Error of Marcion Confuted by the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In like manner does He also know the very time it behoved Him to suffer, since the law prefigures His passion. Accordingly, of all the festal days of the Jews He chose the passover. 5070 In this Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery: 5071 “It is the Lords passover.” 5072 How earnestly, therefore, does He manifest the bent of His soul: “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” 5073 What a destroyer of the law was this, who actually longed to keep p. 418 its passover! Could it be that He was so fond of Jewish lamb? 5074 But was it not because He had to be “led like a lamb to the slaughter; and because, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so was He not to open His mouth,” 5075 that He so profoundly wished to accomplish the symbol of His own redeeming blood? He might also have been betrayed by any stranger, did I not find that even here too He fulfilled a Psalm: “He who did eat bread with me hath lifted up 5076 his heel against me.” 5077 And without a price might He have been betrayed. For what need of a traitor was there in the case of one who offered Himself to the people openly, and might quite as easily have been captured by force as taken by treachery? This might no doubt have been well enough for another Christ, but would not have been suitable in One who was accomplishing prophecies. For it was written, “The righteous one did they sell for silver.” 5078 The very amount and the destination 5079 of the money, which on Judas remorse was recalled from its first purpose of a fee, 5080 and appropriated to the purchase of a potters field, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, were clearly foretold by Jeremiah: 5081 “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was valued 5082 and gave them for the potters field.” When He so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the passover, He considered it His own feast; for it would have been unworthy of God to desire to partake of what was not His own. Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, “This is my body,” 5083 that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body. 5084 An empty thing, or phantom, is incapable of a figure. If, however, (as Marcion might say,) He pretended the bread was His body, because He lacked the truth of bodily substance, it follows that He must have given bread for us. It would contribute very well to the support of Marcions theory of a phantom body, 5085 that bread should have been crucified! But why call His body bread, and not rather (some other edible thing, say) a melon, 5086 which Marcion must have had in lieu of a heart! He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: “I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that 5087 they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,” 5088 which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies, 5089 He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed “in His blood,” 5090 affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood. In order, however, that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah, who asks, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, from Bosor with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of his might? Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full winepress?” 5091 The prophetic Spirit contemplates the Lord as if He were already on His way to His passion, clad in His fleshly nature; and as He was to suffer therein, He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red, as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the wine-press, from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice, like men stained in blood. Much more clearly still does the book of Genesis foretell this, when p. 419 (in the blessing of Judah, out of whose tribe Christ was to come according to the flesh) it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch, 5092 saying, “He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes” 5093 —in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.
Luke 22:0, Luke 1:0.417:5071
Lev. xxiii. 5.417:5073
Luke xxii. 15.418:5074
Vervecina Judaica. In this rough sarcasm we have of course our authors contempt of Marcionism.418:5075
Isa. liii. 7.418:5076
Levabit: literally, “shall lift up,” etc.418:5077
Ps. xli. 9.418:5078
Amos ii. 6.418:5079
This passage more nearly resembles Zech. 11:12, 13 than anything in Jeremiah, although the transaction in Jer. xxxii. 7-15 is noted by the commentators, as referred to. Tertullian had good reason for mentioning Jeremiah and not Zechariah, because the apostle whom he refers to (Matt. xxvii. 3-10) had distinctly attributed the prophecy to Jeremiah (“Jeremy the prophet,” Matt. 27.9). This is not the place to do more than merely refer to the voluminous controversy which has arisen from the apostles mention of Jeremiah instead of Zechariah. It is enough to remark that Tertullians argument is unaffected by the discrepancy in the name of the particular prophet. On all hands the prophecy is admitted, and this at once satisfies our authors argument. For the ms. evidence in favour of the unquestionably correct reading, τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ ῾Ιερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου, κ.τ.λ., the reader is referred to Dr. Tregelles Critical Greek Testament, in loc.; only to the convincing amount of evidence collected by the very learned editor must now be added the subsequently obtained authority of Tischendorfs Codex Sinaiticus.418:5082
Appretiati vel honorati. There is nothing in the original or the Septuagint to meet the second word honorati, which may refer to the “honorarium,” or “fee paid on admission to a post of honour,”—a term of Roman law, and referred to by Tertullian himself.418:5083
Luke xxii. 19. [See Jewells Challenge, p. 266, supra.]418:5084
Corpus veritatis: meant as a thrust against Marcions Docetism.418:5085
Ad vanitatem Marcionis. [Note 9, p. 289.]418:5086
Peponem. In his De Anima, c. xxxii., he uses this word in strong irony: “Cur non magis et pepo, tam insulsus.”418:5087
[This text, imperfectly quoted in the original, is filled out by Dr. Holmes.]418:5088
So the Septuagint in Jer. xi. 19, Ξύλον εἰς τὸν ἄρτον αὐτοῦ (A.V. “Let us destroy the tree with the fruit”). See above, book iii. chap. xix. p. 337.418:5089
Illuminator antiquitatum. This general phrase includes typical ordinances under the law, as well as the sayings of the prophets.418:5090
Luke xxii. 20.418:5091
Isa. lxiii. 1 (Sept. slightly altered).419:5092
Gen. xlix. 11.
Next: The Woe Pronounced on the Traitor a Judicial Act, Which Disproves Christ to Be Such as Marcion Would Have Him to Be. Christ's Conduct Before the Council Explained. Christ Even Then Directs the Minds of His Judges to the Prophetic Evidences of His Own Mission. The Moral Responsibility of These Men Asserted.
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: http://St-Takla.org / Contact us at