Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: Conclusions. Jesus as the Christ of the Creator Proved from the Events of the Last Chapter of St. Luke. The Pious Women at the Sepulchre. The Angels at the Resurrection. The Manifold Appearances of Christ After the Resurrection. His Mission of the Apostles Amongst All Nations. All Shown to Be in Accordance with the Wisdom of the Almighty Father, as Indicated in Prophecy. The Body of Christ After Death No Mere Phantom. Marcion's Manipulation of the Gospel on This Point.
Chapter XLIII.—Conclusions. Jesus as the Christ of the Creator Proved from the Events of the Last Chapter of St. Luke. The Pious Women at the Sepulchre. The Angels at the Resurrection. The Manifold Appearances of Christ After the Resurrection. His Mission of the Apostles Amongst All Nations. All Shown to Be in Accordance with the Wisdom of the Almighty Father, as Indicated in Prophecy. The Body of Christ After Death No Mere Phantom. Marcions Manipulation of the Gospel on This Point.
It was very meet that the man who buried the Lord should thus be noticed in prophecy, and thenceforth be “blessed;” 5165 since prophecy does not omit the (pious) office of the women who resorted before day-break to the sepulchre with the spices which they had prep. 422 pared. 5166 For of this incident it is said by Hosea: “To seek my face they will watch till day-light, saying unto me, Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He hath taken away, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up.” 5167 For who can refuse to believe that these words often revolved 5168 in the thought of those women between the sorrow of that desertion with which at present they seemed to themselves to have been smitten by the Lord, and the hope of the resurrection itself, by which they rightly supposed that all would be restored to them? But when “they found not the body (of the Lord Jesus),” 5169 “His sepulture was removed from the midst of them,” 5170 according to the prophecy of Isaiah. “Two angels however, appeared there.” 5171 For just so many honorary companions 5172 were required by the word of God, which usually prescribes “two witnesses.” 5173 Moreover, the women, returning from the sepulchre, and from this vision of the angels, were foreseen by Isaiah, when he says, “Come, ye women, who return from the vision;” 5174 that is, “come,” to report the resurrection of the Lord. It was well, however, that the unbelief of the disciples was so persistent, in order that to the last we might consistently maintain that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples as none other than the Christ of the prophets. For as two of them were taking a walk, and when the Lord had joined their company, without its appearing that it was He, and whilst He dissembled His knowledge of what had just taken place, 5175 they say: “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,” 5176 —meaning their own, that is, the Creators Christ. So far had He been from declaring Himself to them as another Christ! They could not, however, deem Him to be the Christ of the Creator; nor, if He was so deemed by them, could He have tolerated this opinion concerning Himself, unless He were really He whom He was supposed to be. Otherwise He would actually be the author of error, and the prevaricator of truth, contrary to the character of the good God. But at no time even after His resurrection did He reveal Himself to them as any other than what, on their own showing, they had always thought Him to be. He pointedly 5177 reproached them: “O fools, and slow of heart in not believing that which He spake unto you.” 5178 By saying this, He proves that He does not belong to the rival god, but to the same God. For the same thing was said by the angels to the women: “Remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered up, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 5179 “Must be delivered up;” and why, except that it was so written by God the Creator? He therefore upbraided them, because they were offended solely at His passion, and because they doubted of the truth of the resurrection which had been reported to them by the women, whereby (they showed that) they had not believed Him to have been the very same as they had thought Him to be. Wishing, therefore, to be believed by them in this wise, He declared Himself to be just what they had deemed Him to be—the Creators Christ, the Redeemer of Israel. But as touching the reality of His body, what can be plainer? When they were doubting whether He were not a phantom—nay, were supposing that He was one—He says to them, “Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See 5180 my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; for a spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have.” 5181 Now Marcion was unwilling to expunge from his Gospel some statements which even made against him—I suspect, on purpose, to have it in his power from the passages which he did not suppress, when he could have done so, either to deny that he had expunged anything, or else to justify his suppressions, if he made any. But he spares only such passages as he can subvert quite as well by explaining them away as by expunging them from the text. Thus, in the passage before us, he would have the words, “A spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have,” so transposed, as to mean, “A spirit, such as ye see me to be, hath not bones;” that is to say, it is not the nature of a spirit to have bones. But what need of so tortuous a construction, when He might have simply said, “A spirit hath not bones, even as you observe that I have not?” Why, moreover, does He offer His hands and His feet for their examination—limbs which consist of bones—if He had no bones? Why, too, does He add, “Know that p. 423 it is I myself,” 5182 when they had before known Him to be corporeal? Else, if He were altogether a phantom, why did He upbraid them for supposing Him to be a phantom? But whilst they still believed not, He asked them for some meat, 5183 for the express purpose of showing them that He had teeth. 5184
And now, as I would venture to believe, 5185 we have accomplished our undertaking. We have set forth Jesus Christ as none other than the Christ of the Creator. Our proofs we have drawn from His doctrines, maxims, 5186 affections, feelings, miracles, sufferings, and even resurrection—as foretold by the prophets. 5187 Even to the last He taught us (the same truth of His mission), when He sent forth His apostles to preach His gospel “among all nations;” 5188 for He thus fulfilled the psalm: “Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” 5189 Marcion, I pity you; your labour has been in vain. For the Jesus Christ who appears in your Gospel is mine.
The first word of the passage just applied to Joseph.422:5166
Luke xxiv. 1.422:5167
Hos. 5:15, Hos. 6:1, 2.422:5168
Luke xxiv. 3.422:5170
Isa. lvii. 2, according to the Septuagint, ἡ ταφὴ αὐτοῦ ἠρται ἐκ τοῦ μέσου.422:5171
Luke xxiv. 4.422:5172
Tot fere laterensibus.422:5173
Deut. 17:6, Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1.422:5174
Isa. xxvii. 11, according to the Septuagint, γυναῖκες ἐρχόμεναι ἀπὸ θέας, δεῦτε.422:5175
Luke xxiv. 13-19.422:5176
Luke xxiv. 21.422:5177
Luke xxiv. 25.422:5179
Luke 24:6, 7.422:5180
Videte. The original is much stronger ψηλαφήσατέ με καὶ ἴδετε, “handle me, and see.” Two sentences thrown into one.422:5181
Luke xxiv. 37-39.423:5182
Luke xxiv. 39.423:5183
Luke xxiv. 41.423:5184
An additional proof that He was no phantom.423:5185
Luke 24:47, Matt. 28:19.423:5189
Ps. xix. 4.
Next: Dr. Holmes' Note.
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