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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:
Tertullian: Part II: Prophetic Things and Actions, as Well as Words, Attest This Great Doctrine.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVIII.—Prophetic Things and Actions, as Well as Words, Attest This Great Doctrine.

But we know that prophecy expressed itself by things no less than by words. By words, and also by deeds, is the resurrection foretold. When Moses puts his hand into his bosom, and then draws it out again dead, and again puts his hand into his bosom, and plucks it out living, 7481 does not this apply as a presage to all mankind?—inasmuch as those three signs 7482 denoted the threefold power of God: when it shall, first, in the appointed order, subdue to man the old serpent, the devil, 7483 however formidable; then, secondly, draw forth the flesh from the bosom of death; 7484 and then, at last, shall pursue all blood (shed) in judgment. 7485 On this subject we read in the writings of the same prophet, (how that) God says:  “For your blood of your lives will I require of all wild beasts; and I will require it of the hand of man, and of his brother’s hand.” 7486 Now nothing is required except that which is demanded back again, and nothing is thus demanded except that which is to be given up; and that will of course be given up, which shall be demanded and required on the ground of vengeance. But indeed there cannot possibly be punishment of that which never had any existence. Existence, however, it will have, when it is restored in order to be punished. To the flesh, therefore, applies everything which is declared respecting the blood, for without the flesh there cannot be blood. The flesh will be raised up in order that the blood may be punished.  There are, again, some statements (of Scripture) so plainly made as to be free from all obscurity of allegory, and yet they strongly require 7487 their very simplicity to be interpreted.  There is, for instance, that passage in Isaiah: “I will kill, and I will make alive.” 7488 Certainly His making alive is to take place after He has killed. As, therefore, it is by death that He kills, it is by the resurrection that He will make alive. Now it is the flesh which is killed by death; the flesh, therefore, will be revived by the resurrection. Surely if killing means taking away life from the flesh, and its opposite, reviving, amounts to restoring life to the flesh, it must needs be that the flesh rise again, to which the life, which has been taken away by killing, has to be restored by vivification.



Exod. 4:6, 7.


Ex. iv. 2-9.


Comp. Exod. 4:3, 4.


Comp. Exod. 4:6, 7.


Comp. Ex. 4.9.


Gen. ix. 5.




Isa. 38:12, 13, 16. The very words, however, occur not in Isaiah, but in 1 Sam. 2:6, Deut. 32:39.

Next: Ezekiel's Vision of the Dry Bones Quoted.

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