Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Tertullian: Part II: Prophecy Sets Forth Two Different Conditions of Christ, One Lowly, the Other Majestic. This Fact Points to Two Advents of Christ.
Chapter VII.—Prophecy Sets Forth Two Different Conditions of Christ, One Lowly, the Other Majestic. This Fact Points to Two Advents of Christ.
Our heretic will now have the fullest opportunity of learning the clue 3180 of his errors along with the Jew himself, from whom he has borrowed his guidance in this discussion. Since, however, the blind leads the blind, they fall into the ditch together. We affirm that, as there are two conditions demonstrated by the prophets to belong to Christ, so these presignified the same number of advents; one, and that the first, was to be in lowliness, 3181 when He had to be led as a sheep to be slain as a victim, and to be as a lamb dumb before the shearer, not opening His mouth, and not fair to look upon. 3182 For, says (the prophet), we have announced concerning Him: “He is like a tender plant, 3183 like a root out of a thirsty ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; and we beheld Him, and He was without beauty: His form was disfigured;” 3184 “marred more than the sons of men; a man stricken with sorrows, and knowing how to bear our infirmity;” 3185 “placed by the Father as a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence;” 3186 “made by Him a little lower than the angels;” 3187 declaring Himself to be “a worm and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” 3188 Now these signs of degradation quite suit His first coming, just as the tokens of His majesty do His second advent, when He shall no longer remain “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence,” but after His rejection become “the chief corner-stone,” accepted and elevated to the top place 3189 of the temple, even His church, being that very stone in Daniel, cut out of the mountain, which was to smite and crush the image of the secular kingdom. 3190 Of this advent the same prophet says: “Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they brought Him before Him, and there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” 3191 Then indeed He shall have both a glorious form, and an unsullied beauty above the sons of men. “Thou art fairer,” says (the Psalmist), “than the children of men; grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever. Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.” 3192 For the Father, after making Him a little lower than the angels, “will crown Him with glory and honour, and put all things under His feet.” 3193 “Then p. 327 shall they look on Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, tribe after tribe;” 3194 because, no doubt, they once refused to acknowledge Him in the lowliness of His human condition. He is even a man, says Jeremiah, and who shall recognise Him. Therefore, asks Isaiah, “who shall declare His generation?” 3195 So also in Zechariah, Christ Jesus, the true High Priest of the Father, in the person of Joshua, nay, in the very mystery of His name, 3196 is portrayed in a twofold dress with reference to both His advents. At first He is clad in sordid garments, that is to say, in the lowliness of suffering and mortal flesh: then the devil resisted Him, as the instigator of the traitor Judas, not to mention his tempting Him after His baptism: afterwards He was stripped of His first filthy raiment, and adorned with the priestly robe 3197 and mitre, and a pure diadem; 3198 in other words, with the glory and honour of His second advent. 3199 If I may offer, moreover, an interpretation of the two goats which were presented on “the great day of atonement,” 3200 do they not also figure the two natures of Christ? They were of like size, and very similar in appearance, owing to the Lords identity of aspect; because He is not to come in any other form, having to be recognised by those by whom He was also wounded and pierced. One of these goats was bound 3201 with scarlet, 3202 and driven by the people out of the camp 3203 into the wilderness, 3204 amid cursing, and spitting, and pulling, and piercing, 3205 being thus marked with all the signs of the Lords own passion; while the other, by being offered up for sins, and given to the priests of the temple for meat, afforded proofs of His second appearance, when (after all sins have been expiated) the priests of the spiritual temple, that is, the church, are to enjoy the flesh, as it were, 3206 of the Lords own grace, whilst the residue go away from salvation without tasting it. 3207 Since, therefore, the first advent was prophetically declared both as most obscure in its types, and as deformed with every kind of indignity, but the second as glorious and altogether worthy of God, they would on this very account, while confining their regards to that which they were easily able both to understand and to believe, even the second advent, be not undeservedly deceived respecting the more obscure, and, at any rate, the more lowly first coming. Accordingly, to this day they deny that their Christ has come, because He has not appeared in majesty, while they ignore the fact that He was to come also in lowliness.
A reference to, rather than quotation from, Isa. liii. 7.326:3183
Sicut puerulus, “like a little boy,” or, “a sorry slave.”326:3184
Isa. 53:2, 3, according to the Septuagint.326:3185
See Isa. 52:14, Isa. 53:3, 4.326:3186
Isa. viii. 14.326:3187
Ps. viii. 6.326:3188
Ps. xxii. 7.326:3189
Consummationem: an allusion to Zech. iv. 7.326:3190
See Dan. ii. 34.326:3191
Dan. 7:13, 14.326:3192
Ps. 45:2, 3.326:3193
Ps. 8:5, 6.327:3194
Zech. 12:10, 12.327:3195
Isa. liii. 8.327:3196
Joshua, i.e., Jesus.327:3197
See Zech. iii.327:3200
Jejunio, see Lev. 16:5, 7, etc.327:3201
Perhaps in reference to Heb. ix. 19.327:3203
This treatment of the scape-goat was partly ceremonial, partly disorderly. The Mischna (Yoma vi. 4–6) mentions the scarlet ribbon which was bound round the animals head between the horns, and the “pulling” (rather plucking out of its hair); but this latter was an indignity practised by scoffers and guarded against by Jews. Tertullian repeats the whole of this passage, Adv. Jud. xiv. Similar use is made of the type of the scape-goat by other fathers, as Justin Martyr (Dial. cum Tryph.) and Cyril of Alex. (Epist. ad Acacium). In this book ix. Against Julian, he expressly says: “Christ was described by the two goats,—as dying for us in the flesh, and then (as shown by the scape-goat) overcoming death in His divine nature.” See Tertullians passages illustrated fully in Rabbi Chiga, Addit. ad Cod. de die Expiat. (in Ugolini, Thes. i. 88).327:3206
Quasi visceratione. [See Kayes important comment, p. 426.]327:3207
Next: Absurdity of Marcion's Docetic Opinions; Reality of Christ's Incarnation.
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