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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XXI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

21.  That the Son Was Raised Up by the Father.  The Charge Brought Against Jesus at His Trial Was Based on the Incident Now Before Us.

What I have said is not alien to the passage now engaging us, dealing as it does with the temple and those cast out from it, of which the Saviour says, “The zeal of thy house shall devour Me;” and with the Jews who asked that a sign should be showed them, and the Saviour’s answer to them, in which He combines the discourse on the temple with that on His own body, and says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”  For from this temple, which is the body of Christ, everything that is irrational and savours of merchandise must be driven away, that it may no longer be a house of merchandise.  And this temple must be destroyed by those who plot against the Word of God, and after its destruction be raised again on that third day which we discussed above; when the disciples also will remember what He, the Word, said before the temple of God was destroyed, and will believe, not only their knowledge but their faith also being then made perfect, and that by the word which Jesus spoke.  And every one who is of this nature, Jesus purifying him, 5099 puts away things that are irrational and things that savour of selling, to be destroyed on account of the zeal of the p. 402 Logos that is in Him.  But they are destroyed to be raised again by Jesus, not on the third day, if we attend to the exact words before us, but “in three days.”  For the rising again of the temple takes place on the first day after it has been destroyed and on the second day, and its resurrection is accomplished in all the three days.  Hence a resurrection both has been and is to be, if indeed we were buried with Christ, and rose with Him.  And since the word, “We rose with Him,” does not cover the whole of the resurrection, “in Christ shall all be made alive, 5100 but every one in his own order, Christ the first fruits, then they that are Christ’s at His coming, and then the end.”  It belongs to the resurrection that one should be on the first day in the paradise of God, 5101 and it belongs to the resurrection when Jesus appears and says, “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father,” 5102 but the perfection of the resurrection was when He came to the Father.  Now there are some who fall into confusion on this head of the Father and the Son, and we must devote a few words to them.  They quote the text, 5103 “Yea, and we are found false witnesses for God, because we testified against God that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up,” and other similar texts which show the raiser-up to be another person than He who was raised up; and the text, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” as if it resulted from these that the Son did not differ in number from the Father, but that both were one, not only in point of substance but in point of subject, and that the Father and the Son were said to be different in some of their aspects but not in their hypostases.  Against such views we must in the first place adduce the leading texts which prove the Son to be another than the Father, and that the Son must of necessity be the son of a Father, and the Father, the father of a Son.  Then we may very properly refer to Christ’s declaration that He cannot do anything but what He sees the Father doing and saying, 5104 because whatever the Father does that the Son also does in like manner, and that He had raised the dead, i.e., the body, the Father granting Him this, who must be said to have been the principal agent in raising up Christ from the dead.  But Heracleon says, “In three days,” instead of “On the third day,” not having examined the point (and yet having noted the words “in three”), that the resurrection is brought about in three days.  But he also calls the third the spiritual day, in which they consider the resurrection of the Church to be indicated.  It follows from this that the first day is to be called the “earthly” day, and the second the psychical, the resurrection of the Church not having taken place on them.  Now the statements of the false witnesses, recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew and Mark 5105 towards the end of the Gospel, and the accusation they brought against our Lord Jesus Christ, appear to have reference to this utterance of His, “Destroy this temple, and I will build it up in three days.”  For He was speaking of the temple of His body, but they supposed His words to refer to the temple of stone, and so they said when accusing Him, “This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it up in three days,” or, as Mark has it, “We heard Him say, that I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build up another temple not made with hands.”  Here the high-priest stood up and said to Him, “Answerest Thou nothing?  What do these witness against Thee?  But Jesus held His peace.”  Or, as Mark says, “And the high-priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus saying, Answerest Thou nothing?  What do these witness against Thee?  But He held His peace and answered nothing.”  These words must, I think, necessarily have reference to the text now before us.



John xv. 3.


1 Cor. xv. 22-24.


Luke xxiii. 43.


John xx. 17.


1 Cor. xv. 15.


John v. 19.


Matt. 26:61, Mark 14:58.

Next: Chapter XXII