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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XIII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

13.  Relation of Men to Angels.

From this it does not follow, as some suppose, that the men who are saved in Christ are superior even to the holy angels; for how can those who are cast by the holy angels into vessels be compared with those p. 421 who cast them into vessels, seeing that they have been put under the authority of the angels?  While we say this, we are not ignorant that the men who will be saved in Christ surpass some angels—namely, those who have not been entrusted with this office—but not all of them.  For we read, “Which things angels desire to look into,” 5216 where it is not said “all” angels.  And we know also this—“We shall judge angels” 5217 where it is not said “all” angels.  Now since these things are written about the net and about those in the net, we say that he who desires that, before the consummation of the age, and before the coming of the angels to sever the wicked from among the righteous, there should be no evil persons “of every kind” in the net, seems not to have understood the Scripture, and to desire the impossible.  Wherefore let us not be surprised if, before the severing of the wicked from among the righteous by the angels who are sent forth for this purpose, we see our gatherings also filled with wicked persons.  And would that those who will be cast into the furnace of fire may not be greater in number than the righteous!  But since we said in the beginning, that the parables and similitudes are not to be accepted in respect of all the things to which they are likened or compared, but only in respect of some things, we must further establish from the things to be said, that in the case of the fishes, so far as their life is concerned, an evil thing happens to them when they are found in the net.  For they are deprived of the life which is theirs by nature, and whether they are cast into vessels or cast away, they suffer nothing more than the loss of the life as it is in fishes; but, in the case of those to whom the parable refers, the evil thing is to be in the sea and not to come into the net, in order to be cast along with the good into vessels.  And in like manner the bad fishes are cast without and thrown away; but the bad in the similitude before us are cast into “the furnace of fire,” that what is said in Ezekiel about the furnace of fire may also overtake them—“And the Word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man behold the house of Israel is become to me all mixed with brass and iron,” etc., down to the words, “And ye shall know that I the Lord have poured My fury upon you.” 5218



1 Pet. i. 12.


1 Cor. vi. 3.


Ezek. xviii. 17-22.

Next: Chapter XIV

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