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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

33.  Interpretation of “Tasting of Death.”

But we must seek to understand what is meant by “tasting of death.”  And He is life who says, “I am the life,” 5764 and this life assuredly has been hidden with Christ in God; and. “when Christ our life shall be manifested, then along with Him” 5765 shall be manifested those who are worthy of being manifested with Him in glory.  But the enemy of this life, who is also the last enemy of all His enemies that shall be destroyed, is death, 5766 of which the soul that sinneth dies, having the opposite disposition to that which takes place in the soul that lives uprightly, and in consequence of living uprightly lives.  And when it is said in the law, “I have placed life before thy face,” 5767 the Scripture says this about Him who said, “I am the Life,” and about His enemy, death; the one or other of which each of us by his deeds is always choosing.  And when we sin with life before our face, the curse is fulfilled against us which says, “And thy life shall be hanging up before thee,” etc., down to the words, “and for the sights of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” 5768   As, therefore, the Life is also the living bread which came down from heaven and gave life to the world, 5769 so His enemy death is dead bread.  Now every rational soul is fed either on living bread or dead bread, by the opinions good or bad which it receives.  As then in the case of more common foods it is the practice at one time only to taste them, and at another to eat of them more largely; so also, in the case of these loaves, one eats insufficiently only tasting them, but another is satiated,—he that is good or is on the way to being good with the living bread which came down from heaven, but he that is wicked with the dead bread, which is death; and some perhaps sparingly, and sinning a little, only taste of death; but those who have attained to virtue do not even taste of it, but are p. 468 always fed on the living bread.  It naturally followed then in the case of Peter, against whom the gates of Hades will not prevail, that he did not taste of death, since any one tastes of death and eats death at the time when the gates of Hades prevail against him; and one eats or tastes of death in proportion as the gates of Hades to a greater or less extent, more or fewer in number, prevail against him.  But also for the sons of thunder who were begotten of thunder, which is a heavenly thing, it was impossible to taste of death, which is extremely far removed from thunder, their mother.  But these things the Word prophesies to those who shall be perfected, and who by standing with the Word advanced so far that they did not taste of death, until they saw the manifestation and the glory and the kingdom and the excellency of the Word of God in virtue of which He excels every word, which by an appearance of truth draws away and drags about those who are not able to break through the bonds of distraction, and go up to the height of the excellency of the Word of truth.



John xiv. 6.


Col. 3:3, 4.


1 Cor. xv. 26.


Deut. xxx. 15.


Deut. 28:66, 67.


John 6:33, 51.

Next: Chapter XXXIV