Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter III
Chapter III.—The Name Jesus and also the Name Christ were known from the Beginning, and were honored by the Inspired Prophets.
1. It is now the proper place to show that the very name Jesus and also the name Christ were honored by the ancient prophets beloved of God. 53
2. Moses was the first to make known the name of Christ as a name especially august and glorious. When he delivered types and symbols of heavenly things, and mysterious images, in accordance with the oracle which said to him, “Look that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shown thee in the mount,” 54 he consecrated a man high priest of God, in so far as that was possible, and him he called Christ. 55 And thus to this dignity of the high priesthood, which in his opinion surpassed the most honorable position among men, he attached for the sake of honor and glory the name of Christ.
3. He knew so well that in Christ was something divine. And the same one foreseeing, under the influence of the divine Spirit, the name Jesus, dignified it also with a certain distinguished privilege. For the name of Jesus, which had never been uttered among men before the time of Moses, he applied first and only to the one who he knew would receive after his death, again as a type and symbol, the supreme command.
4. His successor, therefore, who had not hitherto borne the name Jesus, but had been called by another name, Auses, 56 which had been given him by his parents, he now called Jesus, bestowing the name upon him as a gift of honor, far greater than any kingly diadem. For Jesus himself, the son of Nave, bore a resemblance to our Saviour in the fact that he alone, after Moses and after the completion of the symbolical worship which had been transmitted by him, succeeded to the government of the true and pure religion.
5. Thus Moses bestowed the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, as a mark of the highest honor, upon the two men who in his time surpassed all the rest of the people in virtue and glory; namely, upon the high priest and upon his own successor in the government.
6. And the prophets that came after also clearly foretold Christ by name, predicting at the same time the plots which the Jewish people would form against him, and the calling of the nations through him. Jeremiah, for instance, speaks as follows: “The p. 86 Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord, was taken in their destructions; of whom we said, under his shadow we shall live among the nations.” 57 And David, in perplexity, says, “Why did the nations rage and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ”; 58 to which he adds, in the person of Christ himself, “The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” 59
7. And not only those who were honored with the high priesthood, and who for the sake of the symbol were anointed with especially prepared oil, were adorned with the name of Christ among the Hebrews, but also the kings whom the prophets anointed under the influence of the divine Spirit, and thus constituted, as it were, typical Christs. For they also bore in their own persons types of the royal and sovereign power of the true and only Christ, the divine Word who ruleth over all.
8. And we have been told also that certain of the prophets themselves became, by the act of anointing, Christs in type, so that all these have reference to the true Christ, the divinely inspired and heavenly Word, who is the only high priest of all, and the only King of every creature, and the Fathers only supreme prophet of prophets.
9. And a proof of this is that no one of those who were of old symbolically anointed, whether priests, or kings, or prophets, possessed so great a power of inspired virtue as was exhibited by our Saviour and Lord Jesus, the true and only Christ.
10. None of them at least, however superior in dignity and honor they may have been for many generations among their own people, ever gave to their followers the name of Christians from their own typical name of Christ. Neither was divine honor ever rendered to any one of them by their subjects; nor after their death was the disposition of their followers such that they were ready to die for the one whom they honored. And never did so great a commotion arise among all the nations of the earth in respect to any one of that age; for the mere symbol could not act with such power among them as the truth itself which was exhibited by our Saviour.
11. He, although he received no symbols and types of high priesthood from any one, although he was not born of a race of priests, although he was not elevated to a kingdom by military guards, although he was not a prophet like those of old, although he obtained no honor nor pre-eminence among the Jews, nevertheless was adorned by the Father with all, if not with the symbols, yet with the truth itself.
12. And therefore, although he did not possess like honors with those whom we have mentioned, he is called Christ more than all of them. And as himself the true and only Christ of God, he has filled the whole earth with the truly august and sacred name of Christians, committing to his followers no longer types and images, but the uncovered virtues themselves, and a heavenly life in the very doctrines of truth.
13. And he was not anointed with oil prepared from material substances, but, as befits divinity, with the divine Spirit himself, by participation in the unbegotten deity of the Father. And this is taught also again by Isaiah, who exclaims, as if in the person of Christ himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore hath he anointed me. He hath sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim deliverance to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind.” 60
14. And not only Isaiah, but also David addresses him, saying, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of equity is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated iniquity. Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” 61 Here the Scripture calls him God in the first verse, in the second it honors him with a royal scepter.
15. Then a little farther on, after the divine and royal power, it represents him in the third place as having become Christ, being anointed not with oil made of material substances, but with the divine oil of gladness. It thus indicates his especial honor, far superior to and different from that of those who, as types, were of old anointed in a more material way.
16. And elsewhere the same writer speaks of him as follows: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool”; 62 and, “Out of the womb, before the morning star, have I begotten thee. The Lord hath sworn and he will not repent. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec.” 63
17. But this Melchizedec is introduced in the Holy Scriptures as a priest of the most high God, 64 not consecrated by any anointing oil, especially prepared, and not even belonging by descent to the priesthood of the Jews. Wherefore after his order, but not after the order of the others, who received symbols and types, was our Saviour proclaimed, with an appeal to an oath, Christ and priest.
18. History, therefore, does not relate that he was anointed corporeally by the Jews, nor p. 87 that he belonged to the lineage of priests, but that he came into existence from God himself before the morning star, that is before the organization of the world, and that he obtained an immortal and undecaying priesthood for eternal ages.
19. But it is a great and convincing proof of his incorporeal and divine unction that he alone of all those who have ever existed is even to the present day called Christ by all men throughout the world, and is confessed and witnessed to under this name, and is commemorated both by Greeks and Barbarians and even to this day is honored as a King by his followers throughout the world, and is admired as more than a prophet, and is glorified as the true and only high priest of God. 65 And besides all this, as the pre-existent Word of God, called into being before all ages, he has received august honor from the Father, and is worshiped as God.
20. But most wonderful of all is the fact that we who have consecrated ourselves to him, honor him not only with our voices and with the sound of words, but also with complete elevation of soul, so that we choose to give testimony unto him rather than to preserve our own lives.
21. I have of necessity prefaced my history with these matters in order that no one, judging from the date of his incarnation, may think that our Saviour and Lord Jesus, the Christ, has but recently come into being.
Compare the Dem. Evang. iv. 17.85:54
Ex. xxv. 40.85:55
“Eusebius here has in mind the passages Lev. 4:5, 16, Lev. 6:22Lev. 4:5, 16, and Lev. vi. 22, where the LXX. reads ὁ ἱερεὺς ὁ χριστός: The priest, the anointed one” (Closs). The Authorized Version reads, The priest that was anointed; the Revised Version, The anointed priest.85:56
A few mss., followed by Laemmer and Heinichen, read here Ναυῇ, but the best mss. followed by the majority of editors read ᾽Αυσῇ, which is a corruption of the name Oshea, which means “Salvation,” and which Joshua bore before his name was changed, by the addition of a syllable, to Jehoshua=Joshua=Jesus, meaning “Gods salvation” (Num. xiii. 16). Jerome (de vir. ill. c. I.) speaks of this corruption as existing in Greek and Latin mss. of the Scriptures, and as having no sense, and contends that Osee is the proper form, Osee meaning “Salvator.” The same corruption (Auses) occurs also in Tertullian, Adv. Marc. iii. 16, and Adv. Jud. 9 (where the English translator, as Crusè also does in the present passage, in both cases departs from the original, and renders Oshea, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Am. Ed. III. p. 334, 335, and 163), and in Lactantius, Institutes, iv. 17.86:57
Lam. iv. 20.86:58
Ps. 2:1, 2.86:59
Ps. 2:7, 8.86:60
Isa. lxi. 1. Eusebius as usual follows the LXX., which in this case differs somewhat from the Hebrew, and hence the translation differs from the English version. The LXX., however, contains an extra clause which Eusebius omits. See Heinichens edition, Vol. I. p. 21, note 49.86:61
Ps. 45:6, 7.86:62
Ps. cx. 1.86:63
Ps. cx. 4.86:64
See Gen. 14:18, Heb. 5:6, 10, Heb. 6:20, Heb. 8:0.87:65
Eusebius, in this chapter and in the Dem. Evang. IV. 15, is the first of the Fathers to mention the three offices of Christ.
Next: Chapter IV
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