Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Five Books Against Marcion/Book III/XVI

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, The Five Books Against Marcion, Book III
by Tertullian, translated by Peter Holmes
155293Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, The Five Books Against Marcion, Book III — XVIPeter HolmesTertullian

Chapter XVI.—The Sacred Name Jesus Most Suited to the Christ of the Creator.  Joshua a Type of Him.

Now if he caught at the name Christ, just as the pickpocket clutches the dole-basket, why did he wish to be called Jesus too, by a name which was not so much looked for by the Jews? For although we, who have by God’s grace attained to the understanding of His mysteries, acknowledge that this name also was destined for Christ, yet, for all that, the fact was not known to the Jews, from whom wisdom was taken away. To this day, in short, it is Christ that they are looking for, not Jesus; and they interpret Elias to be Christ rather than Jesus. He, therefore, who came also in a name in which Christ was not expected, might have come only in that name which was solely anticipated for Him.[1] But since he has mixed up the two,[2] the expected one and the unexpected, his twofold project is defeated. For if he be Christ for the very purpose of insinuating himself as the Creator’s, then Jesus opposes him, because Jesus was not looked for in the Christ of the Creator; or if he be Jesus, in order that he might pass as belonging to the other (God), then Christ hinders him, because Christ was not expected to belong to any other than the Creator. I know not which one of these names may be able to hold its ground.[3] In the Christ of the Creator, however, both will keep their place, for in Him a Jesus too is found. Do you ask, how? Learn it then here, with the Jews also who are partakers of your heresy.  When Oshea the son of Nun was destined to be the successor of Moses, is not his old name then changed, and for the first time he is called[4] Joshua? It is true, you say. This, then, we first observe, was a figure of Him who was to come. For inasmuch as Jesus Christ was to introduce a new generation[5] (because we are born in the wilderness of this world) into the promised land which flows with milk and honey, that is, into the possession of eternal life, than which nothing can be sweeter; inasmuch, too, as this was to be brought about not by Moses, that is to say, not by the discipline of the law, but by Joshua, by the grace of the gospel, our circumcision being effected by a knife of stone, that is, (by the circumcision) of Christ, for Christ is a rock (or stone), therefore that great man,[6] who was ordained as a type of this mystery, was actually consecrated with the figure of the Lord’s own name, being called Joshua. This name Christ Himself even then testified to be His own, when He talked with Moses.  For who was it that talked with him, but the Spirit of the Creator, which is Christ? When He therefore spake this commandment to the people, “Behold, I send my angel before thy face, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the land which I have prepared for thee; attend to him, and obey his voice and do not provoke him; for he has not shunned you,[7] since my name is upon him,”[8] He called him an angel indeed, because of the greatness of the powers which he was to exercise, and because of his prophetic office,[9] while announcing the will of God; but Joshua also (Jesus), because it was a type[10] of His own future name. Often[11] did He confirm that name of His which He had thus conferred upon (His servant); because it was not the name of angel, nor Oshea, but Joshua (Jesus), which He had commanded him to bear as his usual appellation for the time to come. Since, therefore, both these names are suitable to the Christ of the Creator, they are proportionately unsuitable to the non-Creator’s Christ; and so indeed is all the rest of (our Christ’s) destined course.[12] In short, there must now for the future be made between us that certain and equitable rule, necessary to both sides, which shall determine that there ought to be absolutely nothing at all in common between the Christ of the other god and the Creator’s Christ. For you will have as great a necessity to maintain their diversity as we have to resist it, inasmuch as you will be as unable to show that the Christ of the other god has come, until you have proved him to be a far different being from the Creator’s Christ, as we, to claim Him (who has come) as the Creator’s, until we have shown Him to be such a one as the Creator has appointed. Now respecting their names, such is our conclusion against (Marcion).[13] I claim for myself Christ; I maintain for myself Jesus.


  1. That is, Christ.
  2. Surely it is Duo, not Deo.
  3. Constare.
  4. Incipit vocari.
  5. Secundum populum.
  6. Vir.
  7. Non celavit te, “not concealed Himself from you.”
  8. Ex. xxiii. 20, 21.
  9. Officium prophetæ.
  10. Sacramentum.
  11. Identidem.
  12. Reliquus ordo.
  13. Obduximus.