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

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, The Five Books Against Marcion, Book III
by Tertullian, translated by Peter Holmes
155298Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Anti-Marcion, The Five Books Against Marcion, Book III — XXIPeter HolmesTertullian

Chapter XXI.—The Call of the Gentiles Under the Influence of the Gospel Foretold.

So you cannot get out of this notion of yours a basis for your difference between the two Christs, as if the Jewish Christ were ordained by the Creator for the restoration of the people alone[1] from its dispersion, whilst yours was appointed by the supremely good God for the liberation of the whole human race.  Because, after all, the earliest Christians are found on the side of the Creator, not of Marcion,[2] all nations being called to His kingdom, from the fact that God set up that kingdom from the tree (of the cross), when no Cerdon was yet born, much less a Marcion. However, when you are refuted on the call of the nations, you betake yourself to proselytes. You ask, who among the nations can turn to the Creator, when those whom the prophet names are proselytes of individually different and private condition?[3] “Behold,” says Isaiah, “the proselytes shall come unto me through Thee,” showing that they were even proselytes who were to find their way to God through Christ.  But nations (Gentiles) also, like ourselves, had likewise their mention (by the prophet) as trusting in Christ.  “And in His name,” says he, “shall the Gentiles trust.” Besides, the proselytes whom you substitute for the nations in prophecy, are not in the habit of trusting in Christ’s name, but in the dispensation of Moses, from whom comes their instruction. But it was in the last days that the choice[4] of the nations had its commencement.[5] In these very words Isaiah says: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord,” that is, God’s eminence, “and the house of God,” that is, Christ, the Catholic temple of God, in which God is worshipped, “shall be established upon the mountains,” over all the eminences of virtues and powers; “and all nations shall come unto it; and many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His way, and we will walk in it: for out of Sion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”[6] The gospel will be this “way,” of the new law and the new word in Christ, no longer in Moses.  “And He shall judge among the nations,” even concerning their error. “And these shall rebuke a large nation,” that of the Jews themselves and their proselytes.  “And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears[7] into pruning-hooks;” in other words, they shall change into pursuits of moderation and peace the dispositions of injurious minds, and hostile tongues, and all kinds of evil, and blasphemy.  “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,” shall not stir up discord. “Neither shall they learn war any more,”[8] that is, the provocation of hostilities; so that you here learn that Christ is promised not as powerful in war, but pursuing peace. Now you must deny either that these things were predicted, although they are plainly seen, or that they have been accomplished, although you read of them; else, if you cannot deny either one fact or the other, they must have been accomplished in Him of whom they were predicted. For look at the entire course of His call up to the present time from its beginning, how it is addressed to the nations (Gentiles) who are in these last days approaching to God the Creator, and not to proselytes, whose election[9] was rather an event of the earliest days.  Verily the apostles have annulled[10] that belief of yours.


  1. i.e., the Jews.
  2. Or perhaps, “are found to belong to the Creator’s Christ, not to Marcion’s.”
  3. Marcion denied that there was any prophecy of national or Gentile conversion; it was only the conversion of individual proselytes that he held.
  4. Allectio.
  5. Exorta est.
  6. Isa. ii. 2, 3.
  7. Sibynas, Σιβύνη· ὅπλον δόρατι παραπλήσιον. Hesychius, “Sibynam appellant Illyrii telum venabuli simile.” Paulus, ex Festo, p. 336, Müll. (Oehler.)
  8. Isa. ii. 4.
  9. Allectio.
  10. Junius explains the author’s induxerunt by deleverunt; i.e., “they annulled your opinion about proselytes being the sole called, by their promulgation of the gospel.”