Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Apologetic/An Answer to the Jews/Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Far
Chapter XI.—Further Proofs, from Ezekiel. Summary of the Prophetic Argument Thus Far.
For, again, it is for these deserts of yours that Ezekiel announces your ruin as about to come: and not only in this age—a ruin which has already befallen—but in the “day of retribution,” which will be subsequent. From which ruin none will be freed but he who shall have been frontally sealed with the passion of the Christ whom you have rejected. For thus it is written: “And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, thou hast seen what the elders of Israel do, each one of them in darkness, each in a hidden bed-chamber: because they have said, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath derelinquished the earth. And He said unto me, Turn thee again, and thou shalt see greater enormities which these do. And He introduced me unto the thresholds of the gate of the house of the Lord which looketh unto the north; and, behold, there, women sitting and bewailing Thammuz. And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen? Is the house of Judah moderate, to do the enormities which they have done? And yet thou art about to see greater affections of theirs. And He introduced me into the inner shrine of the house of the Lord; and, behold, on the thresholds of the house of the Lord, between the midst of the porch and between the midst of the altar, as it were twenty and five men have turned their backs unto the temple of the Lord, and their faces over against the east; these were adoring the sun. And He said unto me, Seest thou, son of man? Are such deeds trifles to the house of Judah, that they should do the enormities which these have done? because they have filled up (the measure of) their impieties, and, behold, are themselves, as it were, grimacing; I will deal with mine indignation, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I pity; they shall cry out unto mine ears with a loud voice, and I will not hear them, nay, I will not pity. And He cried into mine ears with a loud voice, saying, The vengeance of this city is at hand; and each one had vessels of extermination in his hand. And, behold, six men were coming toward the way of the high gate which was looking toward the north, and each one’s double-axe of dispersion was in his hand: and one man in the midst of them, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and a girdle of sapphire about his loins: and they entered, and took their stand close to the brazen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel, which was over the house, in the open court of it, ascended from the cherubim: and the Lord called the man who was clothed with the garment reaching to the feet, who had upon his loins the girdle; and said unto him, Pass through the midst of Jerusalem, and write the sign Tau on the foreheads of the men who groan and grieve over all the enormities which are done in their midst. And while these things were doing, He said unto an hearer, Go ye after him into the city, and cut short; and spare not with your eyes, and pity not elder or youth or virgin; and little ones and women slay ye all, that they may be thoroughly wiped away; but all upon whom is the sign Tau approach ye not; and begin with my saints.” Now the mystery of this “sign” was in various ways predicted; (a “sign”) in which the foundation of life was forelaid for mankind; (a “sign”) in which the Jews were not to believe: just as Moses beforetime kept on announcing in Exodus, saying, “Ye shall be ejected from the land into which ye shall enter; and in those nations ye shall not be able to rest: and there shall be instability of the print of thy foot: and God shall give thee a wearying heart, and a pining soul, and failing eyes, that they see not: and thy life shall hang on the tree before thine eyes; and thou shalt not trust thy life.”
And so, since prophecy has been fulfilled through His advent—that is, through the nativity, which we have above commemorated, and the passion, which we have evidently explained—that is the reason withal why Daniel said, “Vision and prophet were sealed;” because Christ is the “signet” of all prophets, fulfilling all that had in days bygone been announced concerning Him: for, since His advent and personal passion, there is no longer “vision” or “prophet;” whence most emphatically he says that His advent “seals vision and prophecy.” And thus, by showing “the number of the years, and the time of the lxii and an half fulfilled hebdomads,” we have proved that at that specified time Christ came, that is, was born; and, (by showing the time) of the “seven and an half hebdomads,” which are subdivided so as to be cut off from the former hebdomads, within which times we have shown Christ to have suffered, and by the consequent conclusion of the “lxx hebdomads,” and the extermination of the city, (we have proved) that “sacrifice and unction” thenceforth cease.
Sufficient it is thus far, on these points, to have meantime traced the course of the ordained path of Christ, by which He is proved to be such as He used to be announced, even on the ground of that agreement of Scriptures, which has enabled us to speak out, in opposition to the Jews, on the ground of the prejudgment of the major part. For let them not question or deny the writings we produce; that the fact also that things which were foretold as destined to happen after Christ are being recognised as fulfilled may make it impossible for them to deny (these writings) to be on a par with divine Scriptures. Else, unless He were come after whom the things which were wont to be announced had to be accomplished, would such as have been completed be proved?
- Comp. Isa. lxi. 2.
- Or possibly, simply, “sealed”—obsignatus.
- Inter mediam elam et inter medium altaris: i.e., probably ="between the porch and the altar,” as the Eng. ver. has.
- So Oehler points, and Tischendorf in his edition of the LXX. points not very differently. I incline to read: “Because they have filled up the measure of their impieties, and, behold (are) themselves, as it were, grimacing, I will,” etc.
- Comp. Rev. i. 13.
- “Quæ fuit super eam” (i.e. super domum) “in subdivali domûs” is Oehler’s reading; but it differs from the LXX.
- The ms. which Oehler usually follows omits “Tau;” so do the LXX.
- Et in his dixit ad audientem. But the LXX. reading agrees almost verbatim with the Eng. ver.
- Ezek. viii. 12–ix. 6 (especially in the LXX.). Comp. adv. Marc. l. iii. c. xxii. But our author differs considerably even from the LXX.
- Or rather in Deuteronomy. See xxviii. 65 sqq.
- Or, “sole.”
- In ligno. There are no such words in the LXX. If the words be retained, “thy life” will mean Christ, who is called “our Life” in Col. iii. 4. See also John i. 4; xiv. 6; xi. 25. And so, again, “Thou shalt not trust (or believe) thy life” would mean, “Thou shalt not believe Christ.”
- Or, “in accordance with.”
- i.e., Would they have happened? and, by happening, have been their own proof?