Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of John. (Cont.)
Tenth Book. (Cont.)
20.The Temple Which Christ Says He Will Raise up Is the Church. How the Dry Bones Will Be Made to Live Again.
“The Jews then answered and said unto Him, What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things? (Joh_2:18, Joh_2:19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Those of the body, and those who incline to material things, seem to me to be meant by the Jews, who, after Jesus has driven out those who make God’s house a house of merchandise, are angry at Him for treating these matters in such a way, and demand a sign, a sign which will show that the Word, whom they do not receive, has a right to do such things. The Saviour joins on to His statement about the temple a statement which is really one with the former, about His own body, and to the question, What sign doest Thou, seeing that Thou doest such things? answers, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He could have exhibited a thousand other signs, but to the question, “Seeing that Thou doest such things,” He could not answer anything else; He fittingly gave the answer about the sign connected with the temple, and not about signs unconnected with the temple. Now, both of these two things, the temple and the body of Jesus, appear to me, in one interpretation at least, to be types of the Church, and to signify that it is built of living stones, (1Pe_2:5) a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, built (Eph_2:20) on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the head corner-stone; and it is, therefore, called a temple. Now, from the text, (1Co_12:27) “Ye are the body of Christ, and members each in his part,” we see that even though the harmonious fitting of the stones of the temple appear to be dissolved and scattered, as it is written in the twenty-second Psalm (Psa_22:14) that all the bones of Christ are, by the plots made against it in persecutions and afflictions, on the part of those who war against the unity of the temple in persecutions, yet the temple will be raised again, and the body will rise again on the third day after the day of evil which threatens it, (2Pe_3:3, 2Pe_3:10, 2Pe_3:13) and the day of consummation which follows. For the third day will rise on the new heaven and the new earth, when these bones, the whole house of Israel, (Eze_37:11) will rise in the great Lord’s day, death having been overcome. And thus the resurrection of 401 the Saviour from the passion of the cross contains the mystery of the resurrection of the whole body of Christ. But as that material body of Jesus was sacrificed for Christ, and was buried, and was afterwards raised, so the whole body of Christ’s saints is crucified along with Him, and now lives no longer; for each of them, like Paul, glories (Gal_6:14) in nothing but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which He is crucified to the world, and the world to Him. Not only, therefore, is it crucified with Christ, and crucified to the world; it is also buried with Christ, for we were buried with Christ, Paul says. (Rom_6:4) And then he says, as if enjoying some earnest of the resurrection, “We rose with Him,”58 because He walks in a certain newness of life, though not yet risen in that blessed and perfect resurrection which is hoped for. Either, then, he is now crucified, and afterwards is buried, or he is now buried and taken down from the cross, and, being now buried, is to rise at some future time. But to most of us the mystery of the resurrection is a great one, and difficult of contemplation; it is spoken of in many other passages of Scripture, and is specially announced in the following passage of Ezekiel: (Eze_37:1-4) “And the hand of the Lord was upon me, and He led me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me in the midst of the plain, and it was full of human bones. And He led me round about them in a circle, and behold there were very many on the face of the plain, and behold they were very dry. And He said to me, Son of man, shall these bones live? And I said, Lord, Lord, Thou knowest. And He said to me, Prophesy to these bones, and thou shall say to them, Hear the word of the Lord, ye dry bones;” and a little further on, “And the Lord spake to me, saying, Son of man, these bones are the house of Israel. And they say, Our bones are become dry, our hope is lost, we have breathed our last.” For what bones are these which are addressed, “Hear ye the word of the Lord,” as if they heard the word of the Lord? They belong to the house of Israel, or to the body of Christ, of which the Lord says, (Psa_22:13) “All My bones are scattered,” although the bones of His body were not scattered, and not even one of them was broken. But when the resurrection itself takes place of the true and more perfect body of Christ, then those who are now the members of Christ, for they will then be dry bones, will be brought together, bone to bone, and fitting to fitting for none of those who are destitute of fitting ἁρμονία will come to the perfect man, to the measure (Eph_4:13) of the stature of the fulness of the body of Christ. And then the many members (1Co_12:12 sq) will be the one body, all of them, though many, becoming members of one body. But it belongs to God alone to make the distinction of foot and hand and eye and hearing and smelling, which in one sense fill up the head, but in another the feet and the rest of the members, and the weaker and humbler ones, the more and the less honourable. God will temper the body together, and then, rather than now, He will give to that which lacks the more abundant honour, that there may be, by no means, any schism in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another, and, if any member be well off, all the members may share in its good things, or if any member be glorified, all the members may rejoice with it.
21. That the Son Was Raised up by the Father. The Charge Brought Against Jesus at His Trial Was Based on the Incident Now Before Us.
What I have said is not alien to the passage now engaging us, dealing as it does with the temple and those cast out from it, of which the Saviour says, “The zeal of thy house shall devour Me;” and with the Jews who asked that a sign should be showed them, and the Saviour’s answer to them, in which He combines the discourse on the temple with that on His own body, and says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” For from this temple, which is the body of Christ, everything that is irrational and savours of merchandise must be driven away, that it may no longer be a house of merchandise. And this temple must be destroyed by those who plot against the Word of God, and after its destruction be raised again on that third day which we discussed above; when the disciples also will remember what He, the Word, said before the temple of God was destroyed, and will believe, not only their knowledge but their faith also being then made perfect, and that by the word which Jesus spoke. And every one who is of this nature, Jesus purifying him, (Joh_15:3) puts away things that are irrational and things that savour of selling, to be destroyed on account of the zeal of the 402 Logos that is in Him. But they are destroyed to be raised again by Jesus, not on the third day, if we attend to the exact words before us, but “in three days.” For the rising again of the temple takes place on the first day after it has been destroyed and on the second day, and its resurrection is accomplished in all the three days. Hence a resurrection both has been and is to be, if indeed we were buried with Christ, and rose with Him. And since the word, “We rose with Him,” does not cover the whole of the resurrection, “in Christ shall all be made alive, (1Co_15:22-24) but every one in his own order, Christ the first fruits, then they that are Christ’s at His coming, and then the end.” It belongs to the resurrection that one should be on the first day in the paradise of God, (Luk_23:43) and it belongs to the resurrection when Jesus appears and says, “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father,” (Joh_20:17) but the perfection of the resurrection was when He came to the Father. Now there are some who fall into confusion on this head of the Father and the Son, and we must devote a few words to them. They quote the text, (1Co_15:15) “Yea, and we are found false witnesses for God, because we testified against God that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up,” and other similar texts which show the raiser-up to be another person than He who was raised up; and the text, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up,” as if it resulted from these that the Son did not differ in number from the Father, but that both were one, not only in point of substance but in point of subject, and that the Father and the Son were said to be different in some of their aspects but not in their hypostases. Against such views we must in the first place adduce the leading texts which prove the Son to be another than the Father, and that the Son must of necessity be the son of a Father, and the Father, the father of a Son. Then we may very properly refer to Christ’s declaration that He cannot do anything but what He sees the Father doing and saying, (Joh_5:19) because whatever the Father does that the Son also does in like manner, and that He had raised the dead, i.e., the body, the Father granting Him this, who must be said to have been the principal agent in raising up Christ from the dead. But Heracleon says, “In three days,” instead of “On the third day,” not having examined the point and yet having noted the words “in three”, that the resurrection is brought about in three days. But he also calls the third the spiritual day, in which they consider the resurrection of the Church to be indicated. It follows from this that the first day is to be called the “earthly” day, and the second the psychical, the resurrection of the Church not having taken place on them. Now the statements of the false witnesses, recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew and Mark (Mat_26:61; Mar_14:58) towards the end of the Gospel, and the accusation they brought against our Lord Jesus Christ, appear to have reference to this utterance of His, “Destroy this temple, and I will build it up in three days.” For He was speaking of the temple of His body, but they supposed His words to refer to the temple of stone, and so they said when accusing Him, “This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it up in three days,” or, as Mark has it, “We heard Him say, that I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build up another temple not made with hands.” Here the high-priest stood up and said to Him, “Answerest Thou nothing? What do these witness against Thee? But Jesus held His peace.” Or, as Mark says, “And the high-priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus saying, Answerest Thou nothing? What do these witness against Thee? But He held His peace and answered nothing.” These words must, I think, necessarily have reference to the text now before us.
22. The Temple of Solomon Did Not Take Forty-Six Years to Build. With Regard to That of Ezra We Cannot Tell How Long It Took. Significance of the Number Forty-Six.
The Jews therefore said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, (Joh_2:20) and wilt thou raise it up in three days?” How the Jews said that the temple had been forty-six years building, we cannot tell, if we adhere to the history. For it is written in the third Book of Kings, (1Ki_5:18) that they prepared the stones and the wood three years, and in the fourth year, in the second month, (1Ki_6:1) when Solomon was king over Israel, the king commanded, and they brought great precious stones for the foundation of the house, and unhewn stones. And the sons of Solomon and the sons of Hiram hewed the stones and laid them in the fourth year, and they founded the house of the Lord in the month Nisan and the second month: in the tenth 403 year in the month Baal, which was the eighth month, the house was finished according to the whole count and the whole plan of it. Thus comparing the time of its completion with the period of building, the building of it occupies less than eleven years. How, then, do the Jews come to say that the temple was forty-six years in building? One might, indeed, do violence to the words and make out the period of forty-six years at all costs, by counting from the time when David, after planning about the building of the temple, said to Nathan the prophet, (2Sa_7:2) “Behold I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God dwelleth in the midst of the tent,” for though it is true that he was prevented, as being a man of blood, (1Ch_22:8, 1Ch_27:3) from carrying out the building, he seems to have busied himself in collecting materials for it. In the first Book of Chronicles, (1Ch_29:1-5) certainly, David the king says to all the congregation, “Solomon my son, whom the Lord hath chosen, is young and tender, and the work is great, because he is not to build for man but for the Lord God. According to my whole power I have prepared for the house of my God, gold, silver, brass, and iron, wood, stones of Soom, and stones for filling up, and precious stones of many kinds, and all sorts of precious wood, and a large quantity of Pariah marble. And besides this, for the pleasure I have taken in the house of my God, the gold and the silver I possess, lo, I have given it for the house of my Lord, to the full; from such supplies59 I prepared for the house of the saints, three thousand talents of gold from Suphir, and seven thousand talents of stamped silver, that the houses of God may be overlaid with them by the hands of artifiers.” For David reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem; (1Ki_2:11) so that if it could be shown that the beginning of the preparations for the temple and of David’s collecting the necessary material, was in the fifth year of his reign, then, with some forcing, the statement about forty-six years might stand. But some one else will say that the temple spoken of was not that built by Solomon, for that it was destroyed at the period of the captivity, but the temple built at the time of Ezra, (Ezr_6:1) with regard to which the forty-six years can be shown to be quite accurate. But in this Maccabean period things were very unsettled with regard to the people and the temple, and I do not know if the temple was really built in that number of years. Heracleon pays no attention to the history, but says that in that he was forty-six years preparing the temple, Solomon was an image of the Saviour. The number six he connects with matter, that is, the image, and the number forty, which he says is the tetrad, not admitting of combination, he connects with the inspiration and the seed in the inspiration. Consider if the forty cannot be taken as due to the four elements of the world arranged in the building of the temple at the points at issue,60 and the six to the fact that man was created on the sixth day.
23. The Temple Spoken of by Christ Is the Church. Application to the Church of the Statements Regarding the Building of Solomon’s Temple, and the Numbers Stated in That Narrative.
“But He spake of the temple of His body. (Joh_2:21) When, therefore, He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” This refers to the statement that the body of the Son is His temple. It may be asked whether this is to be taken in its plain sense, or whether we should try to connect each statement that is recorded about the temple, with the view we take about the body of Jesus, whether the body which He received from the Virgin, or that body of Christ which the Church is said to be, as we are said by the Apostle (1Co_12:27) to be all members of His body. One may, on the one hand, suppose it to be hopeless to get everything that is said about the temple properly connected with the body, in whatever sense the body be taken, and one may have recourse to a simpler explanation, and say that the body in either of these senses is called the temple, because as the temple had the glory of God dwelling in it, so He who was the image and glory of God, the first-born of every creature, could rightly be called, in respect of His body or the Church, the temple containing the image. We, for our part, see it to be a hard task to expound every particular of what is said about the temple in the third Book of Kings, and far beyond our powers of language, and we defer it in the meantime, as a thing beyond the scale of the present work. We also 404 have a strong conviction that in such matters, which transcend human nature, it must be the work of divine wisdom to make plain the meaning of inspired Scripture, of that wisdom which is hidden in a mystery, which none of the rulers of this world knew. We are well aware, too, that we need the assistance of that excellent Spirit of wisdom, in order to understand such matters, as they should be understood by ministers of sacred things; and in this connection we will attempt to describe, as shortly as we may, our view of what belongs to this subject. The body is the Church, and we learn from Peter (1Pe_2:5) that it is a house of God, built of living stones, a spiritual house for a holy priesthood. Thus the son of David, who builds this house, is a type of Christ. He builds it when his wars are at an end, (1Ki_5:3-5) and a period of profound peace has arrived; he builds the temple for the glory of God in the Jerusalem on earth, so that worship may no longer be celebrated in a moveable erection like the tabernacle. Let us seek to find in the Church the truth of each statement made about the temple. If all Christ’s enemies are made the footstool of His feet, (1Co_15:25) and Death, the last enemy, is destroyed, then there will be the most perfect peace. Christ will be Solomon, which means “Peaceful,” (1Ch_22:9) and the prophecy will find its fulfilment in Him, which says, (Psa_120:7) “With those who hated peace I was peaceful.” And then each of the living stones will be, according to the work of his life here, a stone of that temple, one, at the foundation, an apostle or a prophet, bearing those placed upon him, and another, after those in the foundation, and supported by the Apostles, will himself, with the Apostles, help to bear those in more need. One will be a stone of the inmost parts, where the ark is, and the cherubim, slid the mercy-seat; another will be on the outer wall, and another even outside the outer wall of the levites and priests, a stone of the altar of whole burnt offerings. And the management and service of these things will be entrusted to holy powers, angels of God, being, respectively, lordships, thrones, dominions, or powers; and there will be others subject to these, typified by three thousand six hundred (1Ki_5:15-18) chief officers, who were appointed over the works of Solomon, and the seventy thousand of those who bore burdens, and the eighty thousand stone-cutters in the mountain, who wrought in the work, and prepared the stones and the wood. It is to be remarked that those reported as bearing burdens are related to the Hebdomad. The quarrymen and stone-cutters, who make the stones fitted for the temple, have some kinship to the ogdoad. And the officers, who are six hundred in number, are connected with the perfect number six multiplied into itself. The preparation of the stones, as they are taken out and fitted for the building, extends over three years; this appears to me to point solely to the time of the eternal interval which is akin to the triad. This will come to pass when peace is consummated after the number of years of the transaction of the matters connected with the exodus from Egypt, namely, three hundred and forty, and of what took place in Egypt four hundred and thirty years after the covenant made by God with Abraham. Thus, from Abraham to the beginning of the building of the temple, there are two sabbatic numbers, the 700 and the 70; and at that time, too, our King Christ will command the seventy thousand burden-bearers not to take any chance stones for the foundation of the temple, but great stones, precious, unhewn, that they may be hewn, not by any chance workmen, but by the sons of Solomon; for so we find it written in the third Book of Kings. Then, too, on account of the profound peace, Hiram, king of Tyre, cooperates in the building of the temple, and gives his own sons to the sons of Solomon, to hew, in company with them, the great and precious stones for the holy place, which, in the fourth year, are placed in the foundation of the house of the Lord. But in an ogdoad of years the house is finished in the eighth month of the eighth year after its foundation.
24. The Account of the Building of Solomon’s Temple Contains Serious Difficulties and Is to Be Interpreted Spiritually.
For the sake of those, however, who consider that nothing further than the narrative itself is meant to be indicated in these words, it may not be unfitting to introduce at this point some considerations which they can scarcely withstand, to show that the words ought to be regarded as those of the Spirit, and that the mind of the Spirit should be sought for in them. Did the sons of the kings really spend their time in hewing the great and precious stones, and practise a craft so little in keeping with royal birth And the number of the burden-bearers and of the stone-cutters and of the officers, the duration, too, of the period of preparing the stones and marking them, is all this recorded 405 as it really was? The holy house, too, was got ready in peace and was to be built for God without hammer or axe or any iron tool, that there might be no disturbance in the house of God. And again I would ask those who are in bondage to the letter how it is possible that there should be eighty thousand stone-cutters and that the house of God should be built out of hard white stones without the noise of hammer or axe or any iron tool being heard in His house while the building was going on? Is it not living stones that are hewn without any noise or tumult somewhere outside the temple, so that they are brought ready prepared to the place which awaits them in the building? And there is some sort of an ascent about the temple of God, not with angles, but with bends of straight lines. For it is written, (1Ki_6:8) “And there was a winding staircase to the middle, and from the middle to the third floor;” for the staircase in the house of God had to be spiral, thus imitating in its ascent the circle, which is the most perfect figure. But that this house might be secure five ties are built in it. (1Ki_6:10) as fair as possible, a cubit high, that on looking up one might see it to be suggested how we rise from sensible things to the so-called divine perceptions, and so be brought to perceive those things which are seen only by the mind. But the place of the happier stones appears to be that called Dabir, (1Ki_6:16, 1Ki_6:19), the “oracle” where the ark of the covenant of the Lord was, and, as I may say, the handwriting of God, the tables written with His own finger. And the whole house is overlaid with gold; “the whole house,” we read, (1Ki_6:21) “he overlaid with gold until all the house was finished.” But there were two cherubim in Dabir, a word which the translators of the Hebrew Bible into Greek failed to render satisfactorily. Some, failing to do justice to the language, render it the temple; but it is more sacred than the temple. Now everything about the house was made golden, for a sign that the mind which is quite made perfect estimates accurately the things perceived by the intellect. But it is not given to all to approach and know them; and hence the veil of the court is erected, since to most of the priests and levites the things in the inmost part of the temple are not revealed.
25. Further Spiritualizing of Solomon’s Temple-Building.
It is worth while to enquire how, on the one hand, Solomon the king is said to have built the temple, and on the other the master-builder whom Solomon sent and fetched, (1Ki_7:13) “Hiram of Tyre, the son of a woman who was a widow; and he was of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass, and filled with wisdom and understanding, to work all works in brass; and he was brought in to King Solomon and wrought all his works.” Here I ask whether Solomon can be taken for the first-born of all creation, (Col_1:15) and Hiram for the man whom he assumed, from the constraint of men - for the word Tyrians means “constrainers” - the man who derived his birth from nature, and being filled with all manner of art and wisdom and understanding, was brought in to cooperate with the first-born of all creation, and to build the temple. In this temple there are also windows, (1Ki_6:4) placed obliquely and out of sight, so that the illumination of the divine light may enter for salvation, and - why should I go into particulars? - that the body of Christ, the Church, may be found having the plan of the spiritual house and temple of God. As I said before, we require that wisdom which is hidden in a mystery, and which he alone can apprehend who is able to say, “But we have the mind of Christ,” - we require that wisdom to interpret spiritually each detail of what is said in accordance with the will of Him who caused it to be written. To enter into these details is not in accordance with our present subject. What has been said may suffice to let us understand how “He spake about the temple of His body.”
26.The Promises Addressed to Jerusalem in the Prophets Refer to the Church, and Are Still to Be Fulfilled.
After all this it is proper to ask whether what is narrated as having taken place about the temple has ever taken place or ever will take place about the spiritual house. The argument may seem to pinch in whichever way we take it. If we say that it is possible that something like what is told about the temple may take place with regard to the spiritual house, or has already taken place in it, then those who hear us will, with difficulty, be brought to admit that a change can take place in such good things as these, firstly, because they do not wish it, and secondly, because of the incongruity of thinking that such things admit of change. If, on the other hand, We seek to maintain the unchangeableness of the good things once 406 given to the saints, then we cannot apply to them what we find in the history, and we shall seem to be doing what those of the heresies do, who fail to maintain the unity of the narrative of Scripture from beginning to end. If we are not to take the view proper to old wives or Jews, of the promises recorded in the prophets, and especially in Isaiah, if, that is to say, we are to look for their fulfilment in connection with the Jerusalem on earth, then, as certain remarkable things connected with the building of the temple and the restoration of the people from the captivity are spoken of as happening after the captivity and the destruction of the temple, we must say that we are now the temple and the people which was carried captive, but is to come up again to Judaea and Jerusalem, and to be built with the precious stones of Jerusalem. But I cannot tell if it be possible that, at the revolution of long periods of time, things of the same nature should take place again, but in a worse way. The prophecies of Isaiah which we mentioned are the following: (Isa_54:11-14) “Behold I prepare for thy stone carbuncle and for thy foundation sapphire; and I will make thy battlements jasper, and thy gates stones of crystal, and thy outer wall choice stones; and all thy sons shall be taught of the Lord, and in great peace shall thy children be, and in righteousness shall thou be built.” And a little further on, to the same Jerusalem: (Isa_9:13-20) “And the glory of Lebanon shall come to thee with cypress, and pine, and cedar, along with those who will glorify My holy place. And the sons of them that humbled thee and insulted thee shall come to thee in fear; and thou shalt be called the city of the Lord, Sion of holy Israel, because thou weft desolate and hated, and there was none to help thee. And I will make thee an eternal delight, a joy of generations of generations. And thou shall suck the milk of the Gentiles and shall eat the riches of kings, and thou shall know that I am the Lord that saveth thee and the God of Israel that chooseth thee. And instead of brass I will bring thee gold, and instead of iron I will bring thee silver, and for wood I will bring thee brass, and for stones iron. And I will establish thy rulers in peace and thy overseers in righteousness. And wickedness shall no more be heard in thy land, nor affliction and distress in thy borders, but thy walls shall be called salvation and thy gates sculpture. And the sun shall no longer be to thee for light by day, nor shall the rising of the moon give light to thee by night, but Christ shall be to thee an everlasting light and thy God thy glory. For thy sun shall no more go down, and thy moon shall not fail, for thy Lord shall be to thee an everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be fulfilled.” These prophecies clearly refer to the age still to come, and they are addressed to the children of Israel in their captivity, to whom He was sent and came, who said, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mat_15:24) Such things, though they are captives, they are to receive in their Own land; and proselytes also are to come to them at that time through Christ, and are to fly to them, according to the saying, (Isa_54:15) “Behold, proselytes shall come to thee through Me, and shall flee to thee for refuge.” And if all this is to take place with the captives, then it is plain that they must be about their temple, and that they must go up there again to be built up, having become the most precious of stones. For we find with John in his Apocalyse, (Rev_3:12) the promise made to him that overcomes, that he will be a pillar in the temple of God, and will go no more out. All this I have said with a view to our obtaining a cursory view at least of the matters pertaining to the temple, and the house of God, and the Church and Jerusalem, which we cannot now take up systematically. Those, however, who, in their reading of the prophets, do not shrink from the labour of seeking after their spiritual meaning, must enquire into these matters with the greatest particularity, and must take account of every possibility. So her of “the temple of His body.”
27. Of the Belief the Disciples Afterwards Attained in the Words of Jesus.
“When He was raised from the dead. (Joh_2:22) His disciples remembered that He spake this, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” This tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead His disciples saw that what He had said about the temple had a higher application to His passion and His resurrection; they remembered that the words, “In three days I will raise it up,” pointed to the resurrection; “And they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” We are not told that they believed the Scripture or the word which Jesus said, before. For faith in its full sense is the act of him who accepts with his whole soul what is professed 407 at baptism. As for the higher sense, as we have already spoken of the resurrection from the dead of the whole body of the Lord, we have now to note that the disciples were put in mind by the fulfilment of the Scripture which when they were in life they had not fully understood; its meaning was now brought under their eyes and made quite clear to them, and they knew of what heavenly things it was the pattern and shadow. Then they believed the Scripture who formerly did not believe it, and believed the word of Jesus which, as the speaker means to convey, they had not believed before the resurrection. For how can any one be said in the full sense to believe the Scripture when he does not see in it the mind of the Holy Spirit, which God would have us to believe rather than the literal meaning? From this point of view we must say that none of those who walk according to the flesh believe the spiritual things of the law, of the very beginnings of which they have no conception. But, they say, those are more blessed who have not seen and yet believe, than those who have seen and have believed, and for this they quote the saying to Thomas at the end of the Gospel of John, (Joh_20:29) “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” But it is not said here that those who have not seen and yet have believed are more blessed than those who have seen and believed. According to their view those after the Apostles are more blessed than the Apostles; than which nothing can be more foolish. He who is to be blessed must see in his mind the things which he believes, and must be able with the Apostles to hear the words spoken to him, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear,” (Mat_13:16) and “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Yet he may be content who only receives the inferior beatitude, which says: (Joh_20:29) “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.” But how much more blessed are those eyes which Jesus calls blessed for the things which they have seen, than those which have not attained to such a vision; Simeon is content to take into his arms the salvation of God, and after seeing it, he says, (Luk_2:29, Luk_2:30) “Now, O Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” We must strive, therefore, as Solomon says, to open our eyes that we may be satisfied with bread; “Open thine eyes,” he says, “and be satisfied with bread.” What I have said on the text, “They believe the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said unto them,” may lead us to understand, after discussing the subject of faith, that the perfection of our faith will be given us at the great resurrection from the dead of the whole body of Jesus which is His Holy Church. For what is said about knowledge, “Now I know in part,” (1Co_13:12) that, I think, may be said in the same way of every other good; and one of these others is faith. “Now I believe in part,” we may say, “but when that which is perfect is come, then the faith which is in part will be done away.” As with knowledge, so with faith, that which is through sight is far better, if I may say so, than that which is through a glass and in an enigma.
28. The Difference Between Believing in the Name of Jesus and Believing in Jesus Himself.
“Now, when He was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He did. But He, Jesus, did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all men and because He needed not that any should testify of man, for he Himself knew what was in man.” (Joh_2:23-25) One might ask how Jesus did not Himself believe in those of whom we are told that they believed. To this we must say it was not those who believed in Him that Jesus did not trust, but those who believed in His name; for believing in His name is It different thing from believing in Him. He who will not be judged because of his faith is exempted from the judgment, not for believing in His name, but for believing in Him; for the Lord says, (Joh_3:18) “He that believeth in Me is not judged,” not, “He who believes in My name is not judged;” the latter believes, and hence he is not worthy to be condemned already, but he is inferior to the other who believes in Him. Hence it is that Jesus does not trust Himself to him who believes in His name. We must, therefore, cleave to Him rather than to His name, test after we have done wonders in His name, we should hear these words addressed to us which He will speak to those who boast of His name alone. (Mat_7:21-23) With the Apostle Paul (Phi_4:13) let us seek 408 joyfully to say, “I can do all things in Christ Jesus strengthening me.” We have also to notice that in a former passage (Joh_2:13) the Evangelist calls the passover that of the Jews, while here he does not say that Jesus was at the passover of the Jews, but at the passover at Jerusalem; and in the former case when the passover is called that of the Jews, it is not said to be a feast; but here Jesus is recorded to have been at the feast; when at Jerusalem He was at the passover during the feast, and many believed, even though only in His name. We ought to notice certainly that “many” are said to believe, not in Him, but in His name. Now, those who believe in Him are those who walk in the straight and narrow way, (Mat_7:14) which leads to life, and which is found by few. It may well be, however, that many of those who believe in His name will sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, the Father’s house, in which are many mansions. And it is to be noted that the many who believe in His name do not believe in the same way as Andrew does, and Peter, and Nathanael, and Philip. These believe the testimony of John when he says, “Behold the Lamb of God,” or they believe in Christ as found by Andrew, or Jesus saying to Philip, “Follow Me,” or Philip saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus the Son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Those, on the other hand, of whom we now speak, “believed in His name, beholding His signs which He did.” And as they believe the signs and not in Him but in His name, Jesus “did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, because He knew what is in every man.”
29. About What Beings Jesus Needed Testimony.
The words, “He needed not that any should testify of man,” may fitly be used to show that the Son of God is able of Himself to see the truth about each man and is in no need of such testimony as any other could supply. The words, however, “He had no need that any should testify of man,” are not equivalent to “He had no need of testimony about any being.” If we take the word “man” to include every being who is according to the image of God, or every reasonable creature, then He will have no need that any should testify to Him of any reasonable being whatever, since He Himself, by the power given Him by the Father, knows them all. But if the term “man” be restricted to mortal animated reasonable beings, then it might be said, on the one hand, that He had need of testimony respecting the beings above man, and while His knowledge was adequate with regard to man it did not extend to those other beings. On the other hand, however, it might be said that He who humbled Himself had no need that any should testify to Him concerning man, but that He had such need in respect of beings higher than men.
30. How Jesus Knew the Powers, Better or Worse, Which Reside in Man.
It may also be asked what signs those many saw Him do who believed on Him, for it is not recorded that He did any signs at Jerusalem, though some may have been done which are not recorded. One may, however, consider if what He did may be called signs, when He made a scourge of small cords, and cast them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables. As for those who suppose that it was only about men that He had no need of witnesses, it has to be said that the Evangelist attributes to Him two things, that He knew all beings, and that He had no need that any one should testify of man. If He knew all beings, then He knew not only men but the beings above men, all beings who are without such bodies as ours; and He knew what was in man, since He was greater than those who reproved and judged by prophesying, and who brought to the light the secret things of the hearts of those whom the Spirit suggested to them to be thus dealt with. The words, “He knew what was in man,” could also be taken as referring to the powers, better or worse, which work in men. For if any one gives place to the devil, Satan enters into him; thus did Judas give place, and thus did the devil put it in his heart to betray Jesus, and “after the sop,” therefore, “the devil entered into him.” (Joh_13:2-27) But if any one gives place to God, he becomes blessed; for blessed is the man whose help is from God, and the ascent is in his heart from God. (Psa_84:5) Thou knowest what is in man, Thou who knowest all things, O Son of God. And now that our tenth book has come to be large enough we will here pause in our theme.
58 These words do not occur in Rom_6:4.
59 LXX. reads :besides what;” neither reading yields a good sense.
60 Reading ὴγωνσμένοις. Another suggested reading is γωνιωμένοις, which might give the sense “at the corners.” Neither is satisfactory.