Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hippolytus and the "Faith of Jesus Christ"

In his tract on the Christ and the Antichrist, Hippolytus discourses about what is going to happen to Christians when the Antichrist comes.

In paragraph 61 it says:

And the words, "upon her head a crown of twelve stars," refer to the twelve apostles by whom the Church was founded. And those, "she, being with child, cries, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered," mean that the Church will not cease to bear from her heart the Word that is persecuted by the unbelieving in the world. "And she brought forth," he says, "a man-child, who is to rule all the nations;" by which is meant that the Church, always bringing forth Christ, the perfect man-child of God, who is declared to be God and man, becomes the instructor of all the nations. And the words, "her child was caught up unto God and to His throne," signify that he who is always born of her is a heavenly king, and not an earthly; even as David also declared of old when he said, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." "And the dragon," he says, "saw and persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church, which flees from city to city, and seeks concealment in the wilderness among the mountains, possessed of no other defence than the two wings of the great eagle, that is to say, the faith of Jesus Christ, [Iesou Christou pistis] who, in stretching forth His holy hands on the holy tree, unfolded two wings, the right and the left, and called to Him all who believed upon Him, and covered them as a hen her chickens. For by the mouth of Malachi also He speaks thus: "And unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings."

I came across this text quite accidentally a week or so ago and I think it is the clearest reference we have to a subjective genitive of "faith(fulness) of Christ" in relation to Jesus' death on the cross in patristic literature.

Is it just me or is this fascinating stuff? Anyways, myself and Michael Whiteton should have an article on this forthcoming very soon.


Michael said...

Well, I personally think it's pretty awesome stuff. But that's just me. : )

- Michael

Rod said...


Daniel and Brittny Owens said...

I love it when someone teaches me something I didn't know existed but really wished it did...


abcaneday said...

It is truly fascinating stuff! I love it.