Wednesday, July 23, 2014

False Teachers Expound Themselves, Not Jesus

Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: Hear the word of the Lord!  (Ezek 13:2)

Just as he who was ordered to say these things had need of the Holy Spirit, so also there is need of the same Spirit for one who wishes to explain their hidden significance, in order to show that the prophecy before us is directed against the one who teaches what is contrary to the will of God, against those “who prophecy from their own heart.”  Indeed, according to the simple understanding, some of the prophets, since they spoke from the divine Spirit, did not speak “from their own heart,” but from the mind of God; while others, inasmuch as they pretended to be prophets, and said, “Thus says the Lord,” when the Lord was not speaking in them, were false prophets.

The passage before us, however, can also [be seen as] properly regarding those who teach in the churches, if they teach otherwise than the truth demands.  For if any [teacher] speaks what the Lord Jesus Christ spoke and understood, and does this on the same subject in which he himself who taught [it originally—i.e., Jesus—did so], then he speaks the words of Jesus.  If he agrees with the wishes of that Holy Spirit who spoke in the Apostles, he does not speak from his own heart, but from the heart of the Holy Spirit, who spoke in Paul, who spoke in Peter, who also spoke in the other Apostles.  But if any [teacher], while reading the Gospel, imposes his own opinion on the Gospel, not understanding it in the way the Lord spoke, that one is a false prophet, speaking from his own heart in the midst of the Gospel.  And it is not at all ridiculous to interpret these words in reference to the heretics: for they give discourses on the fables about their Aeons, as through from the Gospels and the Apostles, expounding their own heart, not the heart of the Holy Spirit.  For indeed they are not able to say, “but we have the mind of Christ,”* “such that we see the gifts that have been bestowed on us by God.”†

Origen of Alexandria: Exegetical Works on Ezekiel 2.2.2-3

* 1 Corinthians 2:16
† 1 Corinthians 2:12

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