Friday, October 10, 2014

How the Mighty Fall!

And a word of the Lord came to me: And you, son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, “This is what the Lord says:

Because your heart was exalted,
    and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I have inhabited a habitation of a god,
    in the heart of the sea,’
yet you are human, and not a god,
    and you rendered your heart as a god
’s heart.”  (Ezek 28:1-2 LXX)

The high priest had twelve stones adorning him on his shoulders* so as to serve as high priest for God.  The virtuous person builds on the unshaken foundation with these stones, which the fire does not have the power to burn up; and he builds with them upon his own shoulders, that is. upon his own labors.  And the one who possesses these holds the precious stone of showing and of truth between them on his chest.  And the twelve stones are on the one hand figures of the children of Israel, in which stones you will perceive the spiritual trees of Paradise, and the tree of life—the one who acquires this will have his head marked with the words “holiness of the Lord.”  From holy stones of this sort the gates of Jerusalem were composed†—and indeed, all of Jerusalem.  The “ruler of Tyre” had once clothed himself with all these stones, not by his own labors but by grace, as in the account of Jerusalem, and like the priest of God.  But he has fallen from all these, since he said in his heart, “I am God; I have inhabited God's habitation in the heart of the sea.”

Origen of Alexandria, “Fragments”, 28

*  Origen conflates the shoulder pieces (Exodus 28:9-12) and breast plate (Exodus 28:15-21).
†  Cf. Revelation 21:19-21.

1 comment:

Brad Krantz said...

Thanks, Steve.