Wednesday, March 4, 2015

He Came in Humility to Suffer—to Reign

We affirm that, as there are two conditions demonstrated by the prophets to belong to Christ, so these foretold the same number of advents; one, and that the first, was to be in lowliness, when He had to be led as a sheep to be slain as a victim, and to be as a lamb dumb before the shearer, not opening His mouth, and not fair to look upon.  For, says (the prophet), we have announced concerning Him: “He is like a tender plant, like a root out of a thirsty ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; and we beheld Him, and He was without beauty: His form was disfigured;” “marred more than the sons of men; a man stricken with sorrows, and knowing how to bear our infirmity;” “placed by the Father as a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense;” “made by Him a little lower than the angels;” declaring Himself to be “a worm and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.”  Now these signs of degradation quite suit His first coming, just as the tokens of His majesty do His second advent, when He shall no longer remain “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,” but after His rejection become “the chief corner-stone,” accepted and elevated to the top place of the temple, even His church, being that very stone in Daniel, cut out of the mountain, which was to smite and crush the image of the secular kingdom.
Of this advent the same prophet says: “Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they brought Him before Him, and there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”  Then indeed He shall have both a glorious form, and an unsullied beauty above the sons of men.  “Thou art fairer,” says (the Psalmist), “than the children of men; grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.  Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.”  For the Father, after making Him a little lower than the angels, “will crown Him with glory and honor, and put all things under His feet.”  “Then shall they look on Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, tribe after tribe;” because, no doubt, they once refused to acknowledge Him in the lowliness of His human condition.  He is even a man, says Jeremiah, and who shall recognize Him.

Tertullian, Against Marcion 3.7

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