Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho

Those who are familiar with this work will surely concur in that it is a wonder. I find so much richness in it, and even a nostalgic look at a still-messianic Judaism, that there are few words to introduce it. The setting is probably Ephesus, only shortly after the Bar-Kochba rebellion (132-135), which ended in the refounding of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina, and the banning of Jews from even looking upon the city except on one day of the year. The discussion is cordial enough, and originally was presented as taking place over two days, with probably a slightly different group of young men with Trypho on the second day being the pretext for the many repetitions in the work. Unfortunately, the break between the two days is lost in an apparently sizable lacuna in chapter 74. There are other indications throughout that we may also be lacking some further material (e.g., discussion of Jesus’ circumcision and law-keeping, 67.5-6).

The translation of the Dialogue presented here is originally that of Falls, with the addition of the section numbers. I’ve altered Falls’ translation to make it more modern, removing Thee and Thou and such, and making a certain number of other alterations through consulting the texts of both Archambault and Marcovich. Falls’ translation was already far more easy to read than the standard Ante-Nicene Fathers translation, and so I hope this presentation will be appreciated.

I have pecifically worked on this Dialogue as my Christmas present to the world for the year 2002. Let’s hope that the example of dialogue contained herein will be taken to heart by all those who need to speak with one another, rather than past one another.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Archambault, Georges. Justin: Dialogue avec Tryphon. Paris: Picard, 1909.

Falls, Thomas. Saint Justin Martyr. Fathers of the Church 6. New York: Christian Heritage, Inc., 1948

Marcovich, Miroslav. Justini Martyris Dialogus cum Tryphoni. New York: De Gruyter, 1997.

All Scriptural citations are according to LXX

 

Chapter 1

ONE MORNING as I was walking along a broad avenue, a man, accompanied by some friends, came up to me and said: “Good morning, Philosopher.” Whereupon, he and his friends walked along beside me. After returning his greeting, I asked: “What is the matter? Is there anything special you wish of me?”

[2] He answered: “Corinthus the Socratic taught me in Argos never to slight or ignore those who wear your garb, but to show them every consideration and to converse with them, since from such a conversation some good might be derived by them or myself. It would be to the advantage of both if either should benefit from this meeting. Accordingly, whenever I see anyone wearing such a robe, I gladly accost him. So, for this same reason, it has been a pleasure to greet you. These friends of mine share my hope of hearing something profitable from you.”

[3] “Who, indeed, are you, most excellent sir?” I asked with a smile.

He did not hesitate to tell me his name and background. “Trypho,” he said, “is my name. I am a Hebrew of the circumcision, a refugee from the recent war, and at present a resident of Greece, especially of Corinth.”

“How,” I asked, “can you gain as much from philosophy as from your own lawgiver and prophets?”

“Why not,” he replied, “for do not the philosophers speak always about God? Do they not constantly propose questions about his unity and providence? Is this not the task of philosophy, to inquire about the Divine?”

[4] “Yes, indeed,” I said, “we, too, are of the same opinion. But the majority of the philosophers have simply neglected to inquire whether there is one or even several gods, and whether or not a divine providence takes care of us, as if this knowledge were unnecessary to our happiness. Moreover, they try to convince us that God takes care of the universe with its genera and species, but not of me and you and of each individual, for otherwise there would be no need of our praying to Him night and day. [5] It is not difficult to see where such reasoning leads them. It imparts a certain immunity and freedom of speech to those who hold these opinions, permitting them to do and to say whatever they please, without any fear of punishment or hope of reward from God. How could it be otherwise, when they claim that things will always be as they are now, and that you and I will live in the next life just as we are now, neither better nor worse. But there are others who think that the soul is immortal and incorporeal, and therefore conclude that they will not be punished even if they are guilty of sin; for, if the soul is incorporeal, it cannot suffer; if it is immortal, it needs nothing further from God.”

[6] Then, smiling politely, he said, “Explain to us just what is your opinion of these matters, and what is your idea of God, and what is your philosophy.”

 

Chapter 2

“I will explain to you,” I replied, “my views on this subject. Philosophy is indeed one’s greatest possession, and is most precious in the sight of God, to whom it alone leads us and to whom it unites us, and they in truth are holy men who have applied themselves to philosophy. But, many have failed to discover the nature of philosophy, and the reason why it was sent down to men; otherwise, there would not be Platonists, or Stoics, or Peripatetics, or Theoretics, or Pythagoreans, since this science of philosophy is always one and the same. [2] Now, let me tell you why it has at length become so diversified. They who first turned to philosophy, and, as a result, were deemed illustrious men, were succeeded by men who gave no time to the investigation of truth, but, amazed at the courage and self-control of their teachers as well as with the novelty of their teachings, held that to be the truth which each had learned from his own teacher. And they in turn transmitted to their successors such opinions, and others like them, and so they became known by the name of him who was considered the father of the doctrine. [3] When I first desired to contact one of these philosophers, I placed myself under the tutelage of a certain Stoic. After spending some time with him and learning nothing new about God (for my instructor had no knowledge of God, nor did he consider such knowledge necessary), I left him and turned to a Peripatetic who considered himself an astute teacher. After a few days with him, he demanded that we settle the matter of my tuition fee in such a way that our association would not be unprofitable to him. Accordingly, I left him, because I did not consider him a real philosopher. [4] Since my spirit still yearned to hear the specific and excellent meaning of philosophy, I approached a very famous Pythagorean, who took great pride in his own wisdom. In my interview with him, when I expressed a desire to become his pupil, he asked me, ‘What? Do you know music, astronomy,. and geometry? How do you expect to comprehend any of those things that are conducive to happiness, if you are not first well acquainted with those studies which draw your mind away from objects of the senses and render it fit for the intellectual, in order that it may contemplate what is good and beautiful?’ [5] He continued to speak at great length in praise of those sciences, and of the necessity of knowing them, until I admitted that I knew nothing about them; then he dismissed me. As was to be expected, I was downcast to see my hopes shattered, especially since I respected him as a man of considerable knowledge. But, when I reflected on the length of time that I would have to spend on those sciences, I could not make up my mind to wait such a long time. [6] In this troubled state of mind the thought occurred to me to consult the Platonists, whose reputation was great. Thus it happened that I spent as much time as possible in the company of a wise man who was highly esteemed by the Platonists and who had but recently arrived in our city. Under him I forged ahead in philosophy and day by day I improved. The perception of incorporeal things quite overwhelmed me and the Platonic theory of ideas added wings to my mind, so that in a short time I imagined myself a wise man. So great was my folly that I fully expected immediately to gaze upon God, for this is the goal of Plato’s philosophy.”

 

Chapter 3

As I was in this frame of mind and desired absolute solitude devoid of human distractions, I used to take myself to a certain spot not far from the sea. One day, as I approached that place with the intention of being alone, a respectable old man, of meek and venerable mien, followed me at a short distance. I stopped, turned quickly, and stared sharply at him.

[2] “Do you know me?” he asked. I replied that I did not.

“Why, therefore,” he continued, “do you stare at me so?”, “Because,” I answered, “I am surprised to find you here. I didn’t expect to see anyone here.”

“I am worried,” he said, “about some missing members of my household, and I am therefore looking around with the hope that they may show up somewhere in the vicinity. But what brings you here?”

“I take great delight,” I answered, “in such walks, where I can converse with myself without hindrance because there is nothing to distract my attention. Places like this are most suitable for philology.”

[3] “Are you, then, a philologian,” he asked, “rather than a lover of deeds and of truth? Do you not strive to be a practical man rather than a sophist?”

“But what greater deed,” I replied, “could one perform than to prove that reason rules all, and that one who rules reason and is sustained by it can look down upon the errors and undertakings of others, and see that they do nothing reasonable or pleasing to God. Man cannot have prudence without philosophy and straight thinking. Thus, every man should be devoted to philosophy and should consider it the greatest and most noble pursuit; all other pursuits are only of second or third-rate value, unless they are connected with philosophy. Then they are of some value and should be approved; if they are devoid of philosophy and are not connected with it in any way, they then become base and coarse pursuits to those who practice them.”

[4] Interrupting, he asked, “Does philosophy therefore produce happiness?”

“Absolutely,” I replied, “and it alone.”

“Tell me,” he asked, “what is philosophy and what is the happiness it engenders, if there is nothing which prevents your speaking.”

“Philosophy,” I answered, “is the knowledge of that which exists, and a clear understanding of the truth; and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and understanding.”

[5] “But how do you define God?” he asked.

“God is the Being who always has the same nature in the same manner, and is the cause of existence to all else,” I replied.

Pleased with my words, he once again asked, “Is not knowledge a word applied commonly to different matters? For, whoever is skilled in any of the arts, for example, in the art of military strategy or of navigation or of medicine, is called skillful. But this is not true in divine and human matters. Is there a science which furnishes us with an understanding of human and divine things, and, besides, a higher science of the divinity and virtue in them?”

“Certainly,” I replied.

[6] “Well, now,” he asked, “is the knowledge of man and God similar to that of music, arithmetic, astronomy, and the like?”

“Not at all,” I answered.

“Your answer has not been correct, then,” he continued, “for we acquire the knowledge of some things by study or practice, and of other things by sight. Now, if anyone were to say to you that in India there exists an animal different from all others, of such and such a species, assuming many shapes and colors, you would have no definite knowledge of it unless you saw it, nor could you attempt to give any description of it, unless you had heard of it from one who had seen it.”

[7] “Absolutely not,” I agreed.

“Then, how,” he reasoned, “can the philosophers speculate correctly or speak truly of God, when they have no knowledge of Him, since they have never seen nor heard Him?”

“But the Deity, father,” I rejoined, “cannot be seen by the same eyes as other living beings are. He is to be perceived by the mind alone, as Plato affirms, and I agree with him.”

 

Chapter 4

“Does our mind, then,” he inquired, “possess such and so great a power? Or does it not perceive that which exists through the senses? Or will the human mind be capable of seeing God, if not aided by the Holy Ghost?”

“Plato truly states,” I retorted, “that the eye of the mind has this special power, which has been given to us in order that we may see with it, when it is pure, the very Being who is the cause of everything the mind perceives, who has neither color, nor form, nor size, nor anything the eye can see, but who is beyond all essence, who is ineffable and indescribable, who alone is beautiful and good, and who comes at once into those souls which are well disposed because of their affinity to and desire of seeing Him”

[2] “What affinity, then,” he asked, “have we with God? Is the soul also divine and immortal and a part of the Supreme Mind itself? And as this Supreme Mind sees God, are we in like manner, able to perceive the Deity in our mind, and thus be happy even now?”

“Absolutely,” I replied.

“Do all the souls,” he asked, “of all the animals perceive Him? Or is man’s soul different from that of a horse or an ass?”

“No,” I answered, “the souls of all creatures are the same.”

[3] “Then,” he continued, “will horses and asses see God, or have they ever seen God at any time?”

“No,” I replied, “for not even most men see Him; only those who are honest in their life, and who have been purified through their justice and every other virtue.”

“Then you would say,” he persisted, “that man does not see God because of his affinity with Him, nor because he possesses an intellect, but because he is temperate and just?”

“Certainly,” I answered, “and also because he has the faculty of thinking of God.”

“Would you say,” he asked, “that goats or sheep do an injustice to anyone?”

“They do not in any way do an injustice to anyone,” I replied.

[4] “So, according to your reasoning,” he said, “these animals will see God?”

“No, they won’t,” I answered, “because they are hindered from doing so by the form of their bodies.”

“If these animals had the power of speech,” he retorted, “you can be sure that they would have more right to revile our bodies. But, for the present let us ignore this topic and I’ll concede that what you say is true. Tell me this: Does the soul see God while it is in the body, or after it has been released from it?”

[5] “Even while it is in the human body,” I replied, “it can see God by means of the intellect, but especially after it has been released from the body, and exists of itself, does it perceive God whom it always loved.”

“Does it remember ,” he asked, “this vision of God when it is again united to a human body?”

“I don’t think so,” I answered.

“What, then,” he continued, “is the advantage of having seen God? What advantage has he who has seen God over him who has not, unless he at least remembers the fact that he has seen Him?”

[6] “That I cannot answer,” I admitted.

“And what,” asked he, “will be the punishment for those deemed unworthy to see God?”

“As a punishment,” I answered, “they will be imprisoned in the bodies of certain wild beasts.”

“Will they be conscious that for this reason they are imprisoned in such bodies and that they have committed some sin?”

“I don’t think so.”

[7] “Then, it would seem that they benefit in no way from such punishment; in fact, I would say that they suffer no punishment at all, unless they are conscious that it is a punishment.”

“No, indeed,” I conceded.

“Therefore,” he concluded, “souls do not see God, nor do they transmigrate into other bodies, for they would know that they were being thus punished, and they would be afraid thereafter to commit even the slightest sin. But I do concede that souls can perceive that there is a God, and that justice and piety are admirable.”

“You speak the truth,” I agreed.

 

Chapter 5

“Those philosophers, then, know nothing,” he went on, “about such matters, for they can’t even explain the nature of the soul.”

“It seems not,” I consented.

“Nor should we call the soul immortal, for, if it were, we would certainly have to call it unbegotten.”

“Some Platonists,” I answered, “consider the soul both unbegotten and immortal.”

“Do you affirm,” he asked, “that the universe also is unbegotten?”

“There are some who hold that opinion,” I replied, “but I don’t agree with them.”

[2] “Right you are,” he continued. “Why would one think that a body that is so solid, firm, composite, and mutable, a body that deteriorates and is renewed each day, has not originated from some first cause? Now, if the universe has been begotten, souls, too, of necessity, are begotten. Perhaps there is a time when they do not exist, for they were created for the sake of men and other living creatures, even if you claim that they have been begotten separately by themselves, and not together with their own bodies.”

“I think you are right. The souls, then, are not immortal?”

“No,” he said, “since it appears that the world itself was generated.”

[3] “On the other hand,” he continued, “I do not claim that any soul ever perishes, for this would certainly be a benefit to sinners. What happens to them? The souls of the devout dwell in a better place, whereas the souls of the unjust and the evil abide in a worse place, and there they await the judgment day. Those, therefore, who are deemed worthy to see God will never perish, but the others will be subjected to punishment as long as God allows them to exist and as long as He wants them to be punished.”

[4] “Does not your assertion agree with what Plato taught in his Timaeus concerning the world, namely, that it can be destroyed since it is a created thing, but that it will not be destroyed or be destined for destruction since such is the will of God? Don’t you think that the same thing could be said of the soul and, in short, of all other creatures? For, whatever exists or will exist after God has a nature subject to corruption, and therefore capable of complete annihilation, for only God is unbegotten and incorruptible. For this reason He is God, and all other things after Him are created and corruptible. [5] This is also the reason why souls die and are punished, for, if they were unbegotten, they would not have sinned, nor have become so foolish; they would not have been so timid at one time, and so daring at another; nor would they, of their own account, ever have entered into swine, serpents, and dogs. Furthermore, if they were unbegotten, it would not be right to coerce them, for one who is unbegotten is similar and equal to another unbegotten, nor can he be preferred to the other either in power or in honor. [6] We must conclude, therefore, that there are not many beings that are unbegotten, for, if there were some difference between them, you could not, no matter how you searched, find the cause of such difference; but, after sending your thought always to infinity, you would finally become tired and have to stop before the one Unbegotten and declare that He is the cause of all things. Do you think that these things escaped the notice of Plato and Pythagoras, those wise men who became, so to say, a wall and bulwark of our philosophy?”

 

Chapter 6

“I don’t care,” he answered, “if Plato or Pythagoras or anyone else held such views. What I say is the truth, and here is how you may learn it. The soul itself either is life or it possesses life. If it is life, it would cause something else to exist, not itself, just as motion causes something other than itself to move. Now, no one would deny that the soul lives; and if it lives, it does not live as life itself, but as a partaker of life. But, that which partakes of anything is different from that of which it partakes. Now, the soul partakes of life because God wishes it to live; [2] it will no longer partake of life whenever God doesn’t wish it to live. For the power to live is not an attribute of the soul as it is of God. As man does not live forever, and his body is not forever united to his soul, since, whenever this union must be discontinued, the soul leaves the body and man no longer exists, so also, whenever the soul must cease to live, the spirit of life is taken from it and it is no more, but it likewise returns to the place of its origin.”

 

Chapter 7

“If these philosophers,” I asked, “do not know the truth, what teacher or method will one follow ?”

“A long time ago,” he replied, “long before the time of those reputed philosophers, there lived blessed men who were just and loved by God, men who spoke through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and predicted events that would take place in the future, which events are now taking place. We call these men the Prophets. They alone knew the truth and communicated it to men, whom they neither deferred to nor feared. With no desire for personal glory, they reiterated only what they heard and saw when inspired by the Holy Spirit. [2] Their writings are still extant, and whoever reads them with the proper faith will profit greatly in his knowledge of the origin and end of things, and of any other matter that a philosopher should know. In their writings they gave no proof at that time of their statements, for, as reliable witnesses of the truth, they were beyond proof; but the happenings that have taken place and are now taking place force you to believe their words. [3] They also are worthy of belief because of the miracles which they performed, for they exalted God, the Father and Creator of all things, and made known Christ, His Son, who was sent by Him. This the false prophets, who are filled with an erring and unclean spirit, have never done nor even do now, but they undertake to perform certain wonders to astound men and they glorify the demons and spirits of error. Above all, beseech God to open to you the gates of light, for no one can perceive or understand these truths unless he has been enlightened by God and His Christ.”

 

Chapter 8

When he had said these and many other things which it is not now the fitting time to tell, he went his way, after admonishing me to meditate on what he had told me, and I never saw him again. But my spirit was immediately set on fire, and an affection for the prophets, and for those who are friends of Christ, took hold of me; while pondering on his words, I discovered that his was the only sure and useful philosophy. [2] Thus it is that I am now a philosopher. Furthermore, it is my wish that everyone would be of the same sentiments as I, and never spurn the Savior’s words; for they have in themselves such tremendous majesty that they can instill fear into those who have wandered from the path of righteousness, whereas they ever remain a great solace to those who heed them. Thus, if you have any regard for your own welfare and for the salvation of your soul, and if you believe in God, you may have the chance, since I know you are no stranger to this matter, of attaining a knowledge of the Christ of God, and, after becoming a Christian, of enjoying a happy life.

[3] At these words, my dearest [Pompey], Trypho’s friends began to laugh, and he himself replied, smiling, “I commend all your other statements, and I admire your burning desire to know divine things, but it would be better for you to concentrate on the philosophy of Plato or some other philosopher, and in this way attain constancy, continence, and moderation, rather than be ensnared by false teachings, and become a partisan of worthless men. For, while you adhered to your former school of philosophy and lived a blameless life, there was hope of a better destiny for you, but, when you have turned away from God and have placed your hope in man, what chance of salvation do you have? [4] If you will listen to me (indeed I already think of you as a friend), first be circumcised, then observe the precepts concerning the Sabbath, the feasts, and God’s new moons; in brief, fulfill the whole written law, and then, probably, you will experience the mercy of God. But if the Messiah has been born and exists anywhere, He is not known, nor is He conscious of His own existence, nor has He any power until Elias comes to anoint Him and to make Him manifest to all. But you [Christians] have believed this foolish rumor, and you have invented for yourselves a Christ for whom you blindly give up your lives.”

 

Chapter 9

“My friend,” I replied, “I pardon you, and may the Lord forgive you, for you don’t know what you say; you have been instructed by teachers who are ignorant of the meaning of the Scriptures, and, like a fortune-teller, you blurt out whatever comes into your mind. If you will consent to hear our account of Him, how we have not been deceived by false teachings, and how we will not cease to profess our faith in Him (even though men thereby persecute us, and the most cruel tyrant tries to force us to deny Him), I will prove to you, here and now, that we do not believe in groundless myths nor in teachings not based on reason, but in doctrines that are inspired by the Divine Spirit, abundant with power, and teeming with grace.”

[2] Trypho’s companions once again broke out in such loud, rude, and raucous laughter that I got up and was ready to walk away. But Trypho seized me by my cloak and said he wouldn’t let me go until I had kept my promise [to defend the Christians].

“Then, don’t let your friends,” I insisted, “cause such a commotion, or act so insultingly. If they wish, let them listen in silence, or, if they have something more important to do, let them depart; then we can go somewhere to rest and finish our conversation.

[3] Trypho consented, and we then agreed to retire to the middle of the stadium of the Xystus. Two of his friends, joking and making fun of our earnestness, went their way. When we came to that part of the stadium where there were stone seats on both sides, Trypho’s other companions went to sit on the one side and after one of them had made a remark about the war waged in Judaea, they spoke of it.

 

Chapter 10

When they had finished their conversation, I once again addressed them in this fashion: “My friends, is there any other accusation you have against us than this, that we do not observe the Law, nor circumcise the flesh as your forefathers did, nor keep the sabbaths as you do? Or do you also condemn our customs and morals? This is what I say, lest you, too, believe that we eat human flesh and that after our banquets we extinguish the lights and indulge in unbridled sensuality. Or do you only condemn us for believing in such doctrines and holding opinions which you consider false?”

[2] “This last charge is what surprises us,” replied Trypho. “Those other charges which the rabble lodge against you are not worthy of belief, for they are too repulsive to human nature. But the precepts in what you call your Gospel are so marvelous and great that I don’t think that anyone could possibly keep them. For I took the trouble to read them. [3] But this is what surprises us most, that you who claim to be pious and believe yourselves to be different from the others do not segregate yourselves from them, nor do you observe a manner of life different from that of the Gentiles, for you do not keep the feasts or sabbaths, nor do you practice the rite of circumcision. You place your hope in a crucified man, and still expect to receive favors from God when you disregard His commandments. Have you not read that the male who is not circumcised on the eighth day will be cut off from his people? [Gen 17.14] This precept was for stranger and purchased slave alike. [4] But you, forthwith, scorn this covenant, spurn the commands that come afterwards, and then you try to convince us that you know God, when you fail to do those things that every God-fearing person would do. If, therefore, you can give a satisfactory reply to these charges and can show us on what you place your hopes, even though you refuse to observe the Law, we will listen to you most willingly, and then we can go on and examine in the same manner our other differences.”

 

Chapter 11

“Trypho,” I began, “there never will be, nor has there ever been from eternity, any other God except Him who created and formed this universe. Furthermore, we do not claim that our God is different from yours, for He is the God who, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, led your forefathers out of the land of Egypt. Nor have we placed our trust in any other (for, indeed, there is no other), but only in Him whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob. But, our hope is not through Moses or through the Law, otherwise our customs would be the same as yours. [2] Now, indeed, for I have read, Trypho, that there should be a definitive law and a covenant, more binding than all others, which now must be respected by all those who aspire to the heritage of God. The law promulgated at Horeb is already obsolete, and was intended for you Jews only, whereas the law of which I speak is simply for all men. Now, a later law in opposition to an older law abrogates the older; so, too, does a later covenant void an earlier one. An everlasting and final law, Christ Himself, and a trustworthy covenant has been given to us, after which there will be no law, or commandment, or precept. [3] Have you not read these words of Isaiah: ‘Give ear to me, and listen to me, my people; and you kings, give ear unto me: for a law will go forth from me, and my judgment will be a light to the nations. My Just One approaches swiftly, and my Savior will go forth, and nations will trust in my arm’ [Isa 51.4-5]? Concerning this New Covenant, God thus spoke through Jeremiah: ‘Behold the days will come, says the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt’ [Jer 31.31-32]. [4] If, therefore, God predicted that He would make a new covenant, and this for a light to the nations, and we see and are convinced that, through the name of the crucified Jesus Christ, men have turned to God, leaving behind them idolatry and other sinful practices, and have kept the faith and have practiced piety even unto death, then everyone can clearly see from these deeds and the accompanying powerful miracles that He is indeed the New Law, the new covenant, and the expectation of those who, from every nation, have awaited the blessings of God. [5] We have been led to God through this crucified Christ, and we are the true spiritual Israel, and the descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, who, though uncircumcised, was approved and blessed by God because of his faith and was called the father of many nations. All this will be proved as we proceed with our discussion.”

 

Chapter 12

I also cited this quotation from Isaiah: ‘Hear my words, and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people; behold, nations that know you not will call upon you, and peoples that knew you not will run to you, because of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you’ [Isa 55.3-5].

[2] “You have scorned this very law, and have made light of His new holy covenant, and even now you don’t accept it, nor are you repentant of your evil actions. Jeremiah has indeed exclaimed: ‘For your ears are closed, your eyes are blinded, and your heart is hardened,’ [Isa 6.10], but still you won’t listen. The Lawgiver has come, and you do not see Him; ‘the poor have the Gospel preached to them, the blind see’ [Mt 11.5; Lk 7.22], yet you do not understand. [3] What you really need is another circumcision, though you boast of that of the flesh. The New Law demands that you observe a perpetual Sabbath, whereas you consider yourselves pious when you refrain from work on one day out of the week, and in doing so you don’t understand the real meaning of that precept. You also claim to have done the will of God when you eat unleavened bread, but such practices afford no pleasure to the Lord our God. If there be a perjurer or thief among you, let him mend his ways; if there be an adulterer, let him repent; in this way he will have kept a true and peaceful sabbath of God. If anyone has unclean hands, let him wash them and be pure.

 

Chapter 13

“Indeed, Isaiah did not send you to the bath to wash away murder and other sins which all the water of the ocean could not cleanse, but, as expected, it was of old that bath of salvation which he mentioned and which was for the repentant, who are no longer made pure by the blood of goats and sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood and the death of Christ who suffered death for this precise purpose. So Isaiah himself shows in these words: [2] ‘The Lord will bare His holy arm in the sight of all the Gentiles, and all the nations and the ends of the earth will see the salvation that is from God. Depart, depart, depart, go ye out from hence, and touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be sanctified, you who carry the vessels of the Lord, for you will not go out in a tumult. For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will gather you together. Behold my servant will understand, and will be exalted, and will be glorified greatly. [3] As many will be astonished at You, so Your form and Your comeliness will be despised by men; so will many nations be astonished at Him and kings will shut their mouths; for they to whom it was not told of Him, will see: and they that heard not, will understand. Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have announced Him as a child before Him, as a root in dry ground. [4] There is no beauty in Him or comeliness; and we have seen Him and He has no form or beauty; but His form is dishonored, and more despicable than any of the sons of men. He is a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity; because His face was turned away, He was despised and not esteemed. He has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows; and we esteemed Him to be in pain, and under the stroke, and in affliction. [5] But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. Everyone has turned aside into his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all; and He, because of his afflictions, does not open His mouth. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. [6] In His humiliation His judgment was taken away. But who will declare His generation? For He is cut off out of the land of living; for the wickedness of my people He came unto death. And I will give the ungodly for His burial, and the rich for His death, because He has done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth. And the Lord wills to purify Him from affliction. If He will lay down His life for sin, your soul will see a long-lived seed. [7] And the Lord will take His soul away from trouble, to show Him light, and to form Him in understanding, to justify the just one who serves many well. And He will bear our sins; therefore He will inherit many, and will divide the spoils of the strong, because His soul was delivered unto death; and He was reputed with the wicked, and He has borne the sins of many, and was delivered for their transgressions. [8] Give praise, O you barren, that bears not; sing forth praise, and make a joyful noise, you who did not travail with child; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her who has a husband. For the Lord said: Enlarge the place of your tent, and of your curtains; fix them, spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes; stretch forth to your right and your left; and your seed will inherit the Gentiles, and you will inhabit the desolate cities. Fear not because you have been ashamed; neither be confounded because you have been reproached; for you will forget your everlasting shame, and you will not remember the reproach of your widowhood, because the Lord has made a name for Himself, and He who has redeemed you will be called through the whole earth the God of Israel. For the Lord has called you as a woman forsaken and faint in spirit; as a woman hated from her youth’ [Isa 52.10-15; 53.1-12; 54.1-6].

 

Chapter 14

“Thus it is that we have believed through the baptism of repentance and knowledge of God, which was instituted for the sins of the people of God, as Isaiah testifies, and we know that that same baptism which he announced, and which alone can purify penitents, is the water of life. The wells which you have dug for yourselves are broken and useless. For, of what value is that baptism which cleanses only the flesh and body? [2] Wash your souls free of anger, of avarice, of jealousy, and of hatred; then the whole body will be pure. This is the symbolic meaning of unleavened bread, that you do not commit the old deeds of the bad leaven. You, however, understand everything in a carnal way, and you deem yourselves pious if you perform such deeds, even when your souls are filled with deceit and every other kind of sin. [3] Therefore, after eating unleavened bread for seven days, you were ordered by God to prepare new leaven for yourselves, that is, to practice other deeds, not to repeat your old sinful ones. To prove to you that this is what the new Lawgiver orders you to do, I will again cite the above-quoted passages, together with others which I omitted. Here is what Isaiah says: [4] ‘Hear and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the sure mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles. Nations which know You not will call upon You, and the people who know You not will run unto You, because of Your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified You. [5] Seek God, and when you find Him, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will obtain mercy, for He will abundantly pardon your sins. For My thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor are My ways as your ways; but as far removed as the heavens are from the earth, so far is My way removed from your way, and your thoughts from My thoughts. [6] For as the snow or the rain comes down from heaven, and does not return until it waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so will My word be, which will go forth from My mouth; it will not return until it will have accomplished all that I wished, and I will make all My precepts turn out well. [7] For you will go out with joy, and be taught with gladness. The mountains and the hills will leap with joy as they look for you, and all the trees of the fields will applaud you with their branches. Instead of the thorny bush will come up the cypress tree, and instead of the thorn, will come up the myrtle tree. And the Lord will be for a name and for an everlasting sign, and He will not fail’ [Isa 55.3-13].

[8] “Trypho,” I exclaimed, “some of these and similar passages from, the Prophets refer to the first coming of Christ, in which He is described as coming in disgrace, obscurity, and mortality; other passages allude to His second coming when He will appear from the clouds in glory; and your people will see and recognize Him whom they have crucified, as Hosea [see Zech 12.10], one of the twelve Prophets, and Daniel [Dan 9.26 or 7.13] have predicted.”

 

Chapter 15

“In order to please God you must, therefore, learn to observe God’s true fast. Listen to what Isaiah has to say in this regard: [2] ‘Cry, cease not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. For they seek Me from day to day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that has done justice, and has not forsaken the judgment of their God. [3] They ask of Me the judgments of justice, and desire to draw near to God, saying, Why have we fasted, and You have not regarded? and humbled our souls, and You have not taken notice? Because in the days of your fasting you find your own pleasure, and oppress all those who are subject to you. Behold you fast for debates and arguments, and strike the humble with your fists. Why do you fast, as you do today, to make your voice be heard on high? [4] This is not the fast which I have chosen, for a man to afflict his soul for a day. Nor, if you bend your neck in a circle, and spread sackcloth and ashes beneath you, will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord. This is not the fast which I have chosen, saith the Lord. But loose every band of wickedness, undo the bonds of agreements made by violence, let the oppressed go free, and break asunder every unjust bond. [5] Give your bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and shelterless into your house; when you see one naked, cover him; and do not despise those of your own flesh. Then will your light break forth as the morning, and your garments rise up quickly; and your justice will go before you, and the glory of God will surround you. Then will you call and the Lord will hear you; and while you are still speaking, He will say, Behold, here I am. [6] And if you will take away from your midst the yoke, the stretching forth of your hand, and the words of murmuring; and will give heartily your bread to the hungry, and will satisfy the afflicted soul; then will your light rise up in darkness, and your darkness will be as the noonday; and your God will be with you continually, and you will be satisfied as your soul desireth, and your bones will be made fat, and will be as a watered garden, and like a fountain of water, or like a land whose water fails not’ [Isa 58.1-12]. [7] Therefore, be circumcised rather in your heart, as the above-quoted words of God demand.”

 

Chapter 16

“God Himself, through Moses, exclaimed: ‘Circumcise therefore the hardness of your hearts, and stiffen your neck no more. For the Lord is your God, and the Lord of lords, a great God and mighty and terrible, who does not regard persons nor take bribes’ [Dt 10.16-17]. And in Leviticus it is written: ‘Because they have transgressed against Me and despised Me, and because they have walked contrary to Me, I also will walk contrary to them, and I will destroy them in the land of their enemies. Then their uncircumcised heart will be ashamed’ [Lev 26.40-41]. [2] Indeed the custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolate, and your cities ruined by fire; that the fruits of your land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. [3] Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men. Nor do I believe that any of you will attempt to deny that God either had or has foreknowledge of future events, and that He does not prepare beforehand what everyone deserves. Therefore, the above-mentioned tribulations were justly imposed upon you, [4] for you have murdered the Just One [cf. Isa 57.1; 1Th 2.15], and His prophets before Him; now you spurn those who hope in Him, and in Him who sent Him, namely, Almighty God, the Creator of all things; to the utmost of your power you dishonor and curse in your synagogues all those who believe, in Christ. Now, indeed, you cannot use violence against us Christians, because of those who are in power, but as often as you could, you did employ force against us. [5] For this reason, God cries out to you through Isaiah, saying: ‘Behold how the just one perishes, and no man lays it to heart. For the just man is taken away from before the face of evil. His burial will be in peace; he is taken away from among us. But draw near, you wicked sons, seed of the adulterers and children of the harlot. Upon whom have you jested, and upon whom have you opened your mouth wide, and stuck out your tongue?’ [Isa 57.1-4]

 

Chapter 17

“The other nations have not treated Christ and us, His followers, as unjustly as have you Jews, who, indeed, are the very instigators of that evil opinion they have of the Just One and of us, His disciples. After you had crucified the only sinless and just Man (through whose sufferings are healed all those who approach the Father through Him), and after you realized that He had risen from the dead and had ascended into Heaven (as had been predicted by the Prophets), you not only failed to feel remorse for your evil deed, but you even dispatched certain picked men from Jerusalem to every land, to report the outbreak of the godless heresy of the Christians and to spread those ugly rumors against us which are repeated by those who do not know us. As a result, you are to blame not only for your own wickedness, but for that of all others. [2] With good reason, therefore, does Isaiah cry out: ‘Because of you My name is blasphemed among the Gentiles’ [Isa 52.5]. And: ‘Woe unto their soul, for they have taken evil counsel against themselves, saying, Let us bind the Just One, for he is useless to us. Therefore they eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe unto the wicked one: evil will be rendered to him, in accordance with the works of his hands’ [Isa 3.9-11]. And again, in another passage: ‘Woe unto them that draw iniquity as with a long cord, and their injustices as it were with the rope of a cart; that say: Let his speed come near, and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel come, that we may know it. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put light for darkness, and darkness for light; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter’ [Isa 5.18-20]. [3] Thus have you spared no effort in disseminating in every land bitter, dark, and unjust accusations against the only guiltless and just Light sent to men by God. For He seemed to be inconvenient to you, when He cried out, ‘It is written. My house will be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves’ [Mt 21.13]. Then He even overturned the money-changers’ tables in the temple, [4] and exclaimed, ‘Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you pay tithes on mint and rue, and never think of the love of God and justice. You are whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones’ [Mt 23.23, 27; Lk 11.43]. And to the Scribes He said, ‘Woe unto you, Scribes, for you have the keys, and you do not enter in yourselves, and you hinder them that are entering, you blind guides’ [Lk 11.52].

 

Chapter 18

“Since you, Trypho, admit that you have read the teachings of Him who is our Savior, I do not consider it out of place to have added those few short sayings of His to the quotations from the Prophets: [2] ‘Wash yourselves, be clean, and take away evil from your souls’ [Isa 1.16]. Thus does God order you to be washed in this laver, and to be circumcised with the true circumcision. We, too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your sabbath days, and, in a word, all your festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and your hardness of heart. [3] If we patiently bear all the evils thrust upon us by vicious men and demons, and still, amid indescribable tortures and death, ask mercy even for our persecutors and do not wish that anybody be requited with even a little of them, as our new Lawgiver decreed, why is it, Trypho, that we should not observe those rites which cannot harm us, such as the circumcision of the flesh, the, sabbaths, and the festivals?

 

Chapter 19

“That,” interposed Trypho, “is precisely what we are puzzled about — why you endure all sorts of tortures, yet refuse to follow the [Jewish] customs now under discussion.”

[2] “As I already explained,” I answered, “it is because circumcision is not essential for all men, but only for you Jews, to mark you off for the suffering you now so deservedly endure. Nor do we approve of your useless baptism of the wells, which has no connection at all with our baptism of life. [3] Thus has God protested that you have forsaken Him, ‘the fountain of living water, and have digged for yourselves broken cisterns which can hold no water’ [Jer 2.13]. You Jews, who have the circumcision of the flesh, are in great need of our circumcision, whereas we, since we have our circumcision, do not need yours. For if, as you claim, circumcision had been necessary for salvation, God would not have created Adam uncircumcised; nor would He have looked with favor upon the sacrifice of the uncircumcised Abel, nor would He have been pleased with the uncircumcised Enoch, who ‘was seen no more, because God took him’ [Gen 5.24]. [4] The Lord and His angels led Lot out of Sodom; thus was he saved without circumcision. Noah, the uncircumcised father of our race, was safe with his children in the ark. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, was not circumcised, yet Abraham, the first to accept circumcision of the flesh, paid tithes to him and was blessed by him; indeed, God, through David, announced that He would make him a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek [Ps 109.4]. [5] Circumcision, therefore, is necessary only for you Jews, in order that, as Hosea, one of the Twelve Prophets, says, ‘your people should not be a people, and your nation not a nation’ [Hos 1.9]. Furthermore, all these men were just and pleasing in the sight of God, yet they kept no sabbaths. The same can be said of Abraham and his descendants down to the time of Moses, when your people showed itself wicked and ungrateful to God by molding a golden calf as an idol in the desert. [6] Wherefore, God, adapting His laws to that weak people, ordered you to offer sacrifices to His name, in order to save you from idolatry, but you did not obey even then, for you did not hesitate to sacrifice your children to the demons. Moreover, the observance of the sabbaths was imposed upon you by God so that you would be forced to remember Him, as He Himself said, ‘That you may know that I am God your Savior’ [Ezk 20.20].

 

Chapter 20

“You were likewise forbidden to eat certain kinds of meat, so that when you ate and drank you would keep God before your eyes, for you have always been disposed to forget Him, as Moses himself testifies: ‘The people ate and drank, and rose up to play’ [Ex 32.6]. And in another passage: ‘Jacob ate and was filled, and grew fat; my beloved kicked, he grew fat and thick and broad, and forsook God who made him’ [Dt 32.15]. Indeed, Moses makes known to you in the book of Genesis how God allowed the righteous Noah to eat every kind of meat, except the meat with the blood of strangled animals.”

[2] As Trypho was just ready to add, ”as the green herbs,” I forestalled him by asking, “Why do you not interpret those words ‘as the green herbs’ [Gn 9.3] in the sense in which God spoke them, namely, that as God gave herbs to man for his sustenance, so did He give him animals for his food? But you object that Noah was ordered to make a distinction between the herbs, because we do not now eat every kind of herb. [3] Such a conclusion is inadmissible. I could easily prove, but we will not spend the time now in doing so, that every vegetable is a herb and may be eaten. Now, if we make a distinction between them and refuse to eat some of them, we do so not because they are common and unclean, but because they are bitter, or poisonous, or thorny; but the sweet, nourishing, and good herbs we eat and enjoy, whether they come from the soil or the sea. [4] Then, God, through Moses, ordered you to abstain from all unclean, harmful, and violent animals, for, after you had eaten the manna in the desert and had seen all the miracles God wrought for your sake, you did not hesitate to make and adore the golden calf. With good reason, therefore, does God repeatedly say of you, ‘Foolish children, in whom there is no faith’ [Dt 32.20].

 

Chapter 21

“As I stated before, it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the Sabbath as a mark. He also states that the only reason He allows any of you to remain alive today is for the sake of the Gentiles, that His name might not be profaned among them. If you wish clear proof of this, [2] listen to what He says through Ezekiel: ‘I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and take no part in the customs of Egypt, and sanctify My sabbaths; and they will be a sign between Me and you, so that you may know that I am the Lord your God. And you provoked Me, and your children walked not in My statutes, nor observed My judgments, to do them, which if a man do, he will live in them. But they violated My sabbaths. [3] And I threatened to pour out My indignation upon them, and to accomplish My wrath in them in the desert. But I did it not, so that My name might not be entirely violated in the sight of the Gentiles. I led them out before their eyes, and I lifted up My hand upon them in the wilderness, to disperse them among the Gentiles, and scatter them through the countries, because they had not done My judgments, and had cast off my statutes, and had violated My sabbaths, and their eyes were after the inventions of their fathers. [4] Therefore I gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they will not live. And I will pollute them in their own gifts, when I pass over to destroy all that openeth the womb’ [Ezk 20.19-26].

 

Chapter 22

“Not because He needed such sacrifices did God command you to sacrifice to Him, but because of the sins of your people, especially their sins of idolatry. You will admit the truth of my statement if you listen to Amos, one of the twelve Prophets, who said: [2] ‘Woe to those who desire the day of the Lord: to what end is this day of the Lord to you? It is darkness, and not light. As if a man should flee from the face of a lion, and a bear should meet him: and if he should enter into his house, and lean his hand upon the wall, and a serpent should bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light, and obscurity, and no brightness in it? I hate, and have rejected your festivities, and I will not accept the odor of your assemblies. [3] And if you offer me holocausts and sacrifices, I will not accept them; nor will I regard the presentation of your peace-offerings. Take away from Me the multitude of your songs and psalms, for I will not hear your instruments. And judgment will run down as water, and justice as a mighty torrent. Did you offer victims and sacrifices to Me in the desert, O house of Israel, saith the Lord? And have you not carried the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Raphan, figures which you made for yourselves? [4] And I will carry you away beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is God Almighty. Woe to those who are wealthy in Zion, and who have confidence in the mountain of Samaria. Those who are named among the chiefs have made harvest of the firstfruits of the nations; the house of Israel came in to themselves. Pass over to Calneh, and see, and go from there unto Hamath the great; and then go down to Gath of the strangers, the best of all these kingdoms, if their borders be greater than your borders. [5] They that come to the evil day, they that come near, and hold to false sabbaths; that sleep upon beds of ivory, and fare sumptuously upon their couches; that eat the lambs out of the flock, and the sucking calves out of the midst of the herd; who applaud at the sound of the musical instruments. They thought these things were permanent, and would not pass away, who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the best ointments, and they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore they will now go captive among the first of the nobles who are carried away, and the dwelling place of the wicked will be removed, and the neighing of horses will be taken away from Ephraim’ [Amos 5.18-27; 6.1-8]. [6] And in Jeremiah we read: ‘Gather together your flesh and your sacrifices, and eat. For I did not command your fathers, in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning the matter of burnt offerings and sacrifices’ [Jer 7.21-22]. [7] And David says in his forty-ninth Psalm: ‘The God of gods, the Lord has spoken, and has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion is the perfection of His beauty. God will come manifestly; our God will come, and will not keep silence. A fire will burn before Him, and a mighty tempest will be round about Him. He will call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge His people. Gather together His saints to Him, who set His covenant before sacrifices. And the heavens will declare His justice, for God is judge. [8] Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify to you: I am God, your God. I will not reprove you for your sacrifices; but your burnt offerings are always in My sight. I will not take calves out of your house, nor the goats out of your flocks. For all the beasts of the field are Mine, the cattle on the hills, and oxen. I know all the fowls of the air, and with Me is the beauty of the field. [9] If I should be hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and its bounty. Will I eat the flesh of bullocks, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay your vows to the Most High. And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shalt glorify Me. But to the sinner God has said: Why do you declare My statutes, and take My covenant in your mouth? Seeing you have hated discipline, and have cast My words behind you. [10] If you saw a thief you ran with him, and with adulterers you hast been a partaker. Your mouth has abounded with evil, and your tongue framed deceits. Sitting you spoke against your brother, and laid a scandal against your mother’s son. These things have you done, and I was silent. You thought in your wickedness that I would be like to you. I will reprove you, and will set your sins in order before your eyes. Understand these things, you who forget God; lest He snatch you away, and there be none to deliver you. The sacrifice of praise will glorify Me, and there is the way by which I will show him My salvation’ [Ps 49.1-23]. [11] Thus, your sacrifices are not acceptable to God, nor were you first commanded to offer them because of God’s need of them, but because of your sins. The same can be said of the temple, which you refer to as the Temple in Jerusalem. God called it His house or court, not as if He needed a house or a court, but because, by uniting yourselves to Him in that place, you might abstain from the worship of idols. This can be proved by the words of Isaiah: ‘What is this house you built for Me? saith the Lord. Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool’ [Isa 66.1].

 

Chapter 23

“If we do not accept this conclusion, then we will fall into absurd ideas, as the nonsense either that our God is not the same God who existed in the days of Enoch and all the others, who were not circumcised in the flesh, and did not observe the sabbaths and the other rites, since Moses only imposed them later; or that God does not wish each succeeding generation of mankind always to perform the same acts of righteousness. Either supposition is ridiculous and preposterous. [2] Therefore, we must conclude that God, who is immutable, ordered these and similar things to be done only because of sinful men, and at the same time we confess Him to be sympathetic toward all men, prescient, needful of nothing, just, and good. If I am wrong, my friends, let me hear your opinions on this subject.”

[3] When I received no reply, I continued, “Permit me, therefore, to repeat to you, Trypho, and to those who wish to become converts, the heavenly doctrine I received from that old man! Is it not evident to you that the elements are not idle, and that they do not observe the sabbaths? Stay as you were at birth. For if circumcision was not required before the time of Abraham, and before Moses there was no need of sabbaths, festivals, and sacrifices, they are not needed now, when in accordance with the will of God, Jesus Christ, His Son, has been born of the Virgin Mary, a descendant of Abraham. [4] Indeed, when Abraham himself was still uncircumcised, he was justified and blessed by God because of his faith in Him, as the Scriptures tell us. Furthermore, the Scriptures and the facts of the case force us to admit that Abraham received circumcision for a sign, not for justification itself. Thus was it justly said of your people: ‘That soul which is not circumcised on the eighth day will be destroyed out of his people’ [Gen 17.14]. [5] Moreover, the fact that females cannot receive circumcision of the flesh shows that circumcision was given as a sign, not as an act of justification. For God also bestowed upon women the capability of performing every good and virtuous act. We see that the physical formation of male and female is different, but it is equally evident that the bodily form is not what makes either of them good or evil. Their righteousness is determined by their acts of piety and justice.”

Chapter 24

“Now, friends,” I continued, “I could prove how the eighth day has some mysterious meaning (made known to us by God through these rites), rather than the seventh, but, lest you think I am wandering from the subject, understand what I now state, that the blood of circumcision is now abolished, and we now trust in the blood of salvation. Another covenant, a new Law, has now come out of Zion. [2] As was taught of old, Jesus Christ circumcises with knives of stone all those who want it, that they may become a righteous nation, a faithful, truthful, and peace-loving people. [3] Come with me, all you who are Godfearing and desirous of seeing the prosperity of Jerusalem. ‘Come let us walk in the light of the Lord. for He has liberated His people, the house of Jacob’ [Isa 2.5-6]. Come all nations, let us assemble at Jerusalem, no longer disturbed by war because of the peoples’ sins. As the Lord cries out through the mouth of Isaiah, [4] ‘I was made manifest to them who seek Me not; I was found by them who asked not for Me. I said, Behold Me, to a nation who did not call upon My name. I have spread forth My hands all the day to an unbelieving and contradicting people, who walk in a way that is not good, but rather after their own sins. It is a people who provokes Me to My face’ [Isa 65.1-3].

 

Chapter 25

“They who attempt to justify themselves, and claim that they are sons of Abraham, hope to receive along with us even a small part of the divine legacy. This is evident from what the Holy Spirit said when He spoke through Isaiah in their name: [2] ‘Look down from Heaven, and behold from Your holy habitation and the place of Your glory. Where is Your zeal and Your strength? Where is the multitude of Your mercy, for You have sustained us, O Lord? For You are our Father, and Abraham has not known us, and Israel has been ignorant of us. But You, O Lord, our Father, deliver us; from the beginning Your name is upon us. O Lord, why have You made us err from Your way, and hardened our heart, that we should not fear You? [3] Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your inheritance, so that we may inherit for a little Your holy mountain. We have become as in the beginning, when You did not rule over us, and when Your name was not called upon us. If You will open the heavens, trembling will seize the mountains before You; and they will be melted, as wax melts before the fire; and fire will consume Your enemies, and Your name will be made known to Your adversaries; the nations will tremble at Your presence. [4] When You will do glorious things, trembling will seize the mountains in Your presence. From the beginning of the world we have not heard nor have our eyes seen a God besides You, and Your works, the mercy which You will show to those who repent. He will meet them who work righteousness, and they will remember Your ways. Behold, You are angry, and we have sinned. Wherefore we have erred and are all become as one unclean, and all our justice as the rag of a menstruous woman. And we have all fallen as leaves, because of our iniquities; thus the wind will carry us away. [5] There is none who calls upon Your name, none who remembers to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have delivered us up because of our sins. And now return, O Lord, for we are all Your people. The city of Your sanctuary has become a desert; Zion is as a desert, Jerusalem is a curse. The house, our sanctuary, and the glory which our fathers blessed, is burnt with fire, and all our glorious customs are turned into ruins. And in addition to these things You have refrained Yourself, O Lord, and have held Your peace, and have humbled us very much’ [Isa 63.15-19; 64.1-12].”

[6] “Do I understand you to say,” interposed Trypho, “that none of us Jews will inherit anything on the holy mountain of God?”

 

Chapter 26

“I didn’t say that,” I replied, “but I do say that those who have persecuted Christ in the past and still do, and do not repent, will not inherit anything on the holy mountain, unless they repent. Whereas the Gentiles, who believe in Christ and are sorry for their sins, will receive the inheritance, along with the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and every just descendant of Jacob, even though they neither practice circumcision nor observe the sabbaths and feasts. They will undoubtedly share in the holy inheritance of God, [2] for thus speaks God through Isaiah: ‘I, the Lord God, have called you in justice, and I will take you by the hand, and will strengthen you. And I have given you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, that you might open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison, and them who sit in darkness out of the prison-house’ [Isa 42.6-7]. [3] And again, in another passage: ‘Lift up the standard for the Gentiles. For behold, the Lord has made it to be heard in the ends of the earth. Say to the daughters of Zion, Behold, your Savior comes; behold His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. And He will call this the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord. And you will be called a city sought after, and not forsaken. Who is this who comes from Edom, in red garments, from Bosor? This beautiful one in His robe, walking in the greatness of His strength. I speak justice, and the judgment of salvation. [4] Why then is Your apparel red, and Your garments as from the trodden wine-press? Full of the trodden grape, I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there was not a man with Me. I have trampled on them in My indignation, and I have trodden on them as the earth, and have spilled their blood upon the earth. For the day of vengeance is come upon them, and the year of My redemption is come. I looked about, and there was none to help; I sought, and there was none to give aid; and My arm saved for Me, and My fury came upon them, and I have trodden them in My wrath, and I have spilled their blood upon the earth’ [Isa 62.10-12; 63.1-7].”

 

Chapter 27

“Why,” objected Trypho, “do you quote only those passages from the Prophets which prove your point, and omit those quotations which clearly command the observance of the Sabbath? Isaiah, for example, speaks thus: ‘If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your own will in My holy day, and will call the sabbaths the holy delights of your God; if you will not lift your foot to work, and will not speak a word from your own mouth, and will trust in the Lord; then He will lift you up to the good things of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Jacob, your father; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it’ [Isa 58.13-14].”

[2] “My friends,” I replied, “I have not purposely omitted such passages from the Prophets because they do not coincide with my teaching, but because (as you well understand), although God through His Prophets gives you identical commands as He did through Moses, this was done only on account of your hardness of heart and ingratitude toward Him. He repeated those precepts in the hope that even so you might possibly repent some time and thus please Him, and no longer sacrifice your children to the demons, nor remain the ‘companions of thieves, nor lovers of gifts, nor seekers of rewards; judging not for the fatherless, nor suffering the cause of the widow to come to you, nor having your hands full of blood. [3] For the daughters of Zion have walked with outstretched necks, flirting with their twinkling eyes, and swishing their dresses as they passed’ [Isa 1.23; 3.16]. And He exclaims: ‘All have turned out of the way, they are become unprofitable together. There is none that understands, no not one. With their tongues they have dealt deceitfully, their throat is an open sepulcher, the venom of asps is under their lips; destruction and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known’ [cf. Rom 3.11-17]. [4] Thus, as your sinfulness was the reason why God first issued those precepts, so now because of your enslavement to sin, or rather your greater inclination to it, by means of the same precepts, He calls you to remember and know Him. But you Jews are a ruthless, stupid, blind, and lame people, children in whom there is no faith. As God Himself says: ‘Honoring Him only with your lips, but your hearts are far from Him, teaching your own doctrines and not His’ [Isa 29.13]. [5] Now, tell me, was it God’s desire that your high priests commit sin when they offer oblations on the sabbaths? Or did He wish that they who received or performed circumcision on that day be guilty of sin, since it is His command that circumcision be given on the eighth day after birth, even though that day may fall on a Sabbath? If He knew it would be sinful to perform that act on a Sabbath, could He not have decreed that infants be circumcised either a day before or a day after the Sabbath? And why did He not instruct those persons who lived before the time of Moses and Abraham to observe these same precepts; men, who are called just and were pleasing to God, even though they were not circumcised in the flesh, and did not keep the sabbaths?”

 

Chapter 28

Trypho then observed, “We listened attentively before when you put this question, and, to tell you the truth, you deserved our attention, but it does not seem good to me, as it does to most, only to say that it was God’s will. For that is always the sly stock reply of those who cannot answer the question.”

[2] Then I replied, “Since I base my arguments and suggestions on the Scriptures and facts, you should not hesitate to believe me, notwithstanding the fact that I am uncircumcised, for there is only a short time left for conversion. If Christ should come again before your conversion, you will weep and repent in vain, for then He will not heed you. ‘Break up anew your fallow ground, and sow not upon thorns,’ cried out Jeremiah to the people. ‘Be circumcised to the Lord, and circumcise the foreskin of your heart’ [Jer 4.3-4]. [3] Do not sow, therefore, amid thorns and upon unploughed soil, from which you can reap no fruit. Acknowledge Christ, and then fallow ground, rich and fertile, will certainly be in your hearts. ‘For behold, the days come, says the Lord, and I will visit upon every one who has the foreskin circumcised; upon Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and upon the children of Moab. For all the Gentiles are uncircumcised in the flesh, but all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart’ [Jer 9.25-26]. [4] Do you not see that God does not desire that circumcision which is given as a sign? For such circumcision is of no use to the Egyptians, the Moabites, or the Edomites. Even though a man be a Scythian or a Persian, and yet knows God and His Son, and observes His lasting precepts of justice, he is circumcised with the only good and useful circumcision, and both he and his offerings are pleasing to God. [5] In this regard, permit me, my friends, to quote the words which God spoke to His people through Malachi, one of His twelve Prophets: ‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord; and I will not receive your sacrifices from your hands; for from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation; for My name is honored among the Gentiles, says the Lord, but you profane it’ [Mal 1.10-11]. And through the mouth of David God said: ‘A people who I knew not, has served Me; at the hearing of the ear they have obeyed me’ [2Sam/Kgs 22.44; Ps 17.45].”

 

Chapter 29

“Let us come together, O Gentiles, and glorify God, for He has deigned to look down upon us also. Let us glorify Him through the King of glory and the Lord of hosts. For He has shown His benevolence toward us Gentiles, too, and He accepts our sacrifices more willingly than He does yours. If I have been approved by God, what need have I of circumcision? If I have already been baptized with the grace of the Holy Spirit, what use have I of your baptism? [2] I am positive that I can persuade by these words even those of weak intellectual faculties, for the words which I use are not my own, nor are they embellished by human rhetoric, but they are the words as David sang them, as Isaiah announced them as good news, as Zacharias proclaimed them, and as Moses wrote them. Aren’t you acquainted with them, Trypho? You should be, for they are contained in your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours. For we believe and obey them, whereas you, though you read them, do not grasp their spirit. [3] You should not be angry with us, therefore, nor blame us for the uncircumcision of our body; indeed, God created us that way. Nor should you consider it dreadful if we drink hot water on the Sabbath, for God doesn’t stop controlling the movement of the universe on that day, but He continues directing it then as He does on all other days. Besides, your chief priests were commanded by God to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath, as well as on other days. Then, too, there are so many just men who are approved by God Himself, yet they never performed any of your legal ceremonies.

 

Chapter 30

“The fact that God can be falsely accused by the foolish of not having always taught the same truthful doctrines to all, you can blame on your own sinfulness. Indeed, many deemed such doctrines senseless and unworthy of God, for they were not illumined by grace to understand that these same doctrines have called your people, mired in sin and sick of a spiritual disease, to conversion and spiritual repentance; nor did they understand that prophecy, which was given to mankind after the death of Moses, is eternal. [2] This, my friends, is indeed mentioned in the Psalm. That we, who have been enlightened by these doctrines, consider them to be ‘sweeter than honey and the honeycomb’ [Ps 18.11], is evident from the fact that even under the threat of death we do not deny His name. Furthermore, it is equally clear (as the word of the prophecy, speaking in the name of one of His followers, metaphorically affirms) that we believers beseech Him to safeguard us from strange, that is, evil and deceitful, spirits. [3] We constantly ask God through Jesus Christ to keep us safe from those demons who, while they are strangers to the worship of God, were once adored by us; we pray, too, that, after our conversion to God through Christ, we may be without blame. We call Him our Helper and Redeemer, by the power of whose name even the demons shudder; even to this day they are overcome by us when we exorcise them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Judaea. Thus, it is clear to all that His Father bestowed upon Him such a great power that even the demons are subject both to His name and to His pre-ordained manner of suffering.

 

Chapter 31

“If such power is shown to have accompanied and still now accompanies His Passion, just think how great will be His power at His glorious Advent! For, as Daniel foretold, He will come on the clouds as the Son of Man, accompanied by His angels. [2] Here are the exact words of Daniel: ‘I beheld till the thrones were set, and the Ancient of days sat, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool. His throne was like the flames of fire, His wheels like a burning fire. A swift stream of fire issued forth from before Him. Thousands of thousands ministered to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The books were opened and the judgment was set. [3] I beheld then the voice of the great words which the horn speaks; and the beast was tortured, and its body was destroyed, and given to the fire to be burnt. And the power of the other beasts was taken away, and times of life were appointed them for a time and a time. I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and He came even to the Ancient of days, and stood before Him. And they who stood by brought Him near, [4] and He gave Him power and a glorious kingdom, and all the peoples of the earth by their families, and glory, serve Him. His power is an everlasting power that will not be taken away; and His kingdom will not be destroyed. And my spirit trembled within me, and the visions of my head troubled me. I went near to one of them that stood by, and asked the truth of him concerning all these things, and he told me the interpretation of the words, and instructed me. These four great beasts are four kingdoms, which will perish from the earth, and will not receive the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. [5] After this I would diligently learn concerning the fourth beast, which destroyed all the others, and was exceedingly terrible; his teeth were of iron, and his claws of brass; he devoured and broke in pieces, and the rest he stamped upon with his feet. And concerning the ten horns that he had on his head; and concerning the other that came up, before which three horns fell; and that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and its countenance excelled the rest. I beheld that horn waging war against the saints, and prevailing over them, until the Ancient of days came and gave judgment to the saints of the Most High, and the time came and the saints of the Most High obtained the kingdom. [6] And it was told me concerning the fourth beast, that it would be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which will be greater than all the kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth, and will tread it down and break it in pieces. And the ten horns are ten kings who will arise; and one will arise after them, and he will surpass the first kings in wickedness, and he will bring down three kings, and he will speak words against the Most High, and will crush the saints of the Most High, and he will think himself able to change times and seasons, and they will be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time. [7] And the judgment sat, and they will take away his power, to break into pieces and destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and the power, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, were given to the holy people of the Most High, so that they might reign in an everlasting kingdom; and all powers will serve and obey Him. Here is the end of the word. I, Daniel, was very much astonished at the vision, and my speech was changed in me, but I kept the word in my heart’ [Dan 7.9-28].”

 

Chapter 32

When I paused, Trypho objected, “Your quotations from Scripture prove that we must look forward to that glorious and great Messiah who, as the Son of Man, receives the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient of days. But, the one whom you call Christ was without glory and honor to such an extent that he incurred the last curse of God’s law, namely, he was crucified.”

[2] I immediately replied, “My friends, if I had not explained from the above-quoted Scriptural passages that the appearance of Christ should be without glory and His generation beyond description, that for His death the rich should incur death, that through His suffering we should be healed, that He should be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and if I had not made clear that there should be two advents of Christ (the first in which He was pierced by you, the second in which you will look up and recognize Him as the one whom you pierced, and then your tribes will mourn tribe by tribe, the women apart and the men apart [Zech 12.12-13]), then my words must have been ambiguous and obscure. Now, I will derive all my proofs from all the words I adduce from your sacred and prophetic Scriptures, in the hope that some one may be found among you to be of that seed which, by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth, is reserved for everlasting salvation. [3] To clarify this matter further for you, I will cite other passages from the blessed David, from which you can see that Christ is also called Lord by the Holy Prophetic Spirit, and that God, the Father of all, raised Him up from the earth, and placed Him at His right hand, until He makes His enemies His footstool; which, indeed, actually happened when our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, after His resurrection from the dead. Thus were the times being fulfilled, and he whom Daniel foretold would reign for a time, times, and half a time [Dan 7.25], is now at the doors, ready to utter bold and blasphemous words against the Most High. [4] In ignorance of how long he will reign, you hold a different opinion, based on your misinterpretation of the word ‘time’ as meaning one hundred years. If this is so, the man of sin must reign at least three hundred and fifty years, computing the holy Daniel’s expression of ‘times’ to mean two times only. [5] I have digressed at length for the sole purpose of convincing you of the truth of what God said against you, namely, that you are foolish children, and ‘Therefore behold, I will proceed to take away this people, and I will remove them, and I will take away the wisdom of their wise men, and I will hide the understanding of their prudent me’ [Isa 29.14]. Knowing this, why don’t you stop deceiving yourselves and those around you? Why don’t you learn from us who have been taught wisdom by the grace of Christ? [6] But, to get back to the point in question, here are the convincing words of David: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord will send forth the scepter of Your power out of Zion: and rule You in the midst of Your enemies. With Your is the principality in the day of Your strength, in the brightness of Your saints, from the womb before the day star I begot You. The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at Your right hand has broken kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among nations. He will fill ruins. He will drink of the torrent in the way; therefore will He lift up the head’ [Ps 109.1-7].

 

Chapter 33

“Now I know,” I continued, “that you dare to refer the words of the above-quoted Psalm to king Hezekiah, but I am going to show you from the very words of the Psalm that you are wrong. Among the words of the Psalm are the following two statements: [2] ‘The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent,’ and ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ [Ps 109.4]. Now, you must admit that Hezekiah neither was nor is an everlasting priest of God. If your ears were not so dull, or your hearts so hardened, you would see that the words refer to our Jesus. For, by the words, ‘The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent; You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,’ God, because of your lack of faith, swore that Jesus is the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. For, as Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High (as Moses tells us), and as he was the priest of the uncircumcised, and blessed the circumcised Abraham who offered him tithes, so has God announced that His eternal Priest, called Lord by the Holy Spirit, should be the priest of the uncircumcised. Those circumcised persons who approach Him with faith in their hearts and a prayer on their lips for His blessings will be welcomed and blessed by Him. [3] The concluding words of the Psalm, ‘He will drink of the torrent in the way,’ and, ‘Therefore will He lift up the head’ [Ps 109.7], prove that Christ was to be first humble man, and later He was to be exalted.

 

Chapter 34

“As a further proof of your ignorance of the Scriptures, I am going to quote another Psalm, dictated to David by the Holy Spirit, which you erroneously think refers to your king Solomon, but which in reality refers to our Christ. One cause of your error is that you are misled by the false interpretation of equivocal terms. For, when the law of God is called a ‘blameless law’ [cf. Ps 18.8], you do not understand it as applying to the law that was to come after Moses, but to the Mosaic Law itself, even though God Himself had promised to establish a new law and a new covenant. [2] And when the Psalm says, ‘Give to the king Your judgment, O God’ [Ps 71.1], you claim that the words were spoken of Solomon because he was a king, whereas the words clearly proclaim that they were spoken of the eternal King, that is, Christ. I prove from all the Scriptures that Christ is spoken of as a King, and a Priest, and God, and Lord, and an Angel, and a Man, and a Leader, and a Stone, and a Begotten Son, and as One who at first endured suffering, then ascended into Heaven, and as returning to earth with glory and having the eternal kingdom. [3] In support of what I have said, I cite the following words of the Psalm: ‘Give to the king Your judgment, O God, and to the king’s son Your justice, to judge Your people with justice, and Your poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people, and the hills justice. He will judge the poor of the people, and will save the children of the poor, and will humble the slanderer. And He will continue with the sun, and before the moon throughout all generations. He will come down like rain upon the fleece, and as showers falling gently upon the earth. [4] In His days will justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away. And He will rule from sea to sea, and from the rivers unto the ends of the earth. Before Him the Ethiopians will fall down, and His enemies will lick the ground. The kings of Tarshish and the islands will offer presents; the kings of the Arabians and of Sheba will bring gifts. And all kings of the earth will adore Him, all nations will serve Him. For He will deliver the poor from the mighty, and the needy who had no helper. [5] He will spare the poor and needy, and He will save the souls of the poor. He will redeem their souls from interests and iniquity, and His name will be honorable in their sight. And He will live, and to Him will be given of the gold of Arabia, and they will pray continually for Him, and they will bless Him all the day. And there will be a firmament on the earth on the tops of mountains; His fruit will be on Lebanon, and they of the city will flourish like the grass of the earth. [6] His name will be blessed for evermore, His name continued before the sun. And in Him will all the tribes of the earth be blessed, all nations will call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things. And blessed be the name of His majesty forever, and the whole earth will be filled with His majesty. So be it. So be it’ [Ps 71.1-19]. And this Psalm ends with these words: ‘The praises of David, the son of Jesse, are ended’ [Ps 71.20].

[7] “Now, we all know that Solomon was the great and famous king, who constructed the renowned Temple at Jerusalem. But it is equally evident to all that none of the things foretold in the above-mentioned Psalm happened to him, for not all the kings adored him, nor did his power extend to the ends of the earth, nor did his enemies fall down prostrate before him and lick the ground. [8] Furthermore, I do not hesitate to quote the Book of Kings where it is written that Solomon committed idolatry at Sidon for the sake of a woman. On the contrary, the Gentiles who know God, the Creator of the world, through the crucified Jesus, would rather endure every torture and pain, even death itself, than worship idols, or eat meat sacrificed to idols.”

 

Chapter 35

At this point, Trypho interrupted me by saying, “I know that there are many who profess their faith in Jesus and are considered to be Christians, yet they claim there is no harm in their eating meats sacrificed to idols.”

[2] “The fact that there are such men,” I replied, “who pretend to be Christians and admit the crucified Jesus as their Lord and Christ, yet profess not His doctrines, but those of the spirits of error, only tends to make us adherents of the true and pure Christian doctrine more ardent in our faith and more firm in the hope He announced to us. As we look about us, we see events actually taking place which He predicted would happen in His name. [3] Indeed, He foretold: ‘Many will come in My name, clothed outwardly in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ [Mt 7.15]. And: ‘There will be schisms and heresies’ [1Cor 11.18]. And: ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’ [Mt 7.15]. And: ‘There will arise many false Christs and false Apostles, and they will deceive many of the faithful’ [Mt 24.11, 24].

[4] “My friends, there were, and still are, many men who, in the name of Jesus, come and teach others atheistic and blasphemous doctrines and actions; we call them by the name of the originator of each false doctrine. [5] (For each has his own peculiar method of teaching how to blaspheme the Creator of the universe, and Christ, whose Advent was foretold by Him, and the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. They are all outside of our communion, for we know them for what they are, impious atheists and wicked sinners, men who profess Jesus with their lips, but do not worship Him in their hearts. [6] These men call themselves Christians in much the same way as some Gentiles engrave the name of God upon their statues, and then indulge in every kind of wicked and atheistic rite.) Some of these heretics are called Marcionites, some Valentinians, some Basilidians, and some Saturnilians, and others by still other names, each designated by the name of the founder of the system, just as each person who deems himself a philosopher, as I stated at the beginning of this discussion, claims that he must bear the name of the philosophy he favors from the founder of that particular school of philosophy. [7] Not only from these events do we conclude, as I said, that Jesus possessed foreknowledge of what would happen to Him, but also from the many other happenings which He predicted would befall those who believe and profess that He is the Messiah. He even foretold all the suffering we would have to bear when those of our own household put us to death. Consequently, we can find no fault with either His words or actions. [8] For this reason, too, we pray for you and for everyone else who hates us, that you may repent with us, and refrain from blaspheming Jesus Christ, who is proved to be totally without blame and reproach by His own deeds and by the miracles which even now are wrought in His name by the words of His teaching and the prophecies concerning Him. We pray, also, that you may believe in Jesus Christ, and thus at His second triumphant coming you will be saved and not be condemned by Him to the fire of hell.”

 

Chapter 36

Trypho then said, “It may also be admitted that this is exactly as you say, and that the Prophets predicted that Christ was to suffer, that He was to be called a Stone, that His first advent in which He was proclaimed to appear in suffering would be followed by another in glory, and that He would thenceforth be the Judge of all men, and the Eternal King and Priest. But prove to us that Jesus Christ is the one about whom these prophecies were spoken.”

[2] “At the proper time,” I replied, “I will supply the proofs you wish, but for the present permit me to quote the following prophecies to show that the Holy Spirit by parable called Christ God, and Lord of hosts and of Jacob. God Himself calls your interpreters stupid [Jer 4.22] because they claim that these prophecies were not spoken of Christ, but of Solomon, when he transported the ark of testimony into the temple built by himself. [3] Listen to these words of David’s Psalm: ‘The earth is the Lord’s and its bounty; the world, and all them who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and has prepared it upon the rivers. Who will ascend into the mountain of the Lord; or who will stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who has not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor. [4] He will receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Savior. This is the generation of them who seek Him, of them who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory will enter in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord who is strong and mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory will enter in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the king of Glory’ [Ps 23.1-10]. [5] This proves that Solomon was not the Lord of hosts. But, when our Christ arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, the heavenly princes chosen by God were ordered to open the gates of Heaven that the King of Glory might enter and sit at the right hand of the Father until He makes His enemies His footstool (as it is stated in another psalm [Ps 109.1]). [6] Now, when these heavenly princes saw that He was in appearance without beauty, honor, or glory, and not recognizing Him, they asked: ‘Who is this King of Glory?’ And the Holy Spirit, either in His own name or in the Father’s, answered: ‘The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory.’ But I am sure that everyone will admit that none of the gate-keepers of the Temple at Jerusalem ever said of Solomon (though he was ever so glorious a king), or of the ark of testimony, ‘Who is this King of Glory ?’

 

Chapter 37

“Christ is thus further described,” I continued, “in the diapsalm of the forty-sixth Psalm, ‘God is ascended with jubilee, and the, Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to our God, sing you; sing praises to our king, sing you. For God is the king of all the earth, sing you wisely. God has reigned over the Gentiles; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the people are gathered together with the God of Abraham, for the strong ones of the earth are of God, and have been exceedingly exalted’ [Ps 46.6-10]. [2] And in Psalm ninety-eight the Holy Spirit reprimands you, and announces that He whom you refuse to recognize as your king is the King and Lord of Samuel, Aaron, Moses, and of every other man. Here are the words of that Psalm: [3] ‘The Lord has reigned, let the people be angry. He Who sits on the cherubim; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion, and high above all people. Let them give praise to Your great name, for it is terrible, and holy; and the King’s honor loveth judgment. You have prepared directions; You have done judgment and justice in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and adore His footstool, for He is holy. [4] Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His name. They called upon the Lord,’ say the Scriptures, ‘and He heard them. He spoke to them in the pillar of the cloud. They kept His testimonies, and the commandment which He gave them. You heard them, O Lord our God. You were merciful to them, O God, and took vengeance on all their inventions. Exalt you the Lord our God, and adore at His holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy’ [Ps 98.1-9].”

 

Chapter 38

“It would be better for us,” Trypho concluded, “to have obeyed our teachers who warned us not to listen to you Christians, nor to converse with you on these subjects, for you have blasphemed many times in your attempt to convince us that this crucified man was with Moses and Aaron, and spoke with them in the pillar of the cloud; that He became man, was crucified, and ascended into Heaven, and will return again to this earth; and that He should be worshipped.”

[2] “I am aware,” I replied, “that, as the Word of God testifies, this great wisdom of Almighty God, the Creator of all, is concealed from you. It is, therefore, with feelings of pity that I exert every possible effort to help you understand our teachings, which to you seem paradoxical. If I fail, then I will not be held accountable on judgment day. I will recount to you other doctrines which may seem even more paradoxical to you, but don’t be disturbed; instead of leaving me, become more zealous and inquisitive listeners. At the same time, forsake the tradition of your teachers, for they are convicted by the Prophetic Spirit of being incapable of understanding the truths spoken by God, and of preferring to spread their own opinions. [3] The forty-fourth Psalm speaks thus of Christ: ‘My heart has uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King. My tongue is the pen of a scribe who writes swiftly. You are beautiful above the sons of men; grace is poured abroad in Your lips; therefore hath God blessed you forever. Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O You most mighty. With Your comeliness and Your beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign, because of truth and meekness and justice; and Your right hand will conduct You wonderfully. Your arrows are sharp, O Mighty One; under You will people fall; in the heart of the King’s enemies. [4] Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved justice, and hated iniquity; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. Myrrh and stacte and cassia perfume Your garments, from the ivory houses, whereby they have made You glad. King’s daughters are in Your honor. The queen stood at Your right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house. And the king will greatly desire your beauty, for He is the Lord your God, and Him will they adore. [5] And the daughter of Tyre will be there with gifts; the rich among the people will entreat Your countenance. All the glory of the king’s daughter is within in golden borders, clothed round about with varieties. After her will virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors will be brought to You. They will be brought with gladness and rejoicing; they will be brought into the temple of the King. Instead of Your fathers, sons are born to You. You will make them princes over all the earth. I will remember Your name throughout all generations. Therefore people will praise You forever, and forever and ever’ [Ps 44.2-18].

 

Chapter 39

“It is small wonder,” I continued, “that you Jews hate us Christians who have grasped the meaning of these truths, and take you to task for your stubborn prejudice. Indeed, Elias, when interceding for you before God, spoke thus: ‘Lord, they have slain Your prophets, and have destroyed Your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.’ And God answered: ‘I still have seven thousand men, whose knees have not been bowed before Baal’ [3Kgs 19.18]. [2] Therefore, just as God did not show His anger on account of those seven thousand men, so now He has not yet exacted judgment of you, because He knows that every day some of you are forsaking your erroneous ways to become disciples in the name of Christ, and this same name of Christ enlightens you to receive all the graces and gifts according to your merits. One receives the spirit of wisdom, another of counsel, another of fortitude, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God.”

[3] “Don’t you realize,” interposed Trypho, “that you are out of your mind to say such things?”

[4] “Listen to me, my friend,” I retorted, “and I’ll prove that I’m not out of my mind when I mention these special gifts. For it was predicted that, after His Ascension into Heaven, Christ would free us from the captivity of error and endow us with gifts. Here are the words of the prophecy: ‘He ascended on high; He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to men’ [Ps 67.19]. [5] Thus, having received gifts from Christ, who ascended into Heaven, we can show from the prophecies that you ‘who are wise in your own eyes and prudent in your own sight’ [Isa 5.21], are in reality stupid, for you honor God and His Christ only with your lips. We, on the other hand, who have been well instructed in His whole truth, honor Them with our actions, our knowledge, and our hearts, even unto death. [6] The reason why you hesitate to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ (which is proved by the Scriptures, the events which you yourselves witnessed, and the miracles wrought in His name) is, perhaps, to avoid the harsh persecution of the officials, who, influenced by the serpent (that evil and treacherous spirit), will not cease to persecute and slaughter those who acknowledge the name of Christ until He will come again to destroy them all and to distribute rewards according to merit.”

[7] “Prove to us,” interrupted Trypho, “that this man who you claim was crucified, and ascended into Heaven, is the Christ of God. It has indeed been proved sufficiently by your scriptural quotations that it was predicted in the Scriptures that Christ should suffer, and that He should come again in glory to accept the eternal kingdom over all nations, and that every kingdom should be made subject to Him. But what we want you to prove is that this Jesus is the Christ spoken of in the Scriptures.”

[8] “My dear friends,” I replied, “anyone with ears would know that I have already proved that very point, and it can be shown also from the facts which you yourselves have admitted. But, lest you think that I am not able to furnish further proof that Jesus is the Messiah, I renew my promise to produce additional arguments in their proper place. F or the present, however, I would like to continue on the same subject we were discussing.”

 

Chapter 40

“The mystery of the lamb which God ordered you to sacrifice as the Passover was truly a type of Christ, with whose Blood the believers, in proportion to the strength of their faith, anoint their homes, that is, themselves. You are all aware that Adam, the result of God’s creative act, was the abode of His inspiration. In the following fashion I can show that God’s precept concerning the paschal lamb was only temporary. [2] God does not allow the paschal Iamb to be sacrificed in any other place than where His name is invoked (that is, in the Temple at Jerusalem), for He knew that there would come a time, after Christ’s Passion, when the place in Jerusalem (where you sacrificed the paschal Iamb) would be taken from you by your enemies, and then all sacrifices would be stopped. [3] Moreover, that lamb which you were ordered to roast whole was a symbol of Christ’s Passion on the Cross. Indeed, the lamb, while being roasted, resembles the figure of the cross, for one spit transfixes it horizontally from the lower parts up to the head, and another pierces it across the back, and holds up its forelegs. [4] Likewise, the two identical goats which had to be offered during the fast (one of which was to be the scapegoat and the other the sacrificial goat) were an announcement of the two advents of Christ: of the first Advent, in which your priests and elders sent Him away as a scapegoat, seizing Him and putting Him to death; of the second Advent, because in that same place of Jerusalem you will recognize Him whom you had subjected to shame, and who was a sacrificial offering for all sinners who are willing to repent and to comply with that fast which Isaiah prescribed when he said ‘loosing the knot of violent contracts’ [Isa 58.6], and to observe likewise all the other precepts laid down by him (precepts which I have already mentioned and which all Christian believers fulfill).[5] You also know very well that the offering of the two goats, which had to take place during the fast, could not take place anywhere else outside of Jerusalem.”

 

Chapter 41

“Likewise,” I continued, “the offering of flour [cf. Lev 14.10], my friends, which was ordered to be presented for those cleansed from leprosy, was a prototype of the Eucharistic Bread, which our, Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to offer in remembrance [Lk 22.19] of the Passion He endured for all those souls who are cleansed from sin, and that at the same time we should thank God for having created the world, and everything in it, for the sake of mankind, and for having saved us from the sin in which we were born, and for the total destruction of the powers and principalities of evil through Him who suffered in accordance with His will. [2] Thus, as I already stated, God speaks through Malachi, one of the twelve Prophets, concerning the sacrifices you then offered up to Him: ‘I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord, and I will not receive your sacrifices at your hands. For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a clean oblation; for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord, but you profane it’ [Mal 1.10-12]. [3] By making reference to the sacrifices which we Gentiles offer to Him everywhere, the Eucharistic Bread and the Eucharistic Chalice, He predicted that we should glorify His name, but that you should profane it. [4] Furthermore, the precept of circumcision, obliging you without fail to circumcise your sons on the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcision by which we are circumcised from error and wickedness through our Lord Jesus Christ who arose from the dead on the first day of the week. For the first day of the week, while it remains the first of all the days, yet is called the eighth, according to the number of all the days of the cycle, and still it remains the first.

 

Chapter 42

“The twelve bells which had to be attached to the long robe of the high priest, were representative of the twelve Apostles, who relied upon the power of Christ, the Eternal Priest. Through their voices the whole world is filled with the glory and grace of God and His Christ. David testified to this truth when he said: ‘Their sound has gone forth into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world’ [Ps 18.5]. [2] And Isaiah speaks as though in the person of the Apostles (when they relate to Christ that the people were convinced, not by their words, but by the power of Him who sent them), and says: ‘Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have preached before Him as a little child, as if a root in a thirsty ground’ [Isa 53.1-2]. (And the rest of the prophecy as quoted above.) [3] When the passage, spoken in the name of many, states: ‘We have preached before Him,’ and adds, ‘as a little child,’ it proves that sinners will obey Him as servants, and will all become as one child in His sight. An example of this is had in a human body: although it is made up of many members, it is called, and is, one body. So also in the case of the people and the Church: although they are many individuals, they form one body and are called by one common name. [4] Therefore, (I concluded), if I were to enumerate all the other Mosaic precepts, my friends, I could show that they are types, symbols, and prophecies of what would happen to Christ and those who were foreknown as those who would believe in Him, and similarly of the deeds of Christ Himself. But, since I believe that I have already mentioned a sufficient number of examples, I will now return to the next point in the order of our discussion.

 

Chapter 43

“As circumcision originated with Abraham, and the Sabbath, sacrifices, oblations, and festivals with Moses (and it has already been shown that your people were commanded to observe these things because of their hardness of heart), so it was expedient that, in accordance with the will of the Father, these things should have their end in Him who was born of the Virgin, of the race of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David: namely, in Christ, the Son of God, who was proclaimed as the future Eternal Law and New Covenant for the whole world (as the above-quoted prophecies clearly show). [2] We, indeed, who have come to God through Jesus Christ, have received not a carnal, but a spiritual, circumcision, as did Enoch and those like him. Through God’s mercy we received this by means of baptism, since we had become sinners, and all men should likewise receive it. [3] But the topic to which we must now direct our attention is the mystery of the Birth of Christ. Isaiah already stated that man cannot describe it, when he exclaimed: ‘Who will declare His generation? Because He is cut off out of the land of the living; for the wickedness of My people He was led to death’ [Isa 53.8]. The Prophetic Spirit thus declared that the Birth of Him who was to die in order to save us sinners by His stripes was inexpressible. [4] Furthermore, the same Prophetic Spirit, through the same Isaiah, informed the faithful how Christ was to be born and how He was to come into this world. The words of the prophecy are: [5] ‘And the Lord spoke again to Ahaz saying: Ask a sign of the Lord your God, in the depth, or in the height above. And Ahaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And Isaiah said: Hear therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to contend with men, that you are to contend with God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold a Virgin will conceive, and bear a Son, and His name will be called Emmanuel. He will eat butter and honey before He knows to refuse the evil, and to choose the good. [6] For before the Child will know good or evil, He refuses evil to choose the good. For before the Child knows how to call father or mother, He will receive the power of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria. And the land will be forsaken, which you will barely endure on account of the presence of the two kings. But God will bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon the house of your father, days that have not yet come upon you, since the day that He took away Ephraim from Judah by the king of the Assyrians’ [Isa 7.10-16]. [7] Now, it is clear to all that no one of the race of Abraham was ever born, or even said to be born, of a virgin, except of our Christ. [8] But, since you and your teachers venture to assert that the real words of Isaiah are not ‘Behold, a virgin will conceive,’ but ‘Behold a young woman will conceive, and bear a son;’ and since you refer this prophecy to your king Hezekiah, I will attempt to answer you and show that this prophecy applies to Him whom we profess as our Christ.”

 

Chapter 44

“I will be absolutely without blame in my obligations to you, if I endeavor to convince you with every possible proof. But, if you persist in your obstinacy of heart and feebleness of mind, or if you refuse to agree to the truth through fear of the death which awaits every Christian, you will have only yourselves to blame. And you are sadly mistaken if you think that, just because you are descendants of Abraham according to the flesh, you will share in the legacy of benefits which God promised would be distributed by Christ. [2] No one can by any means participate in any of these gifts, except those who have the same ardent faith as Abraham, and who approve of all the mysteries. For I say that some precepts were given for the worship of God and the practice of virtue, whereas other commandments and customs were arranged either in respect to the mystery of Christ [or] the hardness of your people’s hearts. To prove this, God thus says through the mouth of Ezekiel: ‘If Noah and Jacob and Daniel should ask for either sons or daughters, it will not be given unto them’ [Ezek 14.20]. [3] And the same is stated in Isaiah: ‘The Lord God said: And they will go out and see the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against Me: for ‘their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched, and they will be a loathsome sight to all flesh’ [Isa 66.24]. [4] As men who have cut your souls off from this hope, it is necessary that you know how to obtain pardon of your sins and a hope of sharing in the promised blessings. There is no other way than this, that you come to know our Christ, be baptized with the baptism which cleanses you of sin (as Isaiah testified), and thus live a life free of sin.”

 

Chapter 45

Trypho then interposed, “Although you insist that your arguments must be lined up in the order predetermined by yourself, permit me to interrupt you at this point to ask a very urgent question.”

“Ask me,” I replied, “whatever you please. Then, after such questions and answers have been disposed of, I’ll resume my discussion and try to complete it.”

[2] “Then tell me,” he went on, “whether or not those who have regulated their lives according to the Mosaic Law will live again together with Jacob, Enoch, and Noah in the resurrection of the dead?”

[3] “My friend,” I answered, “when I quoted Ezekiel to the effect that ‘Although Noah, Daniel, and Jacob should ask for sons and daughters, it will not be granted them’ [Ezek 14.20] but each one should be saved by his own virtue, I also stated that those who obeyed the Mosaic Law would likewise be saved. They who are obliged to obey the Law of Moses will find in it not only precepts which were occasioned by the hardness of your people’s hearts, but also those which in themselves are good, holy, and just. [4] Since they who did those things which are universally, naturally, and eternally good are pleasing to God, they will be saved in the resurrection, together with their righteous forefathers, Noah, Enoch, Jacob, and others, together with those who believe in Christ, the Son of God, who existed before the morning star and the moon, yet deigned to become Incarnate, and be born of this virgin of the family of David, in order that by this dispensation He might conquer the serpent, that first sinner, and the angels who followed his example, and that He might thwart death and bring it to an end, so that, at the second Advent of Christ, it would no longer have any power over those who believe in Him and live according to His principles. At this second Advent of Christ, some will be condemned to suffer eternally in the fires of Hell, while others will be eternally free from suffering, corruption, and sorrow.”

 

Chapter 46

“But,” inquired Trypho, “if some even now desire to live in accordance with the precepts of the Mosaic Law, and yet believe that the crucified Jesus is the Christ of God and that to Him it has been given to judge without exception all men, and that His kingdom is eternal, could they also be saved?”

[2] “Let us examine this together,” I replied, “and see whether anyone is able now to observe all of the Mosaic precepts.”

“No,” he answered, “for we recognize, as you said, that it is impossible to sacrifice the paschal lamb anywhere else, or to offer the goats required for the fast, or to present all the other oblations.”

“Then tell me yourself,” I begged, “some of the commandments which can be observed. Then you could be convinced that, though a man has not practiced or observed your so-called eternal precepts, he can quite certainly be saved.”

“We can keep the Sabbath,” answered Trypho, “be circumcised, observe the months, and wash ourselves after touching something forbidden by Moses or after sexual relations.”

[3] “Then,” I asked, “do you think that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Job, and all the others before or after them who also were good people — like Sarah the wife of Abraham, Rebecca the wife of Isaac, Rachel the wife of Jacob, Leah, and the other women like them, down to the time of the mother of Moses the faithful servant — all of whom did not observe these laws, will be saved?”

Trypho replied, “Were not Abraham and his posterity circumcised?”

[4] “I know,” I retorted, “that Abraham and his posterity were circumcised. But I have already stated at great length why circumcision was enjoined upon them. If what I have said has not embarrassed you, let us take up the matter again. You know well that not one of those just men who lived before the time of Moses observed, or was ordered to observe, any of the precepts now under discussion, with the exception of circumcision which began with Abraham.”

“That we know,” he answered, “and we admit that they were saved.”

[5] “You also know,” I continued, “that, because of the hardness of your hearts, God imposed such commandments upon you through Moses, in order that, by observing these many precepts, you might have Him constantly before your eyes and refrain from every unjust or impious act. Thus, He commanded you to wear a red ribbon [cf. Num 15.38-41] as a constant reminder of Him; and for the same purpose He ordered you to wear the phylactery, made up of very thin pieces of parchment upon which were inscribed what we consider truly sacred letters. By these very ordinances He urges you to have God always in mind and, at the same time, His reproach. [6] Notwithstanding this reminder, you still continued to practice idolatry. In the times of Elias, when God was enumerating those who had not bowed the knee to Baal, He could count only seven thousand. And in Isaiah He scolds you for having sacrificed your children to idols. [7] But we Christians, because we refuse to offer sacrifice to those whom we formerly worshipped, suffer the most severe punishments, and even rejoice in enduring the death penalty, because we believe that one day God will raise us up again through Christ and will make us free forever from corruption, pain, and death. And we are positive that the precepts, imposed upon you on account of your people’s hardness of heart, are in no way conducive to acts of justice and piety.”

 

Chapter 47

“But,” Trypho again objected, “if a man knows that what you say is true, and, professing Jesus to be the Christ, believes in and obeys Him, yet desires also to observe the commandments of the Mosaic Law, will he be saved?”

“In my opinion,” I replied, “I say such a man will be saved, unless he exerts every effort to influence other men (I have in mind the Gentiles whom Christ circumcised from all error) to practice the same rites as himself, informing them that they cannot be saved unless they do so. You yourself did this at the opening of our discussion, when you said that I would not be saved unless I kept the Mosaic precepts.”

[2] “But why,” pressed Trypho, “did you say, ‘In my opinion such a man will be saved?’ There must, therefore, be other Christians who hold a different opinion.”

“Yes, Trypho,” I conceded, “there are some Christians who boldly refuse to have conversation or meals with such persons. I don’t agree with such Christians. But if some [Jewish converts ], due to their instability of will, desire to observe as many of the Mosaic precepts as possible — precepts which we think were instituted because of your hardness of heart — while at the same time they place their hope in Christ, and if they desire to perform the eternal and natural acts of justice and piety, yet wish to live with us Christians and believers, as I already stated, not persuading them to be circumcised like themselves, or to keep the Sabbath, or to perform any other similar acts, then it is my opinion that we Christians should receive them and associate with them in every way as kinsmen and brethren. [3] But if any of your people, Trypho, profess their belief in Christ, and at the same time force the Christian Gentiles to follow the Law instituted through Moses, or refuse to share in communion with them this same common life, I certainly will also not approve of them. [4] But I think that those Gentiles who have been induced to follow the practices of the Jewish Law, and at the same time profess their faith in the Christ of God, will probably be saved. Those persons, however, who had once believed and publicly acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ, and then later, for one reason or another, turned to the observance of the Mosaic Law, and denied that Jesus is the Christ, cannot be saved unless they repent before their death. [5] The same can be said of those descendants of Abraham, who follow the Law and refuse to believe in Christ to their very last breath. Especially excluded from eternal salvation are they who in their synagogues have cursed and still do curse those who believe in that very Christ in order that they may attain salvation and escape the avenging fires of Hell. [6] God in His goodness, kindness, and infinite richness considers the repentant sinner to be just and innocent, as He declared through the Prophet Ezekiel [cf. Ezek 33.11-20], and the one who turns from the path of piety and justice to follow that of injustice and impiety God judges to be an impious and unjust sinner. Thus has our Lord Jesus Christ warned us: ‘In whatsoever things I apprehend you, in them also will I judge you’ [cf. Ezek 33.16-20; apparently an agrapha of the Lord].”

 

Chapter 48

“We have now heard your opinion on these matters,” interrupted Trypho. “Resume your discourse where you left off, and bring it to an end, for it seems to be entirely absurd and utterly impossible of proof. Your statement that this Christ existed as God before all ages, and then that He consented to be born and become man, yet that He is not of human origin, appears to be not only paradoxical, but preposterous.”

[2] “I am aware,” I replied, “that my assertion must seem paradoxical, especially to you Jews, who were never in the least interested in knowing or doing the things of God, but only the things of your teachers, as God Himself testifies [cf. Isa 29.3]. However, Trypho, the fact that this Man is the Christ of God, is not to be denied, even if I were unable to prove that He, being God, pre-existed as the Son of the Creator of the universe and became Man through a virgin. [3] Since it has been proved beyond all doubt that He is the Christ of God, whatever that Christ eventually is to be, even if I fail to show that He pre-existed, and consented to become man with a body and feelings like our own, according to the will of the Father; only in this last regard could you rightly claim that I have been wrong. But you cannot deny that He is the Christ, even though He apparently is of human origin, and evidently became the Christ by the Father’s choice. [4] For, my friends, there are some of our race, who acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, but claim that He has a merely human origin. I naturally disagree with such persons, nor would I agree with them even if the majority of those who share my opinions were to say so. For we have been told by Christ Himself not to follow the teachings of men, but only those which have been announced by the holy Prophets and taught by Himself.”

 

Chapter 49

“It appears to me,” said Trypho, “that they who assert that He was of human origin, and was anointed as the Christ only by choice, propose a doctrine much more credible than yours. We Jews all expect that Christ will be a man of merely human origin, and that Elias will come to anoint Him. If this man appears to be the Christ, He must be considered to be a man of solely human birth, yet, from the fact that Elias has not yet come, I must declare that this man is not the Christ.”

[2] Then I asked him, “Does not the holy book of Zacharias [actually Malachi, 4.5] state that Elias will come before the great and terrible day of the Lord?”

“Most assuredly,” he replied.

“If, therefore, Scripture forces you to admit that it was predicted that there would be two Advents of Christ — one in which He will appear in suffering and without honor or beauty, and the second in which He will return in glory to judge all men, as has been proved by the many previously quoted passages from Scripture — must we not conclude that the word of God has foretold that Elias will be the forerunner of the great and terrible day, namely, of His second Advent?”

“Certainly,” was his answer.

[3] “We have been taught,” I continued, “by our Lord Himself that this would be so, namely, that Elias also would come; and we know that this will take place when our Lord Jesus Christ will be about to come from Heaven in glory, just as the spirit of God that was in Elias, in the person of John, who was a prophet of your race, after whom no other prophet has appeared among you, came forth as the precursor of His first Advent. For John cried out as he sat by the River Jordan: ‘I indeed baptize you with water, for repentance; but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and His sandals I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and will gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn up with unquenchable fire’ [Mt 3.11-12; Lk 3.16-17]. [4] Your King Herod imprisoned this Prophet John, and, during Herod’s birthday party, his niece’s dancing pleased him so much that he promised to give her whatever she desired. At her mother’s instigation, the young girl asked for the head of the imprisoned John. Thereupon, Herod ordered the head of John to be brought in on a platter. [5] Wherefore did our Christ, who was on earth at this time, reply to those who were saying that Elias must come before the appearance of Christ: ‘Elijah will indeed come and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished’ [Mt 17.11-12]. And it is added: ‘Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them of John the Baptist’ [Mt 17.13].”

[6] “You seem to me,” replied Trypho, “to be talking paradoxically again when you say that God’s Prophetic Spirit which was in Elias was also in John.

“Must you not admit,” I retorted, “that the same thing happened in the case of Jesus, son of Nave, who succeeded Moses as leader of your people, when Moses was ordered to lay his hands on him, while God Himself said: ‘I will transfer some of the spirit that is in you to him’ [Num 11.17; cf. Num 27.18 and Dt 34.9]?”

[7] “That I admit,” he replied.

“Therefore,” I concluded, “as God took the spirit that was in Moses, while he was on earth, and communicated it to Jesus, so was He able to transfer the spirit from Elias to John, in order that, as Christ appeared without glory at His first Advent, so likewise the first Advent of the spirit, which ever remained in the same state of purity in Elias, might be perceived to be without glory, as was Christ’s first Advent. [8] The Lord is said to fight against Amalek with hidden hand, and you will have to admit that Amalek has fallen. But, if it is affirmed that war will be waged against Amalek only at the glorious Advent of Christ, how would that fulfill the Scriptural quotation, ‘God will fight Amalek with hidden hand’ [Ex 17.16]? You can see, therefore, that the hidden power of God was in the crucified Christ, before whom the demons and shortly all the powers and authorities of the earth tremble.”

 

Chapter 50

“You seem,” said Trypho, “to have debated with many persons on every possible topic, and consequently are ready to answer any of my questions. Tell me then, first of all, how can you prove that there is another God besides the Creator of the world, and then show that He condescended to be born of a virgin.”

[2] “Allow me first,” I requested, “to quote some passages from the Prophet Isaiah concerning John the Baptist, who was also a Prophet and the herald of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Go ahead,” said he.

[3] “Here are the predictions of Isaiah,” I went on, “concerning John as forerunner: ‘And Hezekiah said to Isaiah: The word of the Lord, which He has spoken, is good: only let peace and truth be in my days.’ And: ‘Comfort the people; speak, you priests, to the heart of Jerusalem and comfort her, because her humiliation is completed. Her iniquity is forgiven, for she has received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. Every valley will be exalted, and every mountain and hill will be made low, and the crooked will become straight, and the rough ways plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see the salvation of God, for so has the Lord spoken. [4] The voice of one saying: Cry. And I said: What will I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen; but the word of the Lord remains forever. Get up upon a high mountain, you who brings good tidings to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, you who brings good tidings to Jerusalem; lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Judah: Behold your God. Behold the Lord comes with strength and His arm rules. Behold His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd, and He will gather together the lambs with His arm, and He will comfort her that is with young. [5] Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hands, and weighed the heavens with his palm, and all the earth with his fist? Who has weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been His counselor, and has taught Him? Or with whom has He consulted, and who has instructed Him? Or who showed Him the path of justice, or the way of understanding? All nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance, and will be reckoned as spittle. And Lebanon will not be enough to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering; and all nations are considered as nothing, and have been counted as nothing’ [Isa 39.8; 40.1-17].”

 

Chapter 51

When I had finished, Trypho remarked, “My friend, the words of the prophecy which you just quoted are ambiguous, and they certainly do not prove what you want them to prove.”

“If,” I replied, “prophets had not ceased in your race, Trypho, but still now appeared after this John, you might undoubtedly consider ambiguous what I say about Jesus Christ. [2] But, if John came as forerunner, exhorting men to repent, and then Christ came and brought to a close his prophesying and baptizing at the River Jordan, and preached the Gospel in person, affirming that the Kingdom of Heaven is imminent, and that He had to suffer much at the hands of the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, and rise again on the third day, and appear again at Jerusalem to eat and drink with His disciples; and predicted that in the meantime before His second Advent there would arise, as I already stated, heresies and false prophets in His name (which has been verified), how can there be a question of ambiguity, when the facts speak for themselves? [3] He also mentioned that there would no longer be any prophets among your people, and that men would acknowledge that the New Covenant, which God long since had promised to establish, was then an actuality, namely, that He Himself was the Christ. Here are His words: ‘The Law and the Prophets were until John the Baptist, from which time the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it away by force. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear’ [Mt 11.12-15; Lk 16.16].

 

Chapter 52

“It also was foretold by the Patriarch Jacob,” I continued, “that there would be two Advents of Christ, and that in the first He would be subject to suffering, and that after this Advent your people would have neither prophet nor king, and that the Gentiles who believe the suffering Christ would look forward to His second coming. For this reason the Holy Spirit spoke these things obscurely in parables, when He said: [2] ‘Judah, your brothers have praised you; your hands will be on the necks of your enemies; the sons of your father will bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the seed, my son, are you sprung up. Resting you have couched as a lion, and as a lion’s whelp; who will rouse him? There will not fail a leader out of Judah, nor a ruler from his thigh, until those things that are reserved for him will have come; and he will be the expectation of nations. Tying His foal to the vine, and the foal’s ass to the tendril of the vine, He will wash His robe in wine, and His garment in the blood of the grape. His eyes are more sparkling than the wine, and His teeth are as white as milk’ [Gen 49.8-12]. [3] You will not have the nerve to assert, nor could you prove it if you did, that your race did not always have a prophet or king from the beginning until the time when Jesus Christ was born and suffered. Although you claim that Herod, after whose reign Christ suffered, was from Ashkelon, you still must admit that you then had a high priest of your own race, so that even then you had one who offered sacrifices and observed the other legal ceremonies of the Mosaic Law. And since you also had a continuous succession of prophets down to John (even when your people were led captive into Babylon, your lands ravaged by war, and your sacred vessels carried away), there never ceased to be a prophet in your midst who was lord and leader and ruler of your people. Indeed, even your kings were appointed and anointed by the spirit in these prophets. [4] But, since the advent and death of our Jesus Christ in your midst, you have not had a prophet, nor do you now possess one. Furthermore, you no longer live under your own king, and, in addition, your land has been laid waste, and ‘abandoned as a guard hut’ in a garden [Isa 1.8]. And those words spoken by Jacob, ‘And He will be the expectation of nations’ [Gen 49.10], signified figuratively His two Advents, and also that the Gentiles would believe in Him, which you can now certainly verify as a fact. For we Christians, made up of all nationalities, have become pious and just through our faith in Christ, and we look forward to His second Advent.

 

Chapter 53

“And the passage, ‘Tying His foal to the vine, and the foal’s ass to the tendril of the vine’ [Gen 49.11], was a prophecy both of the deeds He would perform at His first coming and of the Gentiles’ belief in Him. For the Gentiles, like a foal, had never been harnessed or felt a yoke upon their necks, until our Christ arrived and sent His disciples to convert them. They have borne the yoke of His word, and have bent their backs to endure all things, because they look forward to the many priceless rewards which He promised them. [2] Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ, when He was about to enter Jerusalem, ordered His disciples to get Him the ass with its foal, which was tied at a gate of the village of Bethpage, and He rode upon it as He entered Jerusalem. Since it had been explicitly foretold that the Christ would do precisely this, when He had done it in the sight of all He furnished clear proof that He was the Christ. And yet, even after these things have happened and are proved from the Scriptures, you persist in refusing to believe. [3] Zacharias, one of the twelve Prophets, predicted this very event when he said: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold your King will come to you, the just one and the savior; meek and lowly, riding upon an ass, and upon the foal of an ass’ [Zech 9.9]. [4] Now that the Prophetic Spirit, as well as the Patriarch Jacob, mentioned the ass, an animal accustomed to the yoke, and its foal, which were in His possession, and that He bade his disciples, as I have said before, to lead the beasts to Him, constituted a prediction that both you coming from the synagogue and those who would come from the Gentiles would believe in Him. As the unharnessed foal was a figure of the former Gentiles, so the ass, accustomed to the yoke, was a symbol of those coming from among your people. For you have the Law laid upon you by the Prophets as a yoke. [5] The same Zacharias foretold that Christ would be struck, and His disciples scattered, which actually happened. For, after He was crucified, His disciples were dispersed until He arose again from the dead, and proved to them that it had been predicted that He would have to suffer. When they were convinced of this, they went out to all the world teaching these things [cf. Mk 16.20]. [6] Thus we are firm in our faith in Him and in His doctrine, because our faith is grounded upon both the Prophets and those who, openly throughout the world, are worshippers of God in the name of the Crucified One. Indeed, Zacharias said: ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man of My people, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd, and His sheep will be scattered’ [Zech 13.7].

 

Chapter 54

“And those prophetical words of Jacob, as recorded by Moses, namely, ‘He will wash His robe in wine, and His garment in the blood of the grape’ [Gen 49.11], signified that He would wash in His own blood those who believed in Him. For the Holy Spirit called those whose sins were forgiven by Christ, His robe; among whom He is always present in power, but among whom will be manifestly present in person at His second coming. [2] The expression, ‘the blood of the grape,’ indicates allegorically that Christ has blood not from human seed, but from the power of God. For, as God, not man, has made the blood of the grape, so it has been foretold that the blood of Christ would not be from human seed, but from divine power. Therefore, my friends, this prophecy which I have quoted shows that Christ is not a man of mere human origin, begotten in the ordinary human manner.”

 

Chapter 55

“We will keep in mind this interpretation of yours,” replied Trypho, “if you can vindicate your point with other arguments as well. But now, return to the original topic and prove to us that the Prophetic Spirit ever admits the existence of another God, besides the Creator of all things; and do be careful not to mention the sun and moon, which, Scripture tells us, God permitted the Gentiles to worship as gods [Dt 4.19]. Even prophets often misuse the word in this sense, when they say: ‘Your God is God of gods and Lord of lords,’ often adding ‘the great and mighty and terrible’ [Dt 10.17]. [2] Such words are used, not as if they were really gods, but because the word is instructing us that the true God, the Creator of all, is the sole Lord of all those who are falsely regarded as gods and lords. To convince us of this the Holy Spirit said through David, that although reputed as gods, ‘The gods of the Gentiles are idols of demons, and not gods’ [cf. Ps 95.5]. And He places a curse upon those who make or worship such idols.”

[3] “Trypho,” I answered, “these are not the proofs I was about to offer, for from your quotations I know that they who worship these and similar objects are justly condemned, but I am ready to adduce arguments that no one can contradict, arguments which may seem unusual to you, although you read them every day. Hence, we readily understand why, on account of your iniquity, God has hidden from you the power of discerning the wisdom of His words, with the exception of those few to whom, in His infinite mercy, He has left a seed for salvation (to use the words of Isaiah), lest your race perish completely from this earth, as did the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Listen, therefore, to these Scriptural quotations which need no explanation, but only to be heard.

 

Chapter 56

“Moses, that faithful and blessed servant of God, tells us that He who appeared to Abraham under the oak tree of Mamre was God, sent with two accompanying angels to judge Sodom by Another who ever abides in the super-celestial sphere, who has never been seen by any man, and with whom no man has ever conversed, and whom we call Creator of all and Father. [2] Here are the words of Moses: ‘And God appeared to him under the oak in Mamre, as he was sitting at the door of his tent, in the very heat of the day; And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw and beheld three men standing near him. And as soon as he saw them he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and he bowed himself toward the ground, and said’ [Gen 18.1-2], and so on, to the words: ‘And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord; and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and the whole land of that country, and behold, he saw a flame go up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace’ [Gen 19.27-28].”

At this point I asked them if they understood this quotation. [3] They answered that they knew the meaning of the cited passages, but failed to see how they proved that, besides the Creator of the world, any other God or Lord exists or is mentioned by the Holy Spirit.

[4] “Then,” I replied, “since you understand these quotations from Scripture, I will attempt to prove my assertion, namely, that there exists and is mentioned in Scripture another God and Lord under the Creator of all things, who is also called an Angel, because He proclaims to man whatever the Creator of the world — above whom there is no other God — wishes to reveal to them.”

Then, repeating the previously-quoted Scriptural passages, I asked Trypho if he really believed that God appeared to Abraham under the oak in Mamre, as the Scriptures stated.

“I certainly do,” he replied.

[5] “Was He one of those three,” I asked, “who, the Prophetic Spirit says, were seen as men by Abraham?”

“No,” Trypho answered, “but God appeared to him before he saw the three men. Furthermore, those three whom the Scripture calls men were angels. Two of them were commissioned to destroy Sodom, while the third was sent to impart to Sara the good news that she was to have a son (and having fulfilled his mission, he departed).”

[6] “How do you explain,” I went on, “that one of the three who was in the tent, and who promised, ‘I will return to you in due season, and Sarah will have a son’ [Gen 18.10], did return after Sara gave birth to her son, and the prophecy then asserts that He is God? For a clearer insight into the truth of my words, listen to these quite explicit words of Moses: [7] ‘And when Sarah had seen the son of Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman, whom she bore to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac, she said to Abraham: Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman will not be heir with my son Isaac. Abraham took this grievously because of his son. And God said to Abraham: Let it not seem grievous to you for the boy and for your bondwoman; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac will your seed be called’ [Gen 21.9-12]. [8] Do you not see, therefore, that He who promised under the oak that He would return, since He knew He would be needed to counsel Abraham to do what Sara wished, did return according to the Scriptures, and is God, as these following words indicate: ‘And God said to Abraham: Let it not seem grievous to you for the boy and for you bondwoman’ [Gen 21.12]?”

[9] “That’s right,” said Trypho, “but you have not thereby proved that this is another God besides Him who appeared to Abraham, and who appeared also to the other Patriarchs and Prophets. All you have shown is that we were mistaken in our assumption that the three who were in the tent with Abraham were all angels.”

[10] “Then,” I said, “if I could not prove to you from the Scriptures that one of these three is God, and yet is termed an Angel or ‘messenger’ (because, as stated above, He delivered the messages of God, the Creator of all to whomsoever God desires), and that He who appeared to Abraham on earth in human form (as did the two angels who accompanied Him) was in fact the God who existed before the creation of the universe, it would be logical for you to adhere to the common doctrine of your people.”

“Without a doubt,” he replied, “for this has been our belief up to now.”

[11] “Then,” I said, “let us return to the Scriptures and I will try to convince you that He who is said to have appeared to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, and is called God, is distinct from God, the Creator; distinct, that is, in number, but not in mind. For I state that He never did or said anything else than what the Creator — above whom there is no other God — desired that He do or say.”

[12] “Prove now,” said Trypho, “that He exists, so that we can agree also upon this. For we understand that you deny that He affirmed, did, or said anything contrary to the will of the Creator.”

“The previously quoted Scriptural passages will make this evident to you,” I replied. “Here are the words: ‘The sun was risen upon the earth, and Lot entered into Zoar. And the Lord rained upon Sodom brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven. And He destroyed these cities, and all the country round about’ [Gen 19.23-25].”

[13] Then the fourth of the companions who remained with Trypho spoke up: “It must therefore be admitted that one of the two angels who went down to Sodom, and whom Moses in the Scriptures calls Lord, is different from Him who is also God, and appeared to Abraham.”

[14] “Not only because of that quotation,” I said, “must we certainly admit that, besides the Creator of the universe, another was called Lord by the Holy Spirit. For this was, attested to not only by Moses, but also by David, when he said: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool’ [Ps 109.1]. And in other words: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved justice, and hated iniquity; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellow’ [Ps 44.7-8]. [15] Tell me if it is your opinion that the Holy Spirit calls another God and Lord, besides the Father of all things and His Christ. For, I am now going to prove to you from the Scriptures themselves that He, who was termed Lord in the Scriptures, is not one of the two angels who went down to Sodom, but He who accompanied them, and is called God, who appeared to Abraham.”

[16] “Hurry on with your proof, then,” said Trypho, “for, as you see, it is getting late in the day, and we are not ready to make any unguarded replies, for we have never before heard anyone who made such inquiries, examinations, or proofs. In fact, we would not have listened to you thus far, had you not constantly cited the Scriptures in your attempts to prove your point, and had you not stated that there is no God superior to the Creator of the world.”

[17] “You must surely know,” I went on, “the following quotation from Scripture: ‘And the Lord said to Abraham: Why did Sarah laugh, saying: Will I who am an old woman indeed bear a child? Is there anything impossible to God? According to appointment I will return to you in due season, and Sarah will have a son’ [Gen 18.13-14]. And a little later: ‘And the men rose up from thence, and turned their eyes towards Sodom and Gomorrah; and Abraham walked with them, bringing them on the way. And the Lord said: I will not hide from Abraham My servant what I am doing’ [Gen 18.16-17]. [18] And again, soon after, it is written: ‘And the Lord said: The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied, and their sin is become exceedingly grievous. I will go down and see whether they have done according to the cry that is come to Me; or whether it be not so, that I may know. And they turned themselves from there, and went their way to Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham drew near and said: Will You destroy the just with the wicked?’ [Gen 18.20-23].” And so forth, for I don’t deem it necessary to repeat the words I have already written, but only those which really clinched my argument with Trypho and his friends. [19] Thus, I passed over to the following words of Scripture: ‘And the Lord departed, after He had left speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. And two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom’ [Gen 18.33-19.1]. And so on, until: ‘But the men put forth their hands, and drew Lot into the house to them, and shut the door’ [Gen 19.10]. And then the following words occur: ‘And the angels took his hand, and the hand of his wife, and of his daughters, because the Lord spared him. And it came to pass, when they had brought them out of the city, they said: [20] Save, save your life. Do not look back, nor stay in all the country about; but save yourself in the mountain, lest you also be consumed. But Lot said to them: I beseech You my Lord, because Your servant has found grace before You, and You have magnified Your mercy, which You have shown to me in saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil seize me, and I die. [21] Behold, there is this city here at hand, to which I may flee, and it is little; there I will be safe, since it is little, and my soul will live. And He said to him: Behold also in this I have heard your prayers, not to destroy the city for which you have spoken. Make haste and be saved there, because I cannot do anything till you go into there. Therefore he called that city Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth, and Lot entered into Zoar. And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And He destroyed those cities, and all the country about’ [Gen 19.16-26].

[22] At this point I asked, “Do you not see, my friends, that one of the three, who is both God and Lord, and ministers to Him who is in Heaven, is Lord of the two angels? When they went on to Sodom, He stayed behind and talked with Abraham, as Moses testified. Then He went His way after His conversation, and Abraham returned to his place. [23] And when He came to Sodom, it was no longer the two angels, but He Himself, who talked with Lot, as is evident from the Scriptures. He, indeed, is the Lord who was commissioned by the Lord in Heaven, that is, the Creator of all things, to inflict those dreadful punishments upon Sodom and Gomorrah, which are described in the Scriptures in this fashion: ‘The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven’ [Gen 19.24].”

 

Chapter 57

When I had finished, Trypho admitted, “The Scriptures evidently compel us to agree with you. But you must admit that our perplexity is justified at those words which describe how the Lord ate the food which was prepared and presented to Him by Abraham.”

[2] “It is indeed written,” I replied, “that they ate. But, if we heard it said that the three did eat, and not the two only, who were in reality angels and were evidently fed in Heaven, though not with the same kind of food that humans consume (for, in speaking of the manna which your forefathers ate in the desert, the Scriptures say that they ate the food of angels [Ps 77.25]), then I would say that when the Scripture asserts they ate, it is to be understood in the same way as when we say that fire devours everything, but not in the sense that they ate by chewing the food with their teeth and jaws. Thus, if we are in any way familiar with the use of figurative modes of expression, even in this Scriptural passage there should be nothing puzzling to us.”

[3] “It is possible,” conceded Trypho, “that your explanation of the different ways of eating would solve the difficulty arising from the statement that Abraham’s guests, in consuming the food set before them, are said to have eaten it. So go on, now, to prove how this God who appeared to Abraham, and ministered to the Creator of the universe, was born of a virgin, and became a man, as you claim, suffering like all others.”

[4] “Before I produce the proof that you ask, Trypho,” I said, “permit me to offer you some additional arguments on the topic under discussion, that you also may be persuaded about it.”

“Go ahead,” he replied, “for that will be agreeable to me.”

 

Chapter 58

“I wish to quote Scripture to you,” I said, “without any merely artistic arrangement of arguments. Indeed, I have no such skill, but this grace alone was given me from God to understand His Scriptures, in which grace I invite everyone to share freely and abundantly, lest I should be held accountable at the judgment which God, the Creator of the universe, will hold through my Lord Jesus Christ.”

[2] “In doing so,” said Trypho, “you surely show true piety toward God, but when you state that you have no talent in the art of discussion, I suspect that you are just pretending ignorance in this matter.”

“If you think so,” I replied, “we will not argue the point, but I still feel that I spoke the truth. Be that as it may, if you will give me your undivided attention, I’ll present the rest of my proof.”

“Proceed,” he said.

[3] “My brethren,” I went on, “it has been stated by Moses that He who is termed God, and who appeared to the Patriarchs,

is also called Angel and Lord, m order that by these expressions you may recognize Him as the minister of the Father of all things (which you have already admitted, but which through additional arguments you will believe more firmly). [4] The word of God, as recorded by Moses, speaks of Jacob, grandson of Abraham, in the following manner: ‘And it came to pass at that time that the sheep conceived; I saw them with my eyes in my sleep. And behold the he-goats and rams which leaped upon the sheep and she-goats were white-streaked, and spotted, and speckled. And the angel of God said unto me in my sleep, Jacob, Jacob. [5] And I answered: What is it, Lord? And He said: Lift up your eyes, and see the he-goats and rams which leap upon the sheep and she-goats are white-streaked, and spotted, and speckled. For I have seen all that Laban has done to you. I am the God who appeared to you in Bethel, where you anointed the stone, and made a vow to Me. Now therefore arise, and go out of this land, and return into your native country, and I will be with you [Gen 31.10-14]. [6] And another passage speaks thus of Jacob: ‘And rising early he took his two wives, and his two handmaids, with his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over all his belongings. And Jacob was left alone; and an Angel wrestled with him till morning. And when He saw that He could not overcome him, He touched the sinew of his thigh while they wrestled, and forthwith it became numb. And He said to him: Let Me go, for it is break of day. [7] He answered: I will not let You go unless You bless me. And He said: What is your name? He answered: Jacob. But He said: Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have prevailed with God, and will be powerful with men. Jacob asked: Tell me by what name You are called? And He answered: Why do you ask My name? And He blessed him in the same place. And Jacob called the name of the place, The Vision of God, saying: I have seen God face to face, and my soul rejoiced’ [Gen 32.22-31]. [8] And again in another place it is written of the same Jacob: ‘And Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, surnamed Bethel; he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the name of that place Bethel, for there God appeared to him when he fled from his brother Esau. At the same time Deborah, the nurse of Rebecca, died and was buried at the foot of Bethel under an oak; and Jacob called the name of that place, The Oak of Mourning. And God appeared again to Jacob, after he returned from Mesopotamia of Syria, and He blessed him; saying: You shall not any more be called Jacob, but Israel will be your name’ [Gen 35.6-10].

[9] “He is called God, He is God, and will always be God.” [10] At these words they all nodded their heads in agreement. Then I said, “I consider it most appropriate that I repeat here the Scriptural passage which tells how He Who is Angel and God and Lord, and Who appeared as a man to Abraham, and Who wrestled in human form with Jacob, was seen by the same Jacob as he fled from his brother Esau. [11] Here are the sacred words: ‘And Jacob went out from the Well of the Oath, and went towards Haran. And he came to a certain place, and slept there, because the sun had set. And he took of the stones that lay there, and putting them under his head, he slept in that place. And he saw in his sleep a ladder standing upon the earth, and the top thereof touching heaven; and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it. And the Lord leaning upon the ladder, [12] said: I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and of Isaac; fear not. The land wherein you sleep, I will give to you and to your seed. And your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and will be spread abroad to the sea, and to the south, and to the north, and to the east; and in you and your seed all the tribes of the earth will be blessed. And I will be your keeper wherever you go, and will bring you back into this land; nor will I leave you, till I have accomplished all that I have said. [13] And when Jacob woke from his sleep, he said: indeed the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. And trembling he said: How terrible is this place! This is no other but the house of God, and the gate of Heaven. And Jacob, arising in the morning, took the stone which he had laid under his head and set it up for a monument, pouring oil upon the top of it. And Jacob called the name of the city Bethel, which before was called Luz [Ulmmaus]’ [Gen 28.10-19].”

 

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Then I continued, “Allow me now to show you from the words of the book of Exodus how this very Person who was at the same time Angel and God and Lord and Man, and who was seen by Abraham and Jacob, also appeared and talked to Moses from the flame of the fiery bush.” And when I was assured by my audience that they would listen gladly, patiently, and eagerly, I went on, [2] “In the Book of Exodus it is written: ‘Now after a long time the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel groaned by reason of the works’ [Ex 2.23]. And so on, until it is written: ‘Go, gather together the elders of Israel, and you will say to them: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: Visiting I have visited you, and I have seen all that has befallen you in Egypt’ [Ex 3.16].” [3] Then I asked, “My friends, do you not see that He whom Moses speaks of as an Angel who conversed with him from the fiery bush is the same who, being God, signifies to Moses that He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob?”

 

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“From the words you quoted,” replied Trypho, “the only conclusion we can draw is that it was an Angel who was seen in the fiery bush, but God who talked with Moses; so that in the apparition there were really two Persons together: Angel and God.”

[2] “Even if it were so,” I answered, “that both an Angel and God appeared together in the apparition to Moses, yet, as my previously quoted passages prove, it will not be the Creator of the world who is the God who said to Moses that He was the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, but it will be He who was proved to you to have been seen by Abraham and Jacob, doing the will of the Creator of the universe, and putting into execution His will in the judgment of Sodom. Thus, even if there were two persons, as you claim, an Angel and God, yet no one with even the slightest intelligence would dare to assert that the Creator and Father of all things left His super-celestial realms to make Himself visible in a little spot on earth.”

[3] “It has already been shown,” agreed Trypho, “that He who appeared to Abraham, and was called God and Lord, executed the commission (which He received from the Lord in Heaven) to punish the Sodomites. Even if the God who appeared to Moses was accompanied by an Angel, we cannot identify the God who spoke to Moses from the bush with God, the Creator of all, but with Him who certainly appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and who was also called and perceived to be the Angel of the Creator, because He made known to men the will of the Father and Creator.”

[4] “Trypho,” I said, “I now wish to prove to you that in the apparition under discussion, He who is termed an Angel and is God was the only One who talked to and was seen by Moses. Here is the Scriptural proof: ‘The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he saw that the bush was on fire and was not burnt. And Moses said: I will go and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that He went forward to see, He called to him out of the midst of the bush’ [Ex 3.2-4]. [5] Now, as the Scripture refers to Him who appeared to Jacob in a dream as an Angel, and then states that the same Angel said to Jacob in his sleep, ‘I am the God who appeared to you when you fled from the face of your brother Esau’ [Gen 35.7]; and as Scripture also affirms that, in the judgment of Sodom in the days of Abraham, the Lord executed the will of the Lord who is in Heaven; so when the Scripture here states that an Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, and then announces that He is Lord and God, it refers to the same Person who is identified in many of our earlier quotations as the minister to God, who is above the world, and above whom there is no other God.

 

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“So, my friends,” I said, “I will now show from the Scriptures that God has begotten of Himself a certain rational Power as a Beginning before all other creatures. The Holy Spirit indicates this Power by various titles, sometimes the Glory of the Lord, at other times Son, or Wisdom, or Angel, or God, or Lord, or Word. He even called Himself Commander-in-chief when He appeared in human guise to Jesus, the son of Nave. Indeed, He can justly lay claim to all these titles from the fact both that He performs the Father’s will and that He was begotten by an act of the Father’s will. [2] But, does not something similar happen also with us humans? When we utter a word, it can be said that we beget the word, but not by cutting it off, in the sense that our power of uttering words would thereby be diminished. We can observe a similar example in nature when one fire kindles another, without losing anything, but remaining the same; yet the enkindled fire seems to exist of itself and to shine without lessening the brilliancy of the first fire. [3] My statements will now be confirmed by none other than the Word of Wisdom, who is this God begotten from the Universal Father, and who is the Word and Wisdom and Power and Glory of Him who begot Him. Here are His words as spoken by Solomon: ‘If I will declare to you what happens daily, I will call to mind events from eternity, and recount them. The Lord begot Me in the beginning of His ways for His works. I was established from eternity, before He made the earth, and before He made the depths, before the fountains of waters had sprung out, before the mountains had been established. Before all the hills He begets Me. [4] God made the earth, and the desert, and the highest inhabited places under the sky. When He prepared the heavens, I was present. When He set up His throne on the winds, when He established the clouds above, and strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him arranging all things. I was that in which He delighted; daily and at all times I delighted in His presence, because He rejoiced for having finished the habitable world, and delighted in the sons of men. [5] Now therefore, My son, hear Me. Blessed is the man who hears Me, and the man who will keep My ways, watching daily at My gates, and waiting at the posts of My doors, for My ways are the ways of life; and My will has been prepared by the Lord. But they who sin against Me, hurt their own souls, and they who hate Me love death’ [Prov 8.21-36].

 

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“My friends,” I continued, “the word of God, through Moses, stated exactly the same thing, when it revealed to us that at the creation of man God spoke of Him (who was pointed out by Moses) in the same sense. Here is the Scriptural passage: ‘Let us make man according to Our image and likeness; and let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man; according to the image of God did He create him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it’ [Gen 1.26-28].

[2] “Lest you distort the meaning of these words by repeating what your teachers say — either that God said to Himself, ‘Let us make,’ just as we, when on the verge of doing something, say to ourselves, ‘Let us make’; or that God said ‘Let us make’ to the elements, that is, to the earth or other similar substances of which we think man was composed — I wish again to quote Moses to prove beyond all doubt that He spoke with One endowed with reason, and different in number from Himself. [3] These are the words of Moses: ‘And God said: Behold Adam is become as one of Us, knowing good and evil’ [Gen 3.22]. Now, the words ‘as one of Us’ clearly show that there were a number of persons together, and they were at least two. I do not consider that teaching true which is asserted by what you call a heretical sect of your religion, nor can the proponents of that heresy prove that He spoke those words to angels, or that the human body was the result of the angel’s work. [4] But this Offspring, who was truly begotten of the Father, was with the Father and the Father talked with Him before all creation, as the Scripture through Solomon clearly showed us, saying that this Son, who is called Wisdom by Solomon, was begotten both as a beginning before all His works, and as His Offspring. God has testified to this same truth in the revelation to Jesus, the son of Nave. To be fully convinced, listen to these words of the book of Jesus: [5] ‘And it came to pass, when Jesus was near Jericho, he lifted up his eyes, and saw a man standing over against him. And Jesus went to Him and said: Are You one of ours, or of our adversaries? And He answered: I am the Prince of the host of the Lord, and now I am come. Jesus fell on his face to the ground, and said to Him: Lord, what do You command Your servant? And the Lord’s Prince said to Jesus: Remove your shoes from off your feet; for the place where you stand is holy. Now Jericho was shut up and fortified, and no one went out of it. And the Lord said to Jesus: Behold, I have given Jericho into your hands, and its king, and all its valiant men’ [Jos 5.13-16; 6.1-2].”

 

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“My friend,” said Trypho, “you have proved your point with much force and copious arguments. Now prove to us that He condescended to become man by a virgin, in accordance with His Father’s will, and to be crucified, and to die; show us, too, that He arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven.”

[2] “Gentlemen,” I replied, “I have already proved this by previously quoted prophecies, but, in order to convince you on this point also, I will repeat and explain those passages for you. Do not these words of Isaiah, ‘Who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from earth’ [Isa 53.8], seem to indicate that He, who is said to have been consigned to death by God [the Father] because of the sins of the people, did not have mere human origin? Moses, too, in speaking of His blood in a formerly quoted parable, said: ‘He will wash His robe in the blood of the grape’ [Gen 49.11], since His blood did not originate from human seed but from the will of God. [3] And then, there are the words of David: ‘In the brightness of Your saints, from the womb before the day star I begot You. The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent: You art a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ [Ps 109.3-4]. Do not these words signify that from ancient times God, the Father of all things, intended Him to be begotten again and of a human womb? [4] In another passage previously cited, He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved justice, and hated iniquity; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. Myrrh and stacte and cassia perfume Your garments, from the ivory houses, whereby they have made You glad. King’s daughters are in Your honor. The queen stood at Your right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house. And the king will greatly desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and Him you will adore’ [Ps 44.7-12]. [5] These words also show clearly that He who did all things [God the Father] testified that He [Jesus] is to be worshipped both as God and Christ. They further show that the Word of God speaks to His faithful (who are of one soul and one synagogue and one church) as to a daughter, namely, the Church which was established by and partakes in His name (for we all are called Christians).That this is so, and that we are instructed to forget the ancient customs of our ancestors, the following words imply: ‘Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house; and the king will greatly desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and Him you will adore’ [Ps 44.11-12].”

 

Chapter 64

“You who come from the Gentiles,” said Trypho, “who are all called Christians from His name, may profess Him to be Lord and Christ and God, as the Scriptures signify, but we Jews, who adore the God who made Him, are not obliged to confess or worship Him.”

[2] “Trypho,” I replied, “if I were as contentious and willow-brained as you, I would have discontinued this discussion long ago, for you make no effort to understand my arguments, but only rack your brain to make any kind of reply. But now, in fear of God’s judgment, I will not be bold enough to state whether or not anyone of your race, by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth, may be saved. Even though you continue to quibble, I will continue to answer whatever difficulty or objection you advance as I do for persons of any nationality who seek my opinion or advice. [3] Had you given your full attention to the passages of Scripture which I have quoted, you would have already understood that those Jews who attain salvation are saved through Him and are His partisans. Had you understood this, you certainly would not have questioned me in this regard. For your benefit I am going to repeat those quotations from David, and I ask you to be attentive in order to understand them, instead of making a point only of maliciously contradicting them. [4] Here are the words of David: ‘The Lord has reigned, let the people be angry; He who sits above the cherubim; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion, and high above all people. Let them give praise to Your great name, for it is terrible and holy; and the King’s honor loves judgment. You have prepared directions; You have done judgment and justice in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and adore His footstool of His feet, for He is holy. Moses and Aaron among His priests; and Samuel among them who call upon His name. They called upon the Lord, and He heard them. He spoke to them in the pillar of the cloud. They kept His testimonies, and the commandment which He gave them’ [Ps 98.1-7]. [5] And from the other previously quoted passages from David, which, because they were inscribed ‘to Solomon,’ you ignorantly claim to have been referred to him, it can be proved that they were not spoken of Solomon, that Christ existed before the sun, and that they who are saved from among your people will be saved by Him. [6] These are the words: ‘Give to the king Your judgment, O God, and to the king’s son Your justice, to judge Your people with justice, and Your poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people, and the hills justice. He will judge the poor of the people, and will save the children of the poor, and will humble the slanderer. And He will continue with the sun, and before the moon throughout all generations’ [Ps 71.1-5]. And so forth, until the words: ‘His name continued before the sun. And in Him will all the tribes of the earth be blessed, all nations will call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things. And blessed be the name of His majesty forever, and the whole earth will be filled with His majesty. Amen. Amen’ [Ps 71.17-19]. [7] Keep in mind, too, that from other words of David which I cited above it can be proved that He would come forth from the highest heavens and was to ascend again to the same place, in order that you may know that He came forth as God from above, and became man in the midst of men, and will one day return to earth, when they who pierced Him will look upon Him and weep. [8] The words are as follows: ‘The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His hands. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. There are no tongues nor words, whose voices are not heard. Their sound has gone forth into all the earth and their words to the ends of the world. He has set His tabernacle in the sun, and He, as a bridegroom coming out of His chamber, has rejoiced as a giant to run his course. His going out is from the end of heaven, and His circuit even to its end, and there is none who will be hidden from His heat’ [Ps 18.2-7].”

 

Chapter 65

“I am puzzled,” said Trypho, “by so many quotations from Scripture, and I am at a loss how to explain that passage from Isaiah in which God states that He shares His glory with no other, when He says: ‘I am the Lord, God; this is My name; My glory and My powers I will not give to another’ [Isa 42.8].”

[2] I answered, “If you quoted that passage honestly and without malice, Trypho, and stopped without adding the words which both precede and follow it, then you may be excused. But you are sadly mistaken if you did so in the hope of embarrassing me into admitting that some passages of Scripture contradict others, for I would not be so bold as to assert, or even imagine, such a thing. If such a passage were quoted, and apparently contradicted another (since I am positive that no passage contradicts another), I would rather openly confess that I do not know the meaning of the passage, and I will do my utmost to have my opinion shared by those who imagine that the Scriptures are sometimes contradictory. [3] Only God knows why you proposed this last difficulty, but I will repeat the passage for you in its exact wording, so that you may see that God gives His glory to His Christ alone. And, gentlemen, I will add a few words of the context of the passage quoted by Trypho, and also those which immediately follow them. The words which I cite will not be taken from another chapter, but only from the context. I ask you, then, to reflect on the following words: [4] ‘Thus says the Lord God Who created the heavens, and stretched them out; Who established the earth, and the things that spring out of it; Who gives bread to the people on it, and spirit to them who tread on it. I the Lord Your God have called You to justice, and will hold Your hand, and will make You strong. And I have made You for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to free the prisoners of their chains, and to bring forth them who sit in darkness out of the prison. [5] I am the Lord God; this is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My powers to graven images. Things which were from the beginning, behold they are come to pass; they are new things which I declare, and before they are announced they are made manifest to you. Sing to the Lord a new song: His Beginning is from the ends of the earth. You who go down to the sea, and sail on it; you islands and you their inhabitants. [6] Rejoice, O desert, and the villages and their houses; and the inhabitants of Kedar will rejoice, and the inhabitants of the rock will shout from the top of the mountains; they will give glory to God; they will declare His powers in the islands. The Lord God Almighty will go forth; He will destroy all war; He will stir up zeal, and He will shout vigorously against His enemies’ [Isa 42.5-13].

[7] “Do you not see,” I asked on concluding the quotation, “that God affirms that He will give His glory to Him alone whom

He has appointed to be the light of the Gentiles, and not, as Trypho claims, that He will reserve His glory for Himself only?”

“We can see that,” conceded Trypho. “Now, finish the rest of the argument.”

 

Chapter 66

Then I resumed my argument where I had left off. I was proving that Christ was born of a virgin, and that Isaiah had foretold that He was to be so born. I repeated the words of the prophecy, as follows: [2] ‘And the Lord spoke again to Ahaz saying: Ask for a sign from the Lord your God, in the depth, or in the height above. And Ahaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And Isaiah said: Hear therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to contend with men, that you are to contend with God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold a virgin will conceive, and bear a Son, and His name will be called Emmanuel. He will eat butter and honey before [3] He knows to refuse the evil, and to choose the good. For before the Child will know good or evil, He refuses evil to choose the good. For before the Child knows how to call father or mother, He will receive the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria. And the land will be forsaken, which you will barely endure on account of the presence of the two kings. But God will bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon the house of your father, days that have not come upon you, since the day that He took away Ephraim from Judah by the king of the Assyrians’ [Isa 7.10-17].

[4] “Everyone knows,” I added, “that of all the carnal descendants of Abraham, no one was ever born of a virgin, or even claimed to be so born, except our Christ.”

 

Chapter 67

Then Trypho objected, “The quotation is not ‘Behold a virgin will conceive and bear a Son,’ but ‘Behold a young woman will conceive and bear a son,’ and so forth, as you quoted it. Furthermore, the prophecy as a whole refers to Hezekiah, and it can be shown that the events described in the prophecy were fulfilled in him. [2] Besides, in Greek mythology there is a story of how Perseus was born of Danae, while she was a virgin, when the one whom they call Zeus descended upon her in the form of a golden shower. You Christians should be ashamed of yourselves, therefore, to repeat the same kind of stories as these men, and you should, on the contrary, acknowledge this Jesus to be a man of mere human origin. If you can prove from the Scriptures that He !is the Christ, confess that He was considered worthy to be chosen as such because of His perfect observance of the Law, but do not dare to speak of miracles, lest you be accused of talking nonsense, like the Greeks.”

[3] “Trypho,” I replied, “I want you and everyone else to be certain of this, that even if you resort to worse taunts in your ridicule and mockery of me, you will not be able to turn me from my set purpose, for I will continue to employ those very words and examples (which you produced to confuse me), together with the Scriptures, to show the truth of my assertions. [4] But you are neither fair nor truthful when you endeavor to eliminate those points on which we have mutually agreed, for example, that some precepts of the Law were instituted by Moses because of your people’s hardness of heart. For you stated that if Jesus can indeed be proved to be Christ, it is so only because of His strict adherence to the Mosaic Law.”

[5] “Yet you admitted,” rejoined Trypho, “that He was circumcised, and observed the other precepts of the Mosaic Law.”

[6] “Yes I did,” I replied, “and I still do, but I do not admit that He submitted to this, as though justification could be acquired by it, but simply to complete the plan of our redemption in accordance with the will of His Father, Lord and God and Creator of all things. I also admit that He condescended to become man, that He was crucified and died after enduring all the suffering inflicted upon Him by your own people. [7] Now, Trypho, since you deny the points which you had previously admitted, tell me if those just men and patriarchs who lived before Moses, and therefore did not observe those precepts which Scripture shows were first commanded by Moses, have attained salvation in the inheritance of the blessed ?”

[8] “The Scriptures,” said Trypho, “force me to admit that they have.”

“Answer this question, too,” I persisted. “Did God order your ancestors to offer up oblations and sacrifices because He needed them, or because of their hardness of heart and tendency to idolatry?”

“The Scriptures,” he answered, “also compel me to admit the second reason.”

[9] “And have those same Scriptures also predicted that God had announced a new Covenant, other than that which He made at Mount Horeb?”

“They have,” he admitted.

“And was not that old Covenant,” I continued, “delivered to your ancestors amid such fear and trembling that they could not listen to God?”

“That also is true,” he conceded.

[10] “Then why do you argue?” I went on to ask. “God promised another covenant, different from the old one, which would be delivered to them without fear and trembling and flashes of lightning, and which would indicate what precepts and actions God knows to be eternal and fit for every nationality, and what precepts He issued as suited only to the hardness of your people’s hearts (as He proclaimed through His Prophets).”

[11] “They who love the truth and not strife,” replied Trypho, “must agree with you completely.”

“I don’t know,” I said, “how you can accuse others of admiring strife, when you yourself so often seem to do just that, for you frequently contradict what you had previously conceded.”

 

Chapter 68

“Because,” replied Trypho, “you are attempting to prove what is incredible and practically impossible, namely, that God deigned to be born and to become man.”

“If I had tried to prove this only by the teachings and arguments of men,” I said in reply, “you should not listen to me. But if I constantly appeal to various passages of Scripture to prove my point and beg you to understand them, then it is only your obstinacy that prevents you from knowing the mind and will of God. If you refuse to change, I surely will suffer no harm, but, holding fast to my former convictions, I will go my way.”

[2] “My friend,” protested Trypho, “remember that it was given to you to master these truths after much trouble and toil, and it is only that, before we can assent to what the Scriptures indicate, we also must first examine closely all that meets us.”

“I do not ask you,” I answered, “to abstain from scrutinizing carefully every point of our discussion, but, please, when you are at a loss what to say, do not deny what you have already admitted.”

[3] “We will try to do as you wish,” said Trypho.

“Now,” said I, “in order to bring this debate to a speedy conclusion, I would like to ask a few more questions.”

“Go ahead and ask them,” granted Trypho.

“Is it your opinion that there is any other to be worshipped and called Lord and God in the Scriptures, except the Creator of the world and Christ, who has been proved to you. by so many Scriptural passages to have become man?”

[4] “How could we admit such a statement,” asked Trypho, “when in our lengthy discussion it has not been determined whether there is any God other than the Father?”

“I must ask this question,” I responded, “in order to know whether you hold a different opinion from that which you already admitted.”

“I do not,” he said.

“Since you admit these things in truth,” I went on, “and since Scripture states, ‘Who will declare His generation’ [Isa 53.8], should you not also immediately agree that He is not of human generation?”

[5] “How, then,” asked Trypho, “does the Scripture say to David that of his loins God would take to Himself a Son, would establish His kingdom, and would install Him upon the throne of His glory?”

[6] “Trypho,” I replied, “if this prophecy of Isaiah, ‘Behold, a virgin will conceive,’ did not refer to the house of David, but to some other house of the twelve tribes, then the problem would, perhaps, be difficult; but, since the prophecy itself refers to the house of David, Isaiah explained exactly how that which was spoken in mystery to David by God would happen. Perhaps, my friends, you do not realize that many of the sayings which were expressed mysteriously in metaphorical or obscure language or were hinted at by symbolic actions were later expounded by the Prophets who lived after those who had uttered or done them.”

[7] “Undoubtedly,” agreed Trypho.

“If, then,” I continued, “I establish the fact that this prophecy of Isaiah speaks of our Christ and not Hezekiah, as you claim, will you not be obliged to doubt your teachers who dare to assert that the translation [of the Scriptures] made by your seventy elders at the court of the Egyptian King Ptolemy is inaccurate in some places? [8] For, whenever there arises in the Scriptures an evident contradiction of their silly and conceited doctrine, your teachers boldly affirm that it was not so written in the original text. And they conspire to distort other statements, harmonizing them with human actions and claiming that they have been spoken not of this our Jesus Christ, but of him of whom they attempt to interpret them. For instance, they taught you that the quotation under discussion is to be interpreted as referring to Hezekiah, a statement which, as I promised, I will prove to be a lie. [9] Under pressure, they are forced to agree that some of the passages we cited — passages already quoted to you which clearly prove that Christ was to suffer, to be worshipped, and to be called God — were indeed spoken of Christ. They boldly deny that He whom we worship is the Christ, yet they admit that a Messiah will come to suffer and rule and be worshipped. This opinion, too, I will prove to be absurd and senseless. But, as you have compelled me to first answer what you have said in ridicule, I will do so, and then I will pass on to the proofs of the other subjects.”

 

Chapter 69

“You may rest assured, Trypho,” I went on, “that my knowledge of the Scriptures and my faith in them have been well confirmed by the things which he who is called the Devil counterfeited in the fictions circulated among the Greeks (just as he accomplished them through the Egyptian magicians and the false prophets in the days of Elias). [2] For, when they say that Bacchus was born of Jupiter’s union with Semele, and narrate that he was the discoverer of the vine, and that, after he was torn to pieces and died, he arose again and ascended into heaven, and when they use wine in his mysteries, is it not evident that the Devil has imitated the previously quoted prophecy of the patriarch Jacob, as recorded by Moses? [3] And when it is asserted that Hercules, the son of Jupiter and Alkmene, was strong and traversed the whole earth, and that, after death, he, too, ascended into heaven, ought I not conclude that the Scriptural passage about Christ, ‘strong as a giant to run His course’ [Ps 18.6], was similarly imitated? And when the Devil presents Aesculapius as raising the dead to life and curing all diseases, has he not, in this regard, also, emulated the prophecies about Christ? [4] But, as I have not yet quoted a passage from Scripture to prove to you that Christ would do these things, I must now call one to your attention, from which you can easily perceive how the Scriptures foretold that they who were destitute of the knowledge of God (I allude to the Gentiles who had eyes and saw not, hearts and understood not, but worshipped material idols) should abandon their idols and place their hope in Christ. [5] Here is the quotation: ‘Be glad, O thirsty wilderness, let the desert rejoice, and flourish as the lily; and the deserts of the Jordan will blossom abundantly and rejoice; and the glory of Lebanon was given to it, and the honor of Carmel. And my people will see the exaltation of the Lord and the glory of God. Be strong, you feeble hands and weak knees. Be comforted, you fearful in heart; be strong, fear not. Behold our God brings, and will bring, the revenge of recompense. He will come and save us. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf will hear. Then will the lame man leap as a hare, and the tongue of the stammerers will be free; for water is broken out in the desert, and a stream in a thirsty land, and the dry land will become swamps, and in the thirsty land there will be a spring of water’ [Isa v35.1-7].

[6] “The fountain of living water which gushed forth from God upon a land devoid of the knowledge of God (that is, the land of the Gentiles) was our Christ, who made His appearance on earth in the midst of your people, and healed those who from birth were blind and deaf and lame. He cured them by His word, causing them to walk, to hear, and to see. By restoring the dead to life, He compelled the men of that day to recognize Him. [7] Yet, though they witnessed these miraculous deeds with their own eyes, they attributed them to magical art; indeed, they dared to call Him a magician who misled the people. But He performed these deeds to convince His future followers, that if anyone, even though his body were in any way maimed, should be faithful to His teaching, He would raise him up at His second coming entirely sound, and make him free forever from death, corruption and pain.

 

Chapter 70

“Now, when those who hand down the mysteries of Mithra claim that he was born of a rock, and call the place where they initiate his believers a cave, am I not right in concluding that they have imitated that dictum of Daniel, ‘a stone was cut without hands out of a great mountain’ [Dan 2.34]? In similar fashion, have they not attempted to imitate all the sayings of Isaiah? For the demons urged the priests of Mithras to exhort their followers to perform righteous acts. [2] Here are the words of Isaiah which I must quote that you may know from them that this is so: ‘Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and they who are near will know My strength. The sinners in Zion have departed; trembling will seize the impious. Who will announce to you the everlasting place? He who walks righteously, and speaks truth, who hates iniquity and injustice, and keeps his hands clean from bribes; who stops his ears from hearing the unjust judgment of blood, who shuts his eyes from seeing evil; he will dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. [3] Bread will be given to him, and his water will be sure. You will see the King in his glory, and your eyes will look far off. Your soul will meditate on the fear of the Lord. Where is the scribe? Where are the counselors? Where is he who counts those who are nourished, the small and the great people? With whom they did not take counsel, nor knew the depth of the voices, so that they did not hear. A shameless people, and there is no understanding in him who hears’ [Isa 33.13-19].

[4] “It is quite evident that this prophecy also alludes to the bread which our Christ gave us to offer in remembrance of the Body which He assumed for the sake of those who believe in Him, for whom He also suffered, and also to the cup which He taught us to offer in the Eucharist, in commemoration of His Blood. The prophecy also states that we will see this same King in the splendor of His glory; [5] that the foreknown future believers in Him would have in mind the fear of the Lord; and that they who think they know the very letter of the Scriptures, and who listen to the prophecies, have no understanding of them. And, Trypho (I said), when I hear it asserted that Perseus was born of a virgin, I know that this is another forgery of that treacherous serpent.

 

Chapter 71

“I certainly do not trust your teachers when they refuse to admit that the translation of the Scriptures made by the seventy elders at the court of King Ptolemy of Egypt is a correct one, and attempt to make their own translation. [2] You should also know that they have deleted entire passages from the version composed by those elders at the court of Ptolemy, in which it is clearly indicated that the Crucified One was foretold as God and man, and as about to suffer death on the cross. But, since I know that all you Jews deny the authenticity of these passages, I will not start a discussion about them, but I will limit the controversy to those passages which you admit as genuine. [3] Thus far, you have admitted the authenticity of all my quotations, except this, ‘Behold, a virgin will conceive,’ which you claim reads, ‘Behold, a young woman will conceive.’ And I promised to show that this prophecy was not spoken of Hezekiah, as you were taught, but of my Christ. This I now intend to prove.”

[4] “Before you do,” interrupted Trypho, “we would like you to quote some of the passages you claim were entirely omitted [from the elders” translation].”

 

Chapter 72

“Since you asked,” I replied, “here is an example. They have deleted the following passage in which Ezra expounded the law of the Passover: ‘And Ezra said to the people: This Passover is our Savior and refuge. And if you have understood, and it has entered into your hearts, that we are about to humiliate Him on a cross, and afterwards hope in Him, then this place will never be forsaken, saith the Lord of hosts. But if you will not believe Him, nor listen to His teaching, you will be the laughing-stock of the Gentiles’ [unknown; also cited in Latin by Lactantius, Div Inst 4.18]. [2] They have also expunged these words from Jeremiah: ‘I was as a meek lamb that is carried to be a sacrificial victim; they devised counsels against Me, saying: Come, let us put wood on His bread, and cut Him off from the land of the living, and let His name be remembered no more’ [Jer 11.19]. [3] Since this passage from the words of Jeremiah is still found in some copies of Scripture in the Jewish synagogues (for it was deleted only a short time ago), and since it is also proved from these words that the Jews planned to crucify Christ Himself and to slay Him, and since He is shown, as was likewise prophesied by Isaiah, as led like a lamb to slaughter, and in accordance with this passage He is marked as ‘an innocent lamb,’ they are so confused by such words that they resort to blasphemy. [4] Similarly have they removed the following words from the writings of the same Jeremiah: ‘The Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, remembered His dead who slept in their graves, and He descended to preach to them His salvation’ [unknown; also cited by Irenaeus in Adv. Haer. 3.20 (attributed to Isaiah); 4.22; and Preaching 78].

 

Chapter 73

“Furthermore, from a verse of the ninety-fifth Psalm of David they have left out the short phrase, ‘from the tree.’ For they have changed the verse, ‘Say to the Gentiles: The Lord has reigned from the tree,’ to ‘Say to the Gentiles: The Lord has reigned’ [Ps 95.10]. [2] Now, no one of your people was ever said to have reigned as God and King over the Gentiles, except the Crucified One, who (as the Holy Spirit testifies in the same Psalm) was freed from death by His resurrection, and thus showed that He is not like gods of the Gentiles, for they are but the idols of demons. [3] To clarify this point, I will repeat the whole Psalm for you. It is as follows: ‘Sing to the Lord a new canticle; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord and bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the Gentiles; His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and exceedingly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils; but the Lord made the heavens. Praise and beauty are before Him; holiness and majesty in His sanctuary. Bring to the Lord, O you kindred of the Gentiles, bring to the Lord glory and honor, bring to the Lord glory unto His name. [4] Bring up sacrifices, and come unto His courts. Adore the Lord in His holy court. Let all the earth be moved at His presence. Say among the Gentiles, the Lord has reigned from the tree. For he has established the world, which will not be moved; He will judge the people with justice. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad. Let the sea be moved, and its bounty. The fields and all things that are in them will be joyful. Then all the trees of the woods rejoice before the face of the Lord, because He comes; because He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the people with His truth’ [Ps 95.1-13]

[5] “Only God knows,” remarked Trypho, “whether or not our leaders have deleted portions of the Scriptures as you say. But such an assertion seems incredible.”

[6] “Yes,” I agreed, “it does seem incredible. For it is more dreadful than the erecting of the golden calf (which they made while still satiated with the manna that fell to earth), and more revolting than the sacrifice of their children to demons, or the slaughter of the Prophets. You, indeed, appear not to have even heard of the Scriptures which I said they had mutilated. But the many passages which I have already cited, together with those which you have preserved, and which are still to be quoted are more than enough to prove the points at issue.”

 

Chapter 74

“We are aware,” said Trypho, “that you have quoted those passages for us at our request. But the Psalm of David which you just cited seems to have been spoken of nobody else than the Father, who created the heavens and earth. You, however, claim that it refers to Him who suffered, and who you are anxious to prove is the Christ.”

[2] “Please meditate,” I pleaded, “as I repeat the words uttered by the Holy Spirit in this Psalm, and you will understand that I have not spoken maliciously, nor have you in truth been deceived. Besides, you will thus, when you are by yourselves, be able to grasp many other statements of the Holy Spirit. ‘Sing to the Lord a new canticle; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord and bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day, His wonders among all people’ [Ps 95.1-3]. [3] With these words He commands all those inhabitants of this globe who know this mystery of salvation (the Passion of Christ), through which He saved them, to sing out and constantly praise the Father of all, since they realize that He is both to be feared and to be praised, and is the Creator of heaven and earth, who redeemed mankind, who, after He died on the cross, was deemed worthy by Him to reign over the whole world. As also by…[large lacuna]

[End of the first day’s discussion, beginning of second day’s discussion are lost.]

[4] of the ‘land into which it enters; and they will forsake Me, and will make void the covenant which I have made with them in that day. And I will forsake them, and will hide My face from them; and there will be a devouring, and many evils and afflictions will overtake them, so that they will say in that day: In truth it is because the Lord my God is not with us, that these evils have come upon us. But I will hide My face from them in that day, for all the evils which they have done, because they have followed strange gods’ [Dt 31.16-18].

 

Chapter 75

“Now, from the book of Exodus we know that Moses cryptically indicated that the name of God Himself (which He says was not revealed to Abraham or to Jacob) was also Jesus. For it is written: ‘And the Lord said to Moses, say to this people: Behold, I send My angel before your face, to keep you in your journey, and bring you into the place that I have prepared for you. Take notice of him, and obey his voice; do not disobey him, for he will not pardon you, because My name is in him’ [Ex 23.20-21]. [2] Consider well who it was that led your fathers into the promised land, namely, he who was at first named Hoshea, but later renamed Jesus [cf. Num 13.16]. If you keep this in mind, you will also realize that the name of him who said to Moses, ‘My name is in him’ [Ex 3.21], was Jesus. Indeed, He was also called Israel, and he similarly bestowed this name upon Jacob. [3] From Isaiah we know that the Prophets who were sent to carry His messages to man are called angels and apostles of God, for Isaiah uses the expression, ‘Send me’ [Isa 6.8]. Equally evident to all is the fact that he who was called by the name Jesus became a mighty and great prophet. [4] If, then, we are convinced that that God has appeared in so many forms to Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, how can we doubt and refuse to believe that, in conformity with the will of the Universal Father, He could also be born man of a virgin, particularly when we have so many Scriptural passages which clearly show that even this has taken place according to the will of the Father?

 

Chapter 76

“Does not Daniel allude to this very truth when he says that He who received the eternal kingdom is ‘as a Son of Man’ [Dan 7.13]? The words, ‘as a Son of Man,’ indicate that He would become man and appear as such, but that He would not be born of a human seed. Daniel states the same truth figuratively when he calls Christ ‘a Stone cut out without hands’ [Dan 2.34]; for, to affirm that He was cut out without hands signifies that He was not the product of human activity, but of the will of God, the Father of all, who brought Him forth. [2] And the words of Isaiah, ‘Who will declare His generation?’ [Isa 53.8] show that His origin is indescribable, and no mere man has such an origin. When Moses affirmed that ‘He will wash His robe in the blood of the grape’ [Gen 49.11], did he not mystically foretell what I have frequently mentioned to you, namely, that Christ would have blood, but not from men, just as it is not man, but God, who gave blood to the grape? [3] And, in calling Him ‘the Angel of great counsel’ [Isa 9.6], did not Isaiah predict that Christ would be a teacher of those truths which He expounded when He came upon this earth? For He alone openly taught the great counsels that the Father intended for those who either were or will be pleasing to Him, as well as for those men or angels who withdrew from His will. [5] Here are His words of instruction: ‘They will come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness’ [Mt 8.11-12]. And: ‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not eat and drink and prophesy and cast out devils in Your name? And then I will say to them: Depart from Me’ [Mt 7.22-23]. Again, in other words, with which He will condemn them who are not worthy to be saved, He said: ‘Depart into outer darkness, which the Father has prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Mt 25.41]. [6] And He also said: ‘I give you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and poisonous insects, and over all the power of the enemy’ [Lk 10.19]. Indeed, we believers in Jesus our Lord, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, cast out all devils and other evil spirits and thus have them in our power. Now, if the Prophets foretold cryptically that Christ would suffer first and then be Lord of all, it was still well nigh impossible for anyone to grasp the full meaning of such prophecies, until Christ Himself convinced His Apostles that such things were explicitly proclaimed in the Scriptures. [7] For, before His crucifixion He said: ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees, and be crucified, and rise again on the third day’ [Mk 8.31]. And David predicted that He would be born from the womb before the sun and the moon, in accordance with the Father’s will, and he announced that He, being Christ, was the mighty God, and was thus to be adored.”

 

Chapter 77

“I admit,” said Trypho, “that your arguments are so numerous and forceful that they suffice to make me confused, but I again call to your attention that I want the proof of that Scriptural passage which you have so often promised. Please go on now and show us how that passage refers to your Christ, and not to Hezekiah, as we Jews believe.”

[2] “I will do as you wish,” I replied, “but, first, prove to me that Hezekiah was the one spoken of in the following words: ‘Before he had known how to call father or mother, he received the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria’ [Isa 8.4]. Indeed, I will not accept your explanation that Hezekiah waged war with the people of Damascus and Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria. For the prophecy reads thus: ‘Before the child knows how to call father or mother, He will take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria in the presence of the king of Assyria.’ [3] Now, if the prophecy had not said this by way of addition, ‘Before the Child knows how to call father or mother, He will take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria,‘ but had only said, ‘And she will bring forth a son and he will take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria,’ you could reply that because God foreknew that he would take them, He had foretold it. But the prophecy actually has the addition, ‘Before the Child knows how to call father or mother, He will take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria.’ Now, you cannot prove that this ever happened to any of you Jews, but we Christians can show that it did happen to our Christ. [4] For, at the time of His birth, the Magi came from Arabia and worshipped Him, after they had met Herod, then king of your country, whom Scripture calls king of Assyria because of His wicked ungodliness. For you well know that the Holy Spirit often speaks in parables and similitudes, just as He did to all the people of Jerusalem when He frequently said to them: ‘Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite’ [Ezk 16.3].

 

Chapter 78

“At the time when the Magi from Arabia came to King Herod and said, ‘From the star which has appeared in the heavens we know that a King has been born in your country, and we have come to worship Him’ [Mt 2.2], he asked the elders of your people and learned from them that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem; for they replied that it was written in the Prophet, ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the princes of Judah; for out of you will come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people’ [Micah 5.2; Mt 2.5-6]. [2] Now, these Magi from Arabia came to Bethlehem, worshipped the Child, and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. After they had worshipped Him in Bethlehem, they were admonished [in a vision] not to return to Herod. [3] And Joseph, the spouse of Mary (who at first had decided to put her away because he thought she was pregnant through human intercourse, namely, fornication), was likewise commanded in a vision not to do so, when the angel appeared to him and told him that what she had conceived was of the Holy Spirit [Mt 1.20]. [4] Consequently, overwhelmed with awe, he did not put her away. But when Quirinius was taking his first census in Judea, Joseph traveled from Nazareth, where he lived, to Bethlehem (to which he belonged), to be enrolled, for he was by birth of the tribe of Judah which inhabited that region. Then he was ordered [in a vision] to go with Mary into Egypt and to remain there with the Child until another revelation should advise them to return into Judea. [5] Now, concerning the birth of the Child in Bethlehem, [you should know that] when Joseph could find no lodging place in the village, he went to a cave nearby, and there Mary gave birth to the Child and laid Him in a manger, and there the Arabian Magi found Him. [6] I have already quoted the words of Isaiah in which he foretold the symbol of the cave, but, for the benefit of those who have joined you today I will repeat the passage.”

Then I repeated the words of Isaiah which I have written above, and added that by these words the priests who performed the mysteries of Mithras were urged by the Devil to declare that they were initiated by Mithras himself in a place they call a cave.

[7] “Now, when the Arabian Magi failed to return to Herod, as he had requested, but had gone to their own country by another route, as they had been ordered, and when Joseph, Mary and the Child had already retired into Egypt, as they were divinely directed, Herod, since he did not know who the Child was whom the Magi had come to worship, ordered every boy in Bethlehem without exception to be slain. [8] This, too, had been foretold by Jeremiah, when the Holy Spirit spoke through him in this fashion: ‘A voice was heard in Rama, weeping and great lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not’ [Jer 31.15]. Therefore, because of the voice which was to be heard as far as Rama, that is, as far as Arabia (for even today there is a place in Arabia called, Rama), lamentation was to fill the place where Rachel (the wife of the holy Patriarch Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel) lies buried, that is, Bethlehem, for the women were weeping for their massacred children and had no consolation for that which had occurred. [9] And the words of Isaiah, ‘He will take the power of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria’ [Isa 8.4], meant that the power of the wicked demon that dwelt in Damascus should be crushed by Christ at His birth. This is shown to have taken place. For the Magi, held in servitude (as spoils) for the commission of every wicked deed through the power of that demon, by coming and worshipping Christ, openly revolted against the power that had held them as spoils, which power the Scripture indicated by parable to be located in Damascus. [10] And in the parables that sinful and wicked power is fittingly called Samaria. Now, even among you none can deny that Damascus was and is a part of the land of Arabia, although it now belongs to Syro-Phoenicia. So it would be to your advantage, my friends, to learn what you do not understand from us Christians, who have received the grace of God, and not to exert every effort to defend your peculiar teachings and scorn those of God. [11] Isaiah shows why this grace was given to us, when he says: ‘This people draws near Me, with their lips they glorify Me, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching the precepts and doctrines of men. Therefore, behold, I will proceed to remove this people, and I will transplant them. And I will take away the wisdom of their wise men, and will bring to naught the understanding of their prudent men’ [Isa 29.13-14].”

 

Chapter 79

Then Trypho, showing by his countenance that he was rather angry, yet retaining a great reverence for the Scriptures, said to me, “The words of God are indeed holy, but your interpretations are not only artificial, as is evident from those you have given, but evidently even blasphemous, for you affirm that the angels have sinned and have fallen away from God.”

[2] Desiring to retain his attention, I answered in much milder language, “Sir, I respect your piety, and I pray that you may feel the same way toward Him whom the angels are said to serve, as Daniel says, ‘One as the Son of Man is led to the Ancient of days, and all dominion is given to Him forever and ever’ [Dan 7.13-14]. But, in order to show you, friend,” said I, “that it was not presumption that induced us to formulate the interpretation which you blame, I would like to cite as evidence the words of Isaiah himself, who stated that the bad angels have dwelt and still dwell in the Egyptian city of Tanis. [3] These are the words of Isaiah: ‘Woe to you apostate children! Thus says the Lord: You have taken counsel, but not by Me; and have made agreements, but not by My spirit, that you might add sin upon sin; who walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at My mouth, hoping for help in the strength of Pharaoh, and trusting in the shadow of Egypt. For the shadow of Pharaoh will be a disgrace to you, and a reproach to those who trust in the Egyptians, for the rulers in Tanis are bad angels. In vain will they toil with a people who will not help nor profit them, but will be their shame and reproach’ [Isa 30.1-5]. [4] Even Zacharias affirms, as you yourself mentioned, that ‘Satan stood at the right hand of Jesus, the priest, to be his adversary. And the Lord said: the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you’ [Zech 3.1-2]. Here is the testimony of Job (whom you also quoted): ‘The angels came to stand before the Lord, and the devil came with them’ [Job 1.6; 2.1]. And in the beginning of the Book of Genesis, Moses writes that the serpent deceived Eve, and was thereupon cursed. Furthermore, we know that in Egypt there were magicians who tried to imitate the miraculous deeds performed by God through His faithful servant Moses. And as you well know, David said: ‘The gods of the Gentiles are devils’ [Ps 95.5].”

 

Chapter 80

“Sir,” said Trypho, “as I already remarked, you are very careful to keep close to the Scriptures in all your statements. But, tell me truthfully, do you really believe that this place Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and do you actually expect that you Christians will one day congregate there to live joyfully with Christ, together with the patriarchs, the prophets, the saints of our people and those who became proselytes before your Christ arrived? Or did you admit this only to win the argument ?”

[2] “Trypho,” I replied, “I am not such a wretch as to say one thing and to think another. I have declared to you earlier, that I, with many others, feel that such an event will take place. However, I did point out that there are many pure and pious Christians who do not share our opinion. [3] Moreover, I also informed you that there are some who are Christians in name, but in reality are godless and impious heretics whose doctrines are entirely blasphemous, atheistic, and foolish. However, that you may be assured that I am not making this admission in your presence only, I promise to write up our whole debate in book form as well as I can, and in it I will insert the admission I just made to you, for I do not desire to be a follower of men and their teachings, but of God and His doctrines. [4] If you have ever encountered any so-called Christians who do not admit this doctrine [of the millennium], but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob by asserting that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that their souls are taken up to Heaven at the very moment of their death, do not consider them to be real Christians; just as one, after careful examination, would not acknowledge as Jews the Sadducees or the similar sects of the Genistae, Meristae, Galileans, Hellenians, and the Baptist Pharisees (please take no offense if I speak my mind), but would realize that they are Jews and children of Abraham in name only, paying lip service to God, while their hearts (as God Himself declared) are far from Him. [5] But I and every other completely orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the Prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah and the others.

 

Chapter 81

“These are the words of Isaiah concerning the millennium: ‘For there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the former will not be remembered nor come into their heart, but they will be glad and rejoice in these things, which I create. For, behold, I make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and My people a joy; and I will rejoice over Jerusalem, and be glad over My people. And the voice of weeping will no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There will no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that will not fill up his days; for the child will die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old will be accursed. [2] And they will build houses and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and eat the fruits of them, and drink the wine. They will not build, and others inhabit; they will not plant, and others eat. For as the days of the tree of life, so will be the days of My people, and the works of their hands will be multiplied. My elect will not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for a curse; for they will be a righteous seed blessed by the Lord, and their posterity with them. And it will come to pass that before they call, I will hear; as they are yet speaking, I will say, What is it? Then will the wolves and lambs feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and the serpent will eat earth like bread. They will not hurt nor destroy on My holy mountain, says the Lord’ [Isa 65.17-25].

[3] Now, by the words, ‘For as the days of the tree of life, so will be the days of My people, and the works of their hands will be multiplied,’ we understand that a period of one thousand years is indicated in symbolic language. When it was said of Adam that ‘in the day that he eats of the tree, in that he will die’ [Gen 2.17], we knew he was not a thousand years old. We also believe that the words, ‘The day of the Lord is as a thousand years’ [cf. Ps 89.4; 2Pt 3.8], also led to the same conclusion. [4] Moreover, a man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received a revelation and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgment would take place [Rev 20.4-6]. To this our Lord Himself testified when He said: ‘They will neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but will be equal to the angels, being sons of God, of the resurrection’ [Lk 20.35-36].

 

Chapter 82

“From the fact that even to this day the gifts of prophecy exist among us Christians, you should realize that the gifts (which had resided among your people have now been transferred to us. And, just as there were false prophets among you at the time your holy Prophets lived, so now there also are in our midst many false teachers, against whom we had been warned by our Lord Himself, so that we should be prepared for anything, since we are aware that He foreknew what would befall us after His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. [2] He predicted that we would be martyred and hated because of His name, and that many false prophets and false Christs would start preaching in His name, and would mislead many; and this has actually happened. [3] Many have disseminated atheistic, blasphemous, and wicked doctrines, falsely stamping them with His name, and they have taught, and still do, whatever that unclean spirit of the Devil has suggested to their minds. And we do our very best to warn them, as we do you, not to be deluded, for we know full well that whoever can speak out the truth and fails to do so will be condemned by God, who said through Ezekiel: ‘I have made you a watchman to the house of Judah. If the wicked man will sin, and you have not warned him, he will indeed die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at your hand; but if you have warned him, you will be innocent’ [Ezk 3.17-19]. [4] It is not from a love of wealth, or of glory, or of pleasure, therefore, but because of fear of a future judgment, that we strive to speak in accordance with the Scriptures. For no person can justly accuse us of such vices. Nor do we wish to emulate the lives of your rulers, whom God thus censures: ‘Your princes are companions of thieves; they all love bribes and run after rewards’ [Isa 1.23]. Now if, unfortunately, you should encounter such men even among us Christians, do not for that reason blaspheme Christ and attempt to misinterpret the Scriptures.

 

Chapter 83

“For instance, your teachers have presumed to refer the words, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’ [Ps 109.1] to Hezekiah as if he were ordered to sit on the right side of the Temple, when the Assyrian king sent men to him with menacing messages and he was warned by Isaiah not to be afraid. Now, we all know and acknowledge that what Isaiah predicted did actually happen, and that in the days of Hezekiah the Assyrian king was checked from waging war on Jerusalem, and that an angel of the Lord put to death about one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. [2] But, it is evident that the quoted Psalm does not refer to Hezekiah, for thus is it worded: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. He will send forth the scepter of power upon Jerusalem, and He will rule in the midst of Your enemies. In the brightness of the saints, before the morning star I begot You. The Lord has sworn and He will not repent: You art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ [Ps 109.1-4]. [3] Now, who will not concede that Hezekiah was not a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek? And who is not aware that he was not the redeemer of Jerusalem? And who does not know that he did not send the scepter of power upon Jerusalem, and did not rule in the midst of his enemies? (For was it not God who turned his enemies away while he wept and moaned?) [4] But, although our Jesus has not yet returned in glory, He has sent forth into Jerusalem the scepter of power, namely, the call to repentance to all the nations over which the demons used to rule, as David testifies: ‘The gods of the Gentiles are demons’ [Ps 95.5]. And the power of His word compelled many to abandon the demons whom they used to obey, and through Him to believe in Almighty God, because the gods of the Gentiles are demons. Furthermore, we have proved earlier that the words, ‘In the brightness of the saints, from the womb before the morning star I begot You’ [Ps 109.3], were addressed to Christ.

 

Chapter 84

“So also was the prophecy beginning with the words, ‘Behold a virgin will conceive and bear a Son’ [Isa 7.14], spoken of Him. For, if the one of whom Isaiah spoke was not to be born of a virgin, to whom did the Holy Spirit allude when He said: ‘Behold, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a Son’? If He was to be born of human intercourse like any other first-born son, why did God solemnly announce that He would give a sign which is not common to all first-born? [2] What is truly a sign, and what was to be an irrefutable proof to all men, namely, that by means of a virgin’s womb the First-born of all creatures took flesh and truly became man, was foreknown by the Prophetic Spirit before it took place and foretold by Him in different ways, as I have explained to you. Indeed, He foretold this in order that, when it did take place, everyone would understand that it all happened by the power and purpose of the Creator of the world; just as Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs, and as all living beings were created by the Word of God in the beginning. [3] But here, too, you dare to distort the translation of this passage made by your elders at the court of Ptolemy, the Egyptian king, asserting that the real meaning of the Scriptures is not as they translated it, but should read, ‘Behold a young woman will conceive,’ as though something of extraordinary importance was signified by a woman conceiving after sexual intercourse, as all young women, except the barren, can do. And even the barren can become fertile by the power of God. [4] Samuel’s mother, who had been sterile, gave birth to her child by the will of God. The same thing can be said of the wife of the holy Patriarch Abraham, and of Elizabeth, who bore John the Baptist, and of many other women. You must realize, therefore, that nothing is impossible for God to do, if He wills it. And, especially when it was prophesied that this would happen, you should not venture to mutilate or misinterpret the prophecies, for in doing so you do no harm to God, but only to yourselves.

 

Chapter 85

“Then, too, some of you dare to explain the following words, ‘Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates, so that the King of Glory may enter’ [Ps 23.7], as if they referred to Hezekiah, while others of you apply them to Solomon. On the contrary, we can prove that they were spoken neither of one nor of the other, nor of any of your kings, but only of our Christ, who appeared without beauty or honor (as Isaiah, David, and all the Scriptures testify); who is Lord of hosts by the will of the Father who bestowed that honor upon Him; who arose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven (as is stated in the Psalm and other Scriptural passages which also declared Him to be Lord of hosts).You can easily see the truth of this, if you will but open your eyes and look at the things that are happening around you. [2] Every demon is vanquished and subdued when exorcised in the name of this true Son of God, who was the First-born of all creatures, who was born of a virgin, who suffered and was crucified by your people under Pontius Pilate, who died and then, after His resurrection from the dead, ascended into Heaven. But, when you attempt to exorcise them in the name of any man born among you (whether kings, just men, prophets or patriarchs), not one of the demons will be subject to you. [3] If any man among you should exorcise them in the name of the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, they will, perhaps, become subject to you. But some of your exorcists, as I have already noted, adjure the demons by employing the magical art of the Gentiles, using fumigations and amulets. [4] The words of David also show that there are angels and powers whom the word of the prophecy, through David, ordered to lift up the gates in order that He who arose from the dead, Jesus Christ, the Lord of hosts, should enter in accordance with the Father’s will. For the sake of those who were not with us yesterday, I will repeat the prophecy of David and summarize much of what was said at that time. [5] I do not think it useless to do so, even though it means frequently repeating myself. It would be foolish to observe the sun and moon and other stars as they revolve in their same courses and effect the same change of seasons; and to consider a mathematician as he constantly gives the answer ‘four’ when asked how many two times two are; and to speak always in the same way in acknowledging all other things that are firmly established as true — and yet, when discoursing about the meaning of the prophecies contained in the Scriptures, to prefer not to quote always the same Scripture, but to think oneself capable of inventing and uttering words superior to the Scriptures. [6] Here is the passage from which I showed that God revealed to us that there are angels and powers in Heaven: ‘Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the high places. Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts’ [Ps 148.1-2]”

At this point, one of the men who had joined them on the second day, Mnaseas by name, remarked, “We greatly appreciate your kindness in taking the trouble to repeat those passages for our sake.”

[7] “My friends,” I replied, “listen to the Scripture which prompts me to do this. Jesus commanded us to love even our enemies, as Isaiah also had announced at some length, in whose words is included the mystery of the new birth, both of us and of all who look forward to the glorious coming of Christ in Jerusalem and strive in their every action to please Him. [8] Here are the words of Isaiah: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word. Say, our brethren, to them who hate and detest you, that the name of the Lord is glorified. He has appeared in their joy, and they will be confounded. A voice of clamor from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord who renders recompense to the proud. Before she was in labor she brought forth; before her time came to be delivered she brought forth a male child. [9] Who has ever heard such a thing, or who has seen the like to this? Has the earth brought forth in one day? And has she brought forth a nation at once? Because Zion has been in labor and has brought forth her children. But I gave this expectation even to her who does not bring forth, says the Lord. Behold I have made her who begets and her who is barren, says the Lord. Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and hold a joyous gathering, all you who love her. Be glad, all you who mourn for her, that you may suck and be filled with the breasts of her consolations; that having sucked out, you may be delighted with the entrance of His glory’ [Isa 66.5-13].”

 

Chapter 86

After I had quoted this passage, I continued, “Now, gentlemen, I want you to understand how He whom the Scriptures announce as about to return in glory after the crucifixion was symbolized both by the tree of life (which is said to have been planted in Paradise) and by the events which were to happen to all the just. When Moses was sent with a rod to deliver the people, he held it in his hands at their head, and he divided the sea. With this rod he touched the rock and saw water gush forth. And, by throwing a tree into the bitter waters of Marah, he made them sweet. [2] Jacob, by placing rods in their drinking-places, caused the sheep of his mother’s brother to conceive, so that he might gain possession of their young. The same Jacob boasts that he crossed the river with his rod. He also claimed that he saw a ladder, and the Scriptures state that God rested on it (and we have shown by the Scriptures that this was not the Father). And when Jacob had poured oil over a stone at the same place, God appeared to him and told him that he had anointed a pillar in honor of the God whom he had seen. [3] We also have proved that in many Scriptural passages Christ is symbolically called a Stone. We have likewise shown that every chrism, whether of oil, or of myrrh, or of any other balsam compound, was a figure of Christ; for the Scriptures say: ‘Therefore God, Your God, hath anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows’ [Ps 44.8]. All kings and other anointed persons trace to Him their titles of Kings and Anointed, just as He Himself received from the Father the titles of King and Christ and Priest and Angel and all other titles of this kind which He has or had. [4] By the blossoming of his rod, Aaron was proved to be the high priest. Isaiah, indeed, foretold that Christ would come forth as a rod from the root of Jesse. And David declared that the just man is ‘like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which will bring forth its fruit in due season, and his leaf will not fall off.’ And, again, it is said that the righteous man will ‘flourish like a palm tree’ [Ps 1.1]. [5] God appeared to Abraham from a tree, as it is written, ‘by the oak of Mamre’ [Gen 18.1]. After crossing over the Jordan, the people found seventy willow trees and twelve springs. David declares that God comforted him with a rod and staff. [6] Elishah, by throwing a piece of wood into the River Jordan, brought up to the surface the iron head of the axe with which the sons of the Prophets had begun to cut wood for the construction of a building [cf. 4Kgs 6.1-8] in which they proposed to read and study the precepts of God; just as our Christ, by being crucified on the wood of the cross and by sanctifying us by water raised up us who had been immersed in the mire of our mortal sins, and made us a house of prayer and worship. Finally, it was a rod which signified that Judah was the father of the twins who were born of Tamar by a great mystery.”

 

Chapter 87

When I had finished, Trypho said, “Now, when I ask the following question I want you to know that I do so, not for the purpose of contradicting you, but only for the sake of gaining information on the subject. [2] Explain to me the following words of Isaiah: ‘There will come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower will rise up out of his root. And the spirit of God will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety; and he will be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord’ [Isa 11.1-3]. Now you have admitted (he said) that these words were spoken of Christ, who, you claim, already existed as God, and, becoming incarnate by the will of God, was born of a virgin. This, then, is my question: How can you prove that Christ already existed, since He is endowed with those gifts of the Holy Spirit which the above-quoted passages of Isaiah attribute to Him as though He had lacked them?”

[3] “You proposed a very sensible and intelligent question,” I remarked, “which appears to raise a real difficulty. But, if you really wish a solution to this difficulty, please listen to me. The Scriptures state that these gifts of the Holy Spirit were bestowed upon Him, not as though He were in need of them, but as though they were about to rest upon Him, that is, to come to an end with Him, so that there would be no more Prophets among your people as of old (as is plainly evident to you, for after Him there has not been a prophet among you). [4] Furthermore, please give my words your careful attention, so you may understand that each of your Prophets, by receiving one or two powers from God, did and said those things which we have learned from the Scriptures. Solomon had the spirit of wisdom, Daniel that of understanding and counsel, Moses that of strength and piety, Elias that of fear, Isaiah that of knowledge, and the others likewise had one or two gifts, as had Jeremiah, and the twelve Prophets, and David, and, in short, all your other Prophets. [5] The Spirit therefore rested, that is, ceased, when Christ came. For, after man’s redemption was accomplished by Him, these gifts were to cease among you, and, having come to an end in Him, should again be given, as was foretold, by Him, from the grace of His Spirit’s powers, to all His believers according to their merits. [6] I have already affirmed, and I repeat, that it had been predicted that He would do this after His Ascension into Heaven. It was said, therefore: ‘He ascended on high; He led captivity captive; He gave gifts to the sons of men’ [Ps 67.19]. And in another prophecy it is said: ‘And it will come to pass after this, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and upon My servants, and upon My handmaids, and they will prophesy’ [Joel 2.28-29].

 

Chapter 88

“Now, if you look around, you can see among us Christians both men and women endowed with gifts from the Spirit of God. Thus, it was not because He needed the powers enumerated by Isaiah that it was foretold that they would come on Him, but only because they would not exist any more afterwards. As additional proof, remember what I said about the Magi of Arabia; how they came as soon as the Child was born, and worshipped Him. [2] For, as soon as He was born, He possessed His powers, and, growing up like any other man, He exercised appropriate powers at each stage of growth, being nourished by every sort of food, and waiting for about thirty years until John went on before Him as the herald of His arrival and precursor of His baptism, as I have pointed out previously. [3] And when Jesus came to the River Jordan, where John was baptizing, He stepped down into the water and a fire ignited the waters of the Jordan; and when He came up out of the water the Holy Spirit alighted upon Him in form of a dove, as the Apostles of this our Christ Himself testify. [4] We indeed know that He did not approach the river because He needed either the baptism or the Spirit who came down upon Him in the shape of a dove. So, too, He did not condescend to be born and to be crucified because He was in need of birth or crucifixion; He did it solely for the sake of man, who from the time of Adam had become subject to death and the deceit of the serpent, each man having sinned by his own fault. [5] For God, in His desire to have the angels and men (who were endowed with the personal power of free will) do whatever He had enabled them to do, created them such that, if they chose to do things pleasing to Him, He would preserve them immortal and free from punishment, but, if they preferred to do evil, He would punish each one as He pleased. [6] It was not His entry into Jerusalem upon an ass (which we have shown was predicted) that gave Him the power to be the Christ, but it did prove to men that He is the Christ; just as in the days of John the Baptist men needed proof, that they might discern who was the Christ. [7] For, when John, wearing only a cincture of skins and a cloak of camel’s hair, and eating only locusts and wild honey, sat by the River Jordan and preached the baptism of repentance, men supposed that he was the Christ, but he cried out to his listeners: ‘I am not the Christ, but the voice of one crying; for there will come He who is stronger than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry’ [Jn 1.23; cf. Isa 40.3]. [8] When Jesus came to the Jordan, therefore, being considered the son of Joseph the carpenter [Lk 3.16], and having no comeliness, as the Scriptures affirmed [Isa 53.2], He was thought to be a carpenter (for, when He was on earth He used to work as a carpenter, making ploughs and yokes, and thereby giving us symbolic lessons of the necessity of leading a just and active life); but then, as I already stated, the Holy Spirit for the sake of mankind descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and at the same instant a voice out of the heavens spoke the words which had also been uttered by David, when he, in the person of Christ, spoke what was later to be said to Christ by the Father: ‘You are My Son; this day have I begotten You’ [Ps 2.7; cf. Mt 3.17; Mk 1.11; Lk 3.22], meaning that His birth really began for men when they first realized who He was.”

 

Chapter 89

“You know very well,” said Trypho, “that we Jews all look forward to the coming of the Christ, and we admit that all your Scriptural quotations refer to Him. I also admit that the name Jesus, which was given to the son of Nave [Nun], has prompted me to incline to this opinion. [2] But we doubt whether the Christ should be so shamefully crucified, for the Law declares that he who is crucified is to be accursed [Dt 21.23]. Consequently, you will find me very difficult to convince on this point. It is indeed evident that the Scriptures state that Christ was to suffer, but you will have to show us, if you can, whether it was to be the form of suffering cursed by the Law.”

[3] “If, indeed, Christ was not to suffer,” I replied, “and if the Prophets did not predict that because of the sins of the people He would be put to death, and be dishonored and scourged, and be numbered among sinners, and be led as a sheep to the slaughter, whose birth (the Prophet declares) no one can describe, your feelings of astonishment would be justified. But, if these things are marks which reveal Him to all, how can we do otherwise than confidently believe in Him? And all who have grasped the meaning of the Prophets’ words, as soon as they hear that He was crucified, will affirm that He is the Christ and no other.”

 

Chapter 90

“Show us this from the Scriptures, therefore,” said Trypho, “that we, too, may believe you. We are indeed aware that He was to endure suffering, and to be led as a sheep to the slaughter. But what we want you to prove to us is that He was to be crucified and be subjected to so disgraceful and shameful a death (which even in the Law is cursed). We find it impossible to think that this could be so.”

[2] “You know,” I said, “in fact, you already admitted, that what the Prophets said or did they often expressed in parables and types, thus hiding the truth they held. Consequently, it is not easy for the multitude to understand most of what they taught, but only those who take the trouble to find out and learn.”

“We never doubted it,” they replied.

[3] “Then, please listen,” I said, “to what I am going to say. Moses was the first to make known this apparent curse of Christ by the symbolic acts which He performed.”

“What acts do you mean?” asked Trypho.

[4] “When your people,” I answered, “waged war with Amalek [Ex 17.9-12], and Jesus, the son of Nave, was the leader of the battle, Moses himself, stretching out both hands, prayed to God for help. Now, Hur and Aaron held up his hands all day long, lest he should become tired and let them drop to his sides. For, if Moses relaxed from that figure [of out-stretched hands ], which was a figure of the cross, the people were defeated (as Moses himself testifies), but as long as he remained in that position Amalek was defeated, and the strong derived their strength from the cross. [5] In truth, it was not because Moses prayed that his people were victorious, but because, while the name of Jesus was at the battle front, Moses formed the sign of the cross. Who among you does not know that that prayer is the most pleasing to God which is uttered with lamentation and tears, with prostrate body or bended knees? But on this occasion Moses (or any after him) did not pray in such a manner; he was seated on a stone. And I have shown that even the stone is symbolical of Christ.

 

Chapter 91

“Furthermore, God indicated in yet another way the power of the mystery of the cross when He said through Moses, in the blessing pronounced over Joseph: ‘From the blessing of the Lord in his land; for the seasons of heaven, and for the dews, and for the deep springs from beneath, and for the fruits brought forth by the course of the sun, and for the conjunctions of the months, and for the tops of the ancient mountains, and for the top of the hills, and for the ever-flowing rivers, and for the abundance of the fruits of the earth. And let those things which are pleasing to Him who appeared in the bush come upon the head and crown of Joseph, who was glorified among his brethren. His beauty is as of a firstling of a bullock, and his horns are the horns of a unicorn; with them will he push the nations even to the ends of the earth’ [Dt 33.13-17]. [2] Now, no one can assert or prove that the horns of a unicorn represent any other matter or figure than that of the cross. The one beam of the cross stands upright, from which the upper part is lifted up like a horn when the crossbeam is fitted on, and the ends of the crosspiece resemble horns joined to that one horn. And the part which is fixed in the middle of the cross, on which the bodies of the crucified are supported, also projects like a horn, and it, too, looks like a horn when it is shaped and joined to the other horns. [3] And the words, ‘With them will he push the nations even to the ends of the earth’ [Dt 33.17], clearly describe what is now taking place in all the nations. For, men of all nations have been pushed by the horns, that is, goaded to compunction, by means of this mystery [of the cross], and have abandoned their vain idols and demons to turn to the worship of God. But to unbelievers, the same sign of the cross is shown to be the cause of their destruction and condemnation, as when the people had come out of Egypt, and Israel was victorious over conquered Amalek by the sign of Moses’ outstretched hands and by the imposition of the name Jesus upon the son of Nave. [4] Likewise, the figure and sign, erected to counteract the effects of the serpents that bit Israel, was clearly intended for the salvation of those who believe that this sign was to show that through the Crucified One death was to come to the serpent, but salvation to those who had been bitten by the serpent and had sought protection of Him who sent His Son into the world to be crucified. Actually, the Prophetic Spirit, through Moses, did not instruct us to believe in a serpent, since He announces that the serpent was cursed by God from the beginning, and through Isaiah He informs us that it will be slain as an enemy by the great sword, which is Christ.

 

Chapter 92

“If, therefore, one were not endowed with God’s great grace to understand the words and deeds of the Prophets, it would be quite useless for him to relate their words and actions, when he can give no explanation of them. Moreover, will not those words and deeds seem despicable to most people if they are told by those who do not understand them? [2] For, if anyone were to ask you why, when Enoch, and Noah with his children, and all others like them, were pleasing to God without being circumcised or without observing the Sabbath, God required by new leaders and another law, after the lapse of so many generations, that those who lived between the times of Abraham and Moses should be justified by circumcision, and that those who lived after Moses be justified by both circumcision and the other precepts (that is, the Sabbaths, sacrifices, ashes, and oblations), [God would be unjustly criticized] unless you point out, as I have already said, that God in His foreknowledge was aware that your people would deserve to be expelled from Jerusalem and never be allowed to enter there. [3] I have previously shown that you are distinguishable by no other means than by the circumcision of the flesh. Abraham, indeed, was considered just, not by reason of his circumcision, but because of his faith. For, before his circumcision it was said of him: ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice’ [Gen 15.6]. [4] We also, therefore, because of our belief in God through Christ, even though we are uncircumcised in the flesh, have the salutary circumcision, namely, that of the heart, and we thereby hope to be just and pleasing to God, since we have already obtained this testimony from Him through the words of the Prophets. But you Jews were ordered to observe the Sabbaths and make offerings, and you were allowed by God to erect a place in which He could be invoked, so that you might not worship idols and forget God, and thus become impious and godless, as, indeed, you always seem to have been. [5] (Now it was precisely for this reason that God issued His ordinances about the sabbaths and oblations, as I have already proved by my previous words, but for the sake of the new arrivals today I had better repeat most of my proofs.) If this had not been the reason [that is, to save you from idolatry], God could be accused of not having foreknowledge and of not teaching all men to know and to observe the same just precepts (for there surely were many generations of men before the time of Moses), and the Scripture would be judged false which says: ‘God is true and just, and all His ways are judgments, and there is no iniquity in Him’ [Dt 32.4; Ps 24.10; 91.16]. [6] But, since the Scripture is evidently true, God does not desire that you always remain foolish and conceited as you now are, but that you may be saved with Christ, who pleased God and was approved by Him, as I have already shown from the writings of the holy Prophets.

 

Chapter 93

“God shows every race of man that which is always and in all places just, and every type of man knows that adultery, fornication, murder, and so on are evil. Though they all commit such acts, they cannot escape the knowledge that they sin whenever they do so, except those who, possessed by an unclean spirit, and corrupted by bad education and evil habits and wicked laws, have lost (or rather have stifled and stamped out) their natural feelings of guilt. [2] For one may observe how such persons are unwilling to endure what they inflict upon others, and with sinister conscience they criticize others for the very things that they themselves do. Hence, I am of the opinion that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ very aptly explained that all justice and piety are summed up in these two commandments: ‘You will love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole strength, and your neighbor as yourself’ [Mt 22.37-39]. For, he who loves God with all his heart and all his strength has a mind that is devoted to God, and he will worship no other as God, but he will, since God desires it, revere the Angel who is loved by the same Lord and God. And the man who loves his neighbor as himself will wish for him the very same blessings that he wishes for himself (and no man wishes evil for himself).[3] Consequently, he who loves his neighbor will both pray and work that his neighbor may attain the same blessings as himself. Now, a man’s neighbor is none other than that creature endowed with reason and passions like his own — man. Therefore, since all justice is directed toward two ends, namely, God and man, whoever loves the Lord God with all his heart, says the Scripture, and with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself, will surely be a just man. [4] But, as for you Jews, you have never evidenced any friendship or love either toward God, or toward the Prophets, or toward one another, but you have shown yourselves always to be idolaters and murderers of the just; in fact, you even did violence to Christ Himself. Indeed, you continue along your wicked way even to this day, cursing even those who prove to you that He whom you crucified was the Christ. Why, you even go so far as to maintain (and this shows how irrational are your mental functions) that He has been crucified as an accursed enemy of God. [5] Though you have a starting point to understand, from the signs wrought by Moses, that this man is the Christ, you will not; further, imagining that you can baffle us, you ask whatever questions come to your mind, and you yourselves lack sound arguments whenever you encounter a well-instructed Christian.”

 

Chapter 94

“Tell me, did not God, through Moses, forbid the making of an image or likeness of anything in the heavens or on earth, yet He Himself had Moses construct the brazen serpent in the desert and set it up as a sign by which those who had been bitten by the serpents were healed, and in doing so was He not free of any sin? [2] By this, as I stated above, He announced a mystery by which He proclaimed that He would break the power of the serpent, which prompted the sin of Adam, and that He would deliver from the bites of the serpent (that is, evil actions, idolatries, and other sins) all those who believe in Him who was to be put to death by this sign, namely, the cross. [3] If this is not the interpretation of the passage, give me one reason why Moses set up the brazen serpent on the sign [cross], and commanded all who had been bitten to look upon it; and they were healed, and this, in spite of the fact that he himself had forbidden them to make an image of anything whatsoever.”

[4] Another of those who had come on the second day interrupted me by saying, “You are right. We cannot give a reason. I have personally asked our teachers about this question on numerous occasions, but none of them could ever give me a reasonable answer. Therefore, please continue on this topic, for we are most attentive as you reveal a mystery [of contradictions] through which the teachings of the Prophets are exposed to calumny.”

[5] “As God ordered the sign to be made by the brazen serpent,” I went on, “and yet is not guilty [of the crime of making graven images], so in the Law a curse is placed upon men who are crucified, but not upon the Christ of God, by whom are saved all who have committed deeds deserving a curse.”

 

Chapter 95

“Indeed, the whole human race could be said to be under a curse. For it is written in the Law laid down by Moses: ‘Cursed be he who does not abide in the words of the book of the Law, and does not fulfill them in work’ [Dt 27.26; cf. Gal 3.10]. Not even you will dare to assert that anyone ever fulfilled all the precepts of the Law exactly; some have kept them more, some less, than others. But, if those who are subject to the Law are certainly under a curse, because they have not kept the whole Law, how much more so will all the Gentiles evidently be cursed, since they commit idolatry, seduce youths, and perform other wicked deeds? [2] If, therefore, the Father of the Universe willed that His Christ should shoulder the curses of the whole human race, fully realizing that He would raise Him up again after His crucifixion and death, why do you accuse Him, who endured such suffering in accordance with the Father’s will, of being a cursed person, instead of bewailing your own iniquity? For, although He suffered for mankind according to the will of the Father Himself, it was not in obedience to the will of God that you made Him suffer. Nor did you practise piety when you put the Prophets to death. [3] Nor can any of you say in self-defense: ‘If the Father willed Him to suffer these things, in order that by His wounds mankind might be healed, we did no wrong [in putting Him to death].’ If you would say this while you repent for your wicked actions, and acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ, and observe His precepts, then, as I said above, you will receive remission of your sins. [4] But, if you curse Him and those who believe in Him, and, whenever it is in your power, put them to death, how will you prevent retribution from being demanded of you for having laid hands on Him, as of unjust and sinful men who are completely devoid of feeling and wisdom?”

 

Chapter 96

“The words of the Law, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ [Dt 21.23], strengthen our hope which is sustained by the Crucified Christ, not because the Crucified One is cursed by God, but because God predicted what would be done by all of you Jews, and others like you, who are not aware that this is He who was before all things, the Eternal Priest of God, the King, and Christ. [2] Now, you can clearly see that this has actually happened. For, in your synagogues you curse all those who through Him have become Christians, and the Gentiles put into effect your curse by killing all those who merely admit that they are Christians. To all our persecutors we say: ‘You are our brothers; apprehend, rather, the truth of God.’ But when neither they nor you will listen to us, but you do all in your power to force us to deny Christ, we resist you and prefer to endure death, confident that God will give us all the blessings which He promised us through Christ. [3] Furthermore, we pray for you that you might experience the mercy of Christ; for He instructed us to pray even for our enemies, when He said: ‘Be kind and merciful, even as your Heavenly Father is merciful’ [Lk 6.36]. We can observe that Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing His sun to shine on the ungrateful and on the just, and sending rain to both the holy and the evil; but all of them, He has told us, He will judge [cf. Mt 5.45].

 

Chapter 97

“Besides, the fact that the Prophet Moses remained until evening in the form of the cross, when his hands were held up by Aaron and Hur, happened in the likeness of this sign. For the Lord also remained upon the cross almost until evening, when He was buried. Then He arose from the dead on the third day, as David foretold when he said: ‘I have cried to the Lord with My voice, and He has heard Me from His holy hill. I have slept and have taken My rest; and I have risen up, because the Lord has sustained Me’ [Ps 3.5-6]. [2] Isaiah likewise foretold the manner of His death in these words: ‘I have spread forth My hands to an unbelieving and contradicting people, who walk in a way that is not good’ [Isa 65.2]. And the same Isaiah also predicted His resurrection: ‘His burial has been taken out of the midst’ [Isa 57.2], and: ‘I will give the rich for His death’ [Isa 53.9]. [3] And again, David, in his twenty-first Psalm, refers to His passion on the cross in mystical parable: ‘They have pierced My hands and feet. They have numbered all My bones. And they have looked and stared upon Me. They parted My garments amongst them, and upon My vesture they cast lots’ [Ps 21.17-19]. For, when they nailed Him to the cross they did indeed pierce His hands and feet, and they who crucified Him divided His garments among themselves, each casting lots for the garment he chose. [4] You are indeed blind when you deny that the above-quoted Psalm was spoken of Christ, for you fail to see that no one among your people who was ever called King ever had his hands and feet pierced while alive, and died by this mystery (that is, of the cross), except this Jesus only.

 

Chapter 98

“Permit me to quote that whole Psalm, that you may perceive how He reveres His Father and how He refers all things to Him, as when He prays to be freed by Him from this death; at the same time pointing out in the Psalm what sort of men His enemies were, and proving that He indeed became a man who was capable of suffering. The Psalm is as follows: [2] ‘O God, my God, look upon me, why have You forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I will cry by day, and You will not hear, and by night, and it is not for want of understanding in me. But You dwell in the holy place, You praise of Israel. In You have our fathers hoped; they have hoped and You have delivered them. They cried to You, and they were saved; they trusted in You and were not confounded. [3] But I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. All they who saw me have laughed me to scorn; they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head; He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver him; let Him save him, seeing He desires him. For You are He who has drawn me out of the womb; my hope from the breasts of my mother. I was cast upon You from the womb. From my mother’s womb You are my God. Depart not from me, for tribulation is very near; for there is none to help me. [4] Many calves have surrounded me; fat bulls have besieged me. They have opened their mouths against me as a lion ravening and roaring. All my bones are poured out and scattered like water. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my belly. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my jaws; and You have brought me down into the dust of death. For many dogs encompassed me; the council of the malignant has besieged me. They have pierced my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me. [5] They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots. But You, O Lord, remove not Your help to a distance from me; look towards my defense. Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Let all the seed of Israel fear Him’ [Ps 21.2-24].”

 

Chapter 99

Then I continued, “I will now show you that the whole Psalm referred to Christ, by repeating and expounding it. The opening words of the Psalm, ‘O God, my God, look upon me, why have You forsaken me’ [Ps 21.2] foretold in old times what would be said in Christ’s time. For, while hanging on the cross, He exclaimed, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ [Mt 27.46]. [2] And the words, ‘Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I will cry by day, and You will not hear, and by night, and it is not for want of understanding in me’ [Ps 21.2-3] depicted the very things that He was about to do. For, on the day of His crucifixion He took three of His disciples to the Mount of Olives, opposite the Temple in Jerusalem, and prayed thus: ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me;’ but He ended His prayer by saying, ‘Not My will, but Yours be done’ [Mt 26.39], thus making it clear that He had really become a man capable of suffering. [3] To offset the calumny that He did not know then that He was to suffer, He immediately adds in the Psalm, ‘And it is not want of understanding in Me’ [Ps 21.3]. Just as it was not from lack of understanding that God asked Adam where he was, and Cain where Abel was, but to convince each what sort of man he was, and to provide us with knowledge of all things through the Holy Writ; so Christ signified that there was no lack of understanding on His part, but on the part of those who, refusing to believe that He was the Christ, thought that they put Him to death and that He would remain in Hades as any ordinary person.

 

Chapter 100

“And the words, ‘But You dwell in the holy place, You praise of Israel’ [Ps 21.4], signified that He would do something worthy of praise and admiration, which He did when through the Father He arose again from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion. I have indeed pointed out earlier that Christ is called both Jacob and Israel, and that not only in the blessing of Joseph and Judah have things been predicted mysteriously of Him, but also in the Gospel it is written that He said: ‘All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son; nor does anyone know the Son except the Father, and those to whom the Son will reveal Him’ [Mt 11.27]. [2] He thus revealed to us all that we have learned from the Scriptures by His grace, so that we know Him the First-begotten of God before all creatures, and as the Son of the patriarchs, since He became incarnate by a virgin of their race, and condescended to become a man without comeliness or honor, and subject to suffering. [3] Hence, He alluded to His imminent passion in this way, ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes, and be crucified, and rise again on the third day’ [cf. Mt 16.21; Mk 8.31-39; Lk 9.22-27]. He called Himself Son of Man, either because of His birth by the virgin who was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob and Isaac and Abraham, or because Adam himself was the father of those above-mentioned Patriarchs from whom Mary traces her descent. It is clear that the fathers of girls are also considered the fathers of the children born to their daughters. [4] And Christ changed the name of one of His disciples from Simon to Peter, when he, enlightened by the Father, recognized Him to be Christ, the Son of God [cf. Mt 16.15-18]. And since we find it written in the Memoirs of the Apostles that He is the Son of God, and since we call Him by that same title, we have understood that this is really He and that He proceeded before all creatures from the Father by His power and will (for in the prophetic writings He is called Wisdom, the Day, the East, Sword, Stone, Rod, Jacob, and Israel, always in a different way); and that He is born of the Virgin, in order that the disobedience caused by the serpent might be destroyed in the same manner in which it had originated. [5] For Eve, an undefiled virgin, conceived the word of the serpent, and brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary, filled with faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced to her the good tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and therefore the Holy One born of her would be the Son of God, answered: ‘May it be done to me according to Your word’ [Lk 1.35]. [6] And, indeed, she gave birth to Him, concerning whom we have shown so many passages of Scripture were written, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who have become like the serpent, but frees from death those who repent of their sins and believe in Christ.

 

Chapter 101

“Now, the next words of the Psalm are these: ‘In You have our fathers hoped; they have hoped and You have delivered them. They cried to You, and they were saved; they trusted in You and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people’ [Ps 21.4-7]. This passage proves that He acknowledges as His fathers those who trusted in God and were saved by Him, who were also the fathers of the virgin by whom He was born and became man, while He states that He will be saved by the same God, and in His humility does not claim to do anything of His own will or power. [2] He did the same when He was on earth. For, when one of His followers said to Him, ‘Good Master ,’ He asked, ‘Why do you call Me good? Only one is good; that is, My Father who is in Heaven’ [Mt 19.16-17]. And when He said, ‘I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people,’ He foretold what would clearly take place and happen to Him. For He is everywhere a reproach to us who believe in Him, and He is the outcast of the people, for He was cast out in disgrace by your people, and He endured all the indignities which you directed toward Him. [3] And by the words which follow, ‘All they who saw me have laughed me to scorn; they have spoken with their lips, and wagged the head: He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver him, seeing He desires Him‘ [Ps 21.8-9]. He again predicted what would happen to Himself. For they that beheld Him on the cross wagged their heads, curled their lips in scorn, turned up their noses, and sarcastically uttered the words which are recorded in the Memoirs of the Apostles: ‘He called Himself the Son of God, let Him come down from the cross and walk! Let God save Him!’ [Mt 27.39-43; Lk 23.35-37].

 

Chapter 102

“The next words of the Psalm are: ‘My hope from the breasts of my mother. I was cast upon You from the womb. From my mother’s womb You are my God. Depart not from me, for tribulation is very near; for there is none to help me. Many calves have surrounded me; fat bulls have besieged me. They have opened their mouths against me as a lion ravening and roaring. All my bones are poured out and scattered like water. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my belly. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my jaws’ [Ps 21.10-16]. This passage, too, was a prophecy of events to come. [2] For the words, ‘My hope from my mother’s breasts,’ may be explained in the following manner. As soon as Christ was born in Bethlehem, as I stated above, King Herod learned all about Him from the Arabian Magi, and plotted to kill Him. But Joseph, at God’s command, took Him with Mary and left for Egypt. For it was the Father’s design that His Only-begotten be put to death only after He had reached maturity and had preached His message. [3] But if anyone should ask us if God were not able instead to kill Herod, I reply, in anticipating this question, by asking if God were not able in the beginning to destroy the serpent, instead of declaring: ‘I will place enmity between it and the woman, and between its seed and her seed?’ [Gen 3.15]. And could He not have created at once a great throng of men? [4] Yet, because He knew that it was good, He created both angels and men free to perform acts of justice, and He set the limits of time during which He knew it would be good for them to enjoy such freedom of will. So, too, because He knew it was good, He established general and particular judgments, safeguarding, however, each person’s free will. Hence, at the time that the foundation of the tower [of Babel] was laid, when the diversity and confusion of languages originated, the Scriptures say: ‘And the Lord said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue; and they have begun to do this, nor will they leave off from their designs’ [Gen 11.6]. [5] And the expression, ‘My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws,’ [Ps 21.16] was also a prediction of what He would do in conformity with His Father’s will. For the power of His mighty word with which He always refuted the Pharisees and Scribes, and indeed all the teachers of your race who disputed with Him, was stopped like a full and mighty fountain whose waters have been suddenly shut off, when He remained silent and would no longer answer His accusers before Pilate, as was recorded in the writings of the Apostles, in order that those words of Isaiah might bear fruit in action: ‘The Lord gives me a tongue, so that I may know when I ought to speak’ [Isa 50.4]. [6] And His words, ‘You are my God, depart not from me’ [Ps 21.11-12], teach us to put all our trust in God, the Creator of all things, and to seek aid and salvation from Him alone; and not to imagine, as other men do, that we can attain salvation by means of birth, or wealth, or power, or wisdom. This is precisely your practice, for you once made a golden calf, and always appeared ungrateful, and murderers of the just, and inflated with pride because of your birth. [7] For, if the Son of God clearly states that it is not because He is the Son, nor because He is powerful or wise, but that, even though He be sinless (for Isaiah said that He did not sin even by word, ‘He has done no iniquity, nor was there deceit in His mouth’ [Isa 53.9]), He cannot be saved without God [the Father], how can you or others who expect to be saved without this hope, fail to realize that you are deceiving yourselves?

 

Chapter 103

“And the following words of the Psalm, ‘For tribulation is very near; for there is none to help. Many calves have surrounded me; fat bulls have besieged me. They have opened their mouths against me as a lion ravening and roaring. All my bones are poured out and scattered like water’ [Ps 21.12-15], were also a prophecy of the things that would happen to Him. For, on that night when your kinsmen, sent by the Pharisees, Scribes, and teachers, met Him from the Mount of Olives, they surrounded Him, and were thus called by the Scripture ‘calves’ [Ps 21.13] with horns and predestined for perdition. [2] By the words, ‘fat bulls have besieged me’ [Ps 21.13], He foretold the deeds of those who acted like calves, when He was led before your teachers. Holy Scripture described these persons as bulls, for, as we know, bulls are the fathers of calves. Now, as bulls are the fathers of calves, so your teachers were the cause of their children going out to Mount Olivet to capture and lead Him to them. [3] So also the words, ‘For there is none to help’ [Ps 21.12], were indicative of what would take place; for there was not even one single person to help Him, sinless as He was. And the expression, ‘They have opened their mouths against me as a roaring lion’ [Ps 21.14], means Herod, the king of the Jews at that time, a successor of that other, who slaughtered all the boys that were born in Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth, thinking that He, concerning whom the Arabian Magi had spoken, would surely be among them. But he was not aware of the designs of Almighty God, who ordered Joseph and Mary to take the Child and go into Egypt and remain there until it should be revealed to them again that they should return into their own country. And after their departure they stayed there until the death of Herod, the assassin of the babes of Bethlehem. Archelaus, who succeeded him, also died before Christ fulfilled by His crucifixion the Father’s plan of our redemption. [4] And when Herod succeeded Archelaus and received the authority that had fallen to his share, Pilate favored him by sending Jesus bound to him, which God in His foreknowledge foretold in these words, ‘And they brought Him to the Assyrian, a present to the king’ [Hos 10.6]. [5] Or, it could be that by the lion that roared against Him He meant the Devil himself, that is, the one whom Moses called the serpent, Job and Zacharias the Devil, and Jesus addressed as Satanas, indicating that he had a compound name made up of the actions which he performed; for the word ‘Sata’ in the Jewish and Syrian tongue means ‘apostate,’ while ‘nas’ is the word which means in translation ‘serpent’. thus, from both parts is formed the one word ‘Satanas.’ [6] It is narrated in the Memoirs of the Apostles that as soon as Jesus came out of the River Jordan and a voice said to Him: ‘You are My Son, this day I have begotten You,’ [Ps 2.7] this devil came and tempted Him, even so far as to exclaim: ‘Worship me’; but Christ replied: ‘Get behind Me, Satan; you will worship the Lord your God, and Him only will you serve’ [Mt 4.10]. For, since the devil had deceived Adam, he fancied that he could in some way harm Him also. [7] Now the passage, ‘All my bones are poured out and scattered like water; my heart has become like wax melting in the midst of my belly’ [Ps 21.15], foretold what would happen on that night when they came to Mount Olivet to capture Him. [8] For in the Memoirs of the Apostles and their successors, it is written that His perspiration poured out like drops of blood as He prayed and said: ‘If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me’ [Lk 22.44]. His heart and bones were evidently quaking, and His heart was like wax melting in His belly, so that we may understand that the Father wished His Son to endure in reality these severe sufferings for us, and may not declare that, since He was the Son of God, He did not feel what was done and inflicted upon Him. [9] And the words, ‘My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue has cleaved to my jaws’ [Ps 21.16], predicted that He would remain silent; for, indeed, He who proved that all your teachers are without wisdom replied not a word in His own defense.

 

Chapter 104

“The next words of the Psalm are: ‘You have brought me down into the dust of death. For many dogs have encompassed me; the council of the malignant has besieged me. They have pierced my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me. They parted my garments among them; and upon my clothing they cast lots’ [Ps 21.16-19]. This passage, I have already shown, was a prophecy of the kind of death to which He would be condemned by the assembly of the wicked, whom He calls both dogs and hunters, affirming that they who hunted Him united to use every possible means to condemn Him. This event, too, is recorded in the Memoirs of the Apostles. [2] And I have pointed out that after His crucifixion they who crucified Him divided His garments among themselves.

 

Chapter 105

“Now, here are the next words of the Psalm: ‘But You, O Lord, remove not Your help to a distance from me; look towards my defense. Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns’ [Ps 21.20-22]. These words, too, point out what He would be and what would happen to Him. I have proved that He is the Only-begotten of the Father of the universe, having been properly begotten from Him as His Word and Power, and afterwards becoming man by a virgin, as we have learned from the Memoirs of the Apostles. [2] That He would die by crucifixion, He also predicted, for the words, ‘Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns’ [Ps 21.21], were spoken by One who foretold by what manner of torment He would die, namely, by crucifixion. I explained above that the ‘horns of the unicorn’ have the shape of a cross only. [3] And His plea that His soul might be saved from the sword, from the lion’s mouth, and from the dog’s paw, was a prayer that no one should have power over His soul, so that, when we approach the end of life, we may beg the same favor of God, who can prevent every bad and brazen angel from stealing our souls. [4] Now, I have proved that souls survive [after death] from the fact that Samuel’s soul was invoked by the witch, as Saul demanded. And it seems that the souls of other just men and Prophets were subjected to such powers, as is evident from the facts in the case of this witch. [5] Thus, God through His Son also teaches us (for whom these things seem to have happened) always to do our utmost to become righteous and at our death to pray that we may not fall into any such power. For, the Memoirs of the Apostles said that, as He was giving up His spirit on the cross, He said: ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit’ [Lk 23.46]. [6] Further, He urged His disciples to excel the Pharisees’ way of living, warning them that otherwise they should know that they would not be saved; His words on this occasion are thus recorded in the Memoirs of the Apostles: ‘Unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven’ [Mt 5.20].

 

Chapter 106

“The rest of the Psalm shows that He knew that His Father would grant all His requests, and would raise Him from the dead. It also shows. that He encouraged all who fear God to praise Him, because through the mystery of the Crucified One He had mercy on the faithful of every race; and that He stood in the midst of His brethren, the Apostles (who, after He arose from the dead and convinced them that He had warned them before the Passion that He had to suffer, and that this was foretold by the Prophets, were most sorry that they had abandoned Him at the crucifixion). The Psalm finally shows that He sang hymns to God while He was with them, which actually happened, according to the Memoirs of the Apostles. [2] Here are the words of the Psalm: ‘I will declare Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Let all the seed of Israel fear Him’ [Ps 21.23-24]. [3] Now, when we learn from the Memoirs of the Apostles that He changed the name of one of the Apostles to Peter (besides having changed the names of the two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to that of Boanerges, which means ‘sons of thunder’), we have an indication that it was also He who gave Jacob the surname of Israel, and Hoshea the added name of Jesus, under whose name the survivors of those who escaped from Egypt were led into the land promised to the Patriarchs. [4] And Moses predicted that He would arise like a star from the seed of Abraham, when he said: ‘A star will rise out of Jacob, and a leader from Israel’ [Num 24.17]. And another passage reads: ‘Behold the Man; the Orient is His name’ [Zech 6.12]. Therefore, when a star arose in the heavens at the time of His Nativity, as the Apostolic Memoirs attest [Mt 2.10-11], the Magi from Arabia knew the fact from this sign, and came to worship Him.

 

Chapter 107

“And these Memoirs also testify to the fact of His resurrection from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion, for it is therein recorded that in answer to the contentious Jews who said to Him, ‘Show us a sign,’ He replied, ‘An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, and no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonas’ [Mt 12.38-39]. Though these words were mysterious, His listeners could understand that He would arise from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. [2] And He showed that your generation was more evil and adulterous than that of the Ninevites, who, when Jonas (after being cast up on shore from the belly of the whale on the third day) warned them that they would all perish within three (in other versions, forty) days, announced a fast for all living creatures, men and beasts, accompanied by the wearing of sackcloth, unrestrained mourning, truly sincere repentance, and a resolution to shun sin, believing that God is merciful and benevolent toward all those who avoid sin. Thus, even the king of that city and his nobles, too, wore sackcloth, and fasted and prayed constantly, and so through their prayers the city was spared. [3] Then, when Jonas was vexed because the city had not been destroyed on the third (fortieth) day, as he had announced, a gourd sprang up out of the earth at God’s design, and Jonas sat under it and was shaded from the heat of the sun (now this was a round gourd which had sprung up spontaneously to provide Jonas with shade, and he had neither planted nor watered it), and when at the other design of God, this withered away and Jonas was grieved, God pointed out to him how unjust was his displeasure over the sparing of the city of Nineveh, and He said: [4] ‘You are grieved for the gourd, for which you have not labored, nor made it grow; which in one night came up and in one night perished. And will I not spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and also many beasts?’ [Jonah 4.10-11].

 

Chapter 108

“Now, you Jews were well acquainted with these facts in the life of Jonas, and though Christ proclaimed to you that He would give you the sign of Jonas, and He pleaded with you to repent of your sins at least after His resurrection from the dead, and to lament before God as did the Ninevites that your nation and city might not be seized and destroyed, as it has been; [2] yet you not only refused to repent after you learned that He arose from the dead, but, as I stated, you chose certain men and commissioned them to travel throughout the whole civilized world and announce: ‘A godless and lawless sect has been started by an impostor, a certain Jesus of Galilee, whom we nailed to the cross, but whose body, after it was taken from the cross, was stolen at night from the tomb by His disciples, who now try to deceive men by affirming that He has arisen from the dead and has ascended into Heaven.’ And you accuse Him of having taught those irreverent, riotous, and wicked things, of which you everywhere accuse all those who look up to and acknowledge Him as their Christ, their Teacher, and the Son of God. [3] And, to top your folly, even now, after your city has been seized and your whole country ravaged, you not only refuse to repent, but you defiantly curse Him and His followers. But, as far as we Christians are concerned, we do not hate you, nor those who believed the wicked rumors you have spread against us; on the contrary, we pray that even now you may mend your ways and find mercy from God the Father of all, who is most benign and compassionate.

 

Chapter 109

“Permit me now to quote a few passages from Micah, one of the twelve Prophets, to prove that the Gentiles would repent of their sinful manner of life, after they heard and learned the doctrine preached by the Apostles from Jerusalem. [2] Here are his words: ‘And it will come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord will be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills; and people will flow to it. And many nations will come and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and they will teach us His way, and we will walk in His paths. For the law will go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem. And He will judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they will beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into spades. Nation will not take sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more. [3] And every man will sit under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and there will be none to make him afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken. For all people will walk everyone in the name of his god; but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever. And it will happen in that day, that I will gather her who is afflicted; and her whom I had cast out, I will gather up, and her whom I had oppressed. And I will make her who is afflicted a remnant, and her who is oppressed a strong nation. And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time now and forever’ [Micah 4.1-7].”

 

Chapter 110

When I had concluded this quotation, I remarked, “Gentlemen, I am aware that your teachers admit that this whole passage refers to Christ; I also know that they affirm that Christ has not yet come. But they say that even if He has come, it is not known who He is, until He will become manifest and glorious; then, they say, He will be known. [2] Then, they state, everything foretold in the above-quoted prophecy will be verified, as if not a word of the prophecy had yet been fulfilled. What brainless beings! For they have missed the point of all the cited passages, namely, that two advents of Christ have been proclaimed: the first, in which He is shown to be subject to suffering and the crucifixion, without glory or honor; and the second, in which He will come from the heavens in glory, when the man of apostasy [2Th 2.3], who utters extraordinary things against [Dan 11.36] the Most High, will boldly attempt to perpetrate unlawful deeds on earth against us Christians. For, we Christians, who have gained a knowledge of the true worship of God from the Law and from the word which went forth from Jerusalem by way of the Apostles of Jesus, have run for protection to the God of Jacob and the God of Israel. [3] And we who delighted in war, in the slaughter of one another, and in every other kind of iniquity have in every part of the world converted our weapons of war into implements of peace — our swords into ploughshares, our spears into farmers’ tools — and we cultivate piety, justice, brotherly charity, faith, and hope, which we derive from the Father through the Crucified Savior; each one of us sitting under his vine, that is, each one living with only his own wife. For, as you know, a prophetic writing says, ‘His wife will be as a fruitful vine’ [Ps 127.3]. [4] Now it is obvious that no one can frighten or subdue us who believe in Jesus throughout the whole world. Although we are beheaded and crucified, and exposed to wild beasts and chains and flames, and every other means of torture, it is evident that we will not retract our profession of faith; the more we are persecuted, the more do others in ever-increasing numbers embrace the faith and become worshippers of God through the name of Jesus. Just as when one cuts off the fruit-bearing branches of the vine, it grows again and other blossoming and fruitful branches spring forth, so it is with us Christians. For the vine planted by God and Christ the Redeemer is His people. [5] But the rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled at His second coming. For the words, ‘her who is afflicted and cast out’ [Micah 4.6] (that is, from the world), indicate that, whenever you and all other men have the power, you cast out every Christian not only from his own property but even from the whole world, for (you allow no Christian to live. [6] You object that this same fate has befallen your people. But, since you have been cast out after defeat in battle, such sufferings are your just deserts, as Holy Writ testifies. We, on the contrary, who are guilty of no such crime after we knew the divine truth, are assured by God that we are to be taken from the earth together with the most just and immaculate and sinless Christ. Indeed, Isaiah exclaims: ‘Behold how the just one perishes, and no man lays it to heart; and the just men are taken away, and no man considers’ [Isa 57.1].

 

Chapter 111

“I pointed out earlier that it was mystically predicted at the time of Moses by means of the symbol of the goats offered up at the fast, that there would be two advents of this Christ. The same was figuratively announced and foretold by the actions of Moses and Jesus: for Moses sat upon the hill until evening with his hands stretched out and supported (which was a type of nothing but the cross); while Jesus, whose name had been changed to Jesus, was the general in the battle in which the Israelites were victorious. [2] And one could understand that these actions were done by both these holy men and Prophets of God, because one of himself could not have borne both these mysteries, that is, the type of the cross and the type of the name. For this power is and was and will be the attribute of One only, at whose name every power shudders and suffers agonizing pain because it is to be destroyed by Him. Our suffering and crucified Christ was not cursed by the Law, but showed that He alone would save those who hold firm to His faith. [3] And the blood of the Passover, which was smeared on the side posts and transoms of the doors, saved those fortunate ones in Egypt who escaped the death inflicted upon the first-born of the Egyptians. The Passover, indeed, was Christ, who was later sacrificed, as Isaiah foretold when he said: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter’ [Isa 53.7]. It is also written that on the day of the Passover you seized Him, and that during the Passover you crucified Him. Now, just as the blood of the Passover saved those who were in Egypt, so also will the blood of Christ rescue from death all those who have believed in Him. [4] Would God have been mistaken, then, if this sign had not been made over the doors? That is not what I say, but I do say that He thus foretold that salvation was to come to mankind through the blood of Christ. So, too, the red rope, which the spies sent by Jesus, son of Nave, gave to Rahab the harlot in Jericho, instructing her to tie it to the same window through which she lowered them down to escape their enemies, was a symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those of every nationality who were once fornicators and sinful are redeemed, receiving pardon of their past sin and avoiding all sin in the future.

 

Chapter 112

“But you explain these passages in a repulsive manner, imputing to God every sort of weakness, when you interpret them baldly, without analyzing the spirit of the words. According to you, even Moses would be judged a violator of the Law, for he, after ordering that no image of any of the things in heaven or on earth or in the sea should be made, personally constructed a brazen serpent and set it up as a sign, commanding those who had been bitten by the serpents to gaze upon it. And they who looked up to it were healed thereby. [2] Will it be thought, then, that the serpent saved the people at that time; the serpent which, as I pointed out, God cursed at the beginning and slew with the great sword, as Isaiah testifies [Isa 27.1]? Will we, therefore, accept such stupid interpretations of these things as given by your teachers, instead of regarding them as symbols? And should we not see in this sign a reference to the image of the Crucified Jesus, when Moses, by his outstretched hands, and he who was surnamed Jesus achieved victory for your people? [3] For, in this way, we will no longer be in doubt concerning the deeds of the lawgiver, since he did not forsake God when inducing the people to place their hope in a beast which was the cause of man’s sin of disobedience. Indeed, all these things were said and done by the blessed Prophet with much reflection and hidden meaning. Nor can anyone rightly condemn any of the words or actions of the Prophets in general, if he has the knowledge that was in them. [4] But, if your teachers, as many as you have, only explain to you why [male] camels are not mentioned in a certain passage, or what the so-called female camels are, or why so many measures of fine flour and so many of oil are used in the offerings, and even explain this in a low and trivial manner, while they never dare to mention or explain the really important matters that deserve to be investigated, will they not merit to hear these words of our Lord Jesus Christ spoken against them: ‘You whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones; you pay tithe on mint; you swallow the camel, you blind guides’ [Mt 23.27]? [5] Unless, therefore, you detest the doctrines of those proud teachers who aspire to be called Rabbi, and apply yourself with such persistence and intelligence to the words of the Prophets that you suffer the same indignities from the hands of your people as the Prophets did, you cannot derive any benefit from the prophetic writings.”

 

Chapter 113

“Here is an example of what I am trying to say. Jesus, as I said before, whose name had been Hoshea, was called Jesus by Moses, when he was sent out as a spy with Caleb into the land of Canaan. Now, you are not curious to know why he did this, nor do you ask or investigate the reason. Hence, you have never discovered Christ, and when you read, you fail to understand; when you hear us now telling you that Jesus is our Christ, you do not study the question to discover that He was given this name by design, and not by accident. [2] Instead, you conduct a theological debate of the question why one “a” was added to Abraham’s original name, and you seriously dispute why one “r” was added to Sara’s name [LXX has Abram change to Abraam, and Sara change to Sarra]. But you never inquire why the name of Hoshea the son of Nave, which his father gave him, was changed to Jesus; [3] especially since not only was his name changed, but also, after becoming Moses’ successor, he alone of all his contemporaries who fled Egypt led the rest of the people into the Holy Land. And just as he, not Moses, conducted the people into the Holy Land and distributed it by lot among those who entered, so also will Jesus the Christ gather together the dispersed people and distribute the good land to each, though not in the same manner. [4] For, Jesus gave them an inheritance for a time only, since he was not Christ our God, nor the Son of God; but Jesus, after the holy resurrection, will give us an inheritance for eternity. Jesus indeed made the sun stand still because he had been surnamed by the name of Jesus and had received the power from His Spirit. For I have proved that it was Jesus who appeared to and talked with Moses, Abraham, and, in short, with all the Patriarchs, doing the will of the Father. He also became man by the Virgin Mary and lives forever. [5] After His corning the Father will, through Him, renew heaven and earth. This is He who is to shine in Jerusalem as an eternal light. This is He who is King of Salem and Priest of the Most High forever according to the order of Melchizedek. [6] Jesus is reputed to have circumcised the people a second time by means of stone knives [Jos 5.2] (which was a sign of that circumcision by which Jesus Christ Himself has cut us off from idols made of stone and other materials), and to have gathered together those who everywhere from the uncircumcision (that is, from worldly error) were circumcised with stone knives, namely, the words of our Lord Jesus. For I have already pointed out that the Prophets used to call Him figuratively a Stone and Rock. [7] By the stone knives, therefore, we understand His words, by which so many who were in error have been circumcised from their uncircumcision with the circumcision of the heart. From that time God commanded through Jesus that they who had the circumcision which began with Abraham should be circumcised again with the circumcision of the heart, for He said that Jesus performed a second circumcision with stone knives upon those who entered into the Holy Land.

 

Chapter 114

“The Holy Spirit sometimes caused something that was to be a type of the future to be done openly, and on other occasions He spoke of things of the future as though they were actually taking place, or had already taken place. Unless readers are familiar with this manner of speaking, they will not be able to grasp the full meaning of the Prophet’s words. To illustrate this point, I will quote some words of prophecy. [2] When the Holy Spirit says through Isaiah, ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer’ [Isa 53.7]. He speaks as though the Passion had already taken place. And when He says, ‘I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contradicting people’ [Isa 65.2], and, ‘Lord, who has believed our report’ [Isa 53.1], He likewise speaks of events as though they had already happened. I have shown above how He often calls Christ a Stone in parable, and uses the names Jacob and Israel in figurative speech. [3] And when He says, ‘I will see the heavens, the work of Your fingers’ [Ps 8.4], unless I comprehend the operation of His Word, I will not understand the passage. Then I would be like your teachers, who imagine that the Father of the universe, the unbegotten God, has hands and feet and fingers and a soul like a compound creature. As a result of this belief, they claim that the Father Himself appeared to Abraham and Jacob. [4] We who have received the second circumcision with stone knives are indeed happy. For your first circumcision was and still is administered by iron instruments, in keeping with your hardness of heart. But our circumcision, which is the second, for it was instituted after yours, circumcises us from idolatry and every other sin by means of sharp stones, namely, by the words uttered by the Apostles of Him who was the Cornerstone and the Stone not cut with human hands. Indeed, our hearts have been so circumcised from sin that we even rejoice as we die for the name of that noble Rock, whence gushes forth living water for the hearts of those who through Him love the Universal Father, and who proffers the water of life to those desiring it. [5] But you fail to grasp the meaning of my words, because you do not know the things which, it was foretold, Christ would do, nor do you believe us when we refer you to the Scriptures. For, Jeremiah thus exclaims: ‘Woe to you, because you have forsaken the Living Fountain, and have dug for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water [Jer 2.13]. Will there be a wilderness where Mount Zion is, because I gave Jerusalem a bill of divorce in your sight? [Jer 3.8]’

 

Chapter 115

“But you should believe Zacharias when he thus describes by hidden parable the mystery of Christ: ‘Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I come, and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations will be joined to the Lord in that day, and they will be My people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and they will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me unto you. [2] And the Lord will possess Judah His portion in the sanctified land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Let all flesh fear at the presence of the Lord, for He is raised up out of His holy clouds. And He showed me Jesus the high priest standing before the angel; and the devil stood at his right hand to oppose him; and the Lord said to the devil: The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Behold, is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?’ [Zech 2.10-13; 3.1-2].”

[3] As Trypho was about to answer and contradict me, I said, “Just a moment! Please hear me out, for I am not going to interpret this passage, as you think, as if there never was a priest named Jesus in Babylon, the land of your people’s captivity. Even if I did, I should have proved that, if there was a priest named Jesus among your people, the Prophet did not see him in his revelation, just as he did not see the Devil or the Angel of the Lord with his own eyes, since in his revelation he was not in a normal state, but in an ecstasy. [4] I claim that just as the Holy Spirit asserted that by the name of Jesus, which was bestowed upon the son of Nave, he wrought miracles and other deeds which foreshadowed what our Lord would do, so will I prove that the revelation made among your people in Babylon in the days of Jesus the priest was a prediction of what was to be done by our Priest and God and Christ, the Son of the Universal Father.”

[5] “I was indeed surprised a while. ago,” I continued, “that you remained silent and did not contradict me when I stated that the son of Nave was the only one of his contemporaries who fled from Egypt to enter the Holy Land together with those described as the youth of that generation. For you swarm together and light like flies upon sores. [6] Even if one utters ten thousand words accurately, and one little word should offend you, because it is not sufficiently intelligible or exact, you completely overlook the many accurate words, and pounce on one little word, doing your utmost to make it appear blasphemous and evil. Consequently, when you are judged by God with the same kind of judgment, you will have to render stricter account for your bold crimes, whether they be sinful actions or false and perverse interpretations of Scripture; ‘For with whatever judgment you judge, it is right that you be judged’ [Mt 7.2].

 

Chapter 116

“To explain more fully the revelation of our holy Jesus Christ, I will continue my discourse by stating that the above-quoted revelation [of Zacharias] was given to us who believe in Christ, the High Priest and Crucified One. For we, who once practiced fornication and every other kind of filthy action, have, through the grace conferred upon us by our Jesus according to the will of His Father, cast off all those foul garments of sin in which we were dressed [cf. Zech 3.3-4]. Although the Devil stands nearby ready to oppose us and anxious to ensnare all of us for himself, the Angel of God (namely, the power of God which was sent to us through Jesus Christ) rebukes him, and he departs from us. [2] And we have been, so to speak, snatched from the fire, when we were purified from our former sins, and [delivered] from the fiery torment with which the Devil and his assistants try us. From such dangers does Jesus, the Son of God, again snatch us. He has also promised, if we obey His commands, to dress us in garments which He has set aside for us, and to reward us with an eternal kingdom. [3] For, just as that Jesus, who is called a priest by the Prophet, was seen wearing filthy clothes (because he was said to have married a harlot), and is called a brand snatched out of the fire [cf. Zech 3.2] (because he was forgiven his sins when the devil that opposed him was rebuked), so we, who through the name of Jesus have as one man believed in God the Creator of all, have taken off our dirty clothes, that is, our sins, through the name of His first-begotten Son. Having been set on fire by the word of His calling, we are now of the true priestly family of God, as He Himself testifies when He says that in every place among the Gentiles pure and pleasing sacrifices are offered up to Him. But God receives sacrifices from no one, except through His priests.

 

Chapter 117

“God has therefore announced in advance that all the sacrifices offered in His name, which Jesus Christ commanded to be offered, that is, in the Eucharist of the Bread and of the Chalice, which are offered by us Christians in every part of the world, are pleasing to Him. But He refuses to accept your sacrifices and those offered through your priests, saying, ‘And I will not receive your sacrifices at your hands. For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name is glorified among the Gentiles; but you profane it’ [Mal 1.10-12]. [2] Even now, for the sake of an argument, you maintain that God did not accept the sacrifices of the Israelites who then dwelt at Jerusalem, but that He has declared that the prayers of the Jews who were then in the Dispersion were pleasing to Him and that He calls their prayers sacrifices. Now, I also admit that prayers and thanksgivings, offered by worthy persons, are the only perfect and acceptable sacrifices to God. [3] For Christians were instructed to offer only such prayers, even at their thanksgiving for their food, both liquid and solid, whereby the Passion which the Son of God endured for us is commemorated. But your high priests and teachers have caused His name to be profaned and blasphemed throughout the whole world. But those filthy garments, (that is, falsehoods), which you place upon all those who by the name of Jesus embrace Christianity, will be thrown off us when He raises all of us up, and makes some incorruptible, immortal, and free from pain in an everlasting and indissoluble kingdom, and banishes others into the eternal torment of fire. [4] But you and your teachers fool yourselves when you explain this passage of Scripture as referring to the Jews of the Dispersion, and affirm that it says their prayers and sacrifices were pure and acceptable in every place. You should realize that you are uttering lies and are striving in every way to deceive yourselves. In the first place, your nation does not even now extend from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, for there are nations among which none of your race has ever yet lived. [5] But there is not one single race of men — whether barbarians, or Greeks, or persons called by any other name, nomads, or vagabonds, or herdsmen dwelling in tents — among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered to the Father and Creator of the universe in the name of the Crucified Jesus. Furthermore, Scripture clearly shows us that at the time the Prophet Malachi uttered these words, the Dispersion of your people over the face of the earth, as it now exists, had not yet taken place.”

 

Chapter 118

“It would be much better for you, therefore, if, instead of being so contentious, you should repent before the great day of judgment comes, for then, as I showed from Scripture, all those of your tribes who crucified Christ will lament. Now, I have explained the meaning of the words, ‘The Lord swore, [You are a Priest forever] according to the order of Melchizedek’ [Ps 109.4]. I have also shown that the prophecy of Isaiah, ‘His burial has been taken away from the midst’ [Isa 53.8], referred to Christ who was to be buried and to rise again. I have stated at length that this same Christ will be the Judge of both the living and the dead. [2] Further, Nathan spoke thus of Him to David: ‘I will be His Father, and He will be My Son, and I will not take My mercy away from Him, as I did from them who were before Him; and I will establish Him in My house, and in His kingdom forever’ [2Sam/Kgs 7.14-15]. And Ezekiel states [Ezk 44.3] that He will be the only Prince in this house, for He is the chosen Priest and Eternal King and the Christ, since He is the Son of God. And do not suppose that Isaiah or the other Prophets speak of sacrifices of blood or libations being offered on the altar at His second coming, but only of true and spiritual praises and thanksgivings. [3] We, indeed, have not believed in Him in vain, nor have we been led astray by our teachers, but by wonderful divine providence it has been brought about that we, through the calling of the new and eternal covenant (namely, Christ), should be found more understanding and more religious than you, who are reputed to be, but in reality are not, intelligent men and lovers of God. [4] Isaiah, in wonderment at this, said: ‘And kings will shut their mouth; for they to whom it was not told of Him, will see; and they who heard not, will understand. Lord, who has heard our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?’ [Isa 52.15; 53.1].

“Trypho,” I went on, “as far as is possible I am trying to repeat in a brief and concise form what I have already said, for the benefit of those who have come here with you today.”

[5] “That is fine,” rejoined Trypho. “But, even if you were to repeat the same thing at greater length, rest assured that all of us here present will gladly listen to you.”

 

Chapter 119

“Do you gentlemen suppose,” I went on, “that we could have grasped the meaning of these Scriptural passages without a special grace from Him who willed them, so that the words spoken by Moses might be fulfilled? Here are the words: [2] ‘They provoked Me with strange gods; they stirred Me up to anger with their abominations. They sacrificed to devils whom they did not know; new gods that came recently, whom their fathers did not know. You have forsaken the God who begot you, and have forgotten the God who nourishes you. And the Lord saw, and was jealous, and was moved to wrath by reason of the anger of His sons and daughters, and He said: I will hide My face from them, and I will show what their last end will be; for they are a perverse generation, and unfaithful children. They have provoked Me to jealousy with that which is no god, and have angered Me with their idols; and I will move them to jealousy with that which is no people, and will vex them with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My wrath, and will bum even to the lowest hell. It will devour the earth with her increase, and will bum the foundations of the mountains. I will heap evils upon them’ [Dt 32.16-23]. [3] And after the Just One was put to death, we blossomed forth as another people, and sprang up like new and thriving corn, as the Prophet exclaimed: ‘And many nations will flee unto the Lord in that day for a people; and they will dwell in the midst of the whole earth’ [cf. Hos 2.23; Ezk 17.24]. But we Christians are not only a people, but a holy people, as we have already shown: ‘And they will call it a holy people, redeemed by the Lord’ [Isa 62.12]. [4] Wherefore, we are not a contemptible people, nor a tribe of barbarians, nor just any nation as the Carians or the Phrygians, but the chosen people of God who appeared to those who did not seek Him. ‘Behold,’ He said, ‘I am God to a nation which has not called upon My name’ [Isa 65.1]. For, this is really the nation promised to Abraham by God, when He told him that He would make him a father of many nations, not saying in particular that he would be father of the Arabs or the Egyptians or the Edomites, since Ishmael became the father of a mighty nation and so did Esau; and there is now a great throng of Ammonites. Noah was the father of Abraham, and indeed, of all men. And other nations had other ancestors. [5] What greater favor, then, did Christ bestow on Abraham? This: that He likewise called with His voice, and commanded him to leave the land wherein he dwelt. And with that same voice He has also called of us, and we have abandoned our former way of life in which we used to practice evils common to the rest of the world. And we will inherit the Holy Land together with Abraham, receiving our inheritance for all eternity, because by our similar faith we have become children of Abraham.. [6] For, just as he believed the voice of God, and was justified thereby, so have we believed the voice of God (which was spoken again to us by the Prophets and the Apostles of Christ), and have renounced even to death all worldly things. Thus, God promised Abraham a religious and righteous nation of like faith, and a delight to the Father; but it is not you, ‘in whom there is no faith’ [Dt 32.20].

 

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“Notice how He makes the same promises to Isaac and Jacob. Here are His words to Isaac: ‘In your seed will all the nations be blessed’ [Gen 26.4]. And to Jacob: ‘In you and in your seed all the tribes of the earth will be blessed’ [Gen 28.14]. But He does not address this blessing to Esau, nor to Ruben, nor to any other, but only to them from whom Christ was to come through the Virgin Mary in accordance with the divine plan of our redemption. [2] If you were to think over the blessing of Judah, you would see what I mean. For the seed is divided after Jacob, and comes down through Judah and Phares and Jesse and David. Now, this was a sign that some of you Jews would be certainly children of Abraham, and at the same time would share in the lot of Christ; but that others, also children of Abraham, would be like the sand on the beach, which, though vast and extensive, is barren and fruitless, not bearing any fruit at all, but only drinking up the water of the sea. Of this is a great part of your people guilty, for you all drink in bitter and godless doctrines, while you spurn the word of God. [3] For in the passage relating to Judah, He says: ‘A Prince will not fail from Judah, nor a Ruler from his thighs, until what is laid up for Him will come; and He will be the expectation of the Gentiles’ [Gen 49.10]. It is evident that the expected one was not Judah, but Christ. For all of us who are of the Gentiles are not expecting Judah, but Jesus, who also delivered your forefathers from Egypt. For the prophecy referred to the coming of Christ: ‘Until He comes for whom it is laid up; and He will be the expectation of the Gentiles’ [Gen 49.10]. [4] Jesus came, therefore, as I have proved minutely, and He is expected to come again upon the clouds. You yourselves have defiled His name, and you strive to have His name profaned throughout the world.

“Now, gentlemen,” I continued, “I could argue with you about the passage which you claim should be written, ‘Until the things laid up for Him come.’ For, the Seventy did not translate as you do, but, ‘Until He come for whom it is laid up.’ [5] But, since the rest of the passage (‘And he will be the expectation of the Gentiles’) clearly refers to Christ, I will not dispute with you the exact wording of the passage, just as I refrained from basing my arguments about Christ upon the Scriptures which you do not admit as genuine, (namely, upon the words [attributed to] Jeremiah, Ezra, and David, which I indeed quoted), but only upon those passages recognized by you until now as authentic. For, if your teachers had understood them, they would most assuredly have expunged them from the text, as they did the words describing the death of Isaiah, whom you Jews sawed in half with a wooden saw. This incident, too, was a symbol of Christ, who is going to cut your nation in two, and to admit the worthy half into His eternal kingdom with the holy patriarchs and Prophets. But the rest, He has said, He will condemn to the undying flames of Hell, together with all those of all nations who are likewise disobedient and unrepentant. [6] Indeed, He said: ‘For they will come from the east and from the west, and will sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven; but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the outer darkness’ [Mt 8.11-12]. In speaking, I have only one thought in mind, namely, to tell the truth, and in doing so I have not the slightest fear, even if you were to tear me at once to pieces. For I was not afraid either of anyone of my people (the Samaritans), when I wrote an address to Caesar, and affirmed that they were mistaken in trusting Simon Magus in their nation, and in placing him above every principality, authority and power.”

 

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While they remained silent, I continued, “My friends, when Scripture through David speaks of Christ, it says that not ‘in His seed’ will the Gentiles be blessed, but ‘in Him.’ Here are the words: ‘His name will endure forever; it will rise above the sun; and all nations will be blessed in Him’ [Ps 71.17]. But, if all nations are blessed in Christ, and we who are from all nations believe in Him, then He is the Christ, and we are they who are blessed through Him. [2] It is written that God once allowed the sun to be worshipped [Dt 4.19], and yet you cannot discover anyone who ever suffered death because of his faith in the sun. But you can find men of every nationality who for the name of Jesus, have suffered, and still suffer, all kinds of torments rather than deny their faith in Him. For His word of truth and wisdom is more blazing and bright than the might of the sun, and it penetrates the very depths of the heart and mind. Thus Scripture says: ‘His name will arise above the sun’ [Ps 71.17]. And Zacharias affirms: ‘The East is His name’ [Zech 6.12]. And again: ‘They will mourn tribe by tribe’ [Zech 2.12]. [3] But, if He was so brilliant and powerful at His first Advent (when, without honor or comeliness, He was scorned) that He is known in every nation, and some men of every nationality have repented of their former wicked manner of life; and even the devils were subject to His name, and all the powers and kingdoms fear His name more than they fear all the dead, will He not at His coming in glory completely destroy all who hated Him and maliciously turned their backs on Him, while bestowing upon His faithful followers rest and every other blessing they expected? [4] We, therefore, were endowed with the special grace of hearing and understanding, of being saved by Christ, and of knowing all truths revealed by the Father. Thus, He says to Him: ‘It is a great thing for You that You shoult be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to bring the dispersions of Israel back. I have set You to be the light of the Gentiles, so that You may be their salvation even to the farthest part of the earth’ [Isa 49.6].

 

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“You really suppose that the above-cited passage refers to the stranger and the proselyte, but in reality it refers to us Christians who have been enlightened by Jesus. Certainly, Christ could have mentioned them, too, but, as He Himself affirmed, ‘You now become double sons of hell’ [Mt 23.15]. Therefore the Prophet also does not speak of them, but of us, of whom the Holy Scripture testifies: ‘I will lead the blind into the way which they know not. And in the paths which they were ignorant of I will make them walk. And I am witness, says the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen’ [Isa 42.16; 43.10]. [2] To whom, then, does Christ give this testimony? Evidently, to those who have believed. But, the proselytes not only do not believe, but they blaspheme His name twice as much as you do and they, too, strive to torture and kill us who believe in Him, for they endeavor to follow your example in everything. And in another place He exclaims: ‘I the Lord have called You in justice, and will take You by the hand, and strengthen You, and I will make You a covenant of the people, a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth the prisoner out of prison’ [Isa 42.6-7]. These words, also, gentlemen, have been spoken of Christ and concern the enlightened Gentiles. Or do you again assert that He speaks of the Law and the proselytes?”

[3] Then some of those who had come on the second day started to shout as though they were in a theatre: “Why not? Does He not mean the Law and those who were enlightened by it? These are, of course, the proselytes.”

[4] “No,” I replied, looking straight at Trypho, “for, if the Law had the power to enlighten the Gentiles and all those who possess it, what need would there be for a new covenant? But, since God foretold that He would send a new covenant, and an eternal law and commandment, we should not apply the above-quoted passage to the Old Law and its proselytes, but to Christ and His proselytes, that is, us Gentiles whom He has enlightened, as He says somewhere: ‘Thus says the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; and I appointed You to be a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and to inherit the deserted’ [Isa 49.8]. [6] What, then, is the inheritance of Christ? Is it not the Gentiles? What is the covenant of God? Is it not Christ? So He states in another place in Scripture: ‘You are My Son, this day have I begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the Gentiles for Your inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for Your possession’ [Ps 2.7-8].

 

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“Now, since all these passages refer to Christ and the Gentiles, you should concede that those others do, also. For your proselytes have no need of a new covenant, since, as one and the same Law binds all who are circumcised, Scripture speaks of them as follows: ‘And the stranger will also be joined to them, and will adhere to the house of Jacob’ [Isa 14.1]. [Secondly, proselytes have no need of a new covenant] because a proselyte who is circumcised in order to be incorporated into the body of the Jewish people is thereby considered as a native-born among you, but we who are deemed worthy of being called a people are likewise a proper nation because we are uncircumcised. [2] Besides, it is even absurd for you to believe that the eyes of your proselytes are opened, but that your own are not; and that you should be called blind and deaf, but they, enlightened. And it will be still more absurd if you assert that the Law was given to the Gentiles, but that you yourselves do not know that Law. [3] For, you would have feared the wrath of God, and would not have been lawless and wandering children, but frightened to hear Him say repeatedly: ‘Faithless children, [Dt 32.20], and: ‘Who is blind, but my servants? And deaf, but they who rule over them? And the servants of God are blind. You see often, but have not observed; your ears were open, and you have not heard’ [Isa 42.19-20]. [4] Is God’s praise of you good? And is God’s testimony fitting for His servants? Even though you hear these words often, you are not ashamed, nor do you tremble when God threatens, for you are a stupidly stubborn people. ‘Therefore, behold, says the Lord, I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them, and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent’ [Isa 29.14]. And justly so. For you are neither wise nor understanding, but sly and treacherous; wise only for evil actions, but utterly unfitted to know the hidden will of God, or the trustworthy covenant of the Lord, or to find the everlasting paths. [5] For this reason He says: ‘I will raise up to Israel and Judah a seed of men and a seed of beasts’ [Jer 31.27]. And through Isaiah He speaks thus of another Israel: ‘In that day will Israel be third among the Assyrians and the Egyptians, blessed in the land which the Lord of Hosts blessed, saying: Blessed will My people be which is in Egypt, and who are among the Assyrians, and My inheritance is Israel’ [Isa 19.24-25]. [6] Since God blesses and calls this people Israel, and announces aloud that it is His inheritance, why do you not feel compunction both for fooling yourselves by imagining that you alone are the people of Israel, and for cursing those whom God has blessed? Indeed, when He spoke to Jerusalem and the surrounding communities. He said: ‘And I will beget men upon you, My people Israel, and they will inherit you, and you will be their inheritance, and you will no more be bereaved by them of children’ [Ezk 36.12].”

[7] “Do you mean to say,” asked Trypho, “that you are Israel, and that God says all this about you?”

“If we had not already discussed this question from every angle,” I answered, “I might think that your question was prompted by your ignorance, but since, to prove this point, I offered arguments to which you agreed, I cannot believe that your question was the result of ignorance of what was said, or another example of your desire to quibble, but a challenge to repeat my arguments for the sake of the newcomers here present.”

[8] As he nodded in agreement, I continued, “If you have ears to hear it, in Isaiah, God, speaking of Christ in parable, calls Him Jacob and Israel. Thus does He speak: ‘Jacob is My servant, I will uphold Him; Israel is my elect. I will put my spirit upon Him and He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He will not strive nor cry, nor will any man hear His voice in the streets. The bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, but He will bring forth judgment unto truth. He will shine, and will not be broken, till He sets judgment in the earth; and in His name will the Gentiles trust’ [Isa 42.1-4]. [9] Therefore, as your whole people was called after that one Jacob, surnamed Israel, so we who obey the precepts of Christ, are, through Christ who begot us to God, both called and in reality are, Jacob and Israel and Judah and Joseph and David and true children of God.”

 

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When I noticed that my listeners were perturbed because I had stated that we Christians are also children of God, I forestalled their objection by saying, “Gentlemen, hear how the Holy Spirit says that this people are all sons of the Most High, and that Christ Himself will be present in their assembly to pass judgment on every race. [2] Here are His words as spoken through David, and as translated by you yourselves: ‘God stands in the congregation of gods; and in the midst He judges gods. How long do you judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Judge for the needy and fatherless, and do justice to the humble and the poor. Rescue the poor, and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner. They have not known nor understood; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth will be moved I have said: You are gods, and all of you the sons of the Most High. But you die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth, for You will inherit among all the nations’ [Ps 81.1-8]. [3] In the Septuagint it is written, ‘Behold, you die like men, and fall like one of the princes,’ to point out the disobedience of men, that is, of Adam and Eve, and the fall of one of the princes, namely, the serpent who fell with a great fall because he deceived Eve. [4] But, since it is not my purpose to develop this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Spirit reprimands men, who were created like God, free from pain and death, provided they obeyed His precepts, and were deemed worthy by Him to be called His sons, and yet, like Adam and Eve, brought death upon themselves, hold whatever interpretation of the Psalm you please. It has been shown that they were considered worthy to become gods, and to have the capability of becoming sons of the Most High, yet each is to be judged and convicted, as were Adam and Eve. I have also proved at length that the Holy Spirit calls Christ God.”

 

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“Gentlemen,” I said, “I would like you to tell me the significance of the name of Israel.” When no one replied, I continued, “Well, I will give you what I think is the explanation, for, when I know a thing, I do not believe it is right not to share it with others, nor do I believe it is right to be always anxious, suspecting that you know the answer to my question and yet deceive yourselves through envy or through inexperience in the faculty of volition. I do not hesitate for a moment to speak out simply and frankly, as my Lord said, ‘A sower went out to sow his seed, and some fell by the wayside, some among thorns, some upon rocky ground, and some upon good ground’ [Mt 13.3-8]. [2] One must therefore speak in the hope that his words will, somehow, fall upon good ground. For, at His coming, my mighty and powerful Lord will demand His property from all, and will not denounce His steward when He realizes that, because the steward knows that His Lord is mighty and will come again to require the return of His possession, he has entrusted it to every bank, and has not, for any cause whatsoever, dug up the earth and hidden it therein [cf. Mt 25.18-27].”

[3] “The name Israel, then, means a man who overcomes power, for Isra is ‘a man who overcomes’ and El is ‘power.’ That Christ would do this when He became man was thus foretold by the mystery of Jacob’s wrestling with Him who appeared to him, in that Christ ministered to the will of God, yet He is God, because He is the First-begotten of all creatures. [4] For, after His Incarnation, as I have already said, He was approached by the Devil (that power which is also called Serpent and Satan), who tempted Him and tried to overcome Him by demanding that He worship him. But he was utterly crushed and overcome by Christ, who convicted him of his wickedness when, in violation of the Scriptures, he asked to be adored as God, thus becoming an apostate from the will of God. This was His reply: ‘It is written: You will worship the Lord your God and Him only will you serve’ [Mt 4.10]. The Devil, defeated and rebuked, then departed. [5] By touching Jacob’s thigh and making it numb, Christ showed that He, too, would grow numb (that is, in physical and mental suffering), at His crucifixion. But His name from old times was Israel — a name which He conferred upon the blessed Jacob when He blessed him with His own name, announcing thereby that all who come to the Father through Him are part of the blessed Israel. You, however, have comprehended nothing of this, nor do you make any effort to understand, but, expecting with assurance to be saved only because you are descendants of Jacob according to the flesh, you again deceive yourselves, as I have repeatedly shown.”

 

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“But, Trypho,” I continued, “if you had known who He is who is sometimes called Angel of Great Counsel and Man by Ezekiel, and the Son of Man by Daniel, and a Child by Isaiah, and Christ and God who is to be adored by David, and Christ and Stone by many Prophets, and Wisdom by Solomon, and Joseph and Judah and a Star by Moses, and the East by Zacharias, and the Suffering One and Jacob and Israel by Isaiah again, and a Rod and Flower and Cornerstone and Son of God, you would not have blasphemed Him who has come, and assumed human nature, and suffered, and ascended into heaven. And He will return again, and then your twelve tribes will weep and mourn. [2] Indeed, if you had understood the words of the Prophets, you would not deny that He is God, Son of the One, Unbegotten, Ineffable God. For, somewhere in the Book of Exodus, Moses said: ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I am the Lord, and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, being their God, and My Name I did not make known to them, and I made My covenant with them’ [Ex 6.2-4]. [3] And again when he says, ‘A man wrestled with Jacob’ he asserts that the Man was God, for he declares that Jacob said: ‘I have seen God face to face, and my life is saved’ [Gen 32.24-30]. And Moses also testifies that Jacob called the place where God appeared to him, wrestled with him, and blessed him, ‘the Face of God’ [Gen 32.30]. [4] Moses also declares that God appeared to Abraham near the oak of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent at noon. Then he continues: ‘And when he had lifted up his eyes, there appeared to him three men standing near him; and as soon as he saw them he ran to meet them’ [Gen 18.1-2]. And shortly afterwards, one of the three promises a son to Abraham: ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying: Will I who am an old woman bear a child indeed? Is there any thing impossible with God? At the appointed time I will return and Sarah will have a son. And they left Abraham’ [Gen 18.12-13]. [5] And, again, he speaks thus of these men: ‘And the men rose up from thence and turned their eyes towards Sodom’ [Gen 18.16]. Then He who was and is spoke to Abraham these words: ‘I will not hide from Abraham what I am about to do’ [Gen 18.17].” (Then I repeated the words of Moses which followed and which I had previously expounded.) “From these passages,” I went on, “it has been conclusively proved that He who appeared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other Patriarchs was appointed by the Father and Lord, and administers to His will, and is called God.” [6] Then, I added what I had not said before: “So, too, when the people desired to eat meat, and Moses had no faith in Him, who is there called an Angel, when He promised that God would give them all the meat they could eat, He Himself, being God and Angel sent by the Father, is shown to have said and done all this. For, thus says the Sacred Scripture: ‘And the Lord said to Moses: Will the hand of the Lord be unable? You will presently see whether My word will come to pass to you or not’ [Num 11.23]. Elsewhere, he says: ‘The Lord also has said to me: You will not pass over this Jordan. The Lord your God who goes before you will destroy the nations’ [Dt 31.2-3].

 

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The other passages from the Lawgiver and the Prophets are very similar to the above-quoted words. And I presume that I have shown sufficiently that when God says, ‘God went up from Abraham’ [Gen 17.22] or, ‘The Lord spoke to Moses’ [Ex 6.29], and, ‘The Lord came down to see the tower which the children of men built’ [Gen 11.5], or, ‘God closed the ark of Noah from outside’ [Gen 7.16], you should not imagine that the Unbegotten God Himself descended or ascended from any place. [2] For, the Ineffable Father and Lord of all neither comes to any place, nor walks, nor sleeps, nor arises, but always remains in His place, wherever it may be, acutely seeing and hearing, not with eyes or ears, but with a power beyond description. Yet He surveys all things, knows all things, and none of us can escape His notice. Nor is He moved who cannot be contained in any place, not even in the whole universe, for He existed even before the universe was created. [3] How, then, could He converse with anyone, be seen by anyone, or appear in the smallest place of the world, when the people were not able to behold the glory of God’s messenger at Sinai; and when Moses had not the power to enter the tabernacle he had built, when it was resplendent with the glory of God; and when the priest could not remain standing before the shrine when Solomon brought the ark into the building he had erected for it in Jerusalem? [4] Thus, neither Abraham, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor any other man saw the Father and Ineffable Lord of all creatures and of Christ Himself, but [they saw] Him who, according to God’s will, is God the Son, and His Angel because He served the Father’s will; Him who, by His will, became man through a virgin; who also became fire when He talked to Moses from the bush. [5] Unless we interpret the Scriptures in this manner, we would be forced to conclude that the Father and Lord of all was not in Heaven when what Moses thus described took place: ‘And the Lord rained upon Sodom fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven’ [Gen 19.24]. And, again, when it was said through David: ‘Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory will enter in’ [Ps 23.7]. And yet again, when he says: ‘The Lord said to My Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool’ [Ps 109.1].

 

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“I have taken great care to prove at length that Christ is the Lord and God the Son, that in times gone by He appeared by His power as man arid angel, and in the glory of fire as in the bush, and that He was present to execute the judgment against Sodom.” Then I repeated all that I had already quoted from the Book of Exodus concerning the vision in the bush, and the imposition of the name Jesus, and continued, [2] “Gentlemen, please do not accuse me of being verbose or repetitious in my explanations. My remarks are rather lengthy because I know that some of you are about to anticipate them, and to declare that the power which was sent from the Universal Father and appeared to Moses, Abraham, or Jacob, was called Angel because He came to men (since by that power the Father’s messages are communicated to men); is called Glory, because He sometimes appears in visions that cannot be contained; is called a man and human being, because He appears arrayed in such forms as please the Father; and they call Him the Word, because He reveals to men the discourses of the Father. [3] But some teach that this power is indivisible and inseparable from the Father, just as the light of the sun on earth is indivisible and inseparable from the sun in the skies; for, when the sun sets, its light disappears from the earth. So, they claim, the Father by His will can cause His power to go forth and, whenever He wishes, to return again. In this manner, they declare, God also made the angels. [4] But it has been proved that the angels always exist and are not reduced again into that from which they were created. It has also been shown at length that this power which the prophetic word also calls God and Angel not only is numbered as different by its name (as is the light of the sun), but is something distinct in real number, I have already briefly discussed. For I stated that this power was generated from the Father, by His power and will, but not by abscission, as if the substance of the Father were divided; as all other things, once they are divided and severed, are not the same as they were before the division. To illustrate this point, I cited the example of fires kindled from a fire; the enkindled fires are indeed distinct from the original fire which, though it ignites many other fires, still remains the same undiminished fire.”

 

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“To prove this point, I will now repeat some of the Scriptural passages I already quoted. When the word of the prophecy says, ‘The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven’ [Gen 19.24], it indicates that they are two in number: One on earth, who came down to witness the cry of Sodom, and One in Heaven, who is the Lord of that Lord on earth, and as His Father and God was the cause of His being the Mighty One and Lord and God. [2] And when the Scripture states that in the beginning God said, ‘Behold Adam has become as one of Us’ [Gen 3.22], the phrase, ‘as one of Us,’ is in itself an evidence of number, and cannot be interpreted in a metaphorical sense, as the sophists attempt to do, who neither can know nor speak the truth. [3] And the Book of Wisdom says: ‘If I should tell you the daily events, I would have to enumerate them from the beginning. The Lord made Me as the beginning of His ways for His works. From eternity He established Me, in the beginning, before He made the earth, and before the fountains of water came forth, before the mountains were established; and before all the hills He begets Me’ [Prov 8.21-25].”

[4] At this point I said, “Gentlemen, if you have followed me closely, you can see that Scripture declares that the Word was begotten of the Father before all creatures, and everybody will admit that the son is numerically distinct from the Father.”

 

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When they all agreed, I continued, “Permit me, now, to quote some passages of Scripture which I have not yet mentioned. They were spoken in parable by that faithful servant Moses, and begin thus: ‘Rejoice, O Heaven, with Him, and let all the angels of God adore Him’ [Dt 32.43]. Then I quoted the rest of the passage which follows: ‘Rejoice, O you Gentiles, with His people; and let all the angels of God be strengthened in Him; for He avenges, and will avenge, the blood of His sons; and will render vengeance to His enemies, and will recompense them that hate Him; and the Lord will purge the land of His people’ [Dt 32.43]. [2] By these words he indicates that we Gentiles rejoice with His people, that is, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Prophets, and in fact every Jew who is pleasing to God, as we have already agreed. But we know that these words do not apply to all members of your race, for Isaiah tells us that the limbs of sinners will be consumed by the worm and unquenchable fire [cf. Isa 66.24], but with it all remaining immortal as a spectacle to all men. [3] Now, gentlemen, I wish to call to your attention other passages from Moses, from which you will perceive that in the beginning God dispersed all men according to nationality and language, and from all these nations He chose for Himself yours — a useless, disobedient, and faithless nation. And He showed that those of every nationality who were chosen have obeyed His will through Christ, whom He calls Jacob, and surnames Israel, so those [Christians] should also be Jacob and Israel, as I have proved at great length. [4] For, when He exclaims, ‘Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people,’ He gives them a share in a similar legacy and attributes to them a similar name; but by calling them ‘Gentiles,’ and stating that they rejoice with His people, He does so as a reproach to your nation. For, just as you angered Him by your acts of idolatry, so has He deemed them, though they are likewise idolaters, worthy to know His will and to share in His inheritance.

 

Chapter 131

“Here are the words which show that God divided all the nations: ‘Ask your father, and he will declare to you; your elders and they will tell you. When the Most High divided the nations; when He separated the sons of Adam, He appointed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel. And the Lord’s portion was Jacob His people, and Israel was the lot of His inheritance’ [Dt 32.7-9]. And I observed that in the Septuagint it was translated thus: ‘He set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.’ But, since here again my argument is in no wise weakened by this difference, I have given your interpretation. [2] Now, if you will confess the truth, you must admit that we Christians are more faithful to God than you are. For we, who have been called to God by the mystery of the despised and dishonorable cross (for such faith, obedience, and piety we have been punished, even with the death penalty, by the demons and by the host of the Devil, through the service rendered them by you), endure all things rather than deny, even with a word, Christ who calls us to the salvation prepared for us by the Father. [3] Yet, you were delivered from Egypt by a mighty arm and a visitation of great glory, when the sea was divided and a dry road was made for you to walk across, while your enemies, pursuing you in mighty numbers and magnificent chariots, were slain by Him when the sea which had been made passable for you came together again. A pillar of light also shone for you, so that, more than any other people in the world, you might have a peculiar, constant, and unfailing light. For you He rained down food that was the bread of the heavenly angels, that is, manna, lest you should be forced to procure your own food. For you, also, He sweetened the water at Marah. [4] And a sign of Him who was to be crucified was given to you, as I have already said, both in the case of the serpents that bit you (thus before all these mysteries were fulfilled they were given to you by a benevolent God, toward whom you are convicted of being always ungrateful), and in the case of Moses, by the sign of his outstretched arms, and of Hoshea, by his being named Jesus when they were waging war against Amalek, which fact God commanded to be recorded, having admonished you not to forget the name of Jesus, who was to erase the memory of Amalek from the face of the earth. [5] However, it is obvious that the memory of Amalek still remains after the time of the son of Nave. God makes it clear that by the Crucified Jesus (of whom even those signs were predictions of what would happen to Him) the demons were to be destroyed, and to shudder at His name; and that all the authorities and kingdoms were to tremble before Him; and that out of every nationality those who believe in Him would be shown to be pious and peaceful. And the facts, Trypho, have borne out this prediction. [6] And when you had a craving for meat, so many birds were sent to you that they could not be counted. And for your benefit water gushed forth from a rock, and a cloud followed you as a shade from the heat and a defense against the cold, indicating the fashion and promise of another new heaven; your shoelaces were not broken, nor did your shoes or clothes wear out, and your children’s apparel became larger as they grew.”

 

Chapter 132

“Notwithstanding all this, you still constructed the golden calf, and you are eager to fornicate with the daughters of aliens and to worship idols. And you did the same things even after the [promised] land was handed over to you with so miraculous a display of power that you witnessed the sun stand in the heaven and not set for thirty-six hours at the command of him who was surnamed Jesus, and you beheld all the other miraculous events that took place each in its time for your benefit. One of these, I think, I must now mention, because it will help to give you a better understanding of Jesus, whom we acknowledge as Christ the Son of God, who was crucified, arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and will come to judge every man who ever lived, even back to Adam himself. [2] You certainly know that when the Tabernacle of Testimony was carried off by the enemies who inhabited the region of Ashdod, and a dreadfully incurable plague had broken out among them, they decided to place the Tabernacle upon a cart to which they yoked cows that had recently borne calves, in order to determine whether they had been plagued by God’s power because of the Tabernacle, and whether it were God’s will that it be returned to the place from which they had taken it. [3] In the execution of this plan, the cows, without any human guidance, proceeded not to the place whence the Tabernacle had been taken, but to the farm of a man named Hoshea (the same name as his whose name was changed to Jesus, as was said above, and who led your people into the promised land and distributed it among them by lot).When the cows came to this farm they halted [1Sam/Kgs 6.10-14]. Thus it was shown to you that they were guided by the powerful name [of Jesus], just as the survivors among your people who fled Egypt were guided into the promised land by him whose name was changed from Hoshea to Jesus .”

 

Chapter 133

“And although these and other marvelous miracles were wrought for you, and were witnessed by you as they happened, still you are censured by the Prophets for having even sacrificed your own children to the demons, and for having, besides all this, dared to do such things against Christ (and you still dare); for all of which may God forgive you and giant you mercy and salvation from Himself and Christ. [2] Knowing beforehand that you would be guilty of such excesses, God pronounced this curse against you through Isaiah: ‘Woe to their soul! They have taken evil counsel against themselves, saying: Let us bind the Just One, because He is distasteful to us. Therefore they will eat the fruit of their own doings. Woe to the wicked one! Evil will befall him according to the work of his hands. O my people, your oppressors plunder you, and your exactors will rule over you. [3] O my people, they that call you blessed cause you to err, and disturb the way of your steps. But now the Lord will stand up to judge, and will bring His people to judgment. The Lord Himself will enter into judgment with the elders of the people and its princes. But why have you burnt up my vineyard? And why is the spoil of the poor in your houses? Why do you afflict my people, and make the faces of the poor to blush?’ [Isa 3.9-15]. [4] And, in other words, the same Prophet spoke in similar fashion: ‘Woe to them that draw their sins as it were with a long rope, and iniquities as it were with a cart-rope; who say: Let him make haste, and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel come, that we may know it. Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put light for darkness, and darkness for light; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight. [5] Woe to them that are mighty among you, who drink wine, and men of strength, who mingle strong drink; that justify the wicked for rewards, and take away the justice of the just. Therefore, as rubble will be burnt with coals of fire, and will be consumed with a burning flame; their root will be as down, and their blossom will go up as dust; for they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and have despised the word of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. And the Lord of Hosts was very angry, and laid His hands upon them, and struck them; and He was provoked to anger against the mountains, and their carcasses became as dung in the middle of the street. And for all this they have not repented, but their hand is lifted up still’ [Isa 5.18-25]. [6] Indeed, your hand is still lifted to do evil, because, although you have slain Christ, you do not repent; on the contrary, you hate and (whenever you have the power) kill us who through Him believe in God, the Father of All, and you cease not to curse Him and those who belong to Him, though we pray for you and for all men, as we were instructed by Christ, our Lord. For He taught us to pray even for our enemies, and to love those that hate us, and to bless those that curse us [cf. Mt 5.44; Lk 6.27].

 

Chapter 134

“If, therefore, the precepts of God and His Prophets trouble you, then you should obey God rather than your blind and stupid teachers, who even now permit each of you to have four or five wives; and, if any of you see a beautiful woman and desire to have her, they cite the example of Jacob, who was Israel, and the other Patriarchs to prove that there is no evil in such practices. How wretched and ignorant they are even in this respect! [2] For, as I have said, in each such action certain divine plans were mysteriously fulfilled. I will explain what divine design and prophecy were accomplished in the marriages of Jacob, that you may finally come to know that even in this your teachers never considered the more divine in the purpose for which each thing was done, but rather what concerned base and corruptible passions. Give me your kind attention, therefore, and heed my words.

[3] The marriages of Jacob were types of what Christ would do. It was not lawful [Lev 18.18] for Jacob to marry two sisters at the same time. So he worked in the service of Laban for [one of] his daughters, and, when he was deceived about the younger, he worked another seven years [Gen 29]. Now, Leah represented your people and the Synagogue, while Rachel was a figure of our Church. And Christ still serves for these and for His servants that are in both. [4] For, while Noah gave to his two sons the seed of the third as servants, Christ has now come to redeem both the free sons and their servants, conferring the same blessings upon all who keep His commandments, just as all those who were born to Jacob of the free women and of the bond women became his sons, and were given equal honor. And it was foretold what each would be in rank and in foreknowledge. [6] Jacob served Laban for the spotted and speckled sheep [Gen 30], and Christ served, even to the servitude of the cross, for men of different colors and features from every nationality, redeeming them by His blood and the mystery of the cross. As the eyes of Leah were weak [Gen 29.17], so, too, are the eyes of your souls exceedingly weak. As Rachel stole the gods of Laban and hid them to this day [Gen 31.19], so, too, have we been stripped of our ancestral and material gods. [6] Jacob was always hated by his brother [Gen 27], just as we and our Lord Himself are hated by you and, in general, all other men who are all brothers by nature. Jacob was surnamed Israel [Gen 32.28]; and it has been shown that Israel is also Christ, who is, and is called, Jesus.”

 

Chapter 135

“Now, when Scripture says, ‘I am the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, who showed Israel your King’ [Isa 43.15], will you not concede that Christ the eternal King is meant? You know that Jacob, the son of Isaac, was never king. Thus, in explaining what king is meant by the name of Jacob and Israel, Scripture says: [2] ‘Jacob is My servant, I will uphold Him; and Israel is My elect, My soul will embrace Him. I have set My spirit upon Him, and He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He will not cry, nor will His voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He brings forth judgment to victory. He will take up judgment, and He will not be broken, till He sets judgment on the earth; and in His name will the Gentiles trust’ [Isa 42.1-4]. [3] Is it, therefore, in the Patriarch Jacob, and not in Christ, that you and the former Gentiles trust? As Christ is called Israel and Jacob, so we, hewn out of the side of Christ [cf. Isa 51.1], are the true people of Israel. But let us listen to the words of Scripture: [4] ‘And I will bring forth the seed of Jacob and of Judah, and it will inherit My holy mountain. My elect and My servants will inherit it, and will dwell there. And there will be in the forest folds of sheep, and the valley of Achor will be to My people who sought Me a resting place for their herds. But as for you, who forsake and forget My holy mountain, and prepare a table for the demons, and fill mixed wine for the demons, I will deliver you up to the sword. You will all fall by slaughter, because I called you and you did not obey; I spoke and you did not heed; and you did evil in My eyes, and you have chosen the things that displease Me’ [Isa 65.9-12]. [5] There you have the very words of Scripture. You can readily see that the seed of Jacob mentioned here is of another kind, for you cannot understand it as referring to your people. It is absurd to think that those who are of the seed of Jacob should leave a right of entrance to them who are born of Jacob, or that He who repudiated His people as being unworthy of His inheritance should again promise it to them as though He received them. [6] But the Prophet says: ‘And now, O house of Jacob, come, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For He has dismissed His people, the house of Jacob; because their land was filled, as from the beginning, with oracles and divinations’ [Isa 2.5-6]. So, we must here conclude that there were two seeds of Judah, and two races, as there are two houses of Jacob: the one born of flesh and blood, the other of faith and the Spirit.

 

Chapter 136

“Now, you see how He speaks to the people, after He had stated above: ‘As a grain will be found in the cluster, and they will say: Harm it not, for a blessing is in it, so will I do for My servants’ sake. For His sake I will destroy them all’ [Isa 65.8]; and then He adds: ‘And I will bring forth the seed of Jacob and of Judah’ [Isa 65.9]. It is, therefore, quite evident that, if He is angry with them and threatens to save only a very few of them, He swears to lead forth others to dwell in His mountain; and they are the persons He said He would sow and beget. [2] For you ignore Him when He calls, and you do not listen when He speaks, but you have sinned in His presence. And the height of your iniquity is this, that you hate the Just One whom you put to death, as well as those who through His grace are pious, just, and charitable For this reason, the Lord said: ‘Woe to their soul, because they have taken evil counsel against themselves, saying: Let us take away the Just One, for He is distasteful to us’ [Isa 3.9]. [3] Though you did not offer sacrifice to Baal, as your forefathers did, nor offer cakes in groves and on hills to the heavenly army, yet [you were warned because] you did not accept His Christ. For he who is ignorant of Him is likewise ignorant of God’s will; and he who scorns and hates Him clearly hates and scorns Him also who sent Him; and he who has no faith in Him does not believe the words of the Prophets, who preached His Gospel and proclaimed Him to all men.

 

Chapter 137

“Speak not harshly, my brothers, against the Crucified One, nor scoff at His wounds, by which every one may be healed, just as we have been. For it would be wonderful if you would obey the Scriptures and be circumcised from the hardness of your heart, not with the circumcision which you have according to your deep-rooted idea, for the Scriptures convince us that such a circumcision was given as a sign and not as a work of righteousness. [2] Agree with us, therefore, and do not insult the Son of God; ignoring your Pharisaic teachers, do not scorn the King of Israel (as the chiefs of your synagogues instruct you to do after prayers). For, if he who touches those who are not pleasing to God is as he who touches the apple of God’s eye [Zech 2.8], how much moreso is he who touches His Beloved. And it has been sufficiently proved that this is He.”

[3] When they made no reply, I went on, “My friends, I will now quote Scripture according to the Septuagint version. For, when I cited those passages as you read them, I was trying to ascertain your frame of mind. In quoting the passage, ‘Woe to them, because they have taken evil counsel against themselves, saying,’ I added the words of the Septuagint: ‘Let us take away the Just One, for He is distasteful to us.’ Yet, at the beginning of our discussion I cited it according to your version: ‘Let us bind the Just One, for He is distasteful to us’ [Isa 3.9]. [4] At the time you seemed to have been preoccupied, and to have heard my words without due attention. But, since the day is now almost at an end — for the sun is ready to set — I will add one more observation and then conclude. Although I have already mentioned this point before, I think it ought to be explained once more.

 

Chapter 138

“You are aware, then, gentlemen,” I said, that through Isaiah God has said to Jerusalem: ‘In the deluge of Noah I saved you’ [unknown; cf. Isa 54.8-9]. By this, God meant that the mystery of redeemed mankind was implicit in the deluge. At the time of the flood, the just Noah, with his wife and three sons and their wives, making eight persons in all, were a figure of that eighth day (which is, however, always first in power) on which our Lord appeared as risen from the dead. [2] Now, since Christ was the Firstborn of every creature, He founded a new race which is regenerated by Him through water and faith and wood, which held the mystery of the cross (just as the wood saved Noah and His family, when it held them safely on the waters). Therefore, when the Prophet declares, ‘In the time of Noah I saved you,’ as I said before, he addresses those people who were likewise faithful to God, and possess the same signs. Moses led your people safely through the sea when he held the staff in his hand. [3] But you are mistaken when you think that He spoke these words only to your people or your land. Yet, when the Sacred Text states that the entire earth was inundated, as the water reached a height of twenty-three feet above the highest mountains [Gen 7.19-20], it is evident that God did not address your land, but those who are faithful to Him, for whom He has arranged a restful haven in Jerusalem. All the signs that accompanied the flood prove my assertion. For, by the expression, ‘by water and faith and wood’ [cf. Wis 10.4], it is indicated that they who prepare themselves and repent of their sins will escape the future judgment of God.

 

Chapter 139

“You are unaware of yet another mystery which was foretold by the things accomplished in the days of Noah. It is this. In the blessings with which Noah blesses his two sons, he also curses his son’s son [Gen 9.25-27]. For the Prophetic Spirit would not curse that son himself, since he had already been blessed by God, together with the other sons of Noah. But, since the punishment of the sin was to be transmitted down to all the posterity of the son who laughed at his father’s nudity, he made the curse begin with the son’s son. [2] Now, by Noah’s words it was foretold that the descendants of Shem would possess the possessions and dwellings of Canaan, and that these possessions in turn would pass from the Semites to the descendants of Japheth, who would rob the Semites just as they had robbed the Canaanites. [3] Listen, while I explain how this prophecy has been fulfilled. You indeed, who are Semites, entered the land of the Canaanites, in accordance with God’s will, and held it in possession. It is also clear that the descendants of Japheth have in turn, by God’s judgment, taken your land away from you and now possess it. This is how it was foretold in Scripture: ‘And when Noah awoke from his wine, and learned what his younger son had done to him, he said: Cursed be Canaan the servant; he will be a servant unto his brethren. And he said: Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan will be his servant. May the Lord enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the houses of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant’ [Gen 9.24-27]. [4] Thus, as two peoples were blessed, namely, the Semites and Japhethites, and it was declared that the Semites would first possess the houses of Canaan, which would later be seized by the descendants of Japheth, and as the one people (the Canaanites) was forced into the servitude of the other two; so Christ has come in His power from the Almighty Father, and, calling all men to friendship, benediction, repentance, and community life, which should take place in the same land of all the saints, of which He has pledged that there will be an allotted portion for all the faithful, as has been shown before. [5] Wherefore, men from every land, whether slaves or free men, who believe in Christ and recognize the truths of His words and those of the Prophets, fully realize that they will one day be united with Him in that land, to inherit imperishable blessings for all eternity.

 

Chapter 140

“Wherefore, Jacob, as he was also a type of Christ, married also the two slave girls of his two free wives and had sons by them, to indicate in advance that Christ would welcome into His company as children and co-heirs, together with the free sons, even the Canaanites who are among the race of Japheth. Now, we are the children and co-heirs of Christ, though you cannot understand it, because you are unable to drink from the living fountain of God, but only from the broken wells which can retain no water, as the Scriptures tell us [Jer 2.13]. [2] They really are broken wells that hold no water which your teachers have dug for you, as the Scriptures express it, ‘teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men’ [Isa 29.13]. Besides this, those teachers deceive both themselves and you when they suppose that those who are descendants of Abraham according to the flesh will most certainly share in the eternal kingdom, even though they be faithless sinners and disobedient to God, suppositions which the Scriptures show have no foundation in fact. [3] Otherwise, Isaiah would not have said: ‘And except the Lord of Hosts had left us seed, we would have become as Sodom and Gomorrah’ [Isa 1.9]. And Ezekiel: ‘And though Noah and Jacob and Daniel should pray for sons or daughters, their request will not be granted. But neither willl the father perish for the son, nor the son for the father; but every one will perish for his own sin, and every one will be saved by his own good acts’ [Ezk 14.20; 18.4-20; Dt 24.16]. And, again, Isaiah: ‘They will look upon the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against me. Their worm will not cease, and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be a loathsome sight to all flesh’ [Isa 66.24]. [4] And our Lord would not have affirmed, in conformity with the will of the Father and Lord of the universe, who sent Him: ‘They will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom will be put into the outer darkness’ [Mt 8.11-12]. Besides, I have already shown that they who were foreknown as future sinners, whether men or angels, do become so, not through God’s fault, but each through his own fault.”

 

Chapter 141

“Now, to forestall any excuse you may offer by saying it was necessary for Christ to be crucified, and that it was necessary that the transgressors belong to your race, and that it could not have been otherwise, I wish to observe that, although God wanted men and angels to follow His will, He nevertheless was pleased to create them with free will to practice virtue, with the faculty of reasoning in order to know Him who created them (that is, through whom they passed from the state of non-existence to that of existence), and with a law that they should be judged by Him, if they do anything contrary to sound reason. Thus, unless we quickly repent, we, both men and angels, will be found guilty of our sins. [2] And, if the word of God predicts that some men

and angels will assuredly be punished, it is because God foreknew that they would be incorrigibly sinful, not, however, because God created them so. Wherefore, everyone who repents can, if he desires; obtain the mercy of God, and he is called blessed by the Scripture which says: ‘Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin’ [Ps 31.2]. In other words, when one repents of his sins, he receives the pardon of them from God. And not, as you and others like you, declare, that, even though they commit sin and yet know God, the Lord will not impute sin to them. [3] For an example, Scripture tells us of David’s one sin, committed through his self-conceit, but forgiven through his tearful repentance. Now, if pardon were not granted to such a person before repentance, but only when the great King and Anointed One and Prophet wept and lamented as he did, how can impure wretches ever hope that the Lord will not charge them with their sins, unless they repent with tears and lamentations? [4] Indeed, gentlemen, this one transgression of David with the wife of Uriah shows that the Patriarchs took many wives, not to commit adultery, but that certain mysteries might thus be indicated by them. For, had it been permissible to take any wife whomever, or as many as one desired (as women are taken under the name of marriage by your countrymen allover the world, wherever they live or are sent), David certainly would have been permitted this by much greater right.”

[5] At this point, my dearest Marcus Pompeius, I concluded my discourse.

 

Chapter 142

After a brief pause, Trypho said, “You know that it was quite by accident that we began the discussion of these matters, but I must admit that I have been exceedingly fascinated as a result of our meeting, and I believe these friends of mine share my feelings. We have heard things beyond our very expectation. If we could meet more frequently and continue our study of the Scriptures, we certainly would profit even more by it. But, since you are about to leave the city, and expect to set sail any day now, do not hesitate to remember us as friends when you depart.”

[2] “As regards myself,” I replied, “if I had stayed here, I would have liked to continue this discussion every day. But, since I expect to embark at once, with God’s will and help, I beg of you to put your every effort into this great struggle for your own salvation, and to embrace the Christ of Almighty God in preference to your teachers.”

[3] After this, they left me, wishing me a safe voyage and deliverance from every disaster. And I in turn prayed for them, saying, “I can wish you no greater blessing than this, gentlemen, that, realizing that wisdom is given to every man through this Way, you also may one day come to believe entirely as we do that Jesus is the Christ of God.”

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