THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
THE FIRST TWO HUNDRED YEARS IS ALL I WILL REPRODUCE HERE FROM THE PEN OF EUSEBIUS - Keith Hunt
the nature and work of christ: his
contemporaries: his choice of followers:
correspondence with abgar
Plan of the projected work
1. The chief matters to be dealt with in this work are the following:
a. The lines of succession from the holy apostles, and the
periods that have elapsed from our Saviour's time to our
own; the many important events recorded in the story of
the Church; the outstanding leaders and heroes of that
story in the most famous Christian communities; the men
of each generation who by preaching or writing were
ambassadors of the divine word.
b. The names and dates of those who through a passion for
innovation have wandered as far as possible from the truth,
proclaiming themselves the founts of Knowledge falsely so
called1 while mercilessly, like savage wolves, making havoc
of Christ's flock.2
c. The calamities that immediately after their conspiracy
against our Saviour overwhelmed the entire Jewish
d. The widespread, bitter, and recurrent campaigns launched
by unbelievers against the divine message, and the heroism
with which when occasion demanded men faced torture
and death to maintain the fight in its defence.
e. The martyrdoms of later days down to my own time, and at the
end of it all the kind and gracious deliverance accorded by our Saviour.
1. 1 Tim. vi. 20.
2. Acts xx. 29.
Could I do better than start from the beginning of the dispensation of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ of God?
I trust that kindly disposed readers will pardon the deficiencies of the work, for I confess that my powers are inadequate to do full justice to so ambitious an undertaking. I am the first to venture on such a project and to set out on what is indeed a lonely and untrodden path; but I pray that I may have God to guide me and the power of the Lord to assist me. As for men, I have failed to find any clear footprints of those who have gone this way before me; only faint traces, by which in differing fashions they have left us partial accounts of their own lifetimes. Raising their voices like warning lights far ahead and calling out as from a distant watchtower perched on some hill, they make clear to me by what path I must walk and guide the course of my book if I am to reach my goal in safety. Thus from the scattered hints dropped by my predecessors I have picked out whatever seems relevant to the task I have undertaken, plucking like flowers in literary pastures the helpful contributions of earlier writers, to be embodied in the continuous narrative I have in mind. If I can save from oblivion the successors, not perhaps of all our Saviour's apostles but at least of the most distinguished, in the most famous and still pre-eminent dioceses, I shall be content. It is, I think, most necessary that I should demote myself to this project, for as far as I am aware no previous Church historian has been interested in records of this kind; records which those who are eager to learn the lessons of history will, I am confident, find most valuable. It is true that in the Chronological Tables that I compiled some years ago I provided a summary of this material; but in this new work I am anxious to deal with it in the fullest detail. As I said before, my book will start with a conception too sublime and overwhelming for man to grasp - the dispensation and divinity of our Saviour Christ. Any man who intends to commit to writing the record of the Church's history is bound to go right back to Christ Himself, whose name we are privileged to share, and to start with the beginning of a dispensation more divine than the world realizes.
The pre-existence and divinity of our Saviour
2. The nature of Christ is twofold; it is like the head of the body in that He is recognized as God, and comparable to the feet in that for our salvation He put on manhood as frail as our own.1 My account of what follows will therefore be complete if I begin my exposition of His entire story with the basic and essential points of the doctrine. By this means, both the antiquity and the divine character of Christian origins will be demonstrated to those who imagine them to be recent and outlandish, appearing yesterday for the first time. To explain the origin and worth, the very essence and nature of Christ, no language could be adequate. The Holy Spirit Himself says in prophecy: 'His generation who shall declare?'2 For no one has known the Father, except the Son; nor again has anyone ever known the Son fully, except only the Father who begot Him.3 As for the Light that existed before the world, the intellectual and essential Wisdom that was before time itself, the living Word that in the beginning was with the Father and was God - who but the Father could clearly conceive of Him?4 Before anything was created and fashioned, visible or invisible,5 He was the first and only begotten of God; the commander-in-chief of the spiritual and immortal host of heaven;6 the angel of mighty
I. Acts xiv. 15 and Jas v. 17.
2. Is. liii. 8.
3. Matt xi. 27.
4. John i. 1, 2, 9 and Prov. viii. 23.
5. Col. i. 15-16.
6. Josh. v. 14.
counsel;1 the agent of the ineffable purpose of the Father; the fashioner, with the Father, of all things; the second cause, after the Father, of the universe; the Child of God, true and only-begotten; of all begotten the Lord and God and King, who has received from the Father lordship and dominion, godhead, power, and honour.2 To His divinity the Scriptures bear mystic witness:
In the beginning was the Word,
And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God.
All things came into being through Him,
And apart from Him came into being not one thing.3
This again is the teaching of the great Moses, the earliest prophet of all, when by the Holy Spirit he described the coming into being and marshalling of the whole: the Marshal and Fashioner of the universe gave up to Christ Himself - and to no one, it is plain, but the divine Word, His first-begotten, the making of subordinate beings, and discussed with Him the creation of man:
For God said, 'Let us make man in our image and likeness.'4
This saying is confirmed by another of the prophets, who in hymns deifies him thus:
He spoke, and they were begotten:
He commanded, and they were created.5
1. Is. ix. 4.
2. Rev. v. 12-13.
3. John i. 1, 3.
4. Gen. 1. 26. The author, whom Eusebius assumes to have been Moses, probably used the plural because the Hebrew word for God (Elohim) is plural. But Christians have always seen in this passage an indication of plurality in the unity of the Godhead.
5. A conflation of Ps. xxxiii. 9, and cxlviii. 5. Eusebius accepts the traditional Christian identification of 'the word of the Lord' in Ps. xxxiii. 6 with the Word of John's theology, and takes the 'He' of verse 9 as referring to 'the word', not to 'the Lord'.
The Father and Maker he introduces as giving commands like a supreme ruler by an imperial fiat; the divine Word, who holds the second place to Him - none other than the One whom we proclaim - as subserving His Father's behests.
Ever since man was first created, all who are said to have been distinguished for righteousness and the purity of their religion - the great servant Moses and his companions; before him Abraham, the very first, and his children; and all the righteous men and prophets who have since appeared - recognized Him in visions seen with the pure eyes of the mind, and paid due honour to Him as God's Son. He for His part, showing no slackness in His veneration of the Father, made Himself for all mankind the teacher of knowledge of the Father. Thus the Lord God is stated to have appeared as an ordinary human being to Abraham as he sat by the oak of Mamre. Abraham fell down at once, and though he saw a human being with his eyes he worshipped Him as God, besought Him as Lord, and owned that he knew who He was; for these were his very words:
O Lord, the Judge of all the world, wilt Thou not do justice?1
Reason would never allow that the uncreated and immutable substance of Almighty God should be changed into the form of a man, or, alternatively, that by the illusion of any created thing it should deceive the eyes of the beholder, or that Scripture should falsely invent such a tale. Who then could be spoken of as God, and the Lord who is the judge of all the world and does justice, appearing in human shape? As it is not permissible to suggest the First Cause of the universe, there is only one answer - His pre-existent Word. Of Him it is written in the Psalms:
He sent His Word and healed them, And rescued them from their corruptions.2
1. Gen. xviii. 1-2, 25.
2. Ps. cvii. 20.
Of Him Moses is unmistakably speaking, as second Lord after the Father, when he says:
The Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord.1
To Him, when He later appeared to Jacob in a man's shape, Holy Scripture again refers as God - when He said to Jacob:
No longer shall your name be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name; For you have prevailed with God.
Jacob called the name of that place ‘The Form of God’, saying: ‘For I saw God face to face, and my life was spared’2
It is clearly not permissible to regard the recorded theo-phanies as visitations by subordinate angels and ministers of God; for whenever one of these appears to human beings Scripture makes no secret of the fact, but explicitly declares that they are called not God or Lord, but angels, as can easily be proved by any number of instances.
The name which Moses' successor Joshua gave to Him, as Leader of the heavenly angels and archangels and of the celestial powers, and as the Power and Wisdom of the Father, entrusted with the second place in the kingship and rule over all things, was Commander-in-chief of the army of the Lord; yet Joshua like the others saw Him only in human form and shape. Here is the passage:
When Joshua was in Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw a man standing facing him, his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went up to him and said, 'Are you for us or for our opponents?' He replied, ‘It is as Commander-in-chief of the army of the Lord that I have now come’ Then Joshua fell face downwards on the ground and asked Him, 'Master, what do you command your servant?' The Commander-in-chief of the Lord replied, ‘Take your sandals off your feet: the place where you are standing is a holy place’3
1. Gen. xix. 24.
2. Gen. xxxii. 28, 30.
3. Josh. v. 13-15.
Here, too, you will gather from the actual words that this was the very Person who had instructed Moses; for in his case too the words of Scripture are the same:
When the Lord saw that he was coming near to see, He called out to him from the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' He replied, 'What is it?' The Lord answered, 'Do not come this way: take your sandals off your feet; for the place where you are standing is holy ground.' Then He continued: 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'1
That this is in truth a Being, living and subsisting before the world, who assisted the Father and God of the universe in the fashioning of all created things, named the Word of God and Wisdom, the evidence goes beyond the proofs given above: one may hear it from the person of Wisdom herself, who by the mouth of Solomon initiates us most fully into her secret:
I, Wisdom, have made counsel my dwelling,
I have invoked knowledge and thought.
By me kings reign,
And princes decree justice;
By me the great achieve greatness,
And monarchs by me are masters of the earth.
To this she adds:
The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works;
Before time began He established me;
In the beginning, before He made the earth,
Before the springs of water issued forth,
Before the mountains were fixed in place,
And before all hills he begot me.
When He prepared the heaven, I was at His side;
And when He made safe the springs under heaven,
I was with Him, setting them in order.
I was she in whom He delighted every day,
And I rejoiced before Him at every time,
When He rejoiced that He had finished the world.2
1. Ex. iii. 4-6.
2. Prov. viii. 12-31 (with omissions).
Such in outline are the proofs that the divine Word preexisted and showed Himself to some, if not to all.1
Why He was not preached long ago; as He is now, to all men and to every nation, what follows will make clear. It was impossible for the teaching of Christ in all its wisdom and virtue to be grasped by the human race in its former state. At the very beginning, after the original life of blessedness, the first man disregarded the divine command and fell into this mortal, transitory state, receiving this earth with its curse in place of the former heavenly delights.
His descendants, who peopled all our world, showed themselves much worse, apart from one or two, plunging into a beastly existence and a life not worth living. City and state, arts and sciences meant nothing to them; laws and statutes, morality and philosophy were not even names; they lived a nomadic life in the desert like wild and savage creatures; nature's gift of reason and the germs of thought and culture in the human soul were destroyed by the immensity of their deliberate wickedness. Unholy practices of every kind had taken complete possession of them, so that at one time they corrupted, at another they murdered each other, at yet another they became cannibals; they dared to join battle with God and to fight those battles of the giants that are everywhere famous; they planned to fortify earth against heaven, and in the madness of a deranged mind prepared for war against the Ruler of all things Himself.
While they followed this reckless course God, from whom nothing is hidden, visited them with cataclysms and conflagrations as if they had been a wild forest stretching across
1. It seems surprising that Eusebius in attempting to prove an essential Christian doctrine should make so much use - and such strange use - of the O.T., quoting only one passage from the New, and that not from our Lord's own words. It is surprising also that he describes the relationship between Father and Son in such strange terms; but the theologically-minded will see why in the Arian controversy he found it difficult to come down on the side of orthodoxy.
[ACTUALLY EUSEBIUS IS RIGHT ON IN HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE FATHER AND SON - Keith Hunt]
the whole world. With continual famines and pestilences, and again with wars and with thunderbolts from the sky, He cut them off, making His punishments more and more drastic as if to check some terrible and well-nigh fatal sickness of the soul. So at that crisis, when nearly all mankind had been submerged by a vast surfeit of wickedness, which like complete intoxication overshadowed and darkened almost every human soul, the first-begotten and first-created l [NOPE THE SON WAS NOT THE FIRST CREATED - HE LIKE THE FATHER WAS ETERNAL - Keith Hunt] Wisdom of God, the pre-existent Word Himself in His measureless love for mankind showed Himself, now by a vision of angels to His subjects, now in person as God's saving power to one or two of God's beloved servants of old; but always, always in human form, since in no other way could He appear to them. When these in turn had sown the seeds of true religion in numbers of men, a whole nation, sprung from the ancient Hebrews and devoted to true religion, arose in the world. On these - a mass of men still tied and bound by ancient habits - He bestowed, through the prophet Moses, images and symbols of a mystical sabbath and of circumcision, and instruction in other spiritual principles; but without actual, open initiation. Their Law became famous and like a fragrant breeze penetrated to every corner of the world. From the Jews the movement spread, and soon the characters of most heathen races began to grow gentler, thanks to the lawgivers and thinkers in every land. Savage and cruel brutality changed to mildness, so that profound peace, friendship, and easy intercourse were enjoyed.
Then at last, when all mankind and every race throughout the world had already received help and by now were fitted to receive knowledge of the Father, once again that same Teacher of virtue, the Father's Minister in all that is good, the divine and heavenly Word of God, in a human body which in all essentials shared our own nature, appeared in the early years of the Roman Empire. What He did and what He
1. So Milton: ‘first of created things’ [MILTON WAS WRONG; JESUS THE CHRIST WAS ETERNAL AS LIKE THE FATHER; HE WAS NOT THE FIRST CREATED BY THE FATHER. THE HUMAN MIND CANNOT GRASP ETERNAL PAST, AS THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID, “WE LOOK THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, BUT ONE DAY WE SHALL KNOW EVEN AS WE ARE KNOWN” - Keith Hunt]
suffered accorded with the prophecies, which foretold that a man who was also God would live in the world as a worker of miracles and would be revealed to all nations as a teacher of the worship due to the Father. They foretold also the miracle of His birth, the new teaching, and the marvels of His works, and furthermore the manner of His death, His resurrection from the dead, and last of all His restoration to heaven by the power of God. His final kingdom was shown by the Holy Spirit to Daniel the prophet, who thus inspired described the vision of God in human terms:
I watched until thrones were placed and an Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white like snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire, its wheels flaming fire; a river of fire flowed before Him. A thousand thousand ministered to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court of judgement sat, and the books were opened.... I watched, and lo, with the clouds of heaven came One like a Son of Man, who came quickly to the Ancient of Days and was brought face to face with Him. To Him was given the dominion, the glory, and the kingdom; and all the peoples, tribes, and languages shall serve Him. His authority is an everlasting authority, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed.1
Such words clearly, would never be applied to anyone but our Saviour, the Word who was in the beginning with God and was God, called Son of Man because ultimately He became a man.2 However, I have collected in special pamphlets the Selections from the Prophets that concern our Saviour Jesus Christ, and in other works have provided a fuller explanation of the statements about Him; so in the present work I shall add nothing to what has been said.
1. Dan. vii. 9-10, 13-14.
2. There can be no doubt that our Lord habitually claimed this title in order to identify Himself with the almighty Potentate of Daniel's vision and the Final Judge of Enoch's, not, as is often thought, hiding the fact that He was the Messiah, but insisting that He was something far greater.
The names Jesus and Christ known and honoured from the first
3. Both Jesus and Christ were names honoured even by God's beloved prophets of old, as I must now make clear. The extreme sanctity and glory of the name Christ was first proclaimed by Moses himself, who, in obedience to the oracle that said to him, 'See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you in the mount',1 communicated patterns and symbols of heavenly things, and mystical images. For in describing God's high priest, the most powerful of men, he called him Christ, and on this high-priestly office, which in his eyes surpassed all pre-eminence among men, he bestows as a mark of honour and glory the name of Christ.2 It is clear then that he understood the divine import of the word Christ. Moses again was enabled by the Holy Spirit to foresee quite plainly the title Jesus: it too, he felt to be worthy of special privilege. Never yet heard by human ears till it was made known to Moses, the title Jesus was bestowed by him for the first and only time on the man who - again as a pattern and symbol - he knew would after his own death succeed to the supreme authority.3 His successor had not hitherto used the designation Jesus, but was known by another name, Hoshea, which his parents had given him;4 but Moses calls him Jesus, conferring the name on him as a priceless honour, far greater than a kingly crown; for Joshua the son of Nun himself bore the image of our Saviour, who alone, after Moses and the completion of the symbolic worship given to men by him, succeeded to the authority over the true and most pure religion.
1. Ex. xxv. 40 (Heb. viii. 5).
2. In Lev. iv. 5,16 and vi. 22 the high priest is described as anointed. It must be remembered that while in English this does not suggest the name Christ, in Greek the two words are the same. Similarly in Hebrew Messiah = anointed.
3. Num. xxvii. 15-20: Jesus is the Greco-Latin transliteration of Joshua.
4. Num. xiii. 16.
Moses thus bestows on the two men who in his time surpassed all the people in merit and glory - the high priest and the man chosen to follow him as leader - the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ as a signal honour.
With equal clarity the prophets who came later named Christ in their prophecies, witnessing beforehand alike to the intrigue destined to be levelled against Him by the Jewish people, and to the calling of the Gentiles through Him. At one time Jeremiah says:
The Spirit of our face, Christ the Lord, was caught in their
Of whom we said, ’In His shadow we shall live among the
At another David in his perplexity asks:
Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth ranged themselves, And the rulers
gathered themselves together, Against the Lord and against His Christ.
Later, speaking in the person of Christ Himself, he continues:
The Lord said to Me,' You are my Son;
I have today begotten you.
Ask me, and I will give you the Gentiles as your inheritance,
And as your possession the limits of the world.'2
Thus, it was not only those honoured with the high priesthood, anointed with prepared oil for the symbol's sake, who were distinguished among the Hebrews with the name of Christ, but the kings too; for they, at the bidding of God, received the chrism from prophets and were thus made Christ’s in image, in that they, too, bore in themselves the patterns of the kingly, sovereign authority of the one true
1. Lam. iv. 20.
2. Ps. ii. 1-2, 7-8.
Christ, the divine Word who reigns over all. Again, some of the prophets themselves by chrism became Christ’s in pattern, as the records show, so that they all stand in relation to the true Christ, the divine and heavenly Word who is the sole High Priest of the universe, the sole King of all creation, and of prophets the sole Archprophet of the Father. This is proved by the fact that none of those who of old received the symbolical chrism, whether priest, king, or prophet, ever obtained such power of inspired virtue as our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the only veritable Christ, has revealed.
None of those men, however outstanding in dignity and honour among their own people in the course of so many generations, ever made their being in imagery entitled Christ the justification for calling their subjects Christians. None of them was honoured by his subjects with worship, or held in such affection after his death that anyone was ready to die for the person honoured. No one in those days caused such a stir among all the nations throughout the world, since the power of the symbol could not produce in them any effect comparable to that of the truth presented and revealed by our Saviour. He did not receive the symbols and patterns of the high priesthood from anyone; He did not trace his physical descent from the acknowledged priests; He was not promoted by the soldiers' weapons to a kingdom; He did not become a prophet in the same way as those of old; He did not receive from the Jews any rank or pre-eminence whatever. Yet with all these, not indeed in symbols but in very truth, He had been adorned by the Father. He may mot have obtained the same honours as those mentioned above, yet He is more entitled than any of them to be called Christ. And being Himself the one true Christ of God He has filled the whole world with Christians - His own truly venerated and holy name. No longer does He communicate to His followers patterns or images but fully revealed virtues and a heavenly life with the very doctrines of truth; and He has received the chrism, not that prepared with physical materials, but the divine chrism with the spirit of God, by sharing in the un-begotten divinity of the Father.
This very point, moreover, is driven home by Isaiah, who, as if from Christ's own lips, cries out:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me; For He anointed me
to bring good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to
proclaim deliverance to captives, and new sight to the blind.1
And not only Isaiah but David too addresses Him in person:
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:
A sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity;
Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee
With the oil of gladness beyond Thy fellows.2
In the first line the passage calls Him God; in the second it honours Him with a royal sceptre; then next, after divine and royal power, it goes on in the third place to portray Him as having become Christ, anointed not with oil made of physical substance but with the divine oil of gladness. Furthermore, it signifies the special distinction that makes Him far superior to and quite different from those who in earlier ages had received in imagery a more physical chrism. Elsewhere, the same writer makes His status clear:
The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, Till I make Thine enemies the footstool of Thy feet... From the womb before the daystar I begat Thee.' The Lord swore and will not repent: 'Thou art a priest for ever Of the order of Mekhizedek.'3
1. Is. lxi. 1 (Luke iv. 18).
2. Ps. xlv. 6-7 (Heb. i. 8-9).
3. Ps. ex. 1, 3-4 (Heb. v-vii passim)
This Melchizedek is introduced in the sacred record as priest of God Most High, though not consecrated with any prepared chrism or even belonging by birthright to the Hebrew priesthood. That is why it is according to his order, not that of the others who received symbols and patterns, that our Saviour has been called Christ and Priest with the backing of an oath. And so the record does not state that He received physical chrism from the Jews, or even that He belonged to the same tribe as the acknowledged priests, but that before the daystar, that is, before the construction of the world, He had His being, and holds His priesthood deathless and ageless to all eternity.
That in His case the chrism was non-physical and divine is clearly and amply proved by the fact that of all who have ever lived till this day He alone is known to all men throughout the entire world as Christ; that He is acknowledged and witnessed to by all men under this title, and is spoken of thus by Greeks and non-Greeks alike; and that to this day He is honoured by His devotees throughout the world as King, revered more than a prophet, and glorified as the true and only High Priest of God, and in addition to all this as the Word of God, pre-existent, having His being before all ages and having received from His Father the right to be worshipped; and that He is adored as God. But the greatest marvel of all is that it is not only with voices and the sound of words that we who are dedicated to Him do Him honour, but with all the affection of our soul, so that we care less for life itself than for our testimony to Him.
Nothing novel or strange in the religion preached by Him
4. This must suffice as introduction to my story proper: it was necessary in order to guard against any inclination to think of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, as novel, because of the date of His sojourn in the flesh. But to prevent anyone from imagining that His teaching either was new and strange, as being put together by a man of recent date no different from his fellows, let us now deal briefly with this point.
When the advent of our Saviour Jesus Christ recently shed its light on all men, it was admittedly a new people - not small or weak or established in some remote corner of the earth, but the most numerous and God-fearing of all peoples, indestructible and invincible in that for all time it receives God's help - that at the mystically appointed time all at once appeared, a people honoured by all with the name of Christ. This so amazed one of the prophets, when with the eye of the Holy Spirit he foresaw what was to be, that he burst out:
Who ever heard such things? And who ever spoke thus? Was the earth in travail but one day? And was a people born at once?1
The same writer also hinted at its future title:
Those who serve Me shall be called by a new name, Which shall be blessed on the earth.2
But although we certainly are a youthful people and this undeniably new name of Christians has only lately become known among all nations, nevertheless our life and mode of conduct, together with our religious principles, have not been recently invented by us, but from almost the beginnings of man were built on the natural concepts of those whom God loved in the distant past, as I shall proceed to show. The Hebrews are not a youthful people, but are respected by all men for their antiquity and are known to all. Now the spoken and written records of this people embrace men of a very early age, scarce and few in number, but at the same time outstanding in religious devotion, righteousness, and all other virtues. Several of these lived before the flood, others after it
I. Is. lxvi. 8.
2. Is. lxv. 15-16.
- some of Noah's sons and descendants, but especially Abraham, whom the children of the Hebrews boast as their own founder and ancestor. All these, whose righteousness won them commendation, going back from Abraham himself to the first man, might be described as Christians in fact if not in name, without departing far from the truth. For the name means this, that the Christian man, through the knowledge and teaching of Christ, excels in self-discipline and righteousness, in firmness of purpose and manly courage, and in an acknowledged devotion to the one, sole God over all; and for all this they showed no less enthusiasm than do we.1….
But it is obvious that they knew God's Christ Himself, since He appeared to Abraham, instructed Isaac, spoke to Israel,2 and conversed freely with Moses and the prophets who came later, as I have already shown. Hence, you will find that those men, God's beloved, were even honoured with the appellation of Christ, according to the word which says of them:
Touch not my Christs,
And among my prophets commit no mischief.3
Obviously we must regard the religion proclaimed in recent years to all nations through Christ's teaching as none other than the first, most ancient, and most primitive of all religions, discovered by Abraham and his followers, God's beloved.
1. We may think it absurd to give the name of Christians to those who lived before Christ, but the same line of thought will be found in Heb. xi and 1 Cor. x; and Christ equated His own moral teaching with that of the time before Moses, at least as regards marriage. See Mark x. 1-12.
2. i.e. Jacob. 3. Ps. cv. 15.
If it is argued that long afterwards Abraham received the ordinance of circumcision, I reply that before this, as we are informed, he had been commended for righteousness through faith, as the sacred record tells us:
Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteous-
Such he was before his circumcision, and it was then that an oracle was announced to him by God - Christ Himself, the Word of God - who showed Himself to him.2 This concerned those who in later days were to be justified in the same way as himself. It runs as follows:
In you shall be blessed all the races of the world.3
He shall become a great and mighty nation, and in him shall be blessed all the nations of the world.4
That, as we can see, has been fulfilled in us, for it was by faith in Christ the Word of God who appeared to him that he was justified, abandoning the superstition of his fathers and the old error of his ways, acknowledging one God, the God over all, and serving Him with right actions, not with the worship of the Law of Moses, who came later. Such he was when he was told that all the races of the world and all the nations would be blessed in him. And in actions more convincing than words at the present time Christians alone can be seen throughout the world practising religion in the very form in which Abraham practised it.
What then is to prevent us from admitting that we, Christ's followers, share one and the same life and form of religion
1. Gen. xv. 6 and Rom. iv. 3.
2. Eusebius's view that the O.T. theophanies were appearances of Christ (in human form though not yet born a man) seems impossible to us. But have we yet solved the problem of reconciling the stories of encounters between men and the Deity with St John's assertion that no man has ever seen God?
3. Gen. xii. 3.
4. Gen. xviii. 18.
with those who were dear to God so long ago? Thus the practice of religion as communicated to us by Christ's teaching is shown to be not modern and strange but, in all conscience, primitive, unique, and true. There we will leave the matter.
EUSEBIUS HAS DONE A BASIC GOOD JOB OF SHOWING JESUS THE CHRIST WAS FROM ETERNITY WITH THE FATHER; AND THE FATHER HAS HAD HIS TRUE CHILDREN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS AGE OF MANKIND.
FOR ABOUT 150 YEARS THE CHURCH OF GOD, SEVENTH DAY, OUT OF DENVER, USA, DID NOT TEACH THAT CHRIST PRE-EXISTED FROM ETERNITY. ABOUT THE YEAR 1985 THEY REVIEWED THEIR POSITION ON THIS DOCTRINE AND SAW THEY WERE VERY WRONG. THEY HAVE WHAT I CONSIDER THE BEST BOOKLET EVER WRITTEN ON THE SUBJECT. I BELIEVE THEY HAVE ANSWERED ALL THE ARGUMENTS [CERTAINLY THE MAIN ONES] PUT FORTH BY THOSE WHO STILL TEACH JESUS DID NOT PRE-EXIST FROM ETERNITY.
YOU WILL FIND THEIR WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET BY TYPING INTO YOUR WEB BROWSER CHURCH OF GOSD, SEVENTH DAY, DENVER, USA.