Now, forasmuch as the seasons of our entire hope have been fixed in the Holy Scripture, and since we are not permitted to place the accomplishment thereof, as I apprehend, previous to Christ's coming, our prayers are directed towards130 the end of this world, to the passing away thereof at the great day of the Lord-of His wrath and vengeance-the last day, which is hidden (from all), and known to none but the Father, although announced beforehand by signs and wonders, and the dissolution of the elements, and the conflicts of nations. I would turn out the words of the prophets, if the Lord Himself had said nothing (except that prophecies were the Lord's own word); but it is more to my purpose that He by His own mouth confirms their statement. Being questioned by His disciples when those things were to come to pass which He had just been uttering about the destruction of the temple, He discourses to them first of the order of Jewish events until the overthrow of Jerusalem, and then of such as concerned all nations up to the very end of the world. For after He had declared that "Jerusalem was to be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled," (Luke 24:21) -meaning, of course, those which were to be chosen of God, and gathered in with the remnant of Israel-He then goes on to proclaim, against this world and dispensation (even as Joel had done, and Daniel, and all the prophets with one consent), that "there should be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (Luke 24:25) "For," says He, "the powers of heaven shall be shaken; and then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh."(Luke 24:26 - 28) He spake of its "drawing nigh," not of its being present already; and of "those things beginning to come to pass," not of their having happened: because when they have come to pass, then our redemption shall be at hand, which is said to be approaching up to that time, raising and exciting our minds to what is then the proximate harvest of our hope. He immediately annexes a parable of this in "the trees which are tenderly sprouting into a flower-stalk, and then developing the flower, (Luke 24:30) which is the precursor of the fruit. (?) So likewise ye when ye shall see all these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand."(Matthew?) "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things, and to stand before the Son of man; "(Luke 24:36) that is, no doubt, at the resurrection, after all these things have been previously transacted. Therefore, although there is a sprouting in the acknowledgment of all this mystery, yet it is only in the actual presence of the Lord that the flower is developed and the fruit borne. [Tertullian De resurrectione mortuorum 22.2 BORLEFFS J.G.Ph., CCL 2 (1954),(p.947, l.10) BP1]
Thursday, November 20, 2014
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