Saint Melito of Sardis:
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Saint Melito of Sardis: Early Church Father, Bishop, and Martyr (D April 1, 180 AD)


Bishop of Sardis, prominent ecclesiastical writer in the latter half of the second century. Few details of his life are known. A letter of Polycrates of Ephesus to Pope Victor about 194 (Eusebius, Church History V.24) states that "Melito the eunuch [this is interpreted "the virgin" by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius], whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit", was interred at Sardis, and had been one of the great authorities in the Church of Asia who held the Quartodeciman theory. His name is cited also in the "Labyrinth" of Hippolytus as one of the second-century writers who taught the duality of natures in Jesus. St. Jerome, speaking of the canon of Melito, quotes Tertullian's statement that he was esteemed a prophet by many of the faithful.

Of Melito's numerous works almost all have perished, fortunately, Eusebius has preserved the names of the majority and given a few extracts (Church History IV.13, IV.26). They are (1) "An Apology for the Christian Faith", appealing to Marcus Aurelius to examine into the accusations against the Christians and to end the persecution (written apparently about 172 or before 177). This is a different work from the Syriac apology attributed to Melito, published in Svriae and English by Cureton from a British Museum manuscript. The latter, a vigorous confutation of idolatry and polytheism addressed to Antoninus Caesar, seems from internal evidence to be of Syrian origin, though some authorities have identified it with Melito's Peri aletheias. (2) Peri tou pascha, on Easter, written probably in 167-8. A fragment cited by Eusebius refers to a dispute that had broken out in Laodicea regarding Easter, but does not mention the precise matter in controversy. (3) Eklogai, six books of extracts from the Law and the Prophets concerning Christ and the Faith, the passage cited by Eusebius contains a canon of the Old Testament. (4) He kleis, for a long time considered to be preserved in the "Melitonis clavis sanctae scripturae", which is now known to be an original Latin compilation of the Middle Ages. (5) Peri ensomatou theou, on the corporeity of God, of which some Syriac fragments have been preserved. It is referred to by Origen (In Gen., i, 26) as showing Melito to have been an Anthropomorphite, the Syriac fragments, however, prove that the author held the opposite doctrine.

Fourteen additional works are cited by Eusebius. Anastasius Sinaita in his Hodegos (P.G., LXXXIX) quotes from two other writings: Eis to pathos (on the Passion), and Peri sarkoseos (on the Incarnation), a work in three books, probably written against the Marcionites. Routh (see below) has published four scholia in Greek from a Catena on the Sacrifice of Isaac as typifying the Sacrifice of the Cross, probably taken from a corrupt version of the Eklogai. Four Syriac fragments from works on the Body and Soul, the Cross, and Faith, are apparently compositions of Melito, though often referred to Alexander of Alexandria. Many spurious writings have been attributed to Melito in addition to the "Melitonis clavis sanctae scripturae" already mentioned e.g., a "Let ter to Eutrepius, "Catena in Apocalypsin", a manifest forgery compiled after A.D. 1200; "De passione S. Joannis Evangelistae" (probably not earlier than the seventh century), "De transitu Beatae Mariae Virginis" (see Apocrypha in I, 607). Melito's feast is observed on 1 April.

Studies of early Jewish-Christian relations often focus on the origins of anti-Semitism. Many early Christian works have been reinterpreted and used to legitimize anti-Semitic sentiments in a much later context. Nevertheless, "anti-Semitism" is a very simplistic way of understanding the complex and subtle issues that came up as two Second-Temple movements slowly came to define themselves against each other. Melito of Sardis’ homily on Passover and the passion of Christ first appears to many as raving anti-Judaism. Indeed, it is not without foundation that Melito has been called the poet of deicide. The homily, composed around 190 C.E. in Sardis, is very deeply concerned with guilt for the sin of killing Christ. On one hand, in many periods the Jews have been blamed for the death of Christ, not only historically but eternally. On the other hand, the current Catechism of the Catholic Church blames the death on "the sins of all men" (paragraph 312). The following proposes that Melito follows neither of these interpretations. Melito’s theology is not entirely abstract. He is concerned with the historical death at the hands of the Jews and the inherited culpability, but he does not define Jew as "other," or at least not without reasonable doubt.

There are those who understand Christianity as essentially new, and those who understand it as the logical continuation of the history of Israel. The question of anti-Judaism in Melito hinges upon his understanding of the "otherness" of Judaism. In attempting to reevaluate anti-Judaism in Melito we begin with an analysis of anti-Judaism. Anti-Judaism levels accusative guilt, Judaism levels reflexive guilt. Anti-Judaism convicts, Judaism calls for repentance with compassion. Anti-Judaism asserts identity through destructive identity distinctions, Judaism calls for a new progression in a constructive manner. Anti-Judaism condemns what Judaism is, Judaism condemns what Judaism has come to be, and calls for a return to the better, glorified past. Prophets and Sages are no less harsh, but because they claim part of the tradition they condemn, we assume they do so with sincere compassion. As for the Christians who fail to completely break with Judaism, the line becomes more blurred. Considering that the term "Christian" as opposed to "Jew" was so undefined in the formative period following the destruction of the second temple, we have no warrant to jump to conclusions. The "in-between" status of those who defy our categories makes it difficult to understand where Judaism ends and anti-Judaism begins. In attempting to reevaluate anti-Judaism in Melito’s theology I begin with a review of the few external historical sources on Melito.

It is clear from Eusebius that Melito celebrates Easter on the fourteenth of Nisan, rather than the Sunday following (Eusebius HE 5.24). It is not clear, however, what can be determined from that fact. The apparently earlier practice of celebrating Passover and Easter together on the date determined by the Jewish calender was eventually abandoned in favor of emphasizing the Sunday cult and independence from rabbinic authorities in determining the church calender. Evidence does not confirm, however, that the dating system debate had any connotation of Jewish relations in Melito’s time. Shortly after the death of Melito in the second century a bishop of Rome ordered the Eastern churches to follow the Roman dating system, but without mention of Jewish affinity (Eusebius HE 5.24). The order seems more concerned with unifying the church under Roman authority than cutting ties with the pre-Christ origins of the holiday. The claim that quartodecimians mingle too close to Jews doesn’t come explicitly until the fourth century, and even then there is no reason to believe that the quartodecimians took this as a serious fault in their tradition, which they traced to the Gospel of John (Eusebius HE 5.24). Melito may simply have been following the convention he inherited, or may have followed the gospel of John without thinking about the implications for Jewish relations.

It is no less plausible, however, that Melito and those of his time were concerned about the Jewishness of quartodecimianism. S. G. Wilson has suggested that if Melito had other reasons for following the Jewish calender and was aware of the criticism, he may have been under pressure to avoid the charge of Judaizing (Wilson 1985: p. 350). On the other hand, if the criticism reflects historical reality, Melito may actually have been Judaizing. If Melito were indeed anti-Judaic, one wonders why Melito would have stood up for a practice associated with Judaizing. Another source, not referring to Melito specifically, enhances our understanding of the quartodecimian relationship to Judaism. Didascalia and Epiphaneus preserve that the quartodecimians fasted on behalf of the Jews as part of their Pascha, "When they feast, mourn ye for them with fasting, for they crucified Christ on the day of the feast" (Epiphaneus Heresies 70.11). While this clearly does present the element of guilt, it also contains the subtle element of compassion that will become central later in the discussion.

Eusebius preserves two other interesting bits of knowledge about Melito. A letter of Melito’s reveals not only his particular interest in the Hebrew Bible, but also that he traveled to Palestine to study Bible, apparently in Hebrew (Eusebius HE 4.26). Without conclusiveness, this may contribute to the possibility that Melito saw more to the Jewish roots of Christianity than irony. More convincingly, in a letter to the Roman emperor, Melito states, "The philosophy which we profess, first indeed, flourished among the barbarians [Jews]" (Eusebius HE 4.26). One may be so cynical as to consider this an insincere attempt to make a Christian claim to Judaism’s age and consequent status as a permitted religion. Nevertheless, such an argument did not have to be used if one believed that Judaism was the complete antithesis of Christianity.

More evidence that Melito had a deep interest and affinity to Judaism will appear in our reading of the text itself. As for the external evidence determining our approach going into the text, we take a modest assessment of what we really know about Melito. The balance of factors suggests that Melito considered himself a continuation of the Jewish tradition in scripture, language, and history, despite a crucial point dividing those who kept the faith by changing with it, and those who lost the faith. Even the latter, however, he approaches with compassion by fasting for them.

Salvation History

Melito starts from the beginning, God created man and placed him in the garden. From that very beginning, however, man sinned and left an inheritance for his children of sin, suffering, death, and slavery—both literal slavery and slavery to the flesh (27-49). Patricide and incest ruled the earth, and the human soul was damned to Hades (51-52, 55). Nevertheless, God, Christ in particular, guarded over his chosen people like a father from the time of the Patriarchs through the captivity in Egypt (83-84). As part of the design of salvation, God brings salvation to the suffering and punishment to the oppressors. Therefore, God punished the faithless, sinful Egyptians and brought salvation for the initiated, leading them and nurturing them in the desert (84-85). There He gave them a new inheritance to replace the inheritance of sin and slavery from Adam (85). This inheritance was precious, but narrow (45).

In order to fulfill the design of salvation and undo the sin from Adam, a new sacrifice, modeled on the former, had to be accomplished (56-57). This would have entirely ended suffering, death, crime, injustice, and slavery of the flesh (102). Such a salvation would overturn the "strangest and most terrible thing that occurred on earth" (52), i.e. incest, as well as patricide and fratricide that occurred from the sin of Adam.

Such a thing was indeed accomplished, but a new sin, an "unprecedented crime" replaced the old and led to even greater suffering (97). The crime was patricide (81-86) and regicide (91-91), but with a twist. A just man suffered a cruel and unjust death (74). An ungrateful child rejected the compassion and signs of its guardians (87 ff.). The child was Israel itself, who more than anyone else should have known better (81-82). From that time the inheritance again becomes a worthless one of guilt, sin, and suffering, as in the days following Adam.

Such is generally the Rabbinic explanation of the events that followed. "On account of the sin of [innocent] bloodshed God’s Presence departs and the Temple is defiled." (Tosefta Yoma 1:12). Jerusalem is destroyed, with suffering only escalating in the Bar Kochba revolt. In the wake of this, Melito writes, "It was a terrible spectacle to watch... mothers with hair undone, fathers with minds undone, dreadfully wailing...." (29). In referring to the suffering of the Egyptians, he implicitly refers to the suffering of the Jews in his own day and in recent memory. Melito’s theodicy, his explanation for suffering, echoes that of the Biblical prophets and the Sages. Suffering results from faithlessness and unjust oppressiveness, precisely following the model of the Egyptians. In times of suffering, Melito offers a promise of hope, that God has ultimate power over the physical enemy and even over death (102). Also similar to the Exile Prophets, as well as the Rabbinic Sages of his own time, Melito calls for repentance and faithfulness to their God from whom they turned. Melito closes his oration with the plea, "Come then, all you families of men who are compounded with sins, and get forgiveness of sins." (103) With the call to repentance comes the hope of salvation: "I will raise you up by my right hand." (103)

Continuity

Melito recognizes some crucial division between those who accept Christ and those who do not. It is equally clear, however, that he makes no distinction between Christ and the God of Israel. Furthermore, besides the apologetic letter mentioned in the introduction, the homily itself rejects the division between Christianity and traditional Judaism made in his time. The mystery of the Lord on the cross is mistakenly "considered new by men." (58) For Melito, the claim to be the true faithful, the true Israel, is not merely a claim, but a sincere perception of the progression of history through the Scriptures. For Melito, as well as the Prophets, the relevant division is not between Christian and Jew, but faithful and faithless. It may appear from a modern perspective that those who make the lesser change are the faithful, and those who introduce something new are the deviants. Melito doesn’t seem to think that way. As in the Prophets, the criticism is for being "stiff-necked" (17) when signs indicate the time for something new. Melito defines "Israel" as those who "see God," who recognize the Lord. Implicitly, those who recognize the divinity of Christ would be the true Israel. In calling out to those who do not recognize Christ, Melito attempts to avoid the appellation "Israel," instead preferring suggestive phrases such as "the uninitiated", "the hostile," and "the faithless." Given a new, but continuous, preordained and prefigured turning point in salvation history, it becomes clear that in Melito’s understanding, those who recognize the God of Israel on the cross are the faithful Jews; and that the stiff-necked faithless are the ones in need of repentance. The difference between the faithful and the "other" in Melito lies not in culpability, but in the distinction between the repentant and the unrepentant.

Old and New

Among the most easily misunderstood elements of Melito’s perspective is his conception of the relationship between the old and the new. Melito states that "the mystery of the lord is new and old" (58). In that sense the term appears to be used without pejorative connotation. It is clear that the same loving, saving God that was crucified was present throughout Jewish history. The terms would seem to suggest inherent superiority, yet the "old" appears as indispensable for understanding the "new." In contrast to those who present Christ as the key to understanding the Hebrew Scriptures, Melito praises the Hebrew Scriptures as the key to understanding Christ. Stating the principal repeatedly with numerous examples, Melito says, "If you wish to see the mystery of the Lord, look at Abel who is similarly murdered, at Isaac who is similarly bound..." (59). And again, "the mystery of the Lord is proclaimed by the prophetic voice" (61). Following this principal, sections 57-65 and 69-71 expound the meaning of the gospels from evidence in the Hebrew Bible. These discussions may on one level be considered "prooftexts." Yet with careful attention it becomes clear that the passages Melito selects seldom center on the prophetic heralding of the coming of Christ. It would be too cynical to generalize Biblical typology as a tool to prove the divinity of Christ based on Hebrew Scriptures. It appears that Melito sincerely appreciates the "old," and finds therein exegetical inspiration for understanding the Christian myth, and vice versa.

Nevertheless, Melito’s emphasis on the supersession of the old by the new surpasses the minimum warranted by his concept of salvation history. Melito goes beyond constructive praise of the new to say "the model was abolished when the Lord was revealed, and today, things once precious have become worthless, since the really precious things have been revealed." (43) What exactly is "the model?" Judaism? The Hebrew Scriptures? Melito makes no use of the former category, and clearly holds high respect for the later. To understand Melito, we owe it to him to read the next two sections in which he enumerates exactly what has become worthless: "The slaying of the sheep," "the death of the sheep," "the blood of the sheep," "the temple," "the Jerusalem below," "the narrow inheritance." (44,45) The temple cult and the city of Jerusalem are all things that had been lost in the period preceding the homily. The passage serves as a consolation, and continues with the optimistic note that all those beloved things we lost, we don’t really need anyway because, "for it is not in one place nor in a little plot that the glory of God is established."

Ben Zakkai and the Rabbinic tradition following him are not quite as prepared to devalue the temple past, yet they do emphasize that the old things can be fulfilled in a new form, and that life must move on. Everyone in the second century who felt a continuity with pre-destruction Judaism had to deal with the loss in some way or another. In comparing Melito to the sages, one might think that Melito’s "new" is newer than the way of life proposed at Yavneh, but the modern reader again has to overcome the retrospective that Rabbinic Judaism is the logical continuation of Temple Judaism, and Christianity is not. Objectively speaking, the idea of Torah study as replacement for sacrifice is no more logical than a cosmic sacrifice built on the model of temple sacrifice. More importantly, even if we are to assume the term "Judaism," a text can not be labeled "anti-Judaism" if it operates from the same motivation as the Tannaim. There cannot be anti-Judaism without anti-Judaic intent.

Anti-Judaism

We introduced this reading with a discussion of what anti-Judaism is and is not. In conclusion, we find Melito to be closer to the Prophets and the Sages than modern anti-Judaism. Melito identifies himself within the same tradition as those he criticizes, and he calls them to repentance with compassion. The sin of rejecting God is not hereditary, an inherent and accusative guilt, but a contemporary sin of the faithless who fail to repent for the common sin of the past. In introducing something new (although he emphasizes continuity over novelty) he uses constructive and hopeful language. The negative language appears not as an attack on any kind of "Judaism" in his own time, but as a weaning off of the unattainable past. Well predating the redaction of the Mishnah, it is not entirely clear how aware Melito was of the Tannaitic alternative attempt to maintain continuity with the temple tradition. Particularly with regard to the Paschal tradition, there is no evidence that a Rabbinic tradition even existed before Melito. Although some have presented Melito as parodying the Rabbinic Haggada, more recent scholars have pointed out that certain elements of the Haggada are more likely borrowed from Christianity than vice-versa.1  The homily presents a glorified portrayal of Israel in Egypt, and contrasts that to the present faithlessness both as a call to repentance and a theodicy explaining why the once saving God has apparently abandoned his people. This exact same technique appears often in the Hebrew Bible and one might well assume that a Hebrew Bible scholar such as Melito might have borrowed directly therefrom.

The scope of this paper has not included all possible comparisons between Melito and Biblical Prophecy. Besides Melito’s fluid use of Biblical references, even his literary style echoes the parallelism and structure of Biblical poetry. Further studies could very well show more links between Melito and canonical Judaism, and thereby support further Melito’s affinity for the tradition he has been accused of hating. However Melito understood his relationship to the Biblical Jewish tradition he knew and acknowledged, his passions are undeniably strong, and we have seen how easily love can be mistaken for hate. One need not rely entirely on comparisons with the traditions of the Bible and Rabbinic commentaries. The love of a parent for a child does not depend on constantly speaking rosy words. In speaking of anti-Judaism in any context, it is important not to polarize a dichotomy between gratuitous laud and anti-Judaism.

Is Christianity essentially anti-Jewish? One could argue that the very similarities made a painful cleft inevitable. This reading of Melito suggests that a certain amount of naive innocence makes it possible to delay the inevitable, and develop a rich theology that offers continuity at times when history demands innovation in one way or another.

 


"Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, I am your salvation and your king. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up, and I will show you the eternal Father."
--From a letter by Saint Melito of Sardis

Saint Melito of Sardis was Bishop of the Church in Sardis, and a prominent ecclesiastical writer in the latter half of the second century. Indications are that he was the second Bishop of Sardis, and was successor to “the angel of the Church of Sardis” (the apostle of that Church) to whom was addressed one of the apocalyptic messages. Very little is known of his life, and the majority of his writings exist only in fragments, and quotations from Eusebius, Polycrates, Tertullian, and others. A letter of Polycrates of Ephesus to Pope Victor about 194 states that "Melito the eunuch (this is interpreted "the virgin" by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius), whose whole walk was in the Holy Spirit", was interred at Sardis, and had been one of the great authorities in the Church of Asia who held the Quartodeciman theory (this was those Churches, primarily in Asia Minor, who celebrated Easter according to the Jewish calendar for Passover).

Saint Melito gave us the earliest indications of the Canon of the Old Testament in his writings, and Saint Jerome, speaking of this canon, quotes Tertullian that Melito was esteemed as a prophet by many of the faithful. Saint Melito, also wrote an apology to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, in which he defended the Christians against accusations made against them, urged the emperor to end the persecutions of the Christians, and even urged Aurelius to proclaim Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire!

Saint Melito was also one of the earliest writers to have written on the dual natures of Christ: "For there is no need, to persons of intelligence, to attempt to prove, from the deeds of Christ subsequent to His baptism, that His soul and His body, His human nature like ours, were real, and no phantom of the imagination. For the deeds done by Christ after His baptism, and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man likewise, He gave us sure indications of His two natures: of His Deity, by His miracles during the three years that elapsed after His baptism; of His humanity, during the thirty similar periods which preceded His baptism, in which, by reason of His low estate as regards the flesh, He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before all ages."

In the early 20th century, there was great excitement among Christian scholars when a homily by Saint Melito on Easter, “Peri Pascha”, was discovered. This homily shows how the early Christians saw Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection foreshadowed throughout The Old Testament. Indeed, in the writings attributed to Saint Melito by Eusebius, the prolific writer Melito gave a listing of the books of The Old Testament, which Saint Melito referred to as “The Old Books”, which indicates to many scholars that the Church of Melito's time may well have had a New Testament as well. There is also a strong indication from the fragments of Melito's writing that exist in references by Tertullian, Eusebius, Polycrates, and others, that Saint Melito made extensive use of the Gospel of Saint John, and he may have been acquainted with Saint Polycarp, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and other Early Church Fathers of his day. His writings influenced the thinking of Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.

One always gets a great insight to the the beliefs and workings of the early Church by reading the writings of those great men, who lived and died for the truth, which is Christ Jesus, was Christ Jesus, and will be Christ Jesus, now and forever. You may read some of those writings (fragments and a homily) online by clicking the titles to go to the sites. You can read Melito the Philosopher, also Easter Praise of Christ by Melito of Sardis, Lamb That Was Slain by Melito, and On The Passover by Melito. Saint Melito is believed to have been martyred around the time he wrote his apology to Marcus Aurelius circa 180 A.D.

The following was written by Saint Jerome, in his book, Lives of Illustrious Men :

Melito the Bishop

Melito of Asia, bishop of Sardis, addressed a book to the emperor Marcus Antoninus Verus, a disciple of Fronto the orator, in behalf of the Christian doctrine. He wrote other things also, among which are the following: On the passover, two books, one book On the lives of the prophets, one book On the church, one book On the Lord's day, one book On faith, one book On the psalms, one On the senses, one On the soul and body, one On baptism, one On truth, one On the generation of Christ, On His prophecy, one On hospitality and another which is called the Key, one On the devil, one On the Apocalypse of John, one On the corporeality of God, and six books of Eclogues. Of his fine oratorical genius, Tertullian, in the seven books which he wrote against the church on behalf of Montanus, satirically says that he was considered a prophet by many of us.

A prayer written by Saint Melito of Sardis

Prayer in Praise of Christ

Born as a son,
led forth as a lamb,
sacrificed as a sheep,
buried as a man,
he rose from the dead as a God,
for he was by nature God and man.

He is all things:
he judges, and so he is Law;
he teaches, and so he is Wisdom;
he saves, and so he is Grace;
he begets, and so he is Father;
he is begotten, and so he is Son;
he suffers, and so he is Sacrifice;
he is buried, and so he is man;
he rises again, and so he is God.
This is Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs glory for all ages.

Quotes from the writings of Saint Melito of Sardis:


"God has suffered from the right hand of Israel. Head of the Lord--His simple Divinity; because He is the Beginning and Creator of all things". --From “The Oration on Our Lord's Passion”.

"God who is from God; the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King for evermore...He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree. The Lord was subjected to ignominy with naked body--God put to death, the King of Israel slain!" --From “The Discourse On The Cross”.

"We have collected together extracts from the Law and the Prophets relating to those things which have Been declared concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prove to your love that this Being is perfect reason, the Word of God; He who was begotten before the light; He who is Creator together with the Father; He who is the Fashioner of man; He who is all in all; He who among the patriarchs is Patriarch; He who in the law is the Law; among the priests, Chief Priest; among kings, the Ruler; among prophets, the Prophet; among the angels, Archangel; in the voice of the preacher, the Word; among spirits, the Spirit; in the Father, the Son; in God, God; King for ever and ever." --From “The Discourse On Faith”

“The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of whose who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: "Who will contend with me? Let him confront me." I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.” --From a letter by Saint Melito.


MELITO OF SARDIS

Early Church Father

On the Passover

Introduction (1-10)1. First of all, the Scripture about the Hebrew Exodus has been read and the words of the mystery have been explained as to how the sheep was sacrificed and the people were saved.

2. Therefore, understand this, O beloved: The mystery of the passover is new and old, eternal and temporal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal in this fashion:

3. It is old insofar as it concerns the law, but new insofar as it concerns the gospel; temporal insofar as it concerns the type, eternal because of grace; corruptible because of the sacrifice of the sheep, incorruptible because of the life of the Lord; mortal because of his burial in the earth, immortal because of his resurrection from the dead.

4. The law is old, but the gospel is new; the type was for a time, but grace is forever. The sheep was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible, who was crushed as a lamb, but who was resurrected as God. For although he was led to sacrifice as a sheep, yet he was not a sheep; and although he was as a lamb without voice, yet indeed he was not a lamb. The one was the model; the other was found to be the finished product.

5. For God replaced the lamb, and a man the sheep; but in the man was Christ, who contains all things.

6. Hence, the sacrifice of the sheep, and the sending of the lamb to slaughter, and the writing of the law–each led to and issued in Christ, for whose sake everything happened in the ancient law, and even more so in the new gospel.

7. For indeed the law issued in the gospel–the old in the new, both coming forth together from Zion and Jerusalem; and the commandment issued in grace, and the type in the finished product, and the lamb in the Son, and the sheep in a man, and the man in God.

8. For the one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man.

9. He is everything: in that he judges he is law, in that he teaches he is gospel, in that he saves he is grace, in that he begets he is Father, in that he is begotten he is Son, in that he suffers he is sheep, in that he is buried he is man, in that he comes to life again he is God.

10. Such is Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

 I. The Meaning of the OT Passover (11-71)

A. The Biblical Setting–Exodus 12:11-30 (11-15)

11. Now comes the mystery of the passover, even as it stands written in the law, just as it has been read aloud only moments ago. But I will clearly set forth the significance of the words of this Scripture, showing how God commanded Moses in Egypt, when he had made his decision, to bind Pharaoh under the lash, but to release Israel from the lash through the hand of Moses.

12. For see to it, he says, that you take a flawless and perfect lamb, and that you sacrifice it in the evening with the sons of Israel, and that you eat it at night, and in haste. You are not to break any of its bones.

13. You will do it like this, he says: In a single night you will eat it by families and by tribes, your loins girded, and your staves in your hands. For this is the Lord's passover, an eternal reminder for the sons of Israel.

14. Then take the blood of the sheep, and anoint the front door of your houses by placing upon the posts of your entrance-way the sign of the blood, in order to ward off the angel. For behold I will strike Egypt, and in a single night she will be made childless from beast to man.

15. Then, when Moses sacrificed the sheep and completed the mystery at night together with the sons of Israel, he sealed the doors of their houses in order to protect the people and to ward off the angel.

 B. Egypt's Calamities (16-29)

16. But when the sheep was sacrificed, and the passover consumed, and the mystery completed, and the people made glad, and Israel sealed, then the angel arrived to strike Egypt, who was neither initiated into the mystery, participant of the passover, sealed by the blood, nor protected by the Spirit, but who was the enemy and the unbeliever.

17. In a single night the angel struck and made Egypt childless. For when the angel had encompassed Israel, and had seen her sealed with the blood of the sheep, he advanced against Egypt, and by means of grief subdued the stubborn Pharaoh, clothing him, not with a cloak of mourning, nor with a torn mantle, but with all of Egypt, torn, and mourning for her firstborn.

18. For all Egypt, plunged in troubles and calamities, in tears and lamentations, came to Pharaoh in utter sadness, not in appearance only, but also in soul, having torn not only her garments but her tender breasts as well.

19. Indeed it was possible to observe an extraordinary sight: in one place people beating their breasts, in another those wailing, and in the middle of them Pharaoh, mourning, sitting in sackcloth and cinders, shrouded in thick darkness as in a funeral garment, girded with all Egypt as with a tunic of grief.

20. For Egypt clothed Pharaoh as a cloak of wailing. Such was the mantle that had been woven for his royal body. With just such a cloak did the angel of righteousness clothe the self-willed Pharaoh: with bitter mournfulness, and with thick darkness, and with childlessness. For that angel warred against the firstborn of Egypt. Indeed, swift and insatiate was the death of the firstborn.

21. And an unusual monument of defeat, set up over those who had fallen dead in a moment, could be seen. For the defeat of those who lay dead became the provisions of death.

22. If you listen to the narration of this extraordinary event you will be astonished. For these things befell the Egyptians: a long night, and darkness which was touchable, and death which touched, and an angel who oppressed, and Hades which devoured their firstborn.

23. But you must listen to something still more extraordinary and terrifying: in the darkness which could be touched was hidden death which could not be touched. And the ill-starred Egyptians touched the darkness, while death, on the watch, touched the firstborn of the Egyptians as the angel had commanded.

24. Therefore, if anyone touched the darkness he was led out by death. Indeed one firstborn, touching a dark body with his hand, and utterly frightened in his soul, cried aloud in misery and in terror: What has my right hand laid hold of? At what does my soul tremble? Who cloaks my whole body with darkness? If you are my father, help me; if my mother, feel sympathy for me; if my brother, speak to me; if my friend, sit with me; if my enemy, go away from me since I am a firstborn son!

25. And before the firstborn was silent, the long silence held him in its power, saying: You are mine, O firstborn! I, the silence of death, am your destiny.

26. And another firstborn, taking note of the capture of the firstborn, denied his identity, so that he might not die a bitter death: I am not a firstborn son; I was born like a third child. But he who could not be deceived touched that firstborn, and he fell forward in silence. In a single moment the firstborn fruit of the Egyptians was destroyed. The one first conceived, the one first born, the one sought after, the one chosen was dashed to the ground; not only that of men but that of irrational animals as well.

27. A lowing was heard in the fields of the earth, of cattle bellowing for their nurslings, a cow standing over her calf, and a mare over her colt. And the rest of the cattle, having just given birth to their offspring and swollen with milk, were lamenting bitterly and piteously for their firstborn.

28. And there was a wailing and lamentation because of the destruction of the men, because of the destruction of the firstborn who were dead. And all Egypt stank, because of the unburied bodies.

29. Indeed one could see a frightful spectacle: of the Egyptians there were mothers with dishevelled hair, and fathers who had lost their minds, wailing aloud in terrifying fashion in the Egyptian tongue: O wretched persons that we are! We have lost our firstborn in a single moment! And they were striking their breasts with their hands, beating time in hammerlike fashion to the dance for their dead.

 C. Israel's Safety (30-33)

 30. Such was the misfortune which encompassed Egypt. In an instant it made her childless. But Israel, all the while, was being protected by the sacrifice of the sheep and truly was being illumined by its blood which was shed; for the death of the sheep was found to be a rampart for the people.

31. O inexpressible mystery! the sacrifice of the sheep was found to be the salvation of the people, and the death of the sheep became the life of the people. For its blood warded off the angel.

32. Tell me, O angel, At what were you turned away? At the sacrifice of the sheep, or the life of the Lord? At the death of the sheep, or the type of the Lord? At the blood of the sheep, or the Spirit of the Lord? Clearly, you were turned away

33. because you saw the mystery of the Lord taking place in the sheep, the life of the Lord in the sacrifice of the sheep, the type of the Lord in the death of the sheep. For this reason you did not strike Israel, but it was Egypt alone that you made childless.

 D. Model versus Finished Product (34-38)

34. What was this extraordinary mystery? It was Egypt struck to destruction but Israel kept for salvation. Listen to the meaning of this mystery:

35. Beloved, no speech or event takes place without a pattern or design; every event and speech involves a pattern–that which is spoken, a pattern, and that which happens, a prefiguration–in order that as the event is disclosed through the prefiguration, so also the speech may be brought to expression through its outline.

36. Without the model, no work of art arises. Is not that which is to come into existence seen through the model which typifies it? For this reason a pattern of that which is to be is made either out of wax, or out of clay, or out of wood, in order that by the smallness of the model, destined to be destroyed, might be seen that thing which is to arise from it–higher than it in size, and mightier than it in power, and more beautiful than it in appearance, and more elaborate than it in ornamentation.

37. So whenever the thing arises for which the model was made, then that which carried the image of that future thing is destroyed as no longer of use, since it has transmitted its resemblance to that which is by nature true. Therefore, that which once was valuable, is now without value because that which is truly valuable has appeared.

38. For each thing has its own time: there is a distinct time for the type, there is a distinct time for the material, and there is a distinct time for the truth. You construct the model. You want this, because you see in it the image of the future work. You procure the material for the model. You want this, on account of that which is going to arise because of it. You complete the work and cherish it alone, for only in it do you see both type and the truth.

E. Relationship Between OT and NT (39-45)

39. Therefore, if it was like this with models of perishable objects, so indeed will it also be with those of imperishable objects. If it was like this with earthly things, so indeed also will it be with heavenly things. For even the Lord's salvation and his truth were prefigured in the people, and the teaching of the gospel was proclaimed in advance by the law.

40. The people, therefore, became the model for the church, and the law a parabolic sketch. But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth.

41. Therefore, the type had value prior to its realization, and the parable was wonderful prior to its interpretation. This is to say that the people had value before the church came on the scene, and the law was wonderful before the gospel was brought to light.

42. But when the church came on the scene, and the gospel was set forth, the type lost its value by surrendering its significance to the truth, and the law was fulfilled by surrendering its significance to the gospel. Just as the type lost its significance by surrendering its image to that which is true by nature, and as the parable lost its significance by being illumined through the interpretation,

43. so indeed also the law was fulfilled when the gospel was brought to light, and the people lost their significance when the church came on the scene, and the type was destroyed when the Lord appeared. Therefore, those things which once had value are today without value, because the things which have true value have appeared.

44. For at one time the sacrifice to the sheep was valuable, but now it is without value because of the life of the Lord. The death of the sheep once was valuable, but now it is without value because of the salvation of the Lord. The blood of the sheep once was valuable, but now it is without value because of the Spirit of the Lord. The silent lamb once was valuable, but now it has no value because of the blameless Son. The temple here below once was valuable, but now it is without value because of the Christ from above.

45. The Jerusalem here below once had value, but now it is without value because of the Jerusalem from above. The meager inheritance once had value; now it is without value because of the abundant grace. For not in one place alone, nor yet in narrow confines, has the glory of God been established, but his grace has been poured out upon the uttermost parts of the inhabited world, and there the almighty God has taken up his dwelling place through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.

 F. Components of the Mystery of the Passover (46-71)

1. The Passover (46-47a)

46. Now that you have heard the explanation of the type and of that which corresponds to it, hear also what goes into making up the mystery. What is the passover? Indeed its name is derived from that event–"to celebrate the passover" (to paschein) is derived from "to suffer" (tou pathein). Therefore, learn who the sufferer is and who he is who suffers along with the sufferer.

47. Why indeed was the Lord present upon the earth? In order that having clothed himself with the one who suffers, he might lift him up to the heights of heaven.

2. The Creation and Fall of Man (47b-48)

In the beginning, when God made heaven and earth, and everything in them through his word, he himself formed man from the earth and shared with that form his own breath, he himself placed him in paradise, which was eastward in Eden, and there they lived most luxuriously.

Then by way of command God gave them this law: For your food you may eat from any tree, but you are not to eat from the tree of the one who knows good and evil. For on the day you eat from it, you most certainly will die.

48. But man, who is by nature capable of receiving good and evil as soil of the earth is capable of receiving seeds from both sides, welcomed the hostile and greedy counselor, and by having touched that tree transgressed the command, and disobeyed God. As a consequence, he was cast out into this world as a condemned man is cast into prison.

3. Consequences of the Fall (49-56)

49. And when he had fathered many children, and had grown very old, and had returned to the earth through having tasted of the tree, an inheritance was left behind by him for his children. Indeed, he left his children an inheritance–not of chastity but of unchastity, not of immortality but of corruptibility, not of honor but of dishonor, not of freedom but of slavery, not of sovereignty but of tyranny, not of life but of death, not of salvation but of destruction.

50. Extraordinary and terrifying indeed was the destruction of men upon the earth. For the following things happened to them: They were carried off as slaves by sin, the tyrant, and were led away into the regions of desire where they were totally engulfed by insatiable sensual pleasures–by adultery, by unchastity, by debauchery, by inordinate desires, by avarice, by murders, by bloodshed, by the tyranny of wickedness, by the tyranny of lawlessness.

51. For even a father of his own accord lifted up a dagger against his son; and a son used his hands against his father; and the impious person smote the breasts that nourished him; and brother murdered brother; and host wronged his guest; and friend assassinated friend; and one man cut the throat of another with his tyrannous right hand.

52. Therefore all men on the earth became either murderers, or parricides, or killers of their children. And yet a thing still more dreadful and extraordinary was to be found: A mother attacked the flesh which she gave birth to, a mother attacked those whom her breasts had nourished; and she buried in her belly the fruit of her belly. Indeed, the ill-starred mother became a dreadful tomb, when she devoured the child which she bore in her womb.

53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor.

54. Because of these things sin exulted, which, because it was death's collaborator, entered first into the souls of men, and prepared as food for him the bodies of the dead. In every soul sin left its mark, and those in whom it placed its mark were destined to die.

55. Therefore, all flesh fell under the power of sin, and every body under the dominion of death, for every soul was driven out from its house of flesh. Indeed, that which had been taken from the earth was dissolved again into earth, and that which had been given from God was locked up in Hades. And that beautiful ordered arrangement was dissolved, when the beautiful body was separated (from the soul).

56. Yes, man was divided up into parts by death. Yes, an extraordinary misfortune and captivity enveloped him: he was dragged away captive under the shadow of death, and the image of the Father remained there desolate. For this reason, therefore, the mystery of the passover has been completed in the body of the Lord.

 4. Predictions of Christ's Sufferings (57-65)

57. Indeed, the Lord prearranged his own sufferings in the patriarchs, and in the prophets, and in the whole people of God, giving his sanction to them through the law and the prophets. For that which was to exist in a new and grandiose fashion was pre-planned long in advance, in order that when it should come into existence one might attain to faith, just because it had been predicted long in advance.

58. So indeed also the suffering of the Lord, predicted long in advance by means of types, but seen today, has brought about faith, just because it has taken place as predicted. And yet men have taken it as something completely new. Well, the truth of the matter is the mystery of the Lord is both old and new–old insofar as it involved the type, but new insofar as it concerns grace. And what is more, if you pay close attention to this type you will see the real thing through its fulfillment.

59. Accordingly, if you desire to see the mystery of the Lord, pay close attention to Abel who likewise was put to death, to Isaac who likewise was bound hand and foot, to Joseph who likewise was sold, to Moses who likewise was exposed, to David who likewise was hunted down, to the prophets who likewise suffered because they were the Lord's anointed.

60. Pay close attention also to the one who was sacrificed as a sheep in the land of Egypt, to the one who smote Egypt and who saved Israel by his blood.

61. For it was through the voice of prophecy that the mystery of the Lord was proclaimed. Moses, indeed, said to his people: Surely you will see your life suspended before your eyes night and day, but you surely will not believe on your Life.     Deut. 28:66.

62. And David said: Why were the nations haughty and the people concerned about nothing? The kings of the earth presented themselves and the princes assembled themselves together against the Lord and against his anointed.     Ps. 2:1-2.

63. And Jeremiah: I am as an innocent lamb being led away to be sacrificed. They plotted evil against me and said: Come! let us throw him a tree for his food, and let us exterminate him from the land of the living, so that his name will never be recalled.     Jer. 11:19.

64. And Isaiah: He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and, as a lamb is silent in the presence of the one who shears it, he did not open his mouth. Therefore who will tell his offspring?     Isa. 53:7

65. And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

5. Deliverance of Mankind through Christ (66-71)

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death.

67. For this one, who was led away as a lamb, and who was sacrificed as a sheep, by himself delivered us from servitude to the world as from the land of Egypt, and released us from bondage to the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls by his own spirit and the members of our bodies by his own blood.

68. This is the one who covered death with shame and who plunged the devil into mourning as Moses did Pharaoh. This is the one who smote lawlessness and deprived injustice of its offspring, as Moses deprived Egypt. This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom, and who made us a new priesthood, and a special people forever.

69. This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets.

70. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

71. This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent. This is the one who was born of Mary, that beautiful ewe-lamb. This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice, and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night; the one who was not broken while on the tree, who did not see dissolution while in the earth, who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below.

 II. The Death of Christ and Israel's Sin (72-99)

A. Place and Cause of Christ's Death (72-86)

72. This one was murdered. And where was he murdered? In the very center of Jerusalem! Why? Because he had healed their lame, and had cleansed their lepers, and had guided their blind with light, and had raised up their dead. For this reason he suffered. Somewhere it has been written in the law and prophets,

"They paid me back evil for good, and my soul with barrenness     Ps. 34:12

plotting evil against me     Ps. 34:4; 40:8

saying, Let us bind this just man because he is troublesome to us."     Isa. 3:10 (LXX).

73. Why, O Israel did you do this strange injustice? You dishonored the one who had honored you. You held in contempt the one who held you in esteem. You denied the one who publicly acknowledged you. You renounced the one who proclaimed you his own. You killed the one who made you to live. Why did you do this, O Israel?

74. Hast it not been written for your benefit: "Do not shed innocent blood lest you die a terrible death"? Nevertheless, Israel admits, I killed the Lord! Why? Because it was necessary for him to die. You have deceived yourself, O Israel, rationalizing thus about the death of the Lord.

75. It was necessary for him to suffer, yes, but not by you; it was necessary for him to be dishonored, but not by you; it was necessary for him to be judged, but not by you; it was necessary for him to be crucified, but not by you, nor by your right hand.

76. O Israel! You ought to have cried aloud to God with this voice: "O Lord, if it was necessary for your Son to suffer, and if this was your will, let him suffer indeed, but not at my hands. Let him suffer at the hands of strangers. Let him be judged by the uncircumcised. Let him be crucified by the tyrannical right hand, but not by mine."

77. But you, O Israel, did not cry out to God with this voice, nor did you absolve yourself of guilt before the Lord, nor were you persuaded by his works.

78. The withered hand which was restored whole to its body did not persuade you; nor did the eyes of the blind which were opened by his hand; nor did the paralyzed bodies restored to health again through his voice; nor did that most extraordinary miracle persuade you, namely, the dead man raised to life from the tomb where already he had been lying for four days. Indeed, dismissing these things, you, to your detriment, prepared the following for the sacrifice of the Lord at eventide: sharp nails, and false witnesses, and fetters, and scourges,

79. and vinegar, and gall, and a sword, and affliction, and all as though it were for a blood-stained robber. For you brought to him scourges for his body, and the thorns for his head. And you bound those beautiful hands of his, which had formed you from the earth. And that beautiful mouth of his, which had nourished you with life, you filled with gall. And you killed your Lord at the time of the great feast.

80. Surely you were filled with gaiety, but he was filled with hunger; you drank wine and ate bread, but he vinegar and gall; you wore a happy smile, but he had a sad countenance; you were full of joy, but he was full of trouble; you sang songs, but he was judged; you issued the command, he was crucified; you danced, he was buried; you lay down on a soft bed, but he in a tomb and coffin.

81. O lawless Israel, why did you commit this extraordinary crime of casting your Lord into new sufferings–your master, the one who formed you, the one who made you, the one who honored you, the one who called you Israel?

82. But you were found not really to be Israel, for you did not see God, you did not recognize the Lord, you did not know, O Israel, that this one was the firstborn of God, the one who was begotten before the morning star, the one who caused the light to shine forth, the one who made bright the day, the one who parted the darkness, the one who established the primordial starting point, the one who suspended the earth, the one who quenched the abyss, the one who stretched out the firmament, the one who formed the universe,

83. the one who set in motion the stars of heaven, the one who caused those luminaries to shine, the one who made the angels in heaven, the one who established their thrones in that place, the one who by himself fashioned man upon the earth. This was the one who chose you, the one who guided you from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Isaac and Jacob and the Twelve Patriarchs.

84. This was the one who guided you into Egypt, and guarded you, and himself kept you well supplied there. This was the one who lighted your route with a column of fire, and provided shade for you by means of a cloud, the one who divided the Red Sea, and led you across it, and scattered your enemy abroad.

85. This is the one who provided you with manna from heaven, the one who gave you water to drink from a rock, the one who established your laws in Horeb, the one who gave you an inheritance in the land, the one who sent out his prophets to you, the one who raised up your kings.

86. This is the one who came to you, the one who healed your suffering ones and who resurrected your dead. This is the one whom you sinned against. This is the one whom you wronged. This is the one whom you killed. This is the one whom you sold for silver, although you asked him for the didrachma.

 B. Israel Brought to Trial (87-93)

87. O ungrateful Israel, come here and be judged before me for your ingratitude. How high a price did you place on being created by him? How high a price did you place on the discovery of your fathers? How high a price did you place on the descent into Egypt, and the provision made for you there through the noble Joseph?

88. How high a price did you place on the ten plagues? How high a price did you place on the nightly column of fire, and the daily cloud, and the crossing of the Red Sea? How high a price did you place on the gift of manna from heaven, and the gift of water from the rock, and the gift of law in Horeb, and the land as an inheritance, and the benefits accorded you there?

89. How high a price did you place on your suffering people whom he healed when he was present? Set me a price on the withered hand, which he restored whole to its body.

90. Put me a price on the men born blind, whom he led into light by his voice. Put me a price on those who lay dead, whom he raised up alive from the tomb. Inestimable are the benefits that come to you from him. But you, shamefully, have paid him back with ingratitude, returning to him evil for good, and affliction for favor and death for life–

91. a person for whom you should have died. Furthermore, if the king of some nation is captured by an enemy, a war is started because of him, fortifications are shattered because of him, cities are plundered because of him, ransom is sent because of him, ambassadors are commissioned because of him in order that he might be surrendered, so that either he might be returned if living, or that he might be buried if dead.

92. But you, quite to the contrary, voted against your Lord, whom indeed the nations worshipped, and the uncircumcised admired, and the foreigners glorified, over whom Pilate washed his hands. But as for you–you killed this one at the time of the great feast.

93. Therefore, the feast of unleavened bread has become bitter to you just as it was written: "You will eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs." Bitter to you are the nails which you made pointed. Bitter to you is the tongue which you sharpened. Bitter to you are the false witnesses whom you brought forward. Bitter to you are the fetters which you prepared. Bitter to you are the scourges which you wove. Bitter to you is Judas whom you furnished with pay. Bitter to you is Herod whom you followed. Bitter to you is Caiaphas whom you obeyed. Bitter to you is the gall which you made ready. Bitter to you is the vinegar which you produced. Bitter to you are the thorns which you plucked. Bitter to you are your hands which you bloodied, when you killed your Lord in the midst of Jerusalem.

C. Gentiles Are Witnesses of Israel's Crime (94-98)

94. Pay attention, all families of the nations, and observe! An extraordinary murder has taken place in the center of Jerusalem, in the city devoted to God's law, in the city of the Hebrews, in the city of the prophets, in the city thought of as just. And who has been murdered? And who is the murderer? I am ashamed to give the answer, but give it I must. For if this murder had taken place at night, or if he had been slain in a desert place, it would be well to keep silent; but it was in the middle of the main street, even in the center of the city, while all were looking on, that the unjust murder of this just person took place.

95. And thus he was lifted up upon the tree, and an inscription was affixed identifying the one who had been murdered. Who was he? It is painful to tell, but it is more dreadful not to tell. Therefore, hear and tremble because of him for whom the earth trembled.

96. The one who hung the earth in space, is himself hanged; the one who fixed the heavens in place, is himself impaled; the one who firmly fixed all things, is himself firmly fixed to the tree. The Lord is insulted, God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the right hand of Israel.

97. O frightful murder! O unheard of injustice! The Lord is disfigured and he is not deemed worthy of a cloak for his naked body, so that he might not be seen exposed. For this reason the stars turned and fled, and the day grew quite dark, in order to hide the naked person hanging on the tree, darkening not the body of the Lord, but the eyes of men.

98. Yes, even though the people did not tremble, the earth trembled instead; although the people were not afraid, the heavens grew frightened; although the people did not tear their garments, the angels tore theirs; although the people did not lament, the Lord thundered from heaven, and the most high uttered his voice.

 D. Israel Questioned and Sentenced to Death (99)

99. Why was it like this, O Israel? You did not tremble for the Lord. You did not fear for the Lord. You did not lament for the Lord, yet you lamented for your firstborn. You did not tear your garments at the crucifixion of the Lord, yet you tore your garments for your own who were murdered. You forsook the Lord; you were not found by him. You dashed the Lord to the ground; you, too, were dashed to the ground, and lie quite dead.

 III. The Final Triumph of Christ (100-105)

100. But he arose from the dead and mounted up to the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity, and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,

101. he rose up from the dead, and cried aloud with this voice: Who is he who contends with me? Let him stand in opposition to me. I set the condemned man free; I gave the dead man life; I raised up the one who had been entombed.

102. Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of heaven, I, he says, am the Christ.

103. Therefore, come, all families of men, you who have been befouled with sins, and receive forgiveness for your sins. I am your forgiveness, I am the passover of your salvation, I am the lamb which was sacrificed for you, I am your ransom, I am your light, I am your saviour, I am your resurrection, I am your king, I am leading you up to the heights of heaven, I will show you the eternal Father, I will raise you up by my right hand.

104. This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.

105. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.

The Peri Pascha of Melito. Peace to the one who wrote, and to the one who reads, and to those who love the Lord in simplicity of heart.

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Thers is no doubt that wrongdoing is on the part of both Judaism and Chrstianity. Blaming all Jews for the death of Christ is a completely unsupportable charge, considering the first Christians were Jews and Samaritans. The Romans of course were in the mix and it is difficult to say who they hated more, the Jews or the Christians. So many of the slanders laid to blame on both sides were actually planted by the Romans. The plight of the Messianic Jews down through the centuries has been especially difficult, being attacked from both sides. Ignorance takes its toll and many of the enmities were just sheer ignorance.

The simple truth is the Jews and the Christians need each other and need to support each other. Saint Melito in my opinion was not Anti Semetic but was very clear on where he stood. Read this with a clear mind free of any prejudice and you will see what I mean.

Let us stand with our Jewish Brothers and Sisters in understanding and acceptance for what they believe as we ask for them to do the same. If nothing else let us agree to disagree and be friends supporting one another.

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