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Image Map : Christian Books : Chapter XLII.--Other Incidents of the Passion Minutely Compared with Prophecy Pilate and Herod. Barabbas Preferred to Jesus. Details of the Crucifixion. The Earthquake and the Mid-Day Darkness. All Wonderfully Foretold in the Scriptures of the Creator. Ch

The Five Books Against Marcion by Tertullian

Chapter XLII.--Other Incidents of the Passion Minutely Compared with Prophecy Pilate and Herod. Barabbas Preferred to Jesus. Details of the Crucifixion. The Earthquake and the Mid-Day Darkness. All Wonderfully Foretold in the Scriptures of the Creator. Ch

For when He was brought before Pilate, they proceeded to urge Him with the serious charge , of declaring Himself to be Christ the King; that is, undoubtedly, as the Son of God, who was to sit at God's right hand. They would, however, have burdened Him with some other title, if they had been uncertain whether He had called Himself the Son of God -- if He had not pronounced the words, |Ye say that I am,| so as (to admit) that He was that which they said He was. Likewise, when Pirate asked Him, |Art thou Christ (the King)?| He answered, as He had before (to the Jewish council) |Thou sayest that I am| in order that He might not seem to have been driven by a fear of his power to give him a fuller answer. |And so the Lord hath stood on His trial.| And he placed His people on their trial. The Lord Himself comes to a trial with |the elders and rulers of the people,| as Isaiah predicted. And then He fulfilled all that had been written of His passion. At that time |the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord and against His Christ.| The heathen were Pilate and the Romans; the people were the tribes of Israel; the kings were represented in Herod, and the rulers in the chief priests. When, indeed, He was sent to Herod gratuitously by Pilate, the words of Hosea were accomplished, for he had prophesied of Christ: |And they shall carry Him bound as a present to the king.| Herod was |exceeding glad| when he saw Jesus, but he heard not a word from Him. For, |as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth,| because |the Lord had given to Him a disciplined tongue, that he might know how and when it behoved Him to speak| -- even that |tongue which clove to His jaws,| as the Psalm said it should, through His not speaking. Then Barabbas, the most abandoned criminal, is released, as if he were the innocent man; while the most righteous Christ is delivered to be put to death, as if he were the murderer. Moreover two malefactors are crucified around Him, in order that He might be reckoned amongst the transgressors. Although His raiment was, without doubt, parted among the soldiers, and partly distributed by lot, yet Marcion has erased it all (from his Gospel), for he had his eye upon the Psalm: |They parted my garments amongst them, and cast lots upon my vesture.| You may as well take away the cross itself! But even then the Psalm is not silent concerning it: |They pierced my hands and my feet.| Indeed, the details of the whole event are therein read: |Dogs compassed me about; the assembly of the wicked enclosed me around. All that looked upon me laughed me to scorn; they did shoot out their lips and shake their heads, (saying,) He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him.| Of what use now is (your tampering with) the testimony of His garments? If you take it as a booty for your false Christ, still all the Psalm (compensates) the vesture of Christ. But, behold, the very elements are shaken. For their Lord was suffering. If, however, it was their enemy to whom all this injury was done, the heaven would have gleamed with light, the sun would have been even more radiant, and the day would have prolonged its course -- gladly gazing at Marcion's Christ suspended on his gibbet! These proofs would still have been suitable for me, even if they had not been the subject of prophecy. Isaiah says: |I will clothe the heavens with blackness.| This will be the day, concerning which Amos also writes: And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at noon and the earth shall be dark in the clear day.| (At noon) the veil of the temple was rent| by the escape of the cherubim, which |left the daughter of Sion as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.| With what constancy has He also, in Psalm xxx., laboured to present to us the very Christ! He calls with a loud voice to the Father, |Into Thine hands I commend my spirit,| that even when dying He might expend His last breath in fulfilling the prophets. Having said this, He gave up the ghost.| Who? Did the spirit give itself up; or the flesh the spirit? But the spirit could not have breathed itself out. That which breathes is one thing, that which is breathed is another. If the spirit is breathed it must needs be breathed by another. If, however, there had been nothing there but spirit, it would be said to have departed rather than expired. What, however, breathes out spirit but the flesh, which both breathes the spirit whilst it has it, and breathes it out when it loses it? Indeed, if it was not flesh (upon the cross), but a phantom of flesh (and a phantom is but spirit, and so the spirit breathed its own self out, and departed as it did so), no doubt the phantom departed, when the spirit which was the phantom departed: and so the phantom and the spirit disappeared together, and were nowhere to be seen. Nothing therefore remained upon the cross, nothing hung there, after |the giving up of the ghost;| there was nothing to beg of Pilate, nothing to take down from the cross, nothing to wrap in the linen, nothing to lay in the new sepulchre. Still it was not nothing that was there. What was there, then? If a phantom Christ was yet there. If Christ had departed, He had taken away the phantom also. The only shift left to the impudence of the heretics, is to admit that what remained there was the phantom of a phantom! But what if Joseph knew that it was a body which he treated with so much piety? That same Joseph |who had not consented| with the Jews in their crime? The |happy man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.|
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