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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter XLIX.—To those who object that Elijah has not yet come, he replies that he is the precursor of the first advent.

And Trypho said, “Those who affirm him to have been a man, and to have been anointed by election, and then to have become Christ, appear to me to speak more plausibly than you who hold those opinions which you express. For we all expect that Christ will be a man [born] of men, and that Elijah when he comes will anoint him. But if this man appear to be Christ, he must certainly be known as man [born] of men; but from the circumstance that Elijah has not yet come, I infer that this man is not He [the Christ].”

Then I inquired of him, “Does not Scripture, in the book of Zechariah,21002100    Mal. iv. 5. say that Elijah shall come before the great and terrible day of the Lord?”

And he answered, “Certainly.”

“If therefore Scripture compels you to admit that two advents of Christ were predicted to take place,—one in which He would appear suffering, and dishonoured, and without comeliness; but the other in which He would come glorious and Judge of all, as has been made manifest in many of the fore-cited passages,—shall we not suppose that the word of God has proclaimed that Elijah shall be the precursor of the great and terrible day, that is, of His second advent?”

“Certainly,” he answered.

“And, accordingly, our Lord in His teaching,” I continued, “proclaimed that this very thing would take place, saying that Elijah would also come. And we know that this shall take place when our Lord Jesus Christ shall come in glory from heaven; whose first manifestation the Spirit of God who was in Elijah preceded as herald in [the person of] John, a prophet among your nation; after whom no other prophet appeared among you. He cried, as he sat by the river Jordan: ‘I baptize you with water to repentance; but He that is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn up with unquenchable fire.’21012101    Matt. iii. 11, 12. And this very prophet your king Herod had shut up in prison; and when his birthday was celebrated, and the niece21022102    Literally, “cousin.” of the same Herod by her dancing had pleased him, he told her to ask whatever she pleased. Then the mother of the maiden instigated her to ask the head of John, who was in prison; and having asked it, [Herod] sent and ordered the head of John to be brought in on a charger. Wherefore also our Christ said, [when He was] on earth, to those who were affirming that Elijah must come before Christ: ‘Elijah shall come, and restore all things; but I say unto you, that Elijah has already come, and they knew him not, but have done to him whatsoever they chose.’21032103    Matt. xvii. 12. And it is written, ‘Then the disciples understood that He spake to them about John the Baptist.’ ”

And Trypho said, “This statement also seems to me paradoxical; namely, that the prophetic Spirit of God, who was in Elijah, was also in John.”

To this I replied, “Do you not think that the same thing happened in the case of Joshua the son of Nave (Nun), who succeeded to the command of the people after Moses, when Moses was commanded to lay his hands on Joshua, and God said to him, ‘I will take of the spirit which is in thee, and put it on him?’ ”21042104    Num. xi. 17, spoken of the seventy elders. Justin confuses what is said here with Num. xxvii. 18 and Deut. xxxiv. 9.

And he said, “Certainly.”

“As therefore,” I say, “while Moses was still among men, God took of the spirit which was in Moses and put it on Joshua, even so God was able to cause [the spirit] of Elijah to come upon John; in order that, as Christ at His first coming appeared inglorious, even so the first coming of the spirit, which remained always pure in Elijah21052105    The meaning is, that no division of person took place. Elijah remained the same after as before his spirit was shed on John. like that of Christ, might be perceived to be inglorious. For the Lord said He would wage war against Amalek with concealed hand; and you will not deny that Amalek fell. But if it is said that only in the glorious advent of Christ war will be waged with Amalek, how great will the fulfilment21062106    Literally, “fruit.” of Scripture be which says, ‘God will wage war against Amalek with concealed hand!’ You can perceive that the concealed power of God was in Christ the crucified, before whom demons, and all the principalities and powers of the earth, tremble.”


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