My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE PREACHING OF THE APOSTLES
by Saint Irenaios of Lyons
Historical Events/The Prefiguration and Preparation of Future Events
The Work of Saint John the Baptist and the Holy Apostles
His forerunner was Saint John the Baptist who prepared the people, getting them ready to receive the Logos/Word of Life. Saint John declared that Jesus was The Christ, on Whom the Spirit of God, united with His body, rested (cf. Isaiah 11:1; St. John 1:32 f).
Taught by Him, His Apostles were witnesses of all His good deeds and of His teachings, as well as His suffering, death, bodily resurrection, and ascension into heaven. After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, they were sent by Him into the whole world, carrying out the calling of the Gentiles. Showing mankind the way of life, they turned them from idols, fornication and covetousness, cleansing their bodies and souls by the baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit--Whom, having received from the Lord, they imparted to all who believed (cf. St. John 3:5).
By this means they established the churches. Through faith, hope and love they brought to fruition that calling of the Gentiles (pagans) by the mercy of God, which had been foretold by the Prophets. Making it known through their ministry, they brought the Gentiles the promise given to the fathers. Those who believed in and loved the Lord, and practiced holiness, righteousness and patient endurance, would be granted by God the Eternal Life He had promised through the resurrection from the dead.
All this was made possible through Him Who died and rose again, Jesus Christ, Whom God the Father has made King over all things, the Ruler of the living and of the dead, and the Judge of all. Further, they taught them, by the word of truth, how to keep their bodies unstained unto resurrection, and their souls incorruptible.
As Foretold Redemption Awaits the Faithful
That, they said, is the condition maintained by the faithful, for the Holy Spirit, given by the Son is baptism, constantly abides in them, if they walk in truth, holiness, righteousness, and patient endurance. There is resurrection awaiting the faithful, on that day when the body once more receives the soul, and, along with it, is raised up by the power of the Holy Spirit, and taken into the Kingdom of God. This, finally, is the fruit of the blessing given to Japheth--the calling revealed though the Church, of those Gentiles who obey the call to receive the "dwelling in the house of Shem" according to the promise (cf. Genesis 9:27 and Chapter 21 above).
In order to strengthen the faith of those who worship God in truth, the Holy Spirit foretold through the Prophets that all these things would come to pass. It was God Who caused these things, so impossible to our nature and therefore little likely to be believed by men, to be announced ahead of time by the Prophets. Thus, with the prediction having been made a long time before, we would have the opportunity to know, when the event at last took place just as foretold, that it was God Who had revealed our redemption in advance.
The Son Existed before the World
God is truthful in all things, so we must believe Him in all things. Moses was the first to prophecy that the Son of God was born and existed, not only before He appeared in the world, but before the world was made. He said in Hebrew: baresith bara elovim basan benuam samenthares, which translates to "the Son in the beginning, God established then heaven and earth" (cf. Genesis 1:1).
Witness to this is also given by the Prophet Jeremiah, who says: "Before the morning-star I begot you; and before the sun is your name." This means, of course, that the Son was begotten before the world was made, because it was created at the same time as the stars.
Again, he says, "Blessed is He Who was before He became man." The Son was with God before the creation of the world, but our experience of Him comes with His appearance, for before that He did not exist for us who did not know Him. For this reason His disciple John, teaching us who the Son of God (Who was with the Father before the creation of the world) is, and teaching us as well that all things in creation were made by Him, says: "In the beginning was the Logos/Word, and the Logos/Word was with God and the Logos/Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made" (St. John 1:13). He thus shows plainly that all things were made by the Logos/Word Who was in the beginning with the Father, and that the Logos/Word is His Son.
Abraham and the Son of God
Moses also tells how the Son of God drew near to talk with Abraham: "And God appeared unto him by the oak of Mamre in the middle of the day. And looking up with his eyes he saw, and, lo, three men stood over against him. And he bowed himself down to the earth, and said: "Lord, indeed I have found favor in Thy sight do not pass by the servant" (Genesis 18:1-3). What follows is what he said to the Lord and what the Lord said to him.
Two of the three were Angels, but one was the Son of God. Abraham pleaded with Him on behalf of the people of Sodom, asking that if there were at least ten righteous among them, they might be spared (cf. Genesis 18:22-32). While they were speaking, the two Angels went on to Sodom, and Lot received them.
The Scripture says that then, "the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Genesis 10:24). This is, the Son, Who spoke with Abraham, being "Lord," received power "from the Lord out of heaven," the Father Who is Ruler over all, to punish the people of Sodom.
Abraham was a Prophet, who saw things which were to come. He was given knowledge that the Son of God was to appear in human form, speak with me, eat food with them and bring down judgment from the Father. For he saw that the Son received from the Father, Ruler of All, power to punish the people of Sodom.
Jacob and the Son of God
When Jacob was traveling in Mesopotamia, he saw the Lord in a dream, "standing upon the ladder" (cf. Genesis 28:23 f), that is, the tree set up from earth to heaven (cf. Genesis 28:12-15). By that tree those who believe in Him go up to heaven, for by His sufferings we are raised on high.
All visions of this kind refer to the Son of God, in His being with people and speaking to them. Certainly it is not the Father of all, the Creator, Who is never seen by the world, who said, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; what house will you build me, or what is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1 f; Acts 7:49). Nor is it He Who "holds the earth with His hand and with His span the heavens" (Isaiah 40:12). It was not the Father Who stood in a specific place and spoke with Abraham. That was the Logos/Word of God, Who was always with mankind, foretelling what was to come and acquainting man with God.
Moses and the Son of God--A Summation of Historical Events
It was the Son Who spoke with Moses in the bush and said: "I have seen the afflictions of My people in Egypt; and I have come down to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7). It was also He Who came down to deliver the oppressed, taking us out from under the power of the Egyptians; that is, delivering us from all idolatry and lack of devotion. He delivered us also from the Red Sea; that is, He freed us from the deadly waves of the Gentiles and the bitter current of their blasphemy.
In these historical events the Logos/Word of God was setting forth matters relating to us well before hand, prefiguring what was to happen. Now, however, He has actually done it, bringing us out of the cruel slavery of the Gentiles. He has caused an abundant stream of water to appear in the desert, flowing from a rock which is He Himself (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4). From it He has given us twelve springs, the teaching of the twelve Apostles (cf. Exodus 15:22). The obstinate unbelievers He has allowed to die out, consumed in the desert, while making those who believed in Him and were children with respect to malice (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:20), into heirs of the fathers. Jesus, not Moses, makes them heirs. Finally, He frees us from Amalek by stretching forth His hands and bringing us into the Kingdom of the Father (Exodus 17:9-11).
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God