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Monday, 9 May 2022

Reading Isaiah like an Early Christian (3): "It was no ambassador or angel but the Lord himself that saved them" (Isaiah 63:9)

Continuing our series on Christological texts in Isaiah, we turn to the rich and fascinating text that is Isaiah 63:9. We will first look at the text in its context in the Hebrew Bible and its translation in the Septuagint. We will then look at its reception in the New Testament before surveying its interpretation in the early Church.

Isaiah 63:9 in Context 

Isaiah 63:1-6 is a "divine warrior scene" in which a figure comes from Edom and "marches toward Zion wearing red garments, which at first glance appear regal (63:1) but actually are covered with the blood of the nations (63:3)."1 Although the figure is not explicitly identified, the lofty language used of the figure and the connection with the earlier divine warrior scene in Isaiah 59:15b-21 (where the Warrior is explicitly YHWH) leaves no doubt as to his identity.2 The Divine Warrior comes to save his people and to destroy their enemies.

The Divine Warrior scene ends at 63:6 and gives way to a "communal lament" that runs from 63:7-64:11. The lament "begins in hymnic style in verse 7 by urging the people to commemorate YHWH's glorious deeds," an appeal followed by "two historical reflections in verses 8-10 and vv. 11-14."3 63:7-14 as a whole establishes "the covenantal nature of the human-divine relationship," strains in which are lamented in vv. 15-19a, eliciting a petition for God to visit Israel anew as he had once done at Sinai.4 Despite the shift from divine warrior scene in 63:1-6 to communal lament from 63:7-64:11, there are obvious connections between the two passages. Above all, "theophanic themes" involving YHWH's deliverance and judgment, past and present, are evident throughout.5

Isaiah 63:9 is a verse with significant textual difficulties in the Hebrew text. As Bogdan G. Bucur explains, the textual variations hinge on two short words, לא and ער:
In the former case, the question is whether to choose the ketiv לא ('not') or the qere, the homophone לו ('to him'). As for צר, the question is whether to accept the MT vocalization of צַר ('constraint,' 'distress,' 'affliction') or to vocalize it as צִיר, which would yield 'messenger.'6
Depending on the textual decision one makes and how one reads the syntax, one arrives at one of two quite different renderings:7
8 [...] and he became their savior. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. (RSV)

8 [...] and he became their savior 9 in all their affliction. It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. (NRSV)
The second of the above readings was followed by the Septuagint translators:
8 [...] And he became to them salvation out of all affliction. It was no ambassador or angel but the Lord himself that saved them, because he loved them and spared them; he himself ransomed them and took them up and lifted them up all the days of old.8
The idea is similar to that in Isaiah 35:4 LXX, the text we looked at in the previous article: "God...himself will come and save us." There is a notable difference, in that Isaiah 35:4 is a prophecy of the future whereas Isaiah 63:9 recalls past events—probably, above all, those of the Exodus. However, given the prominence of New Exodus language in Isaiah, the wider idea in this communal lament is that what God had done in the past, he will do in the future: "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence" (64:1 NRSV).

What is particularly significant about the second reading of Isaiah 63:9 above—the one that the Septuagint followed and that was therefore dominant in early Christianity—is that it contrasts God's direct saving activity with the notion of his working through an agent such as a messenger or an angel. Bucur notes that this contrast also features in rabbinic Jewish exegesis of the Exodus story, with several rabbis insisting that it was the Holy One himself and no agent who undertook certain key acts of deliverance.9

Isaiah 63 in Revelation 19

Isaiah 63:9 is never quoted in the New Testament. The Divine Warrior Scene that shortly precedes it, however, is alluded to in Revelation 19. Interestingly, while the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 63:1-6 is undoubtedly God, Revelation 19 applies this imagery to Christ:
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a scepter of iron; he will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16 NRSV)
There is no mistaking that this figure wearing a robe dipped in blood and treading the winepress of the wrath of God is the figure described in Isaiah 63:2-3. And yet Isaiah 63:3-5 contains language similar to 63:9 about God working alone rather than through an agent or messenger: "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me... I looked, but there was no helper; I was abandoned, and there was no one to sustain me, so my own arm brought me victory". It is difficult to understand how Revelation could identify the Divine Warrior of Isaiah 63:1-6 as someone other than God—unless there is someone other than God who is also fully divine, as the names "the Word of God" and "King of kings and Lord of lords" already suggest.10

Isaiah 63:9 in the Early Church

Irenaeus of Lyons, writing c. 180-185 C.E., comments thus on our passage: 
And Isaias says that those who served God are in the end to be saved through His name… And that He was Himself to bring about these blessings in person, Isaias declared in the words: Not an intercessor, nor an angel, but the Lord Himself hath given them life, because He loves them and has pity on them; He Himself redeemed them. (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 88).11
In his better-known work, Against Heresies, Irenaeus offers a similar interpretation: 
So again, that He who was to save us would not be purely a man, nor a being without flesh—for angels have no flesh—Isaiah announced by saying: "It is not an elder, nor an angel, but the Lord himself who will save them; because he loves them and spares them, himself will deliver them." (Adv. Haer. 3.20.4)12
The anonymous Epistle to Diognetus, usually grouped among the Apostolic Fathers but dated to c. 200 A.D., does not quote Isaiah 63:9 but probably alludes to it in the following words:
But the truly all-powerful God himself, creator of all and invisible, set up and established in their hearts the truth and the holy word from heaven, which cannot be comprehended by humans. To do so, he did not, as one might suppose, send them one of his servants or an angel or a ruler or any of those who administer earthly activities or who are entrusted with heavenly affairs, but he sent the craftsman and maker of all things himself, by whom he created the heavens, by whom he enclosed the sea within its own boundaries, whose mysteries all the elements of creation guard faithfully, from whom the sun was appointed to guard the courses that it runs during the day, whom the moon obeys when he commands it to shine at night, whom the stars obey by following the course of the moon, by whom all things are set in order and arranged and put into subjection, the heavens and the things in the heavens, the earth and the things in the earth, the sea and the things in the sea, fire, air, the abyss, creatures in the heights, creatures in the depths, creatures in between—this is the one he sent to them. (Ep. Diognetus 7.2)13
In his work On the Flesh of Christ, Tertullian, writing in the early third century, seeks to refute those who say that Christ was clothed with an angel. At the conclusion of his argument, he writes, "What more do we need, when we hear Isaiah crying out, 'Not an angel nor a delegate, but the Lord himself hath saved them?'" (De Carne Christi 14.6)14

Origen, the great Alexandrian exegete, quotes the passage a few decades later in his commentary on the Song of Songs. He regards the woman's longing for her lover as signifying the Church's longing for Christ himself and no mere minister: 
This is the content of the actual story, presented in dramatic form. But let us see if the inner meaning can also be fittingly supplied along these lines. Let it be the Church who longs for union with Christ… [after the Law] But, since the age is almost ended and His own presence is not granted me, and I see only His ministers ascending and descending upon me, because of this I pour out my petition to Thee, the Father of my Spouse, beseeching Thee to have compassion at last upon my love, and to send Him, that He may now no longer speak to me only but by His servants the angels and the prophets, but may come Himself directly and kiss me with the kisses of His mouth—that is to say, may pour the words of His mouth into mine, that I may hear Him speak Himself, and see Him teaching. The kisses are Christ’s, which He bestowed on His Church when at His coming, being present in the flesh, He in His own person spoke to her the words of faith and love and peace, according to the promise of Isaias who, when sent beforehand to the Bride, had said: Not a messenger, nor an angel, but the Lord Himself shall save  us. (Commentary on Song of Songs 1.1)15

Highlighting the similarity between Isaiah 35:4 (discussed in the previous article) and 63:9, Cyprian of Carthage—a contemporary of Origen—quotes the two texts in immediate succession in his list of proof texts supporting the proposition "That Christ our God should come as the Enlightener and Saviour of the human race" (Ad Quirinum 2.7).16

Conclusion

Isaiah 63:1-6 is a divine warrior scene that depicts YHWH's theophanic deliverance of Israel and wrathful judgment of her enemies. Following on that, Isaiah 63:7-64:11 is a communal lament that petitions God to make just such a theophanic intervention. It recalls how God has done this in the past, and one possible reconstruction of the text of Isaiah 63:9—which the Septuagint follows—emphasises that it was God himself and no mere agent (messenger or angel) who intervened.

Already in the Book of Revelation, the Divine Warrior of Isaiah 63:1-6—who had emphasised that he worked alone, because there was no helper—is interpreted as Jesus, the Word of God. In like manner, the Church Fathers of the second and third centuries consistently interpret the language of 63:9 ("It was no ambassador or angel but the Lord himself that saved them") as a reference to the Incarnation, in which the divine Son of God personally came in human flesh to save humanity from their enemies.
  • 1 Matthew J. Lynch,  "Zion's Warrior and the Nations: Isaiah 59:15b-63:6 in Isaiah's Zion Traditions," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 70 (2008): 245, 256.
  • 2 These two divine warrior scenes "form an inclusio around and are textually joined to chaps. 60-62," which speak of Zion's restoration (Lynch, "Zion's Warrior," 245).
  • 3 Judith Gärtner, "'...Why Do You Let Us Stray from Your Paths...' (Isa 63:17): The Concept of Guilt in the Communal Lament Isa 63:7-64:11," in M. J. Boda, D. K. Falk & R. A. Werline (eds.), Seeking the Favor of God. Volume 1: The Origins of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006), 146.
  • 4 Richard J. Bautsch, "Lament Regained in Trito-Isaiah's Penitential Prayer," in Boda, Falk & Werline, Seeking the Favor of God, 87.
  • 5 Lynch, "Zion's Warrior," 259.
  • 6 Bogdan G. Bucur, "The Lord Himself, One Lord, One Power: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Isaiah 63:9 and Daniel 7:13," in Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism, ed. Andrei A. Orlov (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 241-42. The ketiv refers to the orthographic consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible, and the qere to the suggested vocalisation of the Masoretic Text.
  • 7 In fact two further renderings are possible; see Bucur, "The Lord Himself," 242 for the details.
  • 8 Moisés Silva, "Esaias," in New English Translation of the Septuagint, ed. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 872. The Greek text reads: 8 [...] καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῖς εἰς σωτηρίαν 9 ἐκ πάσης θλίψεως. οὐ πρέσβυς οὐδὲ ἄγγελος, ἀλλʼ αὐτὸς κύριος ἔσωσεν αὐτούς διὰ τὸ ἀγαπᾶν αὐτοὺς καὶ φείδεσθαι αὐτῶν· αὐτὸς ἐλυτρώσατο αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνέλαβεν αὐτοὺς καὶ ὕψωσεν αὐτοὺς πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας τοῦ αἰῶνος. (Septuaginta, ed. Joseph Ziegler [Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983], 14:355.)
  • 9 See Bucur, "The Lord Himself," 243-54.
  • 10 On the latter title, see my article, "Lord of lords" and "King of kings" as Hebraic Superlatives.
  • 11 Trans. Joseph P. Smith, S.J., St. Irenaeus: Proof of the Apostlic Preaching (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1952), 102.
  • 12 This is my translation of the French translation by Adélin Rousseau: "De même encore, que Celui qui devait nous sauver ne serait ni purement un homme, ni un être sans chair - car les anges n'ont pas de chair -, Isaïe l'a annoncé en disant: «Ce n'est pas un ancien, ni un ange, mais le Seigneur lui-même qui les sauvera, parce qu'il les aime et qu'il les épargne, lui-même les délivrera.»" (Adelin Rousseau, Irénée de Lyon: Contre les hérésies [Paris: Cerf, 2001]).
  • 13 Trans. Bart D. Ehrman, The Apostolic Fathers (2 vols.; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 2:145.
  • 14 Trans. Ernest Evans, Tertullian's Treatise on the Incarnation (London: SPCK, 1956), 53.
  • 15 Trans. R. P. Lawson, Origen, The Song of Songs: Commentary and Homilies (New York: Newman, 1956), 59-60.
  • 16 Trans. A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1840), 3:37.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Reading Isaiah like an Early Christian (2): "God...will repay; he himself will come and save us" (Isaiah 35:4)

Let us continue our series on the Christological significance of Isaianic texts. In the last article we looked at Isaiah 48:16, observing that the speaker of this text is enigmatic, that the text is alluded to in the Gospel of John, and that early Christian exegetes (specifically Origen of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea) understood the speaker to be Christ.

In this article, we will look at Isaiah 35:4. Let us first consider the passage in its immediate context:
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. (Isaiah 35:1-6b NRSV)1
The Septuagint version of v. 4 reads, "Give comfort, you who are faint of heart and mind! Be strong; do not fear! Look, our God is repaying judgment; yes, he will repay; he himself will come and save us" (NETS). It is this last clause (αὐτὸς ἥξει καὶ σώσει ἡμᾶς in Greek) that demands our close attention. The statement places special emphasis on the subject; hence the translation "he himself will come and save us."2 Moreover, the verb ἥκω does not merely mean "come" in a generic sense (like ἔρχομαι does) but, when used of persons, specifically means "to be in a place as the result of movement to, have come, be present".3 Focusing on the result of the movement more than the movement itself, it signals that God will come and be present with his people.4 While the text certainly does not make explicit reference to the Incarnation, this is one means by which God could have come to be present with his people and so heal their infirmities, as Jesus did according to the Gospels.

Given the emphatic use of αὐτὸς here ("God...will repay; he himself will come and save us"), it is worth noting some similar language in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, a reference to Christ's second coming when he will raise the dead: "For the Lord himself (αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος)...will descend from heaven..." "The Lord" here is obviously Christ; but why has Paul added αὐτὸς for emphasis? It could, in fact, be an allusion to another Isaianic text:
But now the Lord will stand up to judge, and he will make his people stand to judge them. The Lord himself (αὐτὸς κύριος) will enter into judgment with the elders of the people and with their rulers. (Isaiah 3:13-14 LXX, NETS)

It is possible that early Christian readers would have seen in the verb "stand" here an allusion to the resurrection.5 But what is clear is that the text foretells that "the Lord himself" will come and be present for judgment (the verb is again ἥκω). "The Lord" in the context of Isaiah 3:13-14 is obviously God, but Paul apparently interprets it to refer to Christ. This provides at least prima facie evidence that Paul might have likewise understood the "God" who would himself come in judgment according to Isaiah 35:4 to be Christ.

Isaiah 35 in the New Testament

Isaiah 35 is a chapter that lends itself easily to eschatological interpretation. The image of the desert blossoming, associated with the people seeing the glory of God (vv. 1-2) is a picture of restoration (cf. Acts 3:21). The author of Hebrews, in calling his readers to perseverance that they may receive their eschatological reward, alludes to Isaiah 35:3 ("Be strong, you weak hands and feeble knees") in 12:12.6 The list of miracles in Isaiah 35:5-6 has certainly influenced statements about Jesus' healing ministry, especially in Matthew 11:4-5 and 15:30-31.7 The picture in Isaiah 35:10 of pain and sorrow and sighing having fled away forms part of the background to Revelation 21:4, which states that "mourning and crying and pain will be no more".8 Thus, while the NT never quotes verbatim from Isaiah 35, there is ample evidence that it was understood in the early Church to refer to the blessings of the Messianic age, including those inaugurated at Christ's first coming.

Isaiah 35:4 in the Early Church

At least five ante-Nicene Christian writers interpret Isaiah 35:4 (together with vv. 5-6) as a prophecy about Christ. The first of these is Tertullian (late 2nd or early 3rd century), who writes (within a polemic against the Jews):
Moreover, [I shall demonstrate] the feats of strength [Christ] was going to perform from the Father: ‘Behold, our God shall restore judgement, God shall come and make us well. Then the weak shall be cared for, the eyes of the blind shall see, the ears of the deaf shall hear, the tongues of the mute shall be loosened and the lame shall leap like the dear’, etc. 9.31. Nor are you denying that Christ has done these things, seeing that it is you who used to say that you were throwing stones at him, not on account of his works but because he was doing them on the sabbath. (Adversus Judaeos 9.30-31)9
Evidently, Tertullian takes the words "God shall come and make us well" as fulfilled in Christ's ministry, but does not explicitly state that "God" in this verse refers to Christ. In view of the reference to feats of strength that he performed "from the Father," it is possible that he meant that God (the Father) came vicariously in Christ, or that Christ (here called "God") came from the Father.   

Around 248 A.D., Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, wrote two books of Testimonia, that is, of "topically arranged proof-texts,"10 to one Quirinus. Having quoted many biblical texts (from both Testaments) to show "That Christ is God" (Ad Quirinum 2.6), Cyprian next marshals a series of texts proving "That Christ our God should come as the Enlightener and Saviour of the human race" (Ad Quirinum 2.7).11 The first proof text quoted is Isaiah 35:3-6. This leaves no doubt that Cyprian understood "God" in Isaiah 35:4 to refer to Christ, and thus to be a prophecy of the Incarnation.

At about the same time (c. 240-250), the Roman presbyter Novatian wrote his work de Trinitate, a polemical work defending the Church's doctrine "against the errors of Docetism, Adoptianism, and Modalism."12 Novatian discusses our passage at some length:
(4) The same prophet [Isaiah] says: ‘Be strong, you feeble hands and weak knees; be comforted, you that are faint-hearted, be strong, fear not. Behold, our God will render judgment: He will come and save us; then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shal hear; then shall the lame man leap as the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent.’ (5) If the prophet says that these signs—which have already been wrought—will be the future signs of God’s advent, then let the heretics either acknowledge that Christ is the Son of God, at whose coming and by whom these miracles were wrought, or—defeated by the truth of Christ’s divinity and falling into the other heresy—inasmuch as they refuse to confess that Christ is the Son of God and God—let them confess that He is the Father. Since they have been restrained by the words of the prophets, they can no longer deny that Christ is God. (6) What, then, can they reply, when the miracles which were prophesied as taking place at the coming of God, were actually wrought at the advent of Christ? In what way do they think Christ is God? For they can no longer deny that He is God. Do they think He is the Father or the Son? If they accept Him as the Son, why do they deny that the Son of God is God? If they accept Him as the Father, why are they not following those who are seen to hold such blasphemies? At any rate, in this debate with them about the truth, it suffices for our present purpose that, no matter how they are refuted, they confess that Christ, whose divinity they wished to deny, is also God. (de Trinitate 12.4-6)13
Novatian, like Cyprian, believes that Isaiah 35:4 proves Christ's deity. If Isaiah refers to the coming of God and then describes healing works that were in fact performed in history by Christ, it follows that Christ is the "God" that Isaiah prophesied would come.

In the 268/9, a synod in Antioch deposed the Bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata, in part for Christological heresy.14 A letter survives addressed to Paul by six other bishops, of whom Hymenaeus of Jerusalem is named first. This letter is known as the Letter of the Six Bishops or the Letter of Hymenaeus.15 I am not aware of any published English translation; what follows is my translation of the Greek.16 The bishops write,
But whomever would resist the Son of God, believing and confessing him not to be God before the foundation of the world, thinking two gods to be announced if the Son of God is declared God, we regard this as alien to the ecclesiastical rule, and all the catholic churches agree with us. For about him it is written…
The bishops proceed to quote a series of biblical proof texts that, in their view, establish that the Son of God is God. The first is Psalm 44(45):6-7, and the second is our text, Isaiah 35:4-6.

Finally, Eusebius of Caesarea discusses our text in his work Proof of the Gospel, written c. 314-324.17 After quoting from Isaiah 35 at length, he writes:
Now we have this prophecy fulfilled in the Gospels, partly, when they brought to our Lord and Saviour a paralytic lying on a bed, whom He made whole with a word; and partly, when many that were blind and possessed with daemons, yea, labouring under various diseases and weaknesses, were released from their sufferings by His saving power. Nor should we forget how even now throughout the whole world multitudes bound by all forms of evil, full of ignorance of Almighty God in their souls, are healed and cured miraculously and beyond all argument by the medicine of His teaching. Except that now we call Him God as we should, as One Who can work thus, as I have already shown in the evidence of His Divinity... For it is God and the Word of God, not one like Moses or the prophets, that was not only the Worker of the Miracles, but is also the Cause of your own strength. And the strongest confirmation of the Divine Power of the Saviour here foretold, by which He really used to cure the lame, the blind, the lepers and the palsied with a word according to that which is written concerning Him, is the power even now energizing through the whole world from His Godhead... And He is our God, since He is the Word of God, [as] it says, 'Gives judgment and will give, He will come and save us.'... He repays justly to the Jewish people the fit penalty for their presumptuous treatment of Him and His prophets, and ever saves in justice as well those who come to Him... And the judgment on them that shall be saved by Him is foretold next in the words, 'He will come and save us; then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf hear,' and that which follows." (Proof of the Gospel 9.13)18
Like Cyprian and Novatian before him, Eusebius saw in this text proof that Christ is God.

Conclusion

Isaiah 35:4 LXX declares that God himself will come and be present and save us. We have observed that Church Fathers both in the West (Cyprian, Novatian, possibly Tertullian) and in the East (Hymenaeus and other bishops, Eusebius) understood Isaiah this text to be a prophecy of the Incarnation, in which God truly did come and make himself physically present to us in the person of his Son, the Word Incarnate. This interpretation is supported by NT allusions to Isaiah 35—which show that the text was understood Messianically—and by the language used in the Septuagint Greek, especially when compared with Paul's language in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

  • 1 All biblical quotations herein, except those from the Septuagint, are taken from the NRSV. Quotations from the Septuagint are taken from Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (eds.), A New English Translation of the Septuagint (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) (hereafter NETS).
  • 2 αὐτὸς is the third-person pronoun, i.e. "he." However, an ancient Greek sentence does not require a subject to be supplied explicitly, since it is implicit in the verb; hence ἥξει καὶ σώσει ἡμᾶς already means "he will come and save us." The inclusion of αὐτὸς thus places emphasis on the subject. Secondly, word order in ancient Greek is highly flexible; the sentence could have been worded ἥξει αὐτὸς καὶ ἡμᾶς σώσει and would still mean, "he will come and save us." Thus, that αὐτὸς is the first word places further emphasis on the subject.
  • 3 BDAG 435.
  • 4 Of course, the Masoretic text is no less impressive in declaring, "Here is your God" (cf. Isa. 40:9-10).
  • 5 The verb ἵστημι ("stand") is the root of the verb ἀνίστημι (literally, "stand again") that is a technical term for "raise (from the dead)" in the NT.
  • 6 "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees".
  • 7 Matthew 11:4 "refers again to specific healing miracles as  having messianic significance, as already in the LXX of Isa. 29:18-19; 35:5-6; and 61:1" (Craig L. Blomberg, "Matthew," in Commentary on the Old Testament Use of the New Testament, ed. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007], 38). "The categories of sick people and the healings performed in Matt. 15:30-31 again recall the prophecies of the miracles that would demonstrate the arrival of the messianic age (esp. Isa. 35:5-6)" (ibid., 54).
  • 8 G. K. Beale and Sean M. McDonough, "Revelation," in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 1151.
  • 9 Trans. Geoffrey D. Dunn, Tertullian (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 90.
  • 10 Martin C. Albl, "And Scripture Cannot Be Broken": The Form and Function of the Early Christian Testimonia Collections (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 132.
  • 11 Trans. A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1840), 3:37.
  • 12 Russell J. deSimone (trans.), Novatian: The Trinity, The Spectacles, Jewish Foods, In Praise of Purity, Letters (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1974), 14-15.
  • 13 Trans. deSimone, Novatian, 50-51.
  • 14 "Paul rejects the idea that the Logos should be composed (σύνθετος) with a human body, for this would be equivalent to a kind of mingling which is contrary to his dignity or rank as the Son of God… Malchion insists that Jesus Christ is one, composed out of two simple elements, the God-Logos and the human body, which is from the seed of David. The charge laid on Paul is that his rejection of such a model of ‘composition’ implies a denial of the substantial union of the Son of God with the human body. It is insinuated that he conceives of the union in Christ as a participation, presumably of the man Jesus, in the divine Wisdom, who is said to dwell in the former. According to Malchion, Paul’s doctrine of the inhabitation of divine Wisdom is motivated by the intention to protect the Son of God from the humiliating consequences of his kenosis, i.e. from suffering the cost or loss (dispendium) of his being united with a human body." (U. M. Lang, "The Christological Controversy at the Synod of Antioch in 268/9," Journal of Theological Studies 51 [2000]: 66-67.
  • 15 Lang states that de Riedmatten has argued convincingly in favour of its authenticity ("Christological Controversy," 71).
  • 16 Greek text in Martin Josephus Routh, Reliquiae Sacrae, 5 vols. (Oxford: Typographeo academico, 1846-48), 3:291.
  • 17 According to Aaron P. Johnson, the Proof of the Gospel was written during the period 314-324 ("Narrating the Council: Eusebius on Nicaea," in The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea, ed. Young Kim [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021], 203). W. J. Ferrar dates the Proof of the Gospel to 314-318, reasoning that some of theological language is too "unguarded" to have been written after the Arian controversy erupted c. 319 (The Proof of the Gospel, Being the Demonstratio Evangelica of Eusebius of Caesarea [2 vols.; London: SPCK, 1920], 1:xiii).
  • 18 Trans. Ferrar, Proof of the Gospel, 2:178-79. The word "as" has been inserted in square brackets by me, since Ferrar's translation does not make sense without it. An alternative emendation would be, "And He is our God. Since He is the Word of God, it says, 'Gives judgment...'"