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The Church Fathers on Jesus as the Almighty God Who is Overall

In this short post, I will be quoting certain early church writers who applied Genesis 19:24, Romans 9:5, Revelation 1:8, and 22:13 to Jesus Christ. All bold and/or italicized emphasis will be mine.

  1. The Title Word Is to Be Interpreted by the Same Method as the Other Titles of Christ. The Word of God is Not a Mere Attribute of God, But a Separate Person. What is Meant When He is Called the Word.

Let us consider, however, a little more carefully what is the Word which is in the beginning. I am often led to wonder when I consider the things that are said about Christ, even by those who are in earnest in their belief in Him. Though there is a countless number of names which can be applied to our Saviour, they omit the most of them, and if they should remember them, they declare that these titles are not to be understood in their proper sense, but tropically. But when they come to the title Logos (Word), and repeat that Christ alone is the Word of God, they are not consistent, and do not, as in the case of the other titles, search out what is behind the meaning of the term Word. I wonder at the stupidity of the general run of Christians in this matter. I do not mince matters; it is nothing but stupidity. The Son of God says in one passage, I am the light of the world, and in another, I am the resurrection, and again, I am the way and the truth and the life. It is also written, I am the door, and we have the saying, I am the good shepherd, and when the woman of Samaria says, We know the Messiah is coming, who is called Christ; when He comes, He will tell us all things, Jesus answers, I that speak unto you am He. Again, when He washed the disciples’ feet, He declared Himself in these words John 13:13 to be their Master and Lord: You call Me Master and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. He also distinctly announces Himself as the Son of God, when He says, John 10:36 He whom the Father sanctified and sent unto the world, to Him do you say, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God? and John 17:1 Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son also may glorify You. We also find Him declaring Himself to be a king, as when He answers Pilate’s question, John 18:33, 36 Are You the King of the Jews? by saying, My kingdom is not of this world; if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is My kingdom not from hence. We have also read the words, I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman, and again, I am the vine, you are the branches. Add to these testimonies also the saying, I am the bread of life, that came down from heaven and gives life to the world. These texts will suffice for the present, which we have picked up out of the storehouse of the Gospels, and in all of which He claims to be the Son of God. But in the Apocalypse of John, too, He says, Revelation 1:18 I am the first and the last, and the living One, and I was dead. Behold, I am alive for evermore. And again, Revelation 22:13 I am the Α and the Ω, and the first and the last, the beginning and the end… (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of JohnBook I)

  1. Let us look next at the apostle’s word: Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. This word declares the mystery of the truth rightly and clearly. He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, All things are delivered unto me of my Father. He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God forever. For to this effect John also has said, Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. And well has he named Christ the Almighty. For in this he has said only what Christ testifies of Himself. For Christ gave this testimony, and said, All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and Christ rules all things, and has been appointed Almighty by the Father. And in like manner Paul also, in setting forth the truth that all things are delivered unto Him, said, Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For He must reign, till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For all things are put under Him. But when He says, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. Then shall He also Himself be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. If, therefore, all things are put under Him with the exception of Him who put them under Him, He is Lord of all, and the Father is Lord of Him, that in all there might be manifested one God, to whom all things are made subject together with Christ, to whom the Father has made all things subject, with the exception of Himself. And this, indeed, is said by Christ Himself, as when in the Gospel He confessed Him to be His Father and His God. For He speaks thus: I go to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God. If then, Noetus ventures to say that He is the Father Himself, to what father will he say Christ goes away according to the word of the Gospel? But if he will have us abandon the Gospel and give credence to his senselessness, he expends his labour in vain; for we ought to obey God rather than men.
  2. If, again, he allege His own word when He said, I and the Father are one, let him attend to the fact, and understand that He did not say, I and the Father am one, but are one. For the word areis not said of one person, but it refers to two persons,and one power. He has Himself made this clear, when He spoke to His Father concerning the disciples, The glory which You gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and You in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that You have sent me. What have the Noetians to say to these things? Are all one body in respect of substance, or is it that we become one in the power and disposition of unity of mind? In the same manner the Son, who was sent and was not known of those who are in the world, confessed that He was in the Father in power and disposition. For the Son is the one mind of the Father. We who have the Father’s mind believe so (in Him); but they who have it not have denied the Son. And if, again, they choose to allege the fact that Philip inquired about the Father, saying, Show us the Father, and it suffices us, to whom the Lord made answer in these terms: Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?  and if they choose to maintain that their dogma is ratified by this passage, as if He owned Himself to be the Father, let them know that it is decidedly against them, and that they are confuted by this very word. For though Christ had spoken of Himself, and showed Himself among all as the Son, they had not yet recognised Him to be such, neither had they been able to apprehend or contemplate His real power. And Philip, not having been able to receive this, as far as it was possible to see it, requested to behold the Father. To whom then the Lord said, Philip, have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father. By which He means, If you have seen me, you may know the Father through me. For through the image, which is like (the original), the Father is made readily known. But if you have not known the image, which is the Son, how do you seek to see the Father? And that this is the case is made clear by the rest of the chapter, which signifies that the Son who has been set forth was sent from the Father, and goes to the Father.
  3. Many other passages, or rather all of them, attest the truth. A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three. But if he desires to learn how it is shown still that there is one God, let him know that His power is one. As far as regards the power, therefore, God is one. But as far as regards the economy there is a threefold manifestation, as shall be proved afterwards when we give account of the true doctrine. In these things, however, which are thus set forth by us, we are at one. For there is one God in whom we must believe, but unoriginated, impassible, immortal, doing all things as He wills, in the way He wills, and when He wills. What, then, will this Noetus, who knows nothing of the truth, dare to say to these things? And now, as Noetus has been confuted, let us turn to the exhibition of the truth itself, that we may establish the truth, against which all these mighty heresies have arisen without being able to state anything to the purpose. (Hippolytus, Against the Heresy of Noetus)
  4. If anyone is offended at this, let him also hear us say that the Spirit is from God, since [God] not only has a second person in the Son, but also a third [person] in the Holy Spirit. Our Lord speaks to this: I will ask of my Father and he will give you another Counselor. 293 5.Just as another – the Son – comes from the Father, so also another – the Spirit – comes from the Son. And just as the Son is the second person [of the Godhead], so also the Spirit is the third. Nevertheless, the sum (omnia) is one God, because the three are one. (Phoebadius of Agen, Liber Contra Arianos, Translations of Keith C. Wessel (2008), Chapter XXVII, pp. 60-61 https://www.fourthcentury.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Wessel-Phoebadius.pdf)

… 9. Which name of the Father [did Christ mean] unless it was the name of God and of the Lord?202 St. John, recognizing this about the Son, said [this about him]: He who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.203

203 Rev.1:8 (Phoebadius of Agen, Liber Contra Arianos, Translations of Keith C. Wessel (2008), Chapter XVI, pp. 40-41 https://www.fourthcentury.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Wessel-Phoebadius.pdf))

(14.) “Whosoever shall say that Let Us make man” (Gen 1:26), was not said by the Father to the Son, but by God to Himself, be he anathema

(17.) Whosoever shall explain, “The Lord rained fire from the Lord” (Gen 24[sic]:24), not of the Father and the Son, and says that He rained from Himself, be he anathema. For the Son, being Lord, rained from the Father Who is Lord.

(18.) Whosoever, hearing that the Father is Lord and the Son Lord and the Father and Son Lord, for there is Lord from Lord, says there are two Gods, be he anathema. For we do not place the Son in the Father’s Order, but as subordinate to the Father; for He did not descend upon Sodom without the Father’s will, nor did He rain from Himself, but from the Lord, that is, the Father authorising it. Nor is He of Himself set down on the right hand, but He hears the Father saying, “Sit Thou on My right hand” (Psalm 110:1).

(19.) Whosoever says that the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one Person, be he anathema. (Phoebadius of Agen, Liber Contra Arianos, Translations of Keith C. Wessel (2008), Appendix 1: Arian Confessions Sixth Arian Confession aka First Sirmium (Sirmium, 351 AD), p. 65)

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