Seeing that the ordinances of God are great and rich to you, I rejoice with an exceedingly great and overflowing joy at your blessed and glorious spirits; so innate is the grace of the spiritual gift that you have received.
Therefore I also the more congratulate myself hoping to be saved, for I truly see the Spirit poured out among you from the riches of the fount of the Lord. So greatly did the much desired sight of you astonish me respecting you.
Being therefore persuaded of this, and being conscious with myself that having said much among you, I know that the Lord journeyed with me on the way of righteousness, and am wholly constrained also myself to this, to love you more than my own soul (for great faith and love dwells in you through the hope of the life which is His), considering this therefore, that,
If it will be my care to communicate to you some portion of that which I received, it will turn to my reward for having ministered to such spirits, I was eager to send you a trifle, that along with your faith, you might have your knowledge also perfect.
Well then, there are three ordinances of the Lord; the hope of life, which is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgment; love shown in gladness and exultation, the testimony of works of righteousness.
For the Lord made known to us by His prophets things past and present, likewise giving us the firstfruits of the taste of things future. And seeing each of these things severally coming to pass, accordingly as He spoke, we should offer a richer and higher offering to the fear of Him. But I, not as though I were a teacher, but as one of yourselves, will show forth a few things, whereby you will be gladdened in the present circumstances.
What is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me, the Lord says, I am full of whole burnt offerings, and the fat of lambs and do not desire the blood of bulls and of goats, not though you should come to be seen of Me. Or who required these things at your hands? You will no longer continue to tread My court. If you bring fine flour, it is in vain; incense is an abomination to Me; your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot away with. *Isaiah 1:11 - 14
No, this was My command to them, 'Let none of you bear a grudge of evil against his neighbor in his heart, and do not love a false oath." *Jeremiah 7:22 - 23
So we should perceive, unless we are without understanding, the mind of the goodness of our Father; for He speaks to us, desiring us to not go astray like them, but to seek how we may approach Him.
Thus He then speaks to us; "The sacrifice to God is a broken heart, *Psalms 51:17 the smell of a sweet savor to the Lord is a heart that glorifies its Maker." We should therefore, brethren, learn accurately concerning our salvation, unless the Evil One, having effected an entrance of error in us, should fling us away from our life.
He speaks again therefore to them concerning these things; "Why do you fast for Me, the Lord says, so that your voice is heard this day crying aloud? This is not the fast which I have chosen, the Lord says; not a man abasing his soul;
Not [as] though you should bend your neck as a hoop, and put on sackcloth and make your bed of ashes, not even so will you call a fast that is acceptable." *Isaiah 58:4 - 5
But to us He says; "Behold, this is the fast which I have chosen, the Lord says; loosen every band of wickedness, untie the tightened cords of forcible contracts, send away the broken ones released and tear every unjust bond in pieces. Break your bread to the hungry, and if you see one naked, clothe him; bring the shelterless into your house, and if you see a humble man, you will not despise him, neither will anyone of your household and of your own seed.
Then you will cry out and God will hear you; while you are still speaking, He will say 'Look, I am here'; if you will take away the yoke from you and the stretching forth of the finger and the word of murmuring, and will heartily give your bread to the hungry, and will pity the abased soul." *Isaiah 58:6 - 10
To this end therefore, my brethren, He who is long-suffering, foreseeing that the people whom He had prepared in His well-beloved would believe in simplicity, manifested to us beforehand concerning all things, that we might not shipwreck ourselves as novices upon their law.
It behooves us therefore to investigate deeply concerning the present, and to search out the things which have power to save us. Let us therefore flee altogether from all the works of lawlessness, unless the works of lawlessness overpower us; and let us loathe the error of the present time, that we may be loved for that which is to come.
The last offence is at hand, concerning [that] which the Scripture speaks, as Enoch says. "For to this end the Master has cut the seasons and the days short, that His beloved might hasten and come to His inheritance."
In like manner Daniel speaks concerning the same; "And I saw the fourth beast to be wicked and strong and more intractable than all the beasts of the earth, and how ten horns arose from him, and from these, a little horn and excrescence, and how it abased under one, three of the great horns." *Daniel 7:7 - 8
You should therefore understand. Moreover I ask you this one thing besides, as being one of yourselves and loving you all in particular more than my own soul, to give heed to yourselves now, and not to liken yourselves to certain persons who pile up sin upon sin, saying that our covenant remains to them also.
It is ours; but they lost it in this way forever, when Moses had just received it. For the Scripture says; "And Moses was in the mountain fasting forty days and forty nights, and he received the covenant from the Lord, even tablets of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Lord." *Deuteronomy 9:9 - 10
But they lost it by turning to idols. For thus the Lord says; "Moses, Moses, come down quickly; for your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have done unlawfully." *Exodus 32:7 And Moses understood, and threw the two tables from his hands; and their covenant was broken in pieces, that the covenant of the beloved Jesus might be sealed to our hearts in the hope which springs from faith in him.
But though I am willing to write many things, not as a teacher, but as one becomes who loves you not to fall short of that which we possess, I was anxious to write to you, being your devoted slave. Therefore, let us take heed in these last days. For the whole time of our faith will profit us nothing, unless we now, in the season of lawlessness and in the offenses that will be, becoming sons of God, offer resistance, that the Black One may not effect an entrance.
Let us flee from all vanity, let us entirely hate the works of the evil way. Do not, entering in privily, stand apart by yourselves, as if you were already justified, but assemble yourselves together and consult concerning the common welfare.
For the Scripture says; "Woe to those who are wise for themselves, and understanding in their own sight." *Isaiah 5:21 Let us become spiritual, let us become a temple perfect to God. As far as in us lies, let us exercise ourselves in the fear of God, [and] let us strive to keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances.
The Lord judges the world impartially; each man will receive according to his deeds. If he is good, his righteousness will go before him in the way; if he is evil, the recompense of his evil-doing is before him; unless perchance,
Moreover, understand this also, my brothers. When you see that after so many signs and wonders were done in Israel, even then they were abandoned, let us give heed, unless we are found haply, as the Scripture says, "Many are called but few are chosen." *Matthew 22:14
For the Scripture concerning him contains some things relating to Israel, and some things relating to us. And it speaks thus; "He was wounded for your transgressions, and he has been bruised for our sins; by his stripes we were healed." *Isaiah 53:5 "As a sheep he was led to slaughter, as a lamb is dumb before his shearer." *Isaiah 53:7
Now the Scripture says; "Not unjustly is the net spread for the birds." *Proverbs 1:17 He means this, that a man will justly perish, who, having the knowledge of the way of righteousness, forces himself into the way of darkness.
There is yet this also, my brethren; if the master endured to suffer for our souls, though he was master of the whole world, to whom God said from the foundation of the world, "Let Us make man after Our image and likeness," *Genesis 1:26 how then did he endure to suffer at the hand of men?
Understand. The prophets, receiving grace from him, prophesied concerning him. But he himself endured that he might destroy death and show forth the Resurrection of the dead, for he must be manifested in the flesh;
That at the same time, he might redeem the promise made to the fathers, and by preparing the new people for himself might show, while he was on earth, that having brought about the resurrection, he will exercise judgment himself.
And when he chose his own apostles who were to proclaim his Gospel, who, that he might show that he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners; were sinners above every sin, then he manifested himself to be the son of God.
For if he had not come in the flesh, neither would men have looked upon him and been saved, forasmuch as when they look upon the sun that will cease to be, which is the work of his own hands, they cannot face its rays.
To this end therefore he endured. For God says of the wounds of his flesh, that they came from them; when they will smite their own shepherd, then will the sheep of the flock be lost. *Zechariah 13:7
But he himself desired so to suffer; for it was necessary for him to suffer on a tree. For he who prophesied said concerning him, "Spare my soul from the sword;" *Psalms 22:20 and, "Pierce my flesh with nails, for the congregations of evil-doers have risen up against me." *Psalms 22:16
And again he says; "Behold I have given my back to stripes, and my cheeks to smitings, and I set my face as a hard rock." *Isaiah 50:6
When then he gave the commandment, what did he say? "Who is he who disputes with me? Let him oppose me." Or "Who is he who goes to law with me?" Let him draw near to the servant of the Lord,
Woe to you, for you will all wax old as a garment, and the moth will consume you." *Isaiah 50:8 - 9 And again the prophet says, seeing that as a hard stone, he was ordained for crushing; "Behold I will put a very precious stone into the fountains of Zion, elect, a chief cornerstone, honorable." *Isaiah 28:16
Then again what does He say; "And whoever will set his hope on him, will live forever." Is our hope then set upon a stone? Far be it. But it is because the master has set his flesh in strength. For he says; "And He set me as a hard rock."
And the prophet says again; "The stone which the builders rejected, this became the head of the corner." *Psalms 118:22 And again he says; "This is the great and wonderful day, which the Lord made." *Psalms 118:24
What then does the prophet say again? "The assembly of evildoers gathered around me, they surrounded me as bees surround a comb;" *Psalms 118:12 and; "For my garment, they cast a lot." *Psalms 22:18
Forasmuch then as he was about to be manifested in the flesh and to suffer, his suffering was manifested beforehand. For the prophet says concerning Israel; "Woe to their soul, for they have counseled evil against themselves saying, 'Let us bind the righteous one, for he is unprofitable for us.'"
What does the other prophet Moses say to them? "Behold, these things the Lord God says; enter into the good land which the Lord swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit it, a land flowing with milk and honey." *Exodus 33:1 - 3
But what does knowledge say? Understand. Set your hope on him who is about to be manifested to you in the flesh, even Jesus. For man is earth suffering; for the creation of Adam came from the face of the earth.
What then does He say? "Into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey." Blessed is our Lord, brethren, who established wisdom and understanding of His secret things among us. For the prophet speaks a parable concerning the Lord. Who will comprehend, except he who is wise and prudent and who loves his Lord?
For the Scripture says concerning us, how He says to the son; "Let Us make man after Our image and after Our likeness, and let them rule over the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the heaven and the fishes of the sea." *Genesis 1:26 And the Lord said when He saw the fair creation of us men; "Increase and multiply and fill the earth." *Genesis 1:28 These words refer to the son.
Again I will show you how the Lord speaks concerning us. He made a second creation at the last; and the Lord says; "Behold I make the last things as the first." In reference to this, the prophet then preached; "Enter into a land flowing with milk and honey, and be lords over it."
Behold then we have been created anew, as He says again in another prophet; "Behold, the Lord says, I will take out from these, that is to say, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and will put into them hearts of flesh;" for he himself was to be manifested in the flesh and to dwell in us.
For the Lord says again; "For wherein will I appear to the Lord my God and be glorified? I will make confession to You in the assembly of my brethren, and I will sing to You in the midst of the assembly of the saints." *Psalms 22:22, *Hebrews 2:12 We are therefore those whom He brought into the good land.
What then is the milk and the honey? Because the child is first kept alive by honey, and then by milk. So in like manner we also, being kept alive by our faith in the promise and by the word, will live and be lords of the earth.
Now we have already said above; "And let them increase and multiply and rule over the fish." But who is he who is able [now] to rule over beasts and fishes and fowls of the heaven; for we should perceive that to rule implies power, so that one should give orders and have dominion.
If then, the son of God, being master and future judge of quick and dead, suffered that his wound might give us life, let us believe that the son of God could not suffer except for our sake.
But moreover, when crucified, he had vinegar and gall given to him to drink. Hear how on this matter, the priests of the temple have revealed. Seeing that there is a commandment in Scripture, "Whatsoever will not observe the fast will surely die," the Lord commanded, because he was in his own person about to offer the vessel of his spirit, a sacrifice for our sins, that the type also which was given in Isaac who was offered upon the altar should be fulfilled.
What then does He say in the prophet? And let them eat of the goat that is offered at the fast for all their sins. Attend carefully; and let all the priests alone eat the entrails unwashed with vinegar.
Why? Since you are to give me, who am to offer my flesh for the sins of my new people, gall with vinegar to drink, eat alone, while the people fast and wail in sackcloth and ashes; that he might show that he must suffer at their hands.
And all of you, spit upon it and goad it, and place scarlet wool about its head, and so let it be cast into the wilderness. And when it is so done, he who takes the goat into the wilderness leads it, and takes off the wool, and puts it upon the branch which is called Rachia, the same whereof we are accustomed to eating the shoots when we find them in the country. Of this briar alone is the fruit thus sweet.
What then does this mean? Give heed. The one at the altar, and the other accursed. And moreover, the accursed one crowned. For they will see him in that day wearing the long scarlet robe about his flesh, and will say, "Is not this him, whom we once crucified and set at nothing and spat upon;" verily this was him, who then said that he was the son of God.
For how is he like the goat? For this reason it says the goats will be fair and alike, that, when they will see him coming then, they may be astonished at the likeness of the goat. Therefore behold the type of Jesus that was to suffer.
But what does it mean, that they place the wool in the midst of the thorns? It is a type of Jesus set forth for the church, since whoever should desire to take away the scarlet wool, it behoved him to suffer many things owing to the terrible nature of the thorn, and through affliction to win the mastery over it. Thus, he says, those who desire to see me, and to attain to my kingdom, must lay hold on me through tribulation and affliction.
But what do you think the type means, where the commandment is given to Israel that those men, whose sins are full grown, offer a heifer and slaughter and burn it, and then that the children take up the ashes, and cast them into vessels, and twist the scarlet wool on a tree (see here again is the type of the cross and the scarlet wool), and the hyssop, and that this done the children should sprinkle the people one by one, that they may be purified from their sins?
Understand how in all plainness, it is spoken to you; the calf is Jesus, the men who offer it, being sinners, are those who offered him for the slaughter. After this, it is no longer men (who offer); the glory is no longer for sinners.
The children who sprinkle are those who preached to us the forgiveness of sins and the purification of our heart, they to whom, being twelve in number for a testimony to the tribes (for there are twelve tribes of Israel), he gave authority over the Gospel, that they should preach it.
And why is there the wool and the hyssop at the same time? Because in his kingdom there will be evil and foul days, in which we will be saved; for he who suffers pain in the flesh is healed through the foulness of the hyssop.
Furthermore He says concerning the ears, how it is our heart which He circumcised. The Lord says in the prophet; "With the hearing of the ears, they listened to Me." And again He says; "Those who are afar off will hear with their ears, and will perceive what I have done." And; "Be circumcised in your hearts," *Deuteronomy 10:16 the Lord says.
And again He says; "Hear, O Israel, for thus the Lord says your God. Who is he who desires to live forever, let him hear with his ears the voice of My servant." And again He says; "Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken these things for a testimony." *Isaiah 1:2 And again He says; "Hear the words of the Lord, you rulers of this people." And again He says; "Hear, O My children, the voice of one crying in the wilderness." Therefore He circumcised our ears, that hearing the word we might believe.
But moreover, the circumcision, in which they have confidence, is abolished; for He has said that a circumcision, not of the flesh, should be practiced. But they transgressed, for an evil angel taught them cleverness.
He says to them; "Thus the Lord your God says (so I find the commandment); do not sow upon thorns, be circumcised in to your Lord." And what does He say? "Be circumcised in the hardness of your heart; and then you will not harden your neck." *Deuteronomy 10:16 Take this again; "Behold, the Lord says, all the Gentiles are uncircumcised in their foreskin, but this people is uncircumcised in their hearts." *Jeremiah 9:26
But you will say; "In truth the people have been circumcised for a seal." No, but so likewise is every Syrian and Arabian and all the priests of the idols. Do all those too then belong to their covenant? Moreover, the Egyptians are also included among the circumcised.
Learn therefore, children of love, concerning all things abundantly, that Abraham, who first appointed circumcision, looked forward in the spirit to Jesus, when he circumcised, having received the ordinances of three letters.
For the Scripture says; "And Abraham circumcised eighteen males and three hundred of his household." What then was the knowledge given to him? Understand that He says the eighteen first, and then after an interval, three hundred. In the eighteen, 'I' stands for ten, 'H' for eight. Here you have JESUS (IHSOYS). And because the cross in the 'T' was to have grace, He also says three hundred. So He reveals Jesus in the two letters, and in the remaining one, the cross.
Indeed and further He says to them in Deuteronomy; "And I will lay as a covenant, My ordinances upon this people." So then it is not a commandment of God that they should not bite with their teeth, but Moses spoke it in spirit.
Accordingly, He mentioned the swine with this intent. "You will not cleave, He says, to such men who are like swine;" that is, when they are in luxury they forget the Lord, but when they are in want they recognize the Lord, just as the swine when it eats, does not know his lord, but when it is hungry it cries out, and when it has received food, again it is silent.
Neither will you eat eagle or falcon or kite or crow. You will not, He says, cleave to, or be likened to, such men who do not know how to provide food for themselves by toil and sweat, but in their lawlessness, seize what belongs to others, and as if they were walking in guilelessness, watch and search about for someone to rob in their rapacity," just as these birds alone do not provide food for themselves, but sit idle and seek how they may eat the meat that belongs to others, being pestilent in their evil-doings.
And you will not eat, He says, lamprey or polypus or cuttle fish. You will not, He means, become like such men, who are desperately wicked, and are already condemned to death, just as these fish alone are accursed and swim in the depths, not swimming on the surface like the rest, but dwell on the ground beneath the deep sea.
Moreover you will not eat the hare. Why so? You will not be found a corrupter of boys, nor will you become like such persons; for the hare gains one passage in the body every year; for according to the number of years it lives, it has just so many orifices.
Again, neither will you eat the hyena; you will not, He says, become an adulterer or a fornicator, neither will you resemble such persons. Why so? Because this animal changes its nature year by year, and becomes at one time, male, and at another, female.
Moreover, He has hated the weasel also and with good reason. You will not, He says, become such as those men of whom we hear as working iniquity with their mouth for uncleanness, neither will you cleave to impure women who work iniquity with their mouth. For this animal conceives with its mouth.
Concerning meats then, Moses received three decrees to this effect and uttered them in a spiritual sense; but they accepted them according to the lust of the flesh, as though they referred to eating.
And David also receives knowledge of the same, three decrees, and says; "Blessed is the man who has not gone in the council of the ungodly," even as the fish go in darkness into the depths; "And has not stood in the path of sinners," just as those who pretend to fear the Lord sin like swine; "And have not sat on the seat of the destroyers," as the birds that are seated for prey." *Psalms 1:1 You now have the complete lesson concerning eating.
Again Moses says; "You will eat everything that divides the hoof and chews the cud." What does he mean? He who receives the food knows Him who gives him the food, and being refreshed, appears to rejoice in Him. He said well, having regard to the commandment. What then does he mean? Cleave to those who fear the Lord, with those who meditate in their heart on the distinction of the word which they have received, with those who tell of the ordinances of the Lord and keep them, with those who know that meditation is a work of gladness and who chew the cud of the word of the Lord. But why that which divides the hoof? Because the righteous man both walks in this world, and at the same time looks for the holy world to come. You see how wise a lawgiver Moses was.
But from where should they perceive or understand these things? Howbeit, we, having justly perceived the commandments, tell them as the Lord willed. To this end, He circumcised our ears and hearts, that we might understand these things.
But let us inquire whether the Lord took care to signify beforehand concerning the water and the cross. Now, concerning the water, it is written in reference to Israel, how they would not receive the baptism which brings remission of sins, but would build for themselves.
For the prophet says; "Be astonished, O heaven, and let the earth shudder the more at this, for this people has done two evil things; they abandoned Me, the fountain of life, and they dug a pit of death for themselves.
And again the prophet says; "I will go before you, and level mountains and crush gates of brass and break in pieces bolts of iron, and I will give you dark treasures, concealed, unseen, that they may know that I am the Lord God." *Isaiah 45:2 - 3
And; "You will dwell in a lofty cave of a strong rock." *Isaiah 33:16 And; "His water will be sure; you will see the King in glory, and your soul will meditate on the fear of the Lord." *Isaiah 33:16 - 18
And again He says in another prophet; "And He who does these things will be as the tree that is planted by the parting streams of waters, which will yield his fruit at his proper season, and his leaf will not fall off, and all things whatsoever he does, will prosper." *Psalms 1:3
Not so are the ungodly, not so, but they are as the dust which the wind scatters from the face of the earth. Therefore ungodly men will not stand in Judgment, neither sinners in the council of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly will perish. *Psalms 1:4 - 6
You perceive how He pointed out the water and the cross at the same time. For this is the meaning: Blessed are those who set their hope on the cross, and go down into the water; for He speaks of the reward at his proper season; then, He says, "I will repay." But now what does He say? "His leaves will not fall off;" He means by this, that every word, which will come forth from you through your mouth in faith and love, will be for the conversion and hope of many.
He says this because we go down into the water laden with sins and filth, and rise up from it bearing fruit in the heart, resting our fear and hope on Jesus in the spirit. And whoever will eat of these will live forever; He means this; whoever, He says, will hear these things spoken and will believe, will live forever.
In like manner, again He defines concerning the cross in another prophet, who says; "And when will these things be accomplished? The Lord says, whenever a tree will be bent and stand upright, and whenever blood will drop from a tree." Again you are taught concerning the cross, and him who was to be crucified.
And He again says in Moses, when war was waged against Israel by men of another nation, and that He might remind them when the war was waged against those who, for their sins, were delivered to death; the Spirit says to the heart of Moses, that he should make a type of the cross and of him who was to suffer, that unless, He says, they will set their hope on Him, war will be waged against them forever. Moses therefore piles arms upon one another in the midst of the encounter, and standing on higher ground than any, he stretched out his hands, and so Israel was again victorious. Then, whenever he lowered them, they were slain with the sword. *Exodus 17:11
And again in another prophet He says; "The whole day long have I stretched out My hands to a disobedient people who disbelieved My righteous way." *Isaiah 65:2
Again Moses makes a type of Jesus, how he must suffer, and that he himself whom they will think to have destroyed will make alive in an emblem when Israel was falling. For the Lord caused all manner of serpents to bite them, and they died (forasmuch as the transgression was done in Eve through the serpent), that He might convince those who, by reason of their transgression, should be delivered over to the affliction of death.
Indeed and further, though Moses gave the commandment; "You will not have a molten or a carved image for your God," *Exodus 34:17 yet he himself made one that he might show them a type of Jesus. So Moses makes a brazen serpent, and sets it up conspicuously, and summons the people by proclamation.
When therefore they were assembled together, they entreated Moses that he should offer up intercession for those who might be healed. And Moses said to them; "Whenever, he said, one of you will be bitten, let him come to the serpent which is placed on the tree, and let him believe and hope that the serpent, being himself dead, can make alive; and forthwith he will be saved." *Numbers 21:8 - 9 And so they did. Here again you have in these things also the glory of Jesus, how that in him and to him are all things.
What does Moses again say to Jesus (Joshua), the son of Nun, when he gives him this name, as being a prophet, that all the people might give ear to him alone, because the Father reveals all things concerning His son, Jesus?
Moses therefore says to Jesus, the son of Nun, giving him this name, when he sent him as a spy on the land; "Take a book in your hands, and write what the Lord says, how the son of God will cut up by the roots all the house of Amalek in the last days."
Behold again, it is Jesus, not a Son of man, but the son of God, and he was revealed in the flesh in a figure. Since then, men will say that Christ is the son of David, David himself prophesies being afraid and understanding the error of sinners; "The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit on My right hand until I set your enemies for a footstool under your feet.'" *Psalms 110:1
And again Isaiah thus says; "The Lord said to my [Messiah] lord, of whose right hand I laid hold, that the nations should give ear before him, and I will break down the strength of kings." *Isaiah 45:1 See how David calls him lord, and does not call him son.
Hear then what the Scripture says concerning the people; "And Isaac prayed concerning Rebecca his wife, for she was barren." *Genesis 25:21 And she conceived. Then Rebecca went out to inquire of the Lord. *Genesis 25:22 And the Lord said to her; "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples in your belly, and one people will vanquish another people, and the greater will serve the lesser." *Genesis 25:23
And in another prophecy, Jacob speaks more plainly to Joseph his son, saying; "Behold, the Lord has not solidified me of your face; bring me your sons, that I may bless them." *Genesis 48:9
And he brought Ephraim and Manasseh, desiring that Manasseh should be blessed, because he was the elder; for Joseph led him by the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in the Spirit, a type of the people who should come afterwards. And what did he say? And Jacob crossed his hands, and placed his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the second and younger, and blessed him. And Joseph said to Jacob, "Transfer your right hand to the head of Manasseh, for he is my first born son." And Jacob said to Joseph, "I know it, my son, I know it; but the greater will serve the less. Yet this one also will be blessed." *Genesis 48:18 - 19
If then, besides this, He also recorded it through Abraham, we attain the completion of our knowledge. What then does He say to Abraham when he alone believed, and was ascribed for righteousness? "Behold I have made you, Abraham, a father of nations that believe in God in uncircumcision."
Indeed verily, but as regards the covenant which He swore to the fathers to give it to the people, let us see whether He has actually given it. He has given it, but they themselves were not found worthy to receive it by reason of their sins.
For the prophet says; "And Moses was fasting in Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights, that he might receive the covenant of the Lord to give to the people. And [Moses] received from the Lord the two tables which were written by the finger of the hand of the Lord in the Spirit. *Deuteronomy 9:9 - 10 And Moses took them, and brought them down to give them to the people."
And the Lord said to Moses; "Moses, Moses, come down quickly; for your people, whom you led forth from the land of Egypt, have done wickedly." *Deuteronomy 9:12 And Moses perceived that they had again made molten images for themselves, and he cast them out of his hands and the tables of the covenant of the Lord were broken in pieces.
Moses received them, but they themselves were not found worthy. But how did we receive them? Mark this. Moses received them being a servant, but the Lord Himself gave them to us to be the people of His inheritance, having patiently endured for our sake.
But he was made manifest, in order that at the same time they might be perfected in their sins, and we might receive the covenant through him who inherited it, even the master Jesus, who was prepared beforehand hereto, that appearing in person, he might redeem our hearts out of darkness, which had already been paid over to death and delivered up to the iniquity of error, and thus establish the covenant in us through the word.
Therefore the prophet says; "I the Lord your God called you in righteousness, and I will lay hold of your hand and will strengthen you, and I have given you to be a covenant of the race, a light to the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth those who are bound from their fetters, and those who sit in darkness from their prison house." *Isaiah 42:6 - 7 We perceive then from where we were ransomed.
Again the prophet says; "Behold I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth;" *Isaiah 49:6 thus the Lord says who ransomed you, even God.
Again the prophet says; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, therefore He anointed me to preach good tidings to the humble; He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to preach release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the Day of Recompense, to comfort all who mourn." *Isaiah 61:1 - 2
Moreover, concerning the sabbath, it is likewise written in the Ten Words, in which He spoke to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai; "And you will make the sabbath of the Lord holy *Exodus 20:8 with pure hands and with a pure heart."
Give heed, children, what this means; He ended in six days. He means this, that in six thousand years the Lord will bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifies a thousand years; and this, He Himself bears me witness, saying; "Behold, the day of the Lord will be as a thousand years." *2 Peter 3:8, *Psalms 90:4, *Sirach 18:10, *22:47 Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, everything will come to an end.
And He rested on the seventh day. He means this; when His son will come, and will abolish the time of the Lawless One, and will judge the ungodly, and will change the sun and the moon and the stars, then He will truly rest on the seventh day.
Indeed and furthermore He says; "You will make it holy with pure hands and with a pure heart." If therefore a man is now able to make the day holy which God made holy, though he is pure in heart, we have utterly gone astray.
But if after all then and not until then will we truly rest and make it holy, when we ourselves will be able to do so after being justified and receiving the promise, when iniquity is no more, and all things have been made new by the Lord, we will be able to make it holy then, because we ourselves will have been made holy first.
Finally He says to them; "Your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot away with." *Isaiah 1:13 You see what His meaning is; it is not your present sabbaths that are acceptable [to Me], but the sabbath which I have made, in the which, when I have set all things at rest, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world.
Moreover, I will likewise tell you concerning the temple, how these wretched men, being led astray, set their hope on the building, and not on their God who made them, as being a House of God.
For like the Gentiles, they almost consecrated Him in the temple. But what does the Lord say abolishing the temple? Learn. "Who has measured the heaven with a span, or has measured the earth with his hand? *Isaiah 40:12 Have not I, the Lord says?" "The heaven is My Throne and the earth the footstool of My feet. What manner of House will you build for Me? Or what will be My resting place?" *Isaiah 66:1 You perceive that their hope is vain.
Again, it was revealed how the city and the temple and the people of Israel should be betrayed. For the Scripture says; "And it will be in the last days, that the Lord will deliver up the sheep of the pasture and the fold and the tower thereof to destruction." And it came to pass as the Lord spoke. *Book of Enoch 89:66, *17:7
But let us inquire whether there is any temple of God. There is; in the place where he himself undertakes to make and finish it. For it is written, "And it will come to pass, when the week is being accomplished, the temple of God will be built gloriously in the name of the Lord."
I find then that there is a temple, how then will it be built in the name of the Lord? Understand. Before we believed on God, the abode of our heart was corrupt and weak, a temple truly built by hands; for it was full of idolatry and was a house of demons, because we did whatsoever was contrary to God.
How? Understand. By receiving the remission of our sins and hoping on the name, we became new, created afresh from the beginning. Therefore God truly dwells in our habitation within us. How? The word of His faith, the calling of His promise, the wisdom of the ordinances, the commandments of the teaching, He Himself prophesying in us, He Himself dwelling in us, opening for us who had been in bondage to death the door of the temple, which is the mouth, and giving us repentance leads us to the incorruptible temple.
For he who desires to be saved does not look to the man, but to Him who dwells and speaks in him, being amazed at this, that he has never at any time heard these words from the mouth of the speaker, nor himself ever desired to hear them. This is the spiritual temple built up to the Lord.
But let us pass on to another lesson and teaching. There are two ways of teaching and of power, the one of light and the other of darkness; and there is a great difference between the two ways. For on the one, the light giving angels of God are stationed, on the other, the angels of Satan.
Then this is the way of light, if anyone desiring to travel on the way to his appointed place would be zealous in his works. The knowledge then which is given to us whereby we may walk therein is as follows.
You will love Him who made you, you will fear Him who created you, you will glorify Him who redeemed you from death; you will be simple in heart and rich in spirit; you will not cleave to those who walk the way of death; you will hate everything that is not pleasing to God; you will hate all hypocrisy; you will never forsake the commandments of the Lord.
You will not exalt yourself, but will be lowly minded in all things. You will not assume glory to yourself. You will not entertain a wicked design against your neighbor; you will not admit boldness into your soul.
You will not commit fornication, you will not commit adultery, you will not corrupt boys. The word of God will not come forth from you where any are unclean. You will not make a difference in a person to reprove him for a transgression. You will be meek, you will be quiet, you will be fearing the words which you have heard. You will not bear a grudge against your brother.
You will not doubt whether a thing will be or not be. You will not take the name of the Lord in vain. You will love your neighbor more than your own soul. You will not murder a child by abortion, nor again will you kill it when it is born. You will not withhold your hand from your son or daughter, but from their youth you will teach them the fear of God.
You will not be found coveting your neighbors' goods; you will not be found greedy of gain. Neither will you cleave with your soul to the lofty, but will walk with the humble and righteous. The accidents that befall you, you will receive as good, knowing that nothing is done without God. You will not be double minded or double tongued.
You will be subject to your masters as to a type of God in shame and fear. You will not command your bondservant or your handmaid in bitterness, who set their hope on the same God, unless haply, they should cease to fear the God who is over both of you; for He did not come to call with partiality, but to call those whom the Spirit has prepared.
You will make your neighbor partake in all things, and will not say that anything is your own. For if you are fellow partakers in that which is imperishable, how much rather will you be in the things which are perishable. You will not be hasty with your own tongue, for the mouth is the snare of death. So far as you are able, you will be pure for your soul's sake.
You will remember the Day of Judgment night and day, and you will seek out the persons of the saints day by day, either laboring by word and going to exhort them and meditating how you may save souls by your word, or you will work with your hands for a ransom for your sins.
You will not hesitate to give, neither will you murmur when giving, but you will know who is the Good Paymaster of your reward. You will keep those things which you have received, neither adding to them or taking away from them. You will utterly hate the Evil One. You will judge righteously.
You will not make a schism, but you will pacify those who contend by bringing them together. You will confess your sins. You will not betake yourself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light.
But the way of the Black One is crooked and full of a curse. For it is a way of eternal death with punishment wherein are the things that destroy men's souls - idolatry, boldness, exhalation of power, hypocrisy, doubleness of heart, adultery, murder, plundering, pride, transgression, treachery, malice, stubbornness, witchcraft, magic, covetousness, absence of the fear of God;
Persecutors of good men, hating the truth, loving lies, not perceiving the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good or to the righteous judgment, paying no heed to the widow and the orphan, not wakeful for the fear of God but for that which is evil; men from whom gentleness and forbearance stand aloof and far off; loving vain things, pursuing a recompense, not pitying the poor man, not toiling for him who is oppressed with toil, ready to slander, not recognizing Him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the creatures of God, turning away from him who is in want, oppressing him who is afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, unjust judges of the poor, sinful in all things.
It is good therefore to learn the ordinances of the Lord, as many who have been written above, and to walk in them. For he who does these things will be glorified in the kingdom of God; whereas he who chooses their opposites will perish together with his works. For this cause is the Resurrection, for this [is] the Recompense.
But if you have any remembrance of good, call me to mind when you practice these things, that both my desire and my watchfulness may lead to some good result. I entreat you, asking it as a favor.