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Origen, COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, Part II, Complete

Translated by Allan Menzies.

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Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans, [4820] "Now, to him who is able to establish you according to my Gospel, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but is now made manifest by the prophetic Scriptures and the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ." For if the mystery concealed of old is made manifest to the Apostles through the prophetic writings, and if the prophets, being wise men, understood what proceeded from their own mouths, then the prophets knew what was made manifest to the Apostles. But to many it was not revealed, as Paul says, [4821] "In other generations it was not made known to the sons of men as it hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs and members of the same body." Here an objection may be raised by those who do not share the view we have propounded; and it becomes of importance to define what is meant by the word "revealed." It is capable of two meanings: firstly, that the thing in question is understood, but secondly, if a prophecy is spoken of, that it is accomplished. Now, the fact that the Gentiles were to be fellow-heirs and members of the same body, and partakers of the promise, was known to the prophets to this extent, that they knew the Gentiles were to fellow-heirs and members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ. When this should be, and why, and what Gentiles were spoken of, and how, though strangers from the covenants, and aliens to the promises, they were yet to be members of one body and sharers of the blessings; all this was known to the prophets, being revealed to them. But the things prophesied belong to the future, and are not revealed to those who know them, but do not witness their fulfilment, as they are to those who have the event before their eyes. And this was the position of the Apostles. Thus, I conceive, they knew the events no more than the fathers and the prophets did; and yet it is truly said of them that "what to other generations was not revealed was now revealed to the Apostles and prophets, that the Gentiles were fellow-heirs and members of the same body, and partakers in the promise of Christ."

[4820] xvi. 25.

[4821] Ephes. iii. 5.

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