Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Patriarchs as Types of Christ: Jacob

 From The Christian Topography, Cosmas Indicopleustes.

This is Jacob, himself also a co-heir of the promises of God, and one who looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God----that is, the heavenly Jerusalem, into which, as our forerunner, Christ has entered----and to which state of existence the whole scheme of Christian worship looks, which new and living way the Lord Christ first of all instituted for us, which also the great Jacob predicts in transmitting it to Judah his own son, when he was blessing him; by whom also Jesus Christ is announced as the Lord of the promises in these words which he spake:
Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise: Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father's sons shall bow down before thee; Judah is a lion's whelp; from the branch,my son, hast thou ascended, he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lions whelp; who shall rouse him up? A ruler shall not fail from Judah nor a leader from his thighs until what is laid up in store for him shall come, and he the expectation of the nations. Binding his foal unto the vines, and to the tendril of the vine his ass's colt. He shall wash his garment in wine, and his vesture in the blood of the grape. Wine shall make his eyes sparkle with joy, and his teeth shall be whiter than milk. 

But the sons of his father did not bow down before him, nay, on the contrary he made obeisance to Joseph, even after the death of his father. It is evident therefore that the whole of this prophecy had its fulfilment in the Lord Christ who descended from him according to the flesh, and that it sets before the mind his kingly power, and his Passion, and his blessed Resurrection after his Passion.


And this Jacob, who is the third patriarch, being reckoned with the other two, married a wife whom he did not from the first himself wish to marry, namely Leah; and on the fourth son whom he begat by her, that is, on Judah, he conferred the blessings and the promises; so that from this it is manifest, that the blessing did not accrue to any chance person but to those from whom the Lord Christ according to the flesh, the Prince of the second life, was to spring.

And from Judah himself we can learn, that it was not from his own wife, but from his daughter-in-law Thamar that the line of descent of his posterity, from which sprang the Lord of the promises, was reckoned. Most clearly still, when the patriarchs had received such great promises from God, namely, that in them and in their seed all the nations should be blessed, and this promise in like manner: Unto you I will give this land, and unto your seed, and when they had received not so much of it as they could set their foot on, but dwelt in tents, they, being full of faith, showed themselves to be expecting and hoping for another dispensation in which they would receive the promises. Wherefore also each one of them in his dying moments transmitted the blessing to him whom God had ordained to receive it. Wherefore also again scripture, laying up, as it were, the fathers in a treasure-house, says with reference to each of them: And he was gathered unto his fathers, meaning that all of them together being treasured up for the future state, will receive possession thereof. 

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