From history, we know that the Spirit of truth departed from the Church in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. In this period, believers became confused about the truth. They began to observe religious days and developed a variety of theories that tried to explain the relationship of Christ and God.
In 150 A.D., Justin Martyr very much understood that Christ was the Word, the speaker for God in the Old Testament.
Though Justin believed in the concept of Christ as the Word in the Old Testament, he made no defense of this theology. He did not mention any of the passages of Paul and the most significant passages in the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation that explain it.
His complete lack of theological explanation and lack of any reference to the key passages of the Apostles can only suggest his understanding of Christ as the Word, and the image of the invisible God, was the accepted understanding of his day.
Justin wrote on the subject of Christ and God because he wanted to explain to the Jews that Christ was the one they knew, from the Old Testament.
The three main failures of Justin’s theology were:
- He did not understand the concept of “manifest in the flesh,” and the Spirit of Christ like the writers of the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas.
- He did not believe that the Spirit of truth was the Spirit of God, but only a “prophetic Spirit.”
- He failed to see that Christ and God shared the same name in the Old Testament, and must also in the New Testament.
Already by 150 A.D., these key concepts had been lost among the Gentile believers.
Justin Martyr was born just outside of Jerusalem. Today, we have three surviving works of Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Tryphos (the Jew) (DWT), First Apology and Second Apology. We will see the change in Justin Martyr’s opinion, and faith, especially regarding the name of God as we move from the Dialogue with Tryphos to the first and second apology. In the Dialogue with Tryphos, when Justin moved to Rome (about 138–161 A.D.), and set up a school there, his writings became more political. The purpose of the first and second apology was to defend Christianity to the Roman Government. The First Apology was addressed to the Emperor, and the Second Apology was addressed to the Roman Senate. He was also greatly influenced by the practice of meeting on Sunday in Rome, and wrote against the need to observe the Sabbath day.
We have discussed a number of the ideas he mentioned, which we cross-reference on the right.
|Justin Martyr’s Writings||Cross Reference|
|1. The AntiChrist is at the door
“he whom Daniel foretells would have dominion for a time, and times, and a half, is even already at the door, about to speak blasphemous and daring things against the Most High. But you, being ignorant of how long he will have dominion, hold another opinion. For you interpret the ‘time’ as being a hundred years. But if this is so, the man of sin must, at the shortest, reign three hundred and fifty years..”
(DWT, Chapter 32)
|See Chapter 1 and 28|
|2. Christ as High Priest forever
(DWT, Chapter 33)
|See Chapter 4|
|3. Christ is the Lord of Hosts and King of Glory
(DWT, Chapter 36,37)
|See Chapter 9
|4. Christ appeared to Abraham as God
“Moses, then, the blessed and faithful servant of God, declares that He who appeared to Abraham under the oak in Mamre is God, sent with the two angels in His company to judge Sodom by Another who remains ever in the supercelestial places, invisible to all men, holding personal intercourse with none, whom we believe to be Maker and Father of all things.”
(DWT, Chapter 56)
|See Chapter 4 and 7|
|5. Christ appeared to Jacob as God
(DWT, Chapter 58)
|See Chapter 6 and 7|
|6. Christ appeared to Moses as God
Have you perceived, sirs, that this very God whom Moses speaks of as an Angel that talked to him in the flame of fire, declares to Moses that He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob?
(DWT, Chapter 59)
|See Chapter 7|
|7. The Angel who appeared to Moses was the Speaker to Moses
“Then God (Elohim) said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to (El) God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’”
Here, the invisible God tells Jacob to make an altar to the God he saw.
(DWT Chapter 60)
|See Chapter 7
|8. Christ throughout the Old Testament
I shall give you another testimony, my friends, from the Scriptures, that God begot before all creatures a Beginning, [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos; and on another occasion He calls Himself Captain, when He appeared in human form to Joshua the son of Nave (Nun)
(DWT, Chapter 61)
|9. Let Us make man in our image
[God] conversed with someone who was numerically distinct from Himself, and also a rational Being.
(DWT Chapter 62)
|See Chapter 3|
|10. Tryphos objects saying God says He does not give His glory to another
(DWT Chapter 65)
|See Chapter 9
|11. Jesus as the name of God is proved in Exodus
(DWT, Chapter 75)
|See Chapter 11, and Appendix 5
|12. Christ as the First-Born of Every Creature
(DWT, Chapter 85, 138)
|13. Christ appeared to the Patriarchs
(DWT, Chapter 127)
|See Chapter 4|
|14. Christ was a person begotten of the Father’s substance and not an inanimate object
(DWT, Chapter 128, 129)
|See Chapter 5|
|15. We worship the Father, Son and Prophetic Spirit
(First Apology, Chapter 6)
|See Chapter 23|
|16. The Spirit of Prophecy (Spirit of truth)
(First Apology, Chapter 13)
|See Chapter 23 and 28|
|17. Christ was the Holy Spirit who came on Mary
(First Apology, Chapter 33)
|18. The Father, Son, and Prophetic Spirit are first, second and third place
(First Apology, Chapter 60)
|See Chapter 8|
|19. Christian Baptism
(First Apology, Chapter 61)
|See Appendix 5
|20. Christ was the Word who appeared to Moses at the burning bush
(First Apology, Chapter 63)
|See Chapter 7|
|21. God not given a name
(Second Apology, Chapter 6)
|See Appendix 4