Appendix 3 – Early Christian Writings

In the late second Century, the Spirit of truth departed from the Church and 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.

There are several famous Christological statements in Christian writings, prior to  150, that demonstrate the Apostolic understanding, and its eventual corruption. We have mentioned the most credible of these throughout the Book.

Referenced below are the Epistle of Clement included in the New Testament in the Fifth Century Codex Alexandrinus; the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas included in the New Testament in the Fourth Century Codex Sinaiticus; the Epistles of Ignatius referred to in Eusebius’ Church History; and the writings of Justin Martyr.

“a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all.”

Chapter 2

See Chapter 24
“Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one spirit of grace poured out upon us?”

Chapter 46

See Chapter 24
“lives indeed the God, and lives the Lord Jesus Christ, and the spirit of the holy, and the faith and hope of the elect.”

Chapter 58

See Chapter 24

“I pray for you happiness forever, in our God, Jesus Christ”

Chapter 8

See Chapter 23

“Behold,” says the Lord, “I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them, because He was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us.”

Chapter 6:14

See Chapter 8

“The Pre-existent Holy Spirit, which created the whole creation, God made to dwell in flesh that He desired” (Parable 5: 6[5]). See Preface and Chapter 8
“The Holy Spirit which spoke with you in the form of a Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God.” (Parable 9: 1[1]). See Chapter 8
“He therefore took the Son as adviser and the glorious angels also, that this flesh too, having served the Spirit unblamably.” (Parable 5: 6[7]). See Chapter 8

A.D. 135,  Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Tryphos

In A.D. 135, 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 main failures in Justin’s theology were:

  • He did not understand the concept of “manifest in the flesh,” and,
  • He did not believe that the Spirit of truth was the Spirit of God, but only a “prophetic Spirit.”

By 135, these key concepts had been lost among the Gentiles.

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. (There are some who believe that Justin Martyr wrote the Dialogue, after writing the First and Second Apology, after 150. They believe that Chapter 120 (line 5) refers to his First Apology. But it does not. At the beginning of the Dialogue, 1.3, Tryphos mentions that he has just come from the war in Roman Palestine, of 132.  1 This is the probable date of Justin’s writing.)

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)

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 10
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.’”

Genesis 35:1

Here, the invisible God tells Jacob to make an altar to the God he saw.

(DWT Chapter 60)

See Chapter 6
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)

Various Chapters
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 10
11.   Jesus as the name of God is proved in Exodus

(DWT, Chapter 75)

See Chapter 12
12.   Christ as the First-Born of Every Creature

(DWT, Chapter 85, 138)

Various Chapters
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

When Justin moved to Rome (about 138–161), 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.

1.   We worship the Father, Son and Prophetic Spirit, with all the good Angels

(First Apology, Chapter 6)

See Chapter 24, and 30
2.   The spirit of prophecy (spirit of truth)

(First Apology, Chapter 13)

See Chapter 24 and 30
3.   Christ was the Holy Spirit who came on Mary

(First Apology, Chapter 33)

See Preface
4.   The spirit of prophecy was born on the water in Genesis 1:2, as proved by Plato. The Father, Son, and Prophetic Spirit are first, second and third place.

(First Apology, Chapter 60)

See Chapter 8, and 30
5.   Christian Baptism

(First Apology, Chapter 61)

See Chapter 12
6.   Christ was the Word who appeared to Moses at the burning bush

(First Apology, Chapter 63)

See Chapter 7

1.   God not given a name

(Second Apology, Chapter 6)

See Chapter 12

  1. Timothy J. Horner, Listening to Trypho, Oxford University, 2000, pg. 76