Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ANF 5: Hippolytus Treatise on Christ and Antichrist

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

Hippolytus: Works and Fragments II.--Dogmatical and Historical: Treatise on Christ and Antichrist

The point of this treatise--as should be true of all Christian writing-- is that so that the reader can hear the truth, glorify God, be equipped for life, and argue faithfully with unbelievers. Hippolytus notes that his method is the same as the prophets of old--simply to pass on the message handed down to us without changing it as found in Scripture and empowered by God. Specifically, this is the message concerning Christ and His salvation of His people. His people, then, are all who come to Him for salvation--men, women, eunuchs, all manner of human beings.

But just as Scripture teaches us about Jesus, so it teaches us about the antichrist, which we must be prepared for. Which is the main point of this treatise. We see that the antichrist will be a blasphemous parody of Christ's life.

So much is the first five paragraphs of the treatise, which are well worth your time. Starting in paragraph six Hippolytus begins to walk through specific texts, explaining how the text is fulfilled in Christ, while other texts point to the antichrist. And while we may not always agree on the interpretation of any given text, it is certainly an interesting exercise. It appears that Hippolytus' interpretation is along the lines of modern Premillennialism (which makes sense, if he was a student of Irenaeus--and if this is not a spurious text), albeit much milder than the more modern form. And, as with some modern Premillennialists , Hippolytus does not forget the most important part of Revelation:
But we who hope for the Son of God are persecuted and trodden down by those unbelievers. For... the sea is the world, in which the Church is set, like a ship tossed in the deep, but not destroyed; for she has with her the skilled Pilot, Christ. And she bears in her midst also the trophy which is erected over death; for she carries with her the cross of the Lord.
Paragraphs 6 through the end may be skimmed, but be sure at least to read 59 and 67.

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