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Andrés de Cesarea-17

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Great who had shown the blessed Paul [75] their great number.
But accordingly it is said,
this will definitely happen during the time of Antichrist, the seal of the life-giving Cross
separating the faithful374 from the unfaithful, (the faithful) without shame and having been
emboldened bearing the sign of Christ before the impious. Wherefore the angel says,
Rev. 7:3b "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we hâve sealed the
servants ofour God upon their for eheads. "
Création, having corne into being for us,375 when we are chastised partakes with us in
the afflictions,
likewise therefore it will rejoice with the saints who are glorified. Through
those we learn also that before the bringing of trials the virtuous need to be strengthened
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through angehc assistance,
3/3
■3*77
^78
through the seal ofthe Spirif
given to us and manifesting our
Acts 21:18-20.
374
In the early Church, and continuing today in the Eastern Christian tradition, immediately following the
sacrament of baptism, the new Christian is "sealed" through the sacrament of Chrismation (i.e., confirmation).
The sign ofthe cross is made by the priest with the oil of chrism on the forehead ofthe newly baptized while
the priest proclaims, "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit." It signifies the bestowal of the Holy Spirit and
marks the individual as belonging to Christ. Ail members of the Church, therefore, are sealed on the forehead
with the cross spiritually and literally "separating the faithful from the unfaithful," as Andrew remarks hère. See
below, fn 378.
375
Création not only exists for the physical needs of human beings but since it displays the glory and wisdom of
the Creator, the wise individual can learn moral lessons from it. For a good example of this concept, see Basil
the Great's Homily 7 On the Six Days of Création in which he extensively surveyed various types of sea
créatures and pointed out moral lessons which can be learned from their behavior, some positive and some
négative. "I hâve seen thèse wonders myself and I hâve admired the wisdom of God in ail things. If the
unreasoning animais are able to contrive and look out for their own préservation, if a fish knows what it should
choose and what to avoid, what shall we say who hâve been honored with reason, taught by the law, encouraged
by the promises, made wise by the Spirit, and who hâve handled our own affairs more unreasonably than the
fish?" Hom. 7.5, FC 46:113.
376
See Rom. 8:19-23. The concept that création itself was adversely affected by the Fall of Adam and that it too
will be renewed in the end times was very popular in the patristic tradition.
377
It is obvious that Andrew, and the book of Révélation itself, do not expect that anyone will escape the trials
of the end times, even the virtuous or righteous. The idea of a "rapture," as it is modernly advanced in some
Christian circles as a deliverance from the sufferings of the end-times, was foreign to the early Christians.
Instead, the emphasis was on patient endurance through tribulations.
378
"[God] has anointed us by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit." (2 Cor. 1:21-22) "[Y]ou were
marked with the seal ofthe promised Holy Spirit." (Eph. 1:13) "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with
which you were marked with a seal." (Eph. 4:30) Ambrose compared the seal to a military insignia: "Each
individual commander désignâtes such ensigns and gives orders that they be followed... But one who is a loyal
soldier follows his own ensigns and does not recognize those of a stranger. Let us consider with some care and
attention what thèse strange ensigns are. Christ has set His sign on the forehead of each one; the Antichrist sets
his sign there also, that he may recognize his own...The devil and his servants set up their ensigns, but I did not
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own power and according to the amount of work we hâve put to it. The rest will remain
without help, for by their own will they will not be helped.379
Rev. 7:4 And I heard the number ofthe sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand
sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israël. Twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of
Judah,
[76] Judah, (means) "confession," through which are shown the ones being saved
through confession to Christ,380 who is descended from the root of Judah.381
know them because I was not a party to their deceits and I did not agrée to their dominion." The Prayer o/Job
and David 7.26-7.27. Ambrose: Seven Exegetical Works, trans. Michael P. McHugh, Fathers of the Church
séries, vol. 65 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1975), 409-410.
379
Clearly, Andrew rejects any notion of prédestination. In fact, his words reveal the classic Eastern Christian
belief in "synergy" as fundamental for personal salvation: every human being must "co-operate" for his/her
salvation. Christ saved everyone ail once and for ail by his death and résurrection, but it is the responsibility of
each individual to respond to that gift by the exercise of his/her free will, which is manifested by one's
relationship to God and in one's manner of life. God neither forces himself on human beings nor does he favor
some and reject others arbitrarily, but rather he initiâtes and aids the salvation of each individual. Andrew is
about to elaborate on how one responds to God and manifests a désire to be "helped" by God by allegorically
interpreting the names of the patriarchs to provide examples of the spiritual qualities found in those who are
saved.
380
Andrew means both martyrs and confessors. A "confessor" is one who is tortured for refusing to deny Christ.
He/she proclaims (or "confesses") faith in Christ, but survives the torture. A martyr is one who "confessed"
Christ unto death.
381
This same interprétation ofthe meaning of "Judah" is found earlier in Andrew {Chp. 5, Text 28, Comm. 34,
fh 146) and cornes from Gen. 29:35. The naming ofthe twelve tribes hère commences a séries of interprétations
by Andrew based on the perceived etymology ofthe name of each patriarch. In some instances, the meaning of
the name relates to the occasion ofthe individual's birth, as found in Gen. 29-30 (the sons of Jacob), or Gen
41:51-52 (the sons of Joseph). Another source of inspiration was Gen. 49 which gives Jacob's final words to
each of his sons. Analyzing the names of notable people and places was a favorite pursuit of pagan, Jewish and
Christian writers. Although they were frequently incorrect about the etymology, they believed that the names
contained hidden allegorical meanings and that élaboration on the name might encourage spiritual progress. The
importance ofthe spiritual lesson to be learned by the name is shown by the fact that our author expends several
pages interpreting the meanings of thèse names. Since many Church Fathers had an extensive classical
éducation, this also inspired their use of etymology for words and names since this was also practiced by pagan
writers. Oikoumenios is silent about the meaning of the names, and even omits verses 5-8 in his text of
Révélation itself, the verses which contain the actual names of the tribes. In keeping with his interprétation of
Révélation as a metaphor for past historical events, Oikoumenios believes that the 144,000 are those Jews who
either believed in Christ or who had no part in his death and because of this they were spared from death during
the Roman-Jewish War (4.1). Perhaps Oikoumenios' failure to discuss the symbolic meaning ofthe names,
information which almost any contemporaneous reader would hâve expected to be included, is one of those
glaring omissions which led Andrew to compose his commentary. Interpreting the names would not hâve
required Oikoumenios to abandon his methodology. He could easily hâve maintained his opinion that the tribes
represented actual Jews from the first century and still articulated desired spiritual qualities implied by the
names. Andrew was very much in fine with patristic tradition in his interprétation hère, following not only an
established pagan and patristic tradition, but also a Jewish and rabbinic one, illustrated by Philo Judaeus, a first
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Rev. 7:5
Twelve thousand sealedfrom the tribe ofReuben
Reuben, "son of vision,"
through which are shown the ones who through
cleanliness of heart possessed spiritual vision.
Rev. 7:5b
Twelve thousand from the tribe ofGad
Gad, "trial,"384 through which are meant those who are crowned through patience in
TOC
trials, according to Job.
Rev. 7:6a
Twelve thousandfrom the tribe ofAsher
Asher (means) "blessed,"
through which are shown those who are worthy of
the blessings of the master through the way of life, those being judged worthy to stand at the
right hand of Christ
and famous as sons oflight and ofday.
century Hellenistic Jew of Alexandria. Philo commented frequently on the allegorical meaning of biblical
names, especially in his work about name changes in the Bible, On the Change ofNames. Andrew repeats some
of Philo's interprétations, although it is impossible to know whether Andrew was reading Philo directly or
whether Philo's interprétations had simply been absorbed into the patristic tradition through other writers who
preceded Andrew, which is more likely. (A list of Origen's interprétations of names was prepared by Franz
Wutz who compared them to Jerome's interprétations. Onomastica sacra: Utersuchungen zum Liber
interpretationis nominum hebraicorum des hl. Hieronymus [1914] See also R.P.C. Hanson "Interprétation of
Hebrew Names in Origen" Vigiliae Christianae 10 [1956] 103-123.) Eusebius of Caesarea and Jérôme both
produced "Onomastica," compilations of the meanings of place names in the bible. The operative presumption
underlying this practice was that the Holy Spirit inspired every détail in the Bible, therefore every détail had a
hidden spiritual or mystical meaning to be discovered. Origen remarked, "[I]t is for this reason that divine
wisdom arranged certain names of locations to be written in the Scriptures to contain a certain mystic meaning.
Through thèse it may be disclosed to us that thèse things are arranged by very particular reasons and do not
happen by chance or accidentally." (Hom. on Joshua 23.4, FC 105:200-201.)
382
Gen. 29:32.
383
An allusion to Matt. 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
384
The meaning given for the name "Gad" differs greatly even in the Bible. Gen 30:11 explains that Gad means
"good fortune" whereas in Gen. 49:19 it means "raid." Philo interprets it as "invasion," such as by pirates.
(Philo, On Dreams 2.35. The Works of Philo Complète and Unabridged, trans. CD. Yonge, (Peabody, MA:
Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), 390.
385
Job 42. At the end of the book, the hero, Job, a righteous man who suffered countless tribulations, is
rewarded by God for his patience and faithfulness.
386
Or "happy." Gen. 30:13 (LXX reads: uaicapia).
387
Matt. 25:33.
1 Thess. 5:5.
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Rev. 7:6b Twelve thousandfrom the tribe ofNaphtali
Naphtali, "prayer,"389 through which are designated those who are attached to God
through unceasing prayer.
Rev. 7:6c - Twelve thousandfrom the tribe ofManasseh
[77] Manasseh, "forgetfulness,"391 that is, the ones who forget the (things) behind
m
and their fathers' houses on account of divine love.393
Rev. 7:7a Twelve thousandfrom the tribe ofSimeon
Simeon, "obédience,"394 clearly (signifies), the ones who are justified through
obédience to divine commandments.
Rev. 7:7b Twelve thousandfrom the tribe ofLevi
Levi, "the one received in addition,"395 through which are meant the ones who hâve
been received in addition by Christ through their révèrent way life. Levi is placed eighth
because true priesthood became famous on the eighth day, the day of the Résurrection.
Rev. 7:7c Twelve thousand from the tribe of Issachar
Issachar, "wages,"396 that is the ones living virtuously for the sake of the wages from
God.
389
In Gen. 30:8, it is said to mean "prevail."
390
Constant communication with God by observing Paul's admonition to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess.
5:17) is considered the Christian idéal and an essential pursuit in the monastic life of the Eastern tradition.
391
Gen. 41:51.
','>> Phil. 3:13.
393
An allusion to Gen. 12:1, (Abraham's initial call from God to leave his kindred and his father's house to go
to the promised land), and to Ps. 45(44): 10, "Hear, O daughter, and consider and incline your ear; forget your
people and your father's house, and the king will désire your beauty." This verse, popular in the Eastern
tradition and used in certain liturgical services, was interpreted by the Fathers as an allegorical call to the soûl,
(a féminine noun in Greek), to make herself attractive to her king, God.
394
In Gen. 29:33, it is said to mean "heard." Philo interprets it as "listening" (On the Change ofNames 99 and
On Dreams 2.34), hence, "obédience." (Works of Philo, 349 and 390, respectively.)
Gen. 29:34, "joined."
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Rev. 7:8a Twelve thousand from the tribe ofZebulun
Zebulun, "habitation of strength," or "sweet fragrance,"397 through which are meant
the ones who are strengthened against the passions by the in-dwelling of Christ398 and hâve
become his sweet fragrance,7199 as Paul says.
Rev. 7:8b Twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph
[78] Joseph, "addition,"400 that is, the ones who receive in addition to a portion of the
kingdom of heaven the things necessary for life, as the Lord said.401
Rev. 7:8c Twelve thousand sealed from the tribe of Benjamin
Benjamin, "son of grief or "son of day" or "son of the right (hand),"402 in other
words, those who hâve grief of heart,403 either the faithful from among the Hebrews who
hâve escaped the captivity of the Romans404 who complète this number, or more correctly,
those saved from among the Jews in the end of time when, as the Apostle says, after the
complète number of Gentiles enters ail Israël will be saved.
Neither of thèse is
unacceptable. The précise equality of each tribe, seems to me to show the multiplication of
396
Gen. 30:16.
397
In Gen. 30:20 it is said to mean "honor." Philo states that it means "departure of night" (On Dreams 2.34,
The Works of Philo, 390.) See Hippolytus commenting on Gen. 49, "And Zabulun is, by interprétation,
"fragrance" and "blessing." On the Six Days of Création, Gen. 49.12-15. Extant Works and Fragments of
Hippolytus: Exegetical, trans. S.D.F. Salmond, Fathers ofthe Third Century, Ante-Nicene Fathers séries, vol.
V, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, reprinted 1990), 165.
398
An allusion to 1 Cor. 3:16 and 2 Cor. 6:16.
399
2 Cor. 2:15.
400
Gen. 30:24. Also Philo, Change ofNames 92.
401
Matt. 6:33, Luke 12:31.
402
Gen. 35:18. Rachel named him Son ofmy sorrow (Ben-oni) because she realized she was dying due to a
difficult childbirth. But the same verse in Genesis explains that Jacob named him Benjamin, Son ofthe right
hand. Yet Philo interprets the name to mean Son ofday. {Change ofNames 92, Works of Philo, 349.)
403
Ps. 94(93): 19.
404
Oik. 4.17.7-8.
Rom. 11:25-26.
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