From "Commentary on the Gospel of
Matthew," Book XII
by Origen (A.D. 185-254)
|34. MEANING OF "UNTIL." NO LIMITATION OF PROMISE.
But since some one may think that the promise of the Saviour prescribes
a limit of time to their not tasting of death, namely, that they will
not taste of death "until" they see the Son of man coming in His own
kingdom. but after this will taste of it, let us show that according to
the scriptural usage the word "until" signifies that the time
concerning the thing signified is pressing, but is not so defined that
after the "until," that which is contrary to the thing signified should
at all take place.
Now, the Saviour says to the eleven disciples when He rose from the
dead, this among other things, "Lo, I am with you all the days, even
until the consummation of the age." When He said this, did He promise
that He was going to be with them until the consummation of the age,
but that after the consummation of the age, when another age was at
hand, which is "called the age to come," He would be no longer with
them?--so that according to this, the condition of the disciples would
be better before the consummation of the age than after the
consummation of the age?
But I do not think that any one will dare to say, that after the
consummation of the age the Son of God will be no longer with the
disciples, because the expression declares that He will be with them
for so long, until the consummation of the age is at hand; for it is
clear that the matter under inquiry was, whether the Son of God was
forthwith going to be with His disciples before the age to come and the
hoped for promises of God which were given as a recompense.
But there might have been a question--it being granted that He would be
with them--whether sometimes He was present with them, and sometimes
not present. Wherefore setting us free from the suspicion that might
have arisen from doubt, He declared that now and even all the days He
would be with the disciples, and that He would not leave those who had
become His disciples until the consummation of the age; (because He
said "all the days" He did not deny that by night, when the sun set, He
would be present with them.)
But if such is the force of the words, "until the consummation of the
age," plainly we shall not be compelled to admit that those who see the
Son of man coming in His own kingdom shall taste of death, after being
deemed worthy of beholding Him in such guise. But as in the case of the
passage we brought forward, the urgent necessity was to teach us that
"until the consummation of the age" He would not leave us but be with
us all the days; so also in this case I think that it is clear to those
who know how to look at the logical coherence of things that He who has
seen once for all "the Son of man coming in His own kingdom," and seen
Him "in His own glory," and seen "the kingdom of God come with power,"
could not possibly taste of death after the contemplation of things so
good and great.
But apart from the word of the promise of Jesus, we have conjectured
not without reason that we would taste of death, so long as we were not
yet held worthy to see "the kingdom of God come with power," and "the
Son of man coming in His own glory and in His own kingdom."
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