SECOND-THIRD CENTURY CHRISTIAN WORSHIP OF THE TRINITY

In this post I will quote a few of the many early Christian witnesses that testify to the Church’s worship of both the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Some of these very citations also mention the explicit condemnation and prohibition against the worship of any and all created beings, such as the angels who are depicted as ministers appointed to serve believers, not the other way around. For the early Christians to, therefore, worship the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit along with the Father highlights the fact that the early Church did not view the Son and Spirit as creatures of God. All emphasis shall be mine  

ASCENSION OF ISAIAH

Isaiah said to Hezekiah the king, but not in the presence of Manasseh only did he say unto him: `As the Lord liveth, and the Spirit which speaketh in me liveth, all these commands and these words will be made of none effect by Manasseh thy son, and through the agency of his hands I shall depart mid the torture of my body. 1:7

And (the angels on the left were) not like unto the angels who stood on the right, but those who stood on the right had the greater glory, and they all praised with one voice, and there was a throne in the midst, and those who were out he left gave praise after them; but their voice was not such as the voice of those on the right, nor their praise like the praise of those. And I asked the angel who conducted me, and I said unto him: “To whom is this praise sent?” And he said unto me: “(it is sent) to the praise of (Him who sitteth in) the seventh heaven: to Him who rests in the holy world, and to His Beloved, whence I have been sent to thee. [Thither is it sent.]” And again, he made me to ascend to the second heaven. now the height of that heaven is the same as from the haven to the earth [and to the firmament]. And (I saw there, as) in the first heaven, angels on the right and on the left, and a throne in the midst, and the praise of the angels in the second heaven; and he who sat on the throne in the second heaven was more glorious than all (the rest). And there was great glory in the second heaven, and the praise also was not like the praise of those who were in the first heaven. And I fell on my face to worship him, but he angel who conducted me did not permit me, but said unto me: “Worship neither throne nor angel which belongs to the six heavens – for this cause I was sent to conduct thee – until I tell thee in the seventh heaven. For above all the heavens and their angels has thy throne been placed, and thy garments and thy crown which thou shalt see.” And I rejoiced with great joy, that those who love the Most High and His Beloved will afterwards ascend thither by the angel of the Holy Spirit. 7:15-23

And I said to the angel who conducted me: “What is this which I see, my Lord?” And he said: “I am not thy lord, but thy fellow servant.” 8:4-5

And he raised me up into the sixth heaven, and there were no (angels) on the left, nor a throne in the midst, but all had one appearance and their (power of) praise was equal. And (power) was given to me also, and I also praised along with them and that angel also, and our praise was like theirs. And there they all named the primal Father and His Beloved, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, all with one voice. 8:16-18

And I saw a certain One standing, whose glory surpassed that of all, and His glory was great and wonderful. And after I had seen Him, all the righteous whom I had seen and also the angels whom I had seen came to Him. And Adam and Abel and Seth and all the righteous first drew near and worshipped Him, and they all praised Him with one voice, and I myself also gave praise with them, and my giving of praise was as theirs. And then all the angels drew nigh and worshipped and gave praise. And I was (again) transformed and became like an angel. And thereupon the angel who conducted me said to me: “Worship this One,” and I worshipped and praised. And the angel said unto me: “This is the Lord of all the praise-givings which thou hast seen.” And whilst he was still speaking, I saw another Glorious One who was like Him, and the righteous drew nigh and worshipped and praised, and I praised together with them. But my glory was not transformed into accordance with their form. And thereupon the angels drew near and worshipped Him. And I saw the Lord and the second angel, and they were standing. And the second whom I saw was on the left of my Lord. And I asked: “Who is this?” and he said unto me: “Worship Him, for He is the angel of the Holy Spirit, who speaketh in thee and the rest of the righteous.” And I saw the great glory, the eyes of my spirit being open, and I could not thereupon see, nor yet could the angel who was with me, nor all the angels whom I had seen worshipping my Lord. But I saw the righteous beholding with great power the glory of that One. And my Lord drew nigh to me and the angel of the Spirit and He said: “See how it is given to thee to see God, and on thy account power is given to the angel who is with thee.” And I saw how my Lord and the angel of the Spirit worshipped, and they both together praised God. And thereupon all the righteous drew near and worshipped. And the angels drew near and worshipped and all the angels praised. 9:27-42

AND thereupon I heard the voices and the giving of praise, which I had heard in each of the six heavens, ascending and being heard there: And all were being sent up to that Glorious One whose glory I could not behold. And I myself was hearing and beholding the praise (which was given) to Him. And the Lord and the angel of the Spirit were beholding all and hearing all. And all the praises which are sent up from the six heavens are not only heard, but seen. And I heard the angel who conducted me and he said: “This is the Most High of the high ones, dwelling in the holy world, and resting in His holy ones, who will be called by the Holy Spirit through the lips of the righteous the Father of the Lord.” And I heard the voice of the Most High, the Father of my Lord, saying to my Lord Christ who will be called Jesus: “Go forth and descent through all the heavens, and thou wilt descent to the firmament and that world: to the angel in Sheol thou wilt descend, but to Haguel thou wilt not go. And thou wilt become like unto the likeness of all who are in the five heavens. And thou wilt be careful to become like the form of the angels of the firmament [and the angels also who are in Sheol]. And none of the angels of that world shall know that Thou art with Me of the seven heavens and of their angels. And they shall not know that Thou art with Me, till with a loud voice I have called (to) the heavens, and their angels and their lights, (even) unto the sixth heaven, in order that you mayest judge and destroy the princes and angels and gods of that world, and the world that is dominated by them: For they have denied Me and said: “We alone are and there is none beside us.” And afterwards from the angels of death Thou wilt ascend to Thy place. And Thou wilt not be transformed in each heaven, but in glory wilt Thou ascend and sit on My right hand. And thereupon the princes and powers of that world will worship Thee.” These commands I heard the Great Glory giving to my Lord. And so I saw my Lord go forth from the seventh heaven into the sixth heaven. And the angel who conducted me [from this world was with me and] said unto me: “Understand, Isaiah, and see the transformation and descent of the Lord will appear.” And I saw, and when the angels saw Him, thereupon those in the sixth heaven praised and lauded Him; for He had not been transformed after the shape of the angels there, and they praised Him and I also praised with them. 10:1-19

AFTER this I saw, and the angel who spoke with me, who conducted me, said unto me: “Understand, Isaiah son of Amoz; for this purpose have I been sent from God.” And I indeed saw a woman of the family of David the prophet, named Mary, and Virgin, and she was espoused to a man named Joseph, a carpenter, and he also was of the seed and family of the righteous David of Bethlehem Judah. And he came into his lot. And when she was espoused, she was found with child, and Joseph the carpenter was desirous to put her away. But the angel of the Spirit appeared in this world, and after that Joseph did not put her away, but kept Mary and did not reveal this matter to any one. And he did not approach May, but kept her as a holy virgin, though with child. And he did not live with her for two months. And after two months of days while Joseph was in his house, and Mary his wife, but both alone. It came to pass that when they were alone that Mary straight-way looked with her eyes and saw a small babe, and she was astonished. And after she had been astonished, her womb was found as formerly before she had conceived. And when her husband Joseph said unto her: “What has astonished thee?” his eyes were opened and he saw the infant and praised God, because into his portion God had come. And a voice came to them: “Tell this vision to no one.” And the story regarding the infant was noised broad in Bethlehem. Some said: “The Virgin Mary hath borne a child, before she was married two months.” And many said: “She has not borne a child, nor has a midwife gone up (to her), nor have we heard the cries of (labour) pains.” And they were all blinded respecting Him and they all knew regarding Him, though they knew not whence He was. And they took Him, and went to Nazareth in Galilee. And I saw, O Hezekiah and Josab my son, and I declare to the other prophets also who are standing by, that (this) hath escaped all the heavens and all the princes and all the gods of this world. And I saw: In Nazareth He sucked the breast as a babe and as is customary in order that He might not be recognized. And when He had grown up he worked great signs and wonders in the land of Israel and of Jerusalem. And after this the adversary envied Him and roused the children of Israel against Him, not knowing who He was, and they delivered Him to the king, and crucified Him, and He descended to the angel (of Sheol). In Jerusalem indeed I saw Him being crucified on a tree: And likewise after the third day rise again and remain days. And the angel who conducted me said: “Understand, Isaiah”: and I saw when He sent out the Twelve Apostles and ascended. And I saw Him, and He was in the firmament, but He had not changed Himself into their form, and all the angels of the firmament and the Satans saw Him and they worshipped. And there was much sorrow there, while they said: “How did our Lord descend in our midst, and we perceived not the glory [which has been upon Him], which we see has been upon Him from the sixth heaven?” And He ascended into the second heaven, and He did not transform Himself, but all the angels who were on the right and on the left and the throne in the midst. Both worshipped Him and praised Him and said: “How did our Lord escape us whilst descending, and we perceived not?” And in like manner He ascended into the third heaven, and they praised and said in like manner. And in the fourth heaven and in the fifth also they said precisely after the same manner. But there was one glory, and from it He did not change Himself. And I saw when He ascended into the sixth heaven, and they worshipped and glorified Him. But in all the heavens the praise increased (in volume). And I saw how He ascended into the seventh heaven, and all the righteous and all the angels praised Him. And then I saw Him sit down on the right hand of that Great Glory whose glory I told you that I could not behold. And also the angel of the Holy Spirit I saw sitting on the left hand. 11:1-33 (The Ascension of Isaiah http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ascension.html)

The phrase “the angel of the Holy Spirit” in certain instances seems to refer to the angel commissioned by the Spirit, whereas in other places it refers to the Holy Spirit himself. In those instances, the expression “the  angel OF the Spirit” should be understand as the Angel WHO IS the Spirit, i.e., the Holy Spirit is the Father’s Angel. And since an angel is a messenger, this means that the Spirit is being portrayed as God’s Messenger sent to relay God’s messages to his servants on earth.

JUSTIN MARTYR

In these next quotations, second century Christian apologist Justin Martyr sets out to prove to his Jewish interlocutors that Jesus Christ is none than the human enfleshment/incarnation of Jehovah God of Hosts who appeared all throughout the OT period.

Chapter 31. If Christ’s power be now so great, how much greater at the second advent!

Justin: But if so great a power is shown to have followed and to be still following the dispensation of His suffering, how great shall that be which shall follow His glorious advent! For He shall come on the clouds as the Son of man, so Daniel foretold, and His angels shall come with Him. These are the words:

‘I beheld till the thrones were set; and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The books were opened, and the judgment was set. I beheld then the voice of the great words which the horn speaks: and the beast was beat down, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. And the rest of the beasts were taken away from their dominion, and a period of life was given to the beasts until a season and time. I saw in the vision of the night, and, behold, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and He came to the Ancient of days, and stood before Him. And they who stood by brought Him near; and there were given Him power and kingly honour, and all nations of the earth by their families, and all glory, serve Him. And His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be taken away; and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. And my spirit was chilled within my frame, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and inquired the precise meaning of all these things. In answer he speaks to me, and showed me the judgment of the matters: These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall perish from the earth, and shall not receive dominion for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I wished to know exactly about the fourth beast, which destroyed all [the others] and was very terrible, its teeth of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, made waste, and stamped the residue with its feet: also about the ten horns upon its head, and of the one which came up, by means of which three of the former fell. And that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things; and its countenance excelled the rest. And I beheld that horn waging war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of days came; and He gave judgment for the saints of the Most High. And the time came, and the saints of the Most High possessed the kingdom. And it was told me concerning the fourth beast: There shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall prevail over all these kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall destroy and make it thoroughly waste. And the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and one shall arise after them; and he shall surpass the first in evil deeds, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall overthrow the rest of the saints of the Most High, and shall expect to change the seasons and the times. And it shall be delivered into his hands for a time, and times, and half a time. And the judgment sat, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and the power, and the great places of the kingdoms under the heavens, were given to the holy people of the Most High, to reign in an everlasting kingdom: and all powers shall be subject to Him, and shall obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was possessed with a very great astonishment, and my speech was changed in me; yet I kept the matter in my heart.’ Daniel 7:9-28

Chapter 32. Trypho objecting that Christ is described as glorious by Daniel, Justin distinguishes two advents

Trypho: These and such like Scriptures, sir, compel us to wait for Him who, as Son of man, receives from the Ancient of days the everlasting kingdom. But this so-called Christ of yours was dishonourable and inglorious, so much so that the last curse contained in the law of God fell on him, for he was crucified.

Justin: If, sirs, it were not said by the Scriptures which I have already quoted, that His form was inglorious, and His generation not declared, and that for His death the rich would suffer death, and with His stripes we should be healed, and that He would be led away like a sheep; and if I had not explained that there would be two advents of His — one in which He was pierced by you; a second, when you shall know Him whom you have pierced, and your tribes shall mourn, each tribe by itself, the women apart, and the men apart — then I must have been speaking dubious and obscure things. But now, by means of the contents of those Scriptures esteemed holy and prophetic among you, I attempt to prove all [that I have adduced], in the hope that some one of you may be found to be of that remnant which has been left by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth for the eternal salvation. In order, therefore, that the matter inquired into may be plainer to you, I will mention to you other words also spoken by the blessed David, from which you will perceive that the Lord is called the Christ by the Holy Spirit of prophecy; and that the Lord, the Father of all, has brought Him again from the earth, setting Him at His own right hand, until He makes His enemies His footstool; which indeed happens from the time that our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, after He rose again from the dead, the times now running on to their consummation; and he whom Daniel foretells would have dominion for a time, and times, and an 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, in order that we may compute that which is said by the holy Daniel —’and times’— to be two times only. All this I have said to you in digression, in order that you at length may be persuaded of what has been declared against you by God, that you are foolish sons; and of this, ‘Therefore, behold, I will proceed to take away this people, and shall take them away; and I will strip the wise of their wisdom, and will hide the understanding of their prudent men.’ Isaiah 29:14 and may cease to deceive yourselves and those who hear you, and may learn of us, who have been taught wisdom by the grace of Christ. The words, then, which were spoken by David, are these:

The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Sion: rule also in the midst of Your enemies. With You shall be, in the day, the chief of Your power, in the beauties of Your saints. From the womb, before the morning star, have I begotten You. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand: He has crushed kings in the day of His wrath: He shall judge among the heathen, He shall fill [with] the dead bodies. He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall He lift up the head.’

Chapter 33. Psalm 110 is not spoken of Hezekiah. He proves that Christ was first humble, then shall be glorious

Justin: And I am not ignorant that you venture to expound this psalm as if it referred to king Hezekiah; but that you are mistaken, I shall prove to you from these very words immediately. ‘The Lord has sworn, and will not repent,’ it is said; and, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek,’ with what follows and precedes. Not even you will venture to object that Hezekiah was either a priest, or is the everlasting priest of God; but that this is spoken of our Jesus, these expressions show. But your ears are shut up, and your hearts are made dull. For by this statement, ‘The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: You are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek,’ with an oath God has shown Him (on account of your unbelief) to be the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek; i.e., as Melchizedek was described by Moses as the priest of the Most High, and he was a priest of those who were in uncircumcision, and blessed the circumcised Abraham who brought him tithes, so God has shown that His everlasting Priest, called also by the Holy Spirit Lord, would be Priest of those in uncircumcision. Those too in circumcision who approach Him, that is, believing Him and seeking blessings from Him, He will both receive and bless. And that He shall be first humble as a man, and then exalted, these words at the end of the Psalm show: ‘He shall drink of the brook in the way,’ and then, ‘Therefore shall He lift up the head.’

Chapter 34. Nor does Psalm 72 apply to Solomon, whose faults Christians shudder at

Justin: Further, to persuade you that you have not understood anything of the Scriptures, I will remind you of another psalm, dictated to David by the Holy Spirit, which you say refers to Solomon, who was also your king. But it refers also to our Christ. But you deceive yourselves by the ambiguous forms of speech. For where it is said, ‘The law of the Lord is perfect,’ you do not understand it of the law which was to be after Moses, but of the law which was given by Moses, although God declared that He would establish a new law and a new covenant. And where it has been said, ‘O God, give Your judgment to the king,’ since Solomon was king, you say that the Psalm refers to him, although the words of the Psalm expressly proclaim that reference is made to the everlasting King, i.e., to Christ. For Christ is King, and Priest, and God, and Lord, and angel, and man, and captain, and stone, and a Son born, and first made subject to suffering, then returning to heaven, and again coming with glory, and He is preached as having the everlasting kingdom: so I prove from all the Scriptures. But that you may perceive what I have said, I quote the words of the Psalm; they are these:

God, give Your judgment to the king, and Your righteousness unto the king’s son, to judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with judgment. The mountains shall take up peace to the people, and the little hills righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, and shall save the children of the needy, and shall abase the slanderer. He shall co-endure with the sun, and before the moon unto all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece, as drops falling on the earth. In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace until the moon be taken away. And He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers unto the ends of the earth. Ethiopians shall fall down before Him, and His enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and the isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall offer gifts; and all the kings of the earth shall worship Him, and all the nations shall serve Him: for He has delivered the poor from the man of power, and the needy that has no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy: He shall redeem their souls from usury and injustice, and His name shall be honourable before them. And He shall live, and to Him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, and they shall pray continually for Him: they shall bless Him all the day. And there shall be a foundation on the earth, it shall be exalted on the tops of the mountains: His fruit shall be on Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall be blessed forever. His name shall endure before the sun; and all tribes of the earth shall be blessed in Him, all nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things; and blessed be His glorious name for ever, and for ever and ever; and the whole earth shall be filled with His gloryAmenamen.

And at the close of this Psalm which I have quoted, it is written, ‘The hymns of David the son of Jesse are ended.’

Moreover, that Solomon was a renowned and great king, by whom the temple called that at Jerusalem was built, I know; but that none of those things mentioned in the Psalm happened to him, is evident. For neither did all kings worship him; nor did he reign to the ends of the earth; nor did his enemies, falling before him, lick the dust. Nay, also, I venture to repeat what is written in the book of Kings as committed by him, how through a woman’s influence he worshipped the idols of Sidon, which those of the Gentiles who know God, the Maker of all things through Jesus the crucified, do not venture to do, but abide every torture and vengeance even to the extremity of death, rather than worship idols, or eat meat offered to idols

Chapter 36. He proves that Christ is called Lord of Hosts

Trypho: Let these things be so as you say— namely, that it was foretold Christ would suffer, and be called a stone; and after His first appearance, in which it had been announced He would suffer, would come in glory, and be Judge finally of all, and eternal King and Priest. Now show if this man be He of whom these prophecies were made.

Justin: As you wish, Trypho, I shall come to these proofs which you seek in the fitting place; but now you will permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts, and Jacob, in parable by the Holy Spirit; and your interpreters, as God says, are foolish, since they say that reference is made to Solomon and not to Christ, when he bore the ark of testimony into the temple which he built. The Psalm of David is this:

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell therein. He has founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that is clean of hands and pure of heart: who has not received his soul in vain, and has not sworn guilefully to his neighbour: he shall receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. This is the generation of them that seek the Lord, that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, you rulers; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Accordingly, it is shown that Solomon is not the Lord of hosts; but when our Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, the rulers in heaven, under appointment of God, are commanded to open the gates of heaven, that He who is King of glory may enter in, and having ascended, may sit on the right hand of the Father until He make the enemies His footstool, as has been made manifest by another Psalm. For when the rulers of heaven saw Him of uncomely and dishonoured appearance, and inglorious, not recognising Him, they inquired, ‘Who is this King of glory?’ And the Holy Spirit, either from the person of His Father, or from His own person, answers them, ‘The Lord of hosts, He is this King of glory.’ For every one will confess that not one of those who presided over the gates of the temple at Jerusalem would venture to say concerning Solomon, though he was so glorious a king, or concerning the ark of testimony, ‘Who is this King of glory?’

Chapter 37. The same is proved from other Psalms

Justin: Moreover, in the diapsalm of the forty-sixth Psalm, reference is thus made to Christ: ‘God went up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing to our God, sing: sing to our King, sing; for God is King of all the earth: sing with understanding. God has ruled over the nations. God sits upon His holy throne. The rulers of the nations were assembled along with the God of Abraham, for the strong ones of God are greatly exalted on the earth.’ And in the ninety-eighth Psalm, the Holy Spirit reproaches you, and predicts Him whom you do not wish to be king to be King and Lord, both of Samuel, and of Aaron, and of Moses, and, in short, of all the others. And the words of the Psalm are these:

The Lord has reigned, let the nations be angry: [it is] He who sits upon the cherubim, let the earth be shaken. The Lord is great in Zion, and He is high above all the nations. Let them confess Your great name, for it is fearful and holy, and the honour of the King loves judgment. You have prepared equity; judgment and righteousness have You performed in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship the footstool of His feet; for He is holyMoses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among those who call upon His name. They called (says the Scripture) on the Lord, and He heard them. In the pillar of the cloud He spoke to them; for they kept His testimonies, and the commandment which he gave them. O Lord our God, You heard them: O God, You were propitious to them, and [yet] taking vengeance on all their inventions. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.

Chapter 38. It is an annoyance to the Jew that Christ is said to be adored. Justin confirms it, however, from Psalm 45

Trypho: Sir, it were good for us if we obeyed our teachers, who laid down a law that we should have no intercourse with any of you, and that we should not have even any communication with you on these questions. For you utter many blasphemies, in that you seek to persuade us that this crucified man was with Moses and Aaron, and spoke to them in the pillar of the cloud; then that he became man, was crucified, and ascended up to heaven, and comes again to earth, and ought to be worshipped.

Justin: I know that, as the word of God says, this great wisdom of God, the Maker of all things, and the Almighty, is hid from you. Wherefore, in sympathy with you, I am striving to the utmost that you may understand these matters which to you are paradoxical; but if not, that I myself may be innocent in the day of judgment. For you shall hear other words which appear still more paradoxical; but be not confounded, nay, rather remain still more zealous hearers and investigators, despising the tradition of your teachers, since they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of inability to perceive the truths taught by God, and of preferring to teach their own doctrines. Accordingly, in the forty-fourth [forty-fifth] Psalm, these words are in like manner referred to Christ:

My heart has brought forth a good matter; I tell my works to the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Fairer in beauty than the sons of men: grace is poured forth into Your lips: therefore has God blessed You forever. Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O mighty One. Press on in Your fairness and in Your beauty, and prosper and reign, because of truth, and of meekness, and of righteousness: and Your right hand shall instruct You marvellously. Your arrows are sharpened, O mighty One; the people shall fall under You; in the heart of the enemies of the King [the arrows are fixed]. Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and have hated iniquity; therefore your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. [He has anointed You] with myrrh, and oil, and cassia, from Your garments; from the ivory palaces, whereby they made You glad. King’s daughters are in Your honour. The queen stood at Your right hand, clad in garments embroidered with gold. Hearken, O daughter, and behold, and incline your ear, and forget your people and the house of your father: and the King shall desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, they shall worship Him also. And the daughter of Tyre [shall be there] with gifts. The rich of the people shall entreat Your face. All the glory of the King’s daughter [is] within, clad in embroidered garments of needlework. The virgins that follow her shall be brought to the King; her neighbours shall be brought unto You: they shall be brought with joy and gladness: they shall be led into the King’s shrine. Instead of your fathers, your sons have been born: You shall appoint them rulers over all the earth. I shall remember Your name in every generation: therefore the people shall confess You for ever, and for ever and ever.’ (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01283.htm)

Remarkably, Justin cites Psalms 24, 45, 47, 72, 110, Isaiah 53 and Daniel 7 to prove the two natures of Christ, e.g., that Jesus is both Deity and Humanity, his two advents/comings, as well as his vicarious death, resurrection and ascension into heavenly glory!

ORIGEN

I conclude with the words of Origen.

Chapter 4

But since he says, in the next place, as if the Jews or Christians had answered regarding those who come down to visit the human race, that they were angels: But if you say that they are angels, what do you call them? he continues, Are they gods, or some other race of beings? and then again introduces us as if answering, Some other race of beings, and probably demons,— let us proceed to notice these remarks. For we indeed acknowledge that angels are ministering spirits, and we say that they are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation; and that they ascend, bearing the supplications of men, to the purest of the heavenly places in the universe, or even to supercelestial regions purer still; and that they come down from these, conveying to each one, according to his deserts, something enjoined by God to be conferred by them upon those who are to be the recipients of His benefits. Having thus learned to call these beings angels from their employments, we find that because they are divine they are sometimes termed god in the sacred Scriptures, but not so that we are commanded to honour and worship in place of God those who minister to us, and bear to us His blessings. For every prayer, and supplication, and intercession, and thanksgiving, is to be sent up to the Supreme God through the High Priest, who is above all the angels, the living Word and God. And to the Word Himself shall we also pray and make intercessions, and offer thanksgivings and supplications to Him, if we have the capacity of distinguishing between the proper use and abuse of prayer.

Chapter 5

For to invoke angels without having obtained a knowledge of their nature greater than is possessed by men, would be contrary to reason. But, conformably to our hypothesis, let this knowledge of them, which is something wonderful and mysterious, be obtained. Then this knowledge, making known to us their nature, and the offices to which they are severally appointed, will not permit us to pray with confidence to any other than to the Supreme God, who is sufficient for all things, and that through our Saviour the Son, who is the Word, and Wisdom, and Truth, and everything else which the writings of God’s prophets and the apostles of Jesus entitle Him. And it is enough to secure that the holy angels of God be propitious to us, and that they do all things on our behalf, that our disposition of mind towards God should imitate as far as it is within the power of human nature the example of these holy angels, who again follow the example of their God; and that the conceptions which we entertain of His Son, the Word, so far as attainable by us, should not be opposed to the clearer conceptions of Him which the holy angels possess, but should daily approach these in clearness and distinctness. But because Celsus has not read our holy Scriptures he gives himself an answer as if it came from us, saying that we assert that the angels who come down from heaven to confer benefits on mankind are a different race from the gods, and adds that in all probability they would be called demons by us: not observing that the name demons is not a term of indifferent meaning like that of men, among whom some are good and some bad, nor yet a term of excellence like that of the gods, which is applied not to wicked demons, or to statutes, or to animals, but (by those who know divine things) to what is truly divine and blessed; whereas the term demons is always applied to those wicked powers, freed from the encumbrance of a grosser body, who lead men astray, and fill them with distractions and drag them down from God and supercelestial thoughts to things here below.

Chapter 11

But even this rational light itself ought not to be worshipped by him who beholds and understands the true light, by sharing in which these also are enlightened; nor by him who beholds God, the Father of the true light—of whom it has been said, God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. Those, indeed, who worship sun, moon, and stars because their light is visible and celestial, would not bow down to a spark of fire or a lamp upon earth, because they see the incomparable superiority of those objects which are deemed worthy of homage to the light of sparks and lamps. So those who understand that God is light, and who have apprehended that the Son of God is the true light which lights every man that comes into the world, and who comprehend also how He says, I am the light of the world, would not rationally offer worship to that which is, as it were, a spark in sun, moon, and stars, in comparison with God, who is light of the true light. Nor is it with a view to depreciate these great works of God’s creative power, or to call them, after the fashion of Anaxagoras, fiery masses, that we thus speak of sun, and moon, and stars; but because we perceive the inexpressible superiority of the divinity of God, and that of His only-begotten Son, which surpasses all other things. And being persuaded that the sun himself, and moon, and stars pray to the Supreme God through His only-begotten Son, we judge it improper to pray to those beings who themselves offer up prayers (to God), seeing even they themselves would prefer that we should send up our requests to the God to whom they pray, rather than send them downwards to themselves, or apportion our power of prayer between God and them. And here I may employ this illustration, as bearing upon this point: Our Lord and Saviour, hearing Himself on one occasion addressed as Good Master, referring him who used it to His own Father, said, Why do you call Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God the Father. And since it was in accordance with sound reason that this should be said by the Son of His Father’s love, as being the image of the goodness of God, why should not the sun say with greater reason to those that bow down to him, Why do you worship me? for you will worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve; for it is He whom I and all who are with me serve and worship. And although one may not be so exalted (as the sun), nevertheless let such an one pray to the Word of God (who is able to heal him), and still more to His Father, who also to the righteous of former times sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Chapter 12

God accordingly, in His kindness, condescends to mankind, not in any local sense, but through His providence; while the Son of God, not only (when on earth), but at all times, is with His own disciples, fulfilling the promise, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. And if a branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine, it is evident that the disciples also of the Word, who are the rational branches of the Word’s true vine, cannot produce the fruits of virtue unless they abide in the true vine, the Christ of God, who is with us locally here below upon the earth, and who is with those who cleave to Him in all parts of the world, and is also in all places with those who do not know Him. Another is made manifest by that John who wrote the Gospel, when, speaking in the person of John the Baptist, he said, There stands one among you whom you know not; He it is who comes after me. And it is absurd, when He who fills heaven and earth, and who said, Do I not fill heaven and earth? Says the Lord, is with us, and near us (for I believe Him when He says, I am a God near at hand, and not afar off, says the Lord ) to seek to pray to sun or moon, or one of the stars, whose influence does not reach the whole of the world. But, to use the very words of Celsus, let it be granted that the sun, moon, and stars do foretell rain, and heat, and clouds, and thunders, why, then, if they really do foretell such great things, ought we not rather to do homage to God, whose servant they are in uttering these predictions, and show reverence to Him rather than His prophets? Let them predict, then, the approach of lightnings, and fruits, and all manner of productions, and let all such things be under their administration; yet we shall not on that account worship those who themselves offer worship, as we do not worship even Moses, and those prophets who came from God after him, and who predicted better things than rain, and heat, and clouds, and thunders, and lightnings, and fruits, and all sorts of productions visible to the senses. Nay, even if sun, and moon, and stars were able to prophesy better things than rain, not even then shall we worship thembut the Father of the prophecies which are in them, and the Word of God, their minister. But grant that they are His heralds, and truly messengers of heaven, why, even then ought we not to worship the God whom they only proclaim and announce, rather than those who are the heralds and messengers? (Against Celsus, Book V http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04165.htm)

Chapter 12

In what follows, some may imagine that he says something plausible against us. If, says he, these people worshipped one God alone, and no other, they would perhaps have some valid argument against the worship of others. But they pay excessive reverence to one who has but lately appeared among men, and they think it no offense against God if they worship also His servant. To this we reply, that if Celsus had known that saying, I and My Father are one, and the words used in prayer by the Son of God, As You and I are one, he would not have supposed that we worship any other besides Him who is the Supreme God. For, says He, My Father is in Me, and I in Him. And if any should from these words be afraid of our going over to the side of those who deny that the Father and the Son are two persons, let him weigh that passage, And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul, that he may understand the meaning of the saying, I and My Father are one. We worship one God, the Father and the Son, therefore, as we have explained; and our argument against the worship of other gods still continues valid. And we do not reverence beyond measure one who has but lately appeared, as though He did not exist before; for we believe Himself when He says, Before Abraham was, I am. Again He says, I am the truth; and surely none of us is so simple as to suppose that truth did not exist before the time when Christ appeared. We worship, therefore, the Father of truth, and the Son, who is the truth; and these, while they are two, considered as persons or subsistences, are one in unity of thought, in harmony and in identity of will. So entirely are they one, that he who has seen the Son, who is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of His person, has seen in Him who is the image of God, God Himself.

Chapter 13

He further supposes, that because we join along with the worship of God the worship of His Son, it follows that, in our view, not only God, but also the servants of God, are to be worshipped. If he had meant this to apply to those who are truly the servants of God, after His only-begotten Son,— to Gabriel and Michael, and the other angels and archangels, and if he had said of these that they ought to be worshipped,— if also he had clearly defined the meaning of the word worship, and the duties of the worshippers,— we might perhaps have brought forward such thoughts as have occurred to us on so important a subject. But as he reckons among the servants of God the demons which are worshipped by the heathen, he cannot induce us, on the plea of consistency, to worship such as are declared by the word to be servants of the evil one, the prince of this world, who leads astray from God as many as he can. We decline, therefore, altogether to worship and serve those whom other men worship, for the reason that they are not servants of God. For if we had been taught to regard them as servants of the Most High, we would not have called them demons. Accordingly, we worship with all our power the one God, and His only Son, the Word and the Image of God, by prayers and supplications; and we offer our petitions to the God of the universe through His only-begotten Son. To the Son we first present them, and beseech Him, as the propitiation for our sins, and our High Priest, to offer our desires, and sacrifices, and prayers, to the Most High. Our faith, therefore, is directed to God through His Son, who strengthens it in us; and Celsus can never show that the Son of God is the cause of any sedition or disloyalty in the kingdom of God. We honour the Father when we admire His Son, the Word, and Wisdom, and Truth, and Righteousness, and all that He who is the Son of so great a Father is said in Scripture to be. So much on this point.

Chapter 26

And we are not to believe in demons, although Celsus urges us to do so; but if we are to obey God, we must die, or endure anything, sooner than obey demons. In the same way, we are not to propitiate demons; for it is impossible to propitiate beings that are wicked and that seek the injury of men. Besides, what are the laws in accordance with which Celsus would have us propitiate the demons? For if he means laws enacted in states, he must show that they are in agreement with the divine laws. But if that cannot be done, as the laws of many states are quite inconsistent with each other, these laws, therefore, must of necessity either be no laws at all in the proper sense of the word, or else the enactments of wicked men; and these we must not obey, for we must obey God rather than men. Away, then, with this counsel, which Celsus gives us, to offer prayer to demons: it is not to be listened to for a moment; for our duty is to pray to the Most High God alone, and to the Only-begotten, the First-born of the whole creation, and to ask Him as our High Priest to present the prayers which ascend to Him from us, to His God and our God, to His Father and the Father of those who direct their lives according to His word. And as we would have no desire to enjoy the favour of those men who wish us to follow their wicked lives, and who give us their favour only on condition that we choose nothing opposed to their wishes, because their favour would make us enemies of God, who cannot be pleased with those who have such men for their friends—in the same way those who are acquainted with the nature, the purposes, and the wickedness of demons, can never wish to obtain their favour. (Ibid., Book VIII http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04168.htm)

FURTHER READING

Justin Martyr’s Witness to Christ’s essential and eternal Deity

Revisiting Shabir Ally’s Distortion of Justin Martyr Pt. 1, Pt. 2

Did the Ante-Nicene Fathers Worship the Holy Spirit as God Almighty?

HOLY SPIRIT WORSHIPED AS GOD

3 thoughts on “SECOND-THIRD CENTURY CHRISTIAN WORSHIP OF THE TRINITY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s