Chapter XLV.—The True Prophet: Why Called the Christ.
Then Peter began to instruct me in this manner: 577 “When God had made the world, as Lord of the universe, He appointed chiefs over the several creatures, over the trees even, and the mountains, and the fountains, and the rivers, and all things which He had made, as we have told you; for it were too long to mention them one by one. He set, therefore, an angel as chief over the angels, a spirit over the spirits, a star over the stars, a demon over the demons, a bird over the birds, a beast over the beasts, a serpent over the serpents, a fish over the fishes, a man over men, who is Christ Jesus. But He is called Christ by a certain excellent rite of religion; for as there are certain names common to kings, as Arsaces among the Persians, Cæsar among the Romans, Pharaoh among the Egyptians, so among the Jews a king is called Christ. And the reason of this appellation is this: Although indeed He was the Son of God, and the beginning of all things, He became man; Him first God anointed with oil which was taken from the wood of the tree of life: from that anointing therefore He is called Christ. Thence, moreover, He Himself also, according to the appointment of His Father, anoints with similar oil every one of the pious when they come to His kingdom, for their refreshment after their labours, as having got over the difficulties of the way; so that their light may shine, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, they may be endowed with immortality. 578 But it occurs to me that I have sufficiently explained to you the whole nature of that branch from which that ointment is taken.”
[The discourse of chaps. 45–52 is interesting from its christological consistency. The doctrine, while showing Ebionitic origin, is closer to the Catholic view than that of the Homilies.—R.]89:578
[The references to oil in chaps. 45–48, particularly the connection of anointing with baptism, have been regarded, since the discovery of the full text of Hippolytus, as showing traces of relationship to the system of the Elkesaites. See Introductory Notice. In the forms given by Hippolytus (see Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. pp. 132, 133) the oil is represented as one of “seven witnesses” to be adjured by the subject of baptism.—R.]