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17.  Union of Christ and the Church.

But since the Apostle understands the words, “And they twain shall be one flesh,” 6176 of Christ and the church, 6177 we must say that Christ keeping the saying, “What God hath joined together let not man put asunder,” 6178 did not put away His former wife, so to speak—that is, the former synagogue—for any other cause than that that wife committed fornication, being made an adulteress by the evil one, and along with him plotted against her husband and slew Him, saying, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, crucify Him, crucify Him.” 6179   It was she therefore who herself revolted, rather than her husband who put her away and dismissed her; wherefore, reproaching her for falling away from him, it says in Isaiah, “Of what kind is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, with which I sent her away?” 6180   And He who at the beginning created Him “who is in the form of God” after the image, made Him male, and the church female, granting to both oneness after the image.  And, for the sake of the church, the Lord—the husband—left the Father whom He saw when He was “in the form of God,” 6181 left also His mother, as He was the very son of the Jerusalem which is above, and was joined to His wife who had fallen down here, and these two here became one p. 507 flesh.  For because of her, He Himself also became flesh, when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” 6182 and they are no more two, but now they are one flesh, since it is said to the wife, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members each in his part;” 6183 for the body of Christ is not something apart different from the church, which is His body, and from the members each in his part.  And God has joined together these who are not two, but have become one flesh, commanding that men should not separate the church from the Lord.  And he who takes heed for himself so as not to be separated, is confident as one who will not possibly be separated and says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” 6184   Here, therefore, the saying, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” 6185 was written with relation to the Pharisees, but to those who are superior to the Pharisees, it could be said, “What then God hath joined together, let nothing put asunder,” neither principality nor power; for God, who has joined together is stronger than all those which any one could conceive and name.



Matt. xix. 5.


Eph. 5:31, 32.


Matt. xix. 6.


John 19:6, 15, Luke 23:18.


Isa. l. 1.


Phil. ii. 6.


John i. 14.


1 Cor. xii. 27.


Rom. viii. 35.


Matt. xix. 6.

Next: Chapter XVIII