Hippolytus of Rome Study Archive
Why was the temple made desolate? …it was because they killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is co-eternal with the Father
Hippolytus of Rome
Pupil of Irenaeus, According to Photius
Hippolytus parallels Jewish War 2:119-266 in his Refutation of All Heresies | Testifies abundantly to the Johannean origin of the Apocalypse
- 0205: Hippolytus of Rome, Commentary on Daniel – Predicted that Christ would establish the Millennium in 496. As it turned out, that date is nearly one thousand years prior to the fall of Constantinople.
- 1852: Christian Bunsen, Hippolytus and His Age, V2
- 1888: John Gwynn, Hippolytus on the Book of Revelation and Matthew 24
- 2008: George Kouti, The Early Church Fathers and the Last Days of the Jewish Age – Irenaeus and his pupil Hippolytus are the only two writers from the early Church period who believed in a still-future fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week.
- 2012: Robert Daly, A Mystery Apocalypse in Pseudo-Hippolytus (PDF)
- 2012: Francis X. Gumerlock, The 144,000 and Early Christian Thought (PDF) – Hippolytus interpreted the 144,000 as Jewish believers in the first century.
- Jay Rogers, Hippolytus of Portus
0330-1453: THE BYZANTINE MILLENNIUM
Predicted that Christ would establish the Millennium in 496. As it turned out, that date is nearly one thousand years prior to the fall of Constantinople.
- 0339: Eusebius of Caesarea, Life of Constantine – I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster. | Labarum
HIPPOLYTUS ON ST. MATTHEW XXIV. 15-22 – IN a Paper which appeared in the last number of Hermathena (Vol. VI, pp. 397-418) I gave some extracts from the unpublished Commentary of Dionysius Barsalibi on the Apocalypse:
“It contains, moreover, an incidental statement which, if true, is an interesting addition to our knowledge of the history of the capture of the city. Josephus makes no mention of the setting up of an idol in the Temple, which Hippolytus here relates as the act of a Roman commander named Trajanus. But he mentions a Trajanus as being prefect of the tenth legion at the time when Jotapata was besieged (B. J., bk. III., chh. vii. 31, viii. 8), who may be presumed to be the same person. And the name of the idol, Kore, of course represents Κορή, or Persephone, whose images, set up beside watersprings, were so familiar to Justin in the second century, probably in Palestine (Apol. 1. 64).”
(On the Significance of A.D.70)
“Why was the temple made desolate? Was it on account of the ancient fabrication of the calf? Or was it on account of the ancient idolotry of the people? Was it for the blood of prophets? ..By no means, for in all these transgressions, they always found pardon open to them. But it was because they killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is co-eternal with the Father (Against the Jew 7).”
30. Come, then, O blessed Isaiah; arise, tell us clearly what thou didst prophesy with respect to the mighty Babylon. For thou didst speak also of Jerusalem, and thy word is accomplished. For thou didst speak boldly and openly: “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate as overthrown by many strangers. The daughter of Sion shall be left as a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.”
What then? Are not these things come to pass? Are not the things announced by thee fulfilled? Is not their country, Judea, desolate? Is not the holy place burned with fire? Are not their walls cast down? Are not their cities destroyed? Their land, do not strangers devour it? Do not the Romans rule the country? And indeed these impious people hated thee, and did saw thee asunder, and they crucified Christ. Thou art dead in the world, but thou livest in Christ.” (Fragments of Dogmatic and Historical Works, 30)
“And whereas thou didst pour out His blood in indignation, hear what thy recompense shall be: “Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them;” and, “Let their habitation be desolate,” to wit, their celebrated temple.
7. But why, O prophet, tell us, and for what reason, was the temple made desolate? Was it on account of that ancient fabrication of the calf? Was it on account of the idolatry of the people? Was it for the blood of the prophets? Was it for the adultery and fornication of Israel? By no means, he says; for in all these transgressions they always found pardon open to them, and benignity; but it was because they killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is coeternal with the Father. Whence He saith, “Father, let their temple be made desolate; for they have persecuted Him whom Thou didst of Thine own will smite for the salvation of the world;” that is, they have persecuted me with a violent and unjust death, “and they have added to the pain of my wounds.” In former time, as the Lover of man, I had pain on account of the straying of the Gentiles; but to this pain they have added another, by going also themselves astray. Wherefore “add iniquity to their iniquity, and tribulation to tribulation, and let them not enter into Thy righteousness,” that is, into Thy kingdom; but “let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous,” that is, with their holy fathers and patriarchs. (EXPOSITORY TREATISE AGAINST THE JEWS, 6,7)
(On Psalm lix. II. Concerning the Jews.)
“For this reason, even up to our day, though they see the boundaries (of their country), and go round about them, they stand afar off. And therefore have they no longer king or high priest or prophet, nor even scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees among them. He does not, however, say that they are to be cut off; wherefore their race still subsists, and the succession of their children is continued. For they have not been cut off nor consumed from among men–but they are and exist still–yet only as those who have been rejected and cast down from the honour of which of old they were deemed worthy by God. But again, “Scatter them,” he says. “by Thy power;” which word has also come to pass. For they are scattered throughout the whole earth, in servitude everywhere, and engaging in the lowest and most servile occupations, and doing any unseemly work for hunger’s sake.
For if they were destroyed from among men, and remained nowhere among the living, they could not see my people, he means, nor know my Church in its prosperity. Therefore “scatter” them everywhere on earth, where my Church is to be established, in order that when they see the Church rounded by me, they may be roused to emulate it in piety. And these things did the Saviour also ask on their behalf.” (Fragments of Exegesis, V.)
(On The “Iron Kingdom” of Daniel)
“Speak with me, O blessed Daniel. Give me full assurance, I beseech thee. Thou dost prophesy concerning the lioness in Babylon; for thou wast a captive there. Thou hast unfolded the future regarding the bear; for thou wast still in the world, and didst see the things come to pass. Then thou speakest to me of the leopard; and whence canst thou know this, for thou art already gone to thy rest? Who instructed thee to announce these things, but He who formed thee in (from ) thy mother’s womb? That is God, thou sayest. Thou hast spoken indeed, and that not falsely. The leopard has arisen; the he-goat is come; he hath broken his horns in pieces; he hath stamped upon him with his feet. He has been exalted by his fall; (the) four horns have come up from under that one. Rejoice, blessed Daniel! thou hast not been in error: all these things have come to pass.
“After this again thou hast told me of the beast dreadful and terrible. ‘It had iron teeth and claws of brass: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.’ Already the iron rules; already it subdues and breaks all in pieces; already it brings all the unwilling into subjection; already we see these things ourselves. Now we glorify God, being instructed by thee.” (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V, p. 210, pars. 32, 33. )
EXPOSITORY TREATISE AGAINST THE JEWS.
1. Now, then, incline thine ear to me, and hear my words, and give heed, thou Jew. Many a time dost thou boast thyself, in that thou didst condemn Jesus of Nazareth to death, and didst give Him vinegar and gall to drink; and thou dost vaunt thyself because of this. Come therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance thou dost not boast unrighteously, O Israel, (and) whether that small portion of vinegar and gall has not brought down this fearful threatening upon thee, (and) whether this is not the cause of thy present condition involved in these myriad troubles.
2. Let him then be introduced before us who speaketh by the Holy Spirit, and saith truth–David the son of Jesse. He, singing a certain strain with prophetic reference to the true Christ, celebrated our God by the Holy Spirit, (and) declared clearly all that befell Him by the hands of the Jews in His passion; in which (strain) the Christ who humbled Himself and took unto Himself the form of the servant Adam, calls upon God the Father in heaven as it were in our person, and speaks thus in the sixty-ninth Psalm: “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I am sunk in the mire of the abyss,” that is to say, in the corruption of Hades, on account of the transgression in paradise; and “there is no substance,” that is, help. “My eyes failed while I hoped (or, from my hoping) upon my God; when will He come and save me?”
3. Then, in what next follows, Christ speaks, as it were, in His own person: “Then I restored that,” says He, “which I took not away;” that is, on account of the sin of Adam I endured the death which was not mine by sinning. “For, O God, Thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from Thee,” that is, “for I did not sin,” as He means it; and for this reason (it is added), “Let not them be ashamed who want to see” my resurrection on the third day, to wit, the apostles. “Because for Thy sake,” that is, for the sake of obeying Thee, “I have borne reproach,” namely the cross, when “they covered my face with shame,” that is to say, the Jews; when “I became a stranger unto my brethren after the flesh, and an alien unto my mother’s children,” meaning (by the mother) the synagogue. “For the zeal of Thine house, Father, hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen on me,” and of them that sacrificed to idols. Wherefore “they that sit in the gate spoke against me,” for they crucified me without the gate. “And they that drink sang against me,” that is, (they who drink wine) at the feast of the passover. “But as for me, in my prayer unto Thee, O Lord, I said, Father, forgive them,” namely the Gentiles, because it is the time for favour with Gentiles. “Let not then the hurricane (of temptations) overwhelm me, neither let the deep (that is, Hades) swallow me up: for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Hades); neither let the pit shut her mouth upon me,” that is, the sepulchre. “By reason of mine enemies, deliver me,” that the Jews may not boast, saying, Let us consume him.
4. Now Christ prayed all this economically as man; being, however, true God. But, as I have already said, it was the “form of the servant” that spake and suffered these things. Wherefore He added, “My soul looked for reproach and trouble,” that is, I suffered of my own will, (and) not by any compulsion. Yet “I waited for one to mourn with me, and there was none,” for all my disciples forsook me and fled; and for a “comforter, and I found none.”
5. Listen with understanding, O Jew, to what the Christ says: “They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” And these things He did indeed endure from you. Hear the Holy Ghost tell you also what return He made to you for that little portion of vinegar. For the prophet says, as in the person of God, “Let their table become a snare and retribution.” Of what retribution does He speak? Manifestly, of the misery which has now got hold of thee.
6. And then hear what follows: “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not.” And surely ye have been darkened in the eyes of your soul with a darkness utter and everlasting. For now that the true light has arisen, ye wander as in the night, and stumble on places with no roads, and fall headlong, as having forsaken the way that saith, “I am the way.”
Furthermore, hear this yet more serious word: “And their back do thou bend always;” that means, in order that they may be slaves to the nations, not four hundred and thirty years as in Egypt, nor seventy as in Babylon, but bend them to servitude, he says, “always.” In fine, then, how dost thou indulge vain hopes, expecting to be delivered from the misery which holdeth thee? For that is somewhat strange. And not unjustly has he imprecated this blindness of eyes upon thee. But because thou didst cover the eyes of Christ, (and thus thou didst beat Him, for this reason, too, bend thou thy back for servitude always.
And whereas thou didst pour out His blood in indignation, hear what thy recompense shall be: “Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them;” and, “Let their habitation be desolate,” to wit, their celebrated temple.
7. But why, O prophet, tell us, and for what reason, was the temple made desolate? Was it on account of that ancient fabrication of the calf? Was it on account of the idolatry of the people? Was it for the blood of the prophets? Was it for the adultery and fornication of Israel? By no means, he says; for in all these transgressions they always found pardon open to them, and benignity; but it was because they killed the Son of their Benefactor, for He is coeternal with the Father. Whence He saith, “Father, let their temple be made desolate; for they have persecuted Him whom Thou didst of Thine own will smite for the salvation of the world;” that is, they have persecuted me with a violent and unjust death, “and they have added to the pain of my wounds.” In former time, as the Lover of man, I had pain on account of the straying of the Gentiles; but to this pain they have added another, by going also themselves astray. Wherefore “add iniquity to their iniquity, and tribulation to tribulation, and let them not enter into Thy righteousness,” that is, into Thy kingdom; but “let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous,” that is, with their holy fathers and patriarchs.
8. What sayest thou to this, O Jew? It is neither Matthew nor Paul that saith these things, but David, thine anointed, who awards and declares these terrible sentences on account of Christ. And like the great Job, addressing you who speak against the righteous and true, he says, “Thou didst barter the Christ like a slave, thou didst go to Him like a robber in the garden.”
9. I produce now the prophecy of Solomon, which speaketh of Christ, and announces clearly and perspicuously things concerning the Jews; and those which not only are befalling them at the present time, but those, too, which shall befall them in the future age, on account of the contumacy and audacity which they exhibited toward the Prince of Life; for the prophet says, “The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright,” that is, about Christ, “Let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings and words, and upbraideth us with our offending the law, and professeth to have knowledge of God; and he calleth himself the Child of God.” And then he says, “He is grievous to us even to behold; for his life is not like other men’s, and his ways are of another fashion. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed.” And again, listen to this, O Jew! None of the righteous or prophets called himself the Son of God. And therefore, as in the person of the Jews, solomon speaks again of this righteous one, who is Christ, thus: “He was made to reprove our thoughts, and he maketh his boast that God is his Father. Let us see, then, if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen in the end of him; for if the just man be the Son of God, He will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Let us condemn him with a shameful death, for by his own saying he shall be respected.”
10. And again David, in the Psalms, says with respect to the future age, “Then shall He” (namely Christ) “speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.” And again Solomon says concerning Christ and the Jews, that “when the righteous shall stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted Him, and made no account of His words, when they see it they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of His salvation; and they, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say within themselves, This is He whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach; we fools accounted His life madness, and His end to he without honour. How is He numbered among the children of God, and His lot is among the saints? Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness bath not shined unto us, and the sun of righteousness rose not on us. We wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and destruction; we have gone through deserts where there lay no way: but as for the way of the Lord, we have not known it. What hath our pride profited us? all those things are passed away like a shadow.”
Hippolytus interpreted the 144,000 as Jewish believers in the first century.
As to the fact that they [the 144,000] are of Hebraic origin, from the fact it is clear that their tribes were privileged. It is undeniable that the majority of this group was firstborn (in Christianity) with respect to the whole of the members of the tribes of Israel who believed in the Christian gospel.
For, as one reads in the book of Acts, that the priests who were in Jerusalem said to Paul, when he came back to them from those regions where he announced the Good News: Have you seen, my brother, how many myriads of Jews have already believed? (Acts 21:20) And if that is the case in the city of Jerusalem alone, what must one think of the entire world where the tribes have dispersed, which is proven by the word of Jude [sic], in the beginning [James 1:1]? But the admirable thing is the concordance between the numbers of these firstborn. The number (furnished by) one tribe is not greater than that (furnished by) the other. Glory to those who know these eternal mysteries! Hippolytus, the bishop of Rome, in his explication of this part of the vision is of this opinion, which is the true one.