Melito of Sardis on Christ in the Old Testament

Melito of Sardis on Christ in the Old Testament March 17, 2019

At last year’s SBL I picked up a Greek/English diglot of Melito of Sardis, On Pascha, ed. and trans. Alistair C. Stewart (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016). One thing I’ve noticed is how the apostles and church fathers had no inhibitions about finding/seeing/imagining Christ in the Old Testament. Melito’s pascha is a case in point in § 57-60.

The Lord made advance preparation for his own suffering in the patriarchs and in the prophets and in the whole people; through the law and the prophets he sealed them.
That which more recently and most excellently came to pass he arranged from of old.
For when it would come to pass it would find faith, having been foreseen of old.

Thus the mystery of the Lord, prefigured from of old through the vision of a type, is today fulfilled and has found faith, even though people think it something new.

For the mystery of the Lord is both new and old; old with respect to the law but new with respect to grace. But if you scrutinize the type through its outcome you will discern him.

Thus if you wish to see the mystery of the Lord, look at Abel who is likewise slain,
at Isaac who is likewise tied up,
at Joseph who is likewise traded,
at Moses who is likewise exposed,
at David who is likewise hunted down,
at the prophets who likewise suffer for the sake of Christ.

And look at the sheep, slaughtered in the land of Egypt, which saved Israel through its blood whilst Egypt was struck down.

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