Quotes from On the Passover by Melito of Sardis

Melito lived and was perhaps bishop of Sardis during the latter half of the second century. He was an early Christian writer. Eusebius of Caesarea (Ecclesiastical History) identified him as such and even records that he interacted with Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Eusebius  lists about 20 books by Melito. Fragments of his writings as well as an almost complete text of On the Passover survive to this day. I did not find anything in On the Passover that indicated a separation of hypostasis or person between Father and Son in Melito's apparent and early Christocentric monotheism.

For Melito it seems Jesus can be called Father and Son (On the Passover, 9-10). The Lamb and the Almighty (On the Passover, 4; 45). The high doxological praise of Melito does not know the limits of popular Trinitarianism. In places Melito does distinguish the Word from the Father (105) but early modalists also distinguished the Word from the Father. We also find this in the Scriptures no less so we are not surprised. Melito also speaks of Jesus as the one who is "by nature both God and man."

Hereherehere, and here are links to more information about Melito. Melito's comments about Israel have been mistakenly viewed as anti-Semitic by some. Melito like every prophet before him, however, was unyielding in his rhetoric and crying out for Israel to repent and turn to God.

Oneness scholar David Bernard concludes, "Melito, bishop of Sardis, is quite intriguing. His writings do not display the same kind of philosophical thinking as the other Apologists...Although two statements of his seem to indicate a preexistent Son, it does not appear that Melito followed the concepts of the other Apologists but was much closer in thought to the Post-Apostolic writers. Unfortunately, we do not have enough of his writings to make a definitive judgment." (1)

Text below provided by Kerux from the NWT Journal. Click here to read full text online. Here are some select quotes from On the Passover.

4. The law is old, but the gospel is new; the type was for a time, but grace is forever. The sheep was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible, who was crushed as a lamb, but who was resurrected as God. For although he was led to sacrifice as a sheep, yet he was not a sheep; and although he was as a lamb without voice, yet indeed he was not a lamb. The one was the model; the other was found to be the finished product.
5. For God replaced the lamb, and a man the sheep; but in the man was Christ, who contains all things. 
8. ...the one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man.
9. He is everything: in that he judges he is law, in that he teaches he is gospel, in that he saves he is grace, in that he begets he is Father, in that he is begotten he is Son, in that he suffers he is sheep, in that he is buried he is man, in that he comes to life again he is God.
10. Such is Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

31. O inexpressible mystery! the sacrifice of the sheep was found to be the salvation of the people, and the death of the sheep became the life of the people. For its blood warded off the angel.
32. Tell me, O angel, At what were you turned away? At the sacrifice of the sheep, or the life of the Lord? At the death of the sheep, or the type of the Lord? At the blood of the sheep, or the Spirit of the Lord? Clearly, you were turned away.
35. Beloved, no speech or event takes place without a pattern or design; every event and speech involves a pattern–that which is spoken, a pattern, and that which happens, a prefiguration–in order that as the event is disclosed through the prefiguration, so also the speech may be brought to expression through its outline.

39. Therefore, if it was like this with models of perishable objects, so indeed will it also be with those of imperishable objects. If it was like this with earthly things, so indeed also will it be with heavenly things. For even the Lord's salvation and his truth were prefigured in the people, and the teaching of the gospel was proclaimed in advance by the law.

45. For not in one place alone, nor yet in narrow confines, has the glory of God been established, but his grace has been poured out upon the uttermost parts of the inhabited world, and there the almighty God has taken up his dwelling place through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.
57. Indeed, the Lord prearranged his own sufferings in the patriarchs, and in the prophets, and in the whole people of God, giving his sanction to them through the law and the prophets. For that which was to exist in a new and grandiose fashion was pre-planned long in advance, in order that when it should come into existence one might attain to faith, just because it had been predicted long in advance.

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death.

96. The one who hung the earth in space, is himself hanged; the one who fixed the heavens in place, is himself impaled; the one who firmly fixed all things, is himself firmly fixed to the tree. The Lord is insulted, God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the right hand of Israel.

100. But he arose from the dead and mounted up to the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity, and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,

104. This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, and who in the beginning created man, who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, who became human via the virgin, who was hanged upon a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from the dead, and who ascended to the heights of heaven, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who has authority to judge and to save everything, through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.
105. This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.


1. Bernard, David K. (1995) A History of Christian Doctrine,Volume One (56) Word Aflame Press

No comments:

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)