Continuing our series about the fulfillment of prophecy in the first century, Eusebius discusses in what ways the Scriptures teach that Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, was intended to be the salvation not only of the Jews, but of all nations as well. Taking into consideration that he is one of the greatest historians of the Christian Church, notice especially what his consistent focus is upon—how “the Hebrew oracles foretell distinctly the fall and ruin of the Jewish race through their disbelief in Christ”, which culminated in 70 a.d.
Eusebius first compiles a list of “Hebrew oracles” for his audience, before making that comment:
Of the Plotting against Christ, and He1 that is called the Son of God, receiving His Portion and the Gentiles from the Father. [Passages quoted, Ps. 2:1, 2, and 7, 8.]
Of Christ’s Kingdom, and the Call of the Gentiles, and the Blessing of all the Tribes of the Earth. [Passages quoted, Ps. 71:1, 2, 8, 11, 17, 19.]Of the new Song, and of the Arm of the Lord, and of the Shewing of His Salvation to all Nations; the Salvation of the Son is shewn by the Name in the Hebrew. [Passages quoted, Ps. 97]How after the Cessation of the Kingdom of the Jews, the Christ Himself coming will be the Expectation of the Gentiles. “There shall not fail a prince from Juda, nor a governor from his loins, until he come in whom it is laid up,2 and he is the expectation of the Gentiles.”* [From Genesis]A Shewing forth of the Appearing of Christ, and of the Destruction of Idolatry, and of the Piety of the Nations towards God. [Passage quoted, Zeph. 2:11.]A Shewing forth of the Day of Christ’s Resurrection, and the Gathering of Nations, and of all Men knowing God, and Turning to Holiness, and how the Ethiopians will bring Sacrifices to him. [Passage quoted, Zeph. 3:8.]A Shewing forth of the Appearing of Christ, and of the Fleeing of many Nations to Him, and how the Peoples of the Nations shall be established in the Lord. [Passage quoted, Zech. 2:10.]A Shewing forth of the Birth of Christ coming from the Root of David, and the Call by Him of all the Nations. [Passages quoted, Isa. 11:1, 10.]A Shewing forth of the Appearing of Christ, and of the Benefits brought by him to all the Nations. [Passages quoted, Isa. 42:1–4 and 6–9.]A Shewing forth of Christ and his Birth, and the Call of the Gentiles. [Passage quoted, Isa. 49:1.]The Shewing forth of the Coming of Christ and of the Call of the Gentiles. [Passage quoted, Isa. 49:7.]A Shewing forth of Christ, and the Call of the Gentiles. [Passage quoted, Isa. 55:3–5.]
Then Eusebius adds:
And now that we have learned from these passages that the presence of Christ was intended to be the salvation not only of the Jews, but of all nations as well, let me prove my third point, that prophecies not only foretold that good things for the nations would be associated with the date of His appearance, but also the reverse for the Jews. Yes, the Hebrew oracles foretell distinctly the fall and ruin of the Jewish race through their disbelief in Christ, so that we should no longer appear equal to them, but better than they. And I will now present the bare quotations from the prophets without any comment on them, because they are quite clear, and because I intend at my leisure to examine them thoroughly.
Shewing forth the Refusal of the Jewish Race, and the Substitution of the Gentiles in their Place. [Passage quoted, Jer. 6:16.]Shewing forth of the Piety of the Nations, and Accusation of the Impiety of the Jewish Race. Prediction of the Evils to overtake them after the Coming of Christ. [Passage quoted, Jer. 16:19–17:5.]3Concerning the Dispersion of the Jewish Race among all the Nations, and the Renewing of Christ’s Coming and Kingdom, and the Call of all the Nations consequent upon it. [Passage quoted, Amos 9:9.]Accusation of the Rulers of the Jewish People, and a Shewing forth of the Desolation of their Mother-city, and the Appearance of Christ and of the House of God His Church, the Entrance of His Word and His Law, and its Shewing to all Nations.4 [Passages quoted, Mic. 3:9–4:2.]Shewing forth of Christ’s Appearing, and the Destruction of the warlike Preparation of the Jews, and the Peace of the Nations, and the Kingdom of the Lord unto the Ends of the World. [Passage quoted, Zech. 9:9–10.]Rebuke of the Jewish Race, and Refusal of the Mosaic outward Worship, and of the spiritual Worship delivered by Christ to all Nations. [Passage quoted, Mal. 1:10–12.]The Apostasy of the Jewish Race and the Revelation of the Word of God, and of the new Law, and of His House, and the Shewing forth of the Piety of all the Nations. [Passages quoted, Isa. 1:8, 21, 30; 2:2–4.]The Destruction of the Glory of the People of the Jews, and the Turning of the Nations from Idolatry to the God of the Universe, and the Prophecy of the Desolation of the Jewish Cities, and of their Unfaithfulness to their God. [Passage quoted, Isa. 17:5–11.]Shewing forth of the destruction of the Jewish cities, and of the joy of the Gentiles in God. [Passage quoted, Isa. 25:1–8.]The Message of good News to the Church of the Nations desolate of old, and the Rejection of the Jewish Nation, and Accusation of their Sins, and the Call of all the Gentiles. [Passages quoted, Isa. 43:18–25; 45:22–25.]Shewing forth of the Coming of Christ to Men. And Reproof of the Jewish Race, and Promise of good Things to all Nations. [Passages quoted, Isa. 50:1, 2, 10; 51:4, 5.]Reproof of the Sins of the Jewish People, and their Fall from Piety, and the Shewing forth of the Call of all the Gentiles. [Passages quoted, Isa. 59:1–11, 19.]
But although there are a number of prophecies on this subject, I will be content with the evidence I have produced, and I will return to them again and explain5 them at the proper time, as I consider that by the use of these numerous texts and of their evidence I have given adequate proof that the Jews hold no privilege beyond other nations. For if they say that they alone partake of the blessing of Abraham, the friend of God, by reason of their descent from him, it can be answered that God promised to the Gentiles that He would give them an equal share of the blessing not only of Abraham but of Isaac and Jacob also, since He expressly predicted that all nations would be blessed like them, and summoned the rest of the nations under one and the same (rule of) joy as the blessed and the godly, in saying: “Rejoice ye Gentiles with his people,” and: “The princes of the peoples were gathered together with the God of Abraham.”*6
2 See note, p. 21.
* Gen. 49:10.
3 Jer. 17:5 is wanting from LX, but given in some codices with asterisks. See also 484 c.
4 τῶν ἐθνῶν ἁπάντων.
* Deut. 32:43; Ps. 47:9.
6 Eusebius of Cæsarea. (1920). The Proof of the Gospel: Being the Demonstratio Evangelica of Eusebius of Cæsarea. (W. J. Sparrow-Simpson & W. K. L. Clarke, Eds., W. J. Ferrar, Trans.) (Vol. 1, pp. 68–73). London; New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; The Macmillan Company.