Continuing in this series about first century fulfillment of prophecy, Eusebius of Caesarea comments on passages in Isaiah and their usage according to St. Paul in the book of Romans. Eusebius writes:
…the Divine Promises did not extend to the whole Jewish Nation, but only to a few of them. [Passage quoted Isa. 1:7–9.]
This great and wonderful prophet at the opening of his own book here tells us that the whole scheme of his prophecy includes a vision and a revelation against Judæa and Jerusalem, then he attacks the whole race of the Jews, first saying: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s manger, but Israel doth not know, my people doth not understand.”*
And then he laments the whole race, and adds: “Woe, race of sinners, a people full of iniquity, an evil seed, unrighteous children.”
Having brought these charges against them in the beginning of his book, and shewn beforehand the reasons for the later predictions that he is to bring against them, he goes on to say, “Your land is desolate,” though it was not desolate at the time when he prophesied: “Your cities are burnt with fire.” Nor had this yet taken place, and strangers had not devoured their land. And yet he says, “Your land, strangers devour it before your eyes,” and that which follows. But if you came down to the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of those He sent, and to the present time, you would find all the sayings fulfilled. For the daughter of Zion (by whom was meant the worship celebrated on Mount Zion) from the time of the coming of our Saviour has been left as a tent in a vineyard, as a hut in a garden of cucumbers, or as anything that is more desolate than these. And strangers devour the land before their eyes, now exacting tax and tribute,1 and now appropriating for themselves the land which belonged of old to Jews. Yea, and the beauteous Temple of their mother-city was laid low, being cast down by alien peoples, and their cities were burnt with fire, and Jerusalem became truly a besieged city. But since, when all this happened, the choir of the Apostles, and those of the Hebrews who believed in Christ, were preserved from among them as a fruitful seed, and going through every race of men in the whole world, filled every city and place and country with the seed of Christianity and Israel, so that like corn springing from it, the churches which are founded in our Saviour’s name have come into being, the divine prophet naturally adds to his previous threats against them: “We should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Which the holy Apostle in the Epistle to the Romans more clearly defines and interprets. [Passages quoted Rom. 9:17–29 and 11:1–5]
And to shew that the prophecy can only refer to the time of our Saviour’s coming, the words that follow the text—“unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah,” naming the whole people of the Jews as the people of Gomorrah, and their rulers as the princes of Sodom—imply a rejection of the Mosaic worship, and introduce in the prediction about them the characteristics of the covenant announced to all men by our Saviour. …what could this be but the plot against our Saviour Jesus Christ, through which2 and after which all the things aforesaid overtook them?3
…It will be clear to you, if you run through the whole course of this section, what that day is, in which it is said God will glorify and exalt the remnant of Israel and those who are called holy and to be written in (the book of) life. For in the beginning of his complete book the prophet (Isaiah) having seen the vision against Judah and Jerusalem, and numbered in many words the sins of the whole people of the Jews, and uttered threats and spoken about their ruin and the complete desolation of Jerusalem, brings his vision about them to an end with the words:
“For they shall be as a terebinth that has cast her leaves, and as a garden without water.* And their strength shall be as a thread of tow, and their works as sparks of fire, and the transgressors and the sinners shall be burnt together, and there shall be none to quench them.”4
* Isa. 1:3.
1 δασμοὺς καὶ φόρους.
2 Paris text has διʼ ὄν—ὃν—αὐτοὺς.
3 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. 77–79). London; New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; The Macmillan Company.
* Isa. 1:30.
4 Ibid. (Vol. 1, p. 79)