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41.  Christ as the Rod, the Flower, the Stone.

Now He receives the kingdom from the king whom the children of Israel appointed, beginning the monarchy not at the divine command and without even consulting God.  He therefore fights the battles of the Lord and so prepares peace for His Son, His people, and this perhaps is the reason why He is called David.  Then He is called a rod;46434643    Isa. xi. 1. such He is to those who need a harder and severer discipline, and have not submitted to the love and gentleness of God.  On this account, if He is a rod, He has to “go forth;” He does not remain in Himself, but appears to go beyond His earlier state.  Going forth, then, and becoming a rod, He does not remain a rod, but after the rod He becomes a flower that rises up, and after being a rod He is made known as a flower to those who, by His being a rod, have met with visitation.  For “God will visit their iniquities with a rod,”46444644    Ps. lxxxix. 32, 33. that is, Christ.  But “His mercy He will not take from him,” for He will have mercy on him, for on whom the Son has mercy the Father has mercy also.  An interpretation may be given which makes Him a rod and a flower in respect of different persons, a rod to those who have need of chastisement, a flower to those who are being saved; but I prefer the account of the matter given above.  We must add here, however, that, perhaps, looking to the end, if Christ is a rod to any man He is also a flower to him, while it is not the case that he who receives Him as a flower must also know Him as a rod.  And yet as one flower is more perfect than another and plants are said to flower, even though they bring forth no perfect fruit, so the perfect receive that of Christ which transcends the flower.  Those, on the other hand, who have known Him as a rod will partake along with it, not in His perfection, but in the flower which comes before the fruit.  Last of all, before we come to the word Logos, Christ was a stone,46454645    Ps. cxviii. 22. set at naught by the builders but placed on the head of the corner, for the living stones are built up as on a foundation on the other stones of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself our Lord being the chief corner-stone, because He is a part of the building made of living stones in the land of the living; therefore He is called a stone.  All this we have said to show how capricious and baseless is the procedure of those who, when so many names are given to Christ, take the mere appellation “the Word,” without enquiring, as in the case of His other titles, in what sense it is used; surely they ought to ask what is meant when it is said of the Son of God that He was the Word, and God, and that He was in the beginning with the Father, and that all things were made by Him.


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