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Chapter 24.—Of the Prophets, Who Either Were the Last Among the Jews, or Whom the Gospel History Reports About the Time of Christ’s Nativity.

But in that whole time after they returned from Babylon, after Malachi, Haggai, and Zechariah, who then prophesied, and Ezra, they had no prophets down to the time of the Saviour’s advent except another Zechariah, the father of John, and Elisabeth his wife, when the nativity of Christ was already close at hand; and when He was already born, Simeon the aged, and Anna a widow, and now very old; and, last of all, John himself, who, being a young man, did not predict that Christ, now a young man, was to come, but by prophetic knowledge pointed Him out though unknown; for which reason the Lord Himself says, “The law and the prophets were until John.”11331133    Matt. xi. 13.  But the prophesying of these five is made known to us in the gospel, where the virgin mother of our Lord herself is also found to have prophesied before John.  But this prophecy of theirs the wicked Jews do not receive; but those innumerable persons received it who from them believed the gospel.  For then truly Israel was divided in two, by that division which was foretold by Samuel the prophet to king Saul as immutable.  But even the reprobate Jews hold Malachi, Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra as the last received into canonical authority.  For there are also writings of these, as of others, who being but a very few in the great multitude of prophets, have written those books which have obtained canonical authority, of whose predictions it seems good to me to put in this work some which pertain to Christ and His Church; and this, by the Lord’s help, shall be done more conveniently in the following book, that we may not further burden this one, which is already too long.


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