On the Resurrection in the Torah

St. Epiphanius of Salamis ca. 315-403
‘Pentateuch’ I mean Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; in Hebrew their names are Bereshith, Elleh Shamoth, Vayyiqra, Vayidabber and Elleh ha Devarim.

There are intimations of the resurrection of the dead in these five books, but it is certainly not proclaimed plainly. There also hints in them of God’s Only-Begotten Son, of the Holy Spirit, and of opposition to idolatry, but as the most obvious doctrine in them the subject of the Monarchy is introduced, and in the Monarchy the Trinity is proclaimed spiritually.

But they are refuted in every way with regard to the resurrection of the dead. First from Abel, since his blood conversed with the Lord after he died. But blood is not soul; the soul is in the blood. And God did not say, ‘The soul crieth unto me,’ but, ‘The blood crieth unto me,’ proving that there is hope for a resurrection of bodies.

Moreover Enoch was translated so as not to see death, and was nowhere to be found. Sarah too, made fruitful again at the implantation of seed, after her womb was dead and her menstrual flow dried up; conceiving a child by promise in her old age, because of the hope of the resurrection.

And this is not all. When Jacob too was seeing to his own bones, he was giving orders about them as of things that were not going to perish. And not only he but Joseph too, when he gave his orders in his turn, gave indication of the form of the resurrection.

And this is not all. Moreover Aaron’s rod, which budded when it was dry, bore fruit again in hope of life, showing that our dead bodies will arise, and pointing to resurrection. And Moses’ wooden rod similarly gave token of resurrection, since it was brought to life by God’s will and became a serpent.

Moreover, in blessing Reuben Moses says, ‘Let Reuben live, and let him not die,’ though he means someone who has died long ago. This is to show that there is life after death, but a sentence of second death, for damnation. So he gives him two blessings by saying, ‘Let him live,’ at the resurrection, and ‘Let him not die,’ at the judgment—not meaning death by departing the body, but death by damnation. (Panarion 2.1-2.2, 3.1-3.5)

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