An Explanation of the Apostle’s Creed – Second Article of the Creed

detail from a painting of the 12 Apostles with their traditional lines from the Apostle's Creed, 1424; Lower Saxony State Museum, Hanover, Germany; photographed by Jean Louis Mazieres 24 December 2015; swiped from Wikimedia Commons“And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord.”

“AND IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON” – MEANING OF THE NAME JESUS CHRIST

After having been instructed, in the first article of the Apostles’ Creed, to know God and to recognize Him as Our Father who has made all things and maintains them, we learn in the second article of the same Creed that the Redeemer whom God promised to us and whom He has sent is the only-begotten Son of God the Father, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Thus He who appeared in the fulness of time is “Jesus who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16) The two names, Jesus and Christ, borne by Our Saviour, show forth the grace and mercy obtained by Him for us, and signify what He is and what He shall continue to be for us.

They are also names indicative of His character and mission, for Jesus means Redeemer and Saviour, and Christ means anointed. Thus the name Jesus Christ signifies the Saviour, who is the Anointed.

The name Jesus was given to Our Saviour not by human chance; it was assigned to Him by God’s decree and command, as the angel declared to Saint Joseph in his dream, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

In the Old Law several persons bore the name Jesus. One of these was the son of Nun, who succeeded Moses and led the people of Israel into the Promised Land, for Josue is the same word as Jesus. A second was the high priest Josue, the son of Josedec, who, together with Zorobabel, brought the Jews back from the Babylonian captivity and helped to restore the Temple. A third was the son of Sirach, who has left us splendid lessons of wisdom. These three men are figures of the Redeemer, who is really our Jesus or Saviour. Like Josue, He led us out of the desert of a sin-laden world into the promised land of redemption, introduced the true worship of God by establishing the holy Catholic Church, and left to us the lessons of salvation. It is becoming, therefore, that He should bear the name of Jesus who, like His three prototypes, is at once our figure, leader, and priest.

Jesus has for surname Christ, the anointed one, a name, among the Jews, expressive of the highest dignity. For among that people anointing was accepted as a sign of God s choosing. Only those persons were anointed whom God had chosen for some special office. Thus Aaron, the first high priest, was anointed by God’s special command, “Thou shalt pour the oil of unction upon his head, and by this rite shall he be consecrated. (Exodus 29:7) In this way the sons of Aaron were ordained priests. Indeed, in the Old Dispensation, no person could be anointed with holy oil who had not been specially chosen by God.

As the kings were the representatives and ambassadors of God they were anointed, as Saul was anointed by Samuel, at the express command of God. David after the dethronement of Saul, was also anointed Samuel, and by the men of Juda after Saul’s death. The prophets, too, were anointed as the mouthpieces of God, as, for instance, EHseus was anointed by Elias.

The very person of suc h an anointed one was sacred and inviolable, for the Psalmist says, “Touch ye not My anointed.” For far greater reasons, therefore. He who was one day, according to the predictions of the prophets, to redeem the people of Israel, was termed the anointed of the Lord” as Isaias makes the future Savwur say «,The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me.” (Isaias 61:1)

The Redeemer who was to come was also called the Messias. Now this Messias was considered by most of the Jews to be a king who, descended from the family of David, was to unite the Jews under his rule and to free them from their enemies. Even when Saint John the Baptist appeared many questioned as to whether he was not the Christ. Now as it is right and proper that He be called Jesus who is really our helper, so it is right and proper that He be called Christ who is our only veritable High Priest, our King and our Teacher, from whom all priests, all kings, and all teachers have their mission, and of whom David says, “Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, O God, Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.” (Psalms 44:8)

THE POWER OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS

Passages from the Scriptures and from the Fathers

1. The Saviour Himself declared and described the power of His own sacred name in these words: “In My name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues: they shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17,18)

“If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you.” (John 16:23) “Every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall possess life everlasting.” (Matthew 29:29)

2. In this name, as Saint John writes, we shall have life through faith, for “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

3. Saint Peter assures that in the holy name there is contained something wonderful, mysterious, and powerful, for, after curing the lame man through the name of Christ, he preached to the Jews, “In the faith of His name, this man whom you have seen and know, hath His name strengthened.” (Acts 3:16). From this name proceedeth sanctification and salvation, ” for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). To this name are due profoundest reverence and worship, for “God hath given Him a name which is above all names: that in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9,10) In this name the Christian should do all things. “Whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 3:17)

4. “When, in the name of Jesus, we struggle with Satan and his minions Jesus combats along with us, in us, and for us; and the enemies flee as soon as they hear that name.” (Justin)

“All our power and dominion over the evil spirits lie in the invocation of the name of Jesus.” (Tertullian)

“When you are troubled with vicious or desponding thoughts, when you are overwhelmed with fear, anguish, or despair, when the pangs of sickness bear you down, in all circumstances of danger and anxiety pronounce this sacred name with heartfelt devotion and you will find consolation, aye, very great sweetness. For this name has power to rejoice the heart, to strengthen the mind, to increase devotion and to arouse the soul to happiness in God.” (Saint Lawrence Justinian)

“The name of Jesus is a sign that places before our eyes all that God has done for our salvation. How much, O Jesus, has it cost Thee to be Jesus!” (Saint Bernard)

“The name of Jesus had such great power over the devil that it sometimes has a salutary effect even when uttered by the lips of the wicked.” (Origen)

“HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD,” – JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD

Jesus Christ is called also the only-begotten Son of God because He is the only, true and veritable Son of God by nature and from all eternity. He is the Son of God, for He is begotten of God from all eternity, by a generation in connection with which it is impossible to conceive anything mortal or earthly. He is the veritable and only Son of God, and He has all the same attributes as His heavenly Father. He is, as the Nicene Creed says, “Begotten of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.” Such is the wonderful generation concerning which the prophet Isaias exclaims, “Who shall declare His generation?” (Isaias 53:8)

1. He is the only Son, for there is no other Son of God than this one who is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and is equally God with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Thus He is the Son of God by nature and from all eternity according to His very essence. We are children of God according to grace; we are children by adoption, as the holy Evangelist, Saint John, says, ” As many as received Him, He gave them the power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name.” (John 1:12) Thus the sonship of Jesus Christ is one begotten in time and eternity. Our sonship to God is one granted and secured to us by the atonement. Jesus Christ, as Son of God, has neither brethren nor co-heirs, for He is the only Son of the divine Father, while we are the work of His hands. Thus in Jesus Christ it is that the grace of God is made manifest to us. He is the one in whom the earliest patriarchs hoped, whom the prophets foretold, for whose coming Simeon and all other just men looked forward with such yearning, and for whom even the pagans themselves longed and sighed while groaning under the weight of their misery.

2. Beside Him there is no Redeemer. He, and no one else, is the promised Messias, for in Him has been fulfilled whatever the prophets foretold concerning the Saviour, so that He Himself could refer the Jews to the writings of those prophets and say, “Search the Scriptures…the same are they that give testimony of Me.” (John 5:39) For all that Jacob foresaw in spirit, all those things with which Moses comforted the people of Israel, of which David sang, to which the prophets pointed in brilliant pictures, all that Isaias described in detail, portraying in his prophecies the most perfect picture of the Saviour, – all these can be today discovered and pointed out in the life of Our Saviour when He was on earth.

JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE GOD

The Testimony of the Prophets

The very names assigned in the prophecies to the expected Redeemer show that only a God could become Our Saviour. In this sense David speaks of two Lords, one of which is the Son of the other, both being from all eternity. His well-known words are, “The Lord said to my Lord: Sit Thou at My right hand: Until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool. The Lord will send forth the scepter of Thy power out of Sion: rule Thou in the midst of Thy enemies. With Thee is the principality in the day of Thy strength, in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day-star I begot Thee. The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent: Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.” (Psalms 109:1-4)

To these words of David Our Lord Himself appealed against the Jews when He asked them, “What think you of Christ? Whose son is He? They said to Him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying: The Lord said to my Lord: sit on My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?” (Matthew 22:42-45)

In still another place David sings, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” (Psalms 2:7) To this passage Saint Paul appeals when, wishing to prove the divinity of Christ, he asks, “To which of the angels hath He said at any time: Thou art My Son, to-day have I begotten Thee?” (Hebrews 1:5) Isaias prophesied, “His name shall be called Emmanuel, [that is, God with us].” (Isaias 7:14) Again he prophesied, “A Child is born to us, a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace.” (Isaias 9:6) Finally Daniel calls the expected Messias “the Saint of saints”. (Daniel 9:24)

The Testimony of the Heavenly Father

All that the prophets foretold was testified to by the Father who sent the prophets. He declared Jesus Christ to be His well-beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased, even twice – the first time, when Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan by Saint John (Matthew 3:17), the second time, when the Saviour was transfigured on Mount Thabor in the presence of Peter, James, and John, whom He had taken thither with Him, in order that they might see His glory, for they were soon to be witnesses of His degradation and death struggle. (Matthew 17:5)

The Testimony of Jesus Christ Himself

Whatever the prophets foretold, all that God the Father testified to from heaven, the Saviour Himself has testified of Himself. Of Himself He has said that He is no other than the Son of the heavenly Father. When Simon Peter pronounced his celebrated profession of the faith, saying, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus said to him, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-17) Again He said, “He that doth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Everywhere He represents Himself as the Son of God, but as the one only Son whose sonship is a miraculous and supernatural one, such as no other man can claim for himself. Thus He says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30). Again, He says, “He that seeth Me, seeth the Father also.” (John 14:9), in order to show that He is of one and the same nature with the Father. Again, in order to teach that He has the same power and dignity as the Father, He says, “All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine.” (John 16:15). He affirms that without Him nothing is done: so “What things soever He [the Father] doth, these the Son also doth, in like manner.” (John 5:19) “He hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honor the Son, as they honor the Father.” (John 5:22,23) Hence disrespect for the Son is disrespect for the Father: “He who honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent Him.” (John 5:23) This belief in His identity with the Father, Jesus* required from His disciples, declaring it to be a special revelation from God the Father to Saint Peter when the latter acknowledged Him to be the Son of the living God, and a sign of predilection when the doubting Thomas, after touching the wounds in His hands and feet, confessed, “My Lord and my God,” and declaring blessed all those who believe Him to be the Son of God, though they do not see with bodily eyes. (John 20:28)

Thus, then, did Christ give testimony of Himself. In words He testified that He is the Son of God, and true God like His Father, but He confirmed this testimony with works. These works He performed in the presence not only of two or three witnesses, not in the presence only of His followers, but before the whole people, before His enemies as well as His friends.

These works were of such an extraordinary character that they were believed not only by His disciples, but so affected those enemies who sought to take His life, that they, not being able to deny their supernatural character, could find no other way of explaining them than to charge Him with being in league with the Evil One and acting through Beelzebub, the prince of devils. (Luke 11:15)

He changed water into wine; fed at one time five thousand and at another time four thousand men with a few loaves and fishes; gave to Peter the miraculous haul of fish; stilled the storm at sea; walked upon the water; healed the sick, bidding them stand up and walk, or assuring them of cure, as in the case of the royal centurion, where He was far away from the sick person. The palsied, the lepers, the dropsical, the fever-stricken, the bleeding, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the dumb, the possessed of the devil, were healed – even the very dead were raised to life before the eyes of the whole Jewish people, who cried out in astonishment, “What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27) “They feared and glorified God that gave such power to men.” (Matthew 9:8) “And they would come to take Him by force and make Him king.” (John 6:15)

To these miracles of His, Jesus called the attention of Saint John the Baptist, when He said to the tatter’s disciples, “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, to the poor the gospel is preached.” (Luke 7:22) On account of these miracles the Lord demands belief in Himself and His divinity. “Though you will not believe Me,” He says, “believe the works” (John 10:38). Yes, and He even pronounced a solemn adjuration to that effect, that He is the Son of God, for when adjured before the court of the high priest to state whether He was the Son of God He testified solemnly that He was the Son of God and “hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) For this declaration He was condemned to death. Thus He sealed this doctrine with His death, as He had previously proved it by His works.

He never recalled a word of what He had said. He did not explain away, nor say that He had been misunderstood. What He said He reaffirmed and confirmed till the last moment of His life, and even in that last awful moment He cried out, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” (Luke 23:46). Not only during His lifetime did He uphold His divinity, but even after His death on the cross He proved that only His human nature had died, while His divine nature remained with Him the same, for He rose out of the grave, through which it was necessary for Him to pass in order, to triumph over it, and to conquer hell. Then did He not afterward, before the eyes of His disciples, lift Himself up from earth and ascend into heaven, as only a God could do? On the Mount of Olives, where they had seen Him in agony, they were to witness His triumph. Thus did the Saviour, from the time of His conception till the moment of His triumphal resurrection, manifest in His human nature the entire fulness of His divinity.

The Testimony of the Apostles

The apostles always taught that Christ is the Son of God. What Saint Peter professed before the death of his blessed Master, what Saint Thomas acknowledged when he said to Jesus, after His resurrection, “My Lord and my God,” the same did all the apostles ever afterward proclaim, insisting that He who had been so shamefully derided, abused and slain by the Jews, and in His human nature had been conquered, was God, to whom was given all the power and authority of His eternal Father. They taught expressly that Christ is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) “We saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “We know that the Son of God is come. This is the true God, and life eternal.” (1 John 5:20) “God hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:2) “The Son of God Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, was not, It is, and It is not, but, It is, was in Him.” (2 Corinthians 1:19) “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him: and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we by Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) “I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God.” (Galatians 2:20) “When the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son.” (Galatians 4:4) “Christ according to the flesh, who is over all things God blessed forever.” (Romans 9:5)

The apostles teach farther that the complete fulness of the Godhead dwelt within the Son of God, that is to say, that He was essentially God. According to His nature He is God, and not merely raised to the Godhead. He is no less God than is the Father, and is wanting in no attribute that the Father possesses and that belongs to divinity. “You are filled in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:10). Here Saint Paul reaffirms what Christ in the same words had said of Himself, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Now as the Son of God is distinct from the Father in person only, and not in nature or essence, Jesus Christ is entitled to the same honor, worship, thanksgiving, praise, and glory. This also is taught by the apostles, that to Him is due the worship of all creatures. When the Saviour appeared to Thomas and that disciple fell overpowered at His feet, did not the latter adore his Lord and Master as very God? And when the Lord ascended into heaven “they adoring went back.” (Luke 24:52)

It was an act of adoration also when they called upon the name of Jesus Christ for strength to perform their miracles, as when Saint Peter cured the lame man, sitting at the gate of the Temple, with these words, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.” (Acts 3:6). And what the apostles did themselves they required from others. They taught, “In all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ: to whom is glory and empire forever and ever.” (1 Peter 4:11) “In the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)

All the creatures, too, throughout nature, were to unite, in offering adoration to Him to whom the heavenly hosts offer the sacrifice of worship; whom God the Father wishes to see adored by the heavenly hosts, of whom He says, “Let all the angels of God adore Him.” (Hebrews 1:6) He, the Saviour, who redeemed us with His blood, and was slain in sacrifice for us, is adored by those who stand nearest to the throne of the Father, singing hymns of triumph: “The four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints: And they sung a new canticle, saying: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and benediction.” (Apocalypse 5:8-12)

The Testimony of the Catholic Church

From her very foundation the Catholic Church has taught Christ is true God, and of one essence with the Father. This doctrine she has maintained and defended as the chief and fundamental doctrine of Christianity. The Church Fathers held it as firmly as did the apostles, and the bishops looked upon the doctrine of the divinity of Christ as the bulwark of our holy religion. In the first Church Council that met at Nice, 325 years after Christ, this doctrine was solemnly declared by three hundred bishops to be the teaching of the universal Church, while the heretic Arius, who presumed to teach that Christ was indeed the most perfect being that ever came from the creating hand of God, but still was only a creature, was excommunicated with abhorrence from the Church. He soon afterward met with a miserable death, which may be considered a chastisement from the hand of God. From that time forward it was inserted in the Creed that Jesus Christ is Our Lord, and in truth the only Lord, for He is God like the Father.

The title of Lord belongs to Our Saviour on a two-fold ground:

1. Because as God He is Lord and Master of heaven and earth, as is expressly taught in the Bible. “All things were made by Him: and without Him was made nothing that was made” (John 1:3); “by whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:2)

2. Because, as Redeemer, He purchased us with His blood. For as we “are bought” by Christ “with a great price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), we are Christians, as Saint Paul says; “you are Christ’s: and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:23)

With His own life He purchased life for us, so that we are His body-servants and He is Lord of our persons. Saint Paul styles himself ” a servant of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1) Thus the Church, when she calls Christ Lord in her Creed, only maintains the doctrine of the apostles, in whose writings Jesus Christ is styled Lord not less than seventy-eight times.

Thus in Jesus is united all that is given to us in help, grace, consolation, and happiness. His name is the epitome of salvation, and hence is no less worthy of honor than the name of God itself. Just as he commits sin who takes the name of God lightly and irreverently, so, too, does he sin who utters the name of Jesus, the most holy One, without that reverence which should animate the heart when the name is on the lips. This sacred name is also a dreadful name for the enemy of our salvation, who was overcome by the same Jesus Christ on the cross, and who flees terror-stricken as the devils in the possessed man fled and trembled before the Lord.

When uttered with devotion the holy name of Jesus is our shield, with which we defend ourselves against the attacks of the evil spirit. Therefore call often and with devotion on the name of Jesus, that you may light up in your heart the fire of holy charity, more especially in time of temptation, in order to remain faithful to Him who has said, “Have confidence, I have overcome the world ” (John 16:33), and who promises the crown of life to all those who persevere when He says, “To him that overcometh, I will give the hidden manna, and a new name.” (Apocalypse 2:17)

When the Psalmist, in Psalms 33:2, says, “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be always in my mouth,” these words refer as well to the Father as to the Son, who to the benefit of creation and existence has added the grace of redemption. Hence it is that we pronounce the holy name of Jesus in order to break forth in joyous thanksgiving. Christians remind one another of the goodness of their Saviour when they say to one another, “Praised be Jesus Christ.” This mode of salutation is an outward mark of Catholic Christians, akin to the sign of the cross. In a most marked manner it expresses outwardly what every Christian should feel inwardly, while the response, “Forever and ever. Amen”, expresses the sentiments aroused by the salutation.

This mode of greeting, far from being irreverent, as those to whom the holy One is least holy pretend, is a continual act of worship to the Lord, in which the homage of the Church on earth is united with the worship of the saints in heaven. It is the homage of the Church, for she has approved it and made it her own. She recommends it to the faithful, to whom she grants indulgences if they pronounce it, not thoughtlessly, but with pious sentiments; thus she grants an indulgence of fifty days to those who make it and respond, and a plenary indulgence at the hour of death to all those who practised this pious salutation during their lifetime.

Beside all this the Church, in order to still farther glorify the sacred name, has established a special festival known as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which occurs on the second Sunday after Epiphany. It is kept by all good Christians in order that men may know that this is a mysterious name, a name that contains within itself the whole mystery of the Incarnanation, redemption, sanctification, and justification.

JESUS OF NAZARETH IS THE PROMISED REDEEMER

Prophecies Concerning the Time of His Coming

In the whole history of the world there has never been a public person who engaged the attention, whether of his contemporaries or of succeeding posterity, so universally and so profoundly as did Jesus of Nazareth. Comparing His life on earth with all that had been foretold of Him for thousands of years, He corresponds exactly in every particular with the character and history assigned to Him from the earliest times. We have no other alternative than to admit that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messias, or that the Messias has not come at all. Now even the Jews no longer expect the Messias, their most distinguished teachers having long admitted that all the conditions and signs have been fulfilled that were to precede the Redeemer.

There are three special prophecies whence we learn that the signs have been verified and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

1. He came at a time of universal peace. In striking language the prophet Micheas foretold this period. “Every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid.” (Micheas 4:4) This period of general peace occurred only in the reign of Caesar Augustus, under whom Christ was born. Neither before nor after that time was there any such period of tranquillity.

2. He entered into the second temple. When the second temple was built it was so far inferior to the first that those who had seen the former wept with disappointment. But then the prophet Aggeus predicted, “The Desired of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory…. Great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first.” (Aggeus 2:8,10) This second temple has been destroyed and none other has ever taken its place. All efforts to rebuild the second temple were rendered futile by the power of God.

3. Daniel’s weeks of years had elapsed. “Know thou therefore and take notice: that from the going forth of the word, to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the prince, there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: and the street shall be built again, and the walls in troublesome times. And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain: and the people that shall deny Him shall not be His. And a people with their leader that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be waste, and after the end of the war, the appointed desolation. And He shall confirm the covenant with many in one week: and in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail: and there shall be in the Temple the abomination of desolation: and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end.” (Daniel 9:25-27)

Now the Jews obtained permission to rebuild their Temple in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes (2 Esdras 11), or in the year of the world 3550. After sixty-nine weeks of years, for so they were intended to be measured, came the year 4033, the thirtieth year in the life of Christ, when He began His public ministry. His death occurs exactly in the middle of the seventieth year-week.

4. The prophecy of Jacob: “The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the expectation of nations.” (Genesis 49:10) The scepter was taken from Juda. Herod, who ruled over the Jews, was a heathen from Idumea who had had himself circumcised. Thus it was that the prediction of Jacob came to be fulfilled, and it was time for the Desired of nations to appear.

– text taken from An Explanation of the Apostle’s Creed: A Thorough Exposition of Catholic Faith, by Father H Rolfus, D.D., published by Benziger Brothers, 1907; it has the Imprimatur of +John M Farley, Auxiliary Bishop and Adminsitrator of New York, June 1902