Before Their Very Eyes

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”

 Hmm. How odd. They were in Galatia but they managed to make it to the crucifixion in Jerusalem?

16 Responses to Before Their Very Eyes

  1. soteriologos says:

    The story of the crucifiction points to a deeper truth of suffering and torment which accompanies the sanctification process leading to salvation, redemption, regeneration, perfection and holiness which is the end result of the work, labour & toil which is spoken of in the gospels. The big picture, is that this spiritual “work” requires a length of time which must be endured by the one seeking ultimate salvation. The time is long because it allows for the testing of a persons faith by God. The reality is also that Christ was the de facto first apostle and would have had to discover this path before being able to teach it to his disciples. The deep things of God and the secrets of salvation are entrusted to those souls who are born to fulfil the divine calling, who are justified by faith and then glorifed.

    The logic in this is self-evident. Jesus Christ was without sin…agreed, but only after sanctification. Since the work of the holy spirit makes an unholy man holy, then a man who is already holy has no need to submit to it. When will Christians wake up and recognize the elements of biblical corruption that have blinded them? Even if Christ was actually Crucified, he still would have had to endure the period of “fiery trial” himself long before he arrived at the cross. This is the true conversion period that a man submits to in order to prepare himself for works of service. The church is fast asleep on these points.
    Jesus Christ was actually the first Saint (one whose soul is sanctified) and therefore would have had to be in heaven spiritually, long before he got to the cross. For a man to have intimate knowledge of the father and of heaven, that man’s soul has to have achieved Salvation, which is received as the goal of one’s faith when they have completed the work of the Gospel. The truth of Christ was that he was not God, but a man born with a spiritual calling. He suffered death (waged a spiritual war against Satan), was internally cleansed and counted worthy of the kingdom. He was the first overcomer.

    The NT talks about the Son with a good and noble heart who hears the word, puts it into practice and reaps a crop. The heart of a man is his spirit and so this actually hints at the one who has become consecrated, or set apart from ordinary men by a purification process which purges the dross from the metal in the furnace of testing. When the man has stood the test, then his spirit emerges pure, like the sharpest blade forged from constant beating and hammering.

  2. Thomas Aquinas is a Nestorian too because he thinks a person is a relation.

  3. Andrew says:

    I thought you all might be interested in this:

  4. Bill Zuck says:


    I would argue that two words define the meaning here.
    First the term eyes, there is no basis for taking them as other than literal.
    The second is the object seen, namely Jesus Christ. He is a particular concrete person. In the traditional logic taught and used in the first century He is first substance, the subject of attributes but never himself the attribute of another substance. A text uses universal terms to specify the particular thing being described. This passage speaks of Jesus the Crucified as being directly encountered in the portrayal. Thus the portrayal must be showing Jesus in the concrete as only a picture can, not in a set of words which can only tell of the meaning of the event using universal terms and only give a mental image at best. For the meaning of prographon consult BDAG, it gives two senses fot the word. The second refers to a picture or portrait for public notice.
    The basic problem here for Protestants is that there is no adequate distinction of person and nature available in their theologies. They generally use one or another form of the homo assumptus theory of the incarnation. Unfortunately this theory in the last analysis is a form of Nestorianism as Thomas Aquinas pointed out many centuries ago. The rejection of icons is grounded in a Nestorian Christology. Protestants use Chalcedonian language but give it nestorian meaning because of an
    inadequate understanding of person or hypostasis.
    Jesus is to be bowed down to and kissed (Ps.2:12 etc.)! Protestants can do neither without icons.

  5. Perry Robinson says:


    Well, I’d argue that “literal” meaning is irrelevant since what matters is use. Roots don’t fix a specific meaning or use of a term. If it did, denotation nor connotation would vary. Moreover, the term is taken from painting as well as writing, not to mention the fact that Jewish synagogues often had mosaics of OT narratives, which sometimes included Abram.

  6. Wei-Hsien Wan says:

    We talked about this a little in my class on Paul, so I’ll submit our tentative conclusion here. The Greek word translated “portrayed” is “proegraphe”, which literally means “written beforehand [i.e. in the OT]” elsewhere in Pauline usage. Since, in Galatians, Paul does not continue to sustain the argument based on an icon but the Scriptures (the Abrahamic narrative in particular), it is likely, I think, that he was referring to a previous demonstration from the Scriptures that the Christ would be crucified — an argument that he ably sustained in the letter to the Galatians. Shalom.

  7. “Icon”

    exploring possible options isn’t “speculative” theology. I think people are just trying to trace out a way of understanding things.

  8. Icon says:

    Gotta love speculative theology.

  9. Canadian says:

    How about baptism?
    The eucharist?

  10. MG says:

    Out of curiosity, what do you guys think of trying to make a similar argument from 2 Corinthians 4:6?

    “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

    The face is what bears the light of the glory… could this be a reference to images of Christ?

  11. Yet was He not crucified in Galatia, but at Jerusalem. His reason for saying, “ among you,” is to declare the power of faith to see events which are at a distance. He says not, “crucified,” but, “openly set forth crucified,” signifying that by the eye of faith they saw more distinctly than some who were present as spectators. For many of the latter received no benefit, but the former, who were not eye-witnesses, yet saw it by faith more clearly. These words convey both praise and blame; praise, for their implicit acceptance of the truth; blame, because Him whom they had seen, for their sakes, stripped naked, transfixed, nailed to the cross, spit upon, mocked, fed with vinegar, upbraided by thieves, pierced with a spear; (for all this is implied in the words, “openly set forth, crucified,”) Him had they left, and betaken themselves to the Law, unshamed by any of those sufferings.

    St John Chrysostom on Galatians.

    Not withstanding the above quote, the Greek word used, as far as my limited Greek goes, is also derived from/connected to the word for writing/painting icons, so perhaps there was also an early icon painted on a wall or board used by St Paul in his preaching to help the eyes of faith. Perhaps the Liturgy in its rites, as they were at the time, could also be described in this way but I am not inclined to this because the idea is more about something written/drawn at least in the mind from the witness provided by preaching.

  12. Perry Robinson says:


    Surely it can but it can equally mean to depict via painting. The passage can mean that Paul painted a verbal picture or it could mean they were familiar with depicitions of Christ. The grammar from my reading will support either. We know that the Jews at the time and not long after had in their synagoges art work depicting major events in the life of Israel along the walls and up in front and that early churches around 200-300 had them as well. So it is quite possible that Paul is referring to actual artwork.

  13. Levi says:

    Albeit, I can read them with my eyes, but the language seems to indicate that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  14. Levi says:


    Personally, I hear words I don’t see them before my very eyes.

  15. Andrew says:

    Portray can also mean to describe something graphically in words, can it not?

  16. AH says:

    I at one time raised this issue to one of my Presbyterian elders and asked a question very similar to the one you asked…he replied “wow I have no idea whats going on there?” To which I responded, “Is it possible it could be a reference to iconography?” He then replied, “No thats definately not it!” You can lead a horse to water…

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