This brief section of Athanasius’ treatise references another prophecy with which I was not familiar.
But what king that ever was, before he had strength to call father or mother, reigned and gained triumphs over his enemies?
In the Orthodox Church, the passage of Isaiah which includes the above (Isaiah 8:4) is read at Vespers of the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord. We tend to call that “Christmas” I believe. And it’s appropriate.
Who, then, it is on whom the nations are to set their hope, it is worth while to see. For there must be such an one, as it is impossible for the prophet to have spoken falsely. But which of the holy prophets or of the early patriarchs has died on the Cross for the salvation of all? Or who was wounded and destroyed for the healing of all? Or which of the righteous men, or kings, went down to Egypt, so that at his coming the idols of Egypt fell?
We do see the magi representing the nations giving Jesus tribute not too many months after his birth. We see Jesus eluding Herod’s judgment, thus in an ancient sense demonstrating that he was not subject to Herod. And we see all this when he was still an infant.
It’s interesting. When I was reading, but not writing about them, I think I tended to skim over some of these sections without paying close attention. Writing as I go forces me to read more closely.