The Epistle of Barnabas

Translation by Robert Kraft

Introduction (1:1-2:3)

Salutation (1:1)

[1:1] Greetings, sons and daughters, in the Name of the Lord who loved us, in peace.

Commendation (1:2-3)

    [2] Seeing that God's righteous acts toward you are so extraordinary and abundant, my joy over your favored and illustrious spirits is unbounded -- you have received such grace, such an implantation of the pneumatic gift! [3] Wherefore I, who also hope to be saved, inwardly rejoice all the more because I can actually see that the spirit which is on you has been poured out in your midst from the abundance of the fountain of the Lord [see 11:2*]. My eagerly anticipated visit to you has so wonderfully exceeded all expectations concerning you!

Purpose and themes (1:4-8)

    [4] Therefore, I am convinced of this -- indeed, I am all the more conscious of it because I know that he who spoke many things in your midst was my traveling companion in the Way of Righteousness, the Lord; and for this reason I myself am constrained at all times to love you more than my own soul -- for great faith and love dwell in you, with hope of obtaining the life he gives! [5] Therefore, since it has occurred to me that if I am diligent in imparting to you a measure of what I have received it will be to my credit for having ministered to such spirits, I have hastened to send you this brief communication so that along with your faith you might also have perfect gnosis.

    [6] There are, then, three basic doctrines of the Lord of life: Hope, the beginning and end of our faith; and Righteousness, the beginning and end of judgment; (and) Love, a witness of the joy and gladness of works done in righteousness.

    [7] For the Master has made known to us through the prophets what already has come to pass and what is now occurring, and he has given us a foretaste of what is about to happen. Thus as we observe each of these things being worked out as he said, we ought all the more abundantly and enthusiastically draw near in fear of him . [8] And now, not as a Teacher but as one from your very midst, I will point out a few things which will enable you to rejoice in the present circumstances.

Transition to the first main section (2:1-3)

[2:1] Since, then the present days are evil and he who is now at work possesses the power, we ought to walk circumspectly and seek out the Lord's righteous requirements. [2] The auxiliaries of our faith, then, are Fear and Endurance, while Patience and Self-control also fight along at our side. [3] Thus while these allies remain in a pure state [see 19:8c] in relation to the Lord, there rejoice with them Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Gnosis.

I. What the Lord requires (2:4-3:6)

    [4] For he made it clear to us through all the prophets that he needs neither sacrifices nor whole burnt offerings nor offerings in general -- as he says in one place: [5] What good is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? says the Lord.

[6] Therefore he set these things aside [9:4b; 16:2], so that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is not tied to a yoke of necessity [cf. Acts 15:10], might have its own offering which is not man-made [see 16:7b].

    [7] And again he says to them:

[9] Therefore, since we are not without understanding, we ought to perceive the gracious intention of our Father. For he is speaking to us, desiring that we who are not misled as they were should seek how we might approach him with our offering.

    [10a] To us, then, he speaks thus:

[10b] Therefore, brethren, we ought to pay strict attention to the matters which concern our salvation, lest the Wicked One causes error [4:1; 12:10; 14:5] to slip in among us and hurls us away from our life! [3:1] Therefore he speaks again concerning these things to them:
[3] But to us he says:
[6] For this reason, therefore, brethren, when he foresaw how the people whom he prepared in his Beloved One would believe in childlike innocence [see 6:11], the Patient One gave us a preview concerning everything [2:4], lest we be shattered to pieces as "proselytes" to their law .

II. Readiness in the shadow of crisis (4:1-14)

Transition to the new section (4:1-2)

[4:1] We must, then, carefully investigate the present situation [cf. 17:2] and seek out the things which are able to save us. [1b] Therefore let us completely flee from all the works of lawlessness,
[2] Let us give no leisure to our own soul so that it has opportunity to associate with the wicked and sinful -- lest we become like them! [Cf. 10:3-8]

The imminent eschatological crisis (4:3-6a)

    [3] The great final scandal is at hand, concerning which it has been written -- as Enoch says. [3b] For the Master cut short the times and the days [see 15:5] for this reason, that his Beloved One might hasten and come into his inheritance. [4] And the prophet speaks thus:

[5] Similarly, Daniel says concerning the same one:
[6] Therefore you ought to understand!

Danger of misplaced security in the covenant (4:6b-8)

    [6b] Furthermore, I also urge you [21:2, 4, 8] as one of your own, and especially as one who loves you all more than I love my own self, walk circumspectly and do not be like certain people [4:2], compounding your sins by claiming that your covenant is irrevocably yours. [6c] But they lost it completely in the following manner, after Moses already had received it -- [7] for the scripture says:

But when they turned to idols, they lost it. [8] For the Lord speaks thus:
And Moses understood, and he hurled the two tablets from his hands. [8b] And the covenant (of the tablets) was smashed to bits so that the covenant of Jesus, the Beloved One, might be sealed in our heart, in hope of his faith.

Parenthetical personal note (4:9a)

    [9] But since I wish to write many things -- not as a Teacher would, but as is fitting for a friend to do -- and to omit nothing of what we have received [see 17:1], I hurry along. I am your devoted slave.

Warnings against overconfidence (4:9b-14)

    [9b] Wherefore let us walk circumspectly in these last days. For the entire period of our life and faith will be wasted unless now, in the lawless time and in the impending scandals, we resist as befits God's sons. [10] Therefore, lest the Black One make deceitful entrance [2:10b], let us flee from all that is irrelevant, let us hate completely [4:1b] the works of the wicked way. [10b] Do not live monastic lives by retiring to yourselves as though you have already attained the righteous state, but by assembling together, seek out together what is to your mutual advantage. [11] For the scripture says:

[11b] Let us be pneumatics; let us be a perfect Temple to God. To the best of our ability let us meditate on the fear of God and strive to keep his commandments , so that we might rejoice in his ordinances. [12] The Lord will judge the world impartially. Each man will receive payment in accord with his deeds -- if he was good, his righteousness precedes him; if he was wicked, the reward of wickedness goes before him! [13] Thus on no account should we slumber in our sins [4:2; cf. 4:6b] by relaxing as "those who have been called" -- and the wicked Archon will take advantage of his power over us [2:1] and push us away from the kingdom of the Lord [2:10b]. [14] And finally, my brethren, understand this: When you notice what great signs and wonders were performed in Israel [5:8] and still they have been abandoned, let us take heed lest we be found to be, as it is written, "many called but few chosen" [see Matt. 22:14].

III. Why the Lord endured suffering (5:1-8:7)

The Lord endured fleshly suffering to purify us (5:1-2)

[5:1] For it was for this reason that the Lord submitted to deliver his flesh to destruction, that by the forgiveness of sins we might be purified [8:1] -- that is, by the sprinkling (for purification) of his blood. [2] For it is written concerning him -- partly with reference to Israel [6:7b] and partly to us -- and it says thus:

Parenthetical admonition to exercise gnosis (5:3-4)

     [3] We ought, therefore, to give heartfelt thanks to the Lord because he has both given us gnosis of the things which have come to pass, and has given us wisdom in the present events -- nor are we without understanding concerning what is about to happen [1:7; 17:1 f.]. [4] But the scripture says:

[4b] This is what it is saying: It is just that a man should perish if, although he has gnosis of the Way of Righteousness, he becomes ensnared in the Way of Darkness.

The Lord endured to fulfill the promise(s) (5:5-7)

    [5] And furthermore, my brethren, consider this: if the Lord submitted to suffer for our souls -- he who is Lord of the whole world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world:

-- then how is it that he submitted to suffer at the hand of men? [Cf. 7:2] Learn! [6] The prophets, after they had received special insight from him, prophesied concerning him. And he submitted so that he might break the power of Death and demonstrate the resurrection from the dead -- thus it was necessary for him to be manifested in flesh. [7] Also (he submitted) so that he might fulfill the promise to the fathers [14:1] and, while he was preparing the new people for himself and while he was still on earth, to prove that after he has brought about the resurrection he will judge.

The Lord endured in flesh so that sinners could see him (5:8-10)

    [8] Furthermore, although he was teaching Israel and doing such great wonders and signs [4:14], the result was not that they loved him dearly for his preaching! [9] But when he chose his own apostles who were destined to preach his gospel [8:3] -- men who were sinful beyond measure so that he might prove that he came not to call righteous but sinners [Mark 2: 17b parr.] -- it was then that he revealed himself as God's Son [12:10]. [10] For if he had not come in flesh, how could men be saved by looking at him? They cannot even gaze directly into the rays of the sun, even though it is a work of his hands and is destined to cease existing! [15:5]

The Lord endured to complete the number of Israel's sins (5:11-14)

    [11] Thus the Son of God came in flesh for this reason, that he might bring to summation the total of sins [8:1-2; 14:5] of those who persecuted his prophets to death. [12] So also he submitted for this reason. [12b] For God says that the afflicting of his flesh [7:2] came from them:

[13] And he desired to suffer in such a manner, for it was necessary so that he might suffer on the wood [7:5; 8:5; 12:1, 5]. [13b] For one who prophesies concerning him says:
[14] And again he says:

Vindication of the Lord who endured (6:1-4)

[6:1] When, therefore, he made the commandment, what does he say?
[2b] And again, since he was established as a mighty Stone which crushes, the prophet says of him:
[3] Then what does he say?
[3b] Is our hope, then, on a stone? Not in the least! But he speaks in such a way since the Lord has established his flesh in strength. [3c] For he says:
[4] And again the prophet says:
[4b] And again he says:

Summary statement about the Lord's suffering (6:5-7)

    [5] I write to you more clearly so that you might understand . I am a slave devoted to your love.

    [6] What, then, does the prophet say again?

[7] Thus, since he was about to be manifested in flesh and to suffer [12:2a], his passion was revealed beforehand . [7b] For the prophet says concerning Israel [5:2]:

The good land of the new creation (6:8-19)

    [8] What does the other prophet, Moses, say to them?

[9] And what does "gnosis" say? Learn!
[10] What, then, does he say? "Into the good land -- a land flowing milk and honey" [6:8].

    [10b] Blessed be our Lord, brethren, who has placed in us wisdom and understanding of his secrets. For the prophet says:

    [11] Since, then, he renovated us by the forgiveness of sins , he made us to be another sort (of creation), as though we had a child's soul [cf. 3:6] -- he fashioned us again [cf. 6:9b], as it were. [12] For the scripture is speaking about us when he says to the Son [5:5]:

[12b] And when he saw how well we were formed [6:9b], the Lord said:
These things (he said) to the Son.

    [13] Again, I will show you how he says to us that he made a second fashioning in the last times. [13b] And the Lord says:

[13c] It is for this reason, therefore, that the prophet proclaimed: "Enter into the land flowing milk and honey, and exercise lordship over it" [see 6:8]. [14] See, then, we have been fashioned anew! [14b] As he says again in another prophet:
that is, from those on whom he foresaw the Lord's spirit --
[14c] Because he was about to be manifested in flesh [5:1] and to dwell in us. [15] For, my brethren, our heart being thus inhabited constitutes a holy Temple to the Lord! [16:6-10] [16] for the Lord says again:
[16b] He says:
[16c] Therefore we are those whom he conducts into the good land!

    [17] What, then, is the "milk and honey"? Because the infant is initiated into life first by honey, then by milk. [17b] Thus also, in a similar way, when we have been initiated into life by faith in the promise [6:8, 14:1b] and by the word, we will live exercising lordship over the land. [18] But as it was already said above [see 6:12] : "And they shall increase, and multiply, and rule over the fish...." [18b] Who, then, is presently able to rule over beasts or fish or birds of heaven? [Cf. 10:3-5, 10] For we ought to understand that "to rule" implies that one is in control [see 2:1], so that he who gives the orders exercises dominion. [19] If, then, this is not the present situation, he has told us when it will be -- when we ourselves have been perfected as heirs of the Lord's covenant [14:5].

Transition back to the main theme of suffering (7:1-2)

[7:1] Understand, therefore, children of joy, that the good Lord revealed everything to us beforehand so that we might know whom we ought to praise continually with thanksgiving.

    [2] If, then, the Son of God, who is Lord and is about to judge the living and dead, suffered so that his being afflicted [5:2, 12b] might bring us life [12:5], let us believe that it was not possible for the Son of God to suffer except on our behalf.

Lessons from the Atonement ritual: the Fast and the scapegoat (7:3-11)

    [3] But he also drank vinegar and gall [see Ps. 69:21] when he was crucified. [3b] Hear how the priests of the Temple made even this clear, when the commandment was written:

[3c] The Lord gave such a commandment since he was destined to offer the vessel of the spirit as a sacrifice for our sins, so that the "type" which is based on Isaac's having been offered up on the altar [Gen. 22:9] also might be fulfilled. [4] What, then, does he say in the prophet?
pay attention more diligently --
[5] For what reason?
This is to demonstrate that he must suffer at their hands [5:11 ff.; 12:5].

    [6] Pay attention to what he commanded:

[7] But what do they do with the other?
[7b] Pay attention to how the type of Jesus is made clear! [8] And you shall all spit on and prick (that goat), and encircle
[8b] And when this has been done, the one who bears the goat brings (it) into the desert and takes the wool and places it upon a bush which is called raché, the buds of which we are accustomed to eat when we find them in the countryside. Thus of the raché alone are the fruits sweet.

    [9] What, then, does it mean -- pay attention -- that the one is placed on the altar [7:6] and the other is accursed [7:7a], and that the accursed one is crowned? [7:8a] [9b] Because they will see him then, on that day, wearing the scarlet robe around his flesh [5:1], and they will say:

[10] Now how is this like that situation? For this reason the goats were alike and handsome [7:6], equal, so that when they see it coming then [7:8b, 9b], they will be amazed at the similarity of the goat. [10b] Therefore notice here the type of Jesus who was destined to suffer.

    [11] And what does it mean that they place the wool in the midst of the thorns? [7:8b] It is a type of Jesus placed in the church, so that whoever desires to snatch away the scarlet wool must suffer many things because the thornbush is treacherous, and he must obtain it through affliction. [11b] In such a way, he says, those who desire to see me and to take hold of my kingdom [8:5] ought to take me through affliction and suffering [see Acts 14:22].

Lessons from the red heifer ritual (8:1-7) [see Num. 19:1-10]

[8:1] And what do you suppose is the type involved here, in that he commanded to Israel that those men in whom sins are complete should offer a heifer; and when they had slaughtered it, to burn it; and then the children should take the ashes and put them into a container; and the scarlet wool should be wrapped around a piece of wood -- again, note the type of the cross [see 12:1-7], and the scarlet wool [7:8-11] and the hyssop; and thus the children sprinkle the people individually in order to purify them from sins? [5:1] [2] Understand how it is told to you in such simplicity: the calf is Jesus; the sinful men who offer it are those who offered him to be slaughtered[5:2]. Then men (appear) no longer, (it is) no longer (concerned with) the "glory" of sinners! [Cf. 5:11] [3] Those who sprinkle are children [cf. 6:11], they are those who preach to us forgiveness of sins and purification of the heart, to whom he entrusted the authority to proclaim the gospel [5:9]. [3b] There are twelve (of the latter), for a witness to the tribes, since there are twelve tribes of Israel. [4] But why are there (only) three children who sprinkle? This is for a witness to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they are great before God.

    [5] And the fact that the wool is on the wood [8:1] signifies that the kingdom of Jesus [7:11b] is on the wood, and that those who hope on him will live forever [6:3a]. [6] But why are the wool and the hyssop together? Because in his kingdom there shall be wicked and vile days, in which we shall be saved. For the one whose flesh is distressed is cured by means of the hyssop's vileness!

    [7] Wherefore, the things which have come to pass [1:7] are clear to us, but hidden to them, because they did not hearken to the Lord's voice.

IV. Concerning circumcised understanding (9:1-10:12)

Exhortations to "hear" (9:1-4a)

    [9:1] For again, he speaks concerning the ears, how he circumcised the ears of our heart. The Lord says in the prophet:

[1c] And again he says:
[2] And again he says:
[3] And again he says:
these are mentioned as a witness [cf. Deut. 4:26]. [3b] And again he says:
[3c] And again he says:
[3d] Therefore he circumcised our ears, so that when we hear the word, we might believe.

False and true circumcision (9:4b-5)

    [4] But he also set aside [2:6; 16:2] the circumcision on which they relied. [4b] For he said that circumcision was not a matter of the flesh, but they became transgressors [5:11] because a wicked angel [18:1] "enlightened" them. [5] And he says to them:

here I find a commandment --
[5b] And what is he saying?
[5c] And again he says:

The meaning of Abraham's circumcision (9:6-9)

     [6] But you will say: And yet the people received circumcision as a special sign [Gen. 17:11]. But every Syrian and Arab, and all the priests of the idols also (are circumcised). Are they also, then, from their covenant? But even the Egyptians are in circumcision! [See Jer. 9:25 f.]

    [7] Learn, then, abundantly concerning everything, children of love [7:1; 21:9]; for when Abraham first gave circumcision, he circumcised while looking forward in the spirit to Jesus, and he received the teachings of the three letters. [8] For it says:

[8b] What, then, is the gnosis which was given him? (See 19:1c) Learn! [9:7] For a distinction is made in that the 18 comes first, then it says 300. Now the (number) 18 (is represented by two letters), J = 10 and E = 8 -- thus you have "JE," (the abbreviation for) "JEsus." " And because the cross, represented by the letter T (= 300), was destined to convey special significance , it also says 300. He makes clear, then, that JEsus is symbolized by the two letters (JE = 18), while in the one letter (T = 300) is symbolized the cross.

    [9] He who placed the implanted gift of his teaching in us knows! No one has learned From me a more trustworthy lesson! But I know that you are worthy [cf. 14:1b,4a].

The intention of Mosaic food restrictions (10:1-2)

[10:1] Now when Moses said:
he received in his understanding three doctrines. [2] Further, he says to them in Deuteronomy:
[2b] Therefore it is not God's commandment that they (literally) should not eat, but Moses spoke in the spirit.

The three doctrines of Moses (10:3-5) [tradition 1, see 10:1]

    [3] For this reason, then, he mentions the "pig": Do not associate, he is saying, with such men -- men who are like pigs. That is, men who forget their Lord when they are well off, but when they are in need, they acknowledge the Lord; [3b] just as when the pig is feeding it ignores its keeper, but when it is hungry it makes a din, and after it partakes it is quiet again [10:10c].

    [4] "Neither eat the eagle nor the hawk nor the kite nor the crow." Do not, he is saying, associate with nor be like such men -- men who do not know how to procure their own food by honest labor and sweat, but in their lawlessness they plunder the possessions of others, and they keep sharp watch as they walk around in apparent innocence, and spy out whom they might despoil by plundering; [4b] just as those birds are unique in not procuring their own food, but as they perch idly by, they seek how they might devour the flesh of others-pestilent creatures in their wickedness! [10: 10d]

    [5] "And do not eat," he says, "sea eel nor octopus nor cuttlefish." Do not, he is saying, be like such men -- men who are completely impious and have already been condemned to death [see 11:7*]; [5b] just as those fish are uniquely cursed and loiter in the depths, not swimming about as do the rest but inhabiting the murky region beneath the deep water [10:10b].

The three doctrines on sexual sins (10:6-8) [tradition 2]

    [6] But neither shall you eat the hairy-footed animal [Lev. 11:5; Deut. 14:7]. Why not? Do not be, he is saying, one who corrupts children, nor be like such people; [6b] because the hare increases unduly its discharge each year, and thus has as many holes as it is years old.

    [7] But neither shall you eat the hyena [cf. Jer. 12:9 LXX/OG]. Do not, he is saying, be an adulterer nor a corrupter, nor be like such people. [7b] Why? Because this animal changes its nature each year, and at one time it is male while at another it is female.

    [8] But also he hated the weasel [see Lev. 11:29], fittingly. Do not, he is saying, be such a person. We hear of such men, who perform a lawless deed uncleanly with the mouth. Neither associate with those unclean women who perform the lawless deed with the mouth. [8b] For this animal conceives through its mouth.

Summary and support from David (10:9-10d)

    [9] Concerning foods, then, when Moses received the three doctrines [10:1] he spoke out thus, in the spirit [10:2b]. But because of fleshly desires they accepted his words as though they concerned actual food [10:2b; cf. 9:4b].

    [10] And David also received gnosis of the same three doctrines [10:1] -- and he says [Ps. 1:1]:

just as the fish which grope in darkness in the depths [10:5b] -- just as those who appear to fear the Lord sin like the pig [10:3] -- just like the birds perched for plundering [10:4b].

Moses' positive food laws, conclusion (10:10e-12)

    [10e] Now receive complete (understanding) concerning food. [11] Moses says again:

[11b] What is he saying (about the latter)? That (the animal)which receives fodder knows who feeds it, and while it relies on him, it seems content [cf. 10:3, 10c]. He spoke fittingly in view of the commandment. [11c] What, then is he saying? Associate with those who fear the Lord, with those who meditate in their heart on the subtleties of the matter, with those who proclaim the Lord's righteous ordinances and keep them, with those who realize that study is a joyful occupation, and who "ruminate" on the Lord's word. [11d] And what does the "split-hooved" mean? That the righteous man both walks in this world and anticipates the holy aeon.

    [11e] See how appropriately Moses legislated! [12] But how could they perceive or understand these things? [See 9:4b] But since we rightly understand the commandments , we are speaking as the Lord desired. [12b] This is why he circumcised our ears and hearts [9:1, 4a], so that we might understand these things.

V. Baptism and the cross foreshadowed (11:1-12:11)

Transition to the new section (11:1a)

[11:1] But let us investigate whether the Lord was concerned to reveal beforehand concerning the water and concerning the cross.

Concerning the water (11:1b-5)

    [1b] First, concerning the water, it is written with reference to Israel how they never will accept the baptism which conveys forgiveness of sins, but they will build (cisterns) for themselves. [2] For the prophet says:

[4] And again the prophet says:

Concerning water and wood together (11:6-11)

    [6] And again he says in another prophet:

[8] Perceive how he referred to the water and the cross together.

    [8b] For this is what he is saying: "Blessed" [Ps. 1:1] are those who, having placed their hope in the cross [12:3], descend into the water. [8c] For the reward, he says, comes "at the proper time" [11:6] -- then, he says, I will repay. [8d] But as for the present, what does he say? "The leaves will not wither" [11:6]. He is saying this, that every word which flows forth from you -- through your mouth [see 16:9] -- in faith and love, will be a means of conversion and hope to many.

    [9] And again, another prophet says:

he is saying this, he glorifies the vessel of his spirit. [10] Then what does he say? [11] He is saying this, that we go down into the water full of sins and vileness, and we come up bearing fruit in our heart, having in the spirit fear and hope in Jesus. [11b] "And whoever eats from these will live forever" [11:10]. He is saying this: Whoever, he says, hears these things which are spoken and believes will live forever [cf. 6:3a].

Concerning the cross (12:1-7)

[12:1] Similarly, he explains again concerning the cross in another prophet who says: [1b] Again, you have (information) concerning the cross and the one who was destined to be crucified [cf. 12:2a, 7d].

    [2] And again he says in the (book of) Moses, when Israel was under attack from foreigners -- and so that he might remind those who were being attacked that they had been given over to death because of their sins [see 12:5b] -- the spirit says to Moses, in his heart, that he should make a type of the cross and of him who was destined to suffer [6:7; 12:1b]. [2b] If they do not, he is saying, place their hope on him, they will be under attack forever. [2c] Thus Moses piled one shield upon another in the midst of the battle, and as he stood elevated above them all he stretched out his hands. And as long as he did so, Israel again prevailed; but whenever he let (his hands) drop, they were again being killed [Exod. 17:8-15]. [3] Why? So that they might know that they could not be saved unless they hope on him.

    [4] And again, in another prophet he says:

    [5] Again, Moses makes a type of Jesus -- (signifying) that it was necessary for him to suffer [5:13a; 7:5] and that he whom they supposed had perished [see 7:9b] would bestow life [7:2; 12:7b] -- in the standard (set up) when Israel was smitten (by a plague). [5b] For the Lord made every serpent to bite, them and they were dying, so that he might demonstrate to them that it was because of their transgression -- since transgression took root in Eve because of the serpent [Gen. 3:1 ff.] -- that they will be given over to mortal affliction [12:2a].

    [6] Furthermore, it is this same Moses who commanded,

he it is who makes (such an image) in order to provide a type of Jesus.

    [6b] Moses, then, makes a bronze serpent and sets it up in a prominent place and calls the people together by means of a proclamation. [7] Therefore, when they came together they begged Moses to offer a prayer on their behalf, that they might be healed. [7b] But Moses said to them:

    [7d] Again, you have also in these things the glory of Jesus [cf. 12:1b] -- for all things take place in him and for his sake [cf. Rom. 11:36].

Whose Son is "Jesus"? (12:8-11)

    [8] Again, what does Moses say to "Jesus" son of Naue, when he had given this name to him [Num. 13:8, 16] who was a prophet [Sirach 46: 1; cf. Deut. 18:15] so that all the people might hearken things clear concerning his Son "Jesus." [9] Thus Moses says to "Jesus" son of Naue, to whom he had given this name when he sent him to spy out the land:

[10] Again, notice "Jesus" -- not the son of a man but the Son of God, and manifested in flesh by a type.

    [10b] Since, then, they were going to say that Messiah is David's Son, David himself -- fearing and perceiving the error of the sinners [8:1] -- prophesies:

[11] And again, Isaiah says as follows: [11b] Notice how David says he is "Lord," and does not say "Son."

VI. The covenant and its recipients (13:1-14:9)

Transition to the new section (13:1)

13 But let us see if this people is the heir [13:6; 14:4 f.] or the former people, and if the covenant is for us or for them [4:6b].

The "Two People" (13:2-14:1a)

    [2] Therefore, hear what the scripture says concerning "the people":

[3] You ought to perceive who Isaac (represents) and who Rebecca, and with reference to whom he had pointed out that "this people" is "greater" than "that."

    [4] And in another prophecy Jacob says it even more clearly to his son Joseph, when he says:

[5] And he brought Ephraim and Manasse near, intending that Manasse should receive the blessing since he was older -- thus Joseph brought (the latter) to his father Jacob's right hand [Gen. 48:13]. [5b] But Jacob saw, in the spirit, a type of "the people" which was to come afterward. [5c] And what does it say? And thus (Ephraim) received the blessing [Gen. 48:18-20]. [6] Take note on which of them he placed (his right hand) -- this "people" is to be first, and heir of the covenant! [13:1]

    [7] Was, then, this situation also in view in the case of Abraham? We are receiving the perfection of our gnosis! [7b] What, then, does he say to Abraham when for his belief alone he was established in righteousness? [see Gen. 15:6]

[14:1] Indeed, it was!

The Covenant given and received (14:1b-9)

    [1b] But let us see if he has given the covenant which he promised the fathers [5:7] he would give to "the people." [1c] He has given it, but they were not worthy to receive it because of their sins [14:5]. [2]For the prophet says:

[4] Moses, then, received (it), but they did not prove worthy.

    [4b] And how did we receive it? Learn! Moses received it in the capacity of servant [see Exod. 14:31; Heb. 3:5]; but the Lord himself gave it to us, to a "people" of inheritance, by submitting for us [5:1]. [5] And he was made manifest so that they might fill up the measure of their sins [5:11], and we might receive it through Jesus, who inherits the Lord's covenant -- [5b] he was prepared for this reason, that by appearing himself and liberating from darkness our hearts which had already been paid over to death and given over to the lawlessness of error [16:7b], he might establish a covenant in us by a word. [6] For it is written how the Father commanded him to prepare a holy people for himself [5:7] when he had liberated us from the darkness. [7] Therefore the prophet says:

[7b] Know, then, whence we were liberated! [8] Again the prophet says: [9] Again the prophet says:

VII. Concerning the Sabbath (15:1-9)

[15:1] And furthermore, concerning the sabbath. It is written in the "Ten Words" by which (the Lord) spoke to Moses face to face [see Exod. 33:11; Deut. 5:4; 34:10] on Mount Sinai: [2] And elsewhere he says:

    [3] He mentions "the sabbath" at the beginning of creation:

    [4] Pay attention, children, to what he says: "He finished in six days." He is saying this, that in six thousand years the Lord will finish everything. For with him the "day" signifies a thousand years. [4b] And he bears me witness (on this point) saying:

[4c] Therefore, children, "in six days" -- in six thousand years -- "everything" will be "finished."

     [5] "And he rested on the seventh day" [15:3b]. He is saying this: When his Son comes he will put an end to the time of the Lawless One, and judge the impious [cf. 10:5; 11:7], and change the sun [5:10] and moon and stars -- then he will truly rest "on the seventh day."

    [6] Furthermore he says: "Keep it holy with clean hands and a clean heart" [15:1b]. [6b] If, then, anyone at present is able, by being clean in heart, to keep holy the day which God hallowed, we have been deceived in everything! [Cf. 9:4b; 16:1] [7] But if he keeps it holy at that time by truly resting [15:5b], when we ourselves are able (to do so) since we have been made righteous [cf. 4:10] and have received the promise [6:19] -- when lawlessness is no more and all things have been made new by the Lord [6:13; 15:5] -- at that time we will be able to keep it holy, when we ourselves first have been made holy!

    [8] Further, he says to them [see 2:5b]:

[8b] See how he is saying that it is not your present sabbaths that are acceptable to me, but that (sabbath) which I have made, in which, when I have rested everything, I will make the beginning of an eighth day -- that is, the beginning of another world [see 6:13; 16:6c]. [9] Wherefore also we observe the eighth day as a time of rejoicing, for on it Jesus both arose from the dead and, when he had appeared, ascended into the heavens.

VIII. Concerning the Temple (16:1-10)

The old, physical Temple (16:1-5)

16 And finally, concerning the Temple. I will show you how those wretched men, when they went astray, placed their hope on the building and not on their God who created them -- as though God has a house! [2] For, roughly speaking, they consecrated him by means of the Temple, as the pagans do! [2b] But how does the Lord speak when he sets it aside? [2:6; 9:4b] Learn! [2c] You knew that their hope [16:1] was vain!

    [3] Furthermore, he says again:

[4] It is happening. For because of their fighting it was torn down by the enemies. And now the very servants of the enemies will themselves rebuild it.

    [5] Again, it was made clear that the city and the Temple and the people of Israel were destined to be abandoned. [5b] For the scripture says [cf. 5:12b]:

[5c] And it happened just as the Lord announced!

The new, spiritual Temple (16:6-10)

    [6] But let us inquire whether there is a Temple of God? There is, where he himself says he makes and prepares (it)! [6b] For it is written:

[7] Thus I find that there is a Temple.

    [7b] How, then, will it "be built in the Lord's Name"? Learn! Before we believed in God the dwelling place of our heart was corrupt and infirm -- truly a Temple built by human hands [see 2:6, Acts 7:48]. For it was full of idolatry, and was a house of demons, through doing whatever things were contrary to God. [8] But "it will be built in the Lord's Name" - - pay attention -- so that the Temple of the Lord may be "built gloriously." [8b] How? Learn! When we receive the forgiveness of sins and place our hope on the Name, we become new, created again from the beginning. Wherefore God truly dwells in our "dwelling place" -- in us [6:15]. [9] In what way? The word of his faith, the invitation of his promise, the wisdom of his righteous ordinances, the commandments of his teaching [18:1a]; himself prophesying in us, himself dwelling in us -- by opening for us the door of the Temple, which is the mouth, and giving us repentance, he leads those who had been in bondage to death [14:5]into the incorruptible Temple. [10] For he who longs to be saved looks not to the (external) man, but to him who dwells in him and speaks in him, and he is amazed at the fact that he never either had heard him speak such words from his mouth nor had himself ever desired to hear (them)! [10b] This is a pneumatic Temple built for the Lord!

Conclusion (17:1-2)

[17:1] To the best of my ability, and in simplicity, (I have tried) to make (these things) clear to you -- I hope that I have not neglected anything (vital). [2] For if I keep writing to you concerning things present or to come [1:5; 5:3], you would never comprehend because they are contained in parables . [2b] So much, on the one hand, for these matters.

The Two Ways (Barn. 18:1-21:9; Did. 1:1-6:2)

Introduction (Barn. 18:1-2; Did. 1:1a-1b)

    [18:1] But let us move on to another gnosis and teaching.

There are two ways of teaching and authority: that of light and that of darkness. And there is a great difference between the two ways. For over one are appointed light-bearing angels of God, but over the other, angels of Satan [2] And the former is Lord from everlasting to everlasting, but the latter is ruler of the present time of lawlessness.

I. The way of light/life (Barn. 19:1-12; Did. 1:1c-4:14)

[19:1] Therefore, the Way of Light is this -- if anyone who desires to traverse the way to the appointed place is diligent in his works. Therefore, the gnosis which is granted to us to walk in it is of this sort [see 9:8b]:

II. The way of darkness/death (Barn. 20: 1-2; Did. 5: 1-2)


    But the Way of the Black One is crooked and full of cursing.For it is entirely a way of eternal death with punishment, which lie the things which destroy men's souls --

Conclusion to The Two Ways of Barnabas (21:1-9)


     Therefore it is fitting that when one has learned the ordinances of the Lord--as many as have been written-- he walks in them.

    [2] 1 urge those who are in a high position--if you accept any of my well-intentioned advice--to make sure that there are among you those to whom you may do that which is good. Do not fail in this. [3] The day is near in which all things will perish together with the Wicked One. The Lord is near, and his reward.

    [4] Once more and again I urge you; be good lawgivers among yourselves, persevere as faithful advisers to each other, remove all hypocrisy [20:1c] from among you. [5] And the God who has dominion over the whole universe will give you Wisdom, Insight, Understanding, Gnosis of his ordinances, Endurance [=2.3].

    6. Be taught by God [see 21.1a], seeking out what the Lord seeks from you; and so act that you may find (what you seek) in the day of judgment. [7] And if there is any remembrance of what is good, remember me as you meditate on these things, so that my earnest longing and my sleeplessness might lead to some good result.

    [8] I urge you, begging your favor, while the "good vessel" is still with you do not fail in any respect, but continually seek out these things and fulfill every commandment--for they are worthy. [9] Wherefore, I hastened all the more to write whatever I could [see 1:5; 17:1]. [9b] May you be saved, children of love and peace. [9c] The Lord of glory and of all grace be with your spirit.

Back to the (Non-canonical) Christian Gospels page