The General Epistle of Barnabas
Barnabas was a companion and fellow-preacher with Paul. The General Epistle of Barnabas is traditionally ascribed to Barnabas who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, although some ascribe it to another Apostolic Father of the same name, Barnabas of Alexandria, or simply attribute it to an unknown early Christian teacher. It is believed to have been written between 100 -131 AD.
Note: As with any apocryphal writing, Christians must take care to recognize historical writings regarding Christianity may have ulterior motives and thus, can contradict our biblical texts. They are presented here for research purposes.
Preface to the Epistle.
ALL happiness to you my sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us, in peace.
2 Having perceived abundance of knowledge of the great and 1 excellent 2 laws of God to be in you, I exceedingly rejoice in your blessed and admirable 3 souls, because ye have so worthily received the grace which was 4 grafted in you.
3 For which cause I am full of joy, hoping the rather to he 5 saved; inasmuch as I truly see a spirit infused into you, from the 6 pure fountain of God:
4 Having this persuasion, and being fully convinced thereof, because that since I have begun to speak unto you, I have had a more than ordinary good success in the way of 7 the law of the Lord which is in Christ.
5 For which cause 8 brethren, I also think verily that I love you above my own soul: because that therein dwelleth the greatness of faith and charity, as also the hope of that life which is to come.
6. Wherefore considering this, that if I shall take care to communicate to you a part of what I have received, it shall turn to my reward, 9 that I have served such good souls; I gave diligence to write in a few words unto you; that together with your faith, 10 knowledge also may be perfect.
7 There are therefore three 11 things ordained by the Lord; the hope of life; 12 the beginning and the completion of it.
8 For the Lord hath both declared unto us, by the prophets those things that 13 are past; and 14 opened to us the beginnings of those that are to come.
9 Wherefore, it will behoove us, 1 as he has spoken, to come 2 more holily, and nearer to his altar.
10 I therefore, not as a teacher, but as one 3 of you, will endeavor to lay before you a few things by which you may, on 4 many accounts, become the more joyful.
That God has abolished the legal sacrifices to introduce the spiritual righteousness of the Gospel.
SEEING then the days are exceeding evil, and the adversary has got the power of this present 5 world we ought to give the more diligence to inquire into the 6 righteous judgments of the Lord.
2 7 Now the assistants of our faith are fear and patience; our fellow-combatants, long-suffering and continence.
3 Whilst these remain pure in what relates unto the Lord, wisdom, and understanding, and science, and knowledge, rejoice together with them.
4 For God has manifested to us by all the prophets, that he has no occasion for our sacrifices, or burnt-offerings, or oblations: saying thus; 8 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord.
5 I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of 9 fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of he-goats
6 10 When ye come to appear before me; who hath required this at your hands? Ye shall no more tread my courts.
7 Bring no more vain oblations, incense is an abomination unto me; your new moons and sabbaths; the calling of assemblies I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting; your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hate.
8 These things therefore hath God abolished, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of any such necessity, might have the spiritual offering of men themselves.
9 For so the Lord saith again to those heretofore; 11 Did I at all command your fathers when they came out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt-offerings of sacrifices?
10 But this I commanded them, saying, 12 Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath.
11 Forasmuch then as we are not without understanding, we ought to apprehend the design 13 of our merciful Father. For he speaks to us, being willing that we who have been in the same error about the sacrifices, should seek and find how to approach unto him.
12 And therefore he thus bespeaks us, 14 The sacrifice of God (is a broken spirit,) a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.
13 Wherefore brethren, we ought the more diligently to inquire after these things that belong to our salvation, that the adversary may not have any entrance into us, and deprive us of our spiritual life.
14 Wherefore he again speaketh to them, concerning these things; 1 Ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
15 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? 2 Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
16 But to us he saith on this wise. 3 Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free; and that ye break every yoke?
17 4 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
18 5 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
19 6 Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry and he shall say, Here I am. If thou put away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 7 and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry; and satisfy the afflicted soul.
20 In this therefore brethren, God has manifested his 8 foreknowledge and love for us; because the people which he has purchased to his beloved Son were to believe in 9 sincerity; and therefore he has shewn these things to all of us, that we should not run as proselytes to 10 the Jewish law.
The prophecies of Daniel, concerning the ten kings, and the coming of Christ.
WHEREFORE it is necessary that searching diligently into those 11 things which are near to come to pass, we should write to you what may serve to keep you whole.
2 To which end let us flee from every evil work and hate the errors of the present time, that we may be 12 happy in that which is to come:
3 Let us not give ourselves the liberty of disputing with the wicked and sinners; lest we should chance in time to become like unto them.
4 For the consummation of 13 sin is come, as it is written, as the prophet Daniel says. And for this end the Lord hath shortened the times and the days, that his beloved might hasten his coming to his inheritance.
5 For so the prophet speaks; 14 There shall ten kings reign in the heart, and there shall rise last of all another little one, and he shall humble three kings.
6 And again Daniel speaks in like manner concerning the kingdoms; 15 and I saw the fourth beast dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had ten horns. 16 I considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before which were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. 17
7 We ought therefore to understand this also: And I beseech you as one of your own brethren, loving you all beyond my own life, that you look well to yourselves, and be not like to those who add sin to sin, and say: That their covenant is ours also. Nay, but it is ours only: for they have for ever lost that which Moses received.
8 For thus saith the Scripture: And Moses continued fasting forty days and forty nights in the Mount; and he received the covenant from the Lord, even the two tables of stone, written by the hand of God.
9 But having turned themselves to idols they lost it; as the Lord also said to Moses; Moses, 2 go down quickly, for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves, and turned aside from the way which I commanded them. 3 And Moses cast the two tables out of his hands: and their covenant was broken; that the love of Jesus might be sealed in your hearts, unto the hope of his faith.
10 Wherefore let us give heed unto the last times. For all the 4 time past of our life, and our faith will profit us nothing; unless we continue to hate what is evil, and to withstand the future temptations. So the Son of God tells us; Let us resist all iniquity and hate it.
11 Wherefore consider the works of the evil way. 5 Do not withdraw yourselves from others, as if you were already justified; but coming altogether into one place, inquire what is agreeable to and profitable for the beloved of God. For the Scripture saith; 6 Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their sight.
12 Let us become spiritual, a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies let us meditate upon the fear of God; and strive to the utmost of our power to keep his commandments; that we may rejoice in his righteous judgments.
13 For God will judge the world without respect of persons: and every one shall receive according to his works.
14 If a man shall be good, his righteousness shall go before him; if wicked, the reward of his wickedness shall follow him.
15 Take heed therefore lest sitting still, now that we are called, we fall asleep in our sins; and the wicked one getting the dominion over us, stir us up, 7 and shut us out of the kingdom of the Lord.
16 Consider this also: although you have seen so great signs and wonders done among the people of the Jews, yet this notwithstanding the Lord hath forsaken them.
17 Beware therefore, lest it happen to us; as it is written. 8 There may be many called, but few chosen.
That Christ was to suffer: proved from the prophecies concerning him.
FOR this cause did our Lord vouchsafe to give up his body to destruction, that through the forgiveness of our sins we might be sanctified; that is, by the sprinkling of his blood.
2 Now for what concerns the things that are written about him, some belong to the people of the Jews, and some to us.
3 For thus saith the Scripture: 9 He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, and by his blood we are healed. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
4 Wherefore we ought the more to give thanks unto God, for that he hath both declared unto us what is passed, 1 and not suffered us to be without understanding of those things that are to come.
5 But to them he saith; 2 The nests are not unjustly spread for the birds.
6 This he spake, because a man will justly perish, if having the knowledge of the way of truth, he shall nevertheless not refrain himself from the way of darkness.
7 And for this cause the Lord was content to suffer for our souls, although he be the Lord of the whole earth; to whom God said before the beginning of the world, 3 Let us make man after our own image and likeness.
8 Now how he suffered for us, seeing it was by men that he underwent it, 4 I will shew you.
9 The prophets having received from him the gift of prophecy, spake before concerning him:
10 But he, that he might abolish death, and make known the resurrection from the dead, was content, as it was necessary, to appear in the flesh, that he might make good the promise before given to our fathers, and preparing himself a new people, might demonstrate to them whilst he was upon earth, that after the resurrection he would judge the world.
11 And finally teaching the people of Israel, and doing many wonders and signs among them, he preached to them, and shewed the exceeding great love which he bare towards them.
12 And when he chose his apostles, which were afterwards to publish his Gospel, he took men who had been very great sinners; that thereby he might plainly shew, 5 That he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
13 Then he clearly manifested himself to be the Son of God. For had he not come in the flesh, how should men have been able to look upon him, that they might be saved?
14 Seeing if they beheld only the sun, which was the work of his hands, and shall hereafter cease to be, they are not able to endure steadfastly to look against the rays of it.
15 Wherefore the Son of God came in the flesh for this cause, that he might fill up the measure of their iniquity, who have persecuted his prophets unto death. And for the same reason also he suffered.
16 For God hath said of the 6 stripes of his flesh, that they were from them. And, 7 I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.
17 Thus he would suffer, because it behooved him to suffer upon the cross.
18 For thus one saith, prophesying concerning him; 8 Spare my soul from the sword. And again, Pierce my flesh from thy fear.
19 And again, the congregation of wicked doers rose up against me, 9 (They have pierced my hands and my feet).
20 And again he saith, I gave my back to the smiters, 1 and my face I set as an hard rock.
The subject continued.
AND when he had fulfilled the commandment of God, What says he? 2 Who will contend with me? Let him stand against me: or who is he that will impede me? Let him draw near to the servant of the Lord. Wo be to you! 3 Because ye shall all wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat you up.
2 And again the prophet adds, 4 He is put for a stone for stumbling. 5 Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a precious stone, a choice corner stone; an honorable stone. And what follows? And he that hope in him shall live for ever.
3 What then? Is our hope built upon a stone? God forbid. But because the Lord hath 6 hardened his flesh against sufferings, he saith, 7 I have put me as a firm rock.
4 And again the prophet adds; 8 The stone which the builders refused has become the head of the corner. And again he saith; 9 This is the great and wonderful day which the Lord hath made. 10 I write these things the more plainly to you that ye may understand: 11 For indeed I could be content even to die for your sakes.
5 But what saith the prophet again? 12 The counsel of the wicked encompassed me about. 13 They came about me, as bees about the honey-comb: and, 14 Upon my vesture they cast lots.
6 Forasmuch then as our Savior was to appear in the flesh and suffer, his passion was hereby foretold.
7 For thus saith the prophet against Israel: 15 Wo be to their soul, because they have taken wicked counsel against themselves, saying, let us 16 lay snares for the righteous, because he is unprofitable to us.
8 Moses also in like manner speaketh to them; 17 Behold thus saith the Lord God; Enter ye into the good land of which the Lord hath sworn to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, that he would give it you, and possess it; a land flowing with milk and honey.
9 Now what the spiritual meaning of this is, learn; 18 It is as if it had been said, Put your trust in Jesus, who shall be manifested to you in the flesh. For man is the earth which suffers: forasmuch as out of the 19 substance of the earth Adam was formed.
10 What therefore does he mean when he says, Into a good land flowing with milk and honey? Blessed be our Lord, who has given us wisdom, and a heart to understand his secrets. For so says the prophet, 20 Who shall understand the hard sayings of the Lord? 21 But he that is wise, and intelligent, and that loves his Lord.
11 Seeing therefore he has renewed us by the remission of our sins, he has 1 put us into another frame, that we should have souls 2 like those of children, forming us again himself 3 by the spirit.
12 For thus the Scripture saith concerning us, 4 where it introduceth the Father speaking to the Son; 5 Let us make man after our likeness and similitude; and let them have dominion over the beasts of the earth, and over the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea.
13 And when the Lord saw the man which he had formed, that behold he was very good; he said, 6 Increase and multiply, and replenish the earth. And this he spake to his son.
14 I will now shew you, how he made us 7 a new creature, in the latter days.
15 The Lord saith; 8 Behold I will make the last as the first. Wherefore the prophet thus spake, 9 Enter into the land flowing with milk and honey, and have dominion over it.
16 Wherefore ye see how we are again formed anew; as also he speaks by another prophet; 10 Behold saith the Lord, I will take from them, that is, from those whom the spirit of the Lord foresaw, their hearts of stone, and I will put into them hearts of flesh.
17 Because he was about to be made manifest in the flesh and to dwell in us.
18 For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a 11 holy temple unto the Lord. For the Lord saith again. 12 In what place shall I appear before the Lord my God, and be glorified?
19 He answers I will confess unto thee in the congregation in the midst of my brethren; and will sing unto thee in the church of the saints.
20 Wherefore we are they whom he has brought into that good land.
21 13 But what signifies the milk and honey? Because as the child is nourished first with milk, and then with honey; so we being kept alive by the belief of his promises, and his word, shall live and have dominion over the land.
22 For he foretold above, saying, increase and multiply, and have dominion over the fishes, etc.
23 But who is there that is now able to have this dominion over the wild beasts, or fishes, or fowls of the air? For you know that to rule is to have power, that a man should be set over what he rules.
24 But forasmuch as this we have not now, he tells us when we shall have it; namely, when we shall become perfect, that we may be made the inheritors of the covenant of the Lord.
The scape-goat an evident type of this.
UNDERSTAND then my beloved children, that the good God hath before manifested all things unto us, that we might know to whom we ought always to give thanks and praise.
2 If therefore the Son of God whet is the Lord of all, and shall come to judge both the quick and dead, hath suffered, that by his stripes we might live: let us believe that the Son of God could not have suffered but for us. But being crucified, they gave him vinegar and gall to drink.
3 Hear therefore how the priests of the temple did foreshew this also: 1 the Lord by his command which was written, declared that whosoever did not fast the appointed fast he 2 should die the death: because he also was himself one day to offer up his 3 body for our sins; that so the type of what was done in 4 Isaac might be fulfilled, who was offered upon the altar.
4 What therefore is it that he says by the prophet? 5 And let them eat of the goat which is offered in the day of the fast for all their sins. Hearken diligently (my brethren,) and all the priests, and they only shall eat the inwards not washed with vinegar.
5 Why so? because 6 I know that when I shall hereafter offer my flesh for the sins of a new people, ye will give me vinegar to drink mixed with gall; therefore do ye only eat, the people fasting the while, and lamenting in sackcloth and ashes.
6 And that he might foreshew that he was to suffer for them, hear then how he appointed it.
7 7 Take, says he, two goats, fair and alike, and offer them, and let the high priest take one of them for a burnt offering. And what must be done with the other? Let it says he be accursed.
8 Consider how exactly this appears to have been a type of Jesus. 8 And let all the congregation spit upon it, and prick it; and put the scarlet wool about its head, and thus let it be carried forth into the wilderness.
9 And this being done, he that was appointed to convey the goat, led it into the wilderness, 9 and took away the scarlet wool, and put it upon a thorn bush, whose 10 young sprouts when we find them in the field we are wont to eat: so the fruit of that thorn only is sweet.
10 And to what end was this ceremony? Consider; one was offered upon the altar, the other was accursed.
11 And why was that which was accursed crowned? Because they shall see Christ in that day having a scarlet garment about his body; and shall say: Is not this he whom we crucified; having despised him, pierced him, mocked him? Certainly, this is he, who then said, that he was the Son of God.
12 11 As therefore he shall be then like to what he was on earth, so were the Jews heretofore commanded, to take two goats fair and equal. That when they shall see (our Savior) hereafter coming (in the clouds of heaven), they may be amazed at the likeness of the goats.
13 Wherefore 12 ye here again see a type of Jesus who was to suffer for us.
14 But what then signifies this. That the wool was to be put into the midst of the thorns?
15 This also is a figure of Jesus, sent out to the church. For as he who would take away the scarlet wool must undergo many difficulties, because that thorn was very sharp, and with difficulty get it: 1 So they, says Christ, that will see me, and come to my kingdom, must through many afflictions and troubles attain unto me.
The red heifer, another type of Christ.
BUT what 2 type do ye suppose it to have been, where it is 3 commanded to the people of Israel, that grown persons in whom sins are come to perfection, should offer an heifer, and after they had killed it should burn the same.
2 But then young men should take up the ashes and put them in vessels; and tie a piece of scarlet wool and hyssop upon a stick, and so the young men should sprinkle every one of the people, and they should be clear from their sins.
3 Consider how all these are delivered in a 4 figure to us.
4 This heifer is Jesus Christ; the wicked men that were to offer it are those sinners who brought him to death: who afterwards have no more to do with it; the sinners have no more the honor of handling of it:
5 But the young men that performed the sprinkling, signified those who preach to us the forgiveness of sins and the purification of the heart, to whom the Lord gave authority to preach his Gospel: being at the beginning twelve, 5 to signify the tribes, because there were twelve tribes of Israel.
6 But why were there three young men appointed to sprinkle? To denote Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, because they were great before God.
7 And why was the wool put upon a 6 stick? Because the kingdom of Jesus was founded upon the cross; and therefore they that put their trust in him, shall live for ever.
8 But why was the wool and hyssop put together? To signify that in the kingdom of Christ there shall be evil and filthy days, in which however we shall be saved; and 7 because he that has any disease in the flesh by some filthy humors is cured by hyssop.
9 Wherefore these things being thus done, are to us indeed evident, but to the 8 Jews they are obscure; because they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
Of the circumcision of the ears; and how in the first institution of circumcision Abraham, mystically foretold Christ by name.
AND therefore the Scripture again speaks concerning our ears, that God has circumcised them, together with our hearts For thus saith the Lord by the holy prophets: 9 By the hearing of the ear they obeyed me.
2 And again, 10 whey who are afar off, shall hear and understand what things I have done. And again, 11 Circumcise your hearts, saith the Lord.
3 And again he saith, 12 Hear O Israel! For thus saith the Lord thy God. And again the Spirit of God prophesied, saying: 1 Who is there that would live for ever, 2 let him hear the voice of my Son.
4 And again, 3 Hear, O Heaven and give ear O Earth! Because the Lord has spoken these things for a witness.
5 And again he saith 4 Hear the word of the Lord, ye princes of the people. And again 5 Hear O Children! The voice of one crying in the wilderness.
6 Wherefore he has circumcised our ears that we should hear his word, and believe. But as for that circumcision, in which the Jews trust, it is abolished. For the circumcision of which God spake, was not of the flesh;
7 But they have transgressed his commands, because the evil 6 one hath deceived them. For thus God bespeaks them; 7 Thus saith the Lord your God (Here I find the new law) Sow not among thorns; but circumcise yourselves to the Lord your God. And what doth he mean by this saying? Hearken unto your Lord.
8 And again he saith, 8 Circumcise the hardness of your heart, and harden not your neck. And again, 9 Behold, saith the Lord, all the nations are uncircumcised, (they have not lost their fore-skin): but this people is uncircumcised in heart.
9 But you will say 10 the Jews were circumcised for a sign. 11 And so are all the Syrians and Arabians, and all the idolatrous priests: but are they therefore of the covenant of Israel? And even the Egyptians themselves are circumcised.
10 Understand therefore, children, these things more fully, that Abraham, who was the first that brought in circumcision, looking forward in the Spirit to Jesus, circumcised, having received the mystery of three letters.
11 For the Scripture says that Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen men of his house. 12 But what therefore was the mystery that was made known unto him?
12 Mark, first the eighteen, and next the three hundred. For the numeral letters of ten and eight are I H. And these denote Jesus.
13 And because the cross was that by which we were to find grace; therefore he adds, three hundred; the note of which is T (the figure of his cross). Wherefore by two letters he signified Jesus, and by the third his cross.
14 He who has put the engrafted gift of his doctrine within us, knows that I never taught to any one a more 13 certain truth; but I trust that ye are worthy of it.
That the commands of Moses concerning clean and unclean beasts, &c., were all designed for a spiritual signification.
BUT why did Moses say 14 Ye shall not eat of the swine, neither the eagle nor the hawk; nor the crow; nor any fish that has not a scale upon him?—answer, that in the spiritual sense, he comprehended three doctrines, that were to be 1 gathered from thence.
2 Besides which he says to them in the book of Deuteronomy, And I will give my statutes unto this people. Wherefore it is not the command of God that they should not eat these things; but Moses in the spirit spake unto them.
3 Now the sow he forbade them to eat; meaning thus much; thou shalt not join thyself to such persons as are like unto swine; who whilst they live in pleasure, forget their God; but when any want pinches them, then they know the Lord; as the sow when she is full knows not her master; but when she is hungry she makes a noise; and being again fed, is silent.
4 Neither, says he, shalt thou eat the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the crow; that is thou shalt not keep company with such kind of men as know not how by their labor and sweat to get themselves food: but injuriously ravish away the things of others; and watch how, to lay snares for them; when at the same time they appear to live in perfect innocence.
5 ( 2 So these birds alone seek not food for themselves, but) sitting idle seek how they may eat of the flesh others have provided; being destructive through their wickedness.
6 Neither, says he, shalt thou eat the lamprey, nor the polypus, nor the cuttle-fish; that is, thou shalt not be like such men, by using to converse with them; who are altogether wicked and adjudged to death. For so those fishes are alone accursed, and wallow in the mire, nor swim as other fishes, but tumble in the dirt at the bottom of the deep.
7 But he adds, neither shalt thou eat of the hare. To what end?—To signify this to us; Thou shalt not be an adulterer; nor liken thyself to such persons. For the hare every year multiplies the places of its conception; and so many years as it lives, so many it has.
8 Neither shalt thou eat of the hyena; that is, again, be not an adulterer, nor a corruptor of others; neither be like to such. And wherefore so?—Because that creature every year changes its kind, and is sometimes male and sometimes female.
9 For which cause also he justly hated the weasel; to the end that they should not be like such persons who with their mouths commit wickedness by reason of their uncleanness; nor join themselves with those impure women, who with their mouths commit wickedness. Because that animal conceives with its mouth.
10 Moses, therefore, speaking as concerning meats, delivered indeed three great precepts to them in the spiritual signification of those commands. But they according to the desires of the flesh, understood him as if he had only meant it of meats.
11 And therefore David took aright the knowledge of his threefold command, saying in like manner.
12 Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly; as the fishes before mentioned in the bottom of the deep in darkness.
13 Nor stood in the way of sinners, as they who seem to fear the Lord, but yet sin, as the sow.
14 And hath not sat in the seat of the scorners; as those birds who sit and watch that they may devour.
15 Here you have the law concerning meat perfectly set forth, and according to the true knowledge of it.
16 But, says Moses, ye shall eat all that divideth the hoof, and cheweth the cud. Signifying thereby such an one as having taken his food, knows him that nourisheth him; and resting upon him, rejoiceth in him.
17 And in this he spake well, having respect to the commandment. What, therefore, is it that he says?—That we should hold fast to them that fear the Lord; with those who meditate on the command of the word which they have received in their heart; with those that declare the righteous judgments of the Lord, and keep his commandments;
18 In short, with those who know that to meditate is a work of pleasure, and therefore exercise themselves in the word of the Lord.
19 But why might they eat those that clave the hoof?—Because the righteous liveth in this present world; but his expectation is fixed upon the other. See, brethren, how admirably Moses commanded these things.
20 But how should we thus know all this, and understand it? We, therefore, understanding aright the commandments, speak as the Lord would have us. Wherefore he has circumcised our ears and our hearts, that we might know these things.
Baptism and the Cross of Christ foretold in figures under the law.
LET us now inquire whether the Lord took care to manifest anything beforehand concerning water and the cross.
2. Now for the former of these, it is written to the people of Israel how they shall not receive that baptism which brings to forgiveness of sins; but shall institute another to themselves that cannot.
3 For thus saith the prophet: 1 Be astonished, O Heaven! and let the earth tremble at it, because this people have done two great and wicked things; they have left me, the fountain of living water, and have digged for themselves broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
4 Is my holy mountain a 2 Zion, a desolate wilderness? 3 For ye shall be as a young bird when its nest is taken away.
5 And again the prophet saith, 4 I will go before thee, and will make plain the mountains, and will break the gates of brass, and will snap in sunder the bars of iron; and will give thee dark, and hidden, and invisible treasures, that they may know that I am the Lord God.
6 And again: He shall dwell 5 in the high den of the strong rock. And then, what follows in the same prophet? His water is faithful; ye shall see the king with glory, and your soul shall learn the fear of the Lord.
7 And again he saith in another prophet: He that does these things; 1 shall be like a tree, planted by the currents of water, which shall give its fruit in its season. Its leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doth it shall prosper.
8 As for the wicked it is not so with them; but they are as the dust which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.
9 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, neither the sinners in the council of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly shall perish.
10 Consider how he has joined both the cross and the water together.
11 For thus he saith: Blessed are they who put their trust in the cross, descend into the water; for they shall have their reward in due time; then, saith he, will I give it them.
12 But as concerning the present time, he saith, their leaves shall not fall; meaning thereby that every word that shall go out of your mouth, shall through faith and charity be to the conversion and hope of many.
13 In like manner doth another prophet speak. 2 And the land of Jacob was the praise of all the earth; 3 magnifying thereby the 4 vessel of his spirit.
14 And what follows?—And there was a river running on the right hand, and beautiful trees grew up by it; and he that shall eat of them shall live for ever. The signification of which is this: that we go down into the water full of sins and pollutions; but come up again, bringing forth fruit; having in our hearts the fear and hope which is in Jesus, by the spirit. And whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever.
15 That is, whosoever shall hearken to those who call them, and shall believe, shall live for ever.
The subject continued.
IN like manner he determines concerning the cross in 5 another prophet, saying: And when shall these things be fulfilled?
2 The Lord answers; When the tree that has fallen shall rise, and when blood shall drop down from the tree. Here you have again mention made, both of the cross, and of him that was to be crucified upon it.
3 6 And yet farther he saith by Moses; (when Israel was fighting with, and beaten by, a strange people; to the end that God might put 7 them in mind how that for their sins they were delivered unto death) yea, the holy spirit put it into the heart of Moses, to represent both the sign of the cross, and of him that was to suffer; that so they might know that if they did not believe in him, they should be overcome for ever.
4 Moses therefore 8 piled up armor upon armor in the middle of a rising ground, and standing up high above all of them, stretched forth his arms, and so Israel again conquered.
5 But no sooner did he let down his hands, but they were again slain. And why so?—To the end they might know, that except they trust in him they cannot be saved.
6 And in another prophet, he saith, 1 I have stretched out my hands all the day long to a people disobedient, and speaking against my righteous way.
7 And again Moses makes a 2 type of Jesus, to show that he was to die, and then that he, whom they thought to be dead, was to give life to others; in the 3 type of 4 those that fell in Israel.
8 For God caused all sorts of serpents to bite them, and they died; forasmuch as by a serpent transgression began in Eve: that so he might convince them that for their transgressions they shall be delivered into the pain of death.
9 Moses then himself, who had commanded them, saying, 5 Ye shall not make to yourselves any graven or molten image, to be your God; yet now did so himself, that he might represent to them the figure of the Lord Jesus.
10 For he made a brazen serpent, and set it up on high, and called the people together by a proclamation; where being come, they entreated Moses that he would make an atonement for them, and pray that they might be healed.
11 Then Moses spake unto them, saying: when any one among you shall be bitten, let him come unto the serpent that is set upon the pole; and let him assuredly trust in him, that though he be dead, yet he is able to give life, and presently he shall be saved; and so they did. See therefore how here also you have in this the glory of Jesus; and that 6 in him and to him are all things.
12 Again; What says Moses to Jesus the son of Nun, when he gave that name unto him, as being a prophet that all the people might hear him alone, 7 because the father did manifest all things concerning his son Jesus, in 8 Jesus the Son of Nun; and gave him that name when he sent him to spy out the land of Canaan; 9 he said: Take a book in thine hands, and write what the Lord saith: Forasmuch as Jesus the Son of God shall in the last days cut off by the roots all the house of Amalek. See here again Jesus, not the son of man, but the Son of God, made manifest in a type and in the flesh.
13 But because it might hereafter be said, that Christ was the Son of David; 10 therefore David fearing and well knowing the errors of the wicked, saith; 11 the Lord saith unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
14 And again Isaiah speaketh on this wise. The Lord said unto 12 Christ my Lord, I have laid hold on his right hand, that the nations should obey before him, and I will break the strength of kings.
15 Behold, how doth 1 David and Isaiah call him Lord, and the Son of God.
The promise of God not made to the Jews only, but to the Gentiles also, and fulfilled to us by Jesus Christ.
BUT let us go yet farther, and inquire whether this people be the heir, or the former; and whether the covenant be with us or with them.
2 And first, as concerning the people, hear now what the Scripture saith.
3 2 Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah, because she was barren; and she conceived. Afterwards Rebekah went forth to inquire of the Lord.
4 And the Lord said unto her; There are two nations in thy womb, and two people shall come from thy body; and the one shall have power over the other, and the greater shall serve the lesser. Understand here who was Isaac; who Rebekah; and of whom it was foretold, this people shall be greater than that.
5 And in another prophecy Jacob speaketh more clearly to his son Joseph saying; 3 Behold the Lord hath not deprived me of seeing thy face, bring me thy sons that I may bless them. And he brought unto his father 4 Manasseh and Ephraim, desiring that he should bless Manasseh, because he was the elder.
6 Therefore Joseph brought him to the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob by the spirit foresaw the figure of the of the people that was to come.
7 And what saith the Scripture? And Jacob crossed his hands, and put his right hand upon Ephraim, his second, and the younger son, and blessed him. And Joseph said unto Jacob; Put thy right hand upon the head of Manasseh, for he is my first-born son. And Jacob said unto Joseph; I know it, my son, I know it; but the greater shall serve the lesser; though he also shall be blessed.
8 Ye see of whom he appointed it, that they should be the first people, and heirs of the covenant.
9 If therefore God shall have yet farther taken notice of this by Abraham too; our understanding of it will then be perfectly established.
10 What then saith the Scripture to Abraham, when he 5 believed, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness? Behold I have made thee a father of the nations, which without circumcision believe in the Lord.
11 Let us therefore now inquire whether God has fulfilled the covenant, which he sware to our fathers, that he would give this people? Yes, verily, he gave it: but they were not worthy to receive it by reason of their sins.
12 For thus saith the prophet: 6 And Moses continued fasting in mount Sinai, to receive the covenant of the Lord with the people, forty days and forty nights.
13 7 And he received of the Lord two tables written with the finger of the Lord’s hand in the Spirit. And Moses when he had received them brought them down that he might deliver them to the people.
14 And the Lord said unto Moses; 1 Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly, for the people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have done wickedly.
15 And Moses understood that they had again set up a molten image: and he cast the two tables out of his hands; and the tables of the covenant of the Lord were broken. Moses therefore received them, but they were not worthy.
16 Now then learn how we have received them. Moses, being a servant, took them; but the Lord himself has given them unto us, that we might be the people of his inheritance, having suffered for us.
17 He was therefore made manifest; that they should fill up the measure of their sins, and that we 2 being made heirs by him, should receive the covenant of the Lord Jesus.
18 And again the prophet saith; 3 Behold, I have set thee for a light unto the Gentiles, to be 4 the savior of all the ends of the earth, saith the Lord the God who hath redeemed thee.
19 Who for that very end was prepared, that by his own appearing he might redeem our hearts, already devoured by death, and delivered over to the irregularity of error, from darkness; and establish a covenant with us by his word.
20 For so it is written that the father commanded him by delivering us from darkness, to prepare unto himself a holy people.
21 Wherefore the prophet saith: 5 I the Lord thy God have called thee in righteousness, and I will take thee by thy hand and will strengthen thee. And give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. 6 To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
22 Consider therefore from whence we have been redeemed. And again the prophet saith: 7 The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me: he hath sent me to preach glad tidings to the lowly; to heal the broken in heart; to preach remission to the captives, and sight unto the blind; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of restitution; to comfort all that mourn.
That the sabbath of the Jews was but a figure of a more glorious sabbath to come, and their temple, of the spiritual temples of God.
FURTHERMORE it is written concerning the sabbath, in the Ten 8 Commandments, which God spake in the Mount Sinai to Moses, 9 face to face; Sanctify the sabbath of the Lord with pure hands, and with a clean heart.
2 And elsewhere he saith; 10 If thy children shall keep my sabbaths, then will I put my mercy upon them.
3 And even in the beginning of the creation he makes mention of the sabbath. 1 And God made in six days the works of his hands; and he finished them on the 2 seventh day, and he rested the seventh day, and sanctified it.
4 Consider, my children, what that signifies, he finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this; that in 3 six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end.
5 For with him one day is a thousand years; as himself testifieth, saying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, shall 4 all things be accomplished.
6 And what is that he saith, And he rested the seventh day: he meaneth this; that when his Son shall come, and abolish the season of the 5 Wicked One, and judge the ungodly; and shall change the sun and the moon, and the stars; then he shall gloriously rest in that seventh day.
7 He adds lastly; Thou shalt sanctify it with clean hands and a pure heart. Wherefore we are greatly deceived if we imagine that any one can now sanctify that day which God has made holy, without having a heart pure in all things.
8 Behold therefore he will then truly sanctify it with blessed rest, when we (having received the righteous promise, when iniquity shall be no more, all things being renewed by the Lord) shall be able to sanctify it, being ourselves first made holy.
9 Lastly, he saith unto them: 6 Your new moons and you: sabbaths I cannot bear them. Consider what he means by it; the sabbaths, says he, which ye now keep are not acceptable unto me, but those which I have made; when resting from all things I shall 7 begin the eighth day, that is, the beginning of the other world.
10 For which cause we observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus rose from the dead; and having manifested himself to his disciples, ascended into heaven.
11 It remains yet that I speak to you concerning the temple how these miserable men being deceived have put their trust in the house, 8 and not in God himself who made them, as if it were the habitation of God.
12 For much after the same manner as the Gentiles, they consecrated him in the temple.
13 But learn therefore how the Lord speaketh, rendering the temple vain: 9 Who has measured the heaven with a span, and the earth with his hand? Is it not I? Thus saith the Lord, 10 Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What is the house that ye will build me? Or what is the place of my rest? Know therefore that all their hope is vain.
14 And again he speaketh after this manner: 11 Behold they that destroy this temple, even they shall again build it up. And so it came to pass; for through their wars it is now destroyed by their enemies; and the servants of their enemies built it up.
15 Furthermore it has been made manifest, how both the city and the temple, and the people of Israel should be given up. For the Scripture saith; 1 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Lord will deliver up the sheep of his pasture, and their fold, and their tower into destruction. And it is come to pass, as the Lord hath spoken.
16 Let us inquire therefore, whether there be any temple of God? Yes there is; and that there, where himself declares that he would both make and perfect it. For it is written; And it shall be that as soon as the week shall be completed, the temple of the Lord shall be gloriously built in the name of the Lord.
17 I find therefore that there is a temple. But how shall it be built in the name of the Lord? I will shew you.
18 Before that we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corruptible, and feeble, as a temple truly built with hands.
19 For it was a house full of idolatry, a house of devils; inasmuch as there was done in it whatsoever was contrary unto God. But it shall be built in the name of the Lord.
20 Consider, how that the temple of the Lord shall be very gloriously built; and by what means that shall be, learn. 2
21 Having received remission of our sins, and trusting in the name of the Lord, we are become renewed, being again created as it were from the beginning. Wherefore God truly dwells in our house, that is, in us.
22 But how does he dwell in us? The word of his faith, the calling of his promise, the wisdom of his righteous judgments, the commands of his doctrine; he himself prophesies within us, he himself dwelleth in us, and openeth to us who were in bondage of death the gate of our 3 temple, that is, the mouth of wisdom, having given repentance unto us; and by this means has brought us to be an incorruptible temple.
23 He therefore that desires to be saved looketh not unto the man, but unto him that dwelleth in him, and speaketh by him; being struck with wonder, forasmuch as he never either heard him speaking such words out of his mouth, nor ever desired to hear them.
24 This is that spiritual temple that is built unto the Lord.
Of the way of light; being a summary of what a Christian is to do, that he may be happy for ever.
AND thus, I trust, I have declared to you as much, and with as great simplicity as I could, those things which make for your salvation, so as not to have omitted anything that might be requisite thereunto.
2 For should I speak further of the things that 4 now are, and of those that are to come, you would not yet understand them, seeing they lie in parables. This therefore shall suffice as to these things.
3 Let us now go on to the other kind of knowledge and doctrine There are two ways of doctrine and power; the one of light, the other of darkness.
4 But there is a great deal of difference between these two ways: for over one are appointed the 1 angels of God, the leaders of the way of light; over the other, the angels of Satan. And the one is the Lord from everlasting to everlasting; the other is the prince of the time of unrighteousness.
5 Now the way of light is this, if any one desires to attain to the place that is appointed for him, and will hasten thither by his works. And the knowledge that has been given to us for walking in it, to this effect: Thou shalt love him that made thee: thou shalt glorify him that hath redeemed thee from death.
6 Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich in the spirit. Thou shalt not cleave to those that walk in the way of death. Thou shalt hate to do anything that is not pleasing unto God. Thou shalt abhor all dissimulation. Thou shalt not neglect any of the commands of the Lord.
7 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, but shalt be humble. Thou shalt not take honor to thyself. Thou shalt not enter into any wicked counsel against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not be over-confident in thy heart.
8 Thou shalt not commit fornication, nor adultery. Neither shalt thou corrupt thyself with mankind. Thou shalt not make use of the word of God, to any impurity.
9 Thou shalt not accept any man’s person, when thou reprovest any one’s faults. Thou t shalt be gentle. Thou shalt be quiet. Thou shalt tremble at the words which thou hast heard. Thou shalt not keep any hatred in thy heart against thy brother. Thou shalt not entertain any doubt whether it shall be or not.
10 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbor above thy own soul.
11 Thou shalt not destroy thy conceptions before they are brought forth; nor kill them after they are born.
12 Thou shalt not withdraw thy hand from thy son, or from thy daughter; but shall teach them from their youth the fear of the Lord.
13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods; neither shalt thou be 2 an extortioner. Neither shall thy heart be joined to proud men; but thou shalt be numbered among the righteous and the lowly. Whatever 3 events shall happen unto thee, thou shalt receive them as good.
14 Thou shalt not he double-minded, or double-tongued; for a double tongue is the snare of death. Thou shalt be subject unto the Lord and to inferior masters as to the representatives of God, in fear and reverence.
15 Thou shalt not be bitter in thy commands towards any of thy servants that trust in God; lest thou chance not to fear him who is over both; because he came not to call any with respect of persons, but whomsoever the spirit had prepared.
16 Thou shalt communicate to thy neighbor of all thou hast; thou shalt not call anything thine own: for if ye partake in such things as are incorruptible, how much more should you do it in those that are corruptible?
17 1 Thou shalt not be forward to speak; for the mouth is the snare of death. 2 Strive for thy soul with all thy might. 3 Reach not out thine hand to receive, and withhold it not when thou shouldest give.
18 Thou shalt love, as the apple of thine eye, every one that speaketh unto thee the Word of the Lord. 4 Call to thy remembrance, day and night, the future judgment.
19 Thou shalt seek out every day the persons of the 5 righteous: and both consider and go about to exhort others by the, word, and meditate how thou mayest save a soul.
20 Thou shalt also labor with thy hands to give to the poor, 6 that thy sins may be forgiven thee. Thou shalt not deliberate whether thou shouldst give: nor, having given, murmur at it.
21 Give to every one that asks: so shalt thou know who is the good rewarder of thy gifts.
22 Keep what thou hast received; thou shalt neither add to it nor take from it.
23 Let the wicked be always thy aversion. Thou shalt judge righteous judgment. Thou shalt never cause divisions; but shalt make peace between those that are at variance, and bring them together.
24 Thou shalt confess thy sins; and not come to thy prayer with an evil conscience.
25 This is the way of light.
Of the way of darkness; that is, what kind of persons shall be for ever cast out of the kingdom of God.
BUT the way of darkness is crooked and full of cursing. For it is the way of eternal death, with punishment; in which they that walk meet those things that destroy their own souls.
2 Such are; idolatry, confidence, pride of power, hypocrisy, double-mindedness, adultery, murder, rapine, pride, transgression, deceit, malice, arrogance, witchcraft, covetousness, and the want of the fear of God.
3 In this walk those who are the persecutors of them that are good; haters of truth; lovers of lies; who know not the reward of righteousness, nor cleave to any thing that is good.
4 Who administer not righteous judgment to the widow and orphan; who watch for wickedness, and not for the fear of the Lord:
5 From whom gentleness and patience are far off; who love vanity, and follow after rewards; having no compassion upon the poor; nor take any pains for such as are heavy laden and oppressed.
6 Ready to evil speaking, not knowing him that made them; murderers of children; corrupters of the creatures of God; that turn away from the needy; oppress the afflicted; are the advocates of the rich, but unjust judges of the poor; being altogether sinners.
7 It is therefore fitting that learning the just commands of the Lord, which we have before mentioned, we should walk in them. For he who does such things shall be glorified in the kingdom of God.
8 But he that chooses the other part, shall be destroyed, together with his works. For this cause there shall be both a resurrection, and a retribution.
9 I beseech those that are in high estate among you, (if so be you will take the counsel which with a good intention I offer to you,) you have those with you towards whom you may do good; do not forsake them.
10 For the day is at hand in which all things shall be destroyed, together with the wicked one. The Lord is near, and his reward is with him.
11 I beseech you, therefore, again, and again, be as good lawgivers to one another; continue faithful counselors to each other; remove from among you all hypocrisy.
12 And may God, the Lord of all the world give you wisdom, knowledge, counsel, and understanding of his judgments in patience.
13 Be ye taught of God; seeking what it is the Lord requires of you, and doing it; that ye may be saved in the day of judgment.
14 And if there be among you any remembrance of what is good, think of me; meditating upon these things, that both my desire and my watching for you may turn to a good account.
15 I beseech you; I ask it as a favor of you; whilst you are in this beautiful 1 tabernacle of the body, be wanting in none of these things; but without ceasing seek them, and fulfill every command. For these things are fitting and worthy to be done.
16 Wherefore I have given the more diligence to write unto you, according to my ability, that you might rejoice. Farewell, children, of love and peace.
17 The Lord of glory and of all grace, be with your spirit, Amen.
The end of the Epistle of Barnabas, the Apostle, and fellow-traveller of St. Paul the Apostle.