The Epistle of Barnabas

Barnabae epistula

Barnabas. The Apostolic Fathers with an English Translation In Two Volumes. Vol. I. Lake, Kirsopp, translator. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd. 1912.

When therefore he made the commandment[*](Proofs from the Prophets) what does he say? Who is he that comes into court! with me? Let him oppose me; or, who is he that seeks justice against me? Let him draw near to the Lord’s servant.

Woe unto you, for ye shall all wax old as a garment and the moth shall eat you up. And again the Prophet says that he was placed as a strong stone for crushing, Lo, I will place for the foundations of Sion a precious stone, chosen out, a chief corner stone, honourable.

Then what does he say? And he that hopetli on it shall live for ever. Is then our hope on a stone? God forbid. But he means that the Lord placed his flesh in strength. For he says, And he placed me as a solid rock.

And again the Prophet says, The stone which the builders rejected, this is become the head of the corner, and again he says, This is the great and wonderful day which the Lord made.

I write to you more simply that you may understand: I am devoted to your love.

What then does the Prophet say again? The synagogue of the sinners compassed me around, they surrounded me as bees round the honeycomb and, They cast lots for my clothing.

Since therefore he was destined to be manifest and to suffer in the flesh his Passion was foretold. For the Prophet says concerning Israel, Woe unto their soul, for they have plotted an evil plot against themselves, saying, ‘Let us

bind the Just one, for he is unprofitable to us.’

What does the other Prophet, Moses, say to them? Lo, thus saith the Lord God, enter into the good land which the Lord sware that he would give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit it, a land flowing with milk and honey.

But learn what knowledge says. Hope, it says, on that Jesus[*](A contrast is here no doubt implied between that Jesus who will be manifested and the Jesus, or Joshua (the two names are the same in Greek) who led the Israelites over the Jordan.) who will be manifested to you in the flesh. For man is earth which suffers, for the creation of Adam was from the face of the earth.

What then is the meaning of into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey? Blessed be our Lord, brethren, who has placed in us wisdom and understanding of his secrets. For the prophet speaks a parable of the Lord: Who shall understand save he who is wise, and learned, and a lover of his Lord?

Since then he made us new by the remission of sins he made us another type, that we should have the soul of children, as though he were creating us afresh.

For it is concerning us that the scripture says that he says to the Son, Let us make man after our image and likeness, and let them rule the beasts of the earth, and the birds of heaven, and the fishes of the sea. And the Lord said, when he saw our fair creation, Increase and multiply and fill the earth; these things were spoken to the Son.

Again I will show you how he speaks to us. In the last

days he made a second creation; and the Lord says, See, I make the last things as the first. To this then the Prophet referred when he proclaimed, Enter into a land flowing with milk and honey, and rule over it.

See then, we have been created afresh, as he says again in another Prophet, See, saith the Lord, I will take out from them (that is those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw) the hearts of stone and I will put in hearts of flesh. Because he himself was going to be manifest in the. flesh and to dwell among us.

For, my brethren, the habitation of our hearts is a shrine holy to the Lord.

For the Lord says again, And wherewith shall I appear before the Lord my God and be glorified? He says, I will confess to thee in the assembly of my brethren, and will sing to thee in the midst of the assembly of saints. We then are they whom he brought into the good land.

What then is the milk and the honey? Because a child is first nourished with honey, and afterwards with milk. Thus therefore we also, being nourished on the faith of the promise and by the word, shall live and possess the earth.

And we have said above, And let them increase and multiply and rule over the fishes. Who then is it who is now able to rule over beasts or fishes or the birds of heaven? For we ought to understand that to rule implies authority, so that one may give commandments and have domination.

If then this does not happen at present he has told us the time when it will;—when we ourselves also have been made perfect as heirs of the covenant of the Lord.