Epistle of BARNABAS
Epistle of Barnabas (Alexandria, 70-135 CE)
The Epistle of Barnabas is a
theological tract (not an epistle) that discusses questions that have confronted
the followers of Jesus since the earliest days of his ministry: How ought
Christians to interpret the Jewish Scriptures? What is the nature of the
relationship between Christianity and Judaism?
Writing at a time when the level of antagonism between church and synagogue still ran high, the anonymous author of the "epistle" is concerned to prove that the death of Christ on the cross is a sacrifice that fulfills a plan set forth in the Old Testament (9.7-9). Throughout his interpretation of the Old Testament he takes a radically anti-Jewish attitude that was unique in primitive Christian literature. In a sustained attack upon Judaism, the writer declares that the distinctive enactments of the Mosaic Law, including animal sacrifices and the material temple, are mistakes arising from Jewish blindness and reliance upon an evil angel (9.4). By means of allegorical interpretation he imposes upon the Old Testament, including even the dietary laws in Leviticus, a meaning totally foreign to the intention of the original authors. The author attempts to show that only Christians understand the true meaning of the Scriptures (10.12) and that they are the true and intended heirs of God's covenant. In short, the Epistle of Barnabas is a good and early example of what became the dominant method of interpreting the Bible in the early and medieval church.
It is generally agreed that the author was from Alexandria, in view of his fondness of the allegorical approach for which Alexandria was well-known and the fact that all the earliest evidence for the existence of the document derives from there. It appears to have been written after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE (16.3-5) but before the city was rebuilt by Hadrian following the revolt of 132-135 CE. Within these limits it is not possible to be more precise.
The text has been reconstructed on the basis of the following witnesses:
codex Sinaiticus, 4th. c. (Greek)
codex Hierosolymitanus 1056 CE (Greek)
9 late related MSS (Greek)
a papyrus fragment of 9.1-6 (Greek)
translation of chapters 1-17 only (Latin)
1:1 |Hail, my sons and daughters,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath loved us in peace.
1:2 |I rejoice exceedingly and beyond measure at your happy and glorious spirit, since the ordinances of God are great and rich towards you, who have received the engrafted grace of the spiritual gift.
1:3 Wherefore, I congratulate myself the more, hoping to be saved, because I see of a truth the Spirit poured out upon you from the rich Lord of love. So greatly hath your longed-for appearance stricken me with amazement.
1:4 Being persuaded, therefore, of this, and knowing in myself that since I spake among you the Lord hath helped me in many things in the way of righteousness, I am altogether compelled to love you even beyond my own soul, because great faith and love dwelleth in you in the hope of his life.
1:5 Considering also this, that if I take care to communicate to you a part of that which I have received, it shall turn to my reward to have assisted such spirits as ye are, I gave diligence to write unto you in few words, in order that together with your faith, ye might have your knowledge perfect also.
1:6 For there are three doctrines ordained of the Lord: the hope of life, the beginning, and the end.
1:7 For the Master hath made known unto us by the prophets the things which are past, and the things which are at hand, and hath given us the first fruits of the knowledge of the things that are to come. Since, therefore, we see all these things severally working as he has spoken, we ought the more fully and loftily to approach to his altar;
1:8 but I, not as a master, but as one of yourselves, will show to you a few things, by means of which ye may even in this present rejoice.
2:1 |Since, therefore, the days
are evil, and the adversary hath the authority, we ought to take heed to
ourselves and seek out the ordinances of the Lord.
2:2 For the helpers of our faith are fear and patience, and they that fight on our side are
long-suffering and continence.
2:3 While these, therefore, remain pure in things relating to the Lord, wisdom and understanding, science and knowledge, rejoice together with them.
2:4 For God hath made known unto us through all the prophets, that he desireth neither sacrifices nor whole burnt offerings, nor oblations; for he saith in a certain place,
2:5 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices? saith the Lord. I am full of the whole burnt offerings of rams; I desire not the fat of lambs, nor the blood of bulls and goats, nor need ye come to be seen of me. For who hath required these things at your hands? Ye shall not add thereto to tread my court. If ye bring the fine flour, it is vain; incense is an abomination unto me; your new moons and sabbaths I cannot endure; your fastings and holidays and feasts my soul hateth.
2:6 These things, therefore, he hath made of none effect, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, being free from the yoke of necessity, might have an offering not made with hands.
2:7 Again, he saith unto them, Did I command your fathers, when ye came out of the land of Egypt, offer unto me whole burnt offerings and sacrifices? --
2:8 did I not rather command them this? -- Let each of you bear no malice against his neighbour in his heart, and love not a false oath.
2:9 We ought to perceive, since we are not void of understanding the meaning of the goodness of God our Father, because he telleth us, wishing to seek us who are wandering even as sheep, how we ought to approach him.
2:10 He therefore speaketh unto us in this wise: The sacrifice unto God is a broken heart; a smell of sweet savour unto the Lord is a heart that glorifieth him that made it. We ought, therefore, brethren, to examine accurately concerning our salvation, lest the evil one, making an entrance among us, should draw us away from our life.
3:1 |Therefore, he saith again,
concerning these things, unto them, Why fast ye unto me, saith the Lord, so that
your voice is heard to-day in its crying? This is not the fast that I have
chosen, saith the Lord, for a man to humiliate his soul;
3:2 nor if ye bend your neck as a ring, and put under you sackcloth and ashes -- not even then will ye call it an acceptable fast.
3:3 But unto us he saith, Behold the fast which I have chosen, saith the Lord, not that a man should humiliate his soul, but that he should loose every bond of unrighteousness, and untie the knots of the compacts of violence; set at liberty them that are bruised, and cancel every agreement of unrighteousness; break thy bread with the hungry, and if thou seest the naked, clothe him; bring them that are houseless into thy dwelling, and if thou seest a man that is lowly, despise him not, and turn not away from those of thy family;
3:4 then shall thy light break forth early, and thy garments shall spring up quickly, and justice shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall surround thee;
3:5 then shalt thou cry, and the Lord shall hearken unto thee; while thou art yet speaking he shall say, Lo, I am here: if thou put away from thee the league and the conspiracy, and the word of murmuring, and givest thy bread unto the hungry with all thine heart, and hast compassion upon the soul that is lowly.
3:6 The long-suffering God therefore having seen beforehand that the people whom he had prepared for his beloved would believe in simplicity, showed to us beforehand concerning all these things, that we should not come as strangers to their law.
4:1 |It behoveth, therefore, that
we, searching much concerning the things that are at hand, should seek out the
things that are able to save us. Let us fly, therefore, utterly from all the
work of unrighteousness, and let us hate the error of the time that now is, that
we may be loved in that which is to come.
4:2 Let us not give liberty unto our soul that it should have leave to run with sinners and evil men, neither let us be made like unto them.
4:3 The tribulation being made perfect is at hand, concerning which it is written, as Enoch saith, For to this purpose the Lord hath cut short the times and the days, that his beloved might make haste and come into his inheritance.
4:4 The prophet also speaketh in this wise: Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth; and there shall rise up after them a little king who shall humble three of the kings under one.
4:5 And in like manner Daniel speaketh concerning him: And I saw the fourth beast, evil and strong and harder than all the beasts of the earth; and I saw how there grew up from him ten horns, and from among them a little horn, growing up beside, and how it humbled under one three of the great horns.
4:6 Ye ought, therefore, to understand. And moreover I ask this of you, as being one among you, loving you especially and altogether, even above my own soul, that ye should take heed unto yourselves, and not be like unto certain men, by adding to your sins and saying that their covenant is also ours. Ours, indeed, it is; but they have lost it for ever, in this wise, after that Moses had already received it.
4:7 For the scripture saith, And Moses was in the mount fasting forty days and nights, and he received the covenant from the Lord; even tables of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Lord. But when they turned unto idols they lost it.
4:8 For the Lord saith thus unto Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly, for thy people, whom thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have done unlawfully. And Moses understood, and cast the two tables from his hands, and the covenant that was on
them was broken; to the end that that of the beloved Jesus might be sealed in our hearts in the hope of his faith.
4:9 Now, though I wished to write many things unto you, not as a master, but even as suiteth one that loveth you, not to fall short of the things that we have, I have been zealous to write unto you as though I were the offscouring of you. Let us, therefore, give
heed unto the last days; for the whole time of our faith will profit us nothing unless now, in the season of iniquity and among the stumbling-blocks that are coming, we resist as becometh the sons of God,
4:10 that the evil one may not have entrance unawares. Let us fly all vanity and hate perfectly the deeds of the evil way. Do not, entering into your own houses, dwell alone, as though ye were already justified, but coming together, inquire one with another concerning the common advantage.
4:11 For the scripture saith, Woe unto them that are wise in their own conceit and learned in their own eyes. Let us be spiritual: let us be a perfect temple unto God. So far as in you lieth, let us practise the fear of God, and strive to keep his commandments, that
we may be glad in his ordinances.
4:12 The Lord shall judge the world without respect of persons; each shall receive according as he hath done; if he be good, righteousness shall go before him, but if he be evil, the reward of wickedness shall be before him.
4:13 Let us give heed that we do not, as being already elect, take rest, and sleep in our sins, lest the ruler of wickedness, getting the mastery over us, thrust us from the kingdom of the Lord.
4:14 And, moreover, my brethren, consider this. When ye see that after so many signs and wonders that have happened in Israel, even then they have been abandoned, let us take heed lest, as it is written, many of us be called but few chosen.
5:1 |For on this account the Lord
endured to give his flesh unto corruption, that we might be sanctified by the
remission of sins, which is by the sprinkling of his blood.
5:2 For there are written concerning him certain things that pertain unto Israel, and certain other that pertain unto us. For he speaketh thus, He was wounded for our iniquities, and vexed for our sins; by his stripes we are healed. He was led as a sheep unto
the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before him that sheareth it.
5:3 We ought, therefore, to give especial thanks unto the Lord because he hath made known unto us the things that are past, and hath made us wise with regard to those that are at hand, neither are we without understanding as regards the future.
5:4 For the scripture saith, Not unjustly is the net stretched for the birds. Now this meaneth that a man will perish justly who, having a knowledge of the path of righteousness, shutteth himself up into the way of darkness.
5:5 Consider this too, my brethren; if the Lord endured to suffer for our souls, though he were the Lord of the whole world, to whom God said from the foundation of the world, Let us make man according to our image and according to our likeness, how then did
he endure to suffer at the hands of men? Learn ye!
5:6 The prophets having received the grace from him prophesied with regard to him. But he, that he might make death of none effect and bring to light the resurrection from the dead, because it behoved him to be made manifest in the flesh,
5:7 endured it, that he might give unto our fathers the promise, and by preparing for himself a new people, might show, while upon earth, that he will raise the dead and himself execute judgment.
5:8 Yea, further; though he taught Israel and did so many signs and wonders among them, yet they loved him not.
5:9 But when he chose out his own Apostles, who were about to preach his gospel, they were men unrighteous beyond all sin, that he might show that he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; then made he himself manifest that he was the Son of God.
5:10 For if he had not come in the flesh how could men have looked upon him and have been saved, since they cannot endure to look at the rays of the sun which must one day perish, and which is the work of his hands?
5:11 For this purpose did the Son of God come in the flesh, that he might sum up and finish the sin of them who persecuted his prophets unto death;
5:12 therefore he endured even unto this. For God saith that the smiting of his flesh it was from them. When they shall smite their shepherd, then shall the sheep of the flock be scattered.
5:13 But he himself wished thus to suffer, for it was necessary that he should suffer upon the cross; for he who prophesieth about him saith, Spare my soul from the sword, and again, Drive nails into my flesh, for the synagogues of evil men have risen against me.
5:14 And again he saith, Behold, I have given my back unto the scourging and my cheeks unto buffetings; my face also have I set as a hard rock.
6:1 |When, therefore, he made the
commandment what sayeth he? Who is he that disputeth with me? let him resist me;
or who is he that contendeth with me? let
him draw nigh unto the Son of the Lord.
6:2 Woe unto you, for you shall all wax old as a garment, and the moth shall devour you. And again the prophet saith, Since he hath been placed, as a strong stone, for crushing; behold I will place on the foundation of Zion a stone precious, elect, a chief corner stone of great price.
6:3 And then what saith he? And he that believeth in him shall live for ever. Is then our hope in a stone? God forbid. But it is thus said because the Lord hath made strong his flesh, for he saith, And he made me as it were a hard rock.
6:4 And again, The stone which the builders rejected hath become the head of the corner. And again he saith, This is the day, great and wonderful, which the
Lord hath made.
6:5 I write unto you the more simply that ye may understand. I am the offscouring of your love.
6:6 What then saith the prophet again? The synagogue of the wicked came around me; they surrounded me as bees do an honey-comb, and, over my garment they cast
6:7 Since, therefore, he was about to be made manifest and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was showed beforehand. For the prophet saith unto Israel, Woe unto their soul, for they have counselled an evil counsel among themselves, saying, Let us bind the
righteous because he is an encumbrance unto us.
6:8 And what saith the other prophet, even Moses, unto them? Behold, thus saith the Lord God: Enter into the good land which the Lord sware unto Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and inherit it, even a land flowing with milk and honey.
6:9 What saith the knowledge? Learn ye. Hope, it saith, upon Jesus, who is about to be manifested unto you in the flesh. For man is but earth which suffers; for, from the face of the ground was made the moulding of Adam.
6:10 What then meaneth he when he saith, Into the good land which floweth with milk and honey? Blessed be the Lord, brethren, who hath put into you wisdom and knowledge of his secret things. For the prophet speaketh a parable from the Lord. Who shall
understand, except he that is wise and skilful and that loveth his Lord?
6:11 Since, therefore, having renewed us by the remission of our sins, he hath made us of a new character, he willeth that we should have the souls of children, inasmuch as it is indeed he who hath formed us anew.
6:12 For the scripture saith concerning us, that he saith unto the Son, Let us make man after our own image and according to our likeness; and let them rule over the beasts of the earth, and the fowls of heaven, and the fishes of the sea. And the Lord said, when he
saw how excellent our form was, Increase and multiply and replenish the earth. These things he saith unto the Son.
6:13 Again I will show unto thee how the Lord speaketh unto us, since he hath made a second fashioning in these last days; the Lord saith, Behold I make the last even as the first. For to this purpose did the prophet preach. Enter ye into the land flowing with milk and honey, and have dominion over it.
6:14 Behold now we have been formed again, even as he saith again in another prophet: Behold, saith the Lord, I will take out from these, that is out of those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, the hearts of stone, and will put into them hearts of flesh, because
he himself was about to be manifested in the flesh and to dwell among us.
6:15 For the habitation of our heart is a temple holy unto the Lord.
6:16 For the Lord saith again, Whereby shall I appear before the Lord my God and be glorified? He saith too, I will give thanks unto thee in the assembly, in the midst of my brethren; I will sing unto thee in the midst of the assembly of the saints. We are, therefore, those whom he brought into the good land.
6:17 What, then, meaneth the milk and honey? It is because a child is kept alive, first with honey, afterwards with milk. So we, too, being quickened by faith in his promise and by his word, shall live and rule over the earth.
6:18 And we said previously, And let them increase and multiply and rule over the fish. Who then is he who is able to rule over the beasts, the fish, and fowls of heaven? For we ought to perceive that to rule belongeth to authority, so that a man by giving commands may exercise lordship.
6:19 If, therefore, this doth not take place now, he hath told us when it will; even when we ourselves have been made perfect, so that we become heirs of the covenant of the Lord.
7:1 |Ye perceive, therefore,
beloved children, that our good Lord hath manifested unto us all things
beforehand, to the end that we should know whom we ought to praise, returning
thanks for all things.
7:2 If, therefore, the Son of God, being he who is the Lord and who is about to judge the quick and the dead, suffered, to the end that his stripes might make us live, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer except on our account.
7:3 But being crucified, he was given to drink of vinegar and gall. How, then, did the priests of the temple signify concerning this? Now, the commandment is written in this wise: Whosoever shall not fast on the fast, he shall die the death, the Lord hath
commanded it. Since he also was about to offer the vessel that contained his spirit as a sacrifice, in order that the type might be fulfilled which was given by the offering of Isaac at the altar,
7:4 what saith he in the book of the prophet? And let them eat of the goat which is offered on the fast for the sins of all. Attend ye diligently thereto. And let the priests alone eat of the unwashed entrails with vinegar.
7:5 With what signification? Because ye will one day give me to drink of vinegar and gall, when I am about to offer up my flesh for my new people, eat ye it alone, while the people fast and lament in sackcloth and ashes. He commanded this in order that he might
show that he must needs suffer at their hands.
7:6 How, then, did he give his commands? Attend ye. Take ye two goats, fair and like each other, and offer them up. And let the priest take one of them as a whole burnt offering for sin.
7:7 But what shall they do with the other? Let the other, he saith, be accursed. Now attend ye, how the type of Jesus is made manifest.
7:8 And do ye all spit upon it and pierce it, and put scarlet wool around its head, and so let it be cast out into the wilderness. And when this hath been done, he who beareth the goat leadeth it out into the wilderness, and taketh away the wool and placeth it upon a bush, which is called rachel, the shoots of which we are accustomed to eat when we find them in the fields. Thus the fruit of the rachel only is sweet.
7:9 What, therefore, meaneth this? Attend ye. One is brought to the altar, the other is accursed, and the accursed one is crowned, because they shall see him in that day, who had the scarlet robe about his flesh, and they shall say, Is not this he whom once we set at
naught and crucified, and spat upon and pierced? Truly this was he who at that time said that he was the Son of God.
7:10 How then was the one like to the other? In this respect were the goats like him: they were fair and equal, so that when they saw him coming they were astonished at the likeness to the goat. Therefore, behold here the type of Jesus, who was about to suffer.
7:11 And what meaneth the wool placed in the midst of thorns? It is a type of Jesus, which hath been placed in the church. For he who wisheth to take the scarlet wool must suffer many things, because the thorn is terrible, and must after tribulation gain
possession of it. So he saith, They who wish to see me and to take hold of my kingdom must through trouble and suffering receive me.
8:1 |And what type, think ye, was
the commandment unto Israel, that the men in whom sin had been accomplished
should offer a heifer, and after they had slaughtered it should burn it, and
that children should then take the ashes and cast them into vessels, and place
scarlet wool and hyssop around a stick -- behold, again, the type of the cross
and the scarlet wool, -- and so the children should sprinkle the people one by
one, that they might be purged from their sins?
8:2 Behold, therefore, in what way he speaketh unto you with simplicity. The heifer signifieth Jesus; the sinful men who offer it are the men who brought him unto the slaughter. But now the men are no longer before us, no longer doth the glory belong to sinners.
8:3 The children who sprinkled are they who brought us the good news of the forgiveness of sins and purification of heart, to whom he hath given the authority of the gospel for the purpose of preaching, being twelve in number, for a testimony unto the
tribes, for twelve were the tribes of Israel.
8:4 And why, then, were the children who sprinkled three in number? For a testimony unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because these are great before God.
8:5 And what signifieth the wool upon the stick? Because the kingdom of Jesus is upon the cross, and because they who hope upon him shall live for ever.
8:6 And why are there at the same time the wool and the hyssop? Because in his kingdom the days in which we shall be saved shall be evil and filthy, because
also he that grieveth his flesh is healed through the purifying of the hyssop.
8:7 And these things having happened on this account are manifest unto us, but obscure unto them, because they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
9:1 |He saith also again
concerning our ears how he hath circumcised our heart. The Lord saith in the
prophet, They have hearkened unto me with the hearing of their ears; and again,
he saith, They that are afar off shall hear with their ears; they shall know
what I have done; and be ye circumcised, saith the Lord, in your heart;
9:2 and again, Hear, O Israel, for thus saith the Lord thy God; and again the Spirit of the Lord prophesied, Who is he that wisheth to live for ever? let him hearken unto the voice of my Son.
9:3 And again he saith, Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken these things for a testimony. And again he saith, Hearken unto the voice of the Lord, ye rulers of this people. And again he saith, Hearken ye children unto the voice of one
crying in the wilderness.
9:4 To this end, therefore, hath he circumcised our hearing, that when we hear his word, we should believe; for the circumcision in which they trust is done away with. For he hath said that circumcision is not that which was made in the flesh; but they have
transgressed, for an evil angel hath deluded them.
9:5 He saith unto them, These things saith the Lord your God, -- here I find a new commandment -- Sow not among thorns, but be ye circumcised unto your Lord.
And what saith he? Circumcise the hardness of your hearts, and harden not your neck. And again, Behold, saith the Lord, all the Gentiles are uncircumcised in their foreskin, but this people is uncircumcised in their hearts.
9:6 But he will say, Of a truth the people have been circumcised for a seal unto them; but so, also, hath every Syrian and Arabian, and all the priests of idols. Do they also belong to the covenant? But the Egyptians also are in circumcision.
9:7 Learn, therefore, children of love, richly concerning all things, that Abraham, who first gave circumcision, circumcised, looking forward in the spirit unto Jesus, having received the doctrines of the three letters.
9:8 For he saith, And Abraham circumcised out of his household eighteen and three hundred. What, then, was the knowledge that was given by this? Learn ye, that he mentioneth the eighteen first, and then, having made an interval, he mentioneth the three hundred. In the eighteen, IH, you have Jesus; and because the cross in the letter T was about to convey the grace of redemption, he mentioneth also the three hundred.
Therefore, he showeth Jesus in the two letters, IH, and the cross in the one, T.
9:9 He knoweth this who hath placed the engrafted gift of his teaching in us. No one hath had from me a more true account than this; but I know that ye are worthy.
10:1 |But in that Moses said, Thou
shalt not eat the swine, nor the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the crow, nor any fish
that hath not scales in itself, he had in his mind three doctrines.
10:2 For in the end he saith unto them in Deuteronomy, And I will arrange before this people my ordinances. The commandment of God is not, therefore, that they should not eat; but Moses spake in a spiritual sense.
10:3 He spake of the swine with this meaning: Thou shalt not cleave, he meaneth, unto men of this sort, who are like unto swine, for when they become wanton they forget their Lord, but when they are in want they think upon the Lord; even as the swine when it eateth knoweth not its lord, but when it is hungry it crieth, and when it hath received it is again silent.
10:4 Nor shalt thou eat of the eagle, nor of the hawk, nor of the kite, nor of the crow. Thou shalt not, he meaneth, cleave to, nor be like to men of this sort, who know not how to provide sustenance for themselves by labour and sweat, but in their iniquity seize the property of others, and, as though they walked in innocence, watch and observe whom they shall plunder, through their covetousness; even as these birds alone provide not sustenance for themselves by means of toil, but, sitting idle, seek out how they may eat the flesh of others, being destructive by reason of their wickedness.
10:5 And thou shalt not eat, he saith, of the lamprey, or the polypus, or the cuttle-fish. Thou shalt not, he meaneth, cleave to or become like unto men of this sort, who are impious unto the end, and have been already condemned to death, even as these accursed
fish alone swim in the depth, not floating as the others do, but dwelling in the earth below the depth of the sea.
10:6 Thus, he saith, Thou shalt not eat the hare, meaning thou shalt not indulge in unnatural lusts; 10:7 nor shalt thou eat the hyaena, meaning thou shalt not be an adulterer;
10:8 nor shalt thou eat the weazel, meaning thou shalt not do uncleanness with thy mouth concerning food;
10:9 therefore Moses spake in the spirit these three doctrines. But they, according to the lusts of their flesh, received them as being about meat.
10:10 And David receiveth knowledge concerning the same three doctrines, and saith in like manner, Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, even as the fish walk in darkness into the depths of the sea, and hath not stood in the way of sinners, even as they who pretend to fear the Lord sin as doth the swine, and hath not sat in the seat of the destroyers, even as the birds that sit for prey. Ye have also in the end a commandment concerning food;
10:11 but Moses said, Eat ye everything that is cloven-footed and that cheweth the cud. What meaneth he? He that taketh food knoweth him that feedeth him, and, resting upon him, seemeth to be glad. He therefore saith well, having regard to the commandment. What then meaneth he? Cleave ye unto them that fear the Lord, who walk in his commandments, which they have received in their hearts; unto them that speak of the ordinances of the Lord, and observe them, unto them who know that the practice of them is a work of gladness, and who meditate on the word of the Lord. But what meaneth that which cleaveth the hoof? It meaneth that the just walketh even in this world, and expecteth the holy life. Behold how well Moses hath made these laws;
10:12 but how was it possible for them to perceive or understand these things? But we, having rightly understood the commandments, speak them even as the Lord hath willed. On this account hath he circumcised our ears and hearts, that we should understand these
11:1 |Let us inquire, therefore,
if the Lord cared to show us beforehand concerning the water and concerning the
cross. Concerning the water it is written, with respect to Israel, how that they
will not receive the baptism that bringeth remission of sins, but will
establish one for themselves.
11:2 The prophet therefore speaketh in this wise, Be astonished, O heaven! and let the earth be afraid still more at this, because this people hath done two great and evil things: they have abandoned me who am the fountain of life, and have dug for themselves
11:3 Is my holy mountain of Zion a deserted rock? Ye shall be as the young of a bird which have flown when the nest has been taken away.
11:4 And again the prophet saith, I will go before thee and will lay low the mountains. And I will break the doors of brass and burst the bars of iron; and I will give unto thee the treasures of darkness hidden and unseen, that they may know that I am the Lord God;
and, He shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock.
11:5 Then what saith he of the Son? His water is faithful. Ye shall behold the king in his glory, and your soul shall practise the fear of the Lord.
11:6 And again, in another prophet, he saith, He that doeth these things shall be as a tree that groweth beside the watercourses, which giveth his fruit in his season; and his leaf shall not fall off, and whatever he doeth shall prosper.
11:7 Not so are the ungodly, not so; they are like the dust which the wind carrieth away from the face of the earth, wherefore the ungodly shall not rise up in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the just: for the Lord knoweth the way of the just, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
11:8 Ye perceive how he hath put together the water and the cross. For what he meaneth is this, Blessed are they who having hoped on the cross have gone down into the water. For he speaketh of a reward to be given at the due season; then, saith he, I will render
what is due unto you. But now in that he saith, Their leaves shall not fall off, he meaneth this, That every word that goeth out from your mouth in faith and love shall be for a refuge and a hope unto many.
11:9 And again another prophet saith, And the land of Jacob was praised beyond the whole earth. By so saying he meaneth this, He shall glorify the vessel that containeth his Spirit.
11:10 And what sayeth he afterwards? There was a river flowing on the right, and there grew up on its banks fair trees, and whosoever eateth of them shall live for ever.
11:11 By this he meaneth that we go down into the water full of sin and pollution, and go up bearing fruit in the heart, having in the spirit fear and hope toward Jesus. And whoever shall eat of them shall live for ever. He meaneth this, Whoever, he saith, shall
hear these words spoken and believe them shall live for ever.
12:1 |In like manner again he
signifieth concerning the cross in another prophet, who saith, And when shall
these things be fulfilled? The Lord saith, When the tree hath been bent and
shall rise up again, and when blood shall flow from the tree. You have again a
prophecy concerning the cross and about him who is about to be crucified.
12:2 And he saith again in Moses, when Israel was being made war upon by aliens, even that he might remind them while they were being made war upon, that for their sins they were being delivered over unto death, the Spirit saith unto the heart of Moses, that
he should make the form of a cross, and of him who was about to suffer, for if, he says, they shall not hope upon him, they will be made war upon for ever. Moses, therefore, arranges weapon against weapon in the midst of the battle, and standing higher than all, stretched out his hands, and so again Israel conquered; then, when he let them down, they were again slaughtered.
12:3 Wherefore? that they might know that they are not to be saved except they hope upon him.
12:4 And again, in another prophet, he saith, All day long have I stretched out my hands unto a people who are disobedient, and who speak against my righteous way.
12:5 Again, Moses maketh another type of Jesus, that it behoveth that he should suffer, and cause others to live, whom they thought that they had destroyed in figure when Israel was falling: For the Lord made every kind of serpent to bite them, and they died, since the transgression happened to Eve by means of the serpent, to the end that he might convince them that through their transgression they should be given over to the pangs of death.
12:6 For in the end Moses himself, after that he had given commandment, There shall not be among you a molten image or a graven image for a god, maketh one himself, that he might show a type of Jesus. Moses, therefore, maketh a brazen serpent, and setteth it
aloft, and calleth the people by a proclamation.
12:7 When, therefore, they had come together they besought Moses, that he should offer supplication for them concerning their healing. Moses therefore said unto them, When any of you is bitten let him come unto the dead serpent, that is placed upon the tree, and
let him believe and hope that, though it is dead, it is able to make him live, and immediately he shall be saved; and so did they. You have, therefore, again in these things also, the glory of Jesus, that in him and to him are all things.
12:8 What again saith Moses unto Jesus the son of Nun, after he had given this name to him, being a prophet, to this end alone, that all the people might hear that the Father revealeth all things concerning the Son, Jesus?
12:9 Moses therefore saith unto Jesus the son of Nun, having given him this name, when he sent him to spy out the land, Take the book into thy hands and write what the Lord saith, even that the Son of God, in the last days, will cut off the whole house of Amalek from the roots.
12:10 Behold, therefore, again Jesus, not the son of man but the Son of God, and by a type made manifest in the flesh. Since, therefore, they should one day say that Christ is the son of David, David himself prophesieth, being in fear and understanding the
deceitfulness of sinners, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
12:11 And again Esaias speaketh in this wise, The Lord said unto Christ, my Lord, whose right hand I have held, that the Gentiles should hearken before him, and I will break the strength of kings. Behold how David calleth him Lord, and doth not call him son.
13:1 |Let us inquire, therefore,
whether this people or the first people inheriteth, and whether the covenant is
unto us or unto them.
13:2 Hear, now, what the scripture saith concerning the people. But Isaac prayed for Rebecca his wife because she was barren, and she conceived. Then went forth Rebecca to inquire of the Lord, and the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two
peoples are in thy bowels, and the one people shall surpass the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.
13:3 We ought to understand who was Isaac and who was Rebecca, and concerning whom he declared that the one people was greater than the other.
13:4 And in another prophecy Jacob speaketh yet more clearly to Joseph his son, saying, Behold the Lord hath not deprived me of thy face; bring unto me thy sons, that I may bless them.
13:5 And he brought unto him Ephraim and Manasseh, wishing that he should bless Manasseh, because he was the elder. Joseph, therefore, brought him to the right
hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in spirit a figure of the people that should be hereafter. And what saith the Scriptures? And Jacob crossed his hands, and placed his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the second and youngest, and blessed him. And
Joseph said unto Jacob, Change thy right hand unto the head of Manasseh, because he is my firstborn son. And Jacob said unto Joseph, I know, my child, I know; but the elder shall serve the younger; but this one also shall be blessed.
13:6 Behold in what way he appointed that this people should be the first and heir of the covenant.
13:7 If, therefore, it were moreover mentioned through Abraham also, we have the perfecting of our knowledge. What, therefore, saith he unto Abraham, when he alone believed, and it was counted unto him for righteousness? Behold I have made thee, Abraham, a father of the nations who in uncircumcision believe in the Lord.
14:1 |Yea; but let us inquire
whether he hath given the covenant that he swear unto the fathers that he would
give unto the people. Verily he hath given it; but they were not worthy to
receive it on account of their sins.
14:2 For the prophet saith, And Moses was fasting in Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights, that he might receive the covenant which the Lord hath made with his people. And he received from the Lord the two tables that were written in the spirit with the finger of the hand of the Lord. And Moses, when he had received them, was bringing them down to the people for to give them.
14:3 And the Lord said unto Moses, Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly, for thy people, whom thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have done unlawfully. And Moses perceived that they had again made molten images, and he cast the tables from his
hands, and the tables of the covenant of the Lord were broken.
14:4 Moses indeed received them, but the people were not worthy. Hearken ye, therefore, how we have received them. Moses received them being a servant,
but the Lord himself gave unto us to be a people of inheritance, having suffered for our sake.
14:5 And he was made manifest, that both they might be made perfect in their sins, and that we, through him that inherited, might receive the covenant of the Lord Jesus, who, for this purpose was prepared, that by appearing himself and redeeming from darkness our hearts, which were already lavished on death, and given over to the iniquity of deceit, he might place in us the covenant of his people.
14:6 For it is written how the Father giveth commandment unto him, that having redeemed us from darkness, he should prepare for himself a holy people.
14:7 Therefore the prophet saith, I, the Lord thy God, have called thee in righteousness, and I will hold thy hand and make thee strong; and I have given thee for a covenant to the nation, for a light unto the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring out of chains them that are bound, and from the house of prison them that sit in darkness. We know from whence we were redeemed.
14:8 And again, the prophet saith, Behold, I have placed thee for a light unto the Gentiles, that thou shouldst be for a salvation even unto the end of the earth; thus saith the Lord God who hath redeemed thee.
14:9 And again, the prophet saith, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel unto the poor, he hath sent me to heal those that are broken in heart, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovery of sight to the
blind, to tell of the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense, to comfort all that mourn.
15:1 |And, moreover, concerning
the sabbath it is written in the ten commandments, in which he spake on Mount
Sinai unto Moses face to face: Sanctify ye the sabbath of the Lord with pure
hands and a pure heart.
15:2 And in another place he saith, If my sons shall keep my sabbath, then will I place my mercy upon them.
15:3 He speaketh, too, of the sabbath in the beginning of the creation: And God made in six days the works of his hands, and finished them on the seventh day, and rested in it and sanctified it.
15:4 Consider, my children, what signify the words, He finished them in six days. They mean this: that in six thousand years the Lord will make an end of all things, for a day is with him as a thousand years. And he himself beareth witness unto me, saying: Behold
this day a day shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, my children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, shall all things be brought to an end.
15:5 And the words, He rested on the seventh day, signify this: After that his Son hath come, and hath caused to cease the time of the wicked one, and hath judged the ungodly, and changed the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he rest well on the seventh
15:6 And further he saith, Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure heart. Who, therefore, can sanctify the day which the Lord hath sanctified, unless he be pure of heart? in all things have we been deceived.
15:7 Behold, that then indeed we shall be able to rest well and sanctify; even when we ourselves, having been justified, and having received the promise, when iniquity exists no longer, but all things have been made new by the Lord, we shall then be able to sanctify it, having been first sanctified ourselves.
15:8 And, further, he saith unto them, Your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot endure. See, now, what he meaneth. The sabbaths, that now are, are not acceptable unto me, but that which I have made is, even that in which, after that I have brought all
things to an end, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, which thing is the beginning of another world.
15:9 Wherefore we keep the eighth day as a day of gladness, on which also Jesus rose from the dead, and after he had appeared ascended unto heaven.
16:1 |And I will, moreover, tell
you concerning the temple, how these wretched men, being deceived, placed their
hopes in the building as if it were the habitation of God, and not on the God
who hath made them.
16:2 For almost after the manner of the Gentiles did they consecrate him in the temple. But what saith the Lord, making it of none effect? Hearken ye: Who hath measured out the heaven with his palm, or the earth with the flat of his hand, is it not I? saith the
Lord. Heaven is my throne, and earth the footstool of my feet. What house will ye build for me, or what shall be the place of my rest? Ye have known that their hope was vain.
16:3 And, yet further, he saith again, Behold they that have destroyed this temple shall rebuild it.
16:4 And so doth it happen, for through their war it has been destroyed by the enemy, and now both they themselves and the servants of their enemies shall rebuild it.
16:5 And again it was made manifest how the temple and the people of Israel should be given up to their enemies. For the scripture saith, And it shall come to pass in the last days that the Lord shall deliver up the sheep of his pasture, and their fold and their
tower shall he give up to destruction; and it happened according to that which the Lord had spoken.
16:6 Let us inquire, therefore, whether there be any temple of God. There is; even where he himself hath declared that he would make and perfect it. For it is written, And it shall be when the week is completed that the temple of God shall be built gloriously in
the name of the Lord.
16:7 I find, therefore, that there is a temple; how then shall it be built in the name of the Lord? Learn ye. Before that we believed in God the habitation of our heart was corrupt and feeble, as being of a truth a temple built by hands. For it was full of idolatry, and was a habitation of devils, because we did such things as were contrary to God;
16:8 but it shall be built in the name of the Lord. Attend ye: that the temple of the Lord may be built gloriously. But in what manner? Learn ye: having received the remission of our sins, and having hoped upon the name of the Lord, we have become new, having
been again created entirely. Wherefore God of a truth dwelleth in us as in an habitation.
16:9 How? The word of his faith, the calling of his promise, the wisdom of his ordinances, the commandments of his doctrine, he himself prophesying in us, he himself dwelling in us. To us, who were enslaved by death, he openeth the gate of the temple,
which is his mouth, and, giving us repentance, leadeth us into the temple incorruptible.
16:10 For he who desireth to be saved looketh not unto the man, but unto him that dwelleth in him and speaketh in him, wondering that he had never before heard him speaking such words out of his mouth, or even desired to hear. This is the spiritual temple
built by the Lord.
17:1 |So far as it is possible for
me to show you these things with simplicity, my mind and soul hopeth that I have
not omitted any of the things that pertain
17:2 for if I write unto you concerning the things that are at hand, or the things that will be hereafter, ye would not be able to understand them, because they are couched in parables. These things, therefore, are thus.
18:1 |Let us pass on now to
another kind of knowledge and instruction. There are two paths of instruction
and authority -- the one that of light, and the other that of darkness. But
there is a great difference between the two paths. For over the one are
as illuminators the angels of God, over the other the angels of Satan;
18:2 on the one side is he who is Lord from everlasting to everlasting, on the other is the ruler of the world that now lieth in wickedness.
19:1 |Now, the path of life is
this: If any one wishes to travel to the appointed place, let him hasten by
means of his works. Now, the knowledge of walking in it that is given unto us is
of this kind:
19:2 Thou shalt love him that made thee, thou shalt fear him that formed thee, thou shalt glorify him that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich in spirit; thou shalt not cleave unto them that go in the path of death. Thou shalt hate
whatever is not pleasing unto God; thou shalt hate all hypocrisy; thou shalt not abandon the commandments of the Lord;
19:3 thou shalt not exalt thyself; thou shalt be humble in all things; thou shalt not take glory unto thyself; thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbour; thou shalt not take audacity into thy soul.
19:4 Thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not pollute thyself with mankind: let not the word of God go forth from thee in corruption. Thou shalt not accept the person of any to reprove any man for transgression. Thou
shalt be gentle, thou shalt be quiet; thou shalt tremble at the words that thou hast heard; thou shalt not bear malice against thy brother;
19:5 thou shalt not doubt whether a thing shall be or not; thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbour beyond thine own soul; thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou destroy it after it is born. Thou shalt not remove thy hand from thy son or thy daughter, but shalt teach them from their youth the fear of the
19:6 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods; thou shalt not be an extortioner; thou shalt not cleave with thy soul unto the proud, but thou shalt have thy conversation with the lowly and the just. Receive as blessings the troubles that come unto thee, knowing that without God nothing happens.
19:7 Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death. Thou shalt submit thyself to thy masters as to the image of God, with shame and fear. Thou shalt not give commands with bitterness to thy servant and thy handmaid, who hope in the same God as thou dost, lest, perchance, thou cease to fear God, who is over both. For he came not to call men with respect of persons, but to call those whom the Spirit had prepared.
19:8 Thou shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbour, and shalt not say that things are thine own. For if ye be partners in that which is incorruptible, how much more in the things that are corruptible? Thou shalt not be hasty of speech, for the mouth is a snare of death. As far as thou art able, thou shalt be pure concerning thy soul.
19:9 Be not a stretcher forth of thy hand in receiving, and a drawer back of it in giving. Thou shalt love, as the apple of thine eye, every one that speaketh unto thee the word of the Lord.
19:10 Thou shalt remember the day of judgment by night and by day; and thou shalt seek out every day the persons of the saints.
19:11 Thou shalt not doubt to give, nor shalt thou murmur in giving. Give to every one that asketh thee, and thou shalt know who is the good recompenser of the reward. Thou shalt take care of that which thou hast received, neither adding thereto, nor taking
therefrom. Thou shalt hate the evil man unto the end, and shalt judge justly.
19:12 Thou shalt not make a schism, but shalt make peace by bringing adversaries together. Thou shalt make confession of thy sins. Thou shalt not go unto prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life, either labouring by means of the word and
proceeding to exhort, and practising to save the soul by the word, or thou shalt work by thy hands for the redemption of thy sins.
20:1 |But the path of darkness is
crooked and full of cursing, for it is the path of eternal death and punishment,
in which way are the things that destroy the soul. Idolatry, boldness, the pride
of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rape,
haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-will, witchcraft, sorcery, covetousness, want of the fear of God.
20:2 Here are they who are persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies; they who know not the reward of righteousness, who cleave not to what is good nor unto just judgment; who attend not to the widow and the orphan; who are awake not unto the fear
of God, but unto evil; from whom meekness and patience are afar off; who love the things that are vain, who follow after recompense, who pity not the poor, who labour not for him who is in trouble; who are prompt to evil-speaking, who know not him that made them; murderers of children, corruptors of the image of God; who turn away from the poor man and oppress the afflicted; advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, sinners in all things.
21:1 |It is therefore right that
he who has learned the ordinances of the Lord, even as many as have been written
beforehand, should walk in them. For he who doeth these things shall be
glorified in the Kingdom of God, but he who chooseth the contrary things shall
perish together with his works. On this account is the resurrection; on this
account is the retribution.
21:2 I ask those who are of high estate among you, if ye will receive any friendly advice from me, keep those with you toward whom ye may do what is honourable. Fail not in so doing.
21:3 The day is at hand in which everything shall perish together with the evil one; the Lord is nigh at hand, and his reward also.
21:4 Again and again do I ask you, be ye good lawgivers over yourselves, be ye good advisers of yourselves. Abide faithful counsellors of one another; take out of the midst of you all hypocrisy,
21:5 and may God, who ruleth the whole world, give you wisdom, understanding, science, knowledge of his ordinances, and patience.
21:6 And be ye taught of God, inquiring what the Lord seeketh of you, and so work that ye may be found saved in the day of judgment.
21:7 But if there is any memory of that which is good, remember me while ye practise these things, that both your desire and your watching may turn unto some good.
21:8 I beseech you this, asking it as a favour. So long as the good vessel is with you, fail not in any of these things, but seek them out without ceasing, and fulfil all the commandments, for these things are worthy.
21:9 Therefore I have been the more anxious to write unto you, so far as I was able, to the end that I might make you glad. Farewell, children of love and peace; the God of glory and of all grace be with your spirit. Amen.