Bandung, August 8th 2017
I’m very happy because I just finished reading The Gospel of Barnabas. This book becomes a controversy to many religious people, especially Christian, and also including Islam since tens or hundred years ago. Before I tell you the history about The Gospel of Barnabas, you need to know that I am a Christian. As a Christian, I’m very interested to read and learn about any other Bible or Gospel or any Books about Theology. Not many Christians do like I do, or interested what I like. I love to study a lot, and I hate when people hate each other because of their different religion or belief. That’s why I think we need to study and analyze anything and get many perspective from books, or priests, or people; so we won’t judge anything. I read The Gospel of Barnabas not because I’m out from the Christian doctrine, and also not because I’m interested with Islam. I read this book because I want to read by my own, analyze by my own, and learn by own without any purpose to leave my faith. I’m still a Christian anyway, and I still love Jesus as God.
Right now I want to write about some verses that I want to share to you. There are 222 verses in The Gospel of Barnabas, and happily I have read all of those verses. Yeaayyyy…! Woohoo…lol
Well, let’s begin…
“He alone hath no equal. He hath had no beginning, nor will he ever have an end, but to everything hath he given a beginning and to everything shall he give an end. He hath no father nor mother; he hath no sons, nor brethren, nor companions. And because God hath no body, therefore he eateth not, sleepeth not,dieth not, walketh not, moveth not, but abideth eternally without human similitude, for that he is incorporeal, uncompounded, immaterial, of the most simple substance” (Gospel of Barnabas 17).
This verse shows us that Gospel of Barnabas doesn’t represent trinity; between God, Son, and Holy Spirit. Barnabas wrote that God has no father nor mother, He has no sons; so it’s different from Christian doctrine that says God has Jesus as His Son, or Jesus is the Son of God. And Jesus as a God also has father and mother on earth, Joseph and virgin Mary.
Barnabas wrote God has no body, not eat, not sleep, not dead, not walk, and not move; from this verse Barnabas shows us that the real God is someone who can’t be seen phisically by human. Barnabas believed in God, but didn’t believe if Jesus is God, because Jesus had physic body, He ate, He slept, and He died.
“Believe me, for verily I say to you, that the promise was made in Ishmael, not in Isaac” (Gospel of Barnabas 43).
“Then spake God, saying to Abraham: ‘Take thy son, thy firstborn Ishmael, and come up the mountain to sacrifice him’. How is Isaac firstborn, if when Isaac was born Ishmael was seven years old” (Gospel of Barnabas 44).
Christians believe that Abraham sacrificed Isaac not Ishmael. This verse refers to Quran which says that Abraham sacrificed Ishmael. Barnabas wrote: when Isaac was born, Ishmael was seven years old. So it was impossible if Abraham sacrificed a baby born Isaac. Because of that, Barnabas believed that Ishmael was the choosen son to be sacrificed by Abraham.
Barnabas wrote God made the promise to Ishmael, not to Isaac; but in Christian Bible is written that Isaac who got the promise from God, not Ishmael.
“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Genesis 17:19).
“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 17:20).
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year” (Genesis 17:21).
So what was written by Barnabas is refering to Quran and different from the Bible or Christian doctrine.
Barnabas also wrote that there were 3 holy books which written by Moses, David, and the book that God gave to Mohammed.
“Then Moses shall say ‘The book that thou gavest to me is the first‘, and David shall say: ‘The book that thou gavest to me is the second‘; but the book that thou gavest me said truly that I am thy servant; and that book confesseth that which thy messenger affirmeth’. Then shall the messenger of God speak, and shall say: ‘Thus saith the book that thou gavest me, O Lord’. Next shall God give life to all the elect, who shall cry out: ‘O Mohammed, be mindful of us!’ at whose cries pity shall awake in the messenger of God, and he shall consider what he ought to do, fearing for their salvation” (Gospel of Barnabas 54-55).
Barnabas didn’t mention Holy Bible as the book from God who was written by God’s messengers. Barnabas wrote there were only 3 messengers of God; Moses, David, and Mohammed. Barnabas didn’t mention any of Jesus’ Apostles.
Barnabas mentioned Mohammed by name for several times, Barnabas believed that Mohammed is the last messenger of God and also the last Prophet. In any gospels on Bible never mention Mohammed by name, because Mohammed lived hundred years after the death of Jesus. Now I’m a bit confused because how did Barnabas, who lived in Jesus era; knew about Mohammed who not live yet in that era. Was this a prophecy from Barnabas? Did Jesus tell Barnabas about this prophecy? Did God say to Jesus or Barnabas about this prophecy? Because Barnabas mentioned the exact name of Mohammed.
“O Mohammed, God be with thee, and may he make me worthy to untie thy shoelatchet, for obtaining this I shall be a great prophet and holy one of God”. And having said this, Jesus rendered his thanks to God” (Gospel of Barnabas 44).
Another shocking story for Christians from The Gospel of Barnabas is the story when Jesus would be caught by the Chief Priest and the Pharisees in Gethsemane. Barnabas wrote exactly the same story like the Quran that Jesus was taken by the holy angels in Gethsamane to the third heaven by the command of God before the Chief Priest and the Pharisees arrived and caught Him. Then God made Judas Iscariot to be like Jesus, so the Chief Priest and the Pharisees believed and sure that Judas was Jesus, because Judas’ look, Judas’ voice and everything very similar to Jesus.
“Then God, seeing the danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafel, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looketh toward the South. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore” (Gospel of Barnabas 215).
“Judas entered impetuously before all into the chamber whence Jesus had been taken up. And the disciples were sleeping. Whereupon the wonderful God acted wonderfully, insomuch that Judas was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus that we believed him to be Jesus. And he, having awakened us, was seeking where the Master was. Whereupon we marvelled, and answered: ‘Thou, Lord, art our Master; hast thou now forgotten us?” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
“And he, smiling, said: ‘Now are ye foolish, that know not me to be Judas Iscariot!’. And as he was saying this the soldiery entered, and laid their hands upon Judas, because he was in every way like to Jesus” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
“The soldiers took Judas and bound him, not without derision. For he truthfully denied that he was Jesus; and the soldiers, mocking him, said: ‘Sir, fear not, for we are come to make thee king of Israel, and we have bound thee because we know that thou dost refuse the kingdom’. Judas answered: ‘Now have ye lost your senses! Ye are come to take Jesus of Nazareth, with arms and lanterns as (against) a robber; and ye have bound me that have guided you, to make me king!” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
“Judas answered: ‘I have told you that I am Judas Iscariot, who promised to give into your hands Jesus the Nazarene; and ye, by what art I know not, are beside yourselves, for ye will have it by every means that I am Jesus’. The high priest answered: ‘O perverse seducer, thou hast deceived all Israel, beginning from Galilee even unto Jesrusalem here, with thy doctrine and false miracles: And now thinkest thou to flee the merited punishment that befitteth thee by feigning to be mad?” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
“Judas answered: ‘Sir, believe me, if thou put me to death, thou shalt do a great wrong, for thou shalt slay an innocent person; seeing that I am Judas Iscariot, and not Jesus, who is a magician, and by his art hath so transformed me’. When he heard this the governor marvelled greatly, so that he sought to set him at liberty. The governor therefore went out, and smiling said: ‘In the one case, at least, this man is not worthy of death, but rather of compassion” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
“Verily I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
Please take a deep breath dear Christians. This verse is very essential. We still can’t sure or can’t agree yet about this. Just make it a new knowledge for us, as Christians; that there is another doctrine or perspective which says that what Christians serve and pray for thousand years until now is Judas Iscariot, not Jesus. But we also have right to keep our faith and believed that Jesus had died on the cross for our sins.
“For Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world” (Gospel of Barnabas 216).
Barnabas wrote that Jesus had not died yet, He still alive and live in the third of Heaven until now, and He will come again to the world at the end.
“For certain evil men, pretending to be disciples, preached that Jesus died and rose not again. Others preached that he really died, but rose again. Others preached, and yet preach, that Jesus is the Son of God, among whom is Paul decieved. But we, as much as I have written, that they may be saved in the last day of God’s judgement. Amen. (End of Bible)” (Gospel of Barnabas 222).
In his last verse, Barnabas wrote there were many false doctrine who are believed by people until now. At the end sentence Barnabas let us to see what will happen at the end of the world or in the last day of God’s Judgement.
Well well, dear readers. Please, I’m telling you: what we have read, what we have learnt, everything are knowledges. Don’t take it wrong, don’t take it emotionally, don’t take it as the truth before you feel sure about it, don’t lose your faith.
Even I have read this, doesn’t mean I should believe this. Even I believe this, doesn’t mean I should leave Christianity. Please be wise and smile…. ^_^
Anyway, after you read my own written up there ^ ; I also need to share to you the history about The Gospel of Barnabas. Who is Barnabas? Why did he write this Gospel? Where & when did people find this Gospel? and so on.
The Gospel of Barnabas is a book depicting the life of Jesus, which claims to be by the biblical Barnabas. Two manuscripts are known to have existed, both dated to the late 16th or early 17th centuries, with one written in Italian and the other in Spanish. The Spanish manuscript is now lost, its text surviving only in a partial 18th-century transcript. In some key respects, it conforms to the Islamic interpretation of Christian origins and contradicts the New Testament teachings of Christianity.
This work clearly contradicts the New Testament biblical accounts of Jesus and his ministry but has strong parallels with the Islamic faith, not only mentioning Muhammad by name, but including the shahadah (chapter 39). It is strongly anti-Pauline and anti-Trinitarian in tone. In this work, Jesus is described as a prophet, and not the Son of God, while Paul is called “the deceived.” Furthermore, the Gospel of Barnabas states that Jesus escaped crucifixion by being raised alive to heaven, while Judas Iscariot the traitor was crucified in his place. These beliefs—in particular, that Jesus is a prophet of God and raised alive without being crucified—conform to or resemble Islamic teachings which say that Jesus is a major prophet who did not die on the cross but was taken alive by angels to God.
Other passages, however, conflict with the teachings of the Qur’an—as, for instance, in the account of the Nativity, where Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus without pain or as in Jesus’s ministry, where he permits the drinking of wine and enjoins monogamy—though the Qur’an allegedly acknowledges each prophet had a set of their own laws that might differ in some aspects from each other. Other examples include that hell will only be for the committers of the seven deadly sins (Barnabas: 4–44/135), anyone who refuses to be circumcised will not enter paradise (Barnabas 17/23), that there are 9 heavens (Barnabas 3/105).
If the Gospel of Barnabas is seen as an attempted synthesis of elements from both Christianity and Islam, then 16th- and 17th-century parallels can be suggested in Morisco and anti-Trinitarian writings. According to the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus foresaw and rejected his own deification:
And having said this, Jesus smote his face with both his hands, and then smote the ground with his head. And having raised his head, he said: “Cursed be every one who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God” (Gospel of Barnabas 53).
This conforms entirely with Muslim belief, according to which Jesus is just a human and a prophet. According to some ahadith, he will come back to earth in the future and declare to the world that he is “a Servant of God”.
Why has the Christian world hidden the Gospel of Barnabas? This illuminating book proves that Jesus was a true Prophet of Islam, proving that he never claimed to be the Son of God and that he predicted the coming of our Prophet by name.
It is the only reliable record of the life of Jesus Christ and that we have deliberately concealed it because it shows Jesus to have been the prophet the Qur’an declares him to have been. If you should express surprise to hear that such a book actually exists they will press home their contentions all the more, declaring that your ignorance of the book is a sure sign that the Church has forcefully suppressed its teaching.
The History of the Barnabas Gospel
In his Preliminary Discourse to his translation of the Qur’an first published in 1734 AD, George Sale first drew the attention of the Christian world generally to a Gospel attributed to St. Barnabas which, he said, records the life of Jesus in a manner very different from that found in the four Biblical Gospels but corresponding to the traditions of Muhammad in the Qur’an. He mentioned a Spanish translation in the possession of the Moriscoes in Africa (which no longer exists apart from a few known extracts), and an Italian translation in the library of Prince Eugene of Savoy. From this edition Lonsdale and Laura Ragg published a translation into English which was published in 1907 with various notes, proving Sale’s contention that it is a forgery.
Since the beginning of this century, when an Arabic translation became well known in the Islamic world, Muslim scholars and writers have made much of the book. In 1973 the Raggs’ English translation of the Gospel was first published in the Muslim world. Since then approximately 100.000 copies have been printed in Pakistan. It has caused considerable excitement as it appears to finally prove, from Christian origins, that Jesus was the ‘Isa of Islam and that Muhammad was indeed to be the final messenger of God to all mankind.
Much of its teaching is repetitive of Biblical teaching, though adapted to suit Islamic preferences. For example, when ten lepers were healed on one occasion by Jesus, the only one to return was a Samaritan who fell at his feet, giving him thanks (Luke 17.16). The Gospel of Barnabas conveniently states that he was an Ishmaelite. The rest of its teaching, however, consists of legendary and fanciful stories and forged teachings of Jesus of no historical value at all. Let us consider a few of its typical Islamic teachings.
Islamic Teachings of the Barnabas Gospel
- Jesus Denied that he was the Son of God
The Gospel of Barnabas repeats the incident where Jesus asked his disciples, firstly, who the multitudes thought he was and, secondly, who they thought he was (Matthew 16.13-20). When Peter answered that he was the Son of God, Jesus responded that he was blessed because his Father in heaven had revealed this to him. In the Gospel of Barnabas, however, while Peter is correctly recorded as declaring that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the answer of Jesus to him was totally different.
Jesus is supposed to have declared to Peter “Begone and depart from me, because thou art the devil and seekest to cause me offence!” He then is reputed to have told all his disciples to beware because “I have won from God a great curse against those who believe this” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 70).
- Judas was Crucified in Place of Jesus
The Muslim doctrine that Jesus was taken alive from the earth just before he was due to be arrested while someone else was made to look like him and was crucified in his place is repeated in this Gospel, only it specifically makes the victim Judas Iscariot. It was only some centuries after Muhammad that the Muslim world first taught this theory, invented to justify the crucifixion of a bystander who might otherwise have seemed to be an innocent substitute.
The Gospel of Barnabas teaches that when Judas arrived with soldiers to arrest Jesus, God sent four angels to take Jesus out of the world into the third heaven while Judas “was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus” that Barnabas and the other disciples believed him to actually be Jesus (Gospel of Barnabas, para 216). Judas was duly crucified in his place.
- Jesus Predicted the Coming of Muhammad by Name
In many places Jesus is said to have declared the coming of Muhammad by name, as in this statement made after he said he would first have to endure the infamy that he had been crucified:
“But when Mohammed shall come, the sacred messenger of God, that infamy shall be taken away” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 112).
These are some of the central Islamic features of the Gospel of Barnabas where its teaching contradicts the contents of the four Biblical Gospels. Numerous other Islamic influences can be found throughout the book, such as the claim that the covenantal promise to Abraham was made in Ishmael and not Isaac (para 191), explaining the Muslim conviction that this is the only true Gospel.
Medieval Origins Proving it is a Forgery
There were numerous apocryphal Gospels, Epistles and other forgeries similar in style to the authentic New Testament scriptures that were rejected by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and in the subsequent Decretum Gelasianum of which one was titled the Gospel of Barnabas. No historical record whatsoever exists to show what sort of book it was or what it taught. From a study of the contents of this Islamic Gospel so strongly promoted in the Muslim world, however, it soon becomes obvious that these two cannot possibly be the same works. There are many proofs that the latter is a 16th century forgery.
Medieval Sources of the Gospel of Barnabas
It is not hard to prove to Muslims that this Gospel was first compiled many centuries after the times of both Jesus and Muhammad. Three of examples of medieval influences will be considered here.
- The Centenary Year of Jubilee
One of the laws Moses gave to the people of Israel was that a jubilee year was to observed twice every century when slaves would be liberated and debts cancelled. God ordained it in these words:
“A jubilee year shall that fiftieth year be to you” (Leviticus 25:11).
About 1300 AD Pope Boniface the Eighth decreed that the jubilee year should be reintroduced but that it should only be held at the turn of each century, that is, once every hundred years. After his death, however, Pope Clemens the Sixth decreed that the jubilee year should revert to every fifty years following the Biblical decree and there was talk thereafter of reducing it further. In the Gospel of Barnabas this saying is attributed to Jesus:
“And then through all the world will God be worshipped, and mercy received, insomuch that the year of jubilee, which now cometh every hundred years, shall by the Messiah be reduced to every year in every place” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 82).
The anachronism is obvious – the author of the Gospel of Barnabas could only have spoken of the jubilee year coming every hundred years if he knew of the decree of Pope Boniface. Whoever wrote this Gospel makes Jesus repeat a proclamation which was only made at least thirteen centuries after his time! This proves that the Gospel is a forgery of not earlier than the 14th century AD.
- Quotations from Dante’s Inferno
Dante was an Italian who lived at about the same time as Pope Boniface. He wrote a well-known classic titled Divina Comedia – the “Divine Comedy”. It was a fantasy about hell, purgatory and heaven according to the beliefs of his time. Many passages in the Gospel of Barnabas show a dependence on his work, one of which is a saying attributed to Jesus of the prophets of old:
“Readily and with gladness they went to their death, so as not to offend against the law of God given by Moses his servant, and go and serve false and lying gods” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 23).
The expression “dei falsi e lugiardi” (false and lying gods) is found elsewhere in the Gospel of Barnabas. Jesus is recorded as again using this phrase (para 78) while Herod is also said by the author to have “adored the false and lying gods” (para 217).
In its actual descriptions of heaven and hell the Gospel of Barnabas follows Dante exactly while contradicting the Qur’an. Jesus is said to have declared to Simon Peter:
“Know ye therefore that hell is one, yet hath seven centres one below another. Hence, even as sin is of seven kinds, for as seven gates of hell hath Satan generated it: so there are seven punishments therein” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 135).
Dante gives precisely this description in the fifth and sixth cantos of his Inferno. Speaking of the heavens the Gospel of Barnabas states that they are nine and that Paradise itself is greater than all of them together (para 178). This again parallels Dante who also speaks of nine heavens with an Empyrean, a tenth heaven above them all.
- The Medieval Environment of the Gospel
Other passages from the Gospel show that the author was more at home in the climate and seasons of southern Europe than in the land of Palestine. He makes Jesus speak of how beautiful the world is in summer-time when the harvest and fruit abound (para 169). This is a fair description of Italy in summer but not of Palestine where the rain falls in winter and the fields are parched in summer.
Likewise the Gospel of Barnabas speaks of storing wine in wooden wine-casks (para 152), a common practice in medieval Europe but not in first-century Palestine where wine was stored in skins (Matthew 9.17). Further proof of the author’s ignorance of the geography of Palestine is found in this statement:
“Having arrived at the city of Nazareth the seamen spread through the city all that Jesus had wrought” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 20).
In this passage Nazareth is represented as a harbour on the Lake of Galilee. After this Jesus is said to have gone “up to Capernaum”. Every disciple of Jesus would have known that Capernaum was the city on the shores of the lake while Nazareth is up in the hills. Jesus would have gone up from Capernaum to Nazareth, not the other way around as the Gospel of Barnabas has it.
These evidences all prove that the Gospel of Barnabas is a forgery compiled in southern Europe sometime around the 16th century after Christ. Let us proceed to examine other evidences that discount the authenticity of this book that calls itself a Gospel.
Other Evidences Against its Authenticity
The Gospel of Barnabas must be the true Gospel since it teaches that Jesus was not to be the final messenger of God to mankind but that this honour would be reserved to our holy Prophet Muhammad who he said would follow after him.
There are numerous other evidences against the authenticity of the Gospel of Barnabas, some of which derive from the very passages where Jesus is said to have foretold the coming of Muhammad. It is very interesting to note that this Gospel makes no mention of John the Baptist – a striking omission, considering the attention given to him as a contemporary prophet to Jesus in the Biblical Gospels. Instead sayings of John are attributed to Jesus, such as “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’” (John 1.23) which is ascribed to Jesus in the Gospel of Barnabas together with the whole conversation that surrounds it (para 42). The author of this Gospel conveniently, but very erroneously, makes Jesus say of Muhammad what John actually said of him.
Who is The Messiah?
John the Baptist denied that he was the Messiah when challenged by the Jewish leaders (John 1:20). The Gospel of Barnabas makes Jesus deny the same thing in much the same words:
“Jesus confessed and said the truth: ‘I am not the Messiah … I am indeed sent to the house of Israel as a prophet of salvation; but after me shall come the Messiah” (Gospel of Barnabas, paras 42, 82).
Who was to be the coming Messiah, then? Elsewhere the Gospel makes Jesus say “The name of the Messiah is Admirable … God said: Wait Mohammed; for thy sake I will to create paradise … Mohammed is his blessed name” (para 97). Here the author of the Gospel of Barnabas completely overreaches himself for the Qur’an clearly states, no less than eleven times, that Jesus alone is the Messiah. The Bible confirms this too on many occasions (John 4.26, Matthew 16.20).
The title here is Al-Masih, “the Messiah”, and Jesus himself is called Al-Masihu Isa, “the Messiah Jesus”. So the Gospel of Barnabas incontrovertibly contradicts the Qur’an when it declares that Muhammad was to be the Messiah.
What is very interesting here is the discovery that this Gospel not only contradicts the Qur’an but also itself. In the prologue to the book it speaks of “Jesus the Nazarene, called Christ” and states that it is the “true Gospel of Jesus, called Christ”. The author does not seem to have been aware that Messiah and Christ are interchangeable terms, meaning the same thing. The latter derives from the Greek word Christos which is a translation of the original Hebrew word Mashiah.
There are other contradictions between the Qur’an and the Gospel of Barnabas which cannot be satisfactorily explained. One relates to the birth of Jesus as it is told in each book. The Gospel says this about the moment of his delivery:
“The virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright and brought forth her son without pain” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 3).
This statement has no Biblical equivalent but parallels Catholic beliefs of the Middle Ages. It is further evidence that the Gospel of Barnabas is a forgery composed up to fifteen centuries after the time of Christ.
There is little room here for Muslims to maintain their cherished belief that they have, in the Gospel of Barnabas, an original Gospel which is consistent with the Qur’an and Islamic tradition. It is not surprising that many Muslim scholars have, in recent times, rejected the Gospel as a forgery. Nonetheless there are still many Muslim writers, often well aware of the overwhelming evidences against it, who still promote it as an authentic text.
Another typical contradiction between the two books is found in the statement in the Gospel of Barnabas about the angels of God on the last days before the great Judgment: “The fifteenth day the holy angels shall die, and God alone shall remain alive” (para 53).
Again the Gospel of Barnabas states that on the thirteenth day of the final period before the end, all mankind will die and every living thing on the earth shall perish (para 53) whereas the Qur’an states that men will be alive until the last day, the great Day of Judgment.
The Original Authorship of the Gospel
Barnabas was known to have been one of the great disciples of Jesus. How can you even contemplate trying to discredit a Gospel written by him? If he was one of the twelve, why do you Christians conveniently reject everything he wrote?
One of the great questions about this Gospel is indeed its original authorship. Who wrote it? Although it is obvious that the book is a forgery of relatively recent times it is important nonetheless to prove to Muslims that Barnabas could never have been its author. Throughout the book its author is said to have been one of the twelve disciples of Jesus yet it is well known that the real Barnabas only appears on the scene after the death and resurrection of Jesus and, furthermore, that he only received his name as a result of an incident that took place much later. The evidence is found in the following passage:
“Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37).
It was only when this man Joseph encouraged the early Church by donating the proceeds of the sale of his property to the disciples of Jesus that he was given the surname bar-nabas. Thereafter he is a prominent personality in the record of the initial development of the Church and is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament (Galatians 2:9). He was most certainly not one of the original twelve, however, whose names are all recorded in two of the Gospels (Matthew 10:2-4, Luke 6:14-16). He is not mentioned at all in the four Gospels and the composer of this forgery has, as it were, left his fingerprints on its text by including what is a glaring anachronism. Jesus is said to have called him by name on numerous occasions of which the following passage is an example:
“Jesus answered: ‘Be not sore grieved, Barnabas, for those whom God hath chosen before the creation of the world shall not perish” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 19).
Such an address before Jesus ascended to heaven was impossible if he only received the title some time after the event.
We will never know for certain who actually wrote this Gospel. What we do know is that it most certainly could not have been written by the Apostle Barnabas who was at no time one of the immediate disciples of Jesus. If the Gospel of Barnabas serves any purpose it is perhaps to prove that it is impossible to compose a life of Jesus consistent with the factual evidences of his life and teachings as found in the four true Gospels which at the same time promotes him as a prophet of Islam. The book fails dismally in its attempt to do precisely this.
Paul and Barnabas in the Book of Acts
Gospel Barnabas expressly repudiates the teaching of Paul that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact even the New Testament records that Paul and Barnabas couldn’t agree. It was because Barnabas taught the ultimate truth about Jesus.
The Gospel of Barnabas begins with a statement that “many, being deceived of Satan, under pretence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrine, calling Jesus Son of God … among whom Paul also hath been deceived” (para 1). At the very end of the book Paul is again accused of being deceived for the same reason. Muslims latch on to a passage in the Bible where it is recorded that “there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other” (Acts 15.39) to prove that Paul and Barnabas could not agree with each other and claim that this is proof that Barnabas differed with Christianity’s foremost apostle on the major points of Christian doctrine. The aim is to prove that Barnabas rejected these beliefs and wrote his Gospel to correct them.
Barnabas and Paul: Two Close Companions
Anyone reading through Acts 15 will discover that the only point of disagreement between these two men was on whether they should again be accompanied by John Mark on a later journey. Paul did not want him to go with as he had let them down on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). For this reason alone they separated. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus while Paul chose Silas as his future companion (Acts 15:39-40).
All the other evidences in the Book of Acts prove that, far from being an opponent of Paul, Barnabas consistently stood by him and backed his teaching. When Paul was converted through a dramatic vision of Jesus in the sky as he made his way to Damascus, he remained a few days in the city with the other disciples of the Lord and then finally entered the local synagogue, proclaiming Jesus and declaring “He is the Son of God” (Acts 9.20). There can be no doubt, therefore, that right from the time he first became a follower of Jesus Christ Paul declared the heart of the Christian doctrine. From here it is important to know what role Barnabas played in accompanying him on his travels.
- Barnabas First Introduced Paul to the Other Apostles
When Paul first returned to Jerusalem after his conversion the other disciples were very afraid of him, knowing his relentless persecution of the early Church. They did not believe that he was a true disciple of Jesus. It is a revelation to discover, in the light of the vehement attacks made on Paul in the Barnabas Gospel, just who it was who commended him to the disciples:
“But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27).
From here on, until their dispute on a personal matter, Paul and Barnabas were constantly together. In fact, as we shall see, the real author of the Gospel of Barnabas could hardly have made a more inappropriate choice for the authorship of his forgery.
- Barnabas Sought Paul to help him Teach in Antioch
As soon as the Church in Jerusalem heard that the Church in Antioch was growing well, the Apostles sent Barnabas there to instruct the new disciples in the faith of Jesus. Barnabas, however, decided he could not do this alone. Who did he send for to assist him? No one else but Paul! He went all the way to Tarsus to look for him and, when he found him, he brought him to Antioch (Acts 11.25-26). What follows is significant:
“For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians” (Acts 11:26).
Under the ministry of these two men the believers were first called Christians because Paul and Barnabas taught them the basic truths of what makes Christianity the religion it is today – that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins. These are the very things that the Gospel of “Barnabas” is at such pains to deny. Throughout their travels together Paul took the initiative in preaching the Christian Gospel while Barnabas stood by him, vindicating everything he said. There can be no doubt that Barnabas was not the author of the anti-Paul Gospel attributed to him.
- Both Barnabas and Paul Rejected Circumcision
According to the Gospel of Barnabas Jesus is recorded as teaching that circumcision is one of the most important acts of religious piety. Both Judaism and Islam to this day faithfully observe the ordinance. Jesus is supposed to have said:
“Leave fear to him that hath not circumcised his foreskin, for he is deprived of paradise” (Gospel of Barnabas, para 23).
It is most ironic to find that the real Barnabas joined Paul in vehemently opposing circumcision as a necessary ritual for salvation:
“But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question” (Acts 15:1-2).
In one of his Epistles Paul states that, when he and Barnabas went to Jerusalem, they took Titus, an uncircumcised Greek believer in Jesus, as a test case. Paul laid before the apostles the Christian Gospel he was preaching – one devoid of the legalistic rituals that characterise Judaism and Islam – to see if they disagreed with him on any point. They not only agreed that Titus should not be circumcised (Galatians 2.1-3) but “gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship” (v. 9). It does appear that no one was closer to Paul in his preaching of the Christian faith than this man Barnabas. He cannot possibly be the author of the Gospel falsely attributed to him.
Thank you everyone for reading. I love you. ^_^
Naomi Indah Sari
The Gospel of Barnabas
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Naomi Indah Sari