The Epistle of Barnabas: Chapter VI.—The New Covenant Was Announced by the Prophets.
When, therefore, He has fulfilled the commandment, what saith He? “Who is he that will contend with Me? Let him oppose Me: or who is he that will enter into judgment with Me? Let him draw near to the servant of the Lord.” (Isaiah l.8) “Woe unto you, for ye shall all wax old, like a garment, and the moth shall eat you up.” (Isaiah l.9) And again the prophet says, “Since as a mighty stone He is laid for crushing, behold I cast down for the foundations of Zion a stone, precious, elect, a corner-stone, honourable.” Next, what says He? “And he who shall trust (Isaiah viii.14; xxviii.16) in it shall live for ever.” Is our hope, then, upon a stone? Far from it. But [the language is used] inasmuch as He laid his flesh [as a foundation] with power; for He says, “And He placed me as a firm rock.” (Isaiah l.7) And the prophet says again, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner.” (Psalm cxviii.22) And again he says, “This is the great and wonderful day which the Lord hath made.” (Psalm cxviii.24) I write the more simply unto you, that ye may understand. I am the off-scouring of your love. (1 Corinthians iv.13) The meaning is, “My love to you is so great, that I am ready to be or to do all things for you.” What, then, again says the prophet? “The assembly of the wicked surrounded me; they encompassed me as bees do a honeycomb,” (Psalm xxii.17; cxviii.12) and “upon my garment they cast lots.” (Psalm xxii.19) Since, therefore, He was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, His suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against Israel, “Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves, (Isaiah iii.9) saying, Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing to us.” (Wisdom ii.12) This apocryphal book is thus quoted as Scripture, and intertwined with it. And Moses also says to them, “Behold these things, saith the Lord God: Enter into the good land which the Lord swore [to give] to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit ye it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus xxxiii.1; Leviticus xx.24) What, then, says Knowledge? Learn: “Trust,” she says, “in Him who is to be manifested to you in the flesh—that is, Jesus.” For man is earth in a suffering state, for the formation of Adam was from the face of the earth. What, then, meaneth this: “into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey?” Blessed be our Lord, who has placed in us wisdom and understanding of secret things. For the prophet says, “Who shall understand the parable of the Lord, except him who is wise and prudent, and who loves his Lord?” (Isaiah xl.13; Proverbs i.6). Since, therefore, having renewed us by the remission of our sins, He hath made us after another pattern, [it is His purpose] that we should possess the soul of children, inasmuch as He has created us anew by His Spirit. For the Scripture says concerning us, while He speaks to the Son, “Let Us make man after Our image, and after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the beasts of the earth, and the fowls of heaven, and the fishes of the sea.” (Genesis i.26) And the Lord said, on beholding the fair creature man, “Increase, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis i.28). These things [were spoken] to the Son. Again, I will show thee how, in respect to us, He has accomplished a second fashioning in these last days. The Lord says, “Behold, I will make the last like the first.” (Matthew xx.16; 2 Corinthians v.17) In reference to this, then, the prophet proclaimed, “Enter ye into the land flowing with milk and honey, and have dominion over it.” (Exodus xxxiii.3) Behold, therefore, we have been refashioned, as again He says in another prophet, “Behold, saith the Lord, I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them,” (Ezekiel xi.19; xxxvi.26) because He (John i.14) was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us. For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Lord. (Ephesians ii.21) For again saith the Lord, “And wherewith shall I appear before the Lord my God, and be glorified?” (Psalm xlii.2) He says, “I will confess to thee in the Church in the midst of my brethren; and I will praise thee in the midst of the assembly of the saints.” (Psalm xxii.23; Hebrews ii.12) We, then, are they whom He has led into the good land. What, then, mean milk and honey? This, that as the infant is kept alive first by honey, and then by milk, so also we, being quickened and kept alive by the faith of the promise and by the word, shall live ruling over the earth. But He said above, “Let them increase, and rule over the fishes.” (Genesis i.28) Who then is able to govern the beasts, or the fishes, or the fowls of heaven? For we ought to perceive that to govern implies authority, so that one should command and rule. If, therefore, this does not exist at present, yet still He has promised it to us. When? When we ourselves also have been made perfect [so as] to become heirs of the covenant of the Lord.
Thanks for visiting. Come back soon! Yours in Christ, John