Faithlife Sermons

Topical - Is Barnabas A Chiliast

Sermon  •  Submitted
1 rating
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


Appendix A

“Is Barnabas A Chiliast?”

     When analyzing the eschatology of the Epistle of Barnabas, there are two main passages which must be exegeted very carefully (15.1-9; 4.1-3).  At first glance, the first passage appears to unfold quite naturally, whereas the second one involves an obvious need for a detailed study of the possible historical settings.  The question which is asked of Barnabas 15 is, “Is Barnabas a Chiliast?”  This appendix will offer the strengths and weaknesses of the two main positions.

I.                   The Chiliastic Interpretation

     The chiliastic interpretation is based on the following five points:  1) The days of creation adumbrate world history (15.3-4), (list at bottom the acceptance of this view),  2) World history will last 6,000 years (15.4),  3)  Rest will occur at the Parousia when Jesus judges the wicked, destroys the Devil and causes changes in the heavens[1] (15.5),  4) The Sanctification of the seventh day will happen in the future when the believers are justified, receive the promise[2], the lawless one no longer exists, all things are made new, the believers are sanctified and God sets everything at rest (15.6-8).  This rest will last for 1,000 years and will be the seventh millennium[3], and  5) At this point the beginning of the eighth day[4] will be inaugurated which is the beginning of a new world and is understood to be the eternal realm (15.8).[5] 

     There have been a number of theologians throughout the history of the Church who made use of the idea that the duration of the world would be 6,000 years based on the creation week and Ps 90:4/2 Peter 3:8.  The equation of one day for a thousand years has been used by several eminent theologians of the past to draw their conclusions about eschatology.  Justin Martyr stated that Adam did not live 1,000 years because he died in the “day” in which he sinned against the Lord.[6] Irenaeus concludes that the duration of the world will be 6,000 years based on the six days of creation and Ps 90:4/2 Peter 3:8,[7] and that the true Sabbath is the millennial kingdom which will follow this 6,000 years.[8]  Tertullian clearly speaks of a millennial kingdom[9] and seems to indicate that the millennium will the 7,000th year and the heaven will be the 8,000th  (Cf. On the Soul 37).  Hippolytus, based on the LXX, in his commentary on Daniel 4:23-24 set the time of creation at 5500 B.C. and concluded that the return of the Lord would be about AD 500.  The seventh year he understood to be the Sabbath rest, i.e., the true rest in the millennial kingdom.

Lactantius concludes the duration of the world to be 7,000 years, where the last 1,000 would be the millennium.[10] Methodius, follows the same calculation as Lactantius, but grounds it on the description of the Tabernacle in the Law.[11] Commodian directly states that the earth will last 6,000 years.[12] Victorinus taught that the seventh millennium is the true Sabbath which will be followed by the eighth age.[13] Bardesanes states that the world will last for 6,000 years.[14] Philo writes: "in six days the world was created, not that its Maker required length of time for His work, for we must think of God as doing all things simultaneously..... Six days are mentioned because for the things coming into existence there was need of order.  Order involves number"[15] God did not cease from all his work on the seventh day but began to create things more divine (qeiotera),[16] and the Sabbath was the birthday (geneqlioV) of the world (De Spec. Leg. 2.59). This concept is even seen in the Muslim Qur'an 22:47, and in the Jewish work in The Book of Jubilees 4:29ff.  Even Augustine once held to this chronology,[17] but later moved away from this concept as he further developed his Amillennial position.  The common denominator which links these writers together is that they espouse a 1,000 year Sabbath (the millennium) which is followed by the eternal realm.[18]

     The issue in Bamabas is whether or not the seventh day is identical with the eighth; "If they are not identical then Barnabas is premillennial."[19] William Shea[20] responds to those, like Kromminga,[21] who view Barnabas as being amillennial in his theology by pointing out the following five points: 1) In order to make Barnabas amillennial, the seventh and eight day must be identical and of the same duration.  He admits that Barnabas did not clearly differentiate between the seventh and eighth day and has left room for confusion.  The passage does not directly state whether the eighth day starts at the beginning, during or at the end of the seventh day (15.8).[22]  2) The logical progression of the chapter indicate a distinction (16.1-4 first 6 days; 5-8a- the 7th day; 8b-9- the 8th day), and the "fact the author uses a different name or number at all implies a distinction."[23] The introduction of the eighth day "complicates the picture, since logically it would suggest a further stage and a second set of final events (and re-creation).”[24]

3) The main argument is the fundamental purpose of the chapter:

"The fundamental purpose of the chapter: "If the future seventh and eighth days begin together (at the end of the sixth day) then so do the week days in the present age, and that leaves Christians keeping the seventh-day Sabbath which is exactly what the writer did not want, and against which hew as writing.  A distinction between the seventh and eighth days both present and future is vital to the author's anti-Sabbatarian case.”[25]

4) This chapter is not meant to be a detailed study of how and when the millennium comes about

but is a refutation of the Jewish Sabbath.  "The millennium and the ages scheme are present here

because they are useful in supporting the writer's basic purpose in the chapter."[26] 5) It is quite possible that the idea of the eighth day is a quote from 2 Enoch 33.1-2:

"And I appointed the eighth day also, that the eighth day should be the first created after my work, and that the first seven revolve in the form of the seventh thousand, and that at the beginning of the eighth thousand there should be a time of not-counting, endless, with neither years nor months nor weeks nor days nor hours.”[27]

The main reason Barnabas offers for making use of the eighth day is that it was symbolic of the future age (1 5.8). He does not mention the resurrection until the end of verse 9, and only mentions it after he states that the eighth day is the day for rejoicing.  "The subordinate clause does not give the resurrection or a commemoration of it as the reason for keeping Sunday."[28] Kleist follows this line of thinking as sees the first five days as having taken place already, the sixth is the present, the seventh is the Sabbath rest (millennium) and the eighth is eternity.  "His seventh era begins when the world ends, and will end with the dawn of 'another world,'- not another millennium, but the day of eternity, 'the eight day.’”[29] This perspective possesses some convincing power but it destroys the continuity of the day to 1,000-year chronology of the first seven.

II. The Non-Chiliastic Interpretation

     The non-chiliastic interpretation usually views each day as a thousand-year period, but what is expected immediately is the eternal realm.  The seventh day is the also beginning of the eighth day which is the eternal realm, or eternal Sabbath rest, and not the millenium.  Robert Kraft offers a slightly different perspective within this position and suggests that the answer to this dilemma is that Barnabas remains vague as to the events which will take place during the Sabbath rest.  He views this time period as being in ushered in after the judgment, during the seventh millennium and as an "interim between the old and new worlds.”[30]

     Alan Boyd offers the following six solid objections to the chiliastic interpretation which are worthy of response:[31] 1) The fact the author believes the days of creation adumbrate world history into six millennia, does not demand one to posit a seventh millennium. 2) The 'rest from creation' takes place at the Second Advent (I 5.7) and at the beginning of the Eighth Day (1 5.8), i.e., there is no interval between the seventh and eighth day. 3) The chronological unity of 15.58 is affirmed by two parallel ideas: the removal of sin (15.5) and the new creation (15.8). 4) If there is a distinction between the seventh and eighth day, then God would have to intervene twice. 5) The lack of a millennium does not detract from the main point of the author's attack upon the Jewish Sabbath. 6) The eighth day is the beginning of the new world, which is best understood to be eternity.

     Reidar Hvalvik, adds an insightful objections when he compares the events of the two days and concludes them to be synonymous:

“According to v. 4 The Lord 'will bring all things to an end' in six days; that means that everything will be completed at the Sabbath. According to v. 8 the beginning of the eighth day will come when the Lord has 'brought everything to rest'.  According to v. 7 the Sabbath implies that 'all things have been made new’, according to v. 8 it is the eighth day which marks 'the beginning of another world'. The Sabbath and the eighth day thus have the same function within Barnabas' chronological scheme.”[32]

Albert Hermans takes another approach and argues that the verbs judged and reigned in verse 5 refer to God and not the Son, and then argues that God is the subject of 5b.  This in effect allows him to understand the eighth day to follow the sixth day without any intervening millennial reign of Christ.[33]

     After analyzing the different positions, although at first I thought this easy passage was easy to understand as an obvious premillennial text, I have strong reservations as to adopting this interpretation.  It must be admitted that, at the very least, there are inherent ambiguities within this passage which makes the exegesis of this text rather difficult.  “It is not certain whether there are two distinct eschatological Sabbaths (the seventh and eight day, separately), or whether the kingdom that will be inaugurated is temporal or terrestrial or not.”[34] The following four points are additional evidence which raise strong doubts as to this being a premillennial text: Point #1-The Context: The majority of the Epistle of Barnabas is a polemic against Judaism and offers a reinterpretation of the Old Testament in an allegorical or spiritual manner.  The setting of chapter 15 is in the heart of this issue where the author is offering a series of alternative interpretations as to the true meaning of the sacrifices (2, 5, 7,8, 12), the promised land (6), circumcision (9), the Levitical food laws (10), washings (12), the covenant (4,13-14) the Sabbath (15), and the Temple (16).  Since chapter 15 directly deals with the Sabbath, and not the topic of eschatology, it is reasonable to understand Barnabas' words in an allegorical sense as a message about the Sabbath.  I would suggest that modem-day scholars are reading their interests into this section about eschatology[35] , when it appears that the author's interest is to present a contrast between the true rest God offers as compared to the Sabbath rest of the Jews.  "The chiliastic language of 15.4 is here seems to be used not for a chronological purpose per se but to remove the Creation account as a basis for the literal observance of he seventh day."[36] Even Shea, the strongest proponent of the premillennial position, acknowledges that the Sabbath was one of the main features of Judaism which the author was attempting to reinterpret and refers to it as one of the pillars of the Hebrew religion.[37] Point #2- The Present Sabbath: In 15.5-7 he strengthens his argument by proving that no one is able to sanctify the Sabbath since they must keep it with pure hands and a pure heart.  "To Barnabas' thinking the continued observance of the Mosaic Sabbath therefore amounts to a denial of our present sinfulness."[38] We must wait for the return of the Lord who will both sanctify us and that day enabling the believers to keep it.  His main point here is to prove that the Sabbath should not and cannot be kept properly during this time period, and not to offer a chronology of the time the Lord will return.  We will keep the Sabbath when the Lord "makes all things new" enabling us to truly keep the Sabbath as God intended.  The Sabbath as the age to come is Jewish in origin and better fits the nonchiliastic position.[39] Point #3- The Use of the Eighth Day in Context.  In 15.8-9 Barnabas strengthens his main point by launching into a condemnation against the Jews by using the Old Testament (Is 1:13) to condemn their ritualistic and literalistic attempts to keep the Old Testament laws.  It is crucial to see that Barnabas uses the eighth day in 15.8, and not the seventh, as representing the beginning of the new world.  Added to this point is that 15.9 makes the connection that we now keep the eighth day unto the Lord.  In this section the seventh day appears to be skipped over and a special emphasis is placed upon the eighth day as a further rejection of the seventh day which the Jews were presently observing.  “The Christian Sunday does not fit the typology of the week culminating in the seventh day, so a different eschatological symbolism is introduced, that of the ogdoad.”[40]  If Barnabas is stating that the eighth day is the eighth millennium, it is “inconsistent with what he says in 15.5-7, where the Sabbatical millennium in which sin is overcome is the seventh.”[41] Simply put, Barnabas links the rest which is mentioned to both the seventh and the eighth day.  “Barnabas is so anti-Jewish that it prefers the eighth-day terminology over the seventh day for the eschatological rest.”[42] I would not go as far as some who have suggest that this chapter presents an amillennial scheme.[43]

Point 4- Additional Minor Considerations: Added to the points mentioned above one must also consider the following six points:

a) Barnabas may have been drawing on two separate eschatological traditions which indicates that he was willing to use just about any source to make his point.  He uses both the schematic of seven ages to make his point early in the chapter then relied upon the imagery of the number eight to prove his point later.  Why the two symbols?  "The two symbolisms serve different functions in the argument, so there was no need to harmonize them."[44] He subordinated the eschatological timetable to prove that the Jewish Sabbath no longer has any value for the Christian.

b) The writer's vocabulary establishes that the rest is at the end of the 6,000 years when the new world comes into existence, there is no mention of bringing the seventh millennium to an end as in Rev 20.  The judgment usually follows the rest in the typical premillennial chronology but 15.5 places the judgment of the ungodly and the cosmic changes at the beginning of the seventh day and not at the end.[45]

c) The passage does not make a clear distinction between the present kingdom of God and the future one; nor, is it clear as to the exact relationship between the seventh and eighth days.[46] The “The writer of the epistle does not develop logically the thought of the seventh day.”[47] d) If Barnabas is premillennial, one would have to justify the idea of a double Sabbath, one during the seventh year and one during the eight year.  The passage does not appear to make this point.

e)  Ferguson argues that Barnabas' understanding of the Sabbath precludes a chiliastic understanding of the passage, since in the author's mind, the continued observance of the Sabbath is a denial of man's sinfulness.[48] f) We should not read Barnabas in light of Justin, Irenaeus and Hippolytus and other later writers, but let his writing stand on it sown and interpret it in light of its historical setting.



Both positions have merit but the preponderance of the evidence is against stating that Barnabas was a Chiliast.  I would tend to agree with Boyd's final analysis when he writes, “the most modem scholarship can do is to assume that the Seventh Day, in the writer's thought, is a millennium since there is no prima facie evidence for it.”[49]


     [1] See 4 Ezra 7.39  “For thus shall the Day of Judgment be, whereon is neither sun, nor moon, nor stars.”  The concept of judgment followed by rest is also seen in 2 Enoch 33.2; 4 Ezra 7.30.  I Enoch 91.15-17 records that after the judgment, “the powers of the heavens shall be given seven-fold light.”  Jubilees 1.29 “all the luminaries shall be renewed.”

     [2] The word promise is associated with the resurrection in 5.7 and the point the believers will rule over the earth in 6.17. O’Hagan views the term promise (15.7) to apply to the Abrahamic promise of a land for Israel.  See Angelo P. O’Hagan, Material Re-Creation in the Apostolic Fathers, (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1968), 50-60.  The inherent weakness of this view is that Barnabas already interpreted the Promised Land to belong to the Church (6.8-17). 

     [3] In 4.2 the new creation has already begun in one sense, the good land has already come, but the future resurrection is clear and tied to the death and resurrection of Christ rather than to the Second Coming as in 5.6-7.   O’Hagan states that Barnabas combined two traditions here.  See Material Re-Creation in the Apostolic Fathers, p. 135. Dewart suggests that Barnabas “clearly envisaged a thousand year interval after the six thousand years of this world (corresponding to the six days in which everything is to be completed).” Joanne Dewart, Message of the Fathers of the Church: Death and Resurrection, vol. 22 (Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1986), 54.  She continues commenting about 15.5-9, “the seventh day will be the day for judging the godless and so will be preceded by the resurrection,” (she then quotes Barn 21.1,3) and states, “Christ will raise the dead, just and unjust, to judgment on the seventh day, that there will be a re-creation (which is to some degree already present) and that the eight day will see it fully realized and as well Christ’s manifestation and ascension.  It would seem that, if the re-creation is to include a thousand year reign of Christ, it will occupy the seventh ‘day’ of a thousand years after the judgment and before Christ’s glorification” Dewart, p. 55.

     [4] The eighth day as a symbol for the new world is also seen in 2 Enoch 33.1-2, “And I appointed the eighth day also, that the eighth day should be the first created after my work, and that the first seven revolve in the form of the seventh thousand, and that at the beginning of the eighth thousand there should be a time of not-counting, endless, with neither years nor months nor weeks nor days nor hours.”  See also 2 Enoch 15.8; Clement Str. 6:16.141; Sib. Orac. 7.140.

     [5] Three factors led the author to this conclusion: 1) The allegorical method of interpretation, which is nothing new to the epistle.  2) The transposing of the Aorist to the Future tense in the phrase, “the Lord will bring everything to an end” (15.4).  He also changes the Aorist of Gen 2:2 into a Future tense, from God finished to will finish (katepausen).  This quotation is based on the Hebrew text rather than on the LXX  (suntetelesen, suntelesei).  3) A faulty exegesis of Ps 90:4.  See William Shea, “The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 4 (1966): 169-170.

     [6] Dialogue 81.3- Adam lived to be 830 years old as stated in Gen 5:5, thus he did not live to be 1,000 since he died that day he ate the fruit in Gen 2:17.  Chapters 80-81 clearly state the belief that there will be a literal 1,000-year reign in Jerusalem which will be followed by a general resurrection and general judgment.

     [7] Against Heresies 5.28.3.

     [8] Against Heresies 5.23.2; 28.3; 33.2.  Cf. Didascalia 6.18.

[9] Against Marcion 3.24.

[10] Epitome 72; Divine Institutes 7.22; 24; 26.

[11] Synposium 9.1.

[12] Instructions 43; 44; 80.

[13] On the Creation of the World.

[14] On Fate.

[15] De Opif. Mundi 13; cf. Leg. Alleg. 1.2

[16] Leg. Alleg. 1.5f.

[17] He wrote of this position, "I myself once held this position." (De civitate Dei, 20.7; 22-30).

[18] Other writers who held to this same position are William H. Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas,"

AUSS 4 (1966) 149-175.  Johanes Quasten "The author is a follower of Chiliasm." in Patrology, (Utrecht: Spectrum, 1953) 1. 89.  Cf.  Everett Ferguson who once held this position, "At one time I agreed with these scholars," but has now changed his thinking.  See Everett Ferguson, "Was Barnabas a Chiliast?" in Greeks, Romans and Christians, ed. David, Balch, Everett Ferguson, Wayne Meeks, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 159.  Cf Angelo O'Hagan, Material Re-Creation in the Apostolic Fathers, p. 44-67.

[19] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 167.

[20] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 164-175.

[21] D.H. Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church: Studies in the History of Early Chiliasm, (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1945), 29-55.

[22] Since the text does not specifically state when the eighth day specifically begins it is best to see this as evidence which can be used for either position.  Due to this fact, Shea does refer to his points (2-5) as "minor" reasons to make a distinction between the seventh and eight days.  But I must take exception with his statement, "In spite of his lack of clarity on this point, the premillennial view is certainly the simplest and most reasonable way to understand the writer" (p. 167).  Simplest and most reasonable are debatable terms to say the least. (See the Non-Chiliastic Interpretation in this paper as to the objections to this position).

[23] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 168.

[24] Angelo O'Hagan, Material Re-Creation in the Apostolic Fathers, p. 58.

[25] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 168.

[26] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 168.

[27] The eighth day as a symbol for the new world is also seen in 2 Enoch 15.8; Clement Str. 6:16.141; Sib.  Orac.

7.140.     [Note: This strength of this point also depends upon the dating of 2 Enoch].

[28] William Shea, "The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas," p. 174.

[29] James A. Kleist, The Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas...... (ACW 6; Westminster, MD: Newman, 1948) 179.

[30]  Robert Kraft, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3, p. 129.  Cf. Kraft, vol. 3, p. 127-128 “The eschatological rest is ushered in after the judgment has taken place (15.5) .... But 18.8b seems to require that during the Sabbath rest the creation of the new world takes place.  Could it be that Pseudo-Barnabas or his tradition has intentionally left this matter ambiguous? ... It might be considered strange if Pseudo-Bamabas interpreted the six thousand years literally!  For him, whenever the end comes, that is when the period is completed- not vice-versa.” Another method of dealing with this issue is offered by P. Pringent, LEpitre de Barnabe I-XVI et ses sources, (Paris: Gabalda, 1961), 67.  The weakness of Pringent's position is that he divides the chapter into 15:1-5 and 6-9 based on the idea that each section comes from a different source.  One does not have to rely upon this concept to offer an alternative explanation which is just as viable.  Cf. W. Rordorf, “Sunday,” (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968), 93, “We simply do not know what happens during the time period or how long it will last, that is simply not the point of the passage.”

[31] Alan Patrick Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Post-Apostolic Fathers, Master's Thesis (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1977), 104-106.  Even though he offers some convincing proof and reasonable objection, the strongest assertion which he is willing to make is that Barnabas was “probably not”' a premillennialist (p. 104).

[32] Reidar Hvalvik, The Struggle for Scripture and Covenant, p. 197.  For a detailed description of this position see Albert Hermans, “Le Pseudo-Barnabe, est-il Millenariste?”  Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 35 (1959) 861-875.

[33] Albert Hermans, “Le Pseudo-Bamabe, est-il Millenariste?” ETL 35 (1959) 853-69.

[34] Andrew Chester, “The Parting of the Ways: Eschatology and Messianic Hope,” in Jews and Christians: The

Parting of the Ways A.D. 70 to 135, ed.  James Dunn (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1989), 274.

[35] Some writers try to place a premillennial schematic upon this text but there is nothing in the passage which mentions another resurrection 1,000 years later.  See for example John Lawson, (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1961), 110.

[36] Ferguson, "Was Barnabas a Chiliast?" p. 161.  For a detailed treatment of this point see Ferguson, p. 160-163 of the same article.

[37] William Shea, “The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas,” p. 155.

[38] Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church: Studies in the History of Early Chiliasm, p. 35.

[39] Tamid 4.4 “On the Sabbath day they sang .... a song for the time that is to come, for the day that shall be all Sabbath and rest in the life everlasting.” Gen.  R. 17.7: "There are three antitypes ... the antitype of the age to come is the Sabbath." Life of Adam and Eve 51.2: “Man of God, mourn not for thy dead more than six days, for on the seventh day is the sign of the resurrection and the rest of the age to come.” Cf.  "When this is done, the new Sabbath, which is acceptable to God, will have been instituted.  In 15.9, the writer applies this teaching-Christians presently observe the Eighth Day, which foreshadows the new Sabbath, because this is when Christ rose and ascended” Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Post-Apostolic Fathers, p. 104.  The main point is that the Christians observe the Sabbath which is acceptable by God and the Jews do not.

[40] Ferguson, “Was Barnabas a Chiliast?” p. 162

[41] C.K. Barrett, "The Eschatology in the Epistle of Hebrews," in The Background of the New Testament and its

Eschatology:  Studies in Honor of C. H. Dodd, (Cambridge: University Press, 1956), 370.

[42] Ferguson, “Was Barnabas a Chiliast?” p. 164

[43] "Barnabas is the father of its amillennial understanding," Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church: Studies

in the History of Early Chiliasm, p. 37.  Kromminga, argues the following: "He seems to be of the opinion, that there will be a seventh world-period all right, but that period will be identical with the perfection of the eternal state ... The day of rest that is coming is one and the same day, viewed from two different aspects.  From the viewpoint of continuity the great world-Sabbath is the seventh day; but from the viewpoint of discontinuity it is the eighth, beyond and outside the present world-week" (p. 34-35).  He then makes an attempt to prove that Barnabas was actually an Amillennialist (p. 35-40).  He bases this on the following: The promises of OT are consistently applied to the Church, and the fact the Covenant belongs to the Church.  He then makes a stretch when he suggests that the last stumbling block (4.3) was the Jewish expectation of rebuilding the Temple, possibly during the Bar-Choba revolt as the means which could bring about the great apostasy.  This justifies the anti-Jewish polemic.  This idea is based on 4 Ezra 12.3-30 and 2 Baruch 39.3-40.4 which predicts the empire being overthrown and the Temple with its sacrifices would be restored (2 Baruch 68.5-7; 32.2-4; 44).  This position has merit but it is not a direct parallel of classical Amillennialism in that the Jews are radically excluded from the covenant from its inception (4-68); and, the concept of one people of God is completely nonexistent since the Church is the people of God (2.6; 3.6; 5.7; 6.19; 13.1).

[44] Ferguson, “Was Barnabas a Chiliast?” p. 163

[45]  This scenario does not line up with the typical premillennial position which has the release of Satan at the end of the thousand years and the attack which he leads of God and Magog upon the saints (Rev 20).

[46] Kraft, vol. 3, p. 28-29, "It not clear whether Pseudo-Barnabas intends to refer to this final state of the righteous as the 'kingdom of God' (2 1. 1; 4.13), in contrast to a temporary 'kingdom' of Jesus which gains the victory, but such an interpretation is at least possible.  Nor is it entirely clear whether Pseudo-Barnabas expects a literal ‘millenium' of the rest after the final victory and before the 'eighth day' -15.5ff. is ambiguous, if not confused, on the relationship between the 'true sabbath' and the 'eighth day."

[47] The Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, p. 427.  See also A. O'Hagan, Angelo O'Hagan, Material Re-Creation in the Apostolic Fathers, p. 55, "the state of the world during the seventh thousand years cannot be solved with complete certainty." (P. 55).  He does say that this period will last for 1,000 years, but it is hedged in on the one side by the six thousand years of the world existence and the ogdoad on the other, so what would it be but another millennium? (p. 55).  He sees the seventh and eighth day as synonymous (p. 59).

[48] Ferguson, "Was Barnabas a Chiliast?" p, 164.  In support of this position he cites Klaus Wengst, Tradition und Theologie des Barnabasbriefes, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1971), 74; P. Prigent and R. A. Kraft, L’Epitre de Barnabe, (Paris: Cerf, 1971), 186.  The weakness of this point is that Barnabas’ point is that we will be able to keep the Sabbath “after being justified and receiving the promise.” His point is that we are not able to keep the Sabbath in this life but will be able to when the Lord returns, and only at that point.

[49] Boyd, A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Post-Apostolic Fathers, P. 104.  Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church, p. 34-35, makes this same point.  "Barnabas has accepted the symbolical equation of the days of creation with millennia of history, and that he understands Daniel's fourth Beast to represent the Roman Empire; and that is precisely the extent of the claims that can be based on those passages." (Kromminga, p. 32-33).  Cf. C. K. Barrett, “The Eschatology in the Epistle of Hebrews,” “The only point that is really clear here is perhaps the only point that Barnabas really wished to make: The Jews with their Sabbath are in the wrong, the Christians with their Sundays are in the right” (p. 370).

Related Media
Related Sermons