The Epistle of Barnabas: Thoughts on the Second Coming of Christ

The Antilegomena is on my heart today. What is “that” you say? It is the series of books that were disputed or fought against in making it into our finished Bible. Here is the list of books that eventually made the cut: Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, Jude and Revelation. Now I guess you can figure out why they are at the back of our Bibles even though James was the first New Testament book written.

But today I want to talk about two books that did not make that list, (One being the Didache and the other being the Epistle of Barnabas). For both of these books (that did not make the cut) are quoted in the other books of the New Testament and by many early church fathers. First, I think it is sad that the Didache is not given it’s proper due. Sure, it should not be considered scripture, but is basically the first pastoral handbook for ministry. If I am running a church, I want to know how Peter and Paul ran their meetings…

More importantly, the Epistle of Barnabas seems to be really the first book on the bubble that really could have made our Bible. It checked every box that was being looked for to make it into the cannon, but there were just a few verses that just didn’t seem to fit. It is because of those 3 or 4 sentences that the entire letter was eventually rejected.

Now let me tell you that if holiness is really important to God, then the Epistle of Barnabas really should be considered as part of the cannon. You could actually call this the Epistle of holiness. Barnabas pulls no punches and in extreme detail lets the readers know what God’s nature looks like in a Spirit filled people.

So why am I creating such interest in this book that never made the final cut into the Bible? In truth, I think God is still speaking through it as a living Word. More importantly, there is a prophecy that is over 1,900 years old that may about to be fulfilled. And what is that prophecy? The second coming of Christ.

I really don’t care if people disagree that this book should make it into the cannon or not. In truth, after reading it, you just know that whoever penned it had a vast knowledge of the Lord and His holiness. And for that alone, (along with the date of the writings), we have to concede that this letter was written by someone very close to God. And that means that this rare book (that just barely did not make the cut) should hold at least the same (or more) value than any other book written by our spiritual leaders. It should have more weight than that of Billy Graham, the writings of Calvin or Wesley, and carry more spiritual authority than that of Martin Luther.

Here is what Barnabas declares about the return of Christ. “3 Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it. 4 Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. He meaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end. 5 And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day.” Barnabas 15:3-5

Let me break it down as simply as I can. If Christ is the center of time, and His death and resurrection is the center of our faith in him. It is not a leap at all to figure out that going back through history, those 6,000 years are almost gone. Sure we don’t get to know the exact day or hour of His return, but scripture does say that we can know the season of His return.

No one has ever guessed correctly about when Christ will return. And maybe that is one of the real reasons that this book was never allowed to make it into the Bible. But it makes so much sense. I truly believe that once we get to heaven that we will all just shake our heads as we understand that the day Jesus has picked has been given to us in the scriptures, we just weren’t allowed to see it. It will be an “oh, yeah” moment.

I stop short of saying thus sayith the Lord, but I have to be honest and say that God has been revealing to me (so many scriptures) as to why He may be coming back very soon. Without going into tons of detail, The sacrifice of Christ has been seen throughout scripture around every 1,000 years since the time of Adam and Eve. And right on cue (around the 5,000 year mark), Jesus was placed on a cross for our sins.

No man knows the day or the hour, but I believe (with all I am) that the 7th day is just around the corner. And if we just used the death of Christ as a base indicator to get a ballpark figure of when that 7th day may begin, we would clearly see that the end of the sixth day could come as early as the year 2030.

As we approach the coming decade. We may well see the fall of the church, the great tribulation, and an entire world that has purged the True Gospel from their culture. We may see the oil (Holy Spirit) begin to run out of our loved ones, while the places to get more oil are closed forever as the Bride Groom approaches.

For 8 years I have held these thoughts from the Lord form the public. The only reason I say them now is because things are about to get much worse for those who seek the holiness of God. My only intention is to give us hope. For as we near the end, there will be no reprieve. That is why the true time of tribulation will be short, for no man would be able to withstand losing their faith if it were to continue.

Jesus may still come back tomorrow. Or like the scriptures could indicate, He may come back very early in the morning on the first day of the week. But to us, early in the morning still could be another 100 years. We don’t get to know the day or the hour. We get to observe the season. And when He does return, He will not care if you go to church or what denomination you have your membership in. All He will care about is if we are serving others and living in His holiness. He will be looking for good and faithful servants. For that is His definition of a saving faith. When He looks at my heart, will He find a lazy servant who has buried His talent, or a good servant who has taken the precious gift of God and invested it in others.

I am not a prophet, but I have to be obedient. Jesus is coming soon. And you can’t prepare by giving a church more money or buying a shelter and loading up on food. The only preparation we need is to continue to surrender our lives to Christ and His holiness; to seek the will of God and obey it even when it means giving up the things of this world we hold most dear. The gift of God is the most precious gift anyone can receive. It is free for any person who seeks after it willing to repent of their sins and walk in obedience to Christ and His Word.

No matter what you have done in this life… No matter how sinful your actions have been… Jesus still promises to forgive anyone who is willing and will grant them eternal life. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself. Jesus can’t lie. And if He promises to forgive any sin that is confessed to Him, He will do it. Let me end this prophetic, weird, sermon type of evangelistic post with my very favorite scripture. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If you want to go to heaven with Jesus, no sin can stop you if you are willing to let that sin go and embrace a loving replacement. Jesus has always loved you and continues to tug at your heart any way He can to get you to let go of sin (death) and embrace Him (life). As a minister of the Gospel, I will always be here to help you achieve that end. Blessings