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THE LETTER OF BARNABAS

waits for the holy age. Do you see how well Moses has given the Law? 12 But how could they know or under­ stand these things? We, however, speak as those who know the commandments in an upright way, as the Lord wished. For this reason he circumcised our hear­ ing and our hearts, that we may under­ stand these things.

11

But we should look closely to see if the Lord was concerned to reveal anything in advance about the water and the cross. On the one hand, it is written about the water that Israel will not at all accept the baptism that brings forgiveness of sins, but will create some­ thing in its place for themselves. 2 For the prophet says, “Be astounded, O heaven, and shudder even more at this, O earth. For this people has done two wicked things: they have deserted me, the fountain of life, and dug for themselves a pit of death. 3 Is my holy mountain, Sinai, a rock that has been abandoned? For you will be like young birds who flutter about after being taken from their nest.”61 4 Again the prophet says, “I will go before you to flatten mountains, crush gates of bronze, and smash bars of iron, and I will give you treasures that are dark, hidden, and unseen, that they may know that I am the Lord God.”62 5 And, “You will dwell in a high cave, built of solid rock, and its water will not fail. You will see a king with glory, and your soul will meditate on the reverential fear of the Lord.”63 6 Again in another prophet he says, “The one who does these things will be like a tree planted beside springs of wa­ ter; it will produce its fruit in its season, and its leaf will not fall, and everything it does will prosper. 7 Not so with the impious, not so; but they will be like chaff driven by the wind

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from the face of the earth. For this reason the impious will not rise up in judgment nor sinners in the counsel of the upright; for the Lord knows the path of the up­ right, but the path of the impious will perish.”64 8 Notice how he described the water and the cross in the same place. He means this: how fortunate are those who went down into the water hoping in the cross, for he indicates the reward will come “in its season.” “At that time,” he says, “I will pay it.” Now when he says, “the leaves will not fall,” he means that every word your mouth utters in faith and love will lead many to convert and hope. 9 And again another prophet says, “The land of Jacob was praised more than every other land.” This means that he glorifies the vessel of his Spirit. 10 What does he say then? “And a river was flowing from the right side, and beautiful trees were rising up from it. Whoever eats from them will live forever.”65 11 This means that we descend into the water full of sins and filth, but come up out of it bearing the fruit of reverential fear in our heart and having the hope in Jesus in our spirits.k And “whoever eats from these will live forever” means this: whoever, he says, hears and believes what has been said will live forever.

12

In a similar way he makes an­ other declaration about the cross in another prophet, who says, “ ‘When will these things be fulfilled?’ says the Lord. ‘When a tree falls and rises up, and when blood flows from a tree.’ ”66 Again you have a message about the

k

Or: in the Spirit

61

Jer 2:12–13; cf Isa 16:1–2. Isa 33:16–18. 64Ps 1:3–6. Ezra 4:33; 5:5.

62 65

Cf. Isa 45:2–3. 63Cf. Cf. Ezek 47:1–12. 664

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