Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
BARNABAS: Chapter VIII.—The red heifer a type...
Chapter VIII.—The red heifer a type of Christ.
Now what do you suppose this to be a type of, that a command was given to Israel, that men of the greatest wickedness 1541 should offer a heifer, and slay and burn it, and, that then boys should take the ashes, and put these into vessels, and bind round a stick 1542 purple wool along with hyssop, and that thus the boys should sprinkle the people, one by one, in order that they might be purified from their sins? Consider how He speaks to you with simplicity. The calf 1543 is Jesus: the sinful men offering it are those who led Him to the slaughter. But now the men are no longer guilty, are no longer regarded as sinners. 1544 And the boys that sprinkle are those that have proclaimed to us the remission of sins and purification of heart. To these He gave authority to preach the Gospel, being twelve in number, corresponding to the twelve tribes 1545 of Israel. But why are there three boys that sprinkle? To correspond 1546 to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, because these were great with God. And why was the wool [placed] upon the wood? Because by wood Jesus holds His kingdom, so that [through the cross] those believing on Him shall live for ever. But why was hyssop joined with the wool? Because in His kingdom the days will be evil and polluted in which we shall be saved, [and] because he who suffers in body is cured through the cleansing 1547 efficacy of hyssop. And on this account the things which stand thus are clear to us, but obscure to them because they did not hear the voice of the Lord.
Literally, “men in whom sins are perfect.” Of this, and much more that follows, no mention is made in Scripture.142:1542
Cod. Sin. has “upon sticks,” and adds, “Behold again the type of the cross, both the scarlet wool and the hyssop,”—adopted by Hilgenfeld.142:1543
Cod. Sin. has, “the law is Christ Jesus,” corrected to the above.142:1544
The Greek text is, “then no longer [sinful] men, no longer the glory of sinners,” which Dressel defends and Hilgenfeld adopts, but which is surely corrupt.142:1545
Literally, “in witness of the tribes.”142:1546
“In witness of.”142:1547
Thus the sense seems to require, and thus Dressel translates, though it is difficult to extract such a meaning from the Greek text.
Next: Chapter IX.—The spiritual meaning of...
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