FORGOTTEN SAINTS: The Gospel of Barnabas, Survey & Commentary
A secret Bible in which Jesus is believed to predict the coming of the Prophet Muhammad to Earth has sparked serious interest from the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI is claimed to want to see the 1,500-year-old book, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, that has been hidden by the Turkish state for the last 12 years.
The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome, penned in Jesus’ native Aramaic language, is said to contain his early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet’s coming.
The leather-bound text, written on animal hide, was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000.
It was closely guarded until 2010, when it was finally handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum, and will soon be put back on public display following a minor restoration.
A photocopy of a single page from the handwritten ancient manuscript is thought to be worth £1.5million.
Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay said the book could be an authentic version of the Gospel, which was suppressed by the Christian Church for its strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus.
He also said the Vatican had made an official request to see the scripture – a controversial text which Muslims claim is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.
In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God.
It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.
In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called? Muhammad is his blessed name’.
Born in Cyprus as Joseph, Barnabas was an Early Christian later named an apostle.
His story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles.
The date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable.
But Christian tradition states that he was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus.
He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church, with his feast day on June 11.
And in another Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab.
Despite the interest in the newly re-discovered book, some believe it is a fake and only dates back to the 16th century.
The oldest copies of the book date back to that time, and are written in Spanish and Italian.
Protestant pastor İhsan Özbek said it was unlikely to be authentic.
This is because St Barnabas lived in the first century and was one of the Apostles of Jesus, in contrast to this version which is said to come from the fifth or sixth century.
He told the Today Zaman newspaper: ‘The copy in Ankara might have been written by one of the followers of St Barnabas.
‘Since there is around 500 years in between St Barnabas and the writing of the Bible copy, Muslims may be disappointed to see that this copy does not include things they would like to see.
‘It might have no relation with the content of the Gospel of Barnabas.’
Theology professor Ömer Faruk Harman said a scientific scan of the bible may be the only way to reveal how old it really is.
Published: 05/23/2012 at 7:11 PM
Iran’s Basij Press is claiming a purported Gospel of Barnabas, discovered in 2000, will prove that Islam is the final and righteous religion, causing the collapse worldwide of Christianity.
Turkey confiscated the text, written on animal hide, in an anti-smuggling operation. Turkish authorities believe it could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas by the apostle known for his travels with the apostle Paul.
Basij Press contends the text was written in the 5th or 6th century and predicts the coming of Muhammad and the religion of Islam.
The Christian world, it says, denies the existence of such a gospel.
Another known “Barnabas Gospel” dates to the late 16th century, which would post-date Muhammad.
In the Barnabas text held by Turkey, chapter 41 states: “God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at top of the gateway to heaven, it was written ‘La elah ela Allah, Mohamad rasool Allah,’” meaning Allah is the only God and Muhammad his prophet.
The Turkish army has taken possession of the text because the “Zionists” and the governments of the West are trying to suppress its contents, Basij Press claims.
According to the Barnabas Gospel in Turkey’s hands, Basij Press says, Jesus was never crucified, He’s not the Son of God and He, Himself, predicts the coming of Muhammad. The book even predicts the coming of the last Islamic messiah, the report says.
“The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world,” the Basij report says. “The most significant fact, though, is that this Bible has predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad and in itself has verified the religion of Islam, and this alone will unbalance the powers of the world and create instability in the Christian world.”
The Basij report concludes that the discovery is so immense, it will affect world politics, and that the world powers have become aware of its impact.
Turkey plans to put the Bible on public display. Though Turkish authorities believe it could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas, others believe it only goes back to the 16th century and is a fake because it would have been written centuries after Muhammad’s life.
Erick Stakelbeck, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Stakelbeck on Terror” show and a close observer of Iranian affairs, said Iran is highlighting the book because it sees Christianity as a threat.
“The Iranian regime is committed to stamping out Christianity by any means necessary, whether that means executing Christian converts, burning Bibles or raiding underground churches,” he explained.
“In promoting the so-called Barnabas Bible – which was likely written sometime in the 16th century and is not accepted by any mainstream Christian denomination – the regime is once again attempting to discredit the Christian faith. Record numbers of young Iranians are leaving Islam and embracing Christ, and the mullahs see Christianity as a growing threat to their authority.”
The Vatican has requested to see the text, but it is unknown if Turkey has provided access.
Iranian ayatollahs regularly declared that Islam is the last and only righteous religion sent by God.
Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, in a recent statement, proclaimed that since the Quran was the last holy book and provides the most complete religion to the world, and Muhammad the last prophet, there is no authority to abide by other books. The Quran clearly indicates that only those who have accepted the true religion of Islam are the guided ones, he said.
As reported recently, a former intelligence officer in the Revolutionary Guards revealed that tens of thousands of Bibles were confiscated and burned in Iran under the order of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The mullah said the Bible is not a holy book and its burning is morally acceptable.
Khamenei said: “In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty Allah, the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated. Allah’s promise will be delivered and Islam will be victorious.”
Reza Kahlili translated this Iranian video about Islamic prophecies of a coming messiah and the destruction of Israel: