What did Jesus really say?
A book by Dr. Mishaal Abdullah Al-Kadhi
Chapter 7: The Dead Sea Scrolls and
the Gospel of Barnabas
Many of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity which have been for many centuries accepted on blind faith (those which differ from the beliefs of Muslims) are now beginning to be challenged by some of the foremost scholars and religious leaders of Christianity today.
As we have previously seen in section 126.96.36.199, only one of the most glaring example of this can be found in the British newspaper the "Daily News" 25/6/84 under the heading "Shock survey of Anglican Bishops" We read that a British television pole of 31 of the 39 Anglican Bishops in England found 19 to believe that it is not necessary for Christians to believe that Jesus (pbuh) is God, but only "His supreme agent" (his messenger)
Indeed, this was testified to by Jesus in John 17:3
"And this is life eternal, that they might know YOU the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
With every passing day, the learned among Christendom are drawing ever closer to Islam
"I shall turn away from my signs those who are arrogant in the earth unjustifiably, and if they see all the signs (in creation) they believe them not, and if they see the path of righteousness they do not take it as (their) path, and if they see the path of misguidance they take it as (their) path. That is because they deny our signs and are used to disregarding them"
The noble Qur’an, Al-Aaraf(7):146.
"They are not all alike. Of the people of the book are a portion whom stand (for that which is right), who recite the revelations of Allah throughout the night while prostrate (before Him)"
The noble Qur’an, A'al-Umran(3):113.
"And Lo! Of the people of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and that which was sent down to you and that which was sent down to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They purchase not a trifling gain at the price of the revelations of Allah. Verily, their reward is with their Lord, and Lo! Allah is swift to take account."
The noble Qur’an, A'al-Umran(3):199.
The choice of the present four Gospels (including the writings of St. Paul who is credited with single-handedly writing the majority of the books of the New Testament) was imposed in the conference of Nicea 325 C.E. under the auspices of the Pagan Emperor Constantine for political reasons. Literally hundreds of gospels and religious writings were considered "Apocrypha" (which actually means "hidden from the people") and destroyed. Some of these were written by disciples of Jesus (pbuh), and not disciples of disciples who had never met Jesus (pbuh), such as Paul. If they were not more authentic than the current selection then they were at least of equal authenticity. Some of these are still available, such as the "Gospel of Barnabas" which agrees with the Qur'an and even mention Muhammad (pbuh) by name. Modern discoveries such as the discovery of the dead sea scrolls (Qumran scrolls) have also confirmed the claims of the Qur’an (such as their claim that no nail shall touch the Messiah). The most ancient copies of the Greek Gospels available today date fully three to four centuries after the departure of Jesus(pbuh). The Dead sea scrolls, however, coincide historically with the time of John the Baptist. They were quickly dated from the 2nd century BC through the 1st century C.E. by the script in which they were written and by archaeological investigations of the settlement near the Qumran caves. They were discovered alongside the most ancient copy of the Old Testament available today.
In an effort to defend the teachings of the current Greek gospels, Mr. F.F. Bruce has the following to say in his book "The New Testament documents. Are they reliable?":
"It is worth mentioning here that striking affinities of thought and language have been recognized between the Gospel and the Qumran texts. These affinities must not be exaggerated; the Qumran literature comes no where near presenting us with such a figure as the Jesus of this Gospel (John)"
Christian scholar of history readily confirm that after the famous council of Nicea (325 C.E.), the church of St. Paul (The Trinitarian Church) selected out of the over three hundred Gospels in their possession the four that most closely conformed to their doctrines. All others, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered completely destroyed. They also ruled that all Gospels written in Hebrew were to be destroyed. This practice continued until at least the year 1616 C.E.
Well then, how did the Gospel of Barnabas reach us? It is well known and recorded that the Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as Canonical in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. Pope Damasus (304-384 C.E.) issued a decree that the Gospel of Barnabas should not be read. This decree was supported by Gelasus, Bishop of Caesaria who died in 395 C.E. Pope Demasus, however, did secure a personal copy of the Gospel of Barnabas for himself in 383 C.E. and placed it in his private library. Many decrees make mention of the Gospel of Barnabas, such as the decree of the Western churches in 382AD, Pope Innocent in 465C.E., the Glasian Decree of 496C.E., Pope Hormisdas, and it is mentioned in the Stichometry of Niceophorus. There are many others who made note of this Gospel throughout history or obtained their own copies.
In 478AD, the fourth year of Emperor Zeno, the remains of Barnabas were discovered and there was found on his breast a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas written by his own hand. (Acia Sanctorum Borland Junii Tom II, pages 422 and 450. Antwerp 1698) The famous Vulgate Bible appears to have been based upon this Gospel.
Among the early Christians was a man named Irenaeus (130-200 AD). According to the book "Jesus, Prophet of Islam," by Muhammad Ata’ Ur Rahim, Irenaeus quoted extensively in his writings from the Gospel of Barnabas. In the sixteenth century C.E. a close friend of Pope Sextus (1589-1590) called Fra Marino, became extremely interested in the writings of Irenaeus. One day he was invited to visit the Pope and lunch with him. After eating with him, the Pope became drowsy and fell asleep. Father Marino took to browsing through the various books and manuscripts in the private library of Pope Sextus and happened upon an Italian translation of the Gospel of Barnabas. Father Marino concealed it in his sleeve and left the Vatican with it. This Gospel passed through many hands until it reached the hands of "a person of great name and authority" in Amsterdam "who during his lifetime, was often heard to put a high value on this piece." After his death, it came into the possession of J.E. Cramer, Councilor of the King of Prussia. In 1713, Cramer presented this Gospel to the famous connoisseur of books, Prince Eugene of Savoy. In 1738, the library of the Prince, including this Gospel was incorporated into the Hofbibliothek in Vienna where it now rests.
Mr. Sale in his preface "To the Reader" of his translation of the meanings of the verses of the noble Qur’an says:
"… the discoverer of the original M.S., who was a Christian monk called Fra Marino, tells us that having accidentally met with a writing of Irenaeus (among others), wherein Irenaeus spoke against Paul, alleging, for his authority, the Gospel of St. Barnabas, he became exceedingly desirous of finding an existing copy of this Gospel, and that God of His mercy, having made Fra Marino an intimate friend of Pope Sixtus V, (pope 1585-1590), one day, as they were together in the Pope’s library, his holiness fell asleep, and the monk, to occupy himself, reaching down for a book to read, the very first he laid his hand on proved to be the very Gospel history that he was seeking. Overjoyed at the discovery, he scrupled not to hide his prize discovery in his sleeve; and, on the Pope’s awakening, took to leave of him carrying with him that celestial treasure, by reading of which he became a convert to Muhammedanism [sic]"
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, by M. A. Yusseff, p. 119) (also see Jesus a Prophet of Islam, by Muhammad `Ata ur-Rahim, pp. 39-44, 76-77)
Only the popularity of this copy of the Gospel of Barnabas saved it from the fate of most other copies. Most copies of the Gospel of Barnabas had a tendency of mysteriously disappearing into oblivion. This was the case with a Spanish copy which mysteriously disappeared from the College Library in England around the same time period. The Gospel of Barnabas was translated into English by Mr. and Mrs. Ragg and published in the Clarindon Press in Oxford in 1907. Dispite the fact that the authors disallowed the authenticity of this Gospel, still, mysteriously all copies disappeared from the market. Only two copies are known to have escaped this mysterious fate. One copy is housed in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The other is located in the British museum. A new printing has been made off of these copies and this printing is available today.
Many attempts have been made since the Gospel of Barnabas was first inadvertently smuggled out of the Vatican vaults and unveiled to the public to disprove it’s authenticity. This Gospel was found to support the Muslim Qur’an so strongly that it was quickly recognized that Father Marino must have stumbled upon a fabricated Gospel written by Muslims which Muslims had later managed to cleverly conceal in the Christian Vatican. Much has been written on this topic, however, for those who would like to see strong evidence of the great antiquity and authenticity of this Gospel, they are directed to obtain a copy of the book "The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Gospel of Barnabas, and The New Testament", by M. A. Yussuff.
Some quotations from the Gospel of Barnabas:
In reply to a question by Philip, Prophet Jesus said:
"God alone hath no equal. He hath had no beginning, nor will he ever have a end, ... He hath no sons, nor brethren, nor companions."
Gospel of Barnabas:17
"... Verily ye have erred greatly, O Israelites, in calling me (Jesus), a man, your God. ... I confess before heaven, ... that I am a stranger to all that ye have said; seeing that I am man, born of a mortal woman, subject to the judgment of God, suffering the miseries of eating and sleeping, of cold and heat, like other men,. Whereupon when God shall come to judge, my words like a sword shall pierce each one (of them) that believe me to be more than man,"
Gospel of Barnabas: 93
Regarding the apostle Barnabas himself, the Bible commands:
"if he comes to you, receive him."
(For more quotations from the Gospel of Barnabas, please read the end of the following section titled …)
The Dead Sea Scrolls:
I have just alluded to the Dead Sea Scrolls in the quotation by Mr. F. F. Bruce. Even with his staunch defense of the text the New and Old Testament, even with that, we find him saying "It is worth mentioning here that striking affinities of thought and language have been recognized between the Gospel and the Qumran texts. These affinities must not be exaggerated; the Qumran literature comes no where near presenting us with such a figure as the Jesus of this Gospel (John)"
What is so noteworthy about this quote? Well, to answer this question we need to begin with the story of the scrolls themselves:
In 1947 a group of children stumbled upon the first set of scrolls in a cave on the shores of the Dead Sea. These scrolls were immediately identified as the work of a very devout sect of the Jewish community that lived centuries before the birth of Jesus (pbuh). Hershel Shanks says in his book Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls:
"Such was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts a thousand years older than the oldest known Hebrew texts of the Bible, manuscripts many of which were written a hundred years before the birth of Jesus and at least one of which may have been written almost three hundred years before the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem"
Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hershel Shanks, pp. 7-8
An immediate frantic search ensued through the remaining caves in the region in order to find what other ancient scrolls could be discovered therein. A small group of "international" scholars in Israel were given exclusive access to them and the rest of the world was all but totally barred from gaining even the slightest glimpse of the texts (Prof. Eisenman observes that one of the major stumbling blocks for the publication of the scrolls was that "in the first place, the team was hardly international") . Prof. Robert Eisenman was one of the key players in the drama that finally lead to the release of the scrolls. In his book "The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered" we read:
"In the spring of 1986, at the end of his stay in Jerusalem, Professor Eisenman went with the British scholar, Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield, to see one of the Israeli officials responsible for this - an intermediary on behalf of the Antiquities Department (now ‘Authority’) and the International Team and the Scrolls Curator at Israel Museum. They were told in no uncertain terms ‘You will not see the Scrolls in your lifetimes’"
This stung them into action, and as a result of this statement, a massive effort was launched and five years later through a whirlwind of media publicity, absolute access to the scrolls was attained. Prof. Eisenman eventually received 1800 pictures of the previously unpublished scrolls. The book goes on to describe how
"Eisenman was preparing the Facsimile Edition of all unpublished plates. This was scheduled to appear the following spring through E. J. Brill in Leiden, Holland. Ten days, however, before it’s scheduled publication in April 1991, after pressure was applied by the International Team, the publisher inexplicably withdrew and Hershel Shanks (author of Biblical Archeology Review) and the Biblical Archeology Society to their credit stepped in to fill the breach".
However, finally in September 1991, the archives were officially opened and two months later the 2-volume Facsimile Edition was published.
We have already read the words of Mr. Tom Harpur in the preface to his book:
"The most significant development since 1986 in this regard has been the discovery of the title "Son of God" in one of the Qumran papyri (Dead Sea Scrolls) used in relation to a person other than Jesus.....this simply reinforces the argument made there that to be called the Son of God in a Jewish setting in the first century is not by any means the same as being identical with God Himself."
For Christ’s Sake, Tom Harpur, pp. xii.
So why don’t we study these scrolls in a little more detail and see what else we can learn ?
The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of fragments from many manuscripts, however, some of the most interesting among them are the Pesher texts. The Pesher texts are strings of interpretations of Biblical verses compiled by the most knowledgeable among the Jews. The word itself is derived from the Hebrew root word p-sh-r, which means, "to explain". The texts consist of Biblical passages followed by the words pesher ha-davar "the interpretation of the matter is," and then the interpretation itself.
The basis of all of these texts is the notion that all of history is preordained by God. In other words, God is not restricted to looking at matters as "past", "present", or "future", rather, all of time is an open book to God (please read the verification of this concept in Islamic belief in chapter 11). Indeed, this is the essence of how prophets receive "prophesies", because God "sees" the future.
So, remembering that we are henceforth quoting from texts that have been carbon dated at about 100 years or more before the coming of Jesus (pbuh), and that this dating is confirmed by literary analysis, and that the authors were a sect of very religious and devout Jews, considering all of this let us see what they have to say:
Those who have studied the scrolls have noticed a common theme prevalent throughout these manuscripts, that is, most of the pesher texts prophesise the coming of a "Teacher of Righteousness" who will be sent by God to the Jews. This "Teacher of Righteousness" will be opposed by the "Teacher of Lies" and the "Wicked Priest." These scrolls also predict the coming of TWO messiahs. These two messiahs are referred to as a priestly and a temporal messiah. What we had here was a society of very devout Jews who were convinced that the time of the coming of the two messiahs was at hand, therefore, they set about preparing for their advent by detaching themselves from the mainstream society, and dedicating their lives to their worship and the preparation for their imminent arrival.
"According to the dominant view in the sectarian texts from Qumran, two messiahs were to lead the congregation in the End of Days, one priestly, and the other lay"
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, pp. 321-322
In The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, we read that the early scrolls spoke of TWO messiahs, but that later on, the communities of the Jews began to combine them into one messiah:
"As we have suggested, contrary to the well-known ‘two-Messiah’ theory of early Qumran scholarship, these references to the ‘Messiah of Aaron and Israel’ in the Damascus Document are singular not plural... and one possible explanation for it is that it is evoking a Messiah with both priestly and kingly implications, like the somewhat similar recitations of Hebrews"
The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, p. 162
The Jews had prophesies of two messiahs. The first was best known to them for his "priestly" or "ecclesiastic" works which he would perform. The second was best known to them for his "kingly" or "military" works. These two prophesies refer to Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh). Jesus (pbuh) was best know for his "priestly" works. However, unlike prophets such as David and Moses (pbut), he never lead an army, he never established a kingdom or a government, nor did he call his followers to wage war. Quite the opposite, he always called to peace and submissiveness and to leave the rule of the land to others (Matthew 22:21). He told his followers that he yet had many things to teach them but they could not bear them yet and that another would be coming after him who would teach them the complete truth (John 16:7-14). Muhammad (pbuh) too began by preaching submissiveness and passiveness. However, his ministry was allowed by God Almighty to mature to a point where it was able to defend itself and establish justice in the earth and abolish evil. Thus, just as many Old Testament prophets had waged many wars against the pagans of the surrounding nations, so too Muhammad’s followers fought many wars in the name of God and the Islamic empire finally stretched from China to Spain. Even those who did not follow Muhammad (pbuh) knew him well. However, what did they know him for? They knew him for his "kingly" actions and not for the "priestly" side of him that his followers knew.
"And fight against them until persecution is no more and religion is for God alone. But if they desist then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers"
The noble Qur’an, Al-Bakarah(2):193.
"Those unto whom We gave the Scripture recognize him (Muhammad) as they recognize their sons. But verily, a party of them conceal the truth while they know it"
The noble Qur’an, al-Baqarah(2):146
Over time, the prophesies of the Jews began to become a little blurred, and this in addition to the continuous persecution of many nations towards the them eventually lead to their blending of these prophesies such that we find them in our present day to have combined them into one single prophesy wherein they await this one all-conquering wondrous event that would finally relieve them of their persecution and pave the way for them to march forth conquering all nations and establishing themselves as the protectors of the kingdom of God. However, as we can see from their prophesies, it was the second messiah who was to be known for his "kingly" works, not the first.
For this reason, when we read the Gospel of Barnabas we find that when the Jews ask Jesus (pbuh) whether he is "the messiah" he responds to them that he is not "the messiah" that they are expecting. This appears to be because Jesus understood their question to be deeper than a mere search for a title. They were not asking how to address him, rather, they wanted to know whether he was the one who would lead them in fulfillment of their hopes for leadership, power, and grandeur that they had been waiting for for so many centuries. For this reason, he told them that he was not "the Messiah", but that "the Messiah" they were waiting for would not come until later. He was referring to the SECOND messiah in their prophesies (please go back and read chapter 6.1 of this book). Indeed, both Muslims as well as Christians are unanimous that Jesus was the "Messiah" of God, however, Jesus appears in his response to have applied his wisdom and knowledge of his people and their expectations when answering their question.
Lawrence Schiffman says regarding Pesher Habakkuk:
"It (Pesher Habakkuk) describes the struggle between the Teacher of Righteousness and his opponents - the Man of Lies (also termed the Spouter or Preacher of Lies) and the Wicked Priest. The Spouter is pictured as heading a community. The dispute between the teacher and the Spouter is seems to have been based on matters of religious interpretation and law. The wicked priest is said to have begun his rule in truth but then to have abandoned the way of truth. He then persecutes the Teacher, confronting him on the holiest day of the year, the Day of Atonement."
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 228
This prophesy continues in Pesher Psalms:
"This text also mentions the familiar dramatis personae: the Teacher of Righteousness, termed 'the priest'; the wicked priest; and the Man of Lies. The Wicked Priest persecuted the Teacher and sought to kill him. The man of lies lead people astray".
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 229
In Pesher Psalms A 1 III 15-16 we read
"Its interpretation (Psalms 37:23) refers to the priest, the Teacher of Righteousness whom God promised would arise, for He (God) prepared (i.e., predestined) him (the teacher) to build for Him a congregation".
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 120
What we begin to see in all of this is the story of the coming of Jesus (pbuh), his selection of Judas as one of the apostles, the deviance of Judas from the truth, how a sect of the Jews persecuted Jesus (pbuh), how this sect tried to deceive the masses and differed with Jesus (pbuh) regarding the truth of God's message, and finally, how they schemed with Judas to kill Jesus (pbuh). The Teacher of Righteousness is thus a reference to Jesus (pbuh); the "priestly" messiah. The Wicked Priest is a reference to Judas, and the Spouter of Lies is most likely the leader of the "chief priests and Pharisees" who persecuted Jesus (pbuh) and are mentioned so often in the Bible, or it may be a reference to Paul himself.
Many Christian scholars have snatched up these prophesies in order to prove the validity of their claim that Jesus (pbuh) was indeed sent by God and that the Jews are required to follow him. However, they have been thwarted in their attempts by one other quite amazing piece of evidence that the Jews continually manage to refute their claims with, specifically, that the Dead Sea Scrolls claim that the first messiah will be persecuted and that the Wicked Priest will try to kill him, but that the Wicked Priest will not be successful and that it is he who will receive the fate he wished for the messiah.
"The Wicked Priest went so far as to lie in ambush for the Teacher of Righteousness. In interpreting Psalms 37:32, "The Wicked watches for the righteous, seeking to put him to death," the text states: 'Its interpretation concerns the Wicked Priest who watched out for the Teacher of Righteousness and sought to put him to death' Pesher Psalms A 1-10 IV 8-9"
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 233
So Judas will try to kill Jesus (pbuh).
In Pesher Habakkuk 11:4-8 we read
"Its interpretation (Habakkuk 2:15) concerns the Wicked Priest, who pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to swallow him up with his wrathful anger to the place of his exile. And at the time of the day of rest of the Day of Atonement, he (the Wicked Priest) appeared before them to swallow them up and to make them stumble on the day of the fast of their abstention from work."
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 120
"The Wicked Priest began his career with the support of the sectarians, but he quickly lost his way and began to transgress in order to increase his wealth".
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 233
Remember Matthew 26:15
"And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver".
"Various theories have sought to identify the Teacher with Jesus, claiming that he was executed by the Wicked Priest. Had that been the case, the text would not have gone on to explain how God took vengeance against the priest by turning him over to the 'ruthless ones of the nations'. And according to this text, the teacher certainly survived the ambush. Indeed the entire passage is an interpretation of Psalms where the text continues, "The Lord will not abandon him (the Righteous), into his hand (the Wicked); He will not let him (the Righteous) be condemned in judgment (by the wicked)."
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, pp. 233-234
The author goes on to quote Pesher Habakkuk with regard to the Wicked Priest's intentions and his punishment. He says:
"Ultimately, however, the Wicked Priest was punished: '.. because of his transgression against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his council, God gave him over to the hands of his enemies to afflict him with disease so as to destroy him with mortal suffering because he had acted wickedly against His chosen one'. The Wicked Priest's enemies tortured him which represents divine punishment for his attacks on the Teacher of Righteousness. The sufferings of the Wicked Priest are even more graphically described in another passage: 'and all his enemies arose and abused him in order for his suffering to be fit punishment for his evil. And they inflicted upon him horrible diseases, and acts of vengeance in the flesh of his body'. The one who suffered was the Wicked Priest, not the Teacher of Righteousness. The enemies of the Wicked Priest, the nation against whom he had made war, are said to have tortured him, so that his life ended in mortal disease and affliction."
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 234
Pesher Habakkuk 9:9-10 reads:
"Its interpretation (Habakkuk 2:8) concerns the Wicked Priest, who, because of (his) transgression against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his council, God handed over into the hands of his enemies to afflict him..."
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 119
If we were to read the Gospel of Barnabas, we would find that when Judas came with the Roman troops in order to betray Jesus (pbuh), God raised Jesus (pbuh) unto Him and saved him. He then made Judas look and even speak like Jesus (pbuh) so that the Romans dragged Judas away with them kicking and screaming that he was not Jesus (pbuh) but Judas. Even the apostles were totally bewildered.
After the Romans had their fill afflicting Judas with all manner of abuse and torture, he was finally taken to trial. He was asked many times whether he was Jesus (pbuh) and each time he replied that he was not Jesus but Judas and that Jesus had utilized his black magic in order to alter his form and make him resemble Jesus. Of course, no one believed him. The most his pleas succeeded in doing was to convince some that Jesus was a lunatic. This turn of events appears to be supported by the New Testament where we find that whenever Jesus was asked, "art thou Jesus?" He would reply "Thou sayest"(Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:2). This would be a completely logical response if he was not Jesus but Judas and he had been abused, ridiculed and mocked to the point that he had given up all hope of being believed. In other words, what Judas meant by "thou sayest" was, "you will not believe me if I say otherwise, so why fight it any more."
Judas' enemies (the Romans) then took him and resumed their abuse. They mocked him, kicked him, cut him, spat on him, humiliated him, and tortured him. Finally, they put him up on the cross. It appears, however, that shortly after they took him down, he disappeared from his tomb (perhaps to live in disease and torment and die later on if he was not already dead). The Gospel of Barnabas then goes on to describe how Jesus (pbuh) returned to the apostles to tell them of how God had saved him from the hands of the Jews and the Romans, raised him up into heaven, and how the traitor (Judas) was taken instead.
Once again this chain of events appears to be supported by the New Testament where we find that uncertainty regarding the fate of Judas has resulted in contradicting narrations in it's different books. For example, in Matthew 27:5 Judas is depicted as having felt severe remorse, handed over his blood money to the custodians of the great Temple, and then gone out and hung himself out of shame and remorse. However, in Acts 1:19 far from displaying remorse, Judas is depicted as having purchased a field with his ill gotten gains and then one day while he was out walking he tripped, fell down, and his internal organs burst out. In this manner, divine justice took vengeance against the traitor.
Conservative scholars have tried to harmonize these two conflicting narrations for centuries now, trying to make sense of how in one place it is Judas who purchased the field himself, and in the other it is the chief priests who purchased it. Similarly, in one place Judas died by hanging himself, and in the other he triped and his bowels gush out. In one he was remorseful and in the other he displayed no signs of remorse. As a partial solution to this dilemma, some conservative scholars have suggested that Judas hung himself, the rope broke, he fell down and then his bowels gushed out. In other words, they have taken two contradictory accounts, added in additional details found in neither one, and then come up with a completely new account supported by neither.
As mentioned previously, it is quite possible that the elusive Q document which Christian scholars believe to be the source document for the first three Gospels, (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is indeed the Gospel of Barnabas. This Gospel, once again, appears to have had a strong influence on our current day New Testament, however, the denial of Judas has now taken on various new forms, for example:
In one (Matthew 26:64), Jesus is taken before the high priest who commands him to answer "whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus replies: "Thou has said."
In the next Gospel (Mark 14:61), Jesus is asked the question by the High Priest but this time he is depicted as having answered it directly and courageously. In this version, Jesus affirms "I am…"
However, In Luke 22:67, Jesus now returns to the original "thou sayest" position, albeit with different words. In this version he says: "If I tell you, ye will not believe" Once again, confirming the narration of the Gospel of Barnabas.
Further evidence in support of my assertion that Q may in fact be the Gospel of Barnabas is the fact that the final (Non-Synoptic) Gospel, that of John, contains no mention of the High Priest's question or Jesus' claimed reply. In the Johnine version (John 18:19-23), the questions and answers are quite different than the first three Gospels. The author of the Gospel of Mark appears to have modified the original response in order to depict Jesus as fearlessly answering their questions directly, and heroically standing his ground welcoming their persecution with open arms. On the other hand the other two (Matthew and Luke) still retain the original text reflecting Judas' frustration in the face of the persecution he had intended for his master.
For 1400 years now the Qur'an has been telling us that Jesus (pbuh) was not forsaken by God to be killed by the conspiracy of the Jews and Judas but that "it was made to appear so unto them." Although we as Muslims may never know for certain the details of how this transpired since the Qur'an does not give us these details, still, we read:
"But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear you witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). Our Lord! We believe in that which You have revealed and we follow him whom You have sent. Enroll us among those who witness (to the truth). And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers"
The noble Qur'an, A'l-Umran(3):52-54.
"And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger, and they slew him not nor crucified, but a similitude of that was shown unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save the pursuit of conjecture; for of a surety they slew him not"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):157
Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and were ever transgressing. They used not to forbid one another from the evil which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do. You see many of them taking the disbelievers as their protectors and helpers. Evil indeed is that which their ownselves have sent forward before them, for that (reason) Allah's Wrath fell upon them and in torment they will abide. And had they believed in Allah, and in the Prophet (Muhammad, pbuh) and in what has been revealed to him, never would they have taken them (the disbelievers) as protectors and helpers, but many of them are the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah. Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and the polythiests, and you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: "We are Christians." That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud. And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad, pbuh), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognised. They say: "Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses. "And why should we not believe in Allah and in that which has come to us of the truth? And we wish that our Lord will admit us (in Paradise) along with the righteous people. So because of what they said, Allah rewarded them Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), they will abide therein forever. Such is the reward of gooddoers. But those who disbelieved and belied Our signs they shall be the dwellers of the (Hell) Fire.
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5): 78-86
The scrolls then go on to describe how "Kittim" (the Roman empire) and the kings of Greece would both try to take Jerusalem (the symbol of the faithful), but that it would be Kittim (the Romans) who would finally be successful. Remember how in chapter one we described the stages of how the Roman empire eventually took control of the whole Christian religion and "protected" it and "spread" it after it was "clarified" and it's doctrines established and preserved through Greek philosophy and writing?
"Some texts also speak about an eschatological prophet who will announce the coming of the messiah, a figure similar to Elijah in the rabinnic tradition"
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 323
Once again, please read section 6.1 where it is made abundantly clear that not only were the Jews expecting a prophet to "clear the way" for Jesus (pbuh) and "announce" him (this was John the Baptist), but they also expected a second messiah to come after Jesus (pbuh).
Referring to the manuscript titled The Rule of the Community, verse 9:11-12, Mr. Schiffman says:
"this text unquestionably refers to two messiahs, Dual Messiah prophesy who will be announced by an eschatological prophet. Based on a the cave 4 manuscripts of Rule of the Community, the original publication team argued that this passage was added to the text later in the history of the sect. However, the evidence in these manuscripts does not sufficiently support such an assertion. As far as we can tell, the two-messiah concept was part of Rule of the Community from the time it was composed".
Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman, p. 324
"Until the coming of the Prophet and both the priestly and the lay Messiahs, these men are not to depart from the clear intent of the law to walk in any way in the stubbornness of their own hearts. They shall judge by the original laws in which the community was schooled from the beginning"
Manual of Discipline 9:8-11 (The Dead Sea Scrolls and Gospel of Barnabas)
"And these, in specific form, are the regulations which they are to follow throughout the Era of Wickedness, until the priestly and lay Messiahs enter upon their office expiate and expiates their inequities"
Zadokite Document 14:18 (The Dead Sea Scrolls and Gospel of Barnabas)
Mr M. A. Yusseff relates in his book:
"In the late second century, as the Memoirs of Hegesippus says, a man was found collecting traditions about the life and ministry of Jesus from the Nazarenes and Christians in order to write a general ecclesiastical history. Whatever was the nature of such an ecclesiastical history, one thing can be said for sure that the traditions carried prophesies about the Messiah who was to come after Jesus. So pervasive was their presence in the ecclesiastical literature that even the Nicolaitans Church of Rome retained them, though in a distorted from"
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, M. A. Yusseff, p. 109
To see how the Jews recognized these prophesies and indeed acted upon them in anticipation of the arrival of their final Messiah in Arabia, please read chapter 10.
"And when there came unto them (the Jews) a Scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession though before that they were invoking Allah (for the coming of Muhammad, the last Messiah) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came unto them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):89
The Dead Sea Scrolls make mention of many more quite amazing and illuminating prophesies and parallels with the teachings of the Qur'an and Islam. There are also many parallels with the historical series of events presented in this book, such as the reference to the "seekers of smooth things" (simplifying the law of the religion) which sound amazingly similar to the description of Paul and his followers who "simplified" the religion of Jesus after his departure and removed all obligation from it all the while claiming that his authority came directly from "visions" of Jesus (pbuh). He is even quoted, while preaching this removal of obligation and the law, as saying
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ"
2 Corinthians 11:3 (also see 2 Corinthians 1:12, Romans 3:28, etc.)
"When the prayer was ended, the priest said with a loud voice: 'Stay Jesus, for we need to know who you are, for the quieting of our nation.' Jesus answered 'I am Jesus son of Mary, of the seed of David, a man who is mortal and fears God, and I seek that God be given honor and glory.' The priest answered, 'In the book of moses it is written that our God must send us the Messiah, who shall come to announce to us that which God willed, and shall bring to the world His mercy. Therefore, I pray, tell us the truth, are you the Messiah of God whom we expect?' Jesus answered 'It is true that God has so promised, but indeed I am not he, for he was made before me, and shall come after me.' The priest answered, 'By your words and signs at any rate we believe you to be a prophet and a holy one of God. I pray in the name of all Judea and Israel that you, for love of God, should tell us how the Messiah will come.' Jesus answered, 'As God lives, in whose presence my soul stands, I am not the Messiah whom all of the tribes of the earth expect, even as God promised to our father Abraham saying: "In your seed will I bless all of the tribes of the earth" But when God shall take me away from the world, Satan will raise again this accursed sedition, by making the impious believe that I am God the Son of God. At such time, my words and my doctrine shall be contaminated so much that scarcely shall there remain thirty faithful ones. At that time, God will have mercy upon the world and will send his messenger for whom He has made all things. He shall come from the South with power and shall destroy the idols and the idolaters. He shall take away the dominion which Satan has over men. He shall bring with him the mercy of God for salvation of those who shall believe in his words'"
The Gospel of Barnabas, 96
"Then the disciples wept after this discourse, and Jesus was also weeping, and when they saw many who came to find him, for the chief of priests took council among themselves to catch him in his talk. They sent the Levites and some of the scribes to question him, saying, 'Who are you?' Jesus confessed and said the truth, 'I am not the Messiah.' They said, 'Are you Elijah or Jeremiah, or any of the other ancient prophets?' Jesus answered 'No' Then they said, 'Who are you? Say, in order that we may give testimony to those who sent us.' Then said Jesus, 'I am a voice that cries through all Judea, and cries, "Prepare you the way for the messenger of the Lord," even as it is written in Esaias.' They said, 'If you are not the Messiah or Elijah, or any prophet, why do you preach new doctrine, and make yourself more important than the Messiah?' Jesus answered, 'The miracles which God works by my hands show that I speak that which God wills; nor do I make myself to be accounted as him of whom you speak. For I am not worthy to loosen the shoe straps of the messenger of God whom you call "Messiah," who was made before me, and shall come after me. And shall bring the words of truth, so that his faith shall have no end.' The Levites and the scribes departed in confusion, and recounted to the chiefs of the priests, who said, 'He has the devil on his back who recounted all to him'"
The Gospel of Barnabas, 42
Mr. Yusseff says:
"In sir Godfrey Higgins' notable work Anacalypsis, we are told that in the book of Haggi, the name of the Messiah who was to come after Jesus appears in chapter two, verse seven: 'And the desire of all nations shall come' Here the Hebrew word HMD* [translated as 'desire'], from the Hebrew text appears in Sir Higgins' work with the following explanation of the root word HMD. 'From this root,' (says Parkhurst,) 'The pretended prophet Mohammed, or Mahomet, had his name.' Sir Higgins says, 'Here Mohammed' is expressly foretold by Haggi, and by name; there is no interpolation here. There is no evading this clear text and it's meaning, as it appeared to the mind of the most unwilling of witnesses, Parkhurst, and a competent judge too when he happened to not be warped by prejudice. He does not suppress his opinion here, as he did in the Wisdom of the Jerusalem Targum, because he had no object to serve; he did not see to what this truth would lead."
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the
Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, M. A. Yusseff, pp. 110-111
Other Ancient Religions and Scriptures:
There is much more that could be said about the Dead Sea Scrolls and their confirmation of the Qur'an and the mission of Muhammad (pbuh), however, that will have to be left to a future book where, God willing, many more examples of this sort shall be analyzed in detail. However, before closing this topic, I would like to pose the following question: Are the Gospel of Barnabas and the Dead Sea Scrolls the only two ancient scriptures that prophesy the coming of a final messenger of God from Arabia? This was a question that I wrestled with for some time. Muslims are told that Allah Almighty had been sending messengers since the beginning of time to all of the nations of earth. They are also told that each one of these messengers had prophesied to their followers a number of matters, among them the coming of the "last messenger" and also the coming of the "false Christ" (whom Muhammad too warned his people of). A brief study of other ancient scriptures available today has lead me to the conclusion that it is indeed the case that many of these religions, no matter their current state, appear to have at one point in time began their life with a true messenger of God and that this messenger of God prophesied the coming of Muhammad (pbuh). Although I have not yet had sufficient opportunity to research this matter appropriately, still, the initial indications appear to support this assertion. Two very brief examples follow:
Example one: The Farsi (Parsi) religion is one of the oldest known religions of mankind. It was practiced in Persia for many centuries and consisted mainly of two scriptures: the Dasatir and the Zand Avasta. In Dasatir 14 (Sasan11) we can find a very clear prophesy of Muhammad (pbuh):
"When the Persians should sink so low in morality, a man will be born in Arabia whose followers will upset their throne, religion and everything. The mighty stiff-necked ones of Persia will be overpowered. The house which was built (The Kaaba in Makkah built by prophet Abraham) and in which many idols have been placed will be purged of idols, and people will say their prayers facing towards it. His followers will capture the towns of Parsis and Taus and Balkh and other big places round about. People will embroil with one another. The wise men of Persia and others will join his followers."
This prophesy requires no interpretation. It is an exact description of matters that we now recognize as historical fact (see end of chapter 10).
Example two: In the Hindu scriptures too there is what appears to be a clear prophesy of Muhammad (pbuh). In Bhavishya Purana he is actually mentioned by name:
"Just an illiterate man with the epithet Teacher, Muhammad by name, came along with his companions. Raja (Bhoja in a vision) to that Great Diva, that denizen of Arabia, purifying with the Ganges water and with the five things of cow offered sandal wood and pay worship to him. O denizen of Arabia and Lord of the holies, to thee is my adoration. O thou who hast found many ways and means to destroy the devils of the world. O pure one from among the illiterates, O sinless one, the spirit of the truth and absolute master, to thee is my adoration. Accept me at thy feet"
Bhavishya Purna Parv 3, Khand 3, Adhya 3, Shalok 5-8
For those who wish to see more, you are encouraged to obtain a copy of the book "The Bible's Last Prophet," by Faisal Siddiqui, Al-Saadawi Publications.
To read the rest of this book, please visit: Page 19
To go back to the Table of Contents of this book, please visit: What did Jesus really say?