"Paul [cannot be] both claimant and witness [for himself]." Tertullian, Against Marcion 207 A.D.

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 Who Wrote The Epistle to the Hebrews?

 

"The nearest approach to a ‘tradition’ is one quoted by Tertullian as current in North Africa at the close of the 2nd century ascribing the epistle to Barnabas." (New Commentary on Holy Scriptures.) 

 

Tertullian writes: "Hebrews, a work of Barnabas...." See Tertullian, De Pudicitia (Latin & French translation by A.Picard)(1906 edition) at 184 (Latin) and 185 (French)

 

Tertullian does so again in On Modesty XX (ca. 207 AD):

"For there is extant withal an Epistle to the Hebrews under the name of Barnabas—a man sufficiently accredited by God, as being one whom Paul has stationed next to himself in the uninterrupted observance of abstinence...."

 

Tertullian is clearly referencing our Epistle to the Hebrews 6:1, 4-6 in the NT for he next quotes -- the key passage relied upon later by Arminius:

"Warning, accordingly, the disciples to omit all first principles, and strive rather after perfection, and not lay again the foundations of repentance from the works of the dead, he says:  “For impossible it is that they who have once been illuminated, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have participated in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the word of God and found it sweet, when they shall—their age already setting—have fallen away, should be again recalled unto repentance, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and dishonouring Him.”

 

More proof is as follows. Because this epistle to the Hebrews has the most excellent Greek in the NT, and Barnabas was known to have such erudition (being from Cyprus which was renown for excellence in writing Greek)(Barclay:8), many Christian authorities support Barnabas as the author. These include:

i)     A.M. Stibbs, V. Principal, The New Bible Commentary (Oak Hill Theological College, London) at 1088

ii)     Dr. Allan J. McNicol, Prof. of N.T.,  Harper’s Bible Dictionary (Bangalore, Inst. for Christian Studies, Austin, Texas, 1994) at 94.

iii)     Myles M. Bourke, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Bangalore, 1994) at 920.

iv)     Dr. Robert W. Ross, Dept. of History, N. W. College, Minneapolis, Minn., The Wycliffe’s Bible Commentary (1987) at 1403 f.

v)     William Smith, A Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988) at 238.

vi)     Dr. F. F. Bruce, Ryland’s Prof. of Biblical Criticism & Exegesis, Manchestor University, in Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, (Thomas Nelson Ltd, London, 1967) at 1008.

Source: "Barnabas, His Gospel, Credibility."

 

Bruce says Tertullian does not attribute the epistle to Barnabas as if he were merely expressing opinion, but rather as if it were a commonly held ascription among those of his circle. Thus, Tertullian attributes it to Barnabas as a matter of fact.

 

Different Teachings than Paul

However, in the later 200s, Origen said no one knows who wrote Hebrews. Then even later, in the 300s, many began saying Paul wrote it. Many today say this is unlikely because of the following differences in soteriology and Christology:

Paul's Patterns

Hebrew's Presentation

Christ being the Head of the Body of believers (I Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:22,23; 4:14,15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10,19).

Christ is the High Priest over the People of Israel (Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14,15; 5:5,20; 9:11,12,19-23; 13:11,12).

The Believer's unconditional eternal union with Christ (Rom. 8:26-36; I Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:3-5,13,14; 2:5-9; 4:30).

The Believer's potential to "fall away" from eternal union with Christ (Heb. 6:4-6,9-12; 10:26-39).

Preoccupation with showing the equal status between Jew and Gentile as the people of God (Rom. 1:16; 3:9-11, 22,23; 4:9-12; ch. 9-11; I Cor. 1:24; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:11-22; 3:6; Col 3:11).

Preoccupation with showing Israel as THE PEOPLE of God (2:17; 4:9; 5:3; 7:5,11,27; 8:8,10; 9:7,19; 11:25; 13:17).

Use of the word WORLD over 40 times with special reference to the global aspect of Christ's redemption (II Cor 5:19; Col. 1:4-6; I Tim. 3:16). Paul uses kosmos in a broad manner. It is a common Pauline term.

Not one usage of the word WORLD is in reference to Christ's act of redemption. Rather Israel is seen as the only beneficiary (2:17; 7:27; 13:12). Kosmos used only 5 times in a narrow context.

Israel's FALL into a state of "Lo Ammi" (Rom. 11; Eph 2).

Israel's RISE into the promised Covenant (8:8-13; 10:16,29; 12:24; 13:20)

Source: "The Authorship of the Book of Hebrews"

 

Conclusion

This study of authorship gives us some idea of what caused Barnabas and Paul to split. Barnabas was pro-Israel (and perhaps empathized with the Jerusalem Jewish leaders of the church),  but Paul was perceived as anti-Israel, and hence not friendly toward the role of the Jewish leaders of the Jerusalem church.

 

However, Barnabas was clearly as much an apostate under Deuteronomy 13:1-5 as Paul, no doubt influenced by his close association with Paul mentioned in Acts. For Barnabas taught:  

 

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:18-19 NIV.)

 

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. (Hebrews 8:7 NIV.)  

 

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13 NIV.)

Incidentally, it is astonishing that Barnabas could read the promise of a New Covenant in Jeremiah was to abrogate the Torah. The passage says what is new is that TORAH will now be written on our hearts, and not that it would be done away with. Jesus was the mechanism, for we listen to Jesus, and Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20 put it on our hearts, telling us the Law is not done away with until heaven and earth disappear. See our article Does New Covenant Do Away with the Prior Covenant?  

 

Also incidentally, Barnabas ridiculously relied upon the old versus new covenant to do away with the Law, but this made no sensee because the covenant with Abraham was not done away with when the new covenant of the Law came into being.  Covenants merely mean mutual promises. God can make new promises without abrogating older ones. In fact, God's promises always remain, for He does not change, as James sas.

 

Barnabas also taught the clearly heretical view that the new covenant is actually a new "testament" - hence the title of the entire book we commonly reads derives from Barnabas. But we are never told what Barnabas meant. It is horrific when you study it in depth. You will learn something so fundamental and basic to why the book is titled New Testament is never explained.

 

A testament meant a last will and testament. The testator was Yahweh in the way Barnabas explains the prior covenant. Then Barnabas implies that the God of Sinai (meaning  Yahweh) has died, because the new testament cannot live while the testator still lives. Barnabas then says that the new God we enjoy was disclosed as the second creating Lord in the (polytheistic) Septuagint Greek translation of Psalm 102. Barnabas then relates this to Jesus, and unquestionably calls Jesus God. Barnabas thus believed Jesus was the only God who survived the death of the testator whose death makes possible the new testament. (The Septuagint of 257 BC was commissioned by a pagan ruler, Ptolemy, of Egypt.)

Does this summary sounds incredible? Unfamiliar to you?

Then please read:

 

Duality of God the Son and God the Father in Paul and Hebrews.   

 

Duality of Two Creator Gods in Hebrews & Paul Derives from Mistranslated Psalm 102 They Both Reference


 

Study Aids

 

Hebrews also shares other common ideas with Paul.

 

Paul taught, as the Pharisees were known to teach, that the Law was given by angels. Now the book of Exodus says it was Yahweh. But the Pharisees contended it was angels. This unbiblical view appears in Paul's words to the Galatians 3:19: "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator." (KJV).

The same idea appears in Hebrews 2:2-3.

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment3how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (KJV)


 

Hebrews Lacks Inspiration As Contradicts Facts in Book of the Law. 

Heb 11:11 reads:

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seedand was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

This is wrong! Sarah did not believe, and instead laughed at the promise of God which Abraham relayed to her. It was Abraham who believed. Sara then lies to Abraham that she had not laughed at the possibility, and Moses adds she lied out of "fear," not faith! God even tells Moses that Abraham's wife had laughed at the promise to God's obvious sore displeasure. So how can one say "through faith Sara herself received the strength to conceive seed?" We read in Genesis:

Gen 18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Gen 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Gen 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

Gen 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Gen 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Gen 18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Another inaccurate passage is Heb 11:27:

By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:27 is not true. Moses was convicted of murdering one of Pharaoh's officers and Pharaoh's court sentenced Moses to death. Moses received the death penalty for murder. Moses did not want to die so Moses fled in fear for his life to the land of Midian.

Exodus 2:14 plainly says that "Moses feared," however, the writer of Hebrews plainly says the opposite.

Heb 11:27 By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

This is thanks to Bernard Harland's work.