Barnabas ~ Whom Jesus Loved

20 Oct

from Google Images

Barnabas is a nickname given by the Apostles to a Levite named Joseph of the country of Cyprus (Acts 4:36), who had resettled in Judea. Joseph, called Barnabas, is also the brother of Mary, the mother of John Mark (cf. Colossians 4:10 and Acts 12:12). I have identified Mary, the mother of Mark, as Mary, sister to Martha and Lazarus HERE. Therefore, if that study is true, Lazarus is probably Joseph, whom the Apostles called Barnabas. This should become clearer as one goes further into this study.

It is said in John 11:3, 5 that Jesus loved Lazarus, and I believe Jesus’ love for this man is key to understanding his identity both in the Gospels and in Acts. I contend that Jesus, through the pens of the Gospel writers intends to show how God works in the lives of those he loves—from the beginning to the end (cf. Philippians 1:6).

One of the things I find really intriguing is the fact that only Luke and John mention anything about a person named Lazarus, and Luke mentions him only in what appears to be a play on a rabbinic story (Luke 16:19-31)! Scholarship tells us that the name Lazarus is another name of the Hebrew Eleazar, and its meaning is whom God helps or God has helped. Since Lazarus was raised from the dead and targeted by the Jewish authorities to be killed, because of how great a number of Jews were turning to Jesus over this miracle (cf. John 12:10-11), it may be that Lazarus is an encrypted name for someone God has helped.

If my study, concerning Mary, the mother of Mark, is true, then Joseph (Barnabas) is also the brother of the Apostle, James the Less (cf. Matthew 27:55-56 and Mark 15:40). Jesus chose several people from the same family to be his apostles. Peter and Andrew were brothers, as were James and John (the sons of Zebedee). Judas Iscariot was probably the son of Simon, called Zelotes (cf. John 6:71; 13:26). James the Less and Judas (the writer of the epistle Jude) were either brothers or more likely father and son (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; cf. Jude 1:1).

The father of the second Apostle named James was Alphaeus (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13), but the father of James the Less is Clopas (cf. Mark 15:40; John 19:25). According to Thayer’s Greek Dictionary Alphaeus means ‘changing’ and is the same name as Clopas which means ‘my exchanges’. Clopas is of Chaldee or Aramaic origin and corresponds to the Greek, Alphaeus. So, since Clopas and Alphaeus are the same man, his wife, Mary, is the mother of James the Less (i.e. James the Apostle) and of Joseph (Mark 15:40), who is called Barnabas by the Apostles in Acts.

I find it interesting that, if Lazarus was loved by Jesus in a very special way, so that he was identified in this manner (John 11:1-3), and if he was closely related to two of Jesus’ apostles, why wasn’t Lazarus chosen as well? Remember, Lazarus and Barnabas are the same person, according to this study, and the Scriptures tell us that Barnabas’ given name was Joseph (Acts 4:36; cf. Mark 15:40). Moreover, according to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a wealthy man, because he sold land and laid the entire amount at the Apostles feet.

With the above in mind, I have to wonder about the ‘rich young ruler’ who came to Jesus asking how he might gain eternal life (cf. Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27 and Luke 18:18-27). The Scriptures also make a point in telling us that he, too, was loved by Jesus (Mark 10:21). Luke describes him as a ruler (Luke 18:18), which may have to do with being a member of the Sanhedrin. Finally, Matthew refers to him as a young man (Matthew 19:20). So, we have a young ruler who was very rich (Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22; Luke 18:23), whom Jesus loved and invited to follow him (Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). Wouldn’t it be appropriate for Barnabas, now converted and fully embracing Jesus, to give to the Apostles in Acts 4:36 what he found so difficult to do for Jesus a few years earlier?

Jesus concluded this episode with the rich young ruler whom he loved with the words: “with God, all things are possible.” Was Jesus merely stating a magnanimous fact about God, or did Jesus intend that this record of the rich young ruler—whom he loved—to become a demonstration of how God both began and brought to completion his work of salvation in one individual (cf. Philippians 1:6)?

If the above is logical, let’s go a little further and suggest another Scriptural comparison. Barnabas’ real name is Joseph, and we know Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler, whom Jesus loved. We also know that Barnabas / Joseph was very rich, but could he have also been a member of the Sanhedrin (a ruler)? Well, there was a Joseph who was a member of the Sanhedrin (Joseph of Arimathaea), who came to Jesus at night, implying he loved his position in his nation more than he loved Jesus (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-42). However, upon the death of Jesus, this Joseph boldly went to Pilate to crave Jesus’ body, and laid it in his own tomb.

If this Joseph is Lazarus, and was raised by Jesus from the dead, he knew he owed Jesus all he had. Therefore, he boldly craved the body of Jesus, not secretly as he had been his disciple up to that time, but now his position and riches mattered no more. All he cared about he laid in the grave. Remember, we are supposing that this study shows in the Scriptures how God moves in the hearts of those who love him and brings that beginning work to its completion (cf. Philippians 1:6).

I would be remiss, if I didn’t deal with one more thing. The Gospel of John was written by the disciple whom Jesus loved. Is this John, the son of Zebedee, of whom the Scriptures make no point in saying he was loved by Jesus in a special manner so that he could be identified by that love. Or, was the fourth Gospel written by Joseph, called Barnabas in Acts? The writer of the Gospel of John is referred to in John 13:23 where he leaned upon Jesus’ breast at the last meal Jesus ate just before his death. Nothing is said in the Scriptures that only the Twelve were present.

The writer of the fourth Gospel is again referred to at the site of the crucifixion, when Jesus provided for his mother through the disciple whom he loved (John 19:26-27). Traditionally, this is supposed to be the apostle, John, but there is nothing here to show it could not be Joseph, called Barnabas in Acts. He is again mentioned in John 20:2 when Mary Magdalene ran to Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved to tell them Jesus’ body was missing. Peter is the leading disciple and should be told, but why would John be singled out and told? On the other hand, if the disciple whom Jesus loved was Joseph (of Arimathaea) / Barnabas in whose tomb Jesus was laid, it was entirely appropriate to tell him as well.

Finally, the author of the fourth Gospel is referred to for a final time in John 21 in verses 7 and 20. We know John, son of Zebedee, was among the disciples present (John 21:2), but so were two unnamed disciples, implying only the Apostles were identified by name; the other two were not numbered among the Twelve. So, Joseph / Barnabas may have been one of the two disciples. The Gospel writer identifies himself only as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20, 24). Traditionally, this would be John, the apostle, but it could also be Joseph, called Barnabas, because, if this study is true, the only one in Acts who could be traced to the one known as the disciple whom Jesus loved is Joseph called Barnabas.



Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas


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15 responses to “Barnabas ~ Whom Jesus Loved

  1. Bev

    October 20, 2012 at 11:04

    Hi Ed. Captivating study! Have I ever recommended to you the book, “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” by J. Phillips? If not, check it out. There is also a website by the same title. I think you and the author would find each other’s study very interesting!

  2. Ed Bromfield

    October 20, 2012 at 11:18

    Hi Bev, thank you for your comment. If you did recommend the book, I don’t remember. I did a search and found it on Amazon, and I will put it on my Christmas wish list. My wife and my daughter always want to know what book to buy me. I’ll order it with others to take advantage of free shipping. Thank you for your kind suggestion.

    Lord bless you.


    February 27, 2013 at 22:53

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  4. Clifford the tekton

    August 18, 2016 at 22:41

    I am astonished. I have been studying this out for years and see so many of my own thoughts spelled out here in your study. The Holy Spirit is indeed working in our midst.
    As my Filipina soul mate would say: Hay naku.
    My contention is this: Nicodemus has an Hebrew name of Simeon. He has three children: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Joseph of Amathus, just on the other side of Tiberius, married Mary of Magdala in Cana.
    So much happened around that union.
    Jesus’ mother was completely at ease ordering servants around at the wedding because she was family.
    Some day God willing, I will have you read my novel… and sign it!
    God bless you, Eddie..

  5. Eddie

    August 19, 2016 at 06:54

    Greetings Clifford. I have nothing on Nicodemus’ identity. I have my suspicion, but, since I haven’t any Biblical support, I haven’t written anything.

    As for the others you mention above, as I said in a previous comment, we both put them in the same family, but how they are related to one another is not necessarily agreed upon.

    Lord bless you, Clifford.

  6. Clifford the tekton

    August 19, 2016 at 09:25

    Perhaps this is a silly question but to me it’s serious, since I don’t know Greek and do know that the original texts lacked punctuation, but consider these verses from Mark 15…
    40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

    My question is whether the way it is worded could be construed that Mary was mother of three: James, Joses, and Salome?
    At least I construe it like that. I think of them as siblings. I consider Joses to equal Joseph, although Joseph is also mentioned within a few verses, I take that to be part of the coverup by the gospel writer to which I referred earlier.
    Scripture also refers to the mother of Jesus and her sister Mary. Two sisters both named Mary? I take it they were sisters-in-law.
    So either the mother of Jesus had a sibling named Clopas or the mother of Jesus’ husband Joseph had either Clopas or his wife Mary for a sibling. I believe the former.

    Since these three siblings are identified, I don’t see how Joseph of Arimathea was a sibling to Mary of Magdala.
    That’s my reasoning.

  7. Eddie

    August 19, 2016 at 17:12

    Greetings Clifford. I have a study about this, which includes Mark 15:40 in an analysis of the women at the foot of Jesus’ cross. You may read it HERE, if you wish. The long and short of it is, the study shows Mary Magdalene and Mary (Martha’s sister) are the same person. Moreover, she is Joseph’s sister and the mother of Mark. We don’t agree here, but the upside (as far as our disagreeing with one another is concerned) is, whatever we conclude about this sort of study cannot be dogmatic. There are too many “if this is true, then…” type of logic to put anything in concrete terms.

    Something concrete looks like: Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and he rose from the dead to give me life. I like to believe that I’m willing to die for that truth, but I can’t say I’m willing to die in order to say Joseph is Mary Magdalene’s brother.

    Lord bless you, Clifford.

  8. Tarek

    April 15, 2017 at 14:53

    Hello Eddie, Congratulation!, because you get closer to the truth!
    in Barnabas Gospel which christians considered it fake gospel because its included that Jesus preaches coming Mohamed (prophet of Islam).. in this Gospel you can read the following:

    “With tears drew near unto Jesus he who writeth this saying: ‘O master, tell me, who is he that should betray thee?’
    Jesus answered, saying: ‘O Barnabas, this is not the hour for thee to know him, but soon will be wicked one reveal himself, because I shall depart from the world” Barnabas 72
    Now, I think if you read John 13: 23-25 you will conclude the same matter which you conclude here (Barnabas is the apostle Whom Jesus Loved )… but this fact is known from the 16th century in Italian translation of Barnabas Gospel.
    So, after you know the truth, what is your decision?

    Best regards..

  9. Eddie

    April 15, 2017 at 22:50

    Tarek, greetings and welcome to my blog.

    For what purpose would Jesus predict the coming of Mohamed? There isn’t the slightest implication of him doing so in any of the four Gospel narratives. As for the “gospel” according to Barnabas, it is an obvious forgery. For example, Barnabas’ original name was Joseph. The Apostles gave Joseph the name “Barnabas” (son of encouragement). If his name was Joseph, while Jesus was alive, why would he call him ‘Barnabas’ — especially since Joseph wasn’t known by that name until after Jesus ascended into heaven?

    Have a good day, Tarek, and, if you read the Bible, may the Lord enlighten your heart.

  10. tarek

    April 16, 2017 at 14:19

    Many thanks for your reply
    I ask you the same question
    If his name is Joseph why Jesus called him Lazarus? (John 11:43) Don’t forget
    that you said :if that study is true, Lazarus is probably Joseph, whom the Apostles called Barnabas.

    On the other hand, what is the evidence from the bible that Joseph was called Barnabas after Jesus ascended into heaven?
    I don’t see any mind for the apostles called Joseph Barnabas during life of Jesus.
    However, I think that all called him Barnaba to can be easily differentiate between him and Joseph of Arimathea.
    Finally, why the author of fake gospel choose Barnabas as one of 12 apostles of Jesus(inspite of the seventy), and not any apostle he is whom Jesus love as you mentioned!

  11. Eddie

    April 16, 2017 at 16:42

    Greetings Tarek and welcome back.

    In John 12:9-11 we are told that the chief priests sought to kill the man Jesus raised from the dead. Moreover, in Luke 16:19-31 Jesus retold a rabbinic story with his own twist to correct a false doctrine. In that story a man who was dead wanted Abraham to send the beggar, Lazarus, back from the dead to warn his brothers. Jesus’ twist at the end of the story contended that sinners who won’t obey the Law won’t repent even if a man were to return from the dead.

    The truth of Jesus’ statement in Luke 16:31 is borne out in John 12:9-11. The Jewish authorities wanted to silence Jesus’ claim to have authority over the dead by killing the man whom he raised from the dead. Now, I pointed all this out to say: if I were writing a record of that account of Jesus raising a man from the dead (John 11:28-44), I might not want to write the resurrected man’s name that everyone knew. If I coded his name by saying it was ‘Lazarus’, I would both hide the man’s identity from those who wished to kill him, and at the same time point to Jesus’ message in Luke 16:31. I pointed all this out in my blog / studies concerning Barnabas. If you read them, you should have been able to see my argument.

    Concerning the evidence that the Apostles were the ones who first called Joseph by the name Barnabas see Acts 4:36-37.

    No one is called “Joseph Barnabas” in the Scriptures, but the Scriptures do say that the apostles used the name ‘Barnabas’ to identify a man called Joseph (Joses) in Acts 4:36.

    Concerning the fact that you “think that all called him Barnabas”, you may **think** whatever you wish, but **thinking** a thought does not make the thought true.

    Concerning Barnabas as one of the 12 apostles, no where in any of the four lists of the 12 apostles is the name ‘Barnabas’ mentioned. If a man, hundreds of years later, wrote that Barnabas was one of the Twelve, I think we can set his ‘story’ aside as not being an accurate account of what occurred during Jesus’ ministry. As far as the identity of the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ is concerned, the text never claims that man was one of the Twelve. He is simply referred to as “the **disciple** whom Jesus loved.” Even the context of John 13:21-24 precludes him being one of the Twelve, because Jesus said one of the Twelve would betray him (Matthew 26:20-21). If the traitor was one of the Twelve, why would Peter ask one of the Twelve to ask Jesus the identity of the traitor? If ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ were one of the Twelve and if he was also the traitor, would he have given Peter the correct information? Not likely! The very fact that ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ was not one of the Twelve is proof that Peter could expect to get the correct information.

    Lord bless you, Tarek, as you look into God’s word for the truth.

  12. Bev

    April 16, 2017 at 21:04

    Eddie, did you ever get a chance to read that book I recommended above? (I can’t believe it was almost five years ago!)

  13. Eddie

    April 16, 2017 at 23:06

    Hi Bev. Yes, I bought a copy and read it at least twice. I loved it. I can’t find it now, though. I think I loaned it to my daughter. Hope all is well with you. Lord bless you.

  14. tarek

    April 17, 2017 at 04:15

    Hello Eddie, thank you again for your time & your reply.
    1.The four lists have many differents in more than one name, the same in Barnabas gospel he differ in one name (Barnabas).

    2. Jesus called the disciples ( apostles) in the first year of his mission ”Luke 6: 13”. so, when the apostles called Joseph ” Barnabas” Acts 4:36 that is not mean that happened after Jesus ascended into heaven… probable before & probable after.

    3. Simply, Peter Ask Barnabas because he ” The disciple whom Jesus loved” so, Peter expected if he ask Jesus, Jesus didn’t embarrassed him and will give him answer.

    4. Gospel of Barnabas not a fake gospel, and Italian translation is not the original source. I have many evidences confirm the originality of this gospel..for example: The Pope Gelasius I in 5th century (before Mohoamed coming) forbid ” Gospel in the name Barnabas”!
    (Tertullian: DeCretum Gelaaianum ( English transilation).

    5. Do you have any mind to directly read Barnabas Gospel instead of criticize it? kindly try.

    Best regards

  15. Eddie

    April 17, 2017 at 08:14

    Greetings Tarek, and thank you for reading and for your comments.

    Concerning #1, all twelve names in all four lists can be seen as the same 12 men in all, except for the list in Acts in which Matthias replaced Judas. Once you place ‘Barnabas’ whose real name was Joses / Joseph, you have disrupted the record. There is no one name Barnabas, Joses, or Joseph in any of the lists.

    Concerning #2, the context of Acts 4:36-37 is that Joses / Joseph was named ‘Barnabas’ because of his generosity toward the poorer brethren. He was their ‘son of encouragement.’ You have no proof, at least in any of the four Gospels of the Bible, that Jesus gave Joses / Joseph the name ‘Barnabas.’ All you have is your **opinion** and everyone has at least one of those.

    Concerning #3, each one of the Apostles were supposed to be Jesus’ friends, but a friend had become an enemy. Someone who pretended to ‘love’ Jesus betrayed him. Jesus identified the betrayer to be among the Twelve. If ‘Barnabas’ was one of the Twelve, it doesn’t make sense that Peter would ask him. If Peter wanted to be certain of a correct answer, he had to ask someone who was not one of the Twelve. Your reply is illogical.

    Concerning #4, no matter where you place the Gospel of Barnabas, it is a forgery. The one known as the Gospel of John is the Gospel of Barnabas–the disciple whom Jesus loved. Unless you have proof that the Gospel of Barnabas was written between 31 AD and 70 AD you don’t have a case. It is a forgery if it was written at any other time in history.

    Concerning #5, I have a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, but I have no real impetus to read it at one sitting. My time is limited, and I cannot read everything folks who disagree with me want me to read. If you can offer me a good argument that it is authentic, I’ll read it and study it, but, thus far, your arguments fall. You have no logical case for its authenticity.

    Lord bless you and enlighten you to the truth of the Scriptures, Tarek.

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