It happened before, and is happening now: the devil has made the ears of some to itch again for something new and different. Books, articles and even radio and TV talk shows about “other” gospels are appearing everywhere. They fill the minds of some of God’s people with questions, doubts and fears about the authenticity of the Bible. What are we to do? The verses above tell us to “be watchful,” to “convince, rebuke, exhort,” and to “preach the Word.” And so I do, about one of these false gospels.
Barnabas is a false gospel
The purpose of this article is to prove to sincere seekers of the truth that the book known as the Gospel of Barnabas is not a true gospel. No one can believe it and the Holy Bible at the same time. In fact, no one can believe it and the Koran at the same time. He who does can be neither a true Christian nor a true Muslim. The late, distinguished professor of Islamic studies at Al Azhar Al Sharif University, Dr. Abbas Mahmoud Al Aqqad, advised Muslims to reject this false gospel. According to him, it actually destroys Islam as much, if not more, than it destroys Christianity.
Why then do some Muslims continually refer to it as if it supports Islam and contradicts Christianity? The answer is that most Muslims who refer to it have neither read nor studied it. They have been told that the Bible has been corrupted, and they assume that the “gospel” of Barnabas proves this. The whole theological controversy between Islam and Christianity depends on whether or not the Bible has been corrupted.
The Bible was not changed
How did the accusation that the Bible was changed come about? To begin with, the Koran testified to the truth of the Bible. It declared it to be given by God, and it exhorted Muhammad himself to read it to be convinced that the message he received was from God. (See these Suras in the Koran: The Table (5):43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 68; The Women (4):136; The Cattle (6):89, 90; The Narration (28):49). Then, as time went on, many differences were found between the accounts in the Bible and those in the Koran, not only in historical accounts, but also in cardinal doctrines. Finally, that left only two choices: either declare that the Koran was wrong and forsake it at the risk of being killed, or declare that the Bible was changed. Islam chose the latter.
There are four obvious proofs that the Bible was not changed. First, there are many ancient copies of the Bible that date back hundreds of years before Muhammad, and they are exactly the same as the Bible we have today.
Second, by the time of Muhammad and the Koran, there were many copies of the Bible in different languages and in many countries. How could they all have been changed in the same way in all these places? Common sense tells us this is not possible.
Third, there are many difficult passages in the Bible. Would they not have changed these first? Those who make this false accusation should tell who made these changes, as well as when, why and what parts were changed. But they cannot because there were no such changes made.
Fourth, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible is exactly the same in the Jewish Bible. Could they both have agreed to change it the same way, when Jews and Christians differ so sharply in their beliefs? For example, take the prophecy of Isaiah 53, which speaks clearly of the death of Christ for man’s salvation. The Jews do not read it because of what it says, but it is still in their Bible, word for word, as in the Bible that Christians have, guard, and honor.
I once had a discussion with a very religious, highly educated Muslim. He admitted that what I said was true, but added, “I still have to say the Bible was changed, or else I cannot remain a Muslim!”
The truth about this false gospel
What then is the truth about the “Gospel of Barnabas?” Consider the following: It first became available for study at the beginning of the 18th century, when it was placed in the library in Vienna, Austria. Evidence suggests that it was written in the 14th century in Europe. It makes statements that prove it was not written by someone who knew the geography or ways of life in first-century Palestine. It was translated into Arabic and first published in Cairo, Egypt in 1908. Since then the great majority of those who quote it have never read nor even seen it.
The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts both the Bible and the Koran when it claims that Muhammad, not Jesus, is the Christ (Al Maseeh). It also makes many scientific mistakes. For example, it makes the earth larger in size than the sun. It claims that man’s navel (umbilicus) is a result of Satan spitting on the mass of clay from which man was created. It states that Adam tried to stop himself from swallowing the forbidden fruit, and that resulted in the protrusion known as the larynx. The writer’s ignorance of the land where Christ lived is very obvious as he placed Nazareth on the Sea of Galilee.
God calls you to the Truth
These are just a few examples of the many errors contained in this false document, but they should be enough to prove how ridiculous it really is. Satan always fights against the truth of the Bible, especially the truth concerning the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the Bible says: “To Him all the (true) prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins” (Acts 10:43). Believe in Him and forsake all falsehood, and you will be delivered from the fire of hell, and will receive eternal life.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org