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Joses Barnabas

Joses, pronounced in Greek as ee-o-sace, is the New Testament rendering of the Hebrew name (see Translation Of Translations) that itself was an abbreviation of the Hebrew form of Joseph (pronounced yo-safe). It was a name very familiar (a word meaning family) to Jesus Christ; His adopted father Joseph, and His actual biological brother, through Mary, Joses, had those names (Joses was very likely named after his father Joseph; see Mary's Other Children) i.e. "13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?" (Matthew 13:55 KJV).

Another Joses is well known to Bible History, although more-often by the "surname" that was given to him by the apostles - Barnabas, a Levite from Cyprus who was among the first to become Christian after the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

"4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, a Levite [see Levites], and of the country of Cyprus, 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:34-37 KJV)

"Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry"

The Pharisee Saul had been one of the most deadly enemies of Christ and Christians until Christ struck him down on the road to Damascus (see Was Paul Among Them?). Thereafter, eventually known as Paul, he went on to become one of the greatest Christians that ever lived, and died, in the service of Christ. Having not long before been subject to Paul's persecutions, the people of Christ were understandably still fearful of him, since he had yet to prove himself ("they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple"). So then, the LORD assigned Barnabas to bring him into the fold; hence his new name, "son of consolation."

Cyprus Map

"9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 9:29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 9:30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus." (Acts 9:26-30 KJV)

It was largely through the persecutions of pre-conversion Paul that "they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen," including up to Antioch. Paul had been a participant in Stephen's killing, as he later admitted: "22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." (Acts 22:20 KJV). But most amazingly, among the first things that Paul was sent to do, with Barnabas, was to preach to them, what they had already very-well understood back when Paul had been persecuting and killing them for it. It wasn't hypocrisy; it was a miracle of healing a blind mind (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).

"11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

11:27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul." (Acts 11:19-30 KJV)

"Barnabas and Saul" (note that the newly-converted Saul was still very much secondary to Barnabas) then returned to Jerusalem. While there, they joined with them "John, whose surname was Mark," the young man who would later write the "Gospel" book that bears his name. John/Mark was a nephew of Barnabas ("Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas" Colossians 4:10 KJV) and therefore also of Levite ancestry.

"12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark." (Acts 12:24-25 KJV)

Paul's famous first missionary journey (see Paul's First Missionary Journey) actually began as the journey of "Barnabas and Saul" to Cyprus, the home country of Barnabas. Notice also that "they had also John to their minister" - meaning only that John/Mark was their servant, which is actually all that "minister" means in the Holy Bible.

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 13:4 So they, being sent forth by The Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister." (Acts 13:1-5 KJV)

As Christ intended and proclaimed to Saul on the day of his conversion, Saul/Paul quickly grew into a preacher of Truth in his own right. The rapid understanding was enhanced by his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures that he already knew very well as a Pharisee, but couldn't "see" until the Holy Spirit gave him the light of understanding of his knowledge.

"13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on." (Acts 13:13-15 KJV)

"13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath [see Why Observe The True Sabbath?]. 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." (Acts 13:42-44 KJV)

"13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." (Acts 13:49-50 KJV)

Miraculous healings by "Barnabas and Paul" (notice that Saul was then becoming known as Paul) soon followed. In one incident at Lystra, the people there tried to worship Barnabas and Paul as the pagan gods Jupiter and Mercurius (names that modern-day scientists have foolishly used for the planets Jupiter and Mercury, as well as some space exploration programs), but the power of Paul's preaching was also becoming evident, as was the very sort of persecution that he once did to others - they "stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead" (the LORD may actually have resurrected the "dead" Paul, perhaps through Barnabas) however "the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe."

"14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked [see also Healing The Lame].

14:11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 14:12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.

14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 14:18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.

14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 14:20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe." (Acts 14:8-20 KJV)

It was also soon evident that Paul was being given to preach the Gospel to all people. "Paul and Barnabas" (notice that Saul was becoming known as Paul, and that he was also then spoken of before Barnabas - Barnabas had done his assigned task with Saul very well) then attended The Circumcision Council in Jerusalem.

"15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised [see Circumcision] after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them." (Acts 15:1-4 KJV)

Paul's "outsider" status with the early church then became evident again, not as a persecutor of Christians, but unlike the those who were given to preach a nationalistic Christianity, Paul was given to preach to everyone; in the verses below, the King James Version use of "heathen" simply meant non-Israelite i.e. "gentile" (then, as now, there were as many "heathens" in Israel as anywhere else e.g. "33:9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen" 2 Chronicles 33:9 KJV; see Manasseh Of Judah).

"2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." (Galatians 2:9 KJV)

As naturally happens when a teacher has done his job well, as Barnabas surely did with Paul, eventually Barnabas and Paul parted in their service to the LORD. Barnabas had taught Paul how to walk in the Truth - and to stand strong in it.

"15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." (Acts 15:36-41 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) Why is it that most Levites settled in the southern kingdom of Judah, and thereafter became known as "Jews" rather than Levites? (b) Why wasn't Jesus Christ a Levite?
(a) See No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes? and Are Levites 'Jews'?
(b) See Why Wasn't Christ A Levite?


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