Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

26. Barnabas, Companion of Paul

Barnabas burned at Salamanca on Cyprus, A.D. 64

Barnabas, a Companion of the Apostle Paul, Dragged out of the City and Burned, at Salamina in Cyprus, A.D. 64.

Barnabas, also called Barsabas, and surnamed Joseph, Joses, or Justus, was a Levite from Cyprus, full of the Holy Ghost. He was called the son of consolation, and such a one he indeed proved himself to the poor saints. Acts 11:24; 1:23; 4:36; Euseb. hist. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 1.

It is maintained that he was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, and from the multiplicity of his names we can see his renown and eminence; which latter he gained by his zeal and piety; for he brought Paul, after his conversion, to the apostles; and when the Word of God was preached to the Grecians, at Antioch, by some men from Cyprus and Cyrene, he was sent by the apostles to investigate the matter; and when he found it to be so, he confirmed them in the truth. Acts 9:27; 11:20-23.

After this he went to Tarsus, to seek Paul, and brought him to Antioch, where they remained a whole year teaching. Also, when the dearth arose under emperor Claudius, he and Paul brought substantial relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judea. Acts 11:25, 26, 29, 30; Oros. lib. 7. cap. 6. Euseb. hist. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 3. 9.

On his return to Antioch, he was sent out by the Holy Ghost, to preach in many countries. On account of his eloquence he was frequently the speaker; yea, he was held in such high regard, and was so godly, that the Gentiles at Lystra cried in the speech of Lycaonia, that he was a god, and had come down from heaven, and called him Jupiter. And this was not all; but the priest of that place came with oxen wearing garlands, and desired to do sacrifice to him and Paul. But he and his companion Paul utterly declined this, saying, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities unto the living God.” Acts 12:25; 13:4-6; 14:1,2,11,12,15.

Afterwards, when certain men came from Judea, and troubled the brethren, saying, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved,” he and his aforementioned companion vigorously opposed them, according to the teaching of the holy Gospel; wherefore he and several other pious men were appointed to go to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, to bring said matter to a good termination. When they arrived at Jerusalem, he and the others were received joy- fully by the apostles and the church; yea, what is still more, they testified of him and his companion Paul, that they were men who had hazarded their lives for the truth; which indeed was apparent. Acts 15:1,26.

For, when he came to Salamina, a large city in the island of Cyprus, at this day called Famagosta, to strengthen the church at that place in the faith, he was very badly treated, as ancient history tells us, by a Jewish sorcerer, who stirred up all the other Jews and the whole people against him, so that they apprehended him in an uproar, and were about to bring him to the judge, but fearing that the judge discovering his innocence, would per- haps release him, they, after treating him lamentably, put a rope around his neck, dragged him out of the city, and burned him. Anton, p. 1. t. 6. cap. 18. Sabell. Eu. 7. lib. 2.

Thus was this faithful servant of Christ honored with the martyr’s crown, in his fatherland, and fell asleep happy in the Lord, about the time that James the Just was slain at Jerusalem, under Emperor Nero; however, before the publication of the first heathen persecution, which began shortly after the burning of Rome. Plat, in vita Petri, and Pauli. Bybelsch Naembosk, p. 158, 159. letter B. ujt hist. Andr. jol. 8.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror