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The disciples answered: 'O master, exceeding great are thy words, therefore have mercy upon us, for we understand them not.'
Said Jesus: 'Think ye perchance that God hath created his messenger to be a rival, who should be fain to make himself equal with God? Assuredly not, but rather as his good slave, who should not will that which his Lord willeth not. Ye are not able to understand this because ye know not what a thing is sin. Wherefore hearken unto my words, Verily, verily, I say unto you, sin cannot arise in man save as a contradiction of God, seeing that that only is sin which God willeth not: insomuch that all that God willeth is most alien from sin. Accordingly, if our high-priests and priests, with the Pharisees, persecuted me because the people of Israel hath called me God, they would be doing a thing pleasing to God, and God would reward them; but because they persecute me for a contrary reason, since they will not have me say the truth, how they have contaminated the book of Moses, and that of David, prophets and friends of God, by their traditions, and therefore hate me and desire my death—therefore God hath them in abomination.
'Tell me—Moses slew men and Ahab slew men—is this in each case murder? Assuredly not; for Moses slew the men to destroy idolatry and to preserve the worship of the true God, but Ahab slew the men to destroy the worship of the true God and to preserve idolatry. Wherefore to Moses the slaying of men was converted into sacrifice, while to Ahab it was converted into sacrilege: insomuch that one and the same work produced these two contrary effects.
'As God liveth, in whose presence my soul standeth, if Satan had spoken to the angels in order to see how they loved God, he would not have been rejected of God, but because he sought to turn them away from God, therefore is he reprobate.'
Then answered he who writeth: 'How, then, is to be understood that which was said in Micaiah the prophet, concerning the lie which God ordained to be spoken by the mouth of false prophets, as is written in the book of the kings of Israel?'
Jesus answered: 'O Barnabas, recite briefly all that befell, that we may see the truth clearly.'