Give us Barabbas

By C. Eldon McNabb

"Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, 'Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.' (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

"And they cried out all at once, saying, 'Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:' (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)" (Luke 23:13-20).

The Word of God had come to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Law of the Lord unto Moses during the first five hundred years or so of the third millennium of man's presence upon the Earth. For the next 1500 years, under the guidance of judges and kings, Israel slipped in and out of favor with God, because of their lack of obedience and perpetual idolatry. Until they were carried away to Babylon, they had been a sovereign state for only 490 years. After 70 years in captivity they were allowed to return to their land of conditional promise (Deut. 30:1-20), but sovereignty continued to elude them. Then, at the beginning of the fifth millennium, the promised Messiah finally came.

The ungodliness and unbelief of the Jews resulted in their rejection of Jesus Christ, and they brought Him to the Romans to have Him killed. Jesus, the man who had wrought wonders in Israel for three and a half years: healing the sick, raising the dead, healing the halt and the maimed, and teaching the people to love one another. Then, at the last moment, Roman law allowed them one more opportunity to turn around and spare the life of the Son of God, and reconcile themselves back to God. All they had to do was to say, "Give us Jesus."

The full impact of that rejection would not be seen until Israel had been given about 40 years more of the healing, the raising of the dead, and the wonderful expression of love manifested by the followers of Jesus. Then God sent the other "murderer:" The Roman general, with his army, arrived and killed one third of them, a rash of pestilence and famine killed another third of them and the rest were scattered around the world with persecution following them unto this day, in fulfillment of Ezek. 5:12.

Thus were fulfilled all of the promises of God to them, both good and ill. (There will yet be fulfilled the restoration of a remnant of them, according to Isaiah 61:4-6, but Zechariah 14:1,2 shall also come upon them. Jerusalem shall be conquered, raped and pillaged, and half of the city shall remain in the hands of their attackers.) Paul said it this way in Rom. 11:7, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."

In Matthew 21:43, Jesus told them, "The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." When the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, The Kingdom of God was taken away from them, never to be given to them again (Matt. 21:18,19). And it remains unto this day, that a Gentile nation should qualify to receive unto themselves that Kingdom. However, Daniel declared, in Daniel 2:42-44, that in the days of the G-ten of the United Nations, "The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom." The time of that kingdom has arrived, and a nation of dedicated Christians shall soon arise in fulfillment of that prophecy.

The Apostle Paul referred to the wrath of God being poured out upon God's "Jewish" people in Romans 2:1-11, and showed that God would do the same thing to His "Gentile" people before the return of our King. He said, "Unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God." I know that the common consensus is that we modern Christians are to be whisked away at the coming of our Lord, and then a time of trouble shall come upon the Jews. But this passage denies that; showing us that a certain sincere portion of those who profess to be Christians shall form a nation, be given the glory of God, and the rest will be sorely punished. That time is upon us.

We have just slightly less than seven years for all of these things to be fulfilled. We Gentiles have had the blessings of the "kingdom of heaven" for almost two thousand years. Jesus sowed the good seed, but now we can clearly see the fruit of the tares which the enemy has sown among us. Even as did Israel, "when (the Gentiles) knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Therefore, Paul described Christianity today, as he did the Jews in his day, saying, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

It is written, "An end is come, the end is come," and that moment has come upon us. We Gentile people of God will soon be faced with the same kind of situation which the Jews faced in their day. Will we choose life? Will we choose to cleave to God, or soften our stance and "Believe a lie and be damned?" Those words shall shortly come upon us which were spoken by Joel the prophet in Joel 3:14. God said, "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." That "day of the Lord" which shall come upon Christianity is described for us in Amos 8:18-20. He said, "Woe unto you that desire the day of the L ord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"

We have a tendency to believe that simply being a Christian is enough. However, that is not the case. Isaiah plainly said in Isaiah 33:6, "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation."

It is high time for us to wake out of sleep, gather together with our fellow Christians and begin to search the Holy Scriptures for the light we will need for this perilous hour. God offered us a way of escape in Zeph. 1:14-2:3. He Said. "Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you. Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." AMEN!