Likely, Roman soldiers repeatedly knocked Him to the ground by their fists, in fits of fury, simply because of His Jewishness. Can you see them standing over Him because — king or no king — in their sinful hearts, they were sure He was inferior to them? Could anything be worse? Yes, being hated by your own as even His own brothers and ultimately His own people shouted, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”
Is it possible their hatred of Jesus, although many-faceted, extended to the depth of their souls because all they wanted was a humanistic deliverer? Is it possible they felt spurned by Jesus’ seeming lack of interest in their being so long under Rome’s thumb, not recognizing it was their spiritual condition that invited this domination by another nation as they were clearly warned they would be by God in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy? If they had obeyed, they would have been the world’s superpower and a godly one as well. Can you hear them saying, “We tried to make Him king and He rejected us, so likewise, we reject Him?” Wrapped up in their nationalistic and ethnocentric desire for self-autonomy, they instead cried out, “We would rather have [the nationalistic, militant] Barabbas.” Unfortunately, Jesus was but a footnote on the page of their desire. So, blinded by hatred, Barabbas goes free instead of Jesus. But all this stuff about love thy neighbor, especially your enemy, was too much for them. Blinded by their pursuit of freedom, they misunderstood the mission of their and the world’s Messiah. That said, should today’s remnant church have a conversation on diversity and ethnicity lest it make the same mistake? After all, this distraction may have been the chief reason they cried for Jesus’ execution. Moreover, can a contemporary conversation on this subject possibly serve as a distraction from the Three Angels messages of Revelation 14? After all, the people in Jesus’ day were certainly distracted. Therefore, it is a fair question and worthy of examination.
The first message echoes the Great Commission and is foundational to all three angels’ messages, asserting, And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. . . (Rev 14:6). Diversity is not a bad word. God’s heart for all people groups is strategically placed in the opening statement of the First Angel’s message and, while reminding those in our faith of the Great Commission, also serves as a warning against humanism and ethnocentrism. As every planet in our solar system and beyond has its own unique characteristics, so does mankind. God loves diversity!
However, whenever something we value becomes our singular focus, that is when it crosses the boundary of being healthy to destructive, from sinless to sinful. A seminary professor stated, “All ‘isms’ lead to schisms.” Schisms are Satan’s way of sowing division. Whatever it is, when we become frenzied and focused on it, it distorts our thinking, just like that which happened in Jesus’ day. Before long, we find our minds shouting, “crucify him” (or “them”). Ethnocentrism, nationalism, even feminism, is the result of taking something that God certainly wants us to value, such as our origins, to illogical extremes. The best DNA test is that of Scripture which attests we are all sons and daughters of God. When ethnocentrism reigns, Jesus becomes but a footnote of our faith and the result of love is displaced by hatred. And instead of our primary focus being Jesus, ethnocentrism becomes the primary focus of our Sabbath School and Sabbath sermons. I’m guilty as charged and ask God to forgive me for the many times I was distracted from Christ as all in all.
Put simply, Jesus was crucified for many reasons, including jealousy and envy, but trust that the choice of Barabbas over Jesus revealed a lot about their inner hatred of not just the Romans, but anyone who didn’t think like them. Their cry, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas, was so telling regarding at least one of their chief motivations to crucify their own Savior (Luke 23:18).
The Second Angel’s message also speaks to diversity, a good thing, and ethnocentrism, a bad thing. God’s announcement in this message through Jesus, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, in Revelation 14 and again spoken of in Revelation 18, Come out of her My people, is a twofold call of God’s love for all mankind. His love for His diverse world is why we take this message to every part of the globe. But God’s impassioned plea also serves as a stern rebuke to those who insist on clinging to our modern-day Babylonian confusion of evolutionary theory, as well as any other thing that undergirds the idolatrous belief that God is not Father of all things and people that exist. Evolutionary theory hints of a world which will get better by man’s accomplishments, rather than one that is doomed to destruction, and that those who are not like us must be subjugated or eliminated. This is the natural outgrowth of Cain’s belief system, but also Nimrod’s Babel and Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.
The Third Angel’s message proclaims a mark, which we know to be a symbolic embrace of this world’s theories and practices, especially those which contradict the word of God as it pertains to the Sabbath. But again, while this interpretation is very accurate sometimes, we miss the nuances of this last Revelation 14 message. In short, those who embrace evolutionary theory have no need of a Sabbath because the Sabbath connotes there is a God who created all things in seven days by Whom we are all held accountable at the end of time for accepting or rejecting the first two angel’s messages. The appropriate antidote for all “isms” is the Sabbath which, by its very nature, reminds us to return to the triune God and implies our common brotherhood as depicted by corporate worship for all people.
Hatred in Jesus’ day was not new. Cain hated his brother. The book, Patriarchs and Prophets, attests that Cain insisted his brother join him in his protest against God. The three-pieced Babylonish garment of today is atheism, agnosticism and human secularism. The implication of Darwin’s theory is very similar to that of those who stood at the foot of the tower of Babel. Namely, that man’s evolution will lead to a godless utopia and denies coming judgment on the world, which is why the Third Angel’s essage, in part, was birthed in the same epoch of time as evolutionary theory, and thus serves as a last-day warning to those dressed in Babylon’s garb. For those who embrace secularism, humanism and evolution with its belief in favored races, all races embrace something of this nature, they will be judged by God for clinging to Babylonian beliefs, namely, that all that exists is centered on man. The Mark of the Beast will be on all those who, boasting, build an ethnocentric golden image to their nation or ethnos to which everyone must bow. Therefore, when the clarion call, “Come out of her, My people,” is made in Revelation 18:4, God is saying to flee the morally bankrupt system of Babylon and all its man-centered ideas, especially atheism, sexism, feminism, sectarianism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, tribalism, casteism, Asian-centrism, Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, Latina-centrism and Indian-centric ideas.
At creation and at the foot of the cross, all are sons and daughters, although estranged, in God’s eyes. This was the purpose of the cross — to reunite that which humanistic Babylon destroyed in all its manifestations, stretching from Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar, to modern humanism and secularism. Jesus created us to be different by design. But we must never worship our differences. Let’s pray that God, through Christ, will teach us to fear Him, love Him and serve Him, and help all others of every nation, kindred, tongue and people to look up and see the great salvation He has provided for all in His Son, Jesus. (Please remember to keep reading Patriarch and Prophets. I’m enjoying it to no end.)