Deut 28.15-68 tells us about the curses, which was bad news if Israel didn’t go after the blessings. What we are going to talk about now in relation to these curses will be hard to express because these verses sadly tell the history of Israel. We do not enter into this discussion lightly. In the wilderness, they wanted to go back to Egypt, and later the curse got so bad that Israel was devalued and nobody wanted them. In 70 A.D. with Titus and in 135 A.D. with Hadrian, they tried to sell Jewish slaves to Egypt and Egypt didn’t want them.
In the 1700’s there was a move in Germany to move away from aspects of Orthodox Judaism and the Torah. This movement is called “Reform Judaism.” Jews assimilated into the nations around them and they wanted to be accepted. The Holocaust, also known as the “Shoah” (calamity) was the result of what Moses warned about in these verses. He pleads with the people to choose the Lord and the Lord.
After all these years, and all that Israel has been through, they still don’t get it, and that’s the problem. But the world is like this, too. God has been rejected for 6000 years and they have no heart to know, eyes to see or ears to hear the word of the Lord. So, what happened in the Holocaust? How could something like this happen?
The subject of the Holocaust (Shoah) has caused many to ask those questions. What we are going to present will be hard to accept by many who will read this, but it is the truth regardless. The biggest curse of all is to have no sense of being part of a curse. From these verses in Deut 28.15-68 we will attempt to answer the above questions of what happened i the Holocaust and how could it happen. We are also writing this as Jewish believers in Yeshua, who had many distant and unknown relatives who lived in Europe (some of the ancestors came over as early as the late 1600’s) who may have perished in the Holocaust, so we do not enter into this lightly or flippantly. Had Yehovah placed us in a different “space and time continuum” in his plan, we may have perished also.
We ask that you read what we are going to present with an open mind. We do not mean to hurt anyone or cause anyone distress, but we want to accurately interpret the Holocaust in light of what Moses said in Deut 28.15-68. If the God of 586 B.C. and 70 A.D. is the God of 1933-45 A.D., then it is vain to condemn the rod of his fury (Germany) as the cause rather than the instrument of his wrath.
How could Israel be systematically slaughtered by the most civilized people on earth (Germany)? They were not some ignorant, uncivilized society. The Jewish people had a long and prosperous relationship with Germany, even celebrating it as the Messianic ideal. And it wasn’t only the Jews who believed this, Christian theologians had been looking to German theologians as the ideal source for their theology and understanding, going back all to Martin Luther. Many Jews thought that if the rest of the world could be like Germany, then it would be like the coming of the Messiah.
In an article called “Germany–the Jewish Motherland” from Aish Ha Torah, it says, “Late in the nineteenth century, the Jews living in Germany and Austria denied they were in any way “chosen.” In fact, they believed that the non-Jews among whom they lived were the true chosen people. ‘Berlin is our Jerusalem!’ they loudly proclaimed. Gentile society was their social environment of choice, and Germany was their beloved motherland. Did anti-Semitism disappear? Well, we know the answer to that question. Following their espousal of their host nations’s culture, German and Austrian Jews experienced the most vicious outpouring of anti-Jewish hatred in recent history. Precisely when and where Jews rejected their claim to ‘chosenness,’ they suffered the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism.”
Why would they say that? Because Jews had lost the Messianic expectation a long time ago and would settle for anything that was ethically, morally and culturally as grand. To be slaughtered by that nation is not something that should be lost on our sensibilities as we study this subject. There is a message in this and the fact that Jews have not sought or obtained the meaning of that message means they will experience it again.
The Holocaust is like trying to swallow something that is to big to digest. It is the most devastating event of modern times, not just for someone who is Jewish, but for the modern world. If the reason for the Holocaust is not properly digested, the Jewish people will have a loss so large it cannot be numbered. There is something about suffering that opens up the issues of truth and reality like nothing else. When we go through something devastating, it brings out many issues that need to be dealt with. The most tragic part of this study is being part of the curse and not knowing you are part of the curse, and the curse comes from God. Most people cannot bring themselves to the realization that God was the author of the Holocaust, according to Moses and the Torah. He was behind the Babylonian Captivity in 586 B.C and the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
There has not been an event in recent history that has generated more research, literature and discussion than the Holocaust. These works would fill libraries. We not only study the casualties, but how they made the gas and the rise of the Nazis. The history of anti-Semitism is discussed and many other things have been weighed in the balance. But, there is a very significant void in all this research, and that is the literature that deals with, “Where was God and why did he allow this?”
Everyone knows how it was done (by man) but nobody can say “why.” We need to know that there is a great gulf between those two issues. We can give an answer to “how.” Historians have gone through the records and have documented how it was done. They can answer why in the sense that the rise of the Nazis and Hitler’s anti-Semitic hatred of the Jews, but that does not answer the biggest question, and there are no books that do.
What the Holocaust tells us is that people have naively accepted the most romantic and traditional notions about Yehovah. Those notions have caused emotional, mental and spiritual dilemmas within us because we think that the God we “know” should have revealed himself in power, and didn’t. It insinuates that God has a moral defect within him and isn’t really concerned with suffering, or he is powerless to stop the suffering of his chosen people, or he doesn’t exist at all.
The Jewish people are a brilliant people and the writers of many books. The Jews are even called “The people of the Book” but the real issue is, Jews don’t really know the book for which they are known. Even religious Jews don’t know it as they should because they have occupied themselves with rabbinic commentaries rather than studying Moses and the book for themselves. The Jewish people cannot come to the place to believe that the God who inspired the Bible is able to give us insight to its meaning through his Spirit. But, we need to understand the calamities in history already referred to, and the Holocaust, and see that they point to future calamities and “birth-pains” predicted in what the Scriptures have already written.
The Scriptures are very clear about this. Few investigators look to the Bible to find an explanation for the Holocaust. Instead, Jewish and non-Jewish people raise money for Holocaust museums because there is a hope that through education and knowledge they can avert another calamity. It is never considered that the Holocaust happened at the hands of the most educated nation on earth. They are convinced (but wrong) that the education of man will avoid another Shoah, all the while avoiding what the Scriptures had to say about why it happened. Even Yochanon Ben Zakkai, who witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the first century, said that anti-Semitism is not a normal phenomenon but it comes when Israel fails to obey the Lord (Talmud, Ketubot 66b).
This study is not given to satisfy a historical question, but it does have present and future applications. Disasters like the Holocaust cannot go unexamined or we make room for another one. The history of the Holocaust must be examined in light of the Scriptures. To fail to come up with the right answers as to why the Holocaust happened is worse than denying it ever happened at all.
In Part 22 we will pick up here and discuss how the Holocaust was part of what is known as “covenantal discipline and judgment” and how Yehovah removed the “hedge” of protection at some point, exposing the people.