Now we are going to begin to talk about the Holocaust, which comes from the Greek word “holokauston” which is a translation of the Hebrew “Olah” meaning “burnt offering, in light of Deut 28.15-68 and how this event was part of a continuing cycle of covenantal discipline and judgment. The “hedge” that surrounded the Jewish people was removed, exposing the people. The rabbis have interpreted portions of Scripture that discuss the sufferings of the Messiah, like Isa 53, as applying to the people of Israel. This can be expected from people who reject Yeshua, but this also exalts the people to a messianic level. They find a way to interpret the catastrophes of the past so that they come out vindicated rather that chastised.
Rabbinic Judaism has exalted itself against the knowledge of God. During the Holocaust, Poland was a religious center and hard hit. The ones who seemed the most religious (Ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews) suffered the greatest. The bottom line is the religious leaders exalted what men said over what Moses said. What we think is impressive and “spiritual” does not mean that God sees it that way. The word “religious” does not mean “knowledgeable” and “Rabbinical” does not mean “Biblical.”
Israel failed to understand what really happened in 70 A.D. and the destruction of the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans. If the people understood what happened, it would have been the foundation of a great repentance on the truth, but they didn’t (Luke 19.41-44). This gave rise to Rabbinic Judaism. The revelation of Yeshua saves us from mere concepts about God and the the things man conceives.
Man did not conceive God or is man the the standard of what we think he is. God reveals himself on his terms, at his will and he is not made in our image. A god in our own image does not make any demands on us, but is convenient. These false gods tell you that you are special just the way you are. He comforts you when there is trouble because you are not to blame, right?
In the first century, Yeshua came and tried to penetrate the man-made systems (there was not one “Judaism” at the time but many) of his day and they killed him (Acts 3.13-15). He challenged everything that was held dear. He was born in a sukkah with parents of no reputation. He grows up in Nazareth, a town that was despised in the Jewish writings and lived a hidden life for thirty years. He was falsely accused by some of the religious leaders from Beit Shammai and the Sadducees in particular, and dies the death of a criminal near the city dump. That is Yehovah, our God. But some say that God would never do that, that it just can’t be, right?
In a sense, Yeshua was the burning bush and the people turned away from him and refused to “turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight” like Moses did (Exo 3.3). By refusing to see the “holocaust” or “olah” (burnt offering) of Yeshua, the next holocaust was inevitable in 70 A.D. Yeshua predicted this would happen (Luke 21.10-24), and yet the people refused to acknowledge that the events of 70 A.D. and the total destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was in any way connected to their rejection of the Messiah.
By refusing to interpret correctly the tragedies that the people themselves set in motion, they were susceptible to the next tragedy. The worst deception of all is that the people had an incorrect perception of God. If you miss that, you miss who he really is. We must know the Lord in truth, in his judgments and his mercies. We are not talking “theology” here but “reality.”
To understand the Holocaust, we must understand how the Jewish people celebrated the German civilization. We have already touched on this briefly, but we need to repeat it because these concepts are important to us in our lives. The Jewish people in Europe, especially in Germany, had an exalted view of man, and this “enlightened” civilization systematically attempted to annihilate the European Jews. It was this very civilization that the Jews idolized and admired above all other nations that was the tool of this destruction. The music, the culture, the science, the education, the theological schools and the depth of their logic could not save European Jews.
Biblical truth about the coming of the Messiah, prophecy, sin and the true redemption was lost long ago. The Rabbis had systematically ordered that the people should not study these things anymore because of all the false messianic expectations the people had in the past that led to three wars with the Romans. They even pproclaimed you could not say the name of Yehovah anymore. For the non-religious Jews, Germany became the very fulfillment of any messianic expectation they might have had. The Jewish exaltation of man was validated by the “humane” and “civilized” German people wherever they lived. This is why, we believe, that God “required” that Germany be the ones to bring the horrors of the Holocaust (like he did with the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans in the Scriptures).
To be a German Jew was the highest dignity that could be afforded to you. When Polish Jews came to Germany as immigrants, there were German Jews who would look with contempt upon them for being crude, too religious and they were farmers with long beards. In fact, some German Jews were ashamed to be associated with them in any way because they thought of themselves as superior. Some of the greatest German Jewish scholars in psychiatry, physics, music and science lacked the true understanding of human depravity and did not anticipate the evil that man was capable of. As a result, that exalted German society actually became the instrument of Jewish destruction.
And yet, the Jewish people had no concept of sin and they did not think they had committed a transgression of any kind that would justify the judgment of the holocaust. Rabbinic Judaism celebrates Jewish life as superior in every way moral and ethical. But these recent events must bring everyone to the realization that man has failed. Israel acts like anyone else in the world, and there is violence in the land, corruption in government, they mistreat strangers and do whatever it takes to answer today’s problems.
However, we know that Israel’s biblical destiny is going to be fulfilled in spite of this. God’s name Yehovah, his covenant with the fathers and his honor is at stake. However, their arrogant self-assurance will cause the Lord to require Israel to be broken again, without hope and defeated in the Birth-pains of the Messiah until they acknowledge him (Ezek 37.1-28; Hos 5.15 to 6.3).
So, what is God’s view of Mankind? There is not a righteous person on earth, according to his word (Ecc 7.20; Psa 53.3-4, 130.3, 143.2). The problem is nobody wants to agree with him. The flesh is sinful and does not always exalt itself in crimes like murder, rape and thefts. It can also express itself through the intellect, music, art, business, science, politics, sports, entertainment and accomplishments. There is no way around it, the human flesh is wicked and rotten all the way through.
There exists a self-exaltation of Jewish life in the area of human accomplishment and brilliance that is a lie. What will it take to test this to reveal the flaws? Failing to obey the Torah and the word of God regarding our human condition is pride, and this will bring the judgment of God. Being a sinner makes it hard for us to see ourselves as a sinner! If we are going to see ourselves as a sinner, God must confront us as a judge who is righteous. This concept is plainly seen in the crucifixion of Yeshua and the Holocaust. It is in the depths of despair and darkness that we realize we are a sinner. Remember this concept, sin will refuse to call itself sin, and being a sinner makes it hard for us to see ourselves as a sinner!
The greatest revelation of sin can be seen in the price God paid for the propitiation of sin, and that price can be seen in the “Olah” (Holocaust) of Yeshua. What reveals “sin as sin” is the judgment that results from that sin. What reveals the mercy of God was his own willingness to bear the sins of many himself. What is the price of refusing to consider that act? If we do refuse to consider this, we have lost the one, great provision sinners have to understand their own condition before the Lord, and the price that was paid for us. To dismiss either the crucifixion or the efficacy of the one raised up on the cross as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, is the same mindset in those who refused to look at that serpent on a pole in the wilderness, and they died. It is also the same mindset that revisionists use when they dispute or reject the historical accuracy of the Holocaust.
In Part 23, we will pick up here