WHY THE HOLOCAUST?
A Biblical View
of a Horror in History
by Sam Nadler
Upon seeing the
name "Bialystok," I cried. Perhaps the previous two hours at the Holocaust
Museum in Washington, D.C. had affected me more than I realized. My mother
and her immediate family, the Hirshbeins, moved to the U.S. from Bialystok,
Poland before Hitlerís invasion. Those who escaped survived; the rest of the
family perished as the Nazis eradicated the Jewish community of Bialystok.
The Holocaust was not the first atrocity in history, and sadly, according to
the prophets, it wonít be the last.
The Jewish prophet Zechariah predicted an even more horrible period for my
people. About one third of Jewish people in the world were murdered under
the Nazis. Zechariah prophesies that two thirds of the Jewish people will be
lost in a future tribulation (Zech. 13:8).
Why, God, Why? Why the Holocaust?
The Enemy of God
Evil exists because of our free choice, which includes the freedom to love
or rebel against God. But anti-Semitism is a special kind of evil. The
Scriptures are clear regarding the basis for anti-Semitism: spiritual
The Scriptures inform us that there is an enemy of God, HaSatan
(Hebrew for "the adversary"). The Adversary is working to defeat and
dethrone God (Isaiah 14:12-14), as impotent, futile, and laughable such a
task may seem.
God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). The Adversaryís plan is to prove God wrong by
nullifying Godís promises made to the Jewish people through the Jewish
Messiah. God has promised that the Jewish people would always survive as a
people (Jeremiah 31:35-37), and would also be the conduit of the Messiah,
the savior of the world.
The Enemyís Strategy
Satan is trying to remove the Jews as a people, and his strategy is
1. Stop the Jews from living! The Psalms describe this most obvious
Your foes rear their heads.... They plot against
those You cherish ."Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that
the name of Israel will be remembered no more" (Psalm 83:1-5).
Simply put: If you destroy the Jews then you can prove God is a liar. For if
God canít keep His people as He promised, then no one can trust any of His
promises. Additionally, if Satan can destroy Israel as a people, he proves
himself to be greater than God!
Anti-Semitism is anti-God. This accounts for the Pharaohs, Hamans, Herods
and Hitlers throughout the centuries. That they are tools of Satan in no way
excuses their culpability: We all are responsible for our actions,
regardless of who or what influences us in those actions.
2. Stop the Jews from living as Jews! The second, more subtle (though
potentially just as effective) strategy is to make Jewish identity
repugnant, or at least irrelevant, to Jewish people themselves. In this way,
Jewish people would not want to remain Jewish, and Israel would cease to be
an identifiable nation before God. In the book of Esther, we read of
Mordecaiís bad advice, followed by Esther: Donít
reveal youíre a Jew (Esther 2:10). Only when she abandoned that
bad advice and revealed her Jewish identity was catastrophe averted.
This same bad advice has been relived by many of our people in every
generation; in an attempt to fit into the Hellenistic culture of early
second century BCE, some Jews actually had their circumcision surgically
reversed! Even today, being Jewish is often so poorly understood that many
make no attempt to maintain their heritage.
The shame of it all is that there are some Jewish believers in Yeshua* who
do not maintain their Jewish identity. In some cases they didnít value their
Jewishness before they came to faith in Yeshua. For others, itís because
they are told that as followers of Yeshua they are no longer Jews. In any
case, by not identifying as Jews they play right into Satanís plan: to stop
the Jewish people from existing as an identifiable people. In so doing, we
not only make our faith repulsive to the general Jewish community, we work
against the very testimony of Godís faithfulness to the recognizable
existence of the Jewish people (Jeremiah 31:36)!
Though he was an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul understood what was at stake:
the very faithfulness of God. Would the Good News of Yeshua that Paul
proclaimed to Gentiles mean that God had rejected His people? His answer:
By no means! For I am an Israelite, a descendant of
Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God will not reject his people He
foreknew (Romans 11:1-2).
Every Jewish believer who states I am an Israelite
or I am a Jew (Acts 22:3) - as opposed
to "I was a Jew" or "I am a former Jew" - confirms that God keeps His
people. God is faithful, and Yeshua is the hope of Israel, not its
The Enemyís Destroyer
Therefore for the sake of testifying of Godís faithfulness in light of this
trenchant spiritual warfare, Jewish believers have a responsibility to
maintain Jewish identity. In this responsibility we also have a liberty as
to how we express our Jewishness, just as the larger Jewish community enjoys
its liberty in the various expressions of Jewish identity. However, our
lives must in some way declare "Am Yisrael Chai bíYeshua HaMashiach -
the People of Israel live in Yeshua the Messiah!"
God promised that the Redeemer of mankind and the Destroyer of Satan would
be the Messiah of Israel (Gen. 3:15).
To prevent his own demise Satan would need to stop this Redeemer from coming
and fulfilling His mission. We see how this dovetails with his previous
ploy, since the Redeemer was promised to come through the Jewish people
(Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 49:10; Isaiah11:10; 49:5-7). On this point, it seems,
Satan has failed, since Messiah has come. But if Satan failed, then why is
there still anti-Semitism today after Messiahís resurrection?
Am Yisrael Chai!
The survival of the Jewish people is the lynchpin of Godís future activity
and victory, because the return of the Lord is tied to the repentance of
Israel. Yeshua said to our people: You will not see
me again until you say, "Baruch Haba BíShem Adonai," "Blessed is He that
comes in the Name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39).
Just as David could not rule over all of Israel and remove the adversaries
until the people accepted him as king (2 Samuel 5:1-5), Yeshua will not
return to reign on the Davidic throne and remove the adversary, Satan, until
the Jewish people acknowledge Him as King.
Peter reiterates this point when he proclaims to the Jewish people:
|Repent and turn to God, that your sins
might be wiped away, in order that the times of refreshing might come
from the Lord, and that He might send the Messiah, who has been
appointed for you - even Yeshua. He must remain in Heaven until the
time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised.
~ (Acts 3:19-21) ~
The return of Yeshua will restore
everything and bring the times of
refreshing. Messiahís reign on earth is tied to the Jewish people
repent[ing] and [re]turn[ing] to God.
Therefore, Satan is desperately trying to avoid his own demise by preventing
the return of Messiah. He is doing all he can do to destroy Israel and the
Jewish people now; at the same time he is trying to make faith in Yeshua so
alien and repugnant that no self-respecting Jew, let alone the nation, would
ever desire to repent and turn to Yeshua!
Congregations of believers in Yeshua, Jewish or Gentile, who do not endeavor
to bring the Good News to the Jewish people, play into this satanic plan to
prevent Israel from recognizing their Messiah. Hence, not only must we
remember the Holocaust and pray for the peace of
Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), but believers should do all they can to
bring the Good News of Messiah to the Jewish people around the world.
* Yeshua is the Jewish way to say Jesus.
Sam Nadler is director of Word of Messiah Ministries in Charlotte, N.C. This
article is reprinted
from Word of Messiah's
website with permission, and may be viewed
in its original form at
Many other fine articles and other
features may be found at Word of Messiah.
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Th.M., Ph.D., is
founder and director of Ariel Ministries.
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