The Holocaust and God's Plan for Israel
All of history – from its very beginning – has been striving toward one thing – the full redemption of God's people. Everything must be seen through that lens. Even creation longs for that day, according to Romans 8:19-22. And who are God's people? Those who have saving faith in God's son, Jesus Christ. It is God's desire for all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4), and He will not give up easily. That may be especially true of His original people, the Jews.
Most mainline denominations teach that God deals only with individuals now, and that He is done with Israel – that there is nothing left to be fulfilled for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as a whole. They had their chance when Jesus walked the earth, but they rejected their savior – and with their words that awful crucifixion morning, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25), condemned themselves to desolation and destruction. Martin Luther looked upon the destruction of Jerusalem and the continued desolation of the land of Israel as evidence that God had rejected them as His people and that the Jews, as a people, as a nation, had no future in God's plan. Luther. On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 and others, up to his final sermon. That remains the official position of the Lutheran church to this day.
History truly is HIS story. And, we, who are in the midst of the story, often fail to grasp the complete picture. We come to what feels like an ending, only to discover that there are several chapters yet to go. One of the things that most of us do not understand is God's plan for Israel.
God chose one man, Abraham, for His own purposes. Of Abraham's sons, He chose Isaac and then of Isaac's son's, He chose Jacob, later renamed Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, but one of those sons, Joseph, was betrayed by his brothers into slavery in Egypt. What they intended for evil, God used for good. God blessed him there, and he became second only to Pharoah. Then, God brought a great famine to the world, for the purpose of bringing all of Jacob's family to Egypt. As time passed, Jacob's family multiplied greatly and the Egyptians took them into slavery. But again, what men intended for evil, God used for good. Because of the slavery and great hardship, they were looked down on and did not intermarry with the Egyptians, but remained a separate people. They went into Egypt a large family and came out a nation – the nation of Israel.
There was a particular place that God wanted the nation of Israel to reside – the land He had given Abraham long before. And, yet, it wasn't right for Abraham to take immediate possession of it, “for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:16) When the sin of the people of Canaan had gotten as great as God would allow, God raised up Moses to take the Israelites there. It took great calamity among the Egyptians, until the country was destroyed, (Ex 10:7) before Pharoah was willing to let Israel go. In other words, because of Pharoah's stubbornness, an entire nation was destroyed to get Israel to the proper geographic location at EXACTLY the proper time. In fact, it was the very day God had told Abraham, as He makes clear to us in Exodus 12:40-41 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD's divisions left Egypt.
While it took three days to get Israel out of Egypt, it took 38 years to get Egypt out of Israel. When they were finally poised to move in their promised land, Moses gave them one last talk, recorded in the Book of Deuteronomy. He told the people that if they would obey God and follow His commandments, they would be blessed above all nations, but if they did not – if they denied God and turned from His commandments, they would be cursed more than all nations. In fact, Leviticus 26 says over and over, that if they turn from God to worthless idols, they would be punished seven times over for their sins.
They entered the land, but fell away from God. Time and time again, God brought invaders against them. They would cry out to Him, and God would send someone to rescue them. . .Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson and others. Finally, they demanded a king, like the other nations, and so God gave them kings – some godly, who worshiped Him, like David, Hezekiah, and Josiah and some who turned from Him and worshiped idols, like Ahab and Manasseh. The kingdom had split into two, and even after warnings to turn from their idols, the northern kingdom was finally taken over by the Assyrians. The southern kingdom held on awhile longer, but finally, it fell to Babylon. Their temple, built to honor God, but ultimately used for evil, was destroyed on the 9th of Av, 586 B.C. They were to be led into captivity in Babylon for 70 years, according to the prophet Jeremiah.
When that time period was nearly up, the prophet Daniel, who had spent most of his life in Babylon, sought God and prayed for his people. He was given another prophecy: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.” (Daniel 9:25) This was a mathematical prophecy. God's years throughout the Bible are 360 days, and this prophecy essentially says that there would be 173,880 days until the Anointed One, Messiah, came. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C.
There was only one day when Jesus allowed Himself to be proclaimed king – the day He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, deliberately fulfilling Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. When the crowd began singing, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:39), the Pharisees told Jesus to make them stop, and He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
Why that day? Why would the stones cry out? Because that was the very day of Daniel's prophecy. Luke had pinpointed the year that Jesus' ministry had started: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1), and since Tiberias was appointed in A.D. 14, the 15th year was A.D. 29, making the year of the crucifixion A.D. 32, and making the Triumphal entry, April 6, 32 AD. When you correct for leap years, it was exactly 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. More here for your further study. (link)
Jesus held them accountable for knowing that day: As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:42-44) The Jews' stubbornness made God weep: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34).
They were not willing. And, so just a few years later, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, again on the 9th of Av, 70 AD. Over a million Jews were killed, and later, their land even plowed with salt, so that crops would not grow. The country was completely desolate, and would remain that way for hundreds of years. The Jewish people were scattered, just as Moses had told them: You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God. Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. (Deut.28:62-67)
And, that's exactly what happened. The Jews were scattered around the world, and everywhere they settled, Satan stirred up the people against them, again fulfilling prophecy: You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the LORD will drive you. (Deut. 28:37) Many of these things happened on the 9th of Av, the same day both temples had been destroyed. Why that day? To remind them of Moses' prophecy. To make them see that God is real and waiting for them to cry out to Him. Why else would all these tragedies fall on the same day?
Pope Urban II, on July 20, 1095 (the 9th of Av) declared the first crusade, killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.
Jews were expelled from England on July 25, 1290 (Av 9, 5050 AM).
Jews were expelled from Spain on August 11, 1492 (Av 9, 5252 AM).
On August 1, 1914 (Av 9, 5674 AM), World War I broke out, causing unprecedented devastation across Europe and set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust. .
On the eve of the 9th of Av, (July 23, 1942), the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
More info here for your further study of events that occurred on the 9th of Av. (link)
Which brings us to the Holocaust, and the death of 6 million Jews and ultimately, about 11 million Gentiles. Why? Why did God allow it? Why does God allow suffering of any kind?
There is a difference between causing something and allowing it. It is our sin and that of others that causes suffering. Was God causing Hitler and his men to destroy Jews, Christians and others? No, on the contrary, there is a great amount of evidence that Hitler was deeply involved in the occult. He believed he was in contact with superior beings who gave him power and energy and that he had been chosen by them to rule the world. He thought his Third Reich would last 1,000 years. He believed it was his duty to destroy the inferior beings who would contaminate the new race. Hitler wrote, “Anyone who interprets National Socialism merely as a political movement knows almost nothing about it. It is more than religion; it is the determination to create a new man.. . “All of the force of creation will be concentrated in a new species... [which] will surpass infinitely modern man.... Do you understand now the profound meaning of our National Socialist movement?" (Adolf Hitler, quoted by Hermann Rauschning, Hitler ma'a dit [Hitler Speaks] p.147, translated in The Occult and the Third Reich, Jean & Michel Angebert, p.178.). Hitler so rebelled against God that he changed the Lord's prayer to “Our Father, Adolph, who art on earth, Hallowed be thy name, the Third Reich come...” More info here on Hitler's occult connections for your further study. (link)
So, God did not cause the Holocaust, but He did allow it. Why? There are at least four reasons:
For believing individuals, it was a test of the deepness of their faith. If they believed during good times, would they believe during trial? God tested Job in the same way. Remember Matthew 13:20-21: The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
For unbelieving individuals, God used trouble, and in this case, extreme hardship, to turn them to Him. He wants them to cry out to Him to be saved. Their earthly suffering would be worth more than gold if it brought them eternity in heaven.
For groups of believers, the Christian churches, it was an opportunity to stand against evil, regardless of the consequences. It was an opportunity to be a light, a witness, in that dark world. Unfortunately, many did NOT stand, but joined with Hitler.
For groups of unbelievers, it was a testament of their nature. The hidden things were uncovered, and their depravity was evident to the whole world.
I believe there is an even bigger reason that God allowed the Holocaust. It would appear, based on Deut. 30:1-6 (see below), that the Holocaust caused the Jews to cry out as a people to God (more on that below) and He began to bring them back into their own land. It was also dry run – a dress rehearsal – for the larger holocaust to come. A picture, and a warning, that there is coming one who would be Messiah, but is no Messiah at all. He is one who brings death, as Hitler did, but on an even larger scale. The Bible speaks of that one as one destroys all the earth. (Jeremiah 51:25) Jesus warned the Jews, I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. (John 5:43). The Holocaust of the 1940's killed 1/3 of the European Jews. The coming holocaust will kill 2/3, according to Zechariah: “And it shall come to pass in all the land,” says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it.”(Zech 13:8) Does God want that to happen? Of course not. That's why the warning – why the picture. But, He will allow it, because it will finally lead to them accepting Jesus as their Messiah. See the Conversion of Israel (link)
God did not cause Hitler's Holocaust, but He allowed it, and, as through history, what men meant for evil, God uses for good. Because of the atrocities committed against the Jews, the world allowed them a homeland, again. And, once again, it was perfectly in line with God's timing. There is another prophecy in Ezekiel, who was a priest and prophet in Babylon, during the time of the Babylonian captivity. Remember that Jeremiah had said that the Jews' punishment would last 70 years – and it did, to the very day. One of the things Ezekiel prophesied was that if the Jews did not turn back to God, they would be punished another 430 years: “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel. After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.” (Ezek. 4:4-6). An odd prophecy, but extremely precise. They served 70 years in Babylon, leaving 360 years. When the time came to return to their land, a small number returned in 536 BC. The rest didn't! Now, remember that “seven times” increase from Leviticus? 360 years x 360 days x 7 (from Leviticus) = 907,200 days.
Doing all the calculations, accounting for leap years, for calendar changes, etc., it comes out to May 14, 1948. To the very day. What's the significance of that? That was the day - the very day – when Israel became a nation. God allowed the Holocaust because it brought the Jews back into their own land and once again, a nation, on the very day He said it would happen. More here and here for your further study. (links)
He had told them, through Moses, that they would disobey and be scattered all over the world, but one day, He would bring them back:
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on your, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”(Deut 30:1-6)
There hasn't been complete fulfillment of that, yet, but reading it, it would appear that one thing the Holocaust did was cause the Jews to cry out to God, and He began to bring them back into the land of their fathers. No, Israel as a whole does not yet believe – and no, this prophecy is not fully fulfilled. However, every single thing in the Bible is there for a reason. Every single thing that has been prophesied WILL occur. There will come a day when the Jews WILL believe. The days of the end, spoken of throughout the Bible, are just ahead of us. A much greater holocaust is just ahead of us. One who would be Messiah, but is really death, is just ahead of us. The hardship the Jews faced in the past will be nothing compared to what lies ahead, even while they say, “Never again.” Yet, God's plan for Israel is their salvation. From end to end, over and over, the Bible speaks of it. I know that is controversial in Lutheran doctrine, but it IS what the Bible teaches. If you would care to read more about that, you may find it at: The Conversion of the Jews
When that day comes, remember, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13). What is that name? Jesus – Yeshua. He is coming soon. Are you ready for that day?
Berean Bible Studies Home Page
We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained,
whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed.
- Leonard Ravenhill
© 2012 This paper was written by Jacqui Komschlies. If you have a question, comment, correction or concern, please write me.
Check out my daily blog.