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When God Says ‘Never Again!’

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17 Apr 2020
When God Says ‘Never Again!’

Early next week, Israel will mark Yom HaShoah, its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Normally, it is a very solemn occasion. Everyone stands in silence when the nationwide siren blares. There are no entertainment programs on Israeli television, just shows paying tribute to the countless victims of the Nazi genocide. The restaurants and bars, movie theaters and dance halls are all closed for this one singular day.


But this year, Yom HaShoah will feel a little different. The restaurants and bars, movie theaters and dance halls have been closed for weeks already due to Coronavirus threat. Israel just went through a most unusual Passover due to this global health crisis, and now they must remember those lost in the Shoah under these same trying circumstances.

Israel’s founders deliberately set the official date for commemorating the Holocaust so as to honor the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which was launched by courageous, poorly-armed Jewish resistance fighters during Passover in April of 1943. But because the Passover week is a sacred biblical holiday, Yom HaShaoh is marked five days after the end of Pessach. Still, most Israelis are well aware that the uprising took place during the feast of unleavened bread, and that it marked yet another difficult Passover in Jewish history.

For the Jewish people, Passover has always been about deliverance, freedom and national identity. But down through the many centuries of their dispersion, it also became a season of fear and dread as many Jewish communities faced blood libels and pogroms around this time of year. This was especially so in Christian lands, when many in the churches exploited Easter observances to turn people against the “Christ killers.” Even Jews returning to the Land of Israel faced deadly Arab riots whipped up by Muslim clerics around Passover/Easter, such as the Nebi Musa riots in Jerusalem in April 1920.

This Passover was no exception. As the Coronavirus spread worldwide, Jews were quickly scapegoated for being the source of this pandemic. There are far too many recent examples of this odious wave of antisemitism to cite here, but perhaps the most repulsive came from a professed evangelical, Rick Wiles of the TruNews program. The Florida pastor recently insisted that the spread of Coronavirus in synagogues was a divine punishment of the Jewish people for still opposing Jesus. (He also claimed in the same show that the effort to impeach US President Donald Trump was a “Jew coup.”)

This is why Christian observance of Yom HaShoah is so important. We must remember the cruelty and atrocities of Hitler and his many Christian accomplices. We must recall how far too often the worst tormentors of the Jews were Christians. We must renew our efforts to educate for a better future between Jews and Christians. We must renounce Jew-haters even within our own Evangelical ranks. And we must resolve that what happened in the Holocaust will never happen again!

Now many today readily endorse the slogan “Never Again!” But do they really mean it? And can we be sure that humanity will indeed prevent another mass genocide against the Jews gathered back in their ancient homeland?

I do not know about humanity, but I take great comfort in the fact that God has said: “Never Again!” Consider these amazing verses from the Word of God, all related to His sworn promise to regather the Jewish people safely back in the Land of Israel in the last days.

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And My people shall never again be put to shame." (Joel 2:26-27 / ESV)

“Thus says your Lord, the Lord, even your God Who contends for His people, ‘Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of reeling, the chalice of My anger; You will never drink it again. I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, “Lie down that we may walk over you.” You have even made your back like the ground and like the street for those who walk over it.’” (Isaiah 51:22-23 / NASB)

“I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.” (Ezekiel 36:30 / ESV)

“’I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,’ says the Lord your God.” (Amos 9:15 / ESV)

“The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.” (Zephaniah 3:15 / ESV)

“And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.” (Zechariah 14:11 / ESV)

Finally, the words of the prophet Ezekiel…. “And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again. (Ezekiel 5:9 / NASB)

Taken together, this all means that although God indeed punished and scattered the Jewish people for their sin and rebellion against Him, the worst He would ever do to them has passed and we are now in a season of return and restoration for Israel. And in this appointed time of mercy and favor upon Zion (Psalm 102:13), those who come against the Jewish people and nation today are opposing the plan and purpose of a mighty God and will eventually come to ruin (Isaiah 54:14-15 / NKJV).

So God has sworn that He will never again allow the calamities of previous generations to happen to Israel. That is a great comfort as we mark Yom HaShoah once more. But it does not absolve us of the moral duty for every Christian to speak up and defend the Jewish people from antisemitism. We must warn those who still drink from this toxic trough that it is wrong, it is cruel, it is deceitful, and it will only lead to their own ruin.

 

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