In a world quickly becoming overwhelmed by racial and ethnic violence, there are many who do not want to hear any more about the Nazi German holocaust. “After all,” they say, “we have holocaust today in Bosnia! Even closer to home, we are still suffering from the unhealed wounds and unresolved guilt for Black slavery!”
Was the holocaust against European Jews in this century any different from the ethnic war now raging in the Balkans? Was the Nazi persecution of Jews any different than that which was perpetrated here in the United States against Black slaves snatched against their will from the African homeland?
It is currently ‘politically incorrect’ to even suggest such a thing. There has been a trend of late to subtly protest discussion of the German holocaust with a sort of victimization comparison. People groups of racial or ethnic persecution are ample, so why should there always be so much talk about the persecution of the Jews?
As politically incorrect as it may be, there are very good reasons for believers to comprehend the extra spiritual dimension involved in antisemitism. If we understand that G-d is not “through with the Jews” then we should also understand that the persecution encountered by them is not standard, run-of-the-mill ethnic conflict. Consider Genesis 11-12.
We find the basis for all ethnic conflict in Genesis 11–the building of the tower of Babel. Mankind had gathered to build a city and a tower to “reach unto heaven.” This human effort to reach heaven was in essence a way to reach G-d without going about it in G-d’s way.
G-d had His own idea about how mankind was to have access to Him. His remedy to their ability to unify for such an ungodly purpose was to scatter the peoples and confound the languages. Unity in the peoples of mankind would henceforth be impossible except through the way of G-d’s own choosing. In the very next chapter of Genesis is the account of that way which G-d set into motion through the calling of Abram.
Just as ethnic conflict was sown into mankind at the tower of Babel, so the descendants that would come from the loins of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would also forever hence be faced with an extra spiritual dimension to ethnic conflict. As surely as G-d singled out Abram to raise up as a nation of people for Himself, so also did Satan target Israel for particular hatred.
When we understand as the apostle Paul did, the mystery of Israel in the plan of G-d (recorded in Romans 11 and Ephesians 2), then we surely reject the age-old explanation of antisemitism as “the punishment of G-d upon Israel for crucifying the Messiah.” We can then begin to grasp that this Satanic hatred of Jews is actually more spiritual in nature than typical ethnic and racial hatreds.
Ethnic fears and hatreds among the Gentiles (the “nations”) is human and fleshly, whereas hatred of the Jews is not only a product of human fears and fleshly hatreds, but it is also specifically Satanically inspired and driven. Because the plan of G-d for the total restoration and reconciliation of mankind to Himself includes a reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in one Body of Messiah, the hounds of hell are bent upon thwarting the Divine plan by destruction of the Jewish people. Who can honestly know the facts about the Nazi German attempted genocide of the Jews and refuse to comprehend that never has the world seen such a thing before or since?
Why is it important to say or acknowledge such a thing? There are a great many reasons, the greatest of which may be in more fully understanding the plan of G-d in these days which Yeshua spoke of as “the beginnings of sorrows.” Even as the scattering of the peoples at Babel was relational to raising up a nation unto G-d in the calling of Abram, so also we must expect that the reconciliation of ethnic peoples in the Messiah will also have a close relational bearing on the ultimate spiritual reconciliation of Jew and Gentile in the Messiah.
Many say this is a ‘done deal’ – that Jew and Gentile have been reconciled together in Messiah. My own belief is that although “it is finished” spiritually, it is not yet manifested in the natural realm. We have yet to realize the glorious oneness of Jew and Gentile in the Messiah which Rav Shaul wrote according to Divine revelation.
With this in mind, it is good that we look at recent history to see what has happened since the Nazi extermination machine was stopped in 1945. There was no repentance in Germany except by a very small minority of Christians known during World War II as the Confessing Church. The result of unrepentant German sin is that there is unresolved guilt in various manifestations among the German people, and there has been little healing released for the wounds of worldwide Jewry.
It is good to look into the case of the German holocaust because it is very much a ‘worst case scenario’ of the fruit of ethnic persecution. When we do investigate their fruit, we also can begin to see the same unhealed wounds and unresolved guilt that exists in our own nation.
It is easy to point a finger of blame at Germans and say, “You never repented for what you did to the Jews.” But we must also then recognize that when Blacks struggled for equality in the Civil Rights decade of the Sixties, the “White” Church remained silent if not adamantly opposed to any change in the status quo. As the temple of G-d we have not truly fulfilled the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 any more than the German church has. For the promise of G-d is, “If My people, who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
“My people” – not the unredeemed. And if G-d’s criteria is met He will send both forgiveness for guilt and healing for the wounds.
Germans today are still suffering from their unresolved guilt because as Exodus 34:7 states, the iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children and the children’s children. The sins of racial and ethnic pride have “visited” the generations since Nazi Germany, although there are other ways that the Nazi-generation sins have manifested in the succeeding generations. This is not to say that all Germans are unrepentant for the sins of Nazi Germany, yet it is only the Body of Messiah in Germany that can release the L-RD’s forgiveness and healing in that land.
Like many of us with regards to ethnic sins in our nation’s past, a good many German Christians reject a personal responsibility or identification with the “sins of the fathers.” Pride will not allow them to stand as a Daniel (Dan. 9) confessing the sins of the nation with full identification with those sins. Or of a David (2 Sam 21), who humbled himself before the Gibeonites whom King Saul had attempted to slay bringing famine upon Israel even into David’s reign.
We are no different from the Germans when it comes to unresolved guilt. I feel far removed from any guilt of the American Indian massacres. Yet their wounds remain unhealed. I have stood and prayed prayers of reconciliation between White and Black Christians, yet have these been more than a ritual confession? As a relative innocent with regards to racial bigotry, can I honestly say before G-d that my heart is totally purged of every trace of racism? Have I stood before G-d asking for the forgiveness of racism in others and failed to stand before Him as one of the very guilty?
If we will see the healing of G-d poured forth in the Body of Messiah for ethnic wounds; if we will see forgiveness of ethnic and racial sin, then we must position ourselves according to G-d’s own criteria (2 Chron 7:14). We must position ourselves like Daniel and David, and even as Yeshua, who Himself was “numbered with the transgressors.”
I have always pushed myself out on the limb concerning antisemitism for the unvoiced fear that I would fail to stand if ever placed in a situation like Nazi Germany. I have always thought that I should take my stand openly in advance so there would be no safety for me in suddenly falling silent. I think now that is probably a foolish way to look at it. If I am not right with G-d on this completely, even an early stand against racial hatred will not keep me from also failing in the moment of truth.