Critique of "2nd Holocaust" eschatology

There appears to be an increase in the numbers of those who believe that the Nazi Holocaust was just a foretaste of another, worse Holocaust that God himself will bring upon the Jewish people who have not responded to the "Gospel". As the primary author of this website I emphatically disagree with that position.

Consider these quotes from a web book by Art Katz called "The Holocaust -- Where was God?": (paragraph numbers added for ease of reference)

(1) this present generation of Jews is going to suffer devastation on a world scale that will eclipse the Nazi era....

(2) This is the process of our last days’ sifting as prophesied in Amos 9 and Ezekiel 20:33. We are going to suffer double for our sins but our God has said, "I will restore." How urgent, then, to believe that the God who promises judgment and fulfills it is also the same God who promises restoration and will also fulfill it. He is the same God who fulfills what He speaks and what He promises. Not to believe God’s judgment as the fulfillment of His word now is to nullify all hope of believing for His future intervention then. This is the scenario of the last days, namely, the restoration of Israel by the unmitigated grace and mercy of God—so totally undeserved.

(3) We Jews are the epitome of what man is. We are the statement, in our humanity that should forewarn men everywhere. God has chosen to use us as the witness people to demonstrate Himself, if not by our virtue, then by our vice. Our condition as a nation remains unchanged until now and will remain so until God Himself changes it and gives us a new nature like unto His own. That is salvation. Modern times have not changed anything. The disposition of our hearts is fixed, and only God can change that, and this is why He would have all men to be converted. It is not to "Christianity" that God wants us to be converted, but to Himself, to the Life and character of God which alone is righteous. To relish anything else as alternative is to embrace death....

(4) The nations are unconsciously waiting for our restoration to God, for we have a theocratic destiny as a "kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6 NKJV) and "a light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6f NKJV). No one can carry our calling but we Jews, all the more glorious for God to accomplish, seeing that our failure to fulfill it has been so evident everywhere throughout the generations. God is waiting for us to own the death of our Messiah, and, by that acknowledgment, set in motion our salvation. But if we plead exemption in any measure, then we are lost without hope. The power of our deception needs to be broken, as well as our self-justification that opposes God, so entirely summed up in our continuing rejection of Jesus of Nazareth.

(5) This same God is going to give us a historical opportunity to recognize our pathetic and dismal failure. Those who survive this tribulation shall never again fail, because God will give us a new heart by taking the stony one out and giving us a heart of flesh, and He will give us His Spirit. He will write His covenant in our inward parts, and we, from the least to the greatest, shall all know God. This is the consummation and the end of the age to which we are fast coming. By that life and that Spirit, we shall bless all the families of the earth. We shall proclaim the mercies of the Lord, and His great love toward us, forever. In the end, He will save a remnant of us out of our last afflictions and restore us to Zion to be a people for His name, "for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3b NKJV).

A Friendly Critique

Having just discovered Art and his exuberant Bible studies, I am happy to find another person who loves and believes the Word. There is much that we agree on, including the facts that (1) there is a glorious future planned by God for the entire world, and (2) Israel is destined by God to play a leading role in that future.

Here are the areas in the above presentation that I must take issue with. It is offered as an encouragement to "rethink your end-times paradigm" -- appropriate and I believe necessary for all Messianic Jews as well as Evangelicals who are presently imploring Jews to turn to Jesus now, before Armageddon -- as they would say, "before it's too late for the unbelieving Jews"....

(1) I disagree that another Holocaust is planned. The Shoah of the 1930s and 1940s was, I believe, the "dregs" of the cup of God's wrath as respects the Jews, described in Isaiah 51:22. God says in that prophecy that he has taken that cup out of their hand, and they will "no more drink of it again." Isaiah goes on to predict that afterwards, those who oppressed and persecuted the Jews will drink the full dregs of God's wrath. In proof that the period of wholesale death of Jewish people is over, what has been the result? Three years after the Holocaust ended, the nation of Israel was resurrected. First time in human history that an ancient nation, with the same religion, same language, and same lands, has been resurrected. The scriptures are clear that once the nation of Israel is regathered, they will never again be scattered or destroyed or plucked up. They are in Eretz Israel for good.

(2) In my view Amos 9 does not apply to the future. The part that Art refers to, about Israel being pursued and punished by God, has already been fulfilled on the pages of history. The punishment by God of Israel was completed in 1878 when her Jubilee returned, she began to be regathered on her land. This regathering begins in verse 11 of the Amos 9 prophecy. The old dwelling place of David has been raised up, the ruins have been reinhabited. The goal of verse 12 is well along the way to fulfillment (verses 11 and 12 explain the overarching goal, while 13-15 describe specific steps toward that goal).

Amos 9:13 says, "the plowman will overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes he that sows seed". This refers to the great change in God's work worldwide, which this website talks so much about. The reaper refers to the harvest of the Christian era -- the Christian workers who are winding up the Christian age, gathering the good fruitage into God's barn and gathering the bad fruitage into bundles for burning -- not hell, but destruction as organizations that can get away with publicly claiming they are God's organization on earth.

The treader of grapes is an allusion to the process described in Isaiah 63:1-4 and Revelation 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, in which the wicked, rotten fruit of Christianity -- the geopolitical "harlot" churches that have been in bed with the world system -- will be exposed, crushed in a "winepress of God's anger" and eventually destroyed as organizations. Already the large, mainstream organizations are hollow shells of their former selves. It appears to us that most of the true spiritual fruitage left these churches decades ago, landing in one or more of the less-institutional movements that have sprung up since the turn of the 20th century. And gradually, over the coming few decades, I believe Scripture predicts that most of the rest of what pass for "Churches of Christ" will likewise shift focus away from the spiritual activities that the New Testament emphasizes for Christians, and focus instead on political influence. As a result, we will increasingly see the true spirit-led sons of God seeking situations that more nearly resemble the early Church model, while those who are more worldly at heart will keep addressing societal concerns and lifestyle issues in their church activities. This is one reason we are excited about the "house church" movement. It is a sign of the harvest, the time when God's people "come out" of Babylon, (Revelation 18:4) is nearing completion.

In Amos, the reaper and grape treader -- the work of harvesting and crushing the fruitage of the Christian era, is overtaken by the "plowman". What is this? I believe it is the forces at work planting seeds for the next age in God's plan. Part of what a plowman does is destructive -- turning the field upside down. So the 20th Century, with its revolutions and wars, sounds like a pretty good fulfillment of the concept of a "plowman." But the positive part of plowing is what comes after -- sowing seeds. What seeds does God want to sow? What fruitage does he want to see in the world in the future? What will the next age be like?

The Planting of the Lord

The new world that God is already planting seeds for will be a time when all people are shepherded by Messiah, when the dead will be resurrected, when the earth will yield its increase, when Jerusalem will be the seat of government of God on earth.

What needed to happen first? Well, Israel needed to come back to its land, for starters -- that is what Amos is concerned about. And so as the Christian era has lapsed into materialism, internal conflict, and decline, the Jewish world has been reborn and rejuvenated by the forces God has raised up. These forces have not all been pleasant for the Jews -- Jeremiah 16:16 describes some of them as "fishers" who would try to lure Jews from around the world to the land of Israel -- apparently Zionism, world economic conditions in the late 19th century, and the Balfour declaration. And then Jeremiah predicted "hunters" -- evil people who would hunt the Jews. The Nazis and their friends. Still, the net result of all that has been the regathering of the Jews, just as Amos predicted, on their "old heaps" -- the same villages, often the same name, right on top of the ancient cities. Where else can you go in the world and dig below your basement to find the remains of your ancestors?

Amos finishes his prophecy with a verse that should prove to Art and everyone else that God is not going to allow Israel to be destroyed again -- verse 15."I will plant them on their land, and they will no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them," says Yahweh your God".

Israel today is, pound for pound, the greatest source of the kinds of seeds God is planting for the next Age, the age of Messiah. There, scientists and inventors, thinkers and philosophers are making daily advances in medicine, farming, ecology; seminal thought about how humans think and how sustainable communities should be structured; labor-saving advances, nanotechnology, electronics, genetics.

These are all tools and peaceful advances that will be very needed when the earth's population is swelling toward 15 or 20 or 30 billion, because of the resurrection of all the people who have ever lived. God, working through man's mistakes and ingenuity, is preparing us all for the time when the whole world is at rest, and quiet. They will break forth into singing when they find themselves living in a restored and completed globe, where waste places and deserts will have been transformed. Expect the human race to fit without exploitation into an environmentally sound, sustainable co-existence on this beautiful globe with the entire creation that God has designed for mankind's perpetual enjoyment.

Back to the Critique

I agree with paragraph (3), except to state that there is much more in God's plan for national prominence for the Jewish people than using them as a bad example. They are valued and loved, and they have much to teach the world because of the patience and hopefulness and humility they have already gained from their years of diaspora. Who is more self-effacing, more fair-minded, than the Jewish people? Who is more committed to the underdog than the Jewish people? What nation in history has ever treated its enemies as well as the Jewish people are treating those today who are sworn to her destruction? God has put this stamp of love and mercy upon their characters by his plan of bringing "tribulation and anguish ... to the Jew first". And he has had long patience, waiting for this precious fruit of the earth to be developed. He is not going to destroy it.

Going on to paragraph (4): I agree with the first half, that God has indeed called the Jews to be a light to the Nations. Those promises are sure -- and they are going to happen regardless of whether individual Jews fully believe and cooperate with what God is doing. But I must take issue with these words: "God is waiting for us to own the death of our Messiah, and, by that acknowledgment, set in motion our salvation. But if we plead exemption in any measure, then we are lost without hope."

God is not waiting for anything. God is working all things after the counsel of his own Will, and it his will and expressed statement that "all Israel shall be saved." Because the Jewish people were, as expected by God, unable to fully accept the 1st-advent Jesus as their Messiah, God blinded them partially, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in". In other words, the thing God has been "waiting for" (actually, working for) is the completion of the Christian church. That work is almost done. As soon as it is, the fullest possible program of blessings and transforming events will come to the Jews so fast it will make our heads spin. Yes, it's true, there will be one last "Armageddon" just after the true Church is finished... and it will involve some bloodshed, both among Jews who will be attacked by the invaders, and among the invaders who will die under God's miraculous intervention. But there is significant, profound, reliable "hope" for ALL of the folks involved even in that battle on the world's stage. All of them will be resurrected very soon thereafter, the first cadre of the restored world of mankind.

Paragraph (5) is the most troubling of the comments, I believe, in what Art Katz has written: "Those who survive this tribulation shall never again fail." What a sad omission of the grace and promises of God! I respectfully must disagree and state the grand promise of God to be intended for all Jews, including those who will not have recognized the place of Jesus in God's plan at his first advent before the dramatic events promised by the Jewish prophets.

Here are five prophecies which should clearly show that Jewish people will be converted and redeemed after the "Great Tribulation":

Jeremiah 30:2-22, where God promises their salvation and restoration while acknowledging their sins and need of corrective action on his part;

Ezekiel 16:42-63, where God states that after he has punished them for their sins by sending them into captivity among the nations, his anger will depart from them, and he will be quiet toward them. (I believe this state of affairs has been fulfilled since the late 1800s). And though they have still not believed and repented yet, he promises he will bring to pass redemptive and transformative experiences that result in his final conclusion: that he will indeed restore them and forgive them for "all that you have done."

Romans 11:25-26 promises that the "partial blindness" which God placed upon the Jewish people will be "turned away" by the "Deliverer" out of Zion. I believe this is the Church of Christ, completed and reigning from heaven during the Messianic age. Jesus died for the Jewish people, and in due time he will look on the travail of his soul, and be glad because of its amazing success in reaching everyone he died for.

In Zechariah 12:10, the event that causes the Jewish people to look upon the One whom they pierced, and mourn for him, is not an effort at preaching, or a web site. It is God, pouring the spirit of grace and supplication upon their hearts. That opens their eyes to what they had simply been unable to see before. God controls when the Jews will be able to see certain things that are not obvious to them now. It is God who has permitted Satan to blind the minds of the vast majority of the human race, too. (2 Cor. 4:4)

And in Ezekiel 36:16-38, God makes it clear that he is going to transform the former sinners of Israel, just wipe them out and bring his blessings to the "survivors". Isaiah (25:6-8, 60:1-8) makes it clear that the redeemed, corrected, blessed Jewish people will become a light to the entire world.

Christians should therefore get in step
with God's timing

Because of these sure promises of scripture, I believe Christians, especially Messianic Jews who have a close natural communication bond with the Jewish people, should stop antagonizing the Jews and filling them with fear of yet another holocaust. Instead, let's comfort them, (Isaiah 40:1-3) encourage them to disregard the geopolitical pressures that are trying to make them give away the land God gave them. If we feel conscience-bound to tell whatever government we live under that they should support Israel, fine... but all Christians should bear in mind that the word of God makes it clear that in due course Jerusalem will be a burdensome stone to all nations, and that all lovers of Israel among the nations will forsake her. That is God's plan, and the Jewish people should be fortified with the testimony of their prophets that this will happen, and they should hang in there until the next, happier phase of God's plan comes to fruition.