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These dry bones shall live!

Rita Quartel - 27 January 2023

Today, 27th January, is Holocaust Remembrance Day – the day on which the world officially commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, marking the end of the massacre of six million Jews in Europe during World War II.

Seventy years ago, the Jewish people were almost exterminated. Today, the Jewish State of Israel is vibrant and strong. Although it has many challenges (internal and external), it has survived many wars and attacks intended to destroy it, and is a world leader in technology, start-ups, health, security and many other fields, and is an essential partner for peace in the region.

About 2600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel wrote the words spoken to him by the LORD God.

“Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”

These words of prophecy have been fulfilled before our eyes over the last seventy-five years. The LORD is bringing His people back to the land of Israel. Gradually, day-by-day, He is breathing life into them.

In Brussels yesterday, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog addressed European members of Parliament, and inaugurated the Holocaust Memorial in front of Parliament’s plenary chamber. EP President Roberta Metsola opened a solemn sitting after the ceremony, noting that the State of Israel is a sign of hope. She said:

Tomorrow marks 78 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A liberation from evil that proved that despite everything, hope endures, even when all around is hopelessness. The same hope that led to the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel 75 years ago. A nation that has endured, flourished and sustained a democracy despite all odds.”

The modern State of Israel is indeed a sign of hope. It is strong, legitimate and necessary. It is the homeland of the Jewish people. Denying the legitimacy of the Jewish State – for example by attacking it as an ‘apartheid’ state – undermines everything that the liberation of Auschwitz stands for.

As President Herzog said: “It is OK to criticize Israel (like other states), but casting doubt on the nation-state of the Jewish people’s right to exist is antisemitism”

Let us honor those who were victims and survivors of the Shoah yesterday, by standing with the right of the Jewish people to live in security in their homeland today.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today


Commemorating the Holocaust in Ukraine
Koen Carlier writes: “27 January is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also in Ukraine. But the commemoration is more sensitive now than in other years, because of the war. At some places, there will be a small-scale commemoration, but because of the air alert that could go off at any moment (day or night), people will not want to take any risks.”
Read more..

We must learn from the past
WJC writes: “The Holocaust was the organized persecution and killing of 6 million Jewish people, alongside other targeted groups, by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. Learning about this history and understanding what led to the greatest tragedy in modern times, can help prevent future genocides and acts of hatred based on religion, ethnicity, or other differences. With the number of survivors growing fewer with each passing year, it our shared responsibility to preserve the memory of the victims and ensure that the past is never forgotten.”
Read more..

Bring the Jews Home (Aliyah) – Ethiopia
“In Ethiopia, thousands of Jews are waiting until they are allowed to return to Jerusalem. In their own country, these Jews are called the Falashas. In the last century, researchers discovered that the Falashas are Jews who have lived isolated for thousands of years. The Beta Israel, descendants of the tribe of Dan. For thousands of years, they maintained Jewish laws and customs, unaware that there were other Jews worldwide. They thought they were the only ones.”
Read more..

Accessing the Treasure Within
Tal Hartuv writes: “One of the most influential and brightest media and biblical commentators, is the Israeli journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir. Her writings on the weekly Torah portion reach thousands. Her voice is one that is respected throughout the country. Rahav-Meir was even voted the most popular female media and religious personality in Israel, which is no small achievement due to the leanings of Israel towards a culturally patriarchal society.”
Read more..

SCRIPTURE FOR THE WEEK

Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD was on me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, You alone know.”

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.

Then He said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, My people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”