This morning I ran across this headline: Pence’s Holocaust remembrance tweet angers some with ‘Christ imagery’ (JTA)
So, I just had to see what he wrote.
A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future. #HolocaustRemembranceDay #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/67UuC1cYI2
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 27, 2018
This is too Christian?
First of all, martyrdom is not confined to Christianity. Just as one example, there is a Jewish lamentation poem called The 10 Martyrs, about 10 rabbis murdered by Rome.
Let’s look at the other things Pence wrote and see to what he is referencing.
- “…6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust
who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death…”
This one should jump out at you. It is a paraphrase of Psalm 23:4 (NASB): “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” The Psalms have been and still are the heart of Jewish prayer life.
- “…rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future.”
Resurrection does not just suddenly appear in the Gospels of the New Testament. It’s in the Hebrew Scriptures. Two examples.
- Job 19:25-27 (NASB)
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!”
So next time you hear Nicole Mullen crushing the chorus of “My Redeemer Lives,” she’s singing a line from Job, not the New Testament.
- Isaiah 26:19 (NASB)
“Your dead will live; their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy,
For your dew is as the dew of the dawn,
And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”
If Job’s hope for a resurrected body was too poetic, Isaiah says it quite plainly.
I wish I had time to find some rabbinic sources to to show that classic Judaism holds to the resurrection. I can offer some photographic evidence, though.
Zechariah 14:3-4 (NASB) says “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east…”
The prophet writes that YHWH, God Himself, will stand on the Mount of Olives. What is on the Mount of Olives today directly across from the Jerusalem city walls? Graves. Thousands and thousands of graves, some going back three thousands years. These are the front-row seats to see the coming of God, His redemption and the start of the olam haba, the world to come.
Jesus takes the Hebrew Scriptures and their prophetic expectation and fulfills it. As Paul says, Jesus is the first fruit of the resurrection (I Cor. 15). His coming back to life in power is a glimpse of what is in store for those who believe in God, the crucified & risen Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.