Where Is My Family Who Died in the Shoah?

The question that Explore Messiah…? and Tzedakah Ministries has known was coming has now has arrived. One that is not easy to answer but necessary. Why? Because … it is the most difficult of questions but the most important one that we will ever answer.

Do we maintain integrity and fidelity to John 14:6 in which Jesus himself said that he alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one came to the Father except through Him? Do we align ourselves with Peter when he stood before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12 and stated that there was no other name or way of salvation except through Messiah Jesus? Or does Tzedakah Ministries and Explore Messiah…? take the easy road and cave to Religious PC and present a many paths, a universalistic way of salvation?

It would be easier.

It would be more convenient.

It would be more popular; however, we cannot do it because if universalism was true … why did Jesus die on the cross?

Why did he offer his life as the perfect sacrifice for the salvation/atonement for the world? Why did he himself say that salvation is “from the Jews” (John 4:22) and Paul say that the Gospel was “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16)? No… Explore Messiah…? and Tzedakah Ministries has to take the lonely road because we care enough to tell you the truth.

However, we do not say this lightly or callously. The idea of any individual spending, especially someone who died in or survived the Holocaust, an eternity apart from God feels me personally with an anguish that is indescribable and helps me to more adequately understand what Paul wrote in Romans 9:1-3. For he stated in these verses that he would wish that he could give up his own salvation if it would mean that the Jewish people would come to believe in Messiah Jesus. Heavy words but words I do understand because of my dear, sweet friend Josef.

Josef lost absolutely everyone to the camps in Poland except his mother who was murdered before his very eyes. The rabbi became an agnostic after the war but became my friend about two years before his death. He loved me and I still love and grieve for him. I grieve for him because I sat by his bedside shortly before his death and asked him one more time to receive Jesus as Messiah. He knew that Jesus was Messiah because he acknowledged to me that his agnosticism was simply a defense mechanism for his anger at God; however, he did not want to go to heaven and not see his family. He was choosing hell intentionally and my heart broke in a million pieces. Josef died a few days later and while I don’t know if he changed his mind about his destiny (but I pray he did), I have to hold to the truth of John 14:6 even though the thought of my sweet Josef spending eternity in hell is a hellish thought for me.

For bottom line, eternity and Jesus and God is not a community decision but a personal one. Every single individual who has lived and died has to make it for themselves. Josef knew it and acknowledged it to me more than once. He was more afraid for his wife and mother to be in hell without him than … anything else.

However, I want to ask you a question that I have asked other Jewish individuals – what would your family who have passed away want you to believe about Jesus and his claim to be Messiah? If Jesus is the Messiah for the Jewish people, would your family want you to hold onto tradition and deny him? Or would they want you to believe and receive the truth today? I cannot make the decision for you. The community cannot make the decision for you. Your family, both living and deceased, cannot make it. Only you can make this decision…

Truly, this is life’s ultimate decision and we would love to talk with you about it on the CAFÉ Kehillah Discussion Board. Will you continue the exploration with us? I know this is the most frightening of explorations and discussions but it is one that everyone must take at some point in their lives.

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