Truth, Understanding, Insight

History of Holocaust

10th March 2007, hej


1) Holocaust and History

We are told that Israel is Yahweh's witness to the truth of His word (Isaiah 43). For many people the Holocaust is a reason to argue God does not exist, however, this article will examine the deep links that the word 'holocaust' has to Israel's history.

The word 'holocaust' is from ancient Greek and means “wholly-consumed” as in something burnt completely in fire. It is not a new word. It was used in the early years of the Common Era. It is found in the translation of Mark's record of the the Scribe's words to describe a whole burnt offering made as a sacrifice.

And to love him (God) with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.(Mark 12:33)

In the Greek the phrase 'whole burnt offering' is ὁλοκαύτωμα or holokautōma. When this word is Anglicised it becomes 'holocaust'. If the word only occurred once in the scriptures we could think that perhaps it was unusual, a word made up specifically at that time. The writer to the Hebrews in the Greek also uses the same word in the following,

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou would not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou would not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (Hebrews 10:4-8)

This passage actually quotes the Old Testament, specifically Psalm 40:6. The word in Psalm 40 for 'burnt offerings' in the Septuagint version is the word holokautōma 'holocaust' also. In fact this word occurs 59 times in the Septuagint always in relationship to a whole burnt offering made in sacrifice. In many of the occurrences the word is associated with atonement. The passage from Leviticus below is typical (see also Leviticus 14:19-20,31,15:15, 16:16, Numbers 6:11, 8:12,15:25. Nehemiah 10:33).

And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he has sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 5:10).

The word 'holocaust' is used for the offering made on the day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:25,27). It is also the word used for the offering made with bread and wine (Numbers 29:6). The association with bread and wine points forward to the symbols used by Y'shua for his sacrifice.