By Arlene Bridges Samuels
From sunset to sunset on April 17-18, Israelis marked Holocaust Memorial Day. The customary countrywide alarm sounded, announcing two solemn minutes of silence. Jewish citizens froze in remembrance, stopping everything—including their cars on busy highways and city streets where they got out and stood.
Fewer than 150,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel. Six survivors always light the flames of six torches at the official state ceremony at Israel’s Yad Vashem National Holocaust Memorial. Jewish communities mend the torn tapestry of their history by their sheer will to live, using endurance, innovation, holy festivals, and family to honor those lost—still securing Israel’s safety 8,760 hours each year for the only Jewish country in the world.
Seventy-eight years have passed since American, British, and Soviet forces liberated surviving Jews in the concentration camps. The worldwide Jewish community has developed countless educational and inspiring ways to remember and honor the men, women, and children who perished—ways that always proclaim the resounding motto, “Never Again.”
I recently saw a creative idea that gave me fresh insights into such steadfastness. During a weekend with our close friends Rev. Dr. Tony Crisp and his wife Karen in Kingsport, Tennessee, we were their guests at Dr. Crisp’s excellent event, Jesus and the Passover. The next day we visited his office, where I gravitated toward a large book, the biggest I had ever seen. Displayed on an elegant wooden accent table, it opened in the center. I asked, “What is this, Tony?”
Tony then picked up the heavy book, titled And Every Single One Was Someone. He explained that he had received it, gratefully, as a gift from a Jewish friend and then highlighted facts about the unusual book. “There are 1,250 pages in this book. It has only one word, JEW, written six million times.” He pointed out that “each page is imprinted with the word JEW 4,800 times.”
In my research, I learned about Phil Chernofsky, the author of this 2013 book. He designed it as a teaching tool for his math and Jewish studies students at a Jewish day school. In a New York Times book review in 2014, Chernofsky described his concept of the stark volume, observing, “That’s how the Nazis viewed their victims: These are not individuals, these are not people, these are just a mass we have to exterminate.” In the foreword, Chernofsky invites readers to step back from the pages to note that it looks like “nothing more than a design.” Then he invites readers to look closely, and focus on one word, JEW, then a column of JEWS, realizing it may represent a family, or a page of JEWS representing a small town.
His foreword concludes, “They are gone but we remember them.”
Remembering the Holocaust (Yom HaShoah) is a message not only for Jews. It is for Christians. If we take God’s word seriously in the Old and New Testaments—which emphasize His eternal covenants with the Jews—clearly, we must remember! The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob commissioned us non-Jews to pray not just for the “peace of Jerusalem” but to act. The Jew hatred is no longer appearing in the margins. It has become a panorama of propaganda infecting minds globally.
Among evangelicals, steadfast pastors are leading the way to oppose this reincarnated evil. They express their advocacy for Israel, the birthplace of our faith, in a broad range of outreaches. It may include tours to Israel, humanitarian aid to Holocaust survivors, teaching, pulpit preaching, speaking up for Israel in world governments, authoring, and funding bomb shelters. Rev. Dr. Tony Crisp is one of them.
Born into poverty in McMinn County, in Tennessee’s Appalachian Mountains, Tony was an unlikely candidate for Israel advocacy. However, since Dr. Crisp’s profound encounter with Jesus at almost 20, then biblically understanding Israel’s importance, God has vaulted him into relentless advocacy for the last 40 years in pastorates from California to Tennessee. Tony serves as Lead Elder and Teaching Pastor at Remnant Church in Kingsport, Tennessee. His leaders and congregation are fully supportive of him, as he spends as many as four months of travel annually to teach hundreds through his company TLC Holy Land Tours. To date, he has led some 100 tours to Israel. Impacting thousands of lay people and pastors, he proclaims that the Bible is a Jewish book, written by Jews for Jews—and for us.
Tony’s unforgettable teaching combines a brilliant biblical understanding of Israel’s ancient and modern history with extensive geographical, cultural, and archaeological expertise. He is a walking encyclopedia, a pastor with a servant heart and a sense of humor. His reach has grown internationally with his podcast, “On The Way,” already heard in 130-plus countries.
In addition to Tony receiving numerous awards, positions, and initiatives, the historically Jewish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) appointed him as one of several Christians to their National Council. He has spoken on AIPAC panels and at AIPAC’s General Sessions, inspiring both Jews and Christians in political advocacy with the United States Congress—making sure lawmakers continue to support Israel’s security aid. He also serves on the board of directors for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem-USA.
One of Tony’s latest and far-reaching roles is his appointment as corporate pastor for 5 Stones Intelligence, an intelligence and protective agency service based on Judeo-Christian principles. The organization engages an expert network that includes former members of the CIA, FBI, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He has already hosted numerous tours to Israel and is now planning additional tours for police officers, special agents, special forces operators, intelligence officers, and security professionals. These specialized tours are filled with biblical studies, tactical training, and intelligence briefings from Israel’s top experts. With the world descending into darkness, their grasp of biblical truths and expanded tools will bless all of us.
I am highlighting Tony’s ministry as an example of other fine pastors who are dedicated to the biblical narrative of God’s eternal plans for His Jewish people and His Holy Land. A strong remnant exists among pastors who I am honored to know. However, the resurgence of Jew hatred and propaganda is a trumpet call for additional pastors and their congregations to lift shields of prayer, biblical teaching, and practical actions.
Please read what the Palestinian Authority published on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Monday April 17, as translated and reported by Palestinian Media Watch (www.PalWatch.org): “That Jews were trained by the Nazis in concentration camps to kill ‘without feeling anything’ and that the Germans would deliberately free Jews in concentration camps to ‘prepare them’ for combat against Arabs in Palestine.”
After reading the above outrage, I hope you will decide to join Tony and/or other pastors, as well as CBN Israel to spread the facts and pass on God’s Word.
John 4:22 “Jesus said, ‘You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.’”
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
Romans 11:18 “Do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
Please join CBN Israel in prayer this week for Israel and the Jewish people:
- Pray for more pastors to proclaim truths about God’s eternal promises to Israel and the Jewish people.
- Pray asking Jesus in what ways He wants you to advocate for Israel.
- Pray asking God to reveal every terror plot against Israel during their current, serious security threats inside and outside their land.
- Pray that Christians will actively advocate for Israel and Jewish communities worldwide amid the rise of dangerous anti-Semitism.
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years on AIPAC’s staff, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA engaged her part-time as Outreach Director for their project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Arlene is an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel, guest columnist at All Israel News, and has frequently traveled to Israel since 1990. She co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited and is a board member for Violins of Hope South Carolina. Arlene attends Israel’s Government Press Office Christian Media Summit and hosts her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook.