(Jerusalem, Israel) — At the World Holocaust Forum on Thursday, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland, Vice President Mike Pence gave a moving and powerful speech.
What touched me most was his oft citation of, and reference, to God and the Bible. No other speaker at the event took that approach.
Sadly, very few public officials here in Israel openly (much less frequently) cite the Holy Scriptures, even though the Bible was given to the world primarily through the Jewish people. How encouraging, then, that an American Evangelical Christian would gently and respectfully remind Israelis — and the leaders of 49 other nations who attended — of eternal truths most people, including mine, don’t often hear.
This was Mr. Pence’s second visit to Israel as V.P. — when he was here in January 2018, he addressed a full session of the Knesset. As I noted at the time, he “spoke of his personal affection for Israel and the Jewish people and cited or alluded to more Scripture than probably any foreign leader who has spoken there.” Indeed, the more I’ve thought about that speech, which I had the blessing of attending in person, I believe that Pence cited more Scripture than any Israeli ever to address the Knesset.
I thank God for men of faith who are not afraid to discuss the most important and life-changing Book ever written.
A few excerpts from the V.P.’s wonderful address:
- The word “remember” appears no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible — for memory is the constant obligation of all generations. And today we pause to remember what President Donald Trump rightly called the “dark stain on human history” — the greatest evil ever perpetuated by man against man in the long catalogue of human crime.
- The faces of a million and a half children reduced to smoke under a silent sky for the crime of having a single Jewish grandparent. The night Elie Wiesel called “seven times sealed” consumed the faith of so many then, and challenges the faith of so many still. Today we remember what happens when the powerless cry for help and the powerful refuse to answer….
- Today we remember not simply the liberation of Auschwitz but also the triumph of freedom — a promise fulfilled, a people restored to their rightful place among the nations of the Earth. And we remember — we remember the long night of that past, the survivors and the faces of those we lost, the heroes who stood against those evil times. And today we gather nearly 50 nations strong, here in Jerusalem, to say with one voice: Never again….
- Through pogroms, persecutions, and expulsions in the ghettos, and finally, even through the death camps, the Jewish people clung to an ancient promise that He would “never leave you or forsake you” and that he would leave this people to inherit the land that he swore to your ancestors that he would give them….
- And so, today, as we bear witness to the strength and the resilience and the faith of the Jewish people, so too we bear witness to God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people….
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