Around 8.6 million Jews resided in Europe when World War II began. An estimated six million of them died during the Holocaust. A stark majority of non-Jewish Europeans were afraid to assist in helping Jews hide or escape their war-stricken countries. There were a few, however, who risked their lives to prevent an even higher death toll. When Israel became a nation they, in turn, awarded many of these few with the honorary title as a “Righteous Among the Nations.” A medal and certificate was given to them as a token of gratitude.
One such “Righteous Among the Nations” was a Swedish diplomat named Raoul Wallenberg. On January 17, 1945 (72 years ago today) Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet secret police in Hungary for espionage. He had risked his life in saving tens of thousands of Jews. In the midst of evil, the LORD used a simple man to save multitudes. I’d like to zero in on this pattern of saving lives in multitudes. Raoul and many other “Righteous Among the Nations” are a clear stamp of this pattern, but all throughout Scripture we see this standard being set by God.
We learn in Genesis that after Joseph (who was at one point second in all of Egypt) died, the Israelites were mistreated and enslaved. For 430 years God’s people were subjected to harsh treatment from the Egyptians. As the story continues in the book of Exodus (which means “mass departure”), we see that the LORD sent Moses from Midian to Egypt to deliver the millions of Israelites out from under the fist of Pharaoh.
The LORD used Moses to call judgment upon the god’s of the Egyptians and to lead His people out of bondage.
As Moses and the body of Israel stood between the great Red Sea and the great Egyptian army pursuing them, they were told by their leader, “fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”
As Moses then lifted his staff the Red Sea split apart and the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. The Egyptian army attempted the same feat but the sea was brought down on them and they drowned. Success! God had saved the lives of His people in multitudes.
72 years ago God used Raoul Wallenberg to save tens of thousands. Some 3400 years ago He used Moses to save millions. The greatest example of God saving the lives of His people in multitudes, however, originated even earlier in Scripture.
Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
This verse refers to salvation or restoration being found Yeshua.
The LORD used His own Son to bring about the greatest restoration in multitudes. Through Yeshua (whose name literally means “salvation”), God restored relationship the world. Yeshua’s death paid the price for our sin, and because of Him we now have the opportunity to receive life.
This is the earliest example of the saving of multitudes because we learn from the verse in 1 Peter 1:20 that Yeshua was chosen before the creation of the world. God had the plan to send His perfect Son to restore us before the world began. We learn in John 10:17-18 that Yeshua Himself made the choice to lay His life down for us on His own accord. So, where the event of Yeshua’s death didn’t come before the life of Moses, the origin of His decision to die on our behalf did.
God’s people are loved and He is in the habit of saving them in times of trouble — both physically and spiritually. From the Raoul Wallenberg to Yeshua Himself, it has always been God’s plan to save lives in multitudes.