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Picture of the Week 09/05/17

Understanding context requires a lot more effort than we are generally willing to expend.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Why Dylan’s faith is so misunderstood – Joseph Farah

What is the most significant indication that the Torah Awakening among Christians is becoming mainstream? How about when the founder and CEO of the world’s largest Christian web site publicly proclaims and acts on his opinion that the Torah (law, teaching, commandments) of God still apply to Christians?

That is the precisely what is happening with Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WordNetDaily.com, the internet’s largest independent news site. He has even written a book about it called The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age. Farah’s book will be featured in an upcoming review on The Barking Fox. For now, consider this piece Farah recently wrote about another well-known person with a surprising faith journey.


Why Dylan’s Faith Is So Misunderstood

Exclusive: Joseph Farah identifies key to unraveling the mystery of famed songwriter
Joseph Farah
Published in WorldNetDaily, July 6, 2017

I was blinded by the devil, Born already ruined,
Stone-cold dead as I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched, By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I’ve been delivered, By His spirit I’ve been sealed.
I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb …

— Lyrics to “Saved” by Bob Dylan

It’s amazing to me how Bob Dylan’s faith is still so misunderstood. Thirty-seven years after he wrote and recorded the words above, I still hear people talking about this superstar songwriter’s spiritual beliefs as if there is some ambiguity about them.

Maybe, some suggest, Dylan went through a Christian “phase” in which he wrote and recorded dozens of fiery gospel songs and then moved on to other pursuits.

Yet, only those who have not really followed his career since could possibility come to such a conclusion, because those songs have continued to be part of his performance repertoire for the last four decades, during which he has continued to produce dozens of new songs that leave little doubt about where he stands.

That’s why I was so excited more than a year ago to read the manuscript for “Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life” by Scott M. Marshall, one of the newest releases by WND Books.

As an admitted Dylan-phile, it had been a source of frustration for me for years that while there are many enigmatic qualities to America’s troubadour, there has been a rock-solid consistency to his publicly expressed view of God and man since 1979 when he released – to the shock of many of his fans – his “Slow Train Coming” album along with one of his biggest hit songs ever, “You Gotta Serve Somebody.”

And it was true, as the author of the new spiritual biography on Dylan shows, before that album. Dylan was searching for truth. Just look at the lyrics of one of my favorite, and shortest, Dylan songs before his “Christian period.” It’s called “Father of Night,” and he recorded it in 1970.

Father of night, Father of day
Father, who taketh the darkness away
Father, who teacheth the bird to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky

Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain
Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white

Father, who build the mountain so high
Who shapeth the cloud up in the sky
Father of time, Father of dreams
Father, who turneth the rivers and streams

Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories

Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise

Dylan has written some of the most touching and powerful hymns of the 20th and 21st centuries – and people still don’t understand him.

Here’s the key to unraveling the mystery, in my opinion: Dylan was, is and always will be, a Jew. That’s the way he was born. He was, in the tradition of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, circumcised. He studied Hebrew so he could be bar mitzvahed. And, of course, he never renounced his Jewishness, nor did he need to.

That’s because Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah. All of Jesus’ original disciples remained, throughout their entire lives, Jews. Some of them, including Simon Peter, were surprised to learn fairly late in their lives that this messianic faith they followed could be shared with non-Jews. All of the early “Christians” were Jews. And they were only “Christians” in the literal sense of that Greek term – which means followers of Messiah.

I have to admit that even I had doubts about Dylan’s spiritual journey back in 1983 when he saw his son, Jesse, bar mitzvahed in Jerusalem. At the time, many speculated that Dylan had “gone back” to Judaism.

Bob Dylan at the 1983 bar mitzvah of his son, Jesse.

It was only years later, as I studied the Jewish roots of my own Christian faith, that I realized this was a perfectly natural and appropriate thing for a messianic Jew to do. No Jew needs to embrace the “Christian” traditions and culture to follow their Messiah. In fact, I’ve come to believe those traditions and that culture can actually be a barrier and stumbling block for non-Jews who seek to follow the Jewish Messiah. They certainly were for me.

This is, in fact, the essence of my latest book, The Restitution of All Things Israel Christians and the End of the Age Christians and non-Christians alike are often confused by church traditions and the essential gospel message that brings all people – Jew and gentile alike – to the saving blood of the Lamb.

While he doesn’t like to give many interviews and he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable speaking publicly, I’m convinced Bob Dylan gets it.

Scott Marshall has done an amazing job comprehensively tracing Dylan’s performances, albums and interviews through the decades and showing there is a consistency in his devotion to God and His Son that cannot be denied. If you’re a Dylan-phile like me, you will find this book hard to put down. You will be surprised at how Dylan was treated by the church. And you will be appalled at the way he was treated by his fans when he embraced Messiah.

There are few musical superstars who rival Bob Dylan – as a songwriter, in fame, in longevity, in influence. This new spiritual biography will help you appreciate him even more.

Source: Why Dylan’s faith is so misunderstood


Joseph Farah is founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND. He is the author or co-author of 13 books that have sold more than 5 million copies, including his latest, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age.” Before launching WND as the first independent online news outlet in 1997, he served as editor in chief of major market dailies including the legendary Sacramento Union.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kickstarter update #2

Key points here:
– This is an opportunity to reach MILLIONS.
– Pray, and help get the word out.
– Give as you are able (surely more than 16 people are able!!!)

Click here to learn how you can help.

natsab

Two weeks to go and we are not yet half way there…  While the Father has this in His hands, we are called to action.  Before us is an opportunity to share broadly what we are understanding concerning the Hebrew roots of our faith and the everlasting nature of the Torah!!  We can rise to the occasion and help bring this message through a mainstream outlet that gets 6 MILLION hits a day, or we can let this opportunity go by the boards….

Currently, we do not yet have half of the funding pledged, while half of the time has passed.  Let us not let this opportunity slip by!  Here’s what you can do:

  • Help get the word out.  Share with your social media connections!
  • Pray for the Father’s favor.
  • Give as you are able.  (I have to believe more than 16 people are able…)

To learn more, go here

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Resurrection of the Leprous Prodigal

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy  (Wikimedia Commons)

Those who have leprosy might as well be dead.  Never mind that the disease we call leprosy today may or may not be one of the skin diseases meant by the Hebrew word tzara’at (צָרַעַת).  The fact is, whoever had it was cut off from the community:

Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, “Unclean!  Unclean!”  He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.  (Leviticus 13:45-46 NKJV)

Think about that for a moment.  Lepers could not go home.  They could not have any kind of normal relationship with their family members, friends, business associates, or anyone else with whom they interacted before the cursed condition fell upon them.  It did not matter what station of life the leper occupied; whether peasant or king, the disease cut them off from the life of the nation.  Even mighty King Uzziah of Judah learned that.  Although he reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem, the leprosy he contracted in the midst of his reign meant that he was king in name only:

King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.  He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.  Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.  (II Chronicles 26:21 NKJV)

How can a person shepherd the people of God when he is cut off from the House of God?  Is there any hope for him, or for the people he is anointed to lead?

Yes, there is hope.  That is why the Torah portion Metzora (The Leper; Leviticus 14:1-15:33) provides elaborate detail on the procedures for cleansing lepers.  Once healed, the priests help them through this process to restore them to their place in society.  In a certain sense, this is a resurrection from a type of death, and thus it is a symbol of what Messiah will do. 

Please click here to continue reading

How Christians will recognize Jesus again – World Net Daily

bfb170131-restitution-of-all-thingsHow big is the Torah Awakening?  It’s big enough to motivate the CEO of the world’s largest Christian website to write a book about it.

The book is The Restitution of All Things:  Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age, by Joseph Farah, Chairman, and CEO of World Net Daily.  The description of Farah’s work says:

The Restitution of All Things is a primer on the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith that will forever give you a new appreciation of the work Jesus did on the cross, and will answer these provocative questions:
– What does the Bible clearly teach about the ultimate solution to the Middle East conflict?

– Is the story of the New Testament really grace vs law? Or has grace always been around and is the law forever?
– What is the ultimate destination of redeemed mankind – heaven or earth?
– Why is there so much focus in the prophecy world on events leading up to the return of Jesus and so little about what follows?
– What is the central conflict Jesus has in the gospels and what was the great error of the Pharisees?
– Is it possible today’s believers in Jesus could be making the same error as the Pharisees of His time?
– Have Christians replaced Israel as the people of promise?

In promoting the book, WND recently published the report of an interview Paul Maguire conducted with Farah on GodTV two years ago in which he outlines many of the ideas presented in the new work.  Enjoy reading the article, which is reposted below, and then consider not only looking at Farah’s book, but at the questions he asks.


How Christians Will Recognize Jesus Again:  Joseph Farah Interview Anticipates

Published in World Net Daily, January 29, 2017

Warner Sallman first drew his famous Christ picture in charcoal. It was colorized later.

Warner Sallman first drew his famous Christ picture in charcoal. It was colorized later.

When the Jewish people finally received their Messiah, the vast majority did not recognize Him.

When He returns, will Christians make the same mistake?

That’s the fear WND founder Joseph Farah expressed in an interview with Paul McGuire on “Apocalypse and the End Times” on GodTV. It was part of a wide-ranging conversation about how the last days will be far different than what many believers expect.

“Who is Jesus and how is he going to come back?” Farah asked. “You know, a lot of people missed Jesus the first time He came. Most of the Jews did not recognize Him as their Messiah. They had a misunderstanding of how the Messiah was going to come. And they were going a lot by man’s teaching rather than going back to the Scriptures. And I wonder, when Jesus does come back, if many people in the church are going to miss Him too.”

Please click here to continue reading

Biblical Language Brings You Closer to God, Says Hebrew Roots – Breaking Israel News

BFB140303 Aleph BetWho is paying attention to the Torah Awakening among Christians?  Israeli Jews are beginning to take notice, as Hanoch Young explained in a recent article originally posted on United2Restore.  Here is additional testimony:  an article by Rivkah Adler of Breaking Israel News about the phenomenon of Hebrew studies among non-Jews. 

It is encouraging enough that Dr. Adler chose to write on this topic.  What is even more interesting is one of the questions she asked of her sources:  How can Jews help Christians learn Hebrew?  Of course, we understand that by “Christians” she means all of us who are not Jewish, but have an affinity to Israel – including those of us who have embraced our Hebrew identity.  The question should be an encouragement.  The more interest there is in learning Hebrew, the more our Jewish brethren will be motivated to help, resulting in an ever-expanding number of contacts and relationships. 

Who knows where this will lead in years to come?  Certainly it will contribute significantly to global support for Israel in material ways, and hasten the day that the Jewish and non-Jewish parts of the Hebrew people are reconciled and reunited.  All the more reason for us to take advantage of the Hebrew language opportunities available to us!

Source:  Biblical Language Brings You Closer to God, Says Hebrew Roots – Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.


Breaking Israel NewsLearning Biblical Language is “Torah Awakening” Needed for Hebrew Roots

Rivkah Lambert Adler
Published in Breaking Israel News, December 15, 2016

“And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.”  Genesis 11:1 (The Israel Bible™)

bfb161221-bible

(Shutterstock)

Christians and members of the Hebrew Roots movement are united in their view that learning Hebrew is an important part of understanding the Judaic origins of their faith.

Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Bob O’Dell, pro-Israel Christian, author and co-founder of Root Source, described his interest in Hebrew as two-fold.  As a frequent traveler to Israel, O’Dell recognizes that learning modern, conversational Hebrew could help him “to fit in a bit better when visiting Israel.

However, his primary interest is “to understand the Bible better.  What motivates me here is the absolute conviction that I am not ‘seeing’ but a small fraction of the potential insights in the various passages by reading an English translation.”

Please click here to continue reading

Asking the Hard Questions: A Review of Repairing the Breach, by Peter G. Rambo, Sr.

bfb161214-repairing-the-breach

Growing numbers of dedicated Christians are taking a critical look at what they believe.  The turbulent conditions around the world likely has something to do with this.  Christians, like everyone else, need assurance and hope.  If they cannot find it in their faith, then they are cast adrift in a sea of despair. 

But what happens when these disciples of Jesus Christ discover that what the Bible says is not exactly what they thought was right?  They experience a crisis of faith.  Surprisingly this crisis is not driving Christians away from their Savior, but it is dramatically reorienting their faith walk.  They still embrace Jesus as their Savior, but call Him by His Hebrew name and title:  Yeshua the Messiah.  Moreover, they begin to honor and follow the Torah (Law) of Moses, the same godly standard of conduct which Jesus/Yeshua taught and modeled in His life.

In other words, these Christians are transforming into Hebrews through what has become an accelerating Torah Awakening.

This crisis of faith is the focus of Repairing the Breach, the first book by former pastor Peter G. Rambo, Sr.  Having weathered the crisis himself, Rambo offers helpful observations from his experience.  It is not a journey he undertook on a whim, and in fact he was not looking for any kind of faith-altering investigation.  As he explains, his quest for understanding of End Times prophecies turned into an exploration of the “false traditions of Christianity”.

This is where it gets interesting – and potentially dangerous.  “False traditions” could be interpreted to mean fraudulent origins.  If that is the case, then perhaps Christianity is just another manifestation of what Karl Marx called the “opiate of the masses”.  That, however, is not what Rambo means.  He is referring to the traditions which have crept into Christianity from a number of directions (including pagan religions), and which have diluted, diverted, and obscured the original faith contained in the Bible. 

Please click here to continue reading

Israel 2016: In Search of Hebrew Roots Judaism

General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands, in October 1944 to keep his promised, "I shall return".

General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands, in October 1944 to keep his promised, “I shall return”.

There is a joke from World War II that no longer makes sense without some explanation.  It is said that a foreign student at an American university wrote an essay about General Douglas MacArthur.  In the early months of 1942, as MacArthur presided over a doomed defense of the Philippine Islands, he was ordered to leave his command and go to Australia, there to organize the multinational Allied force that would halt Japanese expansion in the South Pacific.  At his departure, MacArthur reportedly promised the people of the Philippines and his Filipino and American troops that he would one day come back with an army to liberate them – which he did two years later.  On that momentous day in 1942, though, all he could do was promise, “I shall return.”

Those were inspiring words to Americans about to lose their forward bases and their largest military force in the Far East, and who could not bear to lose with them one of the most senior officers of their Army.  MacArthur’s words inspired this young foreign student as well.  However, his knowledge of English being imperfect, he conducted his research in his native tongue, and therefore committed an unfortunate faux pas when he presented his paper.  Standing proudly in front of his peers, the young man said, “I write about Douglas MacArthur, who said those famous words, ‘I’ll be right back!’”

What is the proper response in such a situation?  If there is no offense, then laughter erupts.  However, if the hearers take offense, then they respond in anger.

It may be that neither is the proper response.  If the one who made the error is trying to communicate in good faith, then the audience should give grace, seek to understand the true message, and help the author overcome the error.  That is the point behind King Solomon’s wise words:

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.  (Proverbs 10:12 NKJV; see also Proverbs 17:9)

Solomon’s observation is rooted in a Torah principle:

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God:  I am the Lord.  (Leviticus 19:14 NKJV)

Jewish sages understand that this principle refers not only to the physically deaf and blind, but also to people who cannot hear or see things clearly.  Perhaps they are not present when something is said, or perhaps they do not have the language or experience to grasp the intricacies of a subject under discussion.  Consider, for example, a man who is brilliant in his native language, but struggles to order a cup of coffee in English, and is laughed to scorn by those who do not realize the importance of being kind to strangers (another Torah principle).

To be honest, Jews are strangers to me, and I am a stranger to Jews.  Although I identify as a Hebrew Roots follower of Messiah Yeshua, I have yet to grasp the intricacies of Judaism.  The more Jews I meet and get to know, the more I begin to understand, but always what I say and do is tempered with the fear that I may give offense in some way that I had never anticipated.

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7 Ways to Share Your Faith With Your Friends & Family – Kayte Abaffy

One of the most significant developments in the Hebrew Roots movement this past year has is the production of a movie that explains this phenomenon.  Those who have seen The Way:  A Documentary know that it is a quality production that imparts an entertaining, moving, and reasonably balanced presentation of the Torah Awakening among Christians.  This debut work by young filmmakers Luke and Kayte Abaffy has had an expanding impact since its release in August 2016, and likely will receive international attention thanks to a recent screening at the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress in Israel.

In this article, originally published in Torah Sisters Magazine, producer Kayte Abaffy shares her experience and idea on how to present this Torah walk to the people we care about the most – and who often are not very receptive to this message.  Perhaps it is not the message that is the problem, but the manner and timing of the presentation.  That is a central point Kayte makes in this honest and delightful piece.


bfb161106-seven-ways-to-shareOriginally published on Torah Sisters Magazine

Two years ago, I was driving on the Pacific Coast Highway with my husband, sparkling blue ocean to our left and golden mountains to our right, coming home to Los Angeles from a transformative conference in San Diego.  Torah keepers had gathered for a weekend of learning stuff and worshipping and hanging out by the pool till 2am sharing our stories.  And that weekend wasn’t just an awesome conference – it was the start of us filming for The Way documentary, and our first real deep dive into the experiences of people walking in The Way.

bfb161106-pacific-coast-highway

Even after we’d only interviewed our first handful of people, something had already become clear: sharing your new walk with friends and family is … well … a thing.  When we asked interview subjects how people reacted to their new walk (siblings, children, spouses, parents, pastors, lifelong friends), lots of interesting body language things would happen – eyes would well up with tears or dart to the floor, or there’d be a great big sigh, or laughter, or a look of searching for the right words to make a tough situation sound positive.

Of course, some people’s families or friends had taken instant interest, or tried hard to understand what their loved one was learning in the Word.  And some even quickly came to the same understanding.  But for lots of others, the reactions ranged from cold shoulders to confusion, awkwardness to outright hostility.

So how do you share your walk (and enthusiasm for the Torah) with people you love, when there seems to be so much baggage surrounding a conversation that hasn’t even begun yet?

One thought that’s really helped me is to make the fruit of your life available to people who’re actually hungry.  Trees that throw their apples at people are scary, like in The Wizard of Oz.  But in life, a person walks by and picks an apple from the tree when they’re hungry.

So often we try to jam a feast down the throat of a person who’s perfectly full.  And then we’re frustrated when they don’t receive it and wonder why they resent us.  But God works with hunger.  And we should too.  Remember what Yeshua said?  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  It’s hard to convince someone of how great the solution you’ve found is, when they don’t even think there’s a problem.  But the great news is that there are plenty of hungry people out there, we just need to be there to minister to them!

Here are a few other ideas I’ve come up with to share Yeshua and your walk with others, as I’ve marinated on this question over the last two years:

Please click here to continue reading

Israel 2016: Different Shades of Right

bfb161018-trip-north

Today we traveled to the Far North.  In a place like Texas that would mean a whole day’s journey.  In Israel it means about three hours in holiday traffic.

Our destination was a place the rest of the world calls an “occupied territory”.  I call it one of the most beautiful and captivating places I have ever seen.  The Golan Heights really are high, rising abruptly from the Jordan Valley in a very short distance.  It was not the first great change in elevation during this journey.  Coming down from Jerusalem to Route 6 along the coastal plain is enough of a descent to cause one’s ears to pop.  The same thing happens once the traveler passes the Horns of Hattin (subject of a future blog post) and descends to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee.  Then the process happens in reverse on the ascent from the sea to the northern hills, and down again to the Jordan before ascending one final time to the Golan.

A word about these famous biblical bodies of water:  I was not prepared to find the Sea of Galilee to be so tiny.  Comparatively speaking, that is.  Neither was I expecting the Jordan River to be smaller than a McAlpine Creek back home in Charlotte.  Such great things happened around both over the last 5,000 years that I expected something a bit more majestic.  Then again, Israel is a land of tremendous contrast.  The truly great things are the small and humble things, while the big and powerful things often turn out to be woefully inadequate (remember Goliath?).

But I digress.  This is a post about the town of קצרין.

For those who cannot read Hebrew, there is some difficulty explaining exactly where we were.  This town is the capital of the Golan, so one would think that its name in English would have some kind of standard transliteration.  Oddly enough, it does not.  On the road map we were using, on the road signs we passed, and even on the web sites I have checked to verify what I am relating, the name is given in a number of different ways, such as:

Qatsrin

Qatzrin

Katsrin

Katzerin

Katzrin

Even the official website of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism spells the name two different ways!

bfb161018-qatsrin-signWhat are we to make of this?  I suggest it is an illustration of the difference between Greek and Hebrew thinking.  The Greek way would establish one right answer for spelling the name in English.  Every other spelling would be wrong.  In Hebraic thinking, however, there are multiple ways to convey the truth that this particular place is the town we want to visit in the Golan.  The sounds of the two syllables (well, three if one is Southern and drawls) are close enough to the Hebrew in each of the transliterations given above to ensure that the traveler can get to the right place.  Thus there can be many versions of “right” in Hebraic thought.

What, then, is “wrong” in Hebraic thought?  Ah, that would be trying to spell the town’s name as something like Woebegone, Bora Bora, or Cascabell.  Clearly they are wrong in many ways.  How do we know?  Because the sounds rendered in the spoken Hebrew tell us we want a place that sounds like “Cat’s Ring”, so something that sounds like Bora Bora is right out.

This lesson was reinforced in the fellowship we enjoyed with some amazing Jewish Israeli friends in their Sukkah at Qatsrin.  It seems that there are many ways to live out the truth of YHVH’s Word.  The ultimate wrong answer is not opening that Word and letting it soak into the heart and soul.  However, there is a wrong answer that is almost as bad, and that is insisting that one’s own narrow interpretation is the only truth.

For he who is not against us is for us.  (Mark 9:40 NASB)


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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