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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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THE WAY is available for preorder!

There is BIG news for the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement! The long-awaited documentary by Luke and Kayte Abaffy is now available for preorder!

“The Way, The Truth & The Life: Leaving Churchianity Live Like the Savior” will be released on August 14, 2016. To order copies now, visit the web page at https://www.thewaydoc.com/.

Not sure what “The Way” is about? Check out the newly-released official trailer. . .

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. . .and then order two DVDs – one for yourself, and one for a friend.


© 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.

Fox Byte 5775 #52: Vayelekh (And He Went)

וַיֵּלֶךְ

Concept art for an upcoming Czech film adaptation of Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts. (Photo: The Fish People Attack! Amazing Concept Art For Czech Creature Feature WAR WITH THE NEWTS (VALKA S MLOKY) on twitch, via Topzine.cz; © 2014 Salamander syndicate)

Concept art for an upcoming film adaptation of Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts. (Photo: “The Fish People Attack!” on twitchfilm.com, via Topzine.cz; © 2014 Salamander syndicate)

Isaac Asimov could have written I, Robot without Karel Čapek’s help, but he would have needed a different word for the artificial life forms featured in his writing.  Asimov’s robot stories shifted the paradigms of science fiction by exploring the unintended consequences of creating something smarter and stronger than a human, but without a human’s ethical configuration.  For over half a century he probed dark and difficult territory, asking questions and spinning scenarios that remain disturbingly applicable to our present reality.  Yet Asimov neither invented the word “robot”, nor initiated the inquiry into the potential nemesis of unbridled technological innovation.

Bad things happen when man plays the role of God, as Mary Shelley demonstrated in 1818 with her first novel, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus.  Shelley brought the question into the modern era, but it was Karel Čapek who mechanized it.  Čapek’s play R.U.R. (Rossumovi univerzální roboti; Rossum’s Universal Robots) was a success from its first performance in 1920.  The play introduced international audiences to the Czech word robota, meaning hard work, a word rendered into English as robot.  The play is not a comedy; in Čapek’s imaginary world the robots are manufactured life forms designed to assist humans, but eventually they rebel and extinguish all human life.

Čapek revived this scenario in War with the Newts, a novel published in 1936 as satire on the hypocritically self-serving international system which enabled Nazi Germany’s dismemberment of Czechoslovakia two years later.  It is a humorously dark tale about a race of sentient amphibian creatures discovered in the waters of Indonesia.  The newts prove to be swift learners and adept at a multitude of tasks, making them ideal candidates for exploitation not only as workers, but also as undersea warriors.  In time the newts, like the robots, rebel, destroying the dry land and turning it into shallow waters suitable for their environmental needs.  The nations of the earth find themselves in a war for survival against a global amphibian army.  It is a war humanity will not win, but Čapek reveals that the victorious newts will turn on themselves and become the instruments of their own destruction, leaving a remnant of mankind to rebuild the planet.

It is frightful to contemplate the end of one’s world, particularly when the end is justly deserved.  Asimov, Shelley, and Čapek relate scenarios of judgment resulting from mankind’s own selfish shortsightedness – playing God, if you will.  The element of terror they invoke lurks in the revelation that the instruments of judgment are the works of our own hands.  As usual, art imitates life.  YHVH renders judgment on those who disregard His standard of righteousness and set up standards of their own – playing God, if you will.  Judgment brings a sentence of destruction and death, which is terrifying enough.  What makes it more chilling is to learn the name of the one who will bring about the anticipated death and destruction.  About 35 centuries ago, the doomed Canaanite civilization experienced that very thing shortly after Moses spoke these words:

It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them.  Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the Lord has spoken.  (Deuteronomy 31:3 NASB)

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…the land thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…

The United States of America is the land of my birth, but it is now a much different place than I knew as a boy.  Some of the changes have been good, and some not so good.  About a week ago, some immense changes happened not only in the way this nation defines marriage, but in the way it defines how the law of the land is established.  Many are the commentaries about the announcement on June 27 of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriage.  The commentaries I have seen which oppose the decision rightly emphasize the travesty of five jurists disregarding not only the will of the people of over half of the sovereign states of this Union, but the organic law of the Union itself.  In that sense, the Court’s decision reveals the true sin of Sodom.  Contrary to popular opinion, that sin is not homosexuality.  It is something else – something seemingly innocuous, but which, if unchecked, leads to complete abandonment of everything the Creator of this universe has deemed right.  The Lord explains this in a word to Judah and Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian Conquest:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.  Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom:  she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.  Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me.  Therefore I removed them when I saw it.  (Ezekiel 16:48-50 NASB)

What this passage tells us is that Sodom’s sin was lawlessness.  The people of the city decided that they could determine what was right and wrong in their own eyes without regard to the true standards of righteousness established by their Creator.  That arrogance led to a simultaneous increase of wealth and of poverty as the people of Sodom enriched themselves at the expense of the needy.  Their world began to revolve around their stomachs and their pleasures, and in time that led to the abominable behaviors which triggered ultimate judgment.  This is the chain of moral dissolution the Apostle Paul traces in Romans 1:18-32.  If this is indeed so, then what the Supreme Court decided was merely an indicator of the corruption at the heart of our nation.

Who is to blame?  Everyone, of course.  We can start with the Body of Messiah, which is no less as arrogant and filled with selfishness as the rest of society.  With pious faces, we check the box of religious devotion so that we may with gusto engage to excess in our private indulgences.  That is a point in an excellent commentary by blogger Ed Cyzewski in his post, “The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals A Gift”

Another prescient commentary comes from Pete Rambo in, “…the land thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…”.  As usual, Pete examines the issue from a Hebraic perspective.  His post, reproduced below, contains much food for prayer and thought.  As you read it, consider the question, “Where do we go from here?”


. . . the land thou abhorrest shall be forsaken. . .

Pete Rambo

Posted on natsab, June 28, 2015

Yesterday’s Shabbat service and Torah study at Issachar Oasis in Irmo, SC was good.  That fellowship is studying through Isaiah as well as the weekly Torah portion and yesterday we covered Isaiah 7:14-16.  (Like the last prophet they studied, we’ll be in Isaiah for years…!)

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

The focus of the leader and the group was the great hope we have in Messiah and the promise that Isaiah makes to Ahaz.  Glorious… but my eyes could not/would not leave the phrase “the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken…” and I was pondering the recent happenings in American jurisprudence.  For much of the world, and especially the United States, one has to have been under a rock not to know that two days ago the US Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing gay marriage. Frankly, I was not surprised.  What surprised me was that there were actually four dissenters!  Never-the-less, the ruling is done and we have one more nail in the coffin of this once great nation. But, why “the land thou abhorrest…” you ask?  Pretty simple, really.  Israel and Judah were judged because they defiled the land.  They did so in many ways.  They

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Fox Byte 5775 #39: Chukat (Decree Of)

חֻקַּת

Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) instructs Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in the art of karate in the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid.  (Photo from a review by Roger Ebert, January 1, 1984)

Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) instructs Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in the art of karate in the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid. (Photo from a review by Roger Ebert, January 1, 1984)

Is it possible to be a hero without paying a price?  A hero is one who does something worthy of esteem on behalf of someone else, and that requires sacrifice.  Sometimes it requires the sacrifice of a life, and sometimes merely the sacrifice of time and attention.  Sometimes heroes save nations, and sometimes they save little children from tears of embarrassment, pain, or grief.  Every act of salvation, no matter how small, entails a sacrifice that someone offers willingly.  And that is what makes a hero.

We learn about heroes in The Karate Kid, a 1984 film starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel Larusso, a fatherless teenager very much in need of a hero.  Daniel suffers a vicious beating by boys from a local martial arts school.  He is saved by a humble janitor, Mr. Miyagi (played by Noriyuki “Pat” Morita), who drives off the attackers with a masterful display of karate skills.  Before long Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach karate to Daniel.  The instruction begins when Miyagi assigns Daniel a number of hard tasks.  First he must wash and wax Miyagi’s antique automobiles, using special hand motions to “wax on” and “wax off”.  Then he must sand the walkway around Miyagi’s house, paint the fence around the property, and finally paint the house itself.  Each task features a specific set of hand motions.  After days of arduous labor, Daniel complains that he has learned nothing about karate while working like a slave.  Miyagi responds by having Daniel perform the hand motions for each task.  He then throws punches and kicks at Daniel, demonstrating that “wax on, wax off”, “sand the floor”, “paint the fence”, and “paint the house” have trained the boy to defend against attacks from many angles.  As he blocks Miyagi’s attacks, Daniel realizes the truth:  his faithfulness in seemingly unconnected menial tasks has made him ready for further instruction and greater responsibility in the art of karate.

In time Daniel becomes competent at karate and confident in himself as Miyagi’s training transforms him from a self-absorbed braggart into a self-controlled warrior.  In the concluding scenes he enters a martial arts tournament where he faces the boys who first attacked him.  Each is a formidable opponent, yet while Daniel learned karate as a means of disciplining himself in service of others, they had learned it as a means to exalt themselves over the weak.  They do not realize that the humble attitude Miyagi cultivated in Daniel has made him stronger and better able to withstand pain and suffering.  Their combined efforts at wounding and weakening Daniel only help him discover deeper wells of strength which in the end bring him victory.

This is a life lesson few are willing to learn.  Either we walk humbly in the confidence of our King, or we get eaten by our adversary.  As the Apostle Peter says:

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  (I Peter 5:5-8 NASB)

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The Urgency of Finding Jesus In The Old Testament

Original Painting:  The Pharisees and the Saduccees Come to Tempt Jesus, by James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons)

Original Painting: The Pharisees and the Saduccees Come to Tempt Jesus, by James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum via Wikimedia Commons)

Is the Bible really split into two pieces, or is it one big book telling the same story of God’s redemption and restoration of His creation?  Conventional wisdom says it’s two books:  the Old Testament, which deals with Israel, and the New Testament, which deals with the Church.  Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers have a different understanding.  There is only one Book, there is only one Author, and there is only one Word.  The Word is Yeshua of Nazareth, the One we believe to be Messiah, and the One Who gives meaning to the entire Book, from Genesis to Revelation.

This is the message presented by Pete Rambo, my friend and fellow Hebrew Roots blogger.  At the beginning of this year Pete began teaching a Sunday School class in a local church near his home in South Carolina.  Using his considerable training and experience as a pastor, Messianic congregational leader, and Hebrew Roots scholar, Pete presents an astounding Scriptural case for the revelation of Messiah Yeshua from the earliest chapters of the Bible.  You will be amazed at the connections he draws between well-known “Old Testament” (Tanach) accounts and the revelation of Yeshua in the “New Testament” (Apostolic Writings).  The links below take you to audio recordings of Pete’s Sunday morning teachings.  It is well worth the time to listen and test his presentations.

Sunday School, P.1:  Yeshua in the Tanach

Sunday School, P.2:  The Angel of the Lord

Sunday School, P.3:  Angel of the Lord, continued

Sunday School, P.4:  The Memra (Crash Course)

Sunday School, P.5:  David, Goliath and Yeshua’s 2nd Coming

Sunday School, P.6:  “I AM the Way”

Sunday School, P.7:  “Who Said?” and “I AM the Truth”

Sunday School, P.8:  “False Witnesses…(that we believe)” & “I AM life!”

Sunday School, P.9:  “Heaven is NOT my Home” & “The Good Shepherd”

Sunday School, P. 10:  Moedim & “Who is the Redeemer?”

Sunday School, P. 11:  Proverbs 28:9 & “Jesus on Mt. Sinai”

If it were just a matter of listening to sound teaching, that alone would be reason enough to click on these links.  There is, however, a matter of far greater urgency.  Pete touches on that in the last link in the list, “’Who Said?’ and ‘I AM the Truth’”.  In these days the Lord is awakening His people in the church to things we have missed for nearly two thousand years.  Namely, we have missed the Hebrew identity of our Savior, our faith, and ourselves.  That is the reason for this Torah Awakening which is captivating Believers in Yeshua across the globe.  There is an urgency in this:  if we do not learn and keep the Commandments of the Lord, then we miss out on the fullness of our calling and the fullness of the blessings He desires to pour out on us and, through us, to the world.  If we are indeed in the Last Days, then this is the time our King is restoring His Kingdom of Israel, and He is acquainting His subjects to with the need to walk in the obedience their professed allegiance to Him requires.  That is the subject of another recent post Pete published which is reproduced in full below.  Please read through this prayerfully.

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