Israel 2016: Picking Up Where We Left Off – A Report on the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress

A remarkable thing happened seventeen months ago, when the First B’ney Yosef National Congress convened in Ariel, Israel.  At that time a people who had not existed as a people for over 2,700 years came back from the ash heap of history.  The people of the House of Joseph (Yosef) – Ephraim, those “Lost Tribes” of Israel’s northern kingdom – assembled in Samaria, the territory of their ancient ancestors, and acknowledged their belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to accomplish His Word to bring their people back as a nation and join them with the Jewish part of Israel (the House of Judah) in fulfillment of His covenant.

Delegates gather at the Second B'ney Yosef National Congress, October 26, 2016.
Delegates gather at the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress, October 26, 2016.

It was a modest beginning; only a little over 130 people attended, representing 12 countries.  We made no bold declarations, but humbly whispered to one another and to the world that we were ready to answer the Father’s call and walk out the return of the Prodigal.  Humble indeed, but astounding nevertheless.  Certainly no less astounding than the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 after 1,900 years of dissolution.

The momentum of that First Congress has carried into the Second B’ney Yosef Congress, which is now in its third day.  The Congress convened on the evening of October 26, 2016, and will continue until Monday, October 31.  The venue once again is the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in Ariel.  The numbers of delegates are about the same, but this time there are some significant differences. 

For one thing, the number of nations has grown to 15.  Not surprisingly, the United States has the largest number of delegates, comprising about half of the total.  What is surprising is that the second largest contingent is from one of the world’s smallest countries:  the Netherlands.  Over 20 Dutch Ephraimites are here, imparting a beautiful Dutch accent to all the proceedings.  Also represented are Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland.  A central feature of the Congress has been reports from each of these countries, as well as video and proxy reports from Finland, Pakistan, Uganda, and India. 

These reports build a mosaic of the Hebrew Awakening happening across the globe.  In Pakistan, for example, Pastor Qaiser Ilyas shared by video his work in building Hebrew language and Torah teaching programs in Urdu for children and adults.  Valerie Bulkunu, representing the Aboriginal people of Australia, shared the revival that is beginning among the youth of her people, and the awakening among Aboriginals to their Hebrew roots and Israelite identity.  A similar phenomenon is happening among the Mizo people of northeast India, as Margot Crossing related in her report about the descendants of exiled Israelites who migrated across the Silk Road into South Asia.  These developments are happening simultaneously with the better-known Torah awakenings in Europe and North America, and in time will have an even more significant impact as tens of millions of Ephraimites come into the understanding of their covenant identity.

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Today I Am A Hebrew: An Address to the B’ney Yosef North America Summit

B'ney Yosef North America Articles of Declaration presented by Elder Barry Phillips (r) and Executive Director Albert McCarn (l) upon affirmation on March 5, 2016.
B’ney Yosef North America Articles of Declaration presented by Elder Barry Phillips (r) and Executive Director Albert McCarn (l) upon affirmation on March 5, 2016.

Those who have attended a birth understand the chaos involved.  It is no easy process, and not accomplished without pain.  As in everything else, the Scripture gives us a helpful perspective:

Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.  (John 16:21 NASB)

A child was born into the world on the shore of Tampa Bay on March 6, 2016.  After 2,730 years of non-existence, a portion of the long-lost tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel have declared themselves to be a people again.  This is the North American assembly of the House of Joseph, known prophetically in Scripture by the name of Ephraim, the tribe that led them into rebellion against the House of David (I Kings 12).

Does that sound radical?  Fanciful?  Foolish?  Perhaps, but then so also were the declarations of provincial English colonists to be a nation distinct from the mighty empire that ruled them; or of a collection of European Jews to call the Jewish nation back into existence at the First Zionist Congress; and of another generation of ordinary Jewish people to establish Israel as an independent state in the face of certain annihilation.

If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not in these things, why do we look to them now for inspiration and example?  And if God is not in this process of restoring the people He long ago said would one day be a people again, then why did the assembly in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 6, 2016, occur in the midst of such a weighty presence of the Lord?

In days to come much will be shared about the birth of B’ney Yosef North America.  Already it is in the international press, thanks to Breaking Israel News.  What I can share is that the signing of the Articles of Declaration which tell the world who we are was a holy undertaking.  One who was there signing these articles shared with me that there are no words to describe holy things; putting words to them brings them down to the realm of the common.  She is right; there are no words to do this justice.

The words I can share are those which opened the B’ney Yosef North America Summit on March 4.  It was my honor to deliver the keynote address to the 200 people assembled there from Canada and the United States, with observers from Israel and the Netherlands.  This address explains the purposes of the gathering.  We accomplished those purposes.  What more we accomplished is yet to be seen.


 

Today I Am A Hebrew
Albert Jackson McCarn
presented at the B’ney Yosef North America Summit
St. Petersburg, Florida
March 4, 2016

 If you have not realized it by now, let me explain why we are assembled in St. Petersburg, Florida today.  We are here to welcome the birth of a new nation.  It is no coincidence that our gathering is happening at the time that another nation is marking nearly two centuries since its birth.  I speak of the place I now call home, the place our brother Hanoch Young calls the Nation of Texas.

The Fall of the Alamo, or Crockett's Last Stand, by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk. Although flawed, this iconoclastic rendition of the Battle of the Alamo depicts the heroic image of the Alamo's defenders as it has come down through history.
The Fall of the Alamo, or Crockett’s Last Stand, by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk. Although flawed, this iconoclastic rendition of the Battle of the Alamo depicts the heroic image of the Alamo’s defenders as it has come down through history.

Two days ago, on March 2, Texans observed the 180th anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Texas.  On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted in convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos.  News of that declaration did not have time to reach the 200 men besieged in an old Spanish Catholic mission in San Antonio de Béxar before the great battle that claimed their lives.  Today, 180 years ago, March 4, 1836, those men knew only that they faced the stark choice between surrender or death at the hands of an enemy that outnumbered them 12 to 1.  Two days hence, as we conclude our gathering on March 6, Texans will honor the memory of those 200 who laid down their lives at the Alamo fighting for a cause they did not fully understand and a nation they did not really know, but which their selfless sacrifice helped to bring into existence.

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