Israel 2016: Family In Twelve Languages – The Conclusion of the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress
In some ways the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress was actually the Second First B’ney Yosef National Congress. This emerging people of the House of Joseph (Yosef) is still a long way from transacting business as one would expect from cohesive people groups such as the Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Lakota, Navajo, or Ibo. We still have much to discover about ourselves and much historical division to overcome before we can speak with a unified voice. Nevertheless, the seeds have been sown, both in the First Congress and in this Second Congress. The fruit is not yet ready, but it is becoming recognizable as fruit, and that in itself is a major step forward.
My earlier report on the first half of the Congress (see Picking Up Where We Left Off: A Report on the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress) covered most of the formal business on the schedule. When we arrived at Shabbat on the evening of Friday, October 28, we had already heard from visionaries and scholars such as Iris Bouwman, Ron Campbell, and Ephraim Frank. They focused us on:
- Our identity as the returning children of Yosef/Ephraim
- Our hope in restoration by YHVH and reunification with our brethren of Judah
- Our responsibilities in moving with the Almighty as He directs and empowers this process.
What happened over the next two days did not bring anything new or different, but instead imparted greater depth to what we had already heard and shared.
The formal meetings on Shabbat did not commence until late in the afternoon. As with any such gathering, the real business took place not in the formal presentations, but in the quiet conversations among two or three huddled in the common room, or sitting at table for a meal. It seemed that these informal meetings took on a heightened importance during and after Shabbat. After breakfast, many delegates gathered to read the Torah portion Beresheet (In the Beginning), another simple activity which enhanced the bonding already taking place among these diverse Ephraimites from so many different places and cultures. Others who did not participate in the Torah reading continued in quiet relationship-building conversation, or in private prayer and Bible study. All partook of considerable rest during the day, the feature of Shabbat which has become precious to us all.
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.
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.
Parents know very well that the excitement of a child’s birth fades very quickly as reality of life with a newborn infant sets in. After the ordeal of labor and delivery, the rapid passage of news by phone calls and Facebook posts, and the welcome of a seemingly endless stream of family and friends, a rather dull routine sets in. Much to the frustration of older siblings, the baby does very little except sleep, eat, cry, and . . . well, you know. It will be quite some time before the child gains controls of its limbs, and still more time before it can sit up on its own and even begin to think about crawling. Only after that can the child progress toward walking, talking, feeding itself, and learning how to be polite in public.
A newborn organization goes through these same growth stages. Whether it is a company, a ministry, or a nation, the newborn still requires time and nurture before it can stand on its own.
Such is the case with our newborn, B’ney Yosef North America. BYNA is barely one month old, and although there is not much visible to the public, this child is healthy and growing just as it should.
Many dry bones lie scattered across Tennessee. Tens of thousands of them found their resting places during the tumultuous years of the American Civil War. Perhaps it is fitting, therefore, that Tennessee served as the place where the dry bones of the House of Yosef (Joseph) began to come back to life in North America.
This is a prophesied event, of course. More accurately, it is a prophesied process – the single greatest topic of prophecy in the entire Bible. Israel, the nation Almighty God established in covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, split into two pieces and died many hundreds of years ago. Judah, the part of that nation which we know now as the Jewish people, retained knowledge of its identity, and in 1948 returned to life as the State of Israel. The other part of the nation, however, has never come back to life.
It has been two weeks since the B’ney Yosef (Sons of Joseph) National Congress adjourned on May 25. The delegates are even now sharing their impressions of the event. Over the next few weeks we can expect the publication of articles, interviews, videos, pictures, and much more regarding the work YHVH established in Ariel, Israel. A number of us have already had opportunity to share our experiences and impressions. Here is a list of the ones that have come to my attention.
- Hebrew Nation Morning Show interviews of Ephraim and Rimona Frank (first hour) and Al McCarn (second hour) on June 3, 2015. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek podcast by Tzefanyah Ben Yochanon and Al McCarn. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- “Resentment & Replacement or Reconciliation & Restoration”, presentation by Hanoch Young of Kol Yehuda. (Click here to watch the video.)
- Congress Report by Mike Clayton of Joined to Hashem. (Click here to watch the video.)
- United2Restore podcast by Ken Rank and Hanoch Young. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- Commentary in Swedish by Viveka Sjulmark on Sarahs Tālt.
- Commentary in Dutch by Hadassah Dee on Tegenhetlicht.
- Sunday School Report by Pete Rambo at the Lexington Baptist Church, Lexington, SC, delivered on May 31, 2015. Click here to watch the entire report. Click here to see the 10-minute Youtube video of Pete’s entire trip. Pete began posting updates on his experiences as soon as he arrived in Israel. The updates are available at his blog, www.natsab.com.
- As mentioned in an earlier post, it was my honor to be the first presenter at the Congress. Click here to read my address on the Foundations of Ephraimite Identity.
That is quite a collection of video, audio, and written material assembled in less than two weeks! It will take some time for the full impact of the Congress to manifest itself, but it is clear that something very significant happened at the Eshel HaShomron Hotel in Ariel. In essence, it was that 135 people from 12 nations came together to acknowledge that the Sovereign Creator of the Universe is at last restoring the entire nation of Israel just as He promised.
At the distance of two hundred years the specter of Napoleon Bonaparte is no longer frightening. Now he is nothing more than a historical figure often depicted as a comic caricature of the man who once ruled most of Europe. In his lifetime he inspired admiration to the point of worship not only for his genius at the art of war, but for his genius at bringing responsible government out of the chaotic revolution of France. Yet his ambition pushed him beyond the limits of himself and of France, and in time he lost everything.
We have a picture passed on through the years of a bitter Napoleon who blames everyone but himself for his setbacks. That is the picture C.S. Lewis invokes in his description of Napoleon in hell in his classic work, The Great Divorce. A similar picture appears in Waterloo, the 1970 movie about Napoleon’s final battle starring Rod Steiger as the Emperor. In the midst of the battle, illness overcomes Napoleon and compels him to leave the field briefly. During that time Marshal Michel Ney (played by Dan O’Herlihy), Napoleon’s trusted subordinate, orders the French cavalry to attack when he believes the enemy is retreating. What he does not realize is that the Duke of Wellington (played by Christopher Plummer) has ordered his infantry to shift their position to the other side of the hill they occupied. As the French cavalry charge, the British infantry form squares, a tactic designed for defense against cavalry. In charge after charge, the French horsemen expend their lives to little effect, eventually crippling that arm of Napoleon’s force and contributing significantly to his ultimate defeat. In the movie, Napoleon returns to the field just as Ney is leading the charge. In rage and dismay he says,
What’s he doing? What’s Ney doing? What’s happening? Can’t I leave the field for a minute? What’s he doing there? How can a man go forward with the cavalry without infantry support? What’s the matter with you?
To the military mind this outburst is perfectly understandable. Napoleon the general trained his men well and expected them to act not only with initiative, but also according to his commands and within the parameters of good order and discipline. It is no surprise that he became angry at learning that a trusted and experienced subordinate acted impetuously, violating a cardinal principle of war and endangering the entire army. It is the same reason our God becomes very angry when His people disregard the good order, discipline, and sound judgment He expects of them.