A continuous source of amazement for me is the fact that many of the men and women who have contributed substantially to my spiritual growth most likely would not be comfortable sitting in the same room with one another.
Perhaps it should not be a surprise. Inspiration for my life has come from Baptist Christians, Presbyterian Christians, Anglican Christians, Catholic Christians, Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians, Messianic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Reformed Jews, and Hebrew Roots Torah teachers of many different streams. It is amazing what these people have in common. It is more amazing what divides them, and how senseless that division is in the long run.
What fellowship, for example, does D.L. Moody have with R.C. Sproul? That is a question most readers could not answer, not having a clue who either of those esteemed gentlemen are. Had they been contemporaries, however, the simple tenets of Moody’s evangelism (“Ruined by the Fall, Redeemed by the Blood, and Regenerated by the Spirit”) would clash with Sproul’s elaborate Reformed reasoning.
We might say similar things of many, many others – even of the two authors who have had the greatest influence on my life. It just so happens that they were contemporaries, serving as professors in related fields at prestigious English universities. It is no secret that J.R.R. Tolkien was instrumental in bringing C.S. Lewis out of atheism and into a relationship with Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah). Yet Tolkien was disappointed that he could get Lewis no closer to what he considered true Christianity (Roman Catholicism) than the Anglican Church. And yet the two remained friends and colleagues, greatly influencing each others’ literary and other works.
This begs the question: If Tolkien and Lewis could get along, why is it that Hebrew Roots believers have trouble getting along with one another? Or why is it that traditional Christians and Messianic believers of all stripes find it easier to condemn one another rather than support and pray for one another? Or why do Christians and Jews have such difficulty accepting one another as part of the same covenant people of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? It seems that our divisions are doing more work for the enemy of our souls than the good we hope we are doing for the Kingdom of our God.
In the interest of helping to correct this tendency, I am pleased to share an article recently published by Messianic Jewish leader Daniel C. Juster. Much of my understanding of the Hebrew Roots (or Jewish Roots, as he would say) comes from Dan Juster. I have been blessed to sit under his teaching and to be discipled by this writings.
There is a children’s story about a Little Red Hen who worked diligently to feed her chicks and keep her house in order. One day she found some grain, which she decided to plant. She asked the other barnyard animals to help, but each of them refused for one reason or another. The same thing happened each time she asked for help in tending the plants, harvesting the wheat, taking it to the mill to grind into flour, and bake the flour into bread.
At the end of this lengthy process, as the Little Red Hen pulled the fresh bread hot from the oven, all of the animals came running to help her eat it. But before any of them could come near, she said, “Not one of you helped me plant the grain, nor tend it, nor harvest it; none of you helped me take it to the mill, and you did not help me bake it into bread. Why should I share the bread with you now? It is for my chicks and I, and we will eat it ourselves.” Whereupon she shut the door, leaving her neighbors to watch longingly as her family enjoyed the fruit of her labors.
This story contains a moral for Hebrews who are debating whether the commandment to go up to Jerusalem for the Feasts of YHVH applies to them. Quite simply, if we are to enjoy the benefits of a restored Temple of the Living God, and of the nation that will be restored around it, then we had best be doing all we can to help in the process now.
Stop and ponder this for a moment. Step back from the paradigm which says that the structure on top of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem is a “Jewish Temple”. It is indeed very Jewish in the sense that only Jews have bothered to rebuild, care for, worship in, pray toward, and long for the restoration of the Temple since the days of the Babylonian Conquest. For 2,500 years, all that has existed of Israel has been the Jewish people, descendants of the Kingdom of Judah. It is understandable and logical that the world and the Jewish people themselves believe that the Temple and everything associated with it and with the nation of Israel is now, has always been, and ever will be Jewish.
Yet that is not what Scripture says. And that gets to the central question in this Jerusalem Debate: Can the Temple be rebuilt by Judah alone, or is it a project that requires some measure of restoration of Israel’s Lost Tribes – the House of Joseph/Ephraim?
The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 7: Keep the feasts outside of Jerusalem! | The Lamb’s Servant
Response by Bob Parham
Deut 30 – (1) When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, (2) and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, (3) then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
What a beautiful passage! What does this passage have to do with whether it is good to keep the Pilgrimage Feasts outside the land or not? Very much! But what is it telling us: To keep the feast outside the land, or to NOT keep the feast while outside the land?
It was (erroneously) explained to me that when we keep the Pilgrimage Feasts outside the land, we show Yah that we are returning to Him and that we want to keep His commandments fully. Therefore, we should do the feasts in any of our cities that we choose, to show Him that we are doing our best to keep His commands, relying on Him to honor our obedience and ultimately bring us home (with the implication that when we come home we will be able to do ALL the commands).
But what are the commands concerning the Pilgrimage Feasts that would tell us whether we are or aren’t being obedient to Yah’s commands when we observe the feasts outside of Jerusalem?
Here are a few verses that might give you a hint as to one of them:
Deut 12:18 – But thou must eat them before YHWH thy God in the place which YHWH thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before YHWH thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.
Deut 14:23 – And thou shalt eat before YHWH thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear YHWH thy God always.
Deut. 16:5-6 – You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the Lord your God gives you except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
See also (Deut 15:20) (Deut 16:2) (Deut 16:5-7) (John 4:45; John 11:55); regarding the Pilgrimage Feasts, see (Deut 16:11, Deut 15-16) (Deut 17:10) (Deut 31:10-12) (Joshua 9:26-27) (2 Chro. 7:11-16) (Psalms 122:1-6) (Isaiah 18:7).
If you took time to read any of these verses, you found that the Pilgrimage Feasts are only to be observed “at the place YHWH your God will choose”! Scripture only gives us ONE place in which He wants us to observe the Pilgrimage Feasts, and that place is JERUSALEM! So are we really ‘keeping His commands’ if we are breaking parts of them that we could keep?
Our plan today was to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) and then go shopping. At least that was the general outline. Pete and I had other things in mind – activities which involved more walking and exploration, and less exchange of hard currency. It would be cheaper, of course, but more importantly, it would help vigorous teenage boys expend more energy and perhaps enjoy their time in Jerusalem a little more.
We are now veterans at navigating Jerusalem. Drive through Ein Kerem (hometown of John the Baptist) up to Mount Herzl, get on the light rail, and ride to the City Hall. Walk down to the Jaffa Gate, and wind our way through the Jewish Quarter to the Kotel. It was easy – aside from forgetting to remove my wallet from my pocket at the security checkpoint. Not a problem, other than embarrassment when the sensor announced my faux pas. The officer was patient and professional; he sees this a thousand times a day. Put the wallet on the table, go back through the sensor, and all is well.
This is my third time to the Kotel. It’s the first time for the young people with us. The women went to their side, leaving the six of us men to move through the crowds on our side. Tommy and Pete led the way, followed by Pete’s sons Jeremiah, Joseph, and Silas. I brought up the rear. Eventually we found space at the wall where all of us could touch the ancient stones and pray side by side. What I prayed recalled the words of the Son of David who dedicated this holy place above us:
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive. (I Kings 8:27-30 NKJV)
Why do we pray toward Jerusalem? That is why. It is His city, the place He has chosen from all the places on this planet. The one place where His visible glory appeared and remained for centuries – and will return one day.
There is an old joke about Moses standing on Mount Sinai waiting the hear from YHVH. The hand of the Almighty appears with the Ten Commandments written on stone, and a great Voice says, “Take these two tablets and call me in the morning”.
It is funny because it is not a joke. We know what happened: Moses took the tablets with the Ten Commandments back to the people of Israel, but when he found them celebrating in idolatrous revelry (oddly enough, in worship of YHVH by pagan means), he threw down those tablets written by the Finger of God and shattered them.
Parents should have special insight about YHVH’s reaction to all of this. First, He punished everyone – both the instigators who provoked the people to disobedience, as well as the willfully ignorant who allowed themselves to be led astray. Even those who stood by and let it happen did not escape His notice. Do we not act similarly when our children embark on a path of foolishness that wrecks the house?
That was the negative reaction. What came next was His solution to the problem: He directed Moses to clean up the mess. Consider these words:
And the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain. (Exodus 34:1-2 NKJV)
In other words, “Bring two tablets and call me in the morning.”
For three consecutive days in this Holy Land called Israel I have become acquainted with the immense progress of YHVH’s Kingdom plans. Over that same period I have become acquainted with how utterly inadequate I am in this process.
Inadequate? Yes. Indispensable? No.
Moses, by his own confession, was inadequate, and the Almighty did not deny his protests. Yet no one would argue that Moses was indispensable in the process of bringing our ancient people out of Egypt in the First Exodus. So am I no less indispensable to this process of bringing home the rest of YHVH’s covenant people.
The truth is that everyone is indispensable. Each man, woman, and child who steps up to the high calling of bringing tangible reality to the Creator’s Kingdom is indispensable. Each one who shirks that call diminishes the Kingdom in ways that at the moment only the angels know – and weep over.
As I am learning, this is not simply a Christian kingdom, nor a Jewish kingdom, nor a Messianic or Hebrew Roots kingdom, but the Commonwealth of Israel instituted by Holy God. His revelation comes in multiple pieces and levels and ways. It comes to Jews, Christians, Hebraic believers in Yeshua, and many others we may not now recognize as fellow Israelites. It is bigger than we think, but its glory wanes when we think we have it figured out and insist that others endorse our singular view of it.
It is a miraculous Kingdom. Perhaps not the miraculous that we may expect, such as oceans dividing to make a dry path, or mountains crumbling, or masses of sick people instantly healed. Those miracles have, do now, and will occur. Yet the miracles all around us are hardly recognized as such today. I lived through one a few nights ago, when ten of us Hebrew believers of Christian backgrounds shared a fine supper in the Orthodox Jewish sukka of my new friend Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz.
And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. (I Samuel 10:26 NKJV)
Is there a better way to wake up that with a beautiful sunrise? It was a surprise to find such a view of the hills to the west of Jerusalem from the house we are staying, but a welcome surprise after a very long day of travel.
We are staying in Gi’vat Ye’arim, a town in the hills west of Jerusalem. In ancient times this was Gibeah, the home town of King Saul and a city with an interesting (and not that pleasant) history (see Judges 19-21). We are sharing the house here with very good friends, and today will set out on our first full day of seeing the Land. Our travel yesterday from North Carolina through Germany to Israel was relatively uneventful, although I would recommend patience in dealing with Israeli rental car agencies! Our friends the Rambos and Wilsons travelled separately, coming through Toronto to Tel Aviv, but we all arrived at about the same time and are now sharing this beautiful house for the next week. (You can see Pete’s account of their travels on his blog, natsab.com).
We are in Israel for two momentous occasions: the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress. Expectations and excitement this year as the prophetic developments on many fronts indicate the world has entered a very special year on YHVH’s timeline. That is why all of us who have blogs, radio programs, video channels, and other outlets will do our best to share our experiences as they occur. We do not know exactly what will happen, but we expect to have a number of divine encounters that as our God continues the work of bringing His people together for His Kingdom purposes.
Regarding bringing His people together, there is already an exciting development to report on the Second Congress. With nearly 150 people registered from 14 different countries, this Congress is already bigger and more diverse than the First Congress. New countries represented include Australia, Belgium, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, and South Africa. There are also several Indigenous Peoples from some of these countries who will be contributing of their special gifts and callings to this process of Israel’s restoration.
There is an opportunity for those who are not going to the Congress to take part in a meaningful way. As always, prayer is essential – for unity among the brethren, for safety in travel, for clarity in hearing the Holy Spirit communicate the Father’s intent, and for wisdom in making the right decisions.
There is also a way to contribute directly to help restore the Native voices to the House of Israel through the B’ney Yosef Indigenous Peoples Scholarship Fund. Contributions to the fund initially will be applied to the costs of Indigenous representatives to the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress in Israel, October 26-31, 2016, and for related purposes as the people of the House of Yosef come together across the globe. If you are interested in making a contribution, please click on this link:
This is a very exciting time to be alive! Whether you are able to come to Israel or celebrate the Feast at home, expect this year to be unlike any other!
© 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.
Two months ago the world received notice that The Barking Fox is on the move. The relocation to North Carolina is complete, but our transition is still in progress. We set up housekeeping in Charlotte on September 4, and thanks to tremendous help from Pete Rambo and his family, we finished unpacking and had most of the place in order within a week. We had to get settled in a hurry so we could go to Virginia and see our oldest daughter married at the end of the month – just in time to prepare for the High Holy Days!
Even now the Fall Feasts are upon us. The sun is setting in Charlotte, which means the new Hebrew year 5777 is here. This weekend we enjoyed Shabbat with the Rambo family at their home in South Carolina, and with them entered into the season of Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets, celebrated by our Jewish brethren as Rosh Hashanah). While there we joined with Tommy and Dorothy Wilson, fellow leaders of B’ney Yosef North America, in prayerfully planning our upcoming trip to Israel for Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress.
Our expectations are very high that this season will bring the climax to many of the prophetic events connected with Messiah’s return. Whether we will see Him coming this year is something no one can say for certain, but as we watch the signs of the times we can’t help but conclude that the current world order, which has been in place for 100 years, is rapidly giving way to something new. Although we cannot know exactly what we will encounter in Israel, we anticipate that as Ephraimite delegates from around the globe gather for the Congress, YHVH will provide direction for this coming year. Those of us who have blogs and other media outlets will be covering the events as best we can, so look for some exciting reports!
And after that? We will continue learning who we are as Hebrews awakening to our identity as part of the covenant people of YHVH. Our transition from Texas to North Carolina is part of that. In my book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell, I share thoughts about what it will take for us to develop this sense of being a people – Hebrews and Israelites of the House of Joseph/Ephraim who are preparing to be reunited with our brethren of Judah (the Jewish people) at the coming of Messiah Son of David. Here are some of those thoughts:
There are already many gatherings of like-minded believers at Sukkot in various places. This is a very good start, but it is time to consider how to transform these virtual communities into actual communities. That means many of us will have to relocate so that we can live near fellow Ephraimites. Initially this relocation and community building should happen in the lands we now call home. We should look for places where we can congregate as neighbors and learn to live together as a distinct people. Perhaps this means establishing new villages and towns in rural areas, or perhaps moving into neighborhoods in cities and suburbs where housing is available. When we look we will find many possibilities. The important thing is to look, to make a concerted effort to find one another, associate with one another, live next to one another, and together create the meaning of the Ephraimite people.
That is the purpose of our transition. Already we count ourselves part of a vibrant and growing Hebrew community in Western Carolina (the western counties of North and South Carolina). We were much blessed to be connected with similar communities in Texas and hope to remain connected with them. However, if we have heard YHVH correctly, our place at this particular time is in the Southeastern United States, and here we look forward to making a real contribution to the developing regional network of Hebrew communities.
This brings us to the fun part of this post. Our move from Texas to North Carolina was perhaps the easiest relocation we have ever had thanks to our God’s provision. The pictures below illustrate this transition through the eyes of our dog, Blue. This was a strange experience for her, but she seems to have come through it quite well and adjusted quickly to her new home.
L’shana tova from all of us to all of you!
What does it mean to repent? How much repentance is necessary? Perhaps it means far more than we think, and perhaps there is much more need to repent than we may understand. This is not a casual thing – especially in this increasingly chaotic time.
It is no coincidence that the first major initiative of B’ney Yosef North America is a call to YHVH’s people to examine themselves thoroughly in a humble, repentant attitude at this season moving into the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashana/Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles). In this, as in many other areas, we are grateful for the understanding we have gained of repentance from both Christian and Jewish sources. The details of repentance, or teshuva, is something our Jewish brethren understand very well; our Christian brethren understand that repentance is made complete by the atoning work of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).
These two perspectives are two halves of a picture that is only now beginning to come into focus. These short daily meditations are one means of acquiring that focus. As of this posting, we are already one week into the 40 Days, but it is a simple matter to jump in at any point. Whatever you do, take time in this season to ask the Almighty for revelation on how to make things better in your relationships with Him and with others.
B’ney Yosef North America
As we proceed through these forty days of repentance, through the month of Elul and into Tishri through Yom Kippur on 10 Tishri, we are going to look at what happens to our hearts when we are unrepentant. In other words, what we are introducing into our lives and our relationships when we do NOT repent. [please click on the link below to continue reading]