Tag Archive | Gospel of John

Picture of the Week 07/05/17

Did you ever have anyone tell you they can’t see why you believe the way you do? Maybe the real issue isn’t what you believe, but Who you believe.

 


© 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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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. 

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Picture of the Week 04/25/17

If all the promises God made to the Jewish people now have no meaning, what reason is there to believe any promise God makes?


© 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.

Picture of the Week 03/01/17

Sometimes it is harder to accept the gift of life than to give it.

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About these pictures – 

Top:  On June 4, 1989, the Chinese government violently dispersed thousands of protesters who had peacefully gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing for six weeks, calling for political reform and an end to corruption.  As it happened, journalists photographed one unarmed man standing in front of a column of tanks, delaying their deployment to the square.  To this day his identity and fate remain unknown, but his bravery made it possible for many to escape death.  

Bottom:  Wang Nan was one of the student protesters who died that day. His mother, Zhang Xianling, joined with the parents of others killed at Tiananmen Square to hold their government accountable for its actions – and by their example inspire multitudes to strive to make a difference for good even in the face of impossible odds.


© 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.

The “Official” Snarky Guide To The Differences Between Christmas and Hannukah – Jeff Dunetz

bfb161220-hanukkah-harryIt is that time of year that Christians celebrate Christmas and Jews celebrate Hannukah, and all of us Messianic and Hebrew Roots folks are somewhere in the middle.

Actually, we’re not really in the middle.  Most of us have opted out of Christmas and opted into Hannukah.  Not because we have rejected Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), mind you.  We understand that His birth happened in the fall, most likely at the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah in modern Jewish practice) rather than in December.  We also understand that all the Feasts of the Lord presented in Leviticus 23 are connected to Messiah’s redemptive and restorative work for the nation of Israel and all the world. 

The fact is, we celebrate Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Matzot), Firstfruits (Yom Habikkurim), Pentecost (Shavuot), Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkot) because God established them and called on His people to observe them “as a statute forever”.  That’s different from Christmas, which is a human tradition rather than a Divine decree.  Christmas is a Christianization of the old festivals our ancestors celebrated in honor of other gods before they learned about the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We have learned that our Messiah is Jewish, which is why we prefer to follow His example rather than the traditions which overshadowed and obscured His Jewishness and the Hebraic origins of our faith.

One might argue that Hannukah is a tradition as well.  Indeed it is, but it is rooted firmly in history as a tale of our God’s salvation of His people in a time of great distress.  Why is it not in the Bible?  Well, it is, in some canons.  The Catholic Bible still has 1st and 2nd Maccabees, the books that tell the Hannukah story.  There is also a mention of it in the New Testament:  John 10:22 tells us that Yeshua was in the Temple during the Feast of Dedication, which is another name for Hannukah.  The point is, the origin of Hannukah is no less real and no less miraculous than the origin of Purim as recorded in the book of Esther.  Our Jewish brethren established both feasts to commemorate the provision of the Almighty and His faithfulness to His covenant.  Is there a better reason to celebrate?

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“We are all Jews” – How One Man’s Gentle Christian Faith Saved Jewish GIs from Nazi Death Camps

The Battle of the Bulge, December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945.

The Battle of the Bulge, December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945.

A lifetime ago, American fighting men experienced one of the most humiliating defeats an army can endure.

A lifetime ago, American fighting men gained one of the greatest victories in the history of arms.

What is the proper view of the Battle of the Bulge – military disaster, or glorious triumph?  Both are correct in some fashion, but each by itself is incomplete.  By the time the great battle drew to a close, the heroic defense of Bastogne by the 101st Airborne Division had already become the stuff of legend.  Second only to that was the astounding winter counteroffensive by General George Patton’s 3rd Army.  The exploits of men and women who were just doing their duty dealt a crushing blow to Germany’s warmaking ability.

Yet the heights of these great deeds cannot be appreciated apart from the depths of defeat suffered by the United States Army in the early days of the battle.  When the German attack began on December 16, 1944, the troops thinly spread across Belgium and Luxembourg had little warning, and little chance of standing firm against Hitler’s last great offensive in the West.

I first learned of the Battle of the Bulge as a child, when it was still a vivid memory to veterans who fought through it.  Yet it was not until I had been a soldier for many years that I finally read Charles MacDonald’s A Time for Trumpets, a comprehensive account of the Bulge.  That was where I learned how serious the situation had been.

Insignia of the 106th Infantry Division, United States Army

Insignia of the 106th Infantry Division, United States Army

Nothing conveyed that lesson more vividly than the story of the 106th Infantry Division.  Newly assigned to the sector, the men had hardly become familiar with the terrain of the Schnee Eifel in Belgium when they were pressed to defend it.  The task proved beyond them; after two days the 106th was encircled and quite literally cut to pieces.  Most of those who had survived the initial onslaught surrendered on December 19, including the bulk of the 442nd and 443rd Infantry Regiments.  From that point on, the 106th ceased to exist as an effective fighting force.

Such clinical descriptions say nothing of the horrendous human cost.  One statistic helps put it in perspective.  The 442nd Infantry Regiment began the battle on December 16 with nearly 1,000 men.  Less than a week later, only 79 of them had eluded death or capture.

Since learning the battlefield story of the 106th Division, I have given the unit little thought.  They were, after all, the losers; the unfortunate sacrifices to the gods of war.  It is not that they were poor soldiers or cowards, but that they just happened to be in the way when forces beyond their ability fell upon them.  As I studied the battle, the soldier in me took note of the loss, but quickly went on to assess the mission still at hand, the resources left to accomplish it, and the best way to apply those resources to achieve success.  The men of the 106th Division became for me just another footnote in history.

Until now. 

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The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 9: Yeshua took away any commands concerning Jerusalem in John, Chapter 4. | The Lamb’s Servant

Response by Bob Parham

[Yeshua speaks to the people after His resurrection] “No, I took those commands away when I died. By the way, you can eat pig now too!” (Scriptural reference to be added as soon as I can find it…)

[Yeshua speaks to the people after His resurrection]  “No, I took those commands away when I died.  By the way, you can eat pig now too!”  (Scriptural reference to be added as soon as I can find it…)

So which scripture(s) in John, Chapter 4 are being referred to?

John 4:19-26 –  (19) “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. (20) Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”  (21) Woman,” Yeshua replied, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  (22) You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  (23) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  (24) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”  (25) The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  (26) Then Yeshua declared, I, the one speaking to you—I am he.

Now, did you see where this passage is talking about doing away with the three Pilgrimage Feasts?  Me neither!  So let’s look at this passage a little more closely.

Yeshua says in verse 21 that a time is coming when YOU will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

First, it’s important to understand who the “you” is in this passage.  Is it everyone? believers?  Jews?  or the Samaritans?

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The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 7: Keep the feasts outside of Jerusalem! | The Lamb’s Servant

Response by Bob Parham

bfb161124-cookiesDeut 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 12:18But 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 14:23And 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. 16:5-6You 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?

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The Jerusalem Debate – Objection Number 3: The Land is defiled! | The Lamb’s Servant

Response by Bob Parham

bfb161121-when-the-land-vomitsSo far, reasons 1 and 2 are facts:  There is no temple and there is no peace with Israel’s enemies.  Objection Number 3 is an indisputable fact, too.  The Land is (and has been) defiled.  But a couple of really good questions would be:  When did the land become defiled?” and “Has the Land’s defilement ever made a difference in Yah’s expectations that we would obey His commands?”

When did the land become defiled?  Obviously it was defiled before the Israelites ever entered it.  (Yet they DID enter it.)

Leviticus 18 – (25) And the land is defiled:  therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.  (26) Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:  (27) (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled.)

It is clear that the Land had been defiled as early as the book of Leviticus.  I believe that Scripture would prove it out that the Land has continued to be defiled through the time of the Prophets, through the time of Yeshua, and even up to today!

Jeremiah 2 – (7) I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce.  But you came and defiled my land.

Jeremiah 3 – (8) And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding  Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.  (9) And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.  (10) And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.

And a second very important question would be:  “Because the land has pretty much always been defiled, did that cause the commands concerning the pilgrimage feasts to end as quickly as they were given?”

When Yeshua was in Jerusalem, was the land defiled?  YES!

When He went to the temple, was it defiled?  YES!

Matthew 21 – (12) Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.  (13) It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’  (14) The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

Yeshua walked right over, through and past the defilement to complete His mission.

Aren’t we told to walk as He walked? (1 John 2:6)

Yeshua understood that the land being defiled (or even the Temple being defiled) has never had the POWER to change or end YAH‘s commands!  Remember Yah’s promise to Solomon that Yah’s heart and eyes would be there forever?

1 Kings 9:3 – And YHWH said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house [the Temple], which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.  

2 Kings 21:7 – in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: (See 1 Kings 11:36, etc)

2 Chron 33:4 – . . . YHWH had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

It strikes me as rather odd (not to mention illogical) that the very same people who believe we should NOT observe the feasts in Jerusalem ‘because the land is defiled’ or because Israel’s government is ‘satanic’ WILL observe the feasts in countries like the USA that regularly and even proudly defy YHWH and His Torah.

FOR EXAMPLE, here in Aqaba, Jordan, do you know what the Muslim people were doing just before the feast of Sukkot?  They were making animal sacrifices all over Jordan – in their yards or driveways – while facing Mecca.  According to Torah, the people in this land were participating in sacrifices to goat demons when they sacrificed anywhere they wanted!  (Lev 17:7)  Surely this would and did defile the land, right?

Or how about the U.S., where a baby is aborted every 26 seconds (over a million American babies every year), and as hazardous waste, the babies are literally passed through the fire, just as the children were passed through the fire to Molech in the Bible.  Surely this defiles the land there, as well.

In Jerusalem, on the other hand, almost the entire city is shut down in observance of each Feast and Shabbat, and the people quite literally dance in the streets in joy because they are free to worship the Living God in His Own City!

May we be like our King Yeshua, who walked right over, through and past the defilement to complete His mission:  the loving and obedient worship of the Father and the unity of the brethren.

When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  John 15:10 NLT


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Source:  Objection Number 3: The Land is defiled! | The Lamb’s Servant


© Bob Parham, Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt  and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, as well as to the original author (in this case Bob Parham) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Israel 2016: Family In Twelve Languages – The Conclusion of the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress

Dorothy and Tommy Wilson teach from the Torah portion Beresheet (In the Beginning), applying insights from the creation of man and woman to the process of restoring the people of Joseph/Ephraim.

Dorothy and Tommy Wilson teach from the Torah portion Beresheet (In the Beginning), applying insights from the creation of man and woman to the process of restoring the people of Joseph/Ephraim.

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.

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