Tag Archive | Hebrews

After the Fox! Two New Projects About the Torah Awakening

Has anyone noticed The Barking Fox hasn’t posted much in recent months? It may be that the only one who has noticed is your humble author. Aside from self-generated deadlines and publication goals, there is no pressure to maintain the pace of posting up to three times each week. That’s very good when other surprising opportunities appear out of nowhere.

Two such unexpected opportunities arrived last spring: a new radio show, and a new book.

Reunion Roadmap

The radio show is Reunion Roadmap, the weekly broadcast by B’ney Yosef North America (BYNA). As reported here, Reunion Roadmap features high-quality worship music, encouraging testimonies of Torah followers from around North America, and uplifting teaching by BYNA’s Elders.

The show came into existence at the invitation of Eddie Chumney, founder of Hebraic Heritage Ministries. He had the idea of establishing Hebraic Roots Radio as an internet broadcasting forum for teaching, worship music, and more. Eddie’s invitation came as we were praying about how to proceed with our vision of connecting the people of the emerging House of Ephraim here in North America. It took two months to establish and refine the concept of the show and prepare for our first broadcast in mid-June. Now Reunion Roadmap is on the air every Saturday and Sunday evening at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Hebraic Heritage Radio, and Saturday at 9:00 p.m. Pacific on Hebrew Nation Radio. Podcasts of the show are available on the BYNA web site at:

https://bneyyosefna.com/category/byna-radio-reunion-roadmap/.

As you may imagine, being part of a dynamic production team preparing a pre-recorded radio show each week is a time-consuming process. That, however, is not the only project eating into the time and energy previously invested in blog posts. The other major project is –

Ten Parts in the King: The Prophesied Reconciliation of God’s Two Witnesses

My friend and colleague Pete Rambo, creator of the blog, natsab.com, had an idea early in 2014 to write a book, “articulating and defending from Scripture the message of ‘The Prophesied Reconciliation of God’s Two Witnesses.’” Pete made that statement in an article he wrote as the inaugural post on our new website, Ten Parts in the King (https://tenpartsintheking.com/).

We created the web site to promote our forthcoming book, Ten Parts in the King: The Prophesied Reconciliation of God’s Two Witnesses. It took over three years to come to the point when we could actually write the book, but we finally realized early this spring that the time had arrived. We have worked all summer to write this important work that explains from Scripture who the Two Witnesses are, what they have to do with the Torah Awakening among Christians, and why they are essential to the Kingdom process of redemption.

Who are the two witnesses? We believe they are none other than the House of Judah and the House of Israel, the parties mentioned in the famous New Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-12 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. That Covenant, as explained by Jeremiah, is this:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NASB, emphasis added)

Our years of study, first as Christians in the traditional church and now as Torah-honoring followers of Messiah Yeshua, has brought us to the conclusion that God’s plan of redemption involves two parts of His covenant nation of Israel: the Jewish House of Judah, and the non-Jewish House of Israel (also known as the House of Joseph and House of Ephraim). The Two Houses are two witnesses YHVH has established to share with the world two distinct testimonies of His ability and willingness to redeem all of humanity.

How does this work? That’s what this book explains!

Our intent is to have Ten Parts in the King available by the end of this year (2017). Even now we are going through that tedious, yet necessary, process of the final copy editing to get the manuscript ready for print. If you would like to know more, visit the web site! There you can sign up to receive publication updates, news about preorders, and notifications of new articles and features. In fact, you can already see how we came up with this peculiar name, Ten Parts in the King. That story is in an excerpt from the book posted here:

https://tenpartsintheking.com/2017/10/10/pictured-in-a-parable/#more-112

And that’s what The Barking Fox has been doing all summer! You may not see a return to the frequency of posts as in recent years, but that’s because Pete and I have combined our efforts to do our part in our God’s redemptive Kingdom process!


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2018.  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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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.

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.

Picture of the Week 04/21/17

We assume that the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son was the one with the birthright, but what if the father had given it to the younger brother? If that’s the case, then redemption takes on a whole new level of meaning.


© 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 03/14/17

An All-Powerful Creator God certainly has the ability to take on human form, but why exactly would He do such a thing?


© 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 State of Israel and Ephraim’s Awakening: An Academic Investigation by Stephen Hindes

The concept of the "nation-state" was a product of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War in 1648. The nation-state, however, is not the ultimate expression of God's Kingdom order. (The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, Gerard Terborch.)

The concept of the “nation-state” was a product of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War in 1648. The nation-state, however, is not the ultimate expression of God’s Kingdom order. (The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, by Gerard Terborch.)

Thinking is hard.  If it were not hard, then more people would do it.

In truth, all of us prefer to remain in our comfort zones, where familiar things surround us – including familiar answers to questions and familiar solutions to familiar problems.  Most likely this preference for the familiar, the things we know and can deal with well enough, is a big reason few people take an active role in making the way for Messiah to come.

That last statement is bound to generate opposition.  Those who view it from the Christian side (including Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers) will say that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) is the Messiah (Christ means Messiah, by the way), that he has come once, and that he will be coming back.  Those who approach from the Jewish side say that Messiah is yet to come.  The point of this article is not to address either perspective, but to consider something both have in common:  the faithful expectation that Messiah Son of David is coming as King of Israel to rule the nations from Zion.

If we all have this common expectation, then it would be wise to consider what that future Messianic realm will look like.  Maybe we should even consider what we have to do to make it happen.

This is where we run into the hard part.  We have to think about it, and that is scary and uncomfortable.  Those of us who have come from the Christian side have lived our lives expecting Messiah to return and fix everything.  According to our expectations, there is no effort required on our part to bring him here; he just shows up one day according to some predetermined timetable God established from the beginning.  To think, like our Jewish brethren, that we have responsibility for creating the conditions for Messiah’s coming (or return) requires a major paradigm shift.  It means we must step out in faith and do things that we usually leave up to God alone.

But then, that is the consistent testimony of Scripture –

  • Noah had to do things to secure the salvation of his family (such as think about how to follow the instructions God gave him to build that very large boat, and then actually do the work).
  • Abraham had to do things to receive the promises God gave him (such as pack up and leave comfortable, civilized Mesopotamia, and go to a hostile foreign land – first in Syria, and then in Canaan).
  • Moses had to do things to receive God’s instructions for the nation of Israel (such as walk to Egypt, then convince the elders of the people that God had spoken to him, and then seek an audience with Pharaoh – and that was only the beginning of the work he had to do!)

There are many more examples summarized in Hebrews 11.  The people in that “Hall of Faith” chapter deserve praise not because they sat around waiting for God to move, but because they got up and did the moving themselves in response to God’s promises.  As they moved, He provided direction, resources, help from others, and miraculous intervention when necessary.  Yet would YHVH have done so if they had not invested their own blood, sweat, treasure, and intellectual effort?

Probably not.  In fact, when God’s people sat around waiting for Him to move, He had to take extreme action just to get them off their backsides and into motion!  We see that in the record of the apostles.  Even though Yeshua had told them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, they were content to remain in Jerusalem until God raised up a man named Saul of Tarsus who forced them out (see Acts 8).

Which brings us to the dilemma of the present day.  Are we really at the “end of the age”, when Messiah is about to show up?  If so, what does that mean?  More importantly, what are we to do about it?  How do we prepare for Messiah’s reign in what will be a very real Kingdom centered in a very real place called Jerusalem?  What will this Kingdom look like?  How will it resemble what we know today in the modern nation-state system?  How will it be different?

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The Jerusalem Debate – The End of the Matter

The Little Red Hen and her chicks enjoy the fruit of her labors. (©2014-2016 Ross-Sanger)

The Little Red Hen and her chicks enjoy the fruit of her labors. (©2014-2016 Ross-Sanger)

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?

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The Jerusalem Debate – Introduction | The Lamb’s Servant

Worshippers at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), October 23, 2016.

Do you sense something new in the air?  What is God doing today that is different from a few weeks ago?  If you have followed the posts on this blog and others like it, the answer you find is that we have somehow crossed a threshold into a new era of YHVH’s Kingdom.  Those who expect the Almighty to come through on His promises to restore the entire nation of Israel are now holding our breath in anticipation that we will see huge steps forward in this Hebrew year 5777 (2016-2017).

It is too soon to say for certain what those steps will be, but I have some idea.  The things I observed while in Israel during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress indicate two great moves are afoot:

  • Accelerated awakening of Hebrews (at this point, mostly Christians) to their identity as Israelites;
  • Accelerated awareness of Jews to this awakening, coupled with a new openness to “Hebrew Christians” who do not want to be identified as Jews, but who keep Sabbath, observe the Feasts of the Lord, eat biblically clean meats, and do other things to honor the Torah (Law) of God as Jews have done for millennia.

Among Christians, at least in my observation, keeping aspects of Torah has gained a degree of understanding and tolerance.  Our brethren in the church are seeing that we have not abandoned Yeshua (Jesus), but instead seek to imitate His example – His very Jewish example.  Most still do not want to accompany us on this path, but they are seeing the relevance of the Feasts in the foundations of their faith and in the prophecies of Messiah and His Kingdom.

Among Jews, again in my observation, there is curiosity coupled with expectation of Messiah’s imminent coming, and with Him the restoration of the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel.  Many of us identify with those Lost Tribes, calling ourselves B’ney Yosef (Children of Joseph).  Whether we are physical descendants of the tribes is not as important as what our Jewish brethren are seeing:  we identify as Hebrews and embrace the Torah of YHVH, in many cases more fervently than most Jews.  Moreover, they see that we do this because Yeshua of Nazareth, the one we regard as Messiah, has shown us the way.  They may not understand this (in fact, I’m not sure any of us understand it completely), but they are noticing that many from the Christian world not only proclaim love and support for Jews and for Israel, but identify as Israelites.

Although it is too soon to say where this is going, it is not too soon to consider how to continue this process which the Almighty has begun.  Here is one bold proposition:

Go up to Jerusalem three times a year for the Pilgrim Feasts of Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot), just as YHVH has commanded.

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Israel 2016: In Search of Hebrew Roots Judaism

General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands, in October 1944 to keep his promised, "I shall return".

General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore on Leyte, Philippine Islands, in October 1944 to keep his promised, “I shall return”.

There is a joke from World War II that no longer makes sense without some explanation.  It is said that a foreign student at an American university wrote an essay about General Douglas MacArthur.  In the early months of 1942, as MacArthur presided over a doomed defense of the Philippine Islands, he was ordered to leave his command and go to Australia, there to organize the multinational Allied force that would halt Japanese expansion in the South Pacific.  At his departure, MacArthur reportedly promised the people of the Philippines and his Filipino and American troops that he would one day come back with an army to liberate them – which he did two years later.  On that momentous day in 1942, though, all he could do was promise, “I shall return.”

Those were inspiring words to Americans about to lose their forward bases and their largest military force in the Far East, and who could not bear to lose with them one of the most senior officers of their Army.  MacArthur’s words inspired this young foreign student as well.  However, his knowledge of English being imperfect, he conducted his research in his native tongue, and therefore committed an unfortunate faux pas when he presented his paper.  Standing proudly in front of his peers, the young man said, “I write about Douglas MacArthur, who said those famous words, ‘I’ll be right back!’”

What is the proper response in such a situation?  If there is no offense, then laughter erupts.  However, if the hearers take offense, then they respond in anger.

It may be that neither is the proper response.  If the one who made the error is trying to communicate in good faith, then the audience should give grace, seek to understand the true message, and help the author overcome the error.  That is the point behind King Solomon’s wise words:

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.  (Proverbs 10:12 NKJV; see also Proverbs 17:9)

Solomon’s observation is rooted in a Torah principle:

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God:  I am the Lord.  (Leviticus 19:14 NKJV)

Jewish sages understand that this principle refers not only to the physically deaf and blind, but also to people who cannot hear or see things clearly.  Perhaps they are not present when something is said, or perhaps they do not have the language or experience to grasp the intricacies of a subject under discussion.  Consider, for example, a man who is brilliant in his native language, but struggles to order a cup of coffee in English, and is laughed to scorn by those who do not realize the importance of being kind to strangers (another Torah principle).

To be honest, Jews are strangers to me, and I am a stranger to Jews.  Although I identify as a Hebrew Roots follower of Messiah Yeshua, I have yet to grasp the intricacies of Judaism.  The more Jews I meet and get to know, the more I begin to understand, but always what I say and do is tempered with the fear that I may give offense in some way that I had never anticipated.

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Pictures for Pondering II

Connecting the dots in Scripture can be lots of fun – and challenging. The fun part is the “Aha!” moment when something finally makes sense. The challenging part is when that “Aha!” moment presents a different picture from what we have learned all our lives. Do we take that new revelation and run with it, knowing it can make waves, or do we set it aside and hope that it never comes up again?

This second offering of Pictures for Pondering may be a challenge. As with the first edition, posted last spring, these are images from Bible passages prepared originally for posting on YouVersion (the Bible App). The first edition presented some interesting perspectives on the Kingdom of Heaven, Law and Grace, and prophecy, but also some whimsical illustrations. This time there is an attempt at a unifying theme. Part of the challenge is identifying that theme. The other part is investigating it from Scripture to see if it is so.

Good hunting!

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