Tag Archive | Holy Spirit

When Brothers Don’t Get Along

On December 4, 2015, the B’Ney Yosef Region 35 Conference convened at Camp Copass in Denton, Texas, for the purpose of bringing together people in the central part of the United States to seek YHVH’s direction about His Kingdom work at this time.  The initial concept was to continue in the spirit of the First B’Ney Yosef National Congress in the interest of building Ephraimite (Israelite) identity among believers in Messiah Yeshua.  The Holy Spirit quickly expanded that concept into a call for repentance within the Hebrew Roots/Two House movement and reconciliation with other parts of the body of Messiah, particularly with our Christian brethren.  That was the motivation for this address which opened the conference.

BFB151204 MNF-IThe best boss I ever had was the man under whose supervision I served the last time I was in Iraq.  He was also the most profane man I have ever met.  The name of Jesus Christ was for him but one weapon in a formidable arsenal of expletives.  Not a single day passed that some outrage did not fall from his lips, causing my ears to burn and my heart to wonder how long I would have to endure such offense.  And yet I continued in his service, not merely because I had no choice (both of us, after all, were soldiers assigned to serve together), but because God gave me grace to look beyond the offense to see and benefit from the substantial qualities he possessed.  Those qualities included an encyclopedic knowledge of intelligence functions and procedures based on decades of hard experience.  He possessed as well a dogged determination to persevere through all opposition and achieve success in whatever goal he or his superiors established.  That determination sprang from his undying loyalty to the United States of America, and to his belief in the ultimate good of our mission in Iraq.  Yet none of that would have mattered in the least had this man lacked the greatest quality of all:  he regarded every person as having intrinsic value, and as a potential ally in achieving the goals set before him.  He may have spoken roughly, and even in private moments vented his frustration and anger, but he never diminished the value of the human beings in his charge, nor of those under whom he served.

We had occasion to work with military and civilian officials from a number of services and agencies.  Whether they were Army like us, or Marines, Air Force, or Navy, they were all “great Americans” in my boss’s opinion – if for no other reason than because they had volunteered to wear the uniform and be deployed to a Middle Eastern war zone.  He could not call our British, Australian, and German colleagues “great Americans”, but he did hold them in high esteem – while at the same time recognizing that the highest priorities for each of them were the interests of their own nations, not those of the United States.  The true professionals among us, regardless of nationality, recognized this.  We knew that at times there would be questions we could not ask and answers we could not give, but whenever and wherever possible we helped one another.

That “great American” description did extend to the civilian intelligence professionals we encountered.  Those men and women represented nearly all of the 16 agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  The ones you would expect were all there:  each of the agencies of the military services, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Department.  Our office dealt mostly with the CIA, whom my boss lovingly called, “Klingons”.  Like our foreign counterparts, they, and all the other intelligence agencies, had their own priorities which were not necessarily the same as ours in the Department of Defense.  Their vision of how to support the national interests of the United States sometimes clashed with ours, and the means and resources at their disposal often put them at an advantage over us.  We had much reason to distrust them, but we had even more reason to work with them – just as the Start Trek heroes found reason to cooperate with the Klingons to defeat their common enemies.

We laugh at the description of the CIA as Klingons, but long before I arrived in Iraq I understood exactly what my boss meant.  Early in my tenure in Washington, DC, I had occasion to work with the CIA on a joint project.  Most of the people with whom I worked were intelligence analysts, people not very different from myself.  They were well educated, often from privileged backgrounds, highly academic (a reflection of the CIA culture), and professionally courteous.  As part of our project we had to consult with a different type of CIA employee.  This person was not an analyst.  Intelligence analysts look at information from various sources and put it together in different ways to understand what it means.  They are the friendly face of the CIA.  There is another face, however, and it is not very friendly.  That face belongs to the operators, the men and women who go about the difficult business of collecting the information.  They are consummate professionals, very good at what they do, but they are not the kind of people you would want in your social circle.  Quite often the name by which they introduce themselves is not the name their parents gave them at birth.  In the course of their duties they will have to do some questionable things, and perhaps even some very unpleasant things, to acquire information their agency has commissioned them to gain.

This was the kind of person with whom we met in that office on the CIA campus in Langley, Virginia long ago.  He was an impressive man, and one whom I admired for his courage and devotion to his country.  I could tell without asking that he had suffered much personal loss in service to the nation, and that my own poor service paled in comparison to his.  Yet we could not be friends, and we would have difficulty working together as colleagues.  His world was one I could not enter, and my world was one he would not find comfortable.  Nevertheless, my work could not continue without him, and without me his work would have no meaning.  That is why I have never forgotten the man, although our paths have never crossed since that day.

BFB151204 US Intelligence CommunityWhat would happen if this vast intelligence community in the service of the United States of America ceased to function as designed?  What if the various individuals and organizations within it forgot that they were all Americans, and instead placed their own personal agendas, or the name and reputation of their own agencies and services, above the interests of the country?  That is not a rhetorical question; I can tell you what would happen.  I have seen it.  What happens is a fragmentation of the national intelligence establishment. 

For the most part that establishment consists of good, honest people trying to do the best they can with limited resources and time.  They have a tendency to focus exclusively on the work right in front of them, whether it is office administration, counterterrorism analysis, national technical means of information collection, the number of tanks in the Russian Far Eastern Military District, or poppy production in Afghanistan.  They forget that there is a wider world out there, and that their work is but one small piece in a very, very big puzzle.  It does not take much to convince them that their piece is the most important.  Once convinced, it is but a small step toward competing with others to gain a greater share of attention and resources.  Having entered that arena, it is nothing to begin pushing others aside in ever more aggressive ways, taking resources and people away from them so that one’s own piece of the puzzle grows in size and importance, and the competitors’ pieces shrink, or disappear altogether.  In time the picture that emerges is distorted at best, magnifying certain things to the extreme, diminishing others, and ignoring important bits that would otherwise tie together the seemingly contradictory reports from various sources.  That is the picture which goes before high level decision makers like the commanders of our forces in the Middle East, and even the President himself.  Is it any wonder, therefore, that we have national disasters such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?

My lesson from this should be clear.  National defense is a team effort.  I know my part of the effort, and my job is to do it to the best of my ability.  I do not know most of the millions of others involved in the effort, nor do I understand what they do.  I could not do what most of them do, nor could most of them do what I do.  Very few of them could be considered my friends, and most of them would probably never want to associate with me anyway.  Nevertheless, we need each other:  every warrior, every clerk, every mechanic, every technician, every lawyer, every cook, every aviator, every logistician, every sanitation worker.  If we do not find a way to cooperate, then this living, breathing organism we call the National Defense Establishment will fail, and with its failure the United States of America fails.

Is this any different from the living, breathing organism known as the Body of Messiah?

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What is Torah Anyway?

Présentation de la Loi (Presentation of the Law), by Edouard Moyse (Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme via Wikimedia Commons)

Présentation de la Loi (Presentation of the Law), by Edouard Moyse (Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme via Wikimedia Commons)

Let us think about language for a moment.  There are many people around the world who consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ, but who prefer to call Him by His Hebrew name, Yeshua, and by His Hebrew title, Messiah (Moshiach, the Hebrew term for Christ).  These people may be classified as Messianic Jews if they are Jewish, but most of them are not.  They are non-Jews, people whom others would call Gentiles, but who resist that term because they understand that their faith in Messiah Yeshua takes them out of the category of “Gentile” (meaning “of the nations”) and into the category of “Hebrew” (עִבְרִי, Strongs H5680).  The term “Hebrew” derives from the father of our faith, Abraham the Hebrew (Genesis 14:13), the man who answered YHVH’s call to cross over the Euphrates River and leave his homeland in Mesopotamia to inherit the Promised Land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-9).  According to the Apostle Paul, everyone who acquires new life offered by the grace of YHVH through faith in Messiah Yeshua similarly crosses over from death to life and inherits the identity of a son or daughter of Abraham (Ephesians 2:1-21; Galatians 3:1-29).  For that reason, these non-Jewish Yeshua followers are rightly called “Hebrews”, or “Hebrew Roots believers”.  They are also entitled to the identity of “Israelites”, because Israel is the name of the nation YHVH established through Abraham’s descendants.

We would not call these people Christians in the traditional sense because they have left behind many of the characteristics of Christianity.  Make no mistake, they have not walked away from Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of their faith, nor have they walked away from the New Testament as Scripture delivered by Holy God to humanity through His designated messengers.  They merely prefer to call Jesus Yeshua, and to refer to the New Testament as the Apostolic Writings, or by the Hebrew term Brit Chadashah (New Covenant).  For that reason it is incorrect to classify these persons as Jews.  For one thing, they are not born Jewish and do not claim any physical descent from Jewish ancestors.  For another, they have no desire to convert to Judaism, which really would require leaving Jesus behind.  They see themselves as part of the nation, commonwealth, and kingdom of Israel along with Jews and Christians.  This commonwealth exists because of three things:

  1. Our mutual faith in YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
  2. Our adherence to the same body of Scripture (well, everything from Genesis to Malachi at least);
  3. Our hope in the same Messiah (even though some do not yet recognize who that Messiah is, and others do not fully understand what Messiah is to do).

Having now defined who we Hebrew Roots believers are, let us consider something of what we believe.  Or, more accurately, what we do not believe.  This is something that requires considerably more attention than this blog post can provide.  The immediate motivation is a post written by my friend Pete Rambo which he titled, “How To:  Building Bridges with the House of Judah”.  Pete has much to say about the issue of language, noting how the use of certain terms can create offense and division simply because they mean different things to different people.  As usual, Pete invited discussion from his readers.  Here is my contribution:

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In Search of Kingdom Unity

HN News

A Hebrew Nation News Special Report by Al McCarn

Two Sticks 01What would happen if all the people who claim to have pledged allegiance to Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) actually cooperated with one another?  The operative word is “cooperate”, not “agree”.  Total agreement has never been possible, even among the prophets and apostles of old (Numbers 12:1-16, Mark 9:38-40, Acts 15: 36-41, Philippians 1:12-18).

Nevertheless, there should be a unifying factor of some kind among godly people to distinguish them from the rest of the world and ensure they get on with YHVH’s business rather than their own.

Pictured above: Mike Clayton (house of Joseph/Ephraim) and Hanoch Young (house of Judah) as two living sticks in process of becoming one in the spirit of Ezekiel 37: 19: ‘Thus says Yahweh our Elohim: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”

Pictured above:  Mike Clayton (house of Joseph/Ephraim) and Hanoch Young (house of Judah) as two living sticks in process of becoming one in the spirit of Ezekiel 37: 19:  ‘Thus says Yahweh our Elohim:  “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”

Finding that unifying factor is the purpose of the B’Ney Yosef (Sons of Joseph) Region 35 Conference.  The conference will take place December 4, 5, and 6, 2015 at the Tally Retreat Center on Camp Copass in Denton, Texas

The conference grew from an idea discussed at a Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) celebration on the Red River near Wichita Falls, Texas, early in October.  Some of the participants at the feast had been delegates at the First B’Ney Yosef National Congress in Ariel, Israel, late in May 2015.

The Congress served as the launching point for a concerted effort to follow YHVH’s lead in the long-anticipated restoration of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the Ten Tribes of the House of Joseph (House of Ephraim).  In discussing what could be done to advance the work of the Congress, particularly in view of recent initiatives by the State of Israel and by Jewish organizations to identify non-Jewish groups that have an affinity with Israel.

For a comprehensive discussion of these initiatives, see two recent posts on Pete Rambo’s blog, natsab:
Pete Rambo blog post #1, JPost  Bney Yosef Advertisement
Pete Rambo blog post #2, Yosef is Alive!

Tally Retreat Center

Tally Retreat Center

That discussion developed into a plan to hold a the conference in Denton, not far from Dallas, to bring together Hebrew Roots believers in Texas and Oklahoma in the interest of sharing the vision of the B’Ney Yosef Congress and organizing for a B’Ney Yosef North American Summit planned for the first weekend of March 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

It did not take long for this idea to grow as the Holy Spirit provided further direction.  Before leaving the Sukkot celebration, organizers Larry Ferguson, Al McCarn, and Akpene Torku realized the need to include like-minded brethren from the central part of the United States, meaning the region around the Interstate 35 Corridor.

That was the genesis of B’Ney Yosef Region 35.  It is not yet an organization, but a concept embracing the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.  An invitation letter sent out in mid-October produced sufficient response to beginning conference preparation.  Now, just a month after the initial idea was proposed, the Region 35 conference is already on its way to reaching the maximum registration of 300 participants.

As the conference concept took shape, it became clear that this was to be more than merely a Hebrew Roots/Two House event. To reflect the Holy Spirit’s direction, it has developed into a forum at which all who love Israel are welcome, not only from among Torah-keeping Hebrew Roots believers, but also Christians and Messianic Jews.  The unifying theme is that all who have a testimony of following Yeshua are part of the Commonwealth of Israel and the seed of Abraham.

Pictured above: Mike Clayton (house of Joseph/Ephraim) and Hanoch Young (house of Judah), two living sticks in process of becoming one.

Pictured above:  Mike Clayton (house of Joseph/Ephraim) and Hanoch Young (house of Judah), two living sticks in process of becoming one.

According to the testimony of Scripture (Isaiah 56:1-7; Ezekiel 37:1-28; Romans 11:11-32; Ephesians 2:11-22), these believers share with Jews an Israelite identity that distinguishes them from the rest of the nations (gentiles), regardless of their ethnic or national identity of birth.  This identity is firmly grounded in the covenantal promises of YHVH to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to the work of Messiah Yeshua in opening the way for the lost sheep of the House of Israel to return (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-6, 26:1-5, 28:13-15; Matthew 15:24).

Sadly, this identity question is something that eludes many believers. Moreover, the different terms used by Messianic, Hebrew Roots, and Christian believers amplifies misunderstanding, leading to further division. These are the things the Region 35 Conference is designed to address.

Speakers confirmed thus far include:
Pastor James Sterling of Christ’s Community Fellowship in Wichita Falls, Texas
David Altman of the Alliance of Redeemed Israel; and
Al McCarn, co-host of The Remnant Road on Hebrew Nation Radio and author of The Barking Fox blog

A centerpiece of the conference will be a panel discussion on Shabbat (Saturday) focused on the question of how Christian, Hebrew Roots, and Messianic Jewish believers can work together as members of the Body of Messiah.  At the heart of the event is a desire to seek the will of the Father regarding His Kingdom purposes.  For that reason there will be emphasis on prayer and repentance, as well as praise and worship, from the start on Friday evening.

Registration DeadlineRegistration is still open for all who sense a leading to participate.  Ministry partners are also encouraged to register to set up displays of the resources they can provide in the process of educating the Body of Messiah to their identity, and supporting our Jewish brethren and the State of Israel.

To find out more and to register, please visit the B’Ney Yosef Region 35 Conference (http://bneyosef35.com/2015conference/) webpage or email the Region 35 team at bneyosef35@gmail.com.

BFB151113 Two Sticks in HandThis article was originally published as a Hebrew Nation News Alert, November 12, 2015.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2016.  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.

Calling All Kiwis!


BFB151022 Kiwi SilhouetteNew ZealandOne of the best things about blogging is connecting with people from all over the world.  This week I had the pleasure of meeting via email Sonya Wilson of New Zealand.  She contacted me asking if I could help her find other Messianic/Hebrew Roots believers in her country.  The reason is a very big dream:  Sonya hopes to bring Brad Scott to New Zealand’s North Island for a teaching tour in 2016!  

Now I am doubly blessed:  not only do I now have a connection in New Zealand, but I can help Sonya get the word out about this very important initiative.  Please take a look at the information she has provided.  If you are a Kiwi, please get in touch with her.  If you’re not a Kiwi, please pass this information on in expectation that YHVH will get it to the people who need to know.

(As an added public service, 119 Ministries has a Hebrew Roots Map which helps believers returning to Torah to connect with one another.  One look at the map will amaze you at the global reach of this move of the Holy Spirit!  To access the map, and to put your contact information on it if you choose, please go to this link:  http://119ministries.com/hebrew-roots-map.)


Calling All Kiwis!

Help Bring Brad Scott to the North Island in 2016


Restoration Down UnderWildbranch Ministy 01
Auckland believer Sonya Wilson is planning (at this stage!) a North Island Tour for Brad and Carol Scott of the Wildbranch Ministry for late 2016, in collaboration with Restoration Down Under Ministries in Australia.

At this stage, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, and Tauranga are being seriously considered, but other NZ cities/towns may be included, depending on interest.

She has been getting in touch with individuals and groups around Auckland, Hamilton, Whangarei, Tauranga, and elsewhere to get their thoughts on her plans.  If you are interested, Sonya asks that you fill out and share a survey which you can access by clicking  here, or cut and paste the following link into your browser: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EoWC8XhQoSwQVKulWHCtQSBe04HvYWcES4qzNXWnAPw/viewform?edit_requested=true

Results of the survey will be taken seriously and will be most helpful in planning Brad and Carol’s visit.

To contact Sonya directly about this, or to get in touch with other believers in the North Island, email her at dancingviolagirl@gmail.com.

BFB151022 NZ North Island

 


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015-2016.  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.

Predestined Identity?

James Arminius (Jakob Hermanszoon) and John Calvin, two highly influential figures of the Protestant Reformation whose opposing doctrinal positions illustrate the fact that we still see YHVH's plans imperfectly.

James Arminius (Jakob Hermanszoon) and John Calvin, two highly influential figures of the Protestant Reformation whose opposing doctrinal positions illustrate the fact that we still see YHVH’s plans imperfectly.

Among the many things for which I frequently thank YHVH is that I got to grow up in a Southern Baptist church and a Presbyterian school.  From an early age I came to appreciate the doctrinal positions of both and their roots in Arminianism and Calvinism.  Concerning the key elements of free will and predestination, I concluded long ago that they are not mutually exclusive.  I do not understand exactly how they work, but I do know that both are part of God’s operation in human affairs.  God’s sovereignty and human responsibility intertwine in very complicated and intricate ways to produce outcomes that YHVH declares from the beginning, but which finite mankind must play out in faith and obedience – or in ignorance and despair, depending on one’s perspective.

But what if predestination means something different from what we suppose?  What if it refers to the fate of a nation rather than individuals?  Consider this:  YHVH has promised from ancient times to establish permanently the seed of Abraham on the Promised Land in the form of a nation called Israel.  Moreover, He has promised to open the way for people of all nations to come into that holy nation and be part of His eternal covenant of peace.  What if predestination refers to YHVH’s intent to do this thing just as He said?  If “nation” is the real object of predestination, then we have no need to speculate about whether God has chosen certain individuals for salvation and others for damnation.  The way of salvation is open to all individuals through the nation He has predestined as His vehicle of salvation.

This line of thinking requires far more development than is possible in a short blog post.  However, it is unquestionable that God, through Messiah Yeshua, has opened the way for every person on earth to exchange his or her identity of birth for an identity as Abraham’s children, and therefore as Israelites.  This is a point Ephraim Frank explores in the following commentary.


BFB150909 Etz Bney Yosef

Predestined

Ephraim Frank

Etz B’ney Yosef

October 16, 2015

Shalom Fellow Israelite,

Trust you all had a wonderful Succot celebration.  I’m sure you have heard about the various happenings here in the land, with the spirit of violence manifesting again through Israeli Arab citizens, Arab residents of Jerusalem, and others, in the Palestinian territories and Gaza (while this spirit is not totally sidestepping Israelis either).  Thank you for your prayers during these troublesome times.

As we continue into the unpredictable future (a phrase that some may take exception to), our faith and confidence in a faithful covenant keeping Elohim should reach new heights of revelation-understanding.  Yeshua’s purpose in returning to the heavens was to send the Spirit of the Kingdom into the hearts of those elected and predestined for the promise of this Spirit, as is evidenced by the following:  “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…”  (Ephesians 1:11).  “For whom He [the Father] foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).  He also “predestined us to the adoption as sons by Yeshua the Messiah to Himself [the Father], according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:5-6).

The question that arises from the above scriptures is, who are the predestined ones that have been called, foreknown and chosen beforehand, justified, glorified and adopted for His purposes?  The apostle states very clearly in Romans 9:4-5a, when he makes reference to those “…who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah, the service of Elohim, and the promises; of whom are the fathers…

Most of the Israelites (those who are not Jewish) have lost their identity, but as prophesied have become multitudes in many nations.  Those from among them who are still lacking the knowledge or realization of their true identity will not fully understand the New Covenant, their destiny and the reconstitution of nationhood, nor the above-cited predetermined characteristics, even though what is written in Ephesians 2:11-13, concerning those who were “once far off”, but who are now part of the “commonwealth of Israel” should cause them to at least question their present (“gentile”) identity.

However, through Yeshua the Kinsman Redeemer, and the working of the Holy Spirit many are now embracing Torah, and as a result their hearts are turning back to the forefathers and to the identity (or, conversely, for others, the discovery of the identity is what restores them to the forefathers and the Torah).  The light of this revelation points to the importance of reconciliation within the House of Jacob (which is the whole House of Israel).  Hence efforts are being made toward the re-gathering of our nation.  One such meeting took place last May in Ariel, Israel, in the form of the “B’ney Yosef National Congress”, and now follow-up summits are due to occur in Texas, Germany, and Florida.  The next B’ney Yosef National Congress will be held, Yah willing, once more in Ariel Israel October 26-31, 2016.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ephraim


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015-2016.  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.

Through the Bible with The Barking Fox

What is the purpose of a covenant if the parties in it do not keep their ends of the agreement?  The parties enter into a covenant expecting certain results, but those results cannot come about if the covenanters fail to do what they said they would do, or do what they agreed not to do.  With that in mind, look at what the New Covenant says:

 “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; see also Hebrews 8:8-11)

This is YHVH’s part of the New (or Renewed) Covenant.  He enters into this agreement with the entire nation of Israel, promising to put His Law (or Torah) on the hearts of the people so they will live as He created them to live.  Then He will be the God of Israel, and they will know Him intimately.

This is the New Covenant that has come into effect by the redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice, and it applies to all who accept this gift of salvation offered by YHVH.  What, then, is our part of the bargain?  Do we agree to sit around for eternity, enjoying an endless party at God’s expense, and literally living happily ever after?  Not exactly.  Eternal life and the joy of the Lord are the rewards of keeping this bargain with God, but our part of the agreement involves things like this:

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Psalm 119:11 NKJV)

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  By this we know that we are in Him:  the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  (I John 2:3-6 NASB)

In other words, our part of the covenant is to learn the Word of God and do what it says; His part is to help us in this process.  That is the purpose of His Holy Spirit, the Gift of God to make our hearts ready to receive His truth, which He writes on our hearts (John 14:16-26; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Deuteronomy 30:6-8).

Here is a tool to help God’s covenant partners keep their part of the agreement.  This is a Bible reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year, but in a slightly different way.  This plan is a combination of the Jewish and Christian approaches toward the Scriptures.

The Jewish approach is to read through the Torah (the books of Moses:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) in weekly portions, combined with selections from the Haftorah, which are selected readings from the Prophets and other books of the Tanakh (Old Testament).  The Torah cycle begins after the Fall Feasts of Yom Teruah (Trumpets, also called Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) and goes through the entire year to the next occurrence of the Fall Feasts.  This year the cycle begins the week of October 4-10.  In this reading plan the Torah cycle is broken down into daily portions as one would normally find in any Jewish or Messianic reading plan.  The weekly Haftorah readings occur each Shabbat (Sabbath), with additional Haftorah selections for the Feasts appearing at those special times during the year.

One Christian approach to reading the Bible is to go through all 66 books of the Tanakh and Apostolic Writings (New Testament) every year.  This plan does that also.  All of the Tanakh, starting with Joshua and ending with Malachi, as well as the Apostolic Writings from Matthew to Revelation, appear as daily portions along with the daily Torah and weekly Haftorah readings.  There is no intentional connection of these daily readings with the Torah portions, just a straightforward presentation of each book in bite-sized portions in the order they appear in the Christian canon.

If you are in search of an organized approach to the Word of God, maybe this can help.  Whatever you do, please do get into the Word so that it can get into you!

Please click here to download the Bible reading plan:  TBF Bible Readings 5776 (PDF)


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2016.  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.

 

 

An Invitation to Pray for Israel During the Days of Awe

BFB150902 10 Days Israel PrayerLet’s be honest:  how much do we really pray for the peace of Jerusalem?  Jews, Christians, and Messianic & Hebrew Roots believers around the world have proclaimed this exhortation as a priority, but how many of us actually pray for Jerusalem and for the land and people of Israel on a regular basis?  Is it really that important?  Well, yes, it is.  Take a look at Psalm 122, the passage where we find that commandment about prayer for the peace of Jerusalem:

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”  Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that is built as a city that is compact together; to which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord—an ordinance for Israel—to give thanks to the name of the Lord.  For there thrones were set for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  “May they prosper who love you.  May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.”  For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.”  For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.  (Psalm 122:1-9 NASB, emphasis added)

Notice that this command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem comes with a model prayer:  “May they prosper who love you.  May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.” 

Notice also that there is an explanation why we pray for Jerusalem:  “For the sake of my brothers and my friends”, and “for the sake of the house of the Lord our God”. 

It would seem that as we pray for Jerusalem, we pray as well for ourselves, for the entire world, and for the Kingdom of our God.  That calls to mind another prayer elsewhere in Scripture:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

With this in mind, consider joining others around the world in interceding for the peace of Jerusalem, the redemption of Israel, and for the Jewish people throughout the world during the Ten Days of Awe from Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets) to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), September 14-23, 2015.

The 10 Days Israel Prayer is an initiative sponsored by Prayer Surge NOW, with participation by ministries, congregations, and intercessors from many streams.  This is a call to united prayer and fasting for the nation of Israel to hasten the vision of Jerusalem being fully established as a praise in the earth, to bring Glory to YHVH, and to seek the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny by establishing her as a source of blessing to all the families of the earth.  Each day will feature a one-hour conference call hosted by Messianic and Christian servant-leaders who will lead intercession on topics including the One New Man, national security of Israel, outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Children of Israel, Aliyah, the Abrahamic Covenant, and more.  The prayer calls take place at 9-10am EST / 8-9am CST / 7-8am MST / 6-7am PST.  To join the call, dial in at 712-432-0075, and at the prompt enter the access code 6149782#.

Visit National Highway of Prayer (http://nationalhighwayofprayer.com/) to learn more about the 10 Days Israel Prayer initiative.  John Moore, author of the 10 Days Israel Prayer Guide, was a recent guest on the Hebrew Nation Morning Show.  In this interview he explained how the 10 Days Israel Prayer began, and relates his vision regarding prayer for Israel and the Jewish people.  Please click here to listen to the interview.

Two versions of the 10 DAYS ISRAEL PRAYER GUIDE are available for download here.  The longer version contains the complete background and day-by-day prayer points.  The short version is a condensed summary.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2015.  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.

When Presidents Speak Prophecy

Mount McKinley, now named Denali, is the tallest peak in North America and is located in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (Photo: Becky Bohrer, AP)

Mount McKinley, now named Denali, is the tallest peak in North America and is located in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (Photo: Becky Bohrer, AP)

What does it matter to the world if the President of the United States decrees a change to the name of North America’s highest mountain peak?  Perhaps it is merely a tempest in a teapot, ultimately signifying nothing of importance.  Or perhaps it is far more significant than we may imagine.

For 98 years Americans have referred to the highest mountain on the continent as Mount McKinley.  It is not the original name of the mountain.  Since time immemorial the Athabaskan people of Alaska have named it Denali, which means Great One in their language.  In 1896, a gold prospector in Alaska attached the name McKinley to the mountain, thus declaring support for William McKinley of Ohio, the man who would be elected as the twenty-fifth President of the United States later that year.  Since then a controversy has bubbled along regarding the name of the peak, with native Alaskans asserting the original name, and most other Americans who bothered to think about it going along with McKinley.  In 1975, the Alaska Legislature officially requested that the United States Government change the name.  The name of the national park over which the mountain presides was renamed Denali in 1980, but the mountain itself retained the name of McKinley.

Until now, that is.  The administration of President Barrack Obama has announced that the President will use the occasion of his visit to Alaska to bring an end to the dispute and rename the mountain Denali.  Alaskans and many others applaud the change, but others have denounced it, particularly the Congressional delegation from McKinley’s home state.  Ironically, the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation and most of the Ohio delegation are Republicans, a fact that renders meaningless any charges that this is a political decision by President Obama, a Democrat.  Yet it is political, as is everything that a sitting president does.  And it is also prophetic.

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Fox Byte 5775 #44: D’varim (Words)

דְּבָרִים

"The King and Queen inspecting the tarts", by Sir John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

The King and Queen inspecting the tarts”, by Sir John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

One wonders whether Lewis Carroll required chemical substances to help him create the absurd worlds of his literature.  Readers of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and audiences of the screen and stage adaptations thereof often conclude that the author – whose real name was Charles Dodgson – must have been on opium or some other sort of mind-altering substance fashionable in Victorian England.  If we are to believe the Lewis Carroll Society of North America and other authoritative sources, there is no truth in such allegations.  How, then, could a rational man come up with such outrageous fiction, creating characters and situations that defy logic and even sanity?  Most likely Carroll would have explained in the same way C.S. Lewis explained how he could create the diabolical correspondence of the demon Screwtape a generation later:

Some have paid me an undeserved compliment by supposing that my Letters were the ripe fruit of many years’ study in moral and ascetic theology.  They forgot that there is an equally reliable, though less creditable, way of learning how temptation works. “My heart”—I need no other’s—“showeth me the wickedness of the ungodly.”  (C.S. Lewis, 1961.  The Screwtape Letters with Screwtape Proposes a Toast.  New York:  MacMillan.)

What Professor Lewis tells us is that all humans have the capacity to imagine evil, and to act upon it once it is imagined.  Evil is abnormal; the opposite of good and right and true.  If our hearts are inclined toward evil, they are also inclined toward everything else that is contrary to good and right and true – things which are unsuitable, wrong, and illogical.  That is why Carroll can depict an absurd criminal trial with such success.  The King and Queen of Hearts sit as judges to determine the guilt or innocence of the Knave, who stands accused of having stolen the Queen’s tarts.  As judge, the King has trouble getting beyond his instructions to the jury to consider the verdict before any evidence has been given.  As witnesses, the Mad Hatter and the Knave say nothing of substance, and throughout the trial no one seems to care that the stolen tarts are there in the courtroom, presumably having been returned by the thief.  The trial ends with a mockery of due process of law as the Queen says, “Sentence first—verdict afterwards”, and then pronounces summary judgment on Alice:  “Off with her head!”

The sad thing about this trial is that it is not far removed from reality.  For much, perhaps most, of history unjust judges have made people’s lives miserable and shorter than they should be.  This is true even for judges among the people of God, which is why in promising to restore His nation of Israel, YHVH delivers this glowing promise:

“Then I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning; after that you will be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city.”  Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.  (Isaiah 1:26-27 NASB)

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Fox Byte 5775 #42-43: Mattot (Tribes); Massei (Stages)

מַּטּוֹת / מַסְעֵי

The Princes in the Tower. John Everett Millais, depicts the young King Edward V of England and his brother, Richard, Duke of York, two royal sons allegedly murdered by order of their uncle, King Richard III, who sought to deprive them of their rightful inheritance and claim the throne of England for himself.

The Princes in the Tower. by John Everett Millais, depicts the young King Edward V of England and his brother, Richard, Duke of York, two royal sons allegedly murdered by order of their uncle, King Richard III, who sought to deprive them of their rightful inheritance and claim the throne of England for himself.

William Shakespeare has such as way with murder.  With so many characters meeting violent death in his plays it would seem that he regarded murder as an essential part of good drama.  Richard III is an excellent example.  When my daughter studied the play in school, she and her fellow students kept a “body count” of the many characters who died over the course of Richard’s rise to power.  Shakespeare’s preoccupation with murder may have been the product of the violent world in which he lived, and indeed England in the 16th century was a violent place, yet we need only look at the headlines of events in our own cities to realize that our world is no less violent than Shakespeare’s.  If the Bard had no qualms about employing murder as a plot device, it was because his art imitated life.  Richard III was a historical play based on events that shook the British Isles just one hundred years earlier.  The play’s popularity derived in part from the horrendous nature of Richard’s quest for power, extending even to allegations that in 1483 he ordered the deaths of his two nephews, the 12-year-old King Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York.  Their uncles’ guilt has never been proven, but it is plausible that he removed them so they would not stand in the way of his quest to seize the throne of their father, the late Edward IV.

Richard III is not the only Shakespearian villain to usurp a throne and seize the inheritance of a rightful heir.  Two others that come to mind are MacBeth of Scotland and Claudius of Denmark.  Although not historical plays, MacBeth and Hamlet have roots in actual events.  The central action of MacBeth occurs when the warrior of that name murders King Duncan of Scotland.  Duncan’s sons, fearing they will be blamed for the murder, flee the country, allowing Macbeth to take the throne.  In Hamlet, we do not see the murder of Denmark’s king; when the play opens his brother Claudius has already seized the throne by killing him and marrying his queen.  The plot follows Prince Hamlet as he learns the truth of his father’s death and his uncle’s guilt. 

As was necessary for Richard III, MacBeth and Claudius must deal with the heirs to the murdered kings.  MacBeth prepares to defend Scotland against the exiled princes Malcolm and Donalbain, and Claudius concocts a plot to have Hamlet killed in a duel by an opponent wielding a poisoned blade.  In the end all three villains meet violent deaths.  Richard and MacBeth fall in battle as their own countrymen rise in revolt against them, and Claudius is slain by Hamlet himself just before the young prince dies.

Shakespeare’s works have remained popular for over 400 years because they really do imitate life, even to a disturbing degree.  In these plays we see that an inheritance is not secure even if there are sons ready to claim their fathers’ legacy.  What worse things might the villains have done had there been no sons and heirs?  Who would ensure that the bereaved family retained their place in the nation?  That very question prompted the tribe of Manasseh to ask Moses for guarantees not only for their brethren who had no sons, but for the entire tribe’s legacy in the Promised Land.

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