Tag Archive | House of Joseph

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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Not Satisfied with Half the Picture: My Quest for Truth Beyond Tradition

In April 2017, Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler sent out invitations to participate in a book project with the working title, Ten From The Nations: Exploring the Torah Awakening Among Non-Jews. Her motivation is to increase awareness of the fact that we are witnessing the gradual fulfillment of Zechariah 8:23. She did so by compiling testimonies from non-Jews who have experienced a Torah awakening of some sort, and from Jews who are actively building relationships with those who are stepping forward from the nations. Her book includes the voices of Christian Zionists, Bnei Noach, Ephraimites, Gerim and more.
It is an honor to be one of those invited to submit a testimony. What follows is the story of my journey into an appreciation of Torah and the Hebraic roots of my Christian faith.
For more information on Ten From The Nations, visit http://www.tenfromthenations.com/.

For the first few years of my life, people fell into one of two categories:  white, or black.  Then the rules changed and the world got complicated.

Scenes of my formative years. Left: going to church in Pensacola, Florida, with my father and older sister in 1962. Right: Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (with Pastor Edgar M. Arendall) and Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama.

The world into which I was born was white, Southern, and Baptist.  That was in 1961, when the requirements of my father’s career in insurance caused my parents to depart from their native Alabama and take up temporary residence in Pensacola, Florida.  As we moved back to Alabama in 1963, the Civil Rights Movement entered its most active stage.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, sit-ins and marches defied segregationist strongholds, and the Federal Government took steps to correct a longstanding injustice.  Little of this turmoil impacted me until 1968, when a Federal judge ordered the desegregation of Birmingham’s public schools.  One day I went to school with my all-white third grade class of about 20 students; the next day the class had swelled to over forty, half of whom were black.

I cannot say whether the addition of so many new playmates of color caused any trauma to myself, but I know that it shook my parents to their core.  At the end of that academic year, they removed my brother and me from the public school, opting to make the financial sacrifice of placing us in the sanctuary of a Christian academy where we could receive a better education.  It also had the advantage in their eyes of being an all-white school.

Well, almost.  What may have escaped their notice was that Briarwood Christian School had a non-discrimination admissions policy.  That explains the presence of one black child in the kindergarten – the only black child enrolled there during my years at Briarwood.  My education was hardly interracial, and yet this turn of events triggered inexorable alterations to my worldview.  By the age of 8, I learned that the antiseptic white society into which I had been born was less utopian than I had been taught.  There was a world of color awaiting my exploration, and a host of questions that the scripted answers could not begin to satisfy.

What I had been taught was not all wrong.  Much of it was right, but it was incomplete.  So was the worldview of my black counterparts –much of it quite right, but incomplete.  Our combined worldviews formed a far more complete picture, with the white perspective filling gaps in the black perspective, and vice versa.  Thus my education proceeded along two parallel tracks:  a formal track provided by the teachers and preachers at school and church; and an informal track hidden in the recesses of my heart and soul and mind.  The hidden track evaluated everything presented to it, often reaching conclusions at odds with the accepted norms.  Hence the reason it remained hidden.

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Redefining the Last Act: A Review of The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revealed, by Christine Miller

If most of the events prophesied in the book of Revelation had already taken place, would we live our lives differently?  That is the question at the back of the reader’s mind while processing the wealth of data presented by Christine Miller in her book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revealed.

Another question one might ask is why the world needs yet another book on prophecy.  The answer, like the book, is logical and straightforward:  we need an understanding of how the symbols in Revelation correspond to real events and people in the history of the world since the Apostle John wrote Revelation in the year 96 CE.  In other words, Miller cuts through the hyper-sensationalized end-of-the-world drama to examine what Revelation really means in a way that readers not only can understand, but can use as a starting point for their own study.

Miller’s premise is that Revelation constitutes the history of the world as it unfolds between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah).  She bases this premise on the precedent set elsewhere in Scripture, particularly in the book of Daniel, which presents the prophetic history of the world from the end of the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people to the first coming of Messiah.  In a lengthy appendix Miller relates the well-known histories of the wars over the Holy Land between the Seleucid (Greco-Syrian) and Ptolemaic (Greco-Egyptian) kingdoms in the centuries following the death of Alexander the Great.  Those wars produced the Abomination of Desolation, in which the Seleucid king Antiochus IV desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem and banned the Jews from every aspect of worship of YHVH.  As the Jews responded in the War of the Maccabees, YHVH intervened on their behalf to bring the victory memorialized in the festival of Hanukkah.  Yet Miller does not stop there; she continues her analysis of Daniel’s prophecies all the way through the ministry of Yeshua and his apostles, making a convincing argument about how they fulfilled the cryptic statement in Daniel 9:27 –

And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall be one which makes desolate; and even to that full end, which is determined, is poured out on that which makes desolate.

What Miller does with Daniel in an appendix of her book is a microcosm of what she does with Revelation in the body of the work.  She begins with this explanation:

The view that all the events of Revelation are future to us is a relatively new view in the history of the church.  Traditionally, Revelation was seen as an unfolding prophecy of the things which will take place between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ.  This unfolding historical prophecy is in the same manner as Daniel, which set the precedent.

With that introduction, she takes us on a whirlwind tour of two millennia of Roman history.

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The Dilemma of the Ger, Part 3: Dealing with the Kinslaying

This is the third part of a dialogue with Dr. Rivkah Adler of Breaking Israel News on the question of whether the biblical concept of ger, or foreigner, could be considered as a possible status for Torah-keeping non-Jews.  It began with Rivkah’s article, “Are We Witnessing the Restoration of an Ancient Biblical Status for Non-Jews?”, followed by my commentary, “The Dilemma of the Ger, and her observations in “A Jewish Response to the Dilemma of the Ger.

Dealing with the Kinslaying

Albert J. McCarn
April 16,2017

The Kinslaying at Alqualondë, by Ted Nasmith. Used by permission.

A motif running through J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction works is the exile of the Elves from Valinor, the Blessed Realm of the Valar, the gods of Tolkien’s world.  Those who read The Lord of the Rings first encounter the exiles as the High Elves who aid Frodo and his companions in their flight from the Shire.  Readers who venture into The Silmarillion learn that the High Elves are the Noldor, one of three Elven clans who answered the Valar’s invitation to leave Middle Earth and live in Valinor.  The Vanyar and Teleri – the other two clans – remained in Valinor, but the Noldor rebelled against the Valar and returned to Middle Earth to fight against Morgoth, Tolkien’s equivalent of Satan.

The Noldor had justification for their actions.  Morgoth had stolen the Silmarils, the matchless jewels fashioned by Fëanor, greatest of the Elven craftsmen, and had killed Finwë, Fëanor’s father and king of the Noldor.  Nevertheless, their rebellion under Fëanor’s leadership incurred a sentence of exile and separation from any help the Valar could offer.  Over the next several centuries the Noldor and their allies among the Elves and Men of Middle Earth proved unable to defeat Morgoth, and they suffered a long defeat.  At the end of their strength, the humbled remnant repented and begged help from the Valar.  When help came, Morgoth was defeated and the Valar granted clemency for the Noldor to return to the Blessed Realm, bringing with them the remaining Elves of Middle Earth who had never seen Valinor.

This is the unseen backdrop for the Elves appearing in Tolkien’s later and more popular works.  Those who pick up the story with The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings meet wise Elrond, stern yet kindly Thranduil, and gentle Galadriel, but they have no understanding of their history.  Galadriel, for example, was Fëanor’s niece, and along with his sons and her brothers led the Noldor in rebellion.  Upon passing the test of refusing the Ring of Power when Frodo offers it to her, she proves that she, the only surviving rebel leader, is indeed ready to return home as a humble penitent.

In Galadriel’s story we see the stunning panorama flowing through the body of Tolkien’s works.  Yet there is one missing detail:  he never tells us what happens when the exiles return.  It is a significant omission.  We can imagine the scenes of reconciliation as the Noldor made amends with the eternal Valar, but we do not know what happens when they encountered the brethren they had wronged.  At the beginning of their flight from Valinor, the Noldor demanded of their kin, the Teleri, use of their ships.  The Teleri refused, resulting in a terrible battle known thereafter as the Kinslaying.  As Tolkien describes it, “Thus at last the Teleri were overcome, and a great part of their mariners that dwelt in Alqualondë were wickedly slain.”  If that were not enough, when they arrived on the shores of Middle Earth, Fëanor gave orders to burn the wondrous Telerian ships, craft of great beauty the like of which could never be made again.

What happens when the prodigal Noldor return home is a tale we do not know.  We hope they are reconciled with their brethren, but achieving reconciliation requires conscious effort to overcome the debt of blood between them.  Until that debt is paid or forgiven, the bliss of the Blessed Realm remains unbearably diminished.

Tolkien’s epic thus becomes a parable for us, the returning exiles of the House of Yosef (Joseph).  Like the Noldor, we are guilty not only of rebellion against our God and the king He had anointed, but also of an endless Kinslaying of our brethren of Judah.

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The Dilemma of the Ger: Commentary on “Has an Ancient Biblical Status for Non-Jews Reemerged After 2500 Years?”

The Torah Awakening among Christians is creating something the world has not seen for two thousand years:  a growing body of non-Jewish people who are doing the best they can to live by God’s eternal standards (His Torah – Law, Teaching, Commandments), but who do not intend to convert to Judaism.

What is the world to do with such people?  Perhaps the more immediate question is, what are the Jewish people and the State of Israel to do with such people?

Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler explored these questions recently in an article for Breaking Israel News.  Her article, “Has an Ancient Biblical Status for Non-Jews Reemerged after 2500 Years?”, presents the biblical concept of ger, (גָּר, Strong’s H1616), or foreigner, as a possible status for Torah-keeping non-Jews.  Dr. Adler and I have shared some correspondence on this question, and hopefully will be able to continue that conversation in a point-counterpoint discussion.  Here is my initial offering.

According to Strong’s Concordance, a ger is a “sojourner; a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights; of foreigners in Israel, though conceded rights”.  The implication is that such people are not Israelites, not Hebrews, and not members of the nation or commonwealth of Israel. 

This is where we run into several issues.  The easy path is to argue these points, but that is not necessarily the wisest path.  What we all need is the path of wisdom and reconciliation, and that is what I hope to investigate.

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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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Israel 2016: Finding Shabbat in Gi’vat Ye’arim

 

bfb161015-shabbat-tableShabbat (Sabbath) in a Jewish community in Israel is different from Shabbat at home in America.  What we have experienced in Israel may be similar to what one would encounter in an American Jewish community, but it is new to us.  We non-Jewish Sabbath keepers, even those of us who have been keeping Shabbat for many years, are still finding our way.  What we know is that Messiah Yeshua kept it, that He taught His disciples to continue obeying the commandments, and that we want to do as He did because we love Him so much.

Our Christian traditions have forbidden us from keeping Shabbat ever since the days of Emperor Constantine, and many of the Jewish traditions seem to make Shabbat incomprehensibly complicated.  Even so, we know that Shabbat is a bubble in time which occurs once in seven days.  When we enter that bubble, we come into a place where YHVH is waiting.  America continues at its frenetic pace around us, with its Saturday football games, festivals, work opportunities, soccer matches, and all the myriad other things we deemed important for much of our lives.  For us that world drifts into the shadows as we turn our attention inward toward home, family, gathering with friends, and meeting with the holy, loving, and kind God Who has invited us to be still and know that He is indeed God.

This is not to say that our Shabbat observance is perfect.  We live in a world where Shabbat is not even a word most people recognize, nor a concept they understand.  We juggle our schedules as best we can to avoid any normal business, work, travel, or other things which keep us from this divine appointment.  That in itself strains relationships with family and friends who do not esteem the day as we do.  Then there are the constant temptations to bend the rules:  to finish that one last bit of work just after the sun sets, or to check up on the scores when our favorite teams are playing, or to compromise by meeting our non-Shabbat-keeping family at a restaurant early on Saturday evening.  We do our best not to be legalistic, but to manage these competing requirements of life in Babylon while obeying our King.

This is where we begin to identify with our Jewish brethren.  They have been living this balancing act for millennia, and it is logical that we look to them for inspiration.  Thus we have come to Gi’vat Ye’arim, not even knowing that we have come here for reasons the Almighty had determined before we even heard of the place.

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After the Fox: Still in Transition

Two months ago the world received notice that The Barking Fox is on the move.  The relocation to North Carolina is complete, but our transition is still in progress.  We set up housekeeping in Charlotte on September 4, and thanks to tremendous help from Pete Rambo and his family, we finished unpacking and had most of the place in order within a week.  We had to get settled in a hurry so we could go to Virginia and see our oldest daughter married at the end of the month – just in time to prepare for the High Holy Days!

Even now the Fall Feasts are upon us.  The sun is setting in Charlotte, which means the new Hebrew year 5777 is here.  This weekend we enjoyed Shabbat with the Rambo family at their home in South Carolina, and with them entered into the season of Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets, celebrated by our Jewish brethren as Rosh Hashanah).  While there we joined with Tommy and Dorothy Wilson, fellow leaders of B’ney Yosef North America, in prayerfully planning our upcoming trip to Israel for Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress

Our expectations are very high that this season will bring the climax to many of the prophetic events connected with Messiah’s return.  Whether we will see Him coming this year is something no one can say for certain, but as we watch the signs of the times we can’t help but conclude that the current world order, which has been in place for 100 years, is rapidly giving way to something new.  Although we cannot know exactly what we will encounter in Israel, we anticipate that as Ephraimite delegates from around the globe gather for the Congress, YHVH will provide direction for this coming year.  Those of us who have blogs and other media outlets will be covering the events as best we can, so look for some exciting reports!

And after that?  We will continue learning who we are as Hebrews awakening to our identity as part of the covenant people of YHVH.  Our transition from Texas to North Carolina is part of that.  In my book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell, I share thoughts about what it will take for us to develop this sense of being a people – Hebrews and Israelites of the House of Joseph/Ephraim who are preparing to be reunited with our brethren of Judah (the Jewish people) at the coming of Messiah Son of David.  Here are some of those thoughts:

There are already many gatherings of like-minded believers at Sukkot in various places.  This is a very good start, but it is time to consider how to transform these virtual communities into actual communities.  That means many of us will have to relocate so that we can live near fellow Ephraimites.  Initially this relocation and community building should happen in the lands we now call home.  We should look for places where we can congregate as neighbors and learn to live together as a distinct people.  Perhaps this means establishing new villages and towns in rural areas, or perhaps moving into neighborhoods in cities and suburbs where housing is available.  When we look we will find many possibilities.  The important thing is to look, to make a concerted effort to find one another, associate with one another, live next to one another, and together create the meaning of the Ephraimite people. 

That is the purpose of our transition.  Already we count ourselves part of a vibrant and growing Hebrew community in Western Carolina (the western counties of North and South Carolina).  We were much blessed to be connected with similar communities in Texas and hope to remain connected with them.  However, if we have heard YHVH correctly, our place at this particular time is in the Southeastern United States, and here we look forward to making a real contribution to the developing regional network of Hebrew communities.

This brings us to the fun part of this post.  Our move from Texas to North Carolina was perhaps the easiest relocation we have ever had thanks to our God’s provision.  The pictures below illustrate this transition through the eyes of our dog, Blue.  This was a strange experience for her, but she seems to have come through it quite well and adjusted quickly to her new home.

L’shana tova from all of us to all of you!


This is perplexing. What was familiar is now oddly different.

This is perplexing. What was familiar is now oddly different.


I don’t understand. These people show up with a big truck and now I’m in jail.

I don’t understand. These people show up with a big truck and now I’m in jail.

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A Jewish Question for All of God’s People: “We were given the Torah, but have we received it?”

Jesus was perhaps the greatest Torah teacher of his day.

Think about that for a moment.  We do not often consider the fact that Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ) taught from the Torah, and that he was recognized by Jewish leaders as a great teacher.  It began in his youth, when at the age of 12 he astounded the doctors of the Law (Torah) in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52).  When he entered into public ministry, the teacher of Israel himself came to inquire of Yeshua about spiritual matters (John 3:1-21).  His greatest oration, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29), was in fact an extensive midrash on the Torah and its application in daily life.  That is why Yeshua stated early in that sermon that he had not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it – meaning to teach it correctly and live out its full meaning (Matthew 5:17-20).

This should lead us to the conclusion the Torah was given not only to the Jews, but to all of God’s people.  In fact, the Torah applies to every person on earth, or at least it will when Messiah reigns from Jerusalem.  How else are we to understand such passages as this one from Isaiah?

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.  Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”  For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  (Isaiah 2:2-4 NKJV, emphasis added)

Notice the key to Isaiah’s oft-quoted prophecy:  universal peace does not happen until after the nations of the earth submit to the judgment of YHVH’s Messiah and learn and obey the Law (Torah) which he shall teach.

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Will I ever be enough for you, Israel?

IsraelSomewhere in the prophets, just before God talks about the terrible things that happen when Israel is attacked in the Last Days and Messiah comes in the nick of time, there is this promise of restoration:

“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them back, because I have had compassion on them; and they will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.  Ephraim will be like a mighty man, and their heart will be glad as if from wine; indeed, their children will see it and be glad, their heart will rejoice in the Lord.  I will whistle for them to gather them together, for I have redeemed them; and they will be as numerous as they were before.  When I scatter them among the peoples, they will remember Me in far countries, and they with their children will live and come back.  I will bring them back from the land of Egypt and gather them from Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon until no room can be found for them.  And they will pass through the sea of distress and He will strike the waves in the sea, so that all the depths of the Nile will dry up; and the pride of Assyria will be brought down and the scepter of Egypt will depart.  And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and in His name they will walk,” declares the Lord.  (Zechariah 10:6-12 NASB)

What are we to make of this?  It sounds like a prophecy about Israel, but the word Israel does not appear in this passage.  In fact, Israel is not named at all in Zechariah 10.  Unless we know that Judah and Joseph and Ephraim are all parts of Israel, we would have no clue who is the subject of this chapter.

But then we know that Judah and Joseph and Ephraim are all parts of Israel, do we not?

Or do we?

Ask an average person that question and the answer may be a shoulder shrug, a blank look, and words like, “The Jews are Israel.”  The assumption is that “Israel” and “Jewish people” are synonyms.  They mean the same thing.  Israel is Jewish and the Jews are Israel.  Period.  Anyone who claims to be Israel must either be Jewish or be in the process of becoming Jewish.  That is the consistent understanding of Christians and Jews and Muslims and anyone else who cares to offer an opinion.

But that consistent understanding is consistently incorrect.

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