What is the most significant indication that the Torah Awakening among Christians is becoming mainstream? How about when the founder and CEO of the world’s largest Christian web site publicly proclaims and acts on his opinion that the Torah (law, teaching, commandments) of God still apply to Christians?
That is the precisely what is happening with Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WordNetDaily.com, the internet’s largest independent news site. He has even written a book about it called The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age. Farah’s book will be featured in an upcoming review on The Barking Fox. For now, consider this piece Farah recently wrote about another well-known person with a surprising faith journey.
Exclusive: Joseph Farah identifies key to unraveling the mystery of famed songwriter
Published in WorldNetDaily, July 6, 2017
I was blinded by the devil, Born already ruined,
Stone-cold dead as I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched, By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I’ve been delivered, By His spirit I’ve been sealed.
I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb …
— Lyrics to “Saved” by Bob Dylan
It’s amazing to me how Bob Dylan’s faith is still so misunderstood. Thirty-seven years after he wrote and recorded the words above, I still hear people talking about this superstar songwriter’s spiritual beliefs as if there is some ambiguity about them.
Maybe, some suggest, Dylan went through a Christian “phase” in which he wrote and recorded dozens of fiery gospel songs and then moved on to other pursuits.
Yet, only those who have not really followed his career since could possibility come to such a conclusion, because those songs have continued to be part of his performance repertoire for the last four decades, during which he has continued to produce dozens of new songs that leave little doubt about where he stands.
That’s why I was so excited more than a year ago to read the manuscript for “Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life” by Scott M. Marshall, one of the newest releases by WND Books.
As an admitted Dylan-phile, it had been a source of frustration for me for years that while there are many enigmatic qualities to America’s troubadour, there has been a rock-solid consistency to his publicly expressed view of God and man since 1979 when he released – to the shock of many of his fans – his “Slow Train Coming” album along with one of his biggest hit songs ever, “You Gotta Serve Somebody.”
And it was true, as the author of the new spiritual biography on Dylan shows, before that album. Dylan was searching for truth. Just look at the lyrics of one of my favorite, and shortest, Dylan songs before his “Christian period.” It’s called “Father of Night,” and he recorded it in 1970.
Father of night, Father of day
Father, who taketh the darkness away
Father, who teacheth the bird to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky
Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain
Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white
Father, who build the mountain so high
Who shapeth the cloud up in the sky
Father of time, Father of dreams
Father, who turneth the rivers and streams
Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise
Dylan has written some of the most touching and powerful hymns of the 20th and 21st centuries – and people still don’t understand him.
Here’s the key to unraveling the mystery, in my opinion: Dylan was, is and always will be, a Jew. That’s the way he was born. He was, in the tradition of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, circumcised. He studied Hebrew so he could be bar mitzvahed. And, of course, he never renounced his Jewishness, nor did he need to.
That’s because Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah. All of Jesus’ original disciples remained, throughout their entire lives, Jews. Some of them, including Simon Peter, were surprised to learn fairly late in their lives that this messianic faith they followed could be shared with non-Jews. All of the early “Christians” were Jews. And they were only “Christians” in the literal sense of that Greek term – which means followers of Messiah.
I have to admit that even I had doubts about Dylan’s spiritual journey back in 1983 when he saw his son, Jesse, bar mitzvahed in Jerusalem. At the time, many speculated that Dylan had “gone back” to Judaism.
It was only years later, as I studied the Jewish roots of my own Christian faith, that I realized this was a perfectly natural and appropriate thing for a messianic Jew to do. No Jew needs to embrace the “Christian” traditions and culture to follow their Messiah. In fact, I’ve come to believe those traditions and that culture can actually be a barrier and stumbling block for non-Jews who seek to follow the Jewish Messiah. They certainly were for me.
This is, in fact, the essence of my latest book, The Restitution of All Things Israel Christians and the End of the Age Christians and non-Christians alike are often confused by church traditions and the essential gospel message that brings all people – Jew and gentile alike – to the saving blood of the Lamb.
While he doesn’t like to give many interviews and he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable speaking publicly, I’m convinced Bob Dylan gets it.
Scott Marshall has done an amazing job comprehensively tracing Dylan’s performances, albums and interviews through the decades and showing there is a consistency in his devotion to God and His Son that cannot be denied. If you’re a Dylan-phile like me, you will find this book hard to put down. You will be surprised at how Dylan was treated by the church. And you will be appalled at the way he was treated by his fans when he embraced Messiah.
There are few musical superstars who rival Bob Dylan – as a songwriter, in fame, in longevity, in influence. This new spiritual biography will help you appreciate him even more.
Joseph Farah is founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND. He is the author or co-author of 13 books that have sold more than 5 million copies, including his latest, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age.” Before launching WND as the first independent online news outlet in 1997, he served as editor in chief of major market dailies including the legendary Sacramento Union.
© 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.
How big is the Torah Awakening? It’s big enough to motivate the CEO of the world’s largest Christian website to write a book about it.
The book is The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age, by Joseph Farah, Chairman, and CEO of World Net Daily. The description of Farah’s work says:
The Restitution of All Things is a primer on the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith that will forever give you a new appreciation of the work Jesus did on the cross, and will answer these provocative questions:
– What does the Bible clearly teach about the ultimate solution to the Middle East conflict?
– Is the story of the New Testament really grace vs law? Or has grace always been around and is the law forever?
– What is the ultimate destination of redeemed mankind – heaven or earth?
– Why is there so much focus in the prophecy world on events leading up to the return of Jesus and so little about what follows?
– What is the central conflict Jesus has in the gospels and what was the great error of the Pharisees?
– Is it possible today’s believers in Jesus could be making the same error as the Pharisees of His time?
– Have Christians replaced Israel as the people of promise?
In promoting the book, WND recently published the report of an interview Paul Maguire conducted with Farah on GodTV two years ago in which he outlines many of the ideas presented in the new work. Enjoy reading the article, which is reposted below, and then consider not only looking at Farah’s book, but at the questions he asks.
Published in World Net Daily, January 29, 2017
When the Jewish people finally received their Messiah, the vast majority did not recognize Him.
When He returns, will Christians make the same mistake?
That’s the fear WND founder Joseph Farah expressed in an interview with Paul McGuire on “Apocalypse and the End Times” on GodTV. It was part of a wide-ranging conversation about how the last days will be far different than what many believers expect.
“Who is Jesus and how is he going to come back?” Farah asked. “You know, a lot of people missed Jesus the first time He came. Most of the Jews did not recognize Him as their Messiah. They had a misunderstanding of how the Messiah was going to come. And they were going a lot by man’s teaching rather than going back to the Scriptures. And I wonder, when Jesus does come back, if many people in the church are going to miss Him too.”
“We have been robbed of a significant part of our godly heritage through a calendar that was intentionally removed from the biblical one.”
That is how Pastor Don Finto begins his excellent discourse published recently in Charisma Magazine on the purpose of the Biblical calendar and its applicability to all of God’s people – not just Jews, but Christians as well. This is a subject Messianic believers have understood for quite some time, but which the church as a whole is only now beginning to suspect. Finto continues:
“The early believers in Jesus were all Jewish. Not until Cornelius were the Gentiles received into the fellowship without converting to Judaism. But even these early Gentile followers observed the biblical feasts as a prophetic statement of their newly found faith in the Jewish Messiah who is also Redeemer of the nations. When Paul wrote to the predominantly Gentile believers of Corinth, he spoke of “Christ, our Passover lamb (who) has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival …” (1 Cor. 5:7-8). The biblical feasts had become the feasts of the Gentile believers as well.”
As expected, the debate between Jim Staley and Chris Rosebrough gave us two full hours of very lively and informative discussion on the question of whether Christians should keep the Sabbath. The link to the archived debate is now available from Passion for Truth Ministries here:
First of all, I compliment Jim Staley and Chris Rosebrough for their courage and candor throughout the debate. Both men prepared well and acquitted themselves as one would expect of brothers in Yeshua who disagree on a matter. The debate did get heated in points, reflecting the passion both men hold for the question of the Sabbath, but it never degenerated into a name-calling shouting match, such as we have become accustomed to seeing in political debates and cable news opinion pieces. That alone is reason to applaud the participants. As moderator, Joseph Farah had little to do but state the rules, keep the time, and wrap up the discussion at the end.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:9-11 NKJV)
For 1700 years the official day of worship for the Christian world has been Sunday, not the seventh-day Sabbath (the day we call Saturday). Who made that change? Was it God or man? If it was God, where did He say so? If it was a human innovation, should we follow the traditions of man or the commandments of God?
These questions are at the heart of the Hebrew Roots movement. They are questions which Christians and the church in all its organized forms must confront. It is therefore timely that World Net Daily is sponsoring a debate on this issue on Saturday, May 10, 6 p.m. EDT. The debate, moderated by WND founder Joseph Farah, will feature Pastor Jim Staley of Passion for Truth Ministries and Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Passion for Truth Fellowship. For more details see the WND article here.
This should be a lively and instructive debate. I plan to watch, and I hope you will also!
Update: For a review of the debate and a link to view it on Youtube, see About that Great Sabbath Debate.