The Jubilee Generation! by Angus Wootten

[Editor’s note: Ever since Yeshua ascended to the Father, Christians have kept their eyes on the sky looking for His return and the completion of His Messianic mission. What has seldom come into Christian consciousness, however, is that Jews have looked for completion of that same Messianic mission for far longer than the 2,000 years since Yeshua walked the earth. It seems that the Jewish focus is not solely on heaven – the involvement of which is necessary for Messiah to do all that is prophesied – but here on earth. They know better than Christians have known that the messianic promises revolve around the final redemption and restoration of Israel.
Angus Wootten grasped both the Christian and the Jewish perspectives on this matter. He saw them not as mutually exclusive eschatological approaches, but as complementary. The key to reconciling them, as he intimates in this 1998 article, is in the revelation that there is a very large non-Jewish portion of Israel which has been hidden from view for nearly three millennia in accordance with the pronounced judgment of the Almighty on the rebellion of His ancient covenant nation. That hidden part of Israel is coming into view even now, as Angus explains.]


The Jubilee Generation!

By Angus Wootten – November 1998

The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Adonai [Lord], and of his Mashiach [Anointed One]; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).

How does the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plan to accomplish this age – ending event? How will He realize His Messianic Vision, which is to manifest His presence – in His earthly Kingdom – in the midst of a united people.

To reach this goal, obviously one of His larger challenges is, “uniting His people, Israel.” The above is taken from the Herald article, “The Messianic Vision.”[1] While this article gives a good answer to the “how” question, it does not give the fullest answer to the “when” question.

Undoubtedly, our generation is closer to the return of Messiah, and to the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth, than any previous generation! But how close is that? And what is so special about this generation that We should believe that we are “the generation”?

The generation that experiences this age-ending event will realize fulfillment of Yeshua’s mission:

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. . .” And. . ., “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 18-21)

According to the rabbinical custom of Yeshua’s day, reference to this verse in Isaiah would have been thought to include the entire passage.

Continuing, we see that Yeshua was declaring that He been sent,

To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn . . . giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vine dressers. But you will be called the priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. . . . (Isaiah 61:2-9)

Yeshua said in the synagogue in Nazareth, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Yet, today, some two thousand years later, from our finite viewpoint, Yeshua’s declaration has not yet been fully fulfilled.

Truly Yahveh’s ways are not our ways, especially when it comes to “time.”

So, how did Yeshua fulfill these Scriptures?

He set in motion a plan, which, in the fullness of time will see every jot and tittle of these verses accomplished.

Further, every generation since has played an integral part of this fulfillment. However, even though prior generations have gained approval by passing the torch of faith to the next generation, they did not receive what was promised. Because, it yet remains for a generation to carry the torch across the finish line, at which time all things will be perfected (Hebrews 11:39-40).

Could we be that final generation? Could we be the “finish line generation,” the generation that will see captives being set free, the blind regaining their sight, the lame being healed, and having their land returned? Will we experience the fulness of the “favorable year of the Lord”?

If so, truly we will experience the ultimate “Jubilee!”

The Concept of Jubilee

At the core of the idea of “jubilee” is the Mosaic doctrine, that all things, all creatures in the world do not belong to men at all, but to Yahveh alone.

The biblical law of redemption makes “jubilee” possible. This jubilee law deals with the fact that the land should not be sold in perpetuity, for it belonged to Yahveh, and those in bondage should, and could be, redeemed. The redemption of land and of those in bondage could be accomplished at any time by a kinsman redeemer. Otherwise, in the year of Jubilee the land would revert back to the owner, and those in bondage would be freed (Leviticus 25:23-55).

Biblically, the year of Jubilee is celebrated in the fiftieth year. In this year, agricultural lands sold during the past 49 years are returned to their original owners, and any Israelite that is in bondage is set free.

Seventeen Jubilees were celebrated from the time Joshua took the land until the destruction of the First Temple. Then upon Judah’s return from Babylon, the count began again, and it stopped with the destruction of the Second Temple.

Though in this present year [1998] the state of Israel is celebrating a jubilee of its founding, still, it is not a Biblical jubilee. Perhaps the reason Jewish religious leaders have not yet called for a Biblical jubilee is because, according to the Talmud, the Jubilee Year laws are in force only when all the tribes are living in “Eretz Israel” (TB Ar. 32b).

Again, we ask, could we be that jubilee generation?

The answer is, “Yes!”

Why?

Because the first jubilee generation saw the first advent of Israel’s Messiah. Therefore, would not the second jubilee generation be an appropriate time for His return? Would not a jubilee generation be the time to make the kingdoms of this World the Kingdom of our Messiah? Surely that would be fulfilling the very essence of Yahveh’s jubilee principals – by asserting His ownership of all the earth, and its population, and for all creation to acknowledge His Lordship. At that time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He and He alone is Lord!

How do we know that Yeshua came in the first jubilee generation? Further, how do we know that we are the second jubilee generation?

Defining A Generation

To begin, a generation is the period from a man’s birth to the birth of his son. It also can refer collectively to the people who lived in a like period.

Scripturally, the average length of a generation is most often assumed to be forty years. For, in the wilderness all the men over twenty died within a forty-year time frame. The forty year span of the rule of David and Solomon, and of four of the judges, adds support for a forty year generation. However, we also find Scriptural support for a hundred year generation: Yahveh told Abraham that his descendants would be in a foreign land four hundred years and then He would bring them out in the “fourth generation.”

Matthew’s genealogy further complicates the problem of determining the length of a generation. His genealogical list gives forty-two generations from Abraham to the birth of Yeshua (Matthew 1: 17). It gets complicated when we try to determine the time span of these forty-two generations. If we use hundred year generations, we have a 4200 year span. If we use forty years, we have a 1680 year span. However, neither of these time spans fits with known history. Further, the general agreement among biblical scholars is that Yeshua was born in 5 or 6 B.C., and that Abraham was born in the period of 2000 B.C. to 2200 B.C.

The answer that solves this dilemma and also fits with history is:

From the flood to the Exodus from Egypt, generations were 100 years long, afterwards, they were forty years long. This reasoning, when applied to Matthew’s genealogy, gives us eight one-hundred year generations: Abraham, Isaac. Jacob, Jacob’s twelve sons, and four generations in Egypt – and thirty-four forty-year generations. Using this rationale (34 x 40 = 1360 + 800 = 2160), and back-dating from 6 B.C., we arrive at 2166 B.C. as Abraham’s year of birth. This is the exact date given by the NIV Study Bible Old Testament Chronology for Abraham’s birth. Further, this perception of generations would place the flood some seven to eight hundred years earlier, and well within the time frame that is acceptable to the majority of scholars.

After Yahveh had virtually destroyed the ancient world with the flood, we find that His plan to have a people for His own possession is to be accomplished through the descendants of Noah’s son, Shem. This means Shem’s son Arphaxed represents the first generation of the post-flood world. And, from Arphaxed to Abraham, there are seven generations. Add these seven generations to the forty-two generations from Abraham to Yeshua, and we have forty-nine generations. Thus, Yeshua then came in the fiftieth generation. or first jubilee generation: 6 B.C. to 34 A.D.

This in turn means the first generation after Yeshua would have begun in 35 A.D., which year is also thought to be the year of Paul’s conversion.

Paul conversion is key to the almost 2000 year effort to renew the world spiritually, and to regather Yahveh’s people. This mission stands in contrast to the mission of Noah’s sons, which was to repopulate the world physically.

And, the next fiftieth generation from Yeshua, meaning the second jubilee generation, began in 1996 A.D.!

So. today, in 1998 A.D., we live in the second year of the fiftieth generation from Yeshua, and in the one hundredth generation from the flood!

Are there other events that would validate that this is the generation that will see the “favorable year of the Lord?”

The first act of the second Jubilee was the end of Israel’s (Ephraim’s) punishment. After twenty-seven-hundred and thirty years, Ephraim’s blindness to his heritage was being removed. He was being freed from the sentence of being a people who were “not a people” (Hosea 1:9, Ezekiel 4:5). Truly this was a favorable year for Ephraim!

To understand the punishment of Ephraim, and its length, we quote largely from the Herald article, “Ephraim, Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man!”[2]

Ephraim’s Punishment

The Prophets Hosea and Amos explained why and how Israel would be punished for their iniquity: “Israel is swallowed up; They are now among the nations. Like a vessel in which no one delights” (Hosea 8:8). And, “I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9).

Bala, the Hebrew word for swallow, which word Hosea uses in his description of Ephraim’s punishment, has the connotation of someone eating a piece of food, and having it become a part of their body. For example, today, try to find, or identify in your body, the food you ate last week. Even so, Ephraim was destined to be punished, by being swallowed up by the Gentile nations, and so to become an indistinguishable part of them. This punishment has been in effect until this generation, and during this time of blindness, Ephraim has not known who he is!

From Ezekiel we gain an understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment. For Yahveh told Ezekiel to, “Lay on your left side and put the sin of the House of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side for I have assigned to you a number of days corresponding to the number of years of iniquity [of Israel] . .  390 days. Thus you shall bear the iniquity of the House of Israel”

We know Yahveh spoke of Ephraim/Israel because He also said, “After you have finished this, lie down again on your right side and bear the sin of the House of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year” (Ezekiel 4:4-6).

To understand this punishment we need to see that Ezekiel lived 135 years after the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) had become “no more.” Yet, Yahveh had not forgotten about them, because through Ezekiel, He explains the length of their punishment for their iniquity.

The people of the northern ten tribes would not repent of their paganism. Further, Yahveh was adamant that He is a jealous God, and that Israel was to have “no other gods” before Him. Yet, He also was, “a compassionate God; who would not fail them nor destroy them nor forget the covenant which He had sworn to their fathers” (Deuteronomy 4:31; 5:9).

Like father like son, Ephraim still has the problem of allowing pagan, or Gentile ways, to creep into his relationship with his God. 

Judah’s Punishment

We gain understanding of the duration of Ephraim’s punishment by first looking at Judah’s punishment:

Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his right side for 40 days, a day for a year. Thus, we see that Judah was to receive 40 years of punishment.

But unfortunately, this forty years is only part of Judah’s punishment. Because, in the account of the two sisters, Aholah (Samaria) and Aholibah (Jerusalem/Judah), we see that they engaged in prostitution when they were young and still in Egypt. Additionally, Aholah/Ephraim was engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians. It was this harlotry with their Assyrian neighbors that led to Aholah’s downfall.

During the century preceding the final destruction of the city of Samaria, the Northern Kingdom was integrated into the Assyrian Empire. Piece by piece various portions of the Northern Tribes became vassals of Assyria, until they were entirely absorbed into the Assyrian Empire. When the City of Samaria fell in 722 B.C., it was just the last little bastion of the Northern Kingdom.[3] It did not take a war for most of Israel to become Assyrian. This fact is confirmed by Yahveh’s statement: “I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she had lusted.” (Ezekiel 23:9)

Since the Ephraimites had lusted for Gentile ways, Yahveh gave them over to the Assyrians, that they might ultimately be scattered among the Nations, and thus to become “Gentiles.”

Recalling the demise of Aholah, Yahveh said to Aholibah, “You saw your sister in her lust and prostitution, yet you have been more depraved than your sister.” You have gone the way of your sister, so I will put her cup in your hands. You will drink your sister’s cup, a cup large and deep and it will bring scorn and derision for it holds so much.”

Judah’s sister’s cup contained 390 years of punishment! Thus, adding 390 years of punishment to the 40 years which Judah initially received. And that gives a total of 430 years of punishment for Judah.

When did Judah’s punishment start?

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, subdued Judah in 595 B.C.. After this date, they no longer had political or religious control over their own territory, Jerusalem, nor over their temple.

Thus, if we take 596 B.C. as the first year of their punishment, and if we move forward 430 years we come to 166 B.C.

What happened in 166 B.C.?

The Maccabees revolted against the Greeks.

In coming to 166 B.C., we come to the time of the Maccabees victory over the Greeks, and to the miracle cleansing of the temple – the time when they found only enough oil in the temple to last for one day. But miraculously this one day supply of oil lasted for eight days, giving them time to make a fresh supply of oil. This miracle is celebrated as the Feast of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication). Judah‘s punishment was over, and they had regained religious and political control over their temple and a large portion of their territory.[4]

The Length Of Ephraim’s Punishment?

Pencil drawing on greenish paper (brown wash) of king Tiglath-pileser III enthroned, by Charles Doswell Hodder. From a bound set of original drawings made at the time of the nineteenth-century discoveries in Assyria. Many of these drawings were used by Layard in his publications of the 1840s and 1850s. British Museum, London, item 2007,6024.10.

Now let us go back to Ephraim. He was assigned 390 years of punishment. Correct?

No. For unfortunately, Ephraim would receive far more than 390 years. We understand this through Yahveh’s fourfold declaration given in the Twenty Sixth Chapter of Leviticus. This declaration establishes unrepentant Ephraim’s fate:

If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. . . If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. . . Then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins. . . Then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins” (Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28).

When Yahveh declares a punishment, you are going to get it. Regardless. If you sow, you are going to reap. According to Yahveh’s rules you are going to get the punishment – even if you repent. Further, if you don’t repent, you will receive a seven-fold punishment!

Judah received a punishment of 430 years. And, when Judah went to Babylon (that being their punishment), they repented. To this day, the Jewish people (as a whole) do not have idols. And since they repented of their idolatries, their punishment lasted only 430 years.

But, hapless Ephraim never repented. So, the Northern Kingdom received a seven-fold punishment: 390 years times seven, for a total of 2,730 years of punishment.

Exactly what was Ephraim’s punishment?

Yahveh said the Ephraimites would be scattered among the nations, and that they would “lose their identity.” They would become, “Lo Ammi,” meaning “Not A People” (Hosea 1:9-10; 2:2,23).

So poor misguided Ephraim received a sentence of 2730 years – the punishment being he would not be recognizable people – he would lose his identity.

When Did Ephraim’s Punishment Start?

In determining the date of Judah’s punishment, we did not pick the year 585 B.C., which was when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s temple. Rather, we started from the year, 595 B.C. when Judah no longer had political and religious control over their territories. Therefore, we will apply this same measure to Ephraim. And, while the city of Samaria was finally destroyed in 722 B.C., the majority of the Northern Kingdom had become a vassal state of Assyria by 734 B.C.

Confirmation of these facts is substantiated by the Cuneiform Text of Tiglath-Pileser III, which chronicle his Gaza-Damascus Campaign in 734-33 B.C.

When the armed hordes of Assyrians completed their campaign against Bet-Omri (Israel), Israel was mortally wounded, decimated by deportation, beaten back into a tiny corner of the Northern Kingdom. With the exception of Samaria, all its cities had been annexed, and the country had been divided into provinces over which Assyrian governors and officials exercised strict control.

All that was left of Israel was a dwarf state, a tiny pinpoint on the map: the mountain of Ephraim with the royal city of Samaria.[5]

When Will Ephraim’s Punishment End?

When will Ephraim’s punishment be ended?

If we count 2730 years from 734 B.C., we arrive at the year 1996. If we use the year 722 B.C. as a base, we come up with the year 2008.

Please note: This is not to say that Yeshua will return and reestablish His Kingdom in this twelve year time frame! Unlike the now infamous book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return In 1988, we are not giving 96 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 1996, nor or we giving 208 Reasons Why Yeshua Will Return In 2008. Rather, we are saying that, at the end of Ephraim’s punishment, Yeshua is free to restore the corporate Kingdom to Israel – and thus to truly celebrate the final jubilee!

Why is it important that we understand Ephraim’s punishment?

Because Ephraim’s punishment is now at an end!

We need to see that Ephraim would not be rewarded with the restoration of the Kingdom to the people of Israel while he is still undergoing the punishment of not being recognizable people! For, they could not be recognized as the people of Israel! And the Church has not seen itself as a co-heir with the Jewish people to the physical promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Granted, many have taught that they have replaced Jewish Israel, or that they are spiritual Israel. But, Believers have not seen themselves as part of the corporate (physical) people of the commonwealth of Israel – especially they have not seen themselves as a people who need to be reunited with their brother Judah.

When Yeshua returns, His people will be freed! Yet, He had to adhere to His own Word. Therefore, He could not return until the punishment He mandated for those of Ephraim was completed.

Admittedly, we cannot be absolutely sure as to the exact beginning, nor the exact end, of Yahveh‘s decreed punishment. However, we do know this: there is a moment in time when it began, and there will be a moment in time when it ends. We also know that Ephraim’s punishment could not have started any later than 722 B.C. And, that it was only in the last quarter of this century that Messianic non-Jewish Believers began to see that there were two houses of Israel, as described in Scripture (Ephraim and Judah). Further, it is evident that these two houses have not as yet been reunited as one undefiled house. The people of Israel have not yet taken full possession of the land given to their father Abraham. And, the Greater Son of David is not ruling over them.

So it is that we are beginning to see, that, as Ephraimites, we are full-fledged members of the commonwealth of Israel. We are part of the people to whom the Holy One of Israel said He would restore His Kingdom! (Isaiah 8: 14; Ezekiel 37:22-25)

We know that the punishment of Ephraim began no later than 722 B.C., and we know from history that his punishment has been in full force until recent years. What we do not know for sure, is, when Yahveh will deem that it is fully completed. But we do know that Yeshua said: “The generation that sees the fig tree blossom will see His return.” (Matthew 24:32-34)

Surely the fig tree cannot blossom until all the tribes of Israel know their Messiah and realize their heritage, and are living in the land! So Ephraim must now be instructed as to his heritage, and Judah to the identity of their Messiah. Then the two houses will become one reunited house of Israel.

How will Yahveh accomplish this monumental task? Scripture records that it has been His practice to accomplish His purposes on earth through men and women. And, why would we expect He who does not change to change?

If in truth we are the generation that will cross the finish line, then the task of instruction is ours! And, as forerunners who know our Messiah and our heritage, it is our job to lead the way! And, at most, we have thirty- eight years left to do the job.

But, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can do it! Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The building of the largest structure on earth – the Great Wall of China – began with the placing of one stone. So let us step out and begin instructing the living stones which Yahveh will use to build His House, the united house of Israel (1Peter 2:5).

So, with joy, run your leg of the race!


[1] See Angus Wootten, “The Messianic Vision,” House of David Herald 8-1, January 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/2643-2/.

[2] See Angus Wootten, “Ephraim Free At Last! Once Again A Mighty Man!,” House of David Herald 8-4, April 1996. Republished by B’ney Yosef North America at this link: https://bneyyosefna.com/ephraim-free-at-last-one-again-a-mighty-man/.

[3] See Angus and Batya Wootten, “The Way Of The Gentiles,” House of David Herald 5-12, December 1993.

[4] See Angus Wootten, “The Price Of Peace,” and Batya Wootten, “Celebrating Hanukkah,” House of David Herald 7-11, November 1995, and 7-12, December 1995.

[5] See The Bible As History, by Werner Keller 1955, pages 245-249, translated from the German, published by William Morrow and Company, New York, in 1956.

What to Do When the World Blows Up: A Review of “Know the Time, Change Your World”, by Barry L. Miller

BFB150826 Know the TimeIt seems that everyone is expecting the world to change for the worse in September 2015.  That, at least, is a prevailing topic of conversation here in the United States.  I have been part of such discussions many times over the last few months, and regardless how the discussion begins, it invariably comes down to the question, “What do we do now?”

The people of YHVH should be paying attention to the signs of the times.  We are indeed on the brink of major changes to the world system, and these changes likely will involve a combination of economic, military, political, and civil unrest, with a few major natural disasters thrown in for good measure.  It is, after all, the end of the Shemitah, the seventh, or sabbatical, year in the seven-year cycle the Lord explained to Moses (Exodus 23:10-12; Leviticus 25:1-7; Deuteronomy 15:1-6, 31:9-13).  It is also the time of the fourth Blood Moon of the tetrad we have seen at Passover and Tabernacles over these last two years.  What, if anything, are we to do about all of this?

Happily, there is someone who has undertaken the task of answering that question in a rational, systematic fashion using principles derived straight from the Bible.  We can thank people like Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and Pastor Mark Biltz for bringing the Shemitah cycle to the attention of the world.  Now we can thank Barry L. Miller for helping us understand how to live within that cycle.  That is the message of his book Know the Time, Change Your World:  The Reappearance of the Seven- and Fifty-Year Biblical Cycles.

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Fox Byte 5775 #32-33: Behar (On the Mount); Bechukotai (In My Statutes)

אַחֲרֵי מוֹת / קְדֹשִׁים

The search of the “Interstellar Other” in film.  Clockwise from top left:  A mysterious monolith enlightens pre-human primates in 2001:  A Space Odyssey (“Arthur C. Clarke's 3001 to become SyFy miniseries “, Wired.Co.UK, November 4, 2014); arrival of the alien spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)”, Steven Spielberg Movies, December 18, 2009); crop circles indicate alien activity in Signs (“Signs Movie Review”, MediaCircus.net, 2002); the end of the world according to Knowing (“Movie Review – Knowing”, Firefox.net, March 19, 2009).
The “Interstellar Other” in film.  Clockwise from top left: A mysterious monolith enlightens primates in 2001: A Space Odyssey (“Arthur C. Clarke’s 3001 to become SyFy miniseries“, Wired.Co.UK, November 4, 2014); arrival of the alien spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)”, Steven Spielberg Movies, December 18, 2009); crop circles indicate alien activity in Signs (Signs Movie Review”, Media Circus, 2002); the end of the world according to Knowing (“Movie Review – Knowing, Firefox News, March 19, 2009).

What is this fascination with the possibility of life beyond this planet?  Are we so insecure in our human existence that we cannot bear the thought of dwelling on the only inhabited territory in the entire universe?  Or is it, perhaps, a deep-seated sense of being incomplete in ourselves?  Whatever the reason, since the dawn of human existence we have sought for something, or Someone, beyond ourselves who shares our experience of sentience and can explain it to us.

For over a century the search for the Interstellar Other has found expression in science fiction.  Novelists like H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke have made their marks on several generations of impressionable youth, yet the massive explosion of science fiction onto popular consciousness came not with books, but with movies.  Clarke’s collaboration with Stanley Kubrick in the 1968 film 2001:  A Space Odyssey took science fiction movies to a new level.  It combined world-class writing with world-class filmmaking to proclaim to audiences that we are not alone, but in so doing left more questions than answers.  Ten years later, Steven Spielberg sought to answer some of those questions in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, proposing that the Interstellar Others have been visiting earth for a long, long time, and asserting that humanity had reached a point where these advanced beings could take us into their confidence and educate us further.  Movies produced over the next generation investigated different aspects of this question.  Some, like M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 thriller, Signs, explored the dark possibility that alien visitors are not friendly.  Signs clings to the hope that humanity can defend itself from alien intruders, and that the hostile encounter restores a sense of purpose we did not know we had lost.  And then there is Knowing, a 2009 drama in which Dr John Koestler, played by Nicholas Cage, embarks on a search for the meaning behind clues predicting one global disaster after another.  He learns at last that he can do nothing about the disasters; they themselves are clues all-knowing alien watchers have tracked through time to warn humanity about the imminent destruction of our planet in a massive solar flare.  The aliens have no intention of letting the human race pass into extinction.  Their clues guide people like Koestler in gathering children so the aliens can take them to a place of safety where humanity can begin again.

A recurring motif in these science fiction films is the search for meaning behind the evidence of alien presence.  In 2001 the evidence is a mysterious monolith, and in Close Encounters it is the connection of unexplainable phenomena across the globe.  In Signs it is the appearance of crop circles, and in Knowing it is the incomprehensible code of numbers and letters scratched by a child and left in a time capsule.  The story tellers would have us believe that the answers to human existence are all there if we can only decipher the patterns.

The science fiction story tellers are correct in that an Interstellar Other has left patterns for us to decipher.  What they have missed is that the Interstellar Other is the Holy One of Israel.  His clues are in Torah, and His answers are in the rest of Scripture.

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Do All Roads Lead to September?

"Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" Viktor M. Vasnetsov
“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
Viktor M. Vasnetsov

Is the world as we know it about to change?  How is it about to change?  And when is this change going to happen?

To the first question I respond with an unqualified yes.  To the second I can only say, “In ways that no one expects – not even the most careful and prayerful observers.”  Regarding the third question, I submit that it is changing even now.  As a historian, political scientist, and former military professional, I can assert that the global political, economic, and military system of planet is undergoing a massive realignment such as has not occurred since World War I, and most likely not since the advent of the modern nation-state system in the 17th century.  That is the subject of two blog series published by The Barking Fox in 2014 (“When Empires Die:  Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I”; and “The Shemitah and the Yovel:  Examining the Relevance of God’s Appointed Times”

One sign of change is that people are now talking more openly about things that until recently were only whispered in secret.  For example, in two weeks a gathering of mature, dedicated, sincere followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), along with a number of reputable Jewish colleagues who do not agree with Yeshua’s Messiaship, are meeting in Israel to discuss how the growing Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement among non-Jewish believers is part of YHVH’s promised restoration of the “Lost Ten Tribes” of Ephraim (Northern Israel).  Such a thing would have been laughable a few short years ago, but now there is genuine reason to believe the prophesied restoration of the entire nation of Israel is in motion.

That is a happy example of these changes now discussed openly.  A not-so-happy example comes from what would be considered “conspiracy theory”.  Is a global conspiracy about to enthrone a totalitarian regime that will bring down the nations of the world, and our personal freedoms as well?  If so, what are we to do?  Or can we do anything?

I have paid some attention to these rumors of conspiracy over the years in the interest of seeing whether there is any substance to them.  Perhaps there is.  What is certain is that events in the United States and elsewhere in the world are moving in directions that have brought great concern among people I respect and consider knowledgeable.  Recently I have had conversations with family, friends, and associates that indicate they are all watching developments and wondering what it all means.  I have no specific answers, but I can pass on something that might help.  Bonnie Harvey of Hebrew Nation News has published an article which looks at several streams of reporting on events that seem to point to a culmination point of some kind this coming September.  Is there any substance to this?  Let the informed and prayerful reader decide.

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The Shemitah and The Yovel:  Examining The Relevance of God’s Appointed Times, Part VIII

Walking Through The Open Gate

The Vision of the Dry Bones is the most graphic illustration of God's promised restoration of the Kingdom of Israel.  The establishment of the State of Israel opened the way for Judah (the Jewish portion of Israel) to return to the land, but to the way for Ephraim (Northern Israel) is only now beginning to open.  (Ezekiel's Vision, The Coloured Picture Bible for Children, available on Mannkind Perspectives.)
The Vision of the Dry Bones is the most graphic illustration of God’s promised restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. The establishment of the State of Israel opened the way for Judah (the Jewish portion of Israel) to return to the land, but to the way for Ephraim (Northern Israel) has remained closed until now. (Ezekiel’s Vision, The Coloured Picture Bible for Children, available on Mannkind Perspectives.)

An Enduring Standard

We see from Scripture that the Creator’s processes are lengthy, thorough, and often completely different from what humans desire or expect.  This should not be a surprise.  YHVH says quite plainly that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  Nevertheless, He does tell us what we need to know, and He reveals things at the appointed times to those who bother to seek Him.  What we often learn is that the answer has been there all along, but we have never understood it correctly until the right time and until we approach with the right heart.  When it comes to the purpose of the Lord’s processes regarding His people Israel, the answer has been staring at us for about 3,000 years.  He spoke it through Moses to prepare the people for their first great meeting with Him at Sinai:

In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.  When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain.  Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:  You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.  Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”  (Exodus 19:1-6 NASB, emphasis added)

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