This week The Barking Fox celebrates one year since entering the blogosphere. It is exciting to see how many places this blog has reached thanks to the miracles of modern technology, but it is even more exciting to consider the many people I have encountered through the blog and related activities. One of those people is Ken Rank of United 2 Restore. I first heard of Ken last spring through the video he made with Hanoch Young on the reunification of Judah and Ephraim. Since then I have enjoyed reading his posts on Facebook and elsewhere, and have appreciated the work he and Hanoch are doing to raise awareness of the connection Jews and Christians share as Israelites. In fact, that connection is at the root of the theme for The Barking Fox in 2015. In this coming year, the Fox will ask the same question the Apostles asked Yeshua during their last conversation with Him: “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) The answer we seem to be hearing these days is that the restoration depends on where we pin our identity. And that is exactly what Ken addresses in this short article.
This paper was presented on September 8, 2012 at a conference hosted jointly by Healing Tree International and Israel Arise at Hershey, PA, and again on May 25, 2013, at a fellowship hosted by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations in Franklin, TN.
Most people have experience the peculiar phenomenon of the pink elephant in the living room, that awkward situation in which a group of people are confronted with an obvious, but uncomfortable, issue. Because it is obvious everyone knows or suspects what the others are thinking, yet because it is uncomfortable no one is willing to address it. Therefore the issue goes unresolved and the relationships within the group, however cordial, remain tense, fragile, and shallow.
My purpose is to address the pink elephants that keep Jews and Christians from cooperating in a spirit of mutual trust and support, touching on areas of disagreement and misunderstanding that have bedeviled us for centuries. The intent is not to pour salt old wounds, but to move through the uncomfortable territory and arrive at common ground where we may stand together as one people united in the service of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This journey is beset with many openings for offense. Given the likelihood that I shall stray into one of those openings, I ask in advance for pardon, for no offense is intended. I am confident that if we persevere together, we will overcome the awkwardness and find the common ground which we desperately need in this critical hour.
I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing. (Hosea 8:12 NKJV)
It would seem that God’s words through the prophet have direct application to us modern followers of Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach). Even though our God has recorded many great things both in His Law (Torah) given through Moses and in the Prophets, Christians tend to avoid those books of the Bible. Whether it is fear of “the Law” and potential legalism associated with observing it, or a perception that the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures, or Tanakh) does not carry the same weight as the New Testament (Apostolic Scriptures), there is a definite lack of understanding of the first two thirds of the Bible. This is a great tragedy, chiefly because it robs us of much blessing, including understanding of our identity as the seed of Abraham, spiritual depth, and fruitfulness in our walk of faith in Messiah.