Counting the Omer is keeping the commandment to count 50 days (seven Sabbaths plus one day) between the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest (often called First Fruits) until the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-21). This year The Barking Fox is counting the omer with modern pictures of people named in the Bible.
© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2019. 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.
In the summer of 1982 I crossed the Pacific Ocean for the first time to spend some time in Japan and China. The occasion was a Christian missions trip. After six weeks of ministry work in Tokyo, we concluded the trip with a few days of sightseeing in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Beijing. I thoroughly enjoyed China, but it was somewhat surreal walking around Tiananmen Square, through the Forbidden City, and over the Great Wall. As one of my companions said at the time, we wouldn’t fully realize until we were back home in America that we had been all the way on the other side of the world.My companion was right. We don’t appreciate experiences at the time nearly as much as we appreciate them years later, when we can see the impact they had on us and how they shaped the course of our lives. It’s the same with people. We don’t know how important they have been to us until years later. Maybe even decades or centuries later, when the full tale of their story can be considered in context.
The full tale of Billy Graham’s impact on my life is not yet told, but I have an idea what it encompasses now, nearly 50 years after I first saw him. That occasion was in the spring of 1972, during his second visit to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. It was just before my 11th birthday, and I had no idea at the time what a tremendous effect Reverend Graham had already exerted on my city. For some reason, my parents deemed it best to shield us from the momentous societal transformations wrought by the Civil Rights Movement. All I knew in my childhood was that Billy Graham, like me, was a Southern Baptist, that he loved Jesus like I did, and that he was a very important preacher. I did not know that it was he who insisted on having an integrated choir in his first crusade in my divided city in 1964, and that the crowd gathered at Legion Field in that year was the largest integrated audience in Birmingham history. He addressed a deep, deep wound with the healing admonition of Jesus Christ – one of many ministers of reconciliation the Almighty used in that era to right grievous wrongs, curb the worst of abuses, and prepare the next generation to carry the progress forward.
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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.
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:
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:
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.
It may be that the two most controversial aspects of Yeshua’s life are those at the beginning and end: his birth by a virgin mother, and his resurrection after death. Those of us who believe he is the Messiah, and that Messiah must of necessity be a manifestation of YHVH in the flesh, accept the truth of these two events. Those who do not accept his identity as the divine Messiah do not accept these two aspects of his life either.
But what if the Torah required that these two things be so? Would it make a difference if the Law, Teachings, and Commandments of God as given through Moses established the necessity of a Messiah who had come directly from God? Let’s set aside the resurrection for a moment and think about the virgin birth. The following study by Jeremy Chance Springfield presents a comprehensive and compelling case for a Torah-based requirement that Messiah be born of a virgin. Take a careful look and ponder this.
Jeremy Chance Springfield
Originally posted on Random Groovy Bible Facts, June 1, 2015
The virgin birth of the Messiah is a doctrine heavily promoted in Christianity. It is considered a foundational teaching about the Redeemer. How odd it is, therefore, to find that almost exclusively, there is only ever one passage in all of the Hebrew Scriptures that Christianity brings forth to substantiate the claim that the Messiah must be born of a virgin woman. That verse is found in Isaiah 7:14.
Most translations contain the term “virgin” in this verse. The text actually uses the Hebrew term ALMAH, meaning “young woman,” and not specifically “virgin.” It is with this detail that Judaism takes issue concerning the concept of a virgin miraculously conceiving and bearing a son who would be the Messiah. The believer in the virgin birth need not be too entirely distressed at this detail of the meaning of the term, however, since every usage of ALMAH in the Hebrew Scriptures appears to be in a context of a young, unmarried female – a detail that would be assumed to refer to a virginal status in the Hebrew mindset.
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© 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.
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.
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.
Thinking is hard. If it were not hard, then more people would do it.
In truth, all of us prefer to remain in our comfort zones, where familiar things surround us – including familiar answers to questions and familiar solutions to familiar problems. Most likely this preference for the familiar, the things we know and can deal with well enough, is a big reason few people take an active role in making the way for Messiah to come.
That last statement is bound to generate opposition. Those who view it from the Christian side (including Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers) will say that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) is the Messiah (Christ means Messiah, by the way), that he has come once, and that he will be coming back. Those who approach from the Jewish side say that Messiah is yet to come. The point of this article is not to address either perspective, but to consider something both have in common: the faithful expectation that Messiah Son of David is coming as King of Israel to rule the nations from Zion.
If we all have this common expectation, then it would be wise to consider what that future Messianic realm will look like. Maybe we should even consider what we have to do to make it happen.
This is where we run into the hard part. We have to think about it, and that is scary and uncomfortable. Those of us who have come from the Christian side have lived our lives expecting Messiah to return and fix everything. According to our expectations, there is no effort required on our part to bring him here; he just shows up one day according to some predetermined timetable God established from the beginning. To think, like our Jewish brethren, that we have responsibility for creating the conditions for Messiah’s coming (or return) requires a major paradigm shift. It means we must step out in faith and do things that we usually leave up to God alone.
But then, that is the consistent testimony of Scripture –
- Noah had to do things to secure the salvation of his family (such as think about how to follow the instructions God gave him to build that very large boat, and then actually do the work).
- Abraham had to do things to receive the promises God gave him (such as pack up and leave comfortable, civilized Mesopotamia, and go to a hostile foreign land – first in Syria, and then in Canaan).
- Moses had to do things to receive God’s instructions for the nation of Israel (such as walk to Egypt, then convince the elders of the people that God had spoken to him, and then seek an audience with Pharaoh – and that was only the beginning of the work he had to do!)
There are many more examples summarized in Hebrews 11. The people in that “Hall of Faith” chapter deserve praise not because they sat around waiting for God to move, but because they got up and did the moving themselves in response to God’s promises. As they moved, He provided direction, resources, help from others, and miraculous intervention when necessary. Yet would YHVH have done so if they had not invested their own blood, sweat, treasure, and intellectual effort?
Probably not. In fact, when God’s people sat around waiting for Him to move, He had to take extreme action just to get them off their backsides and into motion! We see that in the record of the apostles. Even though Yeshua had told them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, they were content to remain in Jerusalem until God raised up a man named Saul of Tarsus who forced them out (see Acts 8).
Which brings us to the dilemma of the present day. Are we really at the “end of the age”, when Messiah is about to show up? If so, what does that mean? More importantly, what are we to do about it? How do we prepare for Messiah’s reign in what will be a very real Kingdom centered in a very real place called Jerusalem? What will this Kingdom look like? How will it resemble what we know today in the modern nation-state system? How will it be different?
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.
Actually, we’re not really in the middle. Most of us have opted out of Christmas and opted into Hannukah. Not because we have rejected Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), mind you. We understand that His birth happened in the fall, most likely at the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah in modern Jewish practice) rather than in December. We also understand that all the Feasts of the Lord presented in Leviticus 23 are connected to Messiah’s redemptive and restorative work for the nation of Israel and all the world.
The fact is, we celebrate Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Matzot), Firstfruits (Yom Habikkurim), Pentecost (Shavuot), Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles (Sukkot) because God established them and called on His people to observe them “as a statute forever”. That’s different from Christmas, which is a human tradition rather than a Divine decree. Christmas is a Christianization of the old festivals our ancestors celebrated in honor of other gods before they learned about the One True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have learned that our Messiah is Jewish, which is why we prefer to follow His example rather than the traditions which overshadowed and obscured His Jewishness and the Hebraic origins of our faith.
One might argue that Hannukah is a tradition as well. Indeed it is, but it is rooted firmly in history as a tale of our God’s salvation of His people in a time of great distress. Why is it not in the Bible? Well, it is, in some canons. The Catholic Bible still has 1st and 2nd Maccabees, the books that tell the Hannukah story. There is also a mention of it in the New Testament: John 10:22 tells us that Yeshua was in the Temple during the Feast of Dedication, which is another name for Hannukah. The point is, the origin of Hannukah is no less real and no less miraculous than the origin of Purim as recorded in the book of Esther. Our Jewish brethren established both feasts to commemorate the provision of the Almighty and His faithfulness to His covenant. Is there a better reason to celebrate?
What is happening on the reservations and in the hearts of First Nations people across this continent? The people the world has known as American Indians have always been deeply spiritual. Many of them have cultural memories and prophecies that prepared them for the gospel of redemption brought by Christians over the centuries. Sadly, that same Christian message of freedom in Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) was accompanied by a less-than-charitable perception among European Americans that native ways were unredeemable and had to be eradicated. The results were predictable, and tragic – and have hindered the progress of American Natives toward their own redemptive destiny in the Kingdom plans of the Creator.
See what God is doing today in the hearts of First Nations people. A new documentary reveals this in a dramatic way. Here is the trailer for Awakened: The Spiritual Destiny of the First Americans –
To learn more, and to purchase the entire film by DVD or streaming video, visit the Awakened website at: