Tag Archive | New Covenant

Resurrection of the Leprous Prodigal

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy  (Wikimedia Commons)

Those who have leprosy might as well be dead.  Never mind that the disease we call leprosy today may or may not be one of the skin diseases meant by the Hebrew word tzara’at (צָרַעַת).  The fact is, whoever had it was cut off from the community:

Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, “Unclean!  Unclean!”  He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.  (Leviticus 13:45-46 NKJV)

Think about that for a moment.  Lepers could not go home.  They could not have any kind of normal relationship with their family members, friends, business associates, or anyone else with whom they interacted before the cursed condition fell upon them.  It did not matter what station of life the leper occupied; whether peasant or king, the disease cut them off from the life of the nation.  Even mighty King Uzziah of Judah learned that.  Although he reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem, the leprosy he contracted in the midst of his reign meant that he was king in name only:

King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.  He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.  Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.  (II Chronicles 26:21 NKJV)

How can a person shepherd the people of God when he is cut off from the House of God?  Is there any hope for him, or for the people he is anointed to lead?

Yes, there is hope.  That is why the Torah portion Metzora (The Leper; Leviticus 14:1-15:33) provides elaborate detail on the procedures for cleansing lepers.  Once healed, the priests help them through this process to restore them to their place in society.  In a certain sense, this is a resurrection from a type of death, and thus it is a symbol of what Messiah will do. 

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Picture of the Week 04/21/17

We assume that the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son was the one with the birthright, but what if the father had given it to the younger brother? If that’s the case, then redemption takes on a whole new level of meaning.


© 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.

Pictures for Pondering II

Connecting the dots in Scripture can be lots of fun – and challenging. The fun part is the “Aha!” moment when something finally makes sense. The challenging part is when that “Aha!” moment presents a different picture from what we have learned all our lives. Do we take that new revelation and run with it, knowing it can make waves, or do we set it aside and hope that it never comes up again?

This second offering of Pictures for Pondering may be a challenge. As with the first edition, posted last spring, these are images from Bible passages prepared originally for posting on YouVersion (the Bible App). The first edition presented some interesting perspectives on the Kingdom of Heaven, Law and Grace, and prophecy, but also some whimsical illustrations. This time there is an attempt at a unifying theme. Part of the challenge is identifying that theme. The other part is investigating it from Scripture to see if it is so.

Good hunting!

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Remembering ALL Our Roots

This is a season of reflection at The Barking Fox.  Part of the reason is getting settled at last in our new home in North Carolina.  There is no hiding the fact that I am a Southern boy, with roots growing to a depth of 200 years in Alabama and nearly three centuries in the Carolinas.  Hopefully I will have opportunity to explore those roots and share any findings that would be of interest to others.

bfb160918-keith-greenWhat has reminded me of a central part of my roots has been the opportunity to listen to worship music that has ministered to my soul for as long as I have been on this earth. Recently I shared one of those songs by the late Keith Green.  Now I share another:  an old hymn made new again as I pondered its meaning.  

In the Baptist Hymnal on my bookshelf its is called There Is a Fountain.  The lyrics come not only from Scripture (Zechariah 13:1), but from the life experience of William Cowper, an Englishman who penned these words in the same era that my Scottish-American ancestors began their contribution to the history of this continent. 

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away

Ever since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

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News About the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress

The First B’ney Yosef National Congress convened nearly a year and a half ago, at the end of May 2015.  That means it is about time that we should hear news of the Second Congress.  Since the beginning of this year we have known that the Second Congress would take place October 26-31 at the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in Ariel, Israel.  Now, at last, planning has begun!  The following post is from Etz B’ney Yosef, the official site of the Congress.  Here are details on the direction this historic gathering will take as Ephraimites from around the world assemble to consider the next steps in the global awakening of Israel’s northern tribes.


BFB160816 BYC Banner

Second B’ney Yosef National Congress

Wednesday evening, October 26, through Sunday evening, October 30, 2016

Originally published on Etz B’ney Yosef

BFB160816 Families LogoThe purpose of last year’s (our first) B’ney Yosef National Congress was to explore ideas on how to reconstitute ourselves as the nation (stick) of Yosef (Ephraim) prior to attempting to unite with Judah. (See Ezekiel 37:15-38)  If you attended last year’s Congress, then you can attest to the fact that YHVH was certainly present at the gathering and that we were all greatly blessed by the experience.  Although there were many outcomes from the meeting, two of the most important were:

  • For the restoration of the House of Yosef to proceed, we must first have a change of heart.  Ephraim must repent of the desire to rule the house of Jacob; he must humbly return as a servant and not aspire to a kingly position.  His role is a New Covenant “priestly” one, to bring righteousness to the House of YHVH/Jacob through the New Covenant established by his High Priest and Redeemer, Yeshua the Messiah.
  • We must approach one another as well as our brother Judah in true humility, recognizing our position as the Prodigal Son who is being graciously received by his Father (Luke 15:11-32).  We need to see our position through the eyes of our brother, who has a long list of grievances against us which need to be forgiven.

The ripple effect of last year’s Congress cannot be ignored.  As mentioned above, there were very positive responses and outcomes, but also negative ones which came to the fore, accentuating real problems that exist within the Ephraimite community.  Hence, we believe that during this coming gathering we should examine our hearts through the lenses of relevant scriptures, and hear what the Spirit is saying to the “kehila of Israel’s Northern house” regarding those matters that historically and currently are still at work, as well as discover together where Abba is at in the process of the re-gathering.  We definitely do not want to lag behind, but also not to run ahead of Him.

The theme of this year’s Congress is:

Family Reunion

Last year we met many of our brothers from the House of Yosef for the first time and found out we were related!  God has miraculously called us to be part of His family.  This year, we need to get to know our family members better and strengthen our personal relationships so that we can begin to come together as a nation.

Here is a list of some of the topics we will explore at the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress:

  • Ephraim’s history that led to their expulsion from the land and their divorce from YHVH
  • Trace the path that led to the Northern Kingdom’s sin and examine the root cause
  • Discuss how to repent of these acts and if necessary do it
  • Examine defining moments in the life of Israel as a nation and as a people
  • Examine Ephraim’s role as a priesthood
  • Learn about our relatives spread throughout the world
  • Hear reports of B’ney Yosef activities from the various countries represented
  • Compare notes, learning what works and what doesn’t

There will be presenters for each main topic and then breakout round table discussion and/or prayer sessions.

If you sense that Elohim is calling you to be an active participant in the restoration of the northern kingdom of Israel, the House of Yosef, this Second B’ney Yosef National Congress may be beneficial and meaningful for you.

If you are interested please contact:  amephraimchai@gmail.com

Committed to the Restoration of the Whole House of Israel

Source: Etz B’ney Yosef – Congress


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2016.  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.

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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Finding Israelite Identity in the New Covenant

©Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Used by permission.

ReverendFun.com.  © Harper Collins Christian Publishing.  Used by permission.

Language is a perilous thing.  It can unite us, but quite often it does the opposite.  That, by the way, was God’s intent.  We know that from the story of how He created the different languages of the earth as presented in Genesis 11:

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.  It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.”  And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.  They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”  The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.  The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language.  And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”  So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.  (Genesis 11:1-9 NASB, emphasis added)

Ever since then that curse of language has been with us.  And, by the way, so has the curse of nations.

Curse of nations?  Yes, it does seem to be a curse.  It would seem that the Lord did not intend for humanity to be scattered and separated across the face of the planet in competing factions.  Nevertheless, nations were His idea.  The story of the Tower of Babel explains why.  You’ll notice that mankind also had an idea of uniting themselves as one people, but their idea was not the same as the Almighty’s.  They wanted to be a single, unified power that could challenge YHVH for sovereignty over this planet.  Since these people lived in the generations immediately after the Great Flood, we can suppose that some of them harbored a little resentment at God’s destruction of the pre-Flood civilization.  Maybe they thought they could do things better than their ancestors, perhaps by building a strong defense that could ward off any further Divine intervention in human affairs.  Now since our God does not change (Numbers 23:19; I Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8), and since the eternal governing principles of the universe which He established do not change (Psalm 119:44; II Kings 17:37; Matthew 5:18, 24:34-35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33), He had to do something about this blatant rebellion.  There can only be one God, after all. 

The problem with sin is that it seeks to create many gods – in fact, as many as there are human beings on the earth.  That is at the heart of Satan’s insidious deception spoken to our mother Eve:  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  (Genesis 3:5 NASB)  Tragically, the way our Creator dealt with the deception before the Flood was to destroy humanity.  I would surmise He had little choice in the matter since all of humanity apparently was united as a single people, most likely under satanic leadership (not unlike the world we are anticipating at the end of this age when Messiah returns).  To make sure He did not have to make a complete end of the human race this time around, the Lord God created nations and then scattered them across the earth.  If they were divided in language, they would soon be divided in every other imaginable way, and the resultant wars and rumors of wars would ensure that a united human empire would not arise to defy the Living God until the end of days.  In the meantime the Living God could go about the process of cultivating His redemptive work in human hearts while they remained in the nations.

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What is Torah Anyway?

Présentation de la Loi (Presentation of the Law), by Edouard Moyse (Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme via Wikimedia Commons)

Présentation de la Loi (Presentation of the Law), by Edouard Moyse (Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme via Wikimedia Commons)

Let us think about language for a moment.  There are many people around the world who consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ, but who prefer to call Him by His Hebrew name, Yeshua, and by His Hebrew title, Messiah (Moshiach, the Hebrew term for Christ).  These people may be classified as Messianic Jews if they are Jewish, but most of them are not.  They are non-Jews, people whom others would call Gentiles, but who resist that term because they understand that their faith in Messiah Yeshua takes them out of the category of “Gentile” (meaning “of the nations”) and into the category of “Hebrew” (עִבְרִי, Strongs H5680).  The term “Hebrew” derives from the father of our faith, Abraham the Hebrew (Genesis 14:13), the man who answered YHVH’s call to cross over the Euphrates River and leave his homeland in Mesopotamia to inherit the Promised Land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-9).  According to the Apostle Paul, everyone who acquires new life offered by the grace of YHVH through faith in Messiah Yeshua similarly crosses over from death to life and inherits the identity of a son or daughter of Abraham (Ephesians 2:1-21; Galatians 3:1-29).  For that reason, these non-Jewish Yeshua followers are rightly called “Hebrews”, or “Hebrew Roots believers”.  They are also entitled to the identity of “Israelites”, because Israel is the name of the nation YHVH established through Abraham’s descendants.

We would not call these people Christians in the traditional sense because they have left behind many of the characteristics of Christianity.  Make no mistake, they have not walked away from Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of their faith, nor have they walked away from the New Testament as Scripture delivered by Holy God to humanity through His designated messengers.  They merely prefer to call Jesus Yeshua, and to refer to the New Testament as the Apostolic Writings, or by the Hebrew term Brit Chadashah (New Covenant).  For that reason it is incorrect to classify these persons as Jews.  For one thing, they are not born Jewish and do not claim any physical descent from Jewish ancestors.  For another, they have no desire to convert to Judaism, which really would require leaving Jesus behind.  They see themselves as part of the nation, commonwealth, and kingdom of Israel along with Jews and Christians.  This commonwealth exists because of three things:

  1. Our mutual faith in YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
  2. Our adherence to the same body of Scripture (well, everything from Genesis to Malachi at least);
  3. Our hope in the same Messiah (even though some do not yet recognize who that Messiah is, and others do not fully understand what Messiah is to do).

Having now defined who we Hebrew Roots believers are, let us consider something of what we believe.  Or, more accurately, what we do not believe.  This is something that requires considerably more attention than this blog post can provide.  The immediate motivation is a post written by my friend Pete Rambo which he titled, “How To:  Building Bridges with the House of Judah”.  Pete has much to say about the issue of language, noting how the use of certain terms can create offense and division simply because they mean different things to different people.  As usual, Pete invited discussion from his readers.  Here is my contribution:

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The Most Interesting Thing I Have Learned This Month

Abraham and Isaac Anthony van Dyck

Abraham and Isaac
Anthony van Dyck

Having walked this path of faith for several decades, I have come to understand that the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not require His people to do anything that He Himself is not prepared to demonstrate by example.  In other words, whatever requirements He places on us in the form of commandments will have some corresponding requirement He has placed on Himself.  For example, in the famous Akedah, the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19), YHVH calls on Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice.  Abraham obeys, and on the way to the place Isaac asks him where the lamb for the burnt offering is.  Abraham answers, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8).  Many centuries later, we find that Messiah Yeshua fulfills that role of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29-36, Revelation 5:1-14), just as prophesied in Isaiah 53.  The holy example is that God Himself gave the His very own Son, withholding nothing to redeem mankind, and therefore demonstrating that those who choose to follow Him must hold nothing back in their obedience to His will.

If this principle of “heavenly reciprocity” is true, then there should be some equivalent to the Lord’s requirement of His people to love Him and love one another.  Yeshua identified these as the two greatest commandments, and the authorities who questioned Him had no disagreement on that point:

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Fox Byte 5776 #4: I’m Still Here

Jim Hawkins (voice by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) learns about the stars from John Silver (Brian Murray) in Treasure Planet, the 2002 Disney adaptation of Treasure Island. (Photo: Rotton Tomatoes)

Jim Hawkins (voice by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) learns about the stars from John Silver (Brian Murray) in Treasure Planet, the 2002 Disney adaptation of Treasure Island. (Photo: Rotten Tomatoes)

If Treasure Island is any indication, a young person’s transition to adulthood has always been awkward and painful.  At least it was so in the 1880s when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his story for boys.  Stevenson’s adolescent hero, Jim Hawkins, has resonated with youth ever since.  What boy does not dream of adventure, travelling to exotic places, deciphering mysteries, and overcoming danger?  Such dreams have motivated boys for millennia in the hope that they can find their courage and discover their place in life.  If the opportunities are not forthcoming then boys will invent them, if for no other reason than to establish a place for themselves in their own minds and, hopefully, in the minds of their peers.

So it is with Jim Hawkins.  As the son of an innkeeper he has little hope of adventure until a strange turn of events sets him on a hazardous sea voyage in search of hidden pirate gold.  Jim proves to be the hero, thwarting the mutinous plot of rebellious sailors led by Long John Silver, saving the lives of the captain and loyal crew members, and discovering the treasure.  Not bad for an 18th century version of an underprivileged wayward teen.

Stevenson could not have envisioned the retelling of his story as a space travel adventure in which his hero is not merely underprivileged, but rebellious, sullen, introverted, and destined for a life at odds with society.  That is the Jim Hawkins of Treasure Planet, the 2002 animated feature by Walt Disney Pictures.  This space age Jim reflects the jaded, self-absorbed youth of the post-modern world.  We follow Jim’s transformation from wide-eyed, joyful toddler to embittered youth.  It is not a transformation he undertakes willingly.  It is not his fault that his parents quarrel, but he suffers incalculably on the morning his father walks out.  In an instant Jim is abandoned by the one person who could set him on the right course, leaving him to cast about for someone or something to give him purpose.  In time Long John Silver the pirate fills that role as the two of them develop a relationship that proves redemptive for them both.  There is a happy ending after all, but not without anguish along the way.

Jim’s angst is the subject of I’m Still Here, a song written for the film by John Rzeznik.  It is an anthem for an alienated generation which does not know its identity.  Cast adrift to find their own answers, these young people feel (with some justification) that their elders would rather they remain silent and invisible until they are able to join the adult world.  Yet how are they to do so if no one makes the effort to guide them?  Thus the youth have only two alternatives:  either despair and end their miserable lives, or hang on in defiance against all expectations.  Rzeznik’s lyrics tell us the option Jim Hawkins selects:

And you see the thing they never see,
All you wanted, I could be,
Now you know me, and I’m not afraid,
And I wanna tell you who I am,
Can you help me be a man? ,
They can’t break me,
As long as I know who I am.

The song ends with Jim’s defiant, yet hopeful, refrain, “I’m still here!”  His defiance is not unlike Job’s defiance in the face of what he perceives to be unjust accusations by his friends:

Teach me, and I will be silent; and show me how I have erred.  How painful are honest words!  But what does your argument prove?  Do you intend to reprove my words, when the words of one in despair belong to the wind?  (Job 6:24-26 NASB)

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