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.
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.
Second B’ney Yosef National Congress
Wednesday evening, October 26, through Sunday evening, October 30, 2016
Originally published on Etz B’ney Yosef
The 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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Not that long ago, the men’s Bible study I am blessed to attend spent several months going through the Gospel of Mark. One morning we looked in depth at the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-25). Our leader astutely pointed out the words of Yeshua: “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13 NASB) His conclusion, with which I agree, is that this parable is the key to understanding all of Yeshua’s parables, and thus everything He taught. Yet for all our analysis of this parable over the centuries, it seems that we may have missed something very important. What we have been missing dawned on me as we discussed Mark 4 on that day, and as we parted company I asked, “What if this parable is about the restoration of the entire Kingdom of Israel?”
We were not able to investigate that question at that time, but I have pondered it ever since. The applicability of the Parable of the Sower to the Lost Tribes of Israel comes into focus when we consider the prophecy of Hosea. We learn in Hosea’s first chapter that he speaks to the House of Israel, the Northern Kingdom which became the Lost Tribes. Because of their unfaithfulness to YHVH, He judged them by removing them from His Presence and scattering them into the nations. Yet He promised to bring them back to the Land as His people once again, as He said through Hosea:
“It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the LORD. “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, and the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel [“God sows”]. I will sow her [Israel] for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hosea 2:21-23 NASB, emphasis added)
Ephraim [Israel] is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, but I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself. Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:11-12 NASB)
There is much to investigate regarding this connection of the restoration of Israel with the Parable of the Sower. My friend Ken Rank of United2Restore has made a good start by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit in this process. His article is reproduced here from a recent post on Facebook.
There are occasions when a story so compelling meets with a portrayal so moving and produces an effect so profound that it leaves the audience forever changed. Such is the case with The Deer Hunter, the 1978 drama of three young men from Pennsylvania who go to war in Vietnam. Under the direction of Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter won several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and nominations for Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. For me, though, the most deserved award was for Christopher Walken as Best Supporting Actor in his role as Nick. As the story unfolds, Nick and his two friends Michael (De Niro) and Steven (John Savage) are captured by the North Vietnamese. They manage to escape, but only Michael returns home relatively unscathed. Steven survives, but loses his legs and his sanity. Nick never returns and is presumed dead. Yet someone is sending money anonymously to Steven, and Michael suspects it is Nick. He returns to Vietnam looking for his friend, but when he finds him Nick is almost unrecognizable. He has become a star attraction in a Saigon establishment that features nightly contests of Russian Roulette. As “The American” with considerable good luck, Nick piles up gambling profits for his employers, who give him his fair share and keep him supplied with drugs and other “necessities” so he will remain in their care. The only way Michael can reach Nick is by engaging him in a game of Russian Roulette, hoping that as they face death across the table from one another he can help Nick remember his identity and persuade him to come home. As might be expected, the contest ends badly.
In some ways the story of Joseph and his exile to Egypt resembles Nick’s tragic exile in Vietnam. Both men suffer loss of identity and separation from their homeland, and both are forgotten by their family and friends. Happily, though, Joseph’s story comes to a much better ending.
Walking Through The Open Gate
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)