Tag Archive | Prophets

Counting the Omer 5779/2019 #21

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.

Counting the Omer 5779/2019 #15

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.

Fox Byte 5775 #2: Noach (Rest)

נֹחַ

Darren Aronofsky made a valiant effort to tell the story of Noah in a fashion worthy of Hollywood.  His 2014 film, starring Russell Crowe as Noah, certainly has its flaws.  No one would dispute that the filmmakers took considerable liberties with the biblical account.  Nevertheless, this telling of the story captures something that people often overlook:  Noah, like all the rest of us, walked hesitantly through life trying to understand what he had been created and commissioned to do.  With the hindsight of four millennia we assume that our Creator held a conversation with Noah at the start of the project in which He explained everything that Noah needed to know about the task of saving humanity in a giant boat.  And yet Russell Crowe’s portrayal is something entirely different.  He shows us a very human Noah who, like us, hears from the Lord only imperfectly, and must move forward one step at a time as he receives additional information through various means, including the wise counsel of his elders.  And there is something else:  we learn that Noah and the people with him were active participants in the story, and that the outcome very much depended on their decisions and actions.  The Lord God indeed had a plan, and an ideal way for that plan to be implemented, but then, as now, it is imperfect human beings who shape and carry out that plan.

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Fox Byte 5775 #1: Beresheet (In The Beginning)

בְרֵאשִׁת

This is the first Shabbat (Sabbath) of a new Torah cycle.  Each year, Jews and Messianic believers in Yeshua go through the Torah (the Books of Moses) and the Haftorah (selected passages from the other books of the Tanakh (Old Testament)) in weekly portions.  The portion for this week is Beresheet, “In the Beginning”.

After losing the French and Indian War, France chose to trade all of Canada and Louisiana for the small island of Guadeloupe.

After losing the French and Indian War, France chose to trade all of Canada and Louisiana for the small island of Guadeloupe.

The world’s first truly global conflict, known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War and in America as the French and Indian War, was a disaster for France.  By the war’s end in 1763, France had ceded the vast territories of Canada and Louisiana to England and Spain.  And yet it was not a complete disaster; the Treaty of Paris which ended the war left France with its most prized possession:  the Caribbean sugar island of Guadeloupe.  Great Britain had won control over both Guadeloupe and Canada during the war, and in the peace negotiations the British deemed Canada more strategically valuable to their empire.  But Guadeloupe had proven more valuable economically, producing more income for France than all the fur collected by trappers and traders in Canada, and all the sugar produced by Britain’s own island colonies.  King Louis XV, therefore, was quite willing to trade a vast empire for this small island.

A similar transaction appears in Scripture, when the Lord explains what He is ready to do to redeem a people He deems more valuable than all the nations of the earth:

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Trumpets For All Israelites: Why the High Holy Days Are More than Just “Jewish” Feasts

Blowing the Shofar is the central observance of the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is the "Jewish New Year" (Rosh HaShanah).  (Blowing the Shofar - The Nahmias Cipher Report.)

Blowing the Shofar is the central observance of the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is the “Jewish New Year” (Rosh HaShanah). (Blowing the Shofar – The Nahmias Cipher Report.)

The “Jewish” High Holy Days begin at sundown on September 24, 2014[1], with Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets.  It is also called Rosh HaShanah, the Head of the Year.  Many people call it the “Jewish New Year”.  But what exactly is this festive day?  And should Christians even care about this “Jewish” holiday?

According to Hebrew understanding, Yom Teruah is the day God completed His work of creation by making human beings, the crowning achievement of His work.  In the agricultural cycle of the Ancient Near East, where the Bible was written, this day points toward completion of the growing season when the long-expected “latter rains” come.  It is the completion of the civil year, a tradition even the United States government has adopted.  These are all good reasons for God to command His people to set this day apart by blowing trumpets and observing a special Sabbath day of rest.

Yet there are some confusing things about Yom Teruah.  This “Head of the Year” happens on the first day of the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar.  One would expect that the New Year would be in the first month, but God Himself directed that the first month would be in the spring (Exodus 12:1-2).  That month, called Nisan or Abib in Hebrew, is the month of three great feasts of the Lord:  Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.  In that time long ago God delivered His people Israel from bondage in Egypt.  Yet the First Month is not the same as the Head of the Year in the Seventh Month, Tishrei.  Both months have prophetic significance according to God’s plan for the redemption and restoration of His creation.  Through the Feasts celebrated in these months the Lord tells a prophetic story.  In the First Month He redeems and delivers His people, and in the Seventh He restores them.  One might say He is pressing the reset button to get things back to the way they were before sin caused all this trouble.  But why is this “Jewish” feast of Yom Teruah, or any of these “Jewish” feasts, important to Christians?

The answer to that is quite simple:  These are not Jewish feasts.

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Fox Byte #21: Pretend Soldiers

Three warriors who bent the rules to fight for their countries in time of war:  Calvin Graham, 12-year-old US Navy veteran of World War II; Frances Clalin Clayton, aka Jack Williams, who enlisted as a man in the US Army during the American Civil War; and Hua Mulan, who served in the army of ancient China in place of her aged father.

Three warriors who bent the rules to fight for their countries in time of war:  Calvin Graham, 12-year-old US Navy veteran of World War II; Frances Clalin Clayton, aka Jack Williams, who enlisted as a man in the US Army during the American Civil War; and Hua Mulan, who served in the army of ancient China in place of her aged father.

Now we come to something very important.  We should want to produce “good fruit” and store up treasure in heaven, but just doing good things is not enough.  Going through the motions to do good things because they seem right, or because someone told us to do them, or to impress someone, or for any reason other than what God explained really does no good at all.  And what did God say?  That is another question someone asked Yeshua.  He answered it this way:

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment,  And the second is like it:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 22:34-40 NKJV)

Love, then, should be our motivation – love of God, and love of other people.  The Apostle Paul said as much when he wrote, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Galatians 5:14 NKJV)  But then we come to another question:  What is love?

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Fox Byte #20:  About Those Heavenly Treasures

"Quandary" Michael Belk, Journeys with the Messiah (obtained through Pinterest)

Quandary
Michael Belk, Journeys with the Messiah (obtained through Pinterest)

If we are to take Yeshua at His word, then His expectations of us to produce “good fruit” means that somehow we are to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.  But what does that mean?  Obviously it means making God our priority in life, or at least starting by placing Him higher on our priority list.  That’s what relationship with Him is all about.  Yeshua can help us understand this.  Once a young man came to ask Him about that very subject.  He wanted to know how he could “inherit eternal life”.  Here is what Yeshua told him:

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack:  Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  (Mark 10:21-22 NKJV)

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The Apostle Paul Revisited: Paul’s Argument with Jesus, Part I

This is the first of a series comparing the words of Yeshua and Paul regarding the Law (Torah) of God.

Should God Have The Last Word?

A very strange thing happens when I encounter others who share with me a testimony of faith in Jesus Christ (Messiah Yeshua), but do not share the same regard for all the commandments of the Lord.  These brothers and sisters do have regard for His commandments, but draw a line at things like observing Sabbath on the day God specified, keeping the Feasts of the Lord, and eating only the foods God placed on the menu.  The strange thing is the reactions that come with the understanding that we have disagreement on these points.  Sometimes the reaction is silence, as if some of the brethren just want to make the issue go away by ignoring it.  Sometimes they react in disbelief, wondering how I can be “bound up” in all that old Law.  This perception of the Law, or Torah[1]as bondage comes from what people think they know of Judaism and of the Jewish practices Yeshua and the Apostles addressed in the Scriptures.  For example, one person indicated she considered it bondage to legalism when a Jewish friend of hers had to cut short a phone conversation to prepare for Sabbath.  There is a vast difference between what God commanded about Sabbath and the excessive regulations added by Rabbinical Judaism, but I wonder if by the standard of  this particular example it is also legalism to cut short a phone conversation to prepare for church on Sunday.

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When the Bear Arises: Ukraine’s Crisis and the Fate of Messianic Believers

And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear.  It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.  And they said thus to it: “Arise, devour much flesh!”  (Daniel 7:5 NKJV)

Misha the Bear extinguishes the Olympic flame, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Misha the Bear extinguishes the Olympic flame, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The stirring rendition of Russia’s national anthem during the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi continues to echo through my mind.  And yet the image of eager, innocent Russian children singing the praises of their Motherland, carries with it a haunting question:  why must the best national hymns belong to the world’s most aggressive empires?[1]

As if the world needed more proof of this, the Olympic athletes had hardly left Sochi before Russia was pressing its weight on neighboring Ukraine in support of a popularly-elected, but corrupt, president.[2]  As events of the past week have shown, the issue now is not whether Russia will intervene in Ukraine, but when or if Russia will leave Ukraine to work out its own problems.  Speaking as a historian and student of such things, it seems that there are only a few key questions facing the international community: Please click here to continue reading

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