A Revolutionary Turn, Part 1

This is the week that the world turned upside down.

No kidding. It’s the week of what may be the most significant set of anniversaries in modern history. In previous shows, we have talked about the number of important anniversaries happening in 2017. What we haven’t mentioned before today is that many of them happen this week. Consider this list:

  • October 31, 1517: Beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a shaking of Christianity that is still going on today, and which has had incalculable impact on the Jewish people and the restoration of all Israel.
  • October 31, 1917: Battle of Beersheba, when the Australian Light Horse led the way in defeating the Turkish Army and opening the road to the liberation of Jerusalem a few weeks later.
  • November 2, 1917: Balfour Declaration, in which the government of Great Britain committed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland, opening the way for rebirth of the nation of Israel a generation later.
  • November 7, 1917: Beginning of the Russian Revolution, which eventually led to creation of the Soviet Union – a historical process that eventually resulted in the return of hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews to Israel at the end of the century.

Al and Barry discuss all of these events and more during the first hour.

In the second hour, we welcome Frank Houtz of Winchester, Kentucky, to talk with us about a crucial topic summarized in this passage from Isaiah:

It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. Then He shall become a sanctuary; but to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:13-14 NASB)

Is this passage about Messiah, or God, or both? Why is there confusion? And why is this important? That is what we asked Frank to address. In his experience as a co-founder of Congregation Beit Minorah, Dry Bones Restoration Company, Kentucky Covenant Education Corporation, and Jefferson College at Pilot View, and as an Elder for B’ney Yosef North America, Frank has had ample opportunity to study the different approaches to the Scriptures and to Messiah from the Jewish and Christian/Messianic perspectives. What may surprise you is not what each side believes, but why and how those beliefs developed – from the same sources!

This topic is so big and so important that we will have Frank back next week to continue the conversation!

You will also hear an update from Mike Clayton from the Connect to Israel Tour. As with everything else in this particular show, the news he brings is something that could (and probably will) turn the world upside down.

The Remnant Road, with co-hosts Al McCarn, Mike Clayton, Barry Phillips, and Hanoch Young is the Monday edition of the Hebrew Nation Morning Show.  You can listen live at 11:00–1:00 EST, 8:00-10:00 PST at http://hebrewnationonline.com/, and on podcast at any time.

© 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.

When Brothers Don’t Get Along

On December 4, 2015, the B’Ney Yosef Region 35 Conference convened at Camp Copass in Denton, Texas, for the purpose of bringing together people in the central part of the United States to seek YHVH’s direction about His Kingdom work at this time.  The initial concept was to continue in the spirit of the First B’Ney Yosef National Congress in the interest of building Ephraimite (Israelite) identity among believers in Messiah Yeshua.  The Holy Spirit quickly expanded that concept into a call for repentance within the Hebrew Roots/Two House movement and reconciliation with other parts of the body of Messiah, particularly with our Christian brethren.  That was the motivation for this address which opened the conference.

BFB151204 MNF-IThe best boss I ever had was the man under whose supervision I served the last time I was in Iraq.  He was also the most profane man I have ever met.  The name of Jesus Christ was for him but one weapon in a formidable arsenal of expletives.  Not a single day passed that some outrage did not fall from his lips, causing my ears to burn and my heart to wonder how long I would have to endure such offense.  And yet I continued in his service, not merely because I had no choice (both of us, after all, were soldiers assigned to serve together), but because God gave me grace to look beyond the offense to see and benefit from the substantial qualities he possessed.  Those qualities included an encyclopedic knowledge of intelligence functions and procedures based on decades of hard experience.  He possessed as well a dogged determination to persevere through all opposition and achieve success in whatever goal he or his superiors established.  That determination sprang from his undying loyalty to the United States of America, and to his belief in the ultimate good of our mission in Iraq.  Yet none of that would have mattered in the least had this man lacked the greatest quality of all:  he regarded every person as having intrinsic value, and as a potential ally in achieving the goals set before him.  He may have spoken roughly, and even in private moments vented his frustration and anger, but he never diminished the value of the human beings in his charge, nor of those under whom he served.

We had occasion to work with military and civilian officials from a number of services and agencies.  Whether they were Army like us, or Marines, Air Force, or Navy, they were all “great Americans” in my boss’s opinion – if for no other reason than because they had volunteered to wear the uniform and be deployed to a Middle Eastern war zone.  He could not call our British, Australian, and German colleagues “great Americans”, but he did hold them in high esteem – while at the same time recognizing that the highest priorities for each of them were the interests of their own nations, not those of the United States.  The true professionals among us, regardless of nationality, recognized this.  We knew that at times there would be questions we could not ask and answers we could not give, but whenever and wherever possible we helped one another.

That “great American” description did extend to the civilian intelligence professionals we encountered.  Those men and women represented nearly all of the 16 agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  The ones you would expect were all there:  each of the agencies of the military services, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Department.  Our office dealt mostly with the CIA, whom my boss lovingly called, “Klingons”.  Like our foreign counterparts, they, and all the other intelligence agencies, had their own priorities which were not necessarily the same as ours in the Department of Defense.  Their vision of how to support the national interests of the United States sometimes clashed with ours, and the means and resources at their disposal often put them at an advantage over us.  We had much reason to distrust them, but we had even more reason to work with them – just as the Start Trek heroes found reason to cooperate with the Klingons to defeat their common enemies.

We laugh at the description of the CIA as Klingons, but long before I arrived in Iraq I understood exactly what my boss meant.  Early in my tenure in Washington, DC, I had occasion to work with the CIA on a joint project.  Most of the people with whom I worked were intelligence analysts, people not very different from myself.  They were well educated, often from privileged backgrounds, highly academic (a reflection of the CIA culture), and professionally courteous.  As part of our project we had to consult with a different type of CIA employee.  This person was not an analyst.  Intelligence analysts look at information from various sources and put it together in different ways to understand what it means.  They are the friendly face of the CIA.  There is another face, however, and it is not very friendly.  That face belongs to the operators, the men and women who go about the difficult business of collecting the information.  They are consummate professionals, very good at what they do, but they are not the kind of people you would want in your social circle.  Quite often the name by which they introduce themselves is not the name their parents gave them at birth.  In the course of their duties they will have to do some questionable things, and perhaps even some very unpleasant things, to acquire information their agency has commissioned them to gain.

This was the kind of person with whom we met in that office on the CIA campus in Langley, Virginia long ago.  He was an impressive man, and one whom I admired for his courage and devotion to his country.  I could tell without asking that he had suffered much personal loss in service to the nation, and that my own poor service paled in comparison to his.  Yet we could not be friends, and we would have difficulty working together as colleagues.  His world was one I could not enter, and my world was one he would not find comfortable.  Nevertheless, my work could not continue without him, and without me his work would have no meaning.  That is why I have never forgotten the man, although our paths have never crossed since that day.

BFB151204 US Intelligence CommunityWhat would happen if this vast intelligence community in the service of the United States of America ceased to function as designed?  What if the various individuals and organizations within it forgot that they were all Americans, and instead placed their own personal agendas, or the name and reputation of their own agencies and services, above the interests of the country?  That is not a rhetorical question; I can tell you what would happen.  I have seen it.  What happens is a fragmentation of the national intelligence establishment. 

For the most part that establishment consists of good, honest people trying to do the best they can with limited resources and time.  They have a tendency to focus exclusively on the work right in front of them, whether it is office administration, counterterrorism analysis, national technical means of information collection, the number of tanks in the Russian Far Eastern Military District, or poppy production in Afghanistan.  They forget that there is a wider world out there, and that their work is but one small piece in a very, very big puzzle.  It does not take much to convince them that their piece is the most important.  Once convinced, it is but a small step toward competing with others to gain a greater share of attention and resources.  Having entered that arena, it is nothing to begin pushing others aside in ever more aggressive ways, taking resources and people away from them so that one’s own piece of the puzzle grows in size and importance, and the competitors’ pieces shrink, or disappear altogether.  In time the picture that emerges is distorted at best, magnifying certain things to the extreme, diminishing others, and ignoring important bits that would otherwise tie together the seemingly contradictory reports from various sources.  That is the picture which goes before high level decision makers like the commanders of our forces in the Middle East, and even the President himself.  Is it any wonder, therefore, that we have national disasters such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?

My lesson from this should be clear.  National defense is a team effort.  I know my part of the effort, and my job is to do it to the best of my ability.  I do not know most of the millions of others involved in the effort, nor do I understand what they do.  I could not do what most of them do, nor could most of them do what I do.  Very few of them could be considered my friends, and most of them would probably never want to associate with me anyway.  Nevertheless, we need each other:  every warrior, every clerk, every mechanic, every technician, every lawyer, every cook, every aviator, every logistician, every sanitation worker.  If we do not find a way to cooperate, then this living, breathing organism we call the National Defense Establishment will fail, and with its failure the United States of America fails.

Is this any different from the living, breathing organism known as the Body of Messiah?

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Building A Torah Community

Does building a Hebrew Roots community mean moving to the country, shunning electricity, and growing beards like the stereotypical Amish?  Not necessarily, but it does mean association in close proximity with like-minded believers.  (Picture:  Amish Family wallpaper, widehdwalls.com)
Does building a Hebrew Roots community mean moving to the country, shunning electricity, and growing beards like the stereotypical Amish? Not necessarily, but it does mean association in close proximity with like-minded believers. (Picture: Amish Family wallpaper, widehdwalls.com)

Five hundred years ago, in the midst of the great Reformation that gave birth to the various sects of Protestant Christianity, like-minded believers began to seek out one another in the interest of living according to their understanding of God’s instructions from the Bible.  Many, if not most, of these sects found refuge in America, forming the communities we know as Puritan, Separatist (Pilgrim), Quaker, Mennonite, Moravian, Amish, and many others.  In the pre-modern world bereft of electricity, mass communications, and rapid transit, the communities these believers formed often took shape around existing communities where families and congregations began to take advantage of the new translations of the Bible in their native languages.  In time these communities attracted like-minded believers from near and far, bringing growth in population, wealth, and influence to such places as Geneva, Holland, New England, and Pennsylvania.

It would seem that a similar phenomenon is happening today.  The Lord is restoring to His people a Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures which has been obscured for many centuries.  This is the time anticipated by the Prophet Daniel, when many run to and fro and knowledge is increased (Daniel 12:4).  Like the Protestant Reformation, the Torah Awakening is creating a desire among Messianic and Hebrew Roots believers to establish communities where they can associate with like-minded people and live according to their understanding of the Scriptures.  Yet the very aspects which have facilitated the Torah Awakening in this post-modern age are the things that make it more difficult to establish communities.  Here in the West we are well-connected by social media and instantaneous communication which permit us to share ideas with fellow believers across continental distances.  This is a blessing, but it is not a community.  Often it is easier to connect with someone 1,000 miles away than to find fellow Torah-observant disciples of Yeshua in the same county.  When we do find these brethren relatively nearby, what are we to do?  Shall we buy land in common and live in the same house?  Shall we establish a business or a farm together and contribute to our common welfare?  What examples do we have from Scripture, and how has human history and recent experience shaped our understanding of these examples?

These are things we must understand if we are to come together as a nation.  As noted on this blog and elsewhere, this process begins in the local community.  But exactly how do we build these local communities? 

Fortunately, someone who has traveled this path of faith is willing to share his experience.  Zach Bauer of New2Torah recently released a video teaching in which he discusses the subject of a Torah-observant community.  He starts with the example of the community Yeshua’s disciples built according to the book of Acts (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-37), examining this record in the context of Torah principles.  Along the way he shares some practical lessons on what to do and what not to do.  For those who are considering seriously how to associate more closely with like-minded Hebrew Roots believers, Zach’s teaching is an excellent starting point.

Click here to see Building a Torah Community.
Click here to see Building a Torah Community.

© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2015.  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.

When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I

When Empires Die was originally published June 28-July 28, 2014, as a six-part series.  The original six part format is accessible here.

I.  THE ROAD TO SARAJEVO

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie with their three children in 1910
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie with their three children in 1910

The world took a giant step toward death on June 28, 1914.  On that day a young atheist shot and killed a prominent Catholic and his wife in an obscure Southeast European city.  Within five years, four world empires were dismembered and two new ones arose in their place.  Within 40 years, three more global empires breathed their last as the new world system spawned in 1914 grew to maturity.  Today, one hundred years later, that world system wheezes with its own death rattle, soon to expire in the process of giving birth to yet another global system which may be the last – and worst – of its kind.

As a historian, a political scientist, a soldier, and an intelligence professional, I cannot let the centennial of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination pass without pausing to remember what his life and death meant to the world.  The circumstances that brought the Archduke and his wife, the Duchess Sophie, to Sarajevo, Bosnia, are not difficult to explain, but to understand the significance of their deaths, both in their day and in ours, requires a detailed explanation.  If that explanation seems too focused on Europe, the simple reason is that Europe in 1914 ruled the entire world.  No nation outside Europe – neither ancient India, nor populous China, nor even the rising powers of America and Japan – was immune to events that shook the state system of the Continent.  If we are to know why the world went to war in 1914, we must look at the major players of that state system.  Only then can we begin to discern what happened to the world in the summer of 1914, and what is happening to the world now in the summer of 2014.

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When Empires Die: Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I, Part VI

TO SURVIVE THE COMING NIGHT

"Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" Viktor M. Vasnetsov
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Viktor M. Vasnetsov

Is the Apocalypse Nigh?

If this truly is the beginning of the end of this age, then we should expect wars and rumors of war to increase until the entire globe is consumed, just as it was in the Great War of 1914-1918, and again in the Second World War of 1939-1945.  Depending on one’s perspective, the Tribulation either begins with or is immediately preceded by this period of escalating war.  This is the time of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the rider of a White Horse going out to conquer, the rider on the Red Horse who takes peace from the earth, the rider on the Black Horse bringing famine, and the Pale Horse bearing Death and Hades.  In short order these Horsemen bring an end to the lives of one fourth of the population of the planet.  The Horsemen are followed by the revelation of multitudes of martyrs slain for their adherence to the Word of God who ask how long before the Lord will judge the world and avenge their blood.  They are told to wait until the number of martyrs yet to die is complete.  Then comes a great earthquake and many signs in the heavens, followed by the selection of the special servants of God (12,000 from each tribe of Israel, 144,000 total) and the deliverance of multitudes from the Great Tribulation.  After that comes silence in heaven for a short time, and then the judgment of God begins in earnest.

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