Israel 2016: Family In Twelve Languages – The Conclusion of the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress
In some ways the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress was actually the Second First B’ney Yosef National Congress. This emerging people of the House of Joseph (Yosef) is still a long way from transacting business as one would expect from cohesive people groups such as the Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Lakota, Navajo, or Ibo. We still have much to discover about ourselves and much historical division to overcome before we can speak with a unified voice. Nevertheless, the seeds have been sown, both in the First Congress and in this Second Congress. The fruit is not yet ready, but it is becoming recognizable as fruit, and that in itself is a major step forward.
My earlier report on the first half of the Congress (see Picking Up Where We Left Off: A Report on the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress) covered most of the formal business on the schedule. When we arrived at Shabbat on the evening of Friday, October 28, we had already heard from visionaries and scholars such as Iris Bouwman, Ron Campbell, and Ephraim Frank. They focused us on:
- Our identity as the returning children of Yosef/Ephraim
- Our hope in restoration by YHVH and reunification with our brethren of Judah
- Our responsibilities in moving with the Almighty as He directs and empowers this process.
What happened over the next two days did not bring anything new or different, but instead imparted greater depth to what we had already heard and shared.
The formal meetings on Shabbat did not commence until late in the afternoon. As with any such gathering, the real business took place not in the formal presentations, but in the quiet conversations among two or three huddled in the common room, or sitting at table for a meal. It seemed that these informal meetings took on a heightened importance during and after Shabbat. After breakfast, many delegates gathered to read the Torah portion Beresheet (In the Beginning), another simple activity which enhanced the bonding already taking place among these diverse Ephraimites from so many different places and cultures. Others who did not participate in the Torah reading continued in quiet relationship-building conversation, or in private prayer and Bible study. All partook of considerable rest during the day, the feature of Shabbat which has become precious to us all.
A remarkable thing happened seventeen months ago, when the First B’ney Yosef National Congress convened in Ariel, Israel. At that time a people who had not existed as a people for over 2,700 years came back from the ash heap of history. The people of the House of Joseph (Yosef) – Ephraim, those “Lost Tribes” of Israel’s northern kingdom – assembled in Samaria, the territory of their ancient ancestors, and acknowledged their belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to accomplish His Word to bring their people back as a nation and join them with the Jewish part of Israel (the House of Judah) in fulfillment of His covenant.
It was a modest beginning; only a little over 130 people attended, representing 12 countries. We made no bold declarations, but humbly whispered to one another and to the world that we were ready to answer the Father’s call and walk out the return of the Prodigal. Humble indeed, but astounding nevertheless. Certainly no less astounding than the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 after 1,900 years of dissolution.
The momentum of that First Congress has carried into the Second B’ney Yosef Congress, which is now in its third day. The Congress convened on the evening of October 26, 2016, and will continue until Monday, October 31. The venue once again is the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in Ariel. The numbers of delegates are about the same, but this time there are some significant differences.
For one thing, the number of nations has grown to 15. Not surprisingly, the United States has the largest number of delegates, comprising about half of the total. What is surprising is that the second largest contingent is from one of the world’s smallest countries: the Netherlands. Over 20 Dutch Ephraimites are here, imparting a beautiful Dutch accent to all the proceedings. Also represented are Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland. A central feature of the Congress has been reports from each of these countries, as well as video and proxy reports from Finland, Pakistan, Uganda, and India.
These reports build a mosaic of the Hebrew Awakening happening across the globe. In Pakistan, for example, Pastor Qaiser Ilyas shared by video his work in building Hebrew language and Torah teaching programs in Urdu for children and adults. Valerie Bulkunu, representing the Aboriginal people of Australia, shared the revival that is beginning among the youth of her people, and the awakening among Aboriginals to their Hebrew roots and Israelite identity. A similar phenomenon is happening among the Mizo people of northeast India, as Margot Crossing related in her report about the descendants of exiled Israelites who migrated across the Silk Road into South Asia. These developments are happening simultaneously with the better-known Torah awakenings in Europe and North America, and in time will have an even more significant impact as tens of millions of Ephraimites come into the understanding of their covenant identity.
Coming to Jerusalem at the invitation of the Almighty for one of His feasts means stepping into a bubble of time and space. It is holy and joyous, but like all good things is must end at some point. My friend Pete has written about the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles our families shared in the moshav (village) of Gi’vat Ye’arim. I cannot improve on what he shared in his post called Embraced! (To read it, please go here: https://natsab.com/2016/10/24/embraced/)
Our farewell to Gi’vat Ye’arim arrived on October 25. We travelled from there in three cars to Ariel, site of the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress. The plan as to take the highway to the coast and drive up Route 2 along the Mediterranean, then stop at Mount Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Ba’al (I Kings 18), and from there go to Ariel. We did not count on Tel Aviv traffic! Before long we became separated, leaving my wife, Charlayne, our daughter Katie, Pete’s son Jeremiah, and myself to make our own way.
It turned out to be a very pleasant journey. We did dip our feet in the sea at Caesarea, where the old Roman aqueduct still stands. The calm blue of the water captured our admiration, but could not keep me from remembering that the ships of at least five navies were playing games of cat-and-mouse not that far away in the deadly dance over Syria. Such thoughts are never far away when one is in Israel. And yet they did not diminish our enjoyment of Caesarea that day.
As we resumed the journey, we drove to and through the Mount Carmel National Park. The views are splendid, the roads wind up and down the hills, and sometimes large trucks slow the journey. Driving through the Druze town on the slopes of the Carmel Range was a cultural experience – made more interesting by a wrong turn down a side street. (Hint: never, ever, ever do that in the Middle East!)
Eventually we arrived at the Carmelite monastery which is the traditional site of Elijah’s victory. There we were reunited with our friends, thanks to the timely arrival of several tour busses why I blocked their cars in the parking lot for an hour! We had time to take in the stunning views of the Jezreel Valley and of the imposing statue of Elijah on its tall pedestal before continuing on to our final destination: the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in Ariel.
Since arriving here we have enjoyed continuous fellowship with old and new friends from 15 countries and six continents. The Congress convened last night, October 26, with a review of the First Congress by Ephraim and Rimona Frank, and reports from delegates of the participating countries. Mike Clayton provided a short exhortation from Scripture which set the tone for these five days. He pointed out that Judah’s returning exiles in the days of Nehemiah celebrated Sukkot (Tabernacles) after building Jerusalem’s wall, and then assembled on the 24th day of the seventh month to fast, pray, read the Torah, and declare their repentance and allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to His covenant (see Nehemiah 8 and 9). As Mike pointed out, we returning Ephraimites just happen to have assemble on the 24th day of the seventh Hebrew month to convene our Congress for the same purpose. As in all things of YHVH, that is not a coincidence.
The evening ended with a time of worship and dance, featuring a powerful dance presentation by the Dutch group Mahanaim (Two Camps). They depicted two brides – Judah in white and Ephraim in red – who separated, fought with one another, and in the end were reunited by the same Bridegroom they both love. Their performance established a worshipful tone which introduced Andrew Hodkinson of South Africa to lead us all in song and dance. Those of us who joined the dance circle had come from Holland, England, Fiji, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, the USA. Together we danced as one people, brought near by the Messiah we adore to the brother we have longed to embrace here in this land of Israel. At the of the evening, Ed Boring of the USA led us all in singing Hatikvah – Israel’s national anthem. It could not have been a better ending to these days of transition.
© 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.
For three consecutive days in this Holy Land called Israel I have become acquainted with the immense progress of YHVH’s Kingdom plans. Over that same period I have become acquainted with how utterly inadequate I am in this process.
Inadequate? Yes. Indispensable? No.
Moses, by his own confession, was inadequate, and the Almighty did not deny his protests. Yet no one would argue that Moses was indispensable in the process of bringing our ancient people out of Egypt in the First Exodus. So am I no less indispensable to this process of bringing home the rest of YHVH’s covenant people.
The truth is that everyone is indispensable. Each man, woman, and child who steps up to the high calling of bringing tangible reality to the Creator’s Kingdom is indispensable. Each one who shirks that call diminishes the Kingdom in ways that at the moment only the angels know – and weep over.
As I am learning, this is not simply a Christian kingdom, nor a Jewish kingdom, nor a Messianic or Hebrew Roots kingdom, but the Commonwealth of Israel instituted by Holy God. His revelation comes in multiple pieces and levels and ways. It comes to Jews, Christians, Hebraic believers in Yeshua, and many others we may not now recognize as fellow Israelites. It is bigger than we think, but its glory wanes when we think we have it figured out and insist that others endorse our singular view of it.
It is a miraculous Kingdom. Perhaps not the miraculous that we may expect, such as oceans dividing to make a dry path, or mountains crumbling, or masses of sick people instantly healed. Those miracles have, do now, and will occur. Yet the miracles all around us are hardly recognized as such today. I lived through one a few nights ago, when ten of us Hebrew believers of Christian backgrounds shared a fine supper in the Orthodox Jewish sukka of my new friend Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz.
It has been two weeks since the B’ney Yosef (Sons of Joseph) National Congress adjourned on May 25. The delegates are even now sharing their impressions of the event. Over the next few weeks we can expect the publication of articles, interviews, videos, pictures, and much more regarding the work YHVH established in Ariel, Israel. A number of us have already had opportunity to share our experiences and impressions. Here is a list of the ones that have come to my attention.
- Hebrew Nation Morning Show interviews of Ephraim and Rimona Frank (first hour) and Al McCarn (second hour) on June 3, 2015. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek podcast by Tzefanyah Ben Yochanon and Al McCarn. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- “Resentment & Replacement or Reconciliation & Restoration”, presentation by Hanoch Young of Kol Yehuda. (Click here to watch the video.)
- Congress Report by Mike Clayton of Joined to Hashem. (Click here to watch the video.)
- United2Restore podcast by Ken Rank and Hanoch Young. (Click here to listen to the podcast.)
- Commentary in Swedish by Viveka Sjulmark on Sarahs Tālt.
- Commentary in Dutch by Hadassah Dee on Tegenhetlicht.
- Sunday School Report by Pete Rambo at the Lexington Baptist Church, Lexington, SC, delivered on May 31, 2015. Click here to watch the entire report. Click here to see the 10-minute Youtube video of Pete’s entire trip. Pete began posting updates on his experiences as soon as he arrived in Israel. The updates are available at his blog, www.natsab.com.
- As mentioned in an earlier post, it was my honor to be the first presenter at the Congress. Click here to read my address on the Foundations of Ephraimite Identity.
That is quite a collection of video, audio, and written material assembled in less than two weeks! It will take some time for the full impact of the Congress to manifest itself, but it is clear that something very significant happened at the Eshel HaShomron Hotel in Ariel. In essence, it was that 135 people from 12 nations came together to acknowledge that the Sovereign Creator of the Universe is at last restoring the entire nation of Israel just as He promised.
Just how big is this Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement? It is hard to say, but it is most definitely not an American phenomenon. As with so many things, much of the public expression of this movement generates from the United States due to the wealth, power, and cultural impact this nation has had on the entire world for the last hundred years. However, this move of God in reestablishing His nation of Israel and reconnecting Christians and others to their Hebrew roots is something that spans the entire planet. Here are a few examples:
- During the Shabbat services at El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Washington, USA, Pastor Mark Biltz routinely welcomes visitors who have tuned in to the livestream web broadcast from Australia, South Korea, and other nations, and often welcomes visitors from Canada, Israel, and elsewhere who are there in person.
- The thriving Hebrew Roots community of Australia will be hosting a conference at Shavuot (Pentecost), May 22-24, 2015, near Sydney called “Pentecost to the Ends of the Earth”. The theme of the conference, “Finding the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel at the ends of the earth”, reflects the purpose of the First Ephraimite/Northern Israel National Congress in Israel, which is occurring at about the same time. For more information on the Australian conference please click on the links below:
- The First Ephraimite/Northern Israel National Congress in on track to convene May 25-27, 2015 in Samaria with over 100 people planning to attend from 12 nations: Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Jordan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States.
- Recently Pete Rambo, my friend and author of the Hebrew Roots blog natsab, connected with readers of his blog from Canada and South Africa, receiving very encouraging responses in an effort to open a dialogue and ensure they have a voice in the Ephraimite Congress. Pete has also publicized an opportunity to assist Baraka International Ministries, a Messianic teaching ministry based in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, in providing materials for a pastors’ conference in Uganda in April. At this conference, nearly 100 pastors from Uganda and Kenya will meet to learn more about Torah and Messiah Yeshua’s central place in it.
- After 15 months of publication, The Barking Fox has acquired an international readership as well. The greatest number of visits by far is from the United States, but it is exciting to see regular visitors from South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Brazil, and many other countries and territories (130 to date).
- Recently I have connected with the Facebook group Messianische Gemeinschaft Deutschland und Welt (Messianic Community in Germany and the World), a group based in Germany and including nearly 1,000 members from many nations.
- One of the largest Messianic congregations in the world is in Kiev, Ukraine. The Kiev Jewish Messianic Congregation (KJMC), founded in 1994, is a very active and effective congregation with a membership of over 1,600 (as of 2013).
- Another vibrant Hebrew Roots ministry is Beit Yaaqov (House of Jacob) of Hyderabad, India. Beit Yaaqov has the mission of raising awareness of Torah and Israelite identity among the peoples of India who have long cultural traditions indicating their descent from the Lost Tribes of Northern Israel.
Clearly the Torah Awakening expressed in the Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement is a global phenomenon, although it is difficult to say how big. Perhaps that is a good thing; YHVH has always preferred that His people look at Him alone, not at numbers, wealth, resources, or other traditional measures of strength and effectiveness. Nevertheless, we can take much encouragement from the fact that this global movement is growing, and with it an awareness of our identity as Israelites and of the imminent fulfillment of our King’s promises to restore His Kingdom.
With this understanding in mind, consider the blog post reproduced below from Tegenhetlich: Terug naar de Oude paden. (“Against the Light: Back to the Old Paths”). Hadassah Dee, author of this Dutch Hebrew Roots blog, is a frequent contributor to the United2Restore Facebook community. In this post, “Match: Romans 11:25/Genesis 48:19/Melo hagoyim”, she investigates the reason behind Paul’s reference to the “fullness of the gentiles”, or “fullness of the nations” in Romans 11:25, drawing a connection with the prophecy made by Jacob over his grandson Ephraim in Genesis 48:19. This is something The Barking Fox has addressed before (see “Fox Byte 5775 #12: VaYechi (And He Lived)”), but Hadassah presents the teaching much better in English than I could ever do in Dutch!