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.
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!