The events of this past week on the US Presidential stage as well as in global economic and military arenas have been nothing short of amazing. But, something far greater has begun taking shape and though it is invisible to all but a few, it will be more earth shaking than we can imagine. Scripture paints a grim picture for the latter days, so in the Trump Presidency, at least for the near term, we appear to have been granted a narrow window of opportunity. Time will tell just how large or small that window.
Quietly, another revolution is in the making, and it will soon shake the world. Prophecy demands that it does. I’m not talking, at least not directly, of the growing Hebrew roots movement as hundreds of thousands of Christians are being awakened by the Spirit to their roots and heritage of Torah, though that is certainly part of the equation, rather, I want to share a bit about what I have witnessed over the last month, culminating in an amazing letter I will share.
It is now about ten days since we returned from a three week period in Israel. Most of my family along with dear friends and fellow B’ney Yosef North America executives, Tommy and Dorothy Wilson as well as Al and Char McCarn and their daughter, Katie, went to the Land with the prayerful hope that Abba would reveal Himself and what He is doing in our day. We wanted to interact with Judah and experience in a small way the prophesied future of dry bones living and two sticks becoming one. I did not think Abba could have spoken any more clearly or filled our cup in any greater way. Just read the numerous posts from the last four weeks concerning experiences in the Land!! Then, I received the following letter.
First, a little background.
Over the last eight months or so, Father has been gracious enough to open a door for Al and I to build a close relationship with Eliyahu Berkowitz, a journalist for Breaking Israel News. Through the summer he was kind enough to quote one or both of us in several pieces that he wrote, but more important were the emails exchanged and the fragile friendship that began to develop across the proverbial tracks. Eliyahu is an Orthodox Jew who sees a number of things quite a bit differently than we, of Christian backgrounds, do. So, at least on our part, many emails were crafted very carefully as we tried to be sensitive to known differences while seeking to build trust and communication in those areas where we agreed. Multiple times through the summer, I intimated that we wanted to share a beer with him or even sit in his sukkah while we were in the Land celebrating the Feast of Sukkot (Booths).
Even after arriving in Israel, we did not have a firm commitment for a time and date. I think all of us wanted to gather, but we were in uncharted waters, much like a guy and girl on a first date. We wanted to get together and talk, but so many things could go wrong. Should we risk the fragile relationship we had? I emailed offering a couple possible dates in our schedule, knowing full well we were willing to drop everything and meet him anywhere just to speak face to face.
After Shabbat, the day before Sukkot, he emailed me with his phone number and asked that I call. Al, Tommy and I, sitting on Tzemach’s back porch in the dark, used my speaker phone to make contact and hear the enthusiastic warm voice on the other end of the line, and settled on a date and time for him to host all ten of us in his sukkah way up in Katsrin.
Eliyahu, along with his bride, Deborah, prepared an amazing spread and we fellowshiped in his sukkah. As I previously related, we shook lulav and shared laughter and tears as we began to explore a kinship that we all are discovering. Certainly, we have differences that by some accounts are mammoth chasms, but we found so many more points of agreement that we could begin to build a personal bridge of respect and growing understanding.
I remember driving to Charlotte to board the plane to Israel. As we drove through Chester County, SC, we passed a spot where a bridge is under construction. Frankly, it seems like they have been working on the new span for the river for years. Truthfully, they have probably only worked on the project for 18 months or so. What is interesting is that I have been by that place numerous times and very little seems to be happening. Oh, there is always heavy equipment moving and packing earth. Huge cuts have been made in the ground on both sides to begin to bring into a semblance of level, where elevation differences were very great before the project started.
Both sides now have a single large concrete pier. The foundation takes a long time and the daily or even monthly changes are not very noticeable to the untrained eye. I worked construction on a huge plant one summer in college and I learned much about the significance of a proper foundation and how much happens below ground and out of sight to all but the workers and the foreman. Such is the case with this bridge and such is the case with the bridge between Judah and Ephraim. Much ground work is being done that few have opportunity to see or marvel over. Even those who are blessed to participate know little of the many different parts of the plan that our Father is working out to prepare for the spans to be placed.
Once the piers are all formed and ready, the above ground work that is visible to all will happen quickly as trucks bring in long prefabricated girders, assembled and formed elsewhere. Then in a seeming miracle, over a relatively short time the bridge will be formed, followed by an extended period of detail work that again seems so tedious, but is necessary for voluminous traffic to speed back and forth.
Early this week, Eliyahu wrote a terrific article about his experiences at the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress. He, along with several of his colleagues from BIN, were invited for the last day and given opportunity to hear and see what was happening as well as have time to speak to many delegates over a wonderful outdoor lunch. Like us, he came away emotionally and mentally full, unable for a time to even explain or articulate what he had witnessed. His article was honest in that it said there are areas where we do not agree and there is much work to do, but it was effusive in its glowing report that indeed something is happening and we all see the Hand of the Almighty at work in preparing the way for the Mashiach.
Eli’s article was written from his perspective and his understanding, he could offer no other, yet as he related in writing what he heard and learned, he inadvertently stepped on a proverbial landmine on the Ephramite/Hebrew roots side of the conversation. What followed though is nothing short of amazing and helps to demonstrate how far along in this process of restoration we have come and how far we have to go. And, in the whole scenario there are many lessons we can all learn.
While some panicked that the article pushed too many hot buttons and needed to be pulled immediately, I witnessed others around me calling for calm deep breaths and trust that the Father was in control and we could wait on Him! To Eliyahu’s great credit, he quickly and quietly made a few changes or adjustments to the most challenging statements in the article, but it was his follow-on letter that completely rocked my world and again filled my cup with wonder and joy at the work our Father is doing.
He wrote to several of us,
First and foremost, I would like to apologize for any details in the article that may have offended. I can assure you that my intention when writing the article on the B’Ney Yosef Congress was to help a reunion that is nothing less than paving the way for Moshiach. Attending the congress was a powerful experience for me. To be candid, there are some things I don’t agree with, but there is much I found to be astounding. When moving forward with any new spiritual endeavor, there are no end of unexpected and unprecedented complications. The details are important, but mistakes are part of the process. We are two people with headphones listening to different music, trying to
slow dance. Painful toes are to be expected, and apologies are part of the process.
There are also swollen toes on our side. Jews have become accustomed to being a lonely nation. For non-Jews to come along and claim a slice of our tiny pie is a threat. After 2,000 years of affliction, it is disturbing to be expected to open the door to a stranger who claims to be my brother.
But that is no longer the way I see it, thanks to the amazing
connections I made at the congress. I am not there, but I am working at it. This is the way most religious Jews see your movement. I want this to change, but not just for your sake. I think this is necessary for Judaism.
After a millennium of rejection (and worse), our messianic vision has become influenced by the diaspora. Secular Zionism, a miraculous incarnation of Moshiach Ben Yosef, could only envision Israel as a refuge from anti-Semitism and the Aliyah laws reflect this. Only a few short years ago, it was inconceivable that any non-Jew would want to
join us in a Torah journey. Our vision of the Temple became that of a synagogue, open only to Jews. I have come to realize that Hashem is pushing us in a direction that will not allow that to happen. The world invited Jews to return to Israel in 1948, but the same UN is now working hard to revoke that well-minded decision.
The Jews cannot stand alone. We can’t remain in Yehuda and Shomron without your support. We will certainly not retain the Temple Mount if we hold onto a vision of an exclusively Jewish Temple. That is my vested interest, but I think Hashem is leading us there in order to recreate a Torah Israel.
In a very powerful way, the Hebrew roots movement in Christianity has affected me. I am a Hebrew Roots Jew. Judaism became a diaspora religion. The Temple, agriculture, purity, Sanhedrin, are all part of Hebrew roots Judaism that have been excised by Orthodoxy, and they are
working hard to keep Torah in a Prayer/Shabbos/ Kosher box. My experience at the congress confronted me with the realization that non-Jews living in Israel and connecting to Torah is Hebrew roots Judaism. It was the reality in Israel in the days of the Temple, but it became inconceivable, and even forbidden, in the diaspora. It is not just the history of bad relations that made it so. It was the necessary xenophobia that allowed Judaism to survive in galut.
Please forgive me for any errors in the article. I respect the spiritual journey you are on and see it is a necessary stage in the return of the Jewish people to our Hebrew roots.
First, I salute Eliyahu for his deep humility and extreme transparency. Like so many brothers of Judah I have recently spent time with, the Fruit of the Spirit is hanging all over this guy! (I’ll be writing more about several of these experiences in the near future.) He demonstrates great love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, etc….
More significantly are the incredible echoes in his letter that mirror exactly the ground shaking changes happening within parts of Christendom that are abandoning doctrines and traditions that were previously unassailable in favor of returning to the Hebrew roots of our faith. What Eliyahu shares above regarding his vision of Judah returning to their Hebrew roots is nothing short of earth shattering. A Torah Israel v. ‘diaspora Judaism’ should rock not just the physical world but cause the dark spirit realm to quake in their proverbial boots.
Still further are the monumental statements that Israel needs us to learn and grow in Torah. We may well be, and I would be so bold as to say, ‘we are,’ the salvation of the nation of Israel. Understanding and figuring out all of the prophetic consequences and significances would take a couple volumes, but imagine!! Eliyahu’s letter is earth shattering and ground breaking. And, I dare say, an opinion shared by more than just him.
In a private text to Al McCarn, I said, ‘Wow. Father is making an amazing change. If there is one heart like this, there are 100,000.’
Al responded, ‘100,000? Maybe. It takes one courageous heart to speak out, and it does seem that we have found it.’
Honestly, I do not know if there are 100,000, but I do know that if there is one, then more will follow. And, I can see the bridge that is being built from both sides. It is not yet ready for the big spanners and a ways from heavy traffic, but the piers are being set in place for open respectful dialog with Judah.
After the Congress, the leadership for B’ney Yosef North America (BYNA) that was at present gathered for a hot wash, a good military term for the meeting of leadership immediately following a major event/exercise. Our goal was to simply recount some of what we had learned and share experiences while collecting information to begin evaluating what we need to be doing in the coming months. One theme that came up multiple times in the Congress and again in the BYNA meeting was bridge building.
BYNA Elder, Dr. David Sloss, reminded us that in the building of the bridge, we must not be so fixed in our expectations that we do not allow YHVH, the Architect and Designer/Creator to lead us to what HIS plan is for how this is to look. David then told us about Santiago Calatrava who has broken the mold on bridges as well as architecture with glorious creations that confound the mind while meeting engineering parameters. His works of functional art are beauties to behold.
We are witnessing and participating n the building of a bridge that likely will not look like what we expected at the outset. I firmly believe that Abba is doing something that, as His Word promises, will cause the nations to stand back in utter awe and amazement. He is bringing together Judah and Ephraim and He is going to dash paradigms and display His glory in ways that Calatrava can only be a shadow of.
Eliyahu, in his article and then his letter, inadvertently reveals a peek into what is happening on both sides of the chasm and I for one stand amazed!! The prophets longed to see this day. We truly are a blessed generation.
FYI, for more commentary concerning Eliyahu’s article and the above quoted letter, I recommend Al McCarn’s article.