Israeli Messianic Leaders: The Church Needs Israel
Veteran Israeli Messianic leaders Jacob Damkani and Joseph Shulam got together for a little chat about the faith and restoration of Israel on Damkani’s online studio program, and the result was something that should be watched by Christians trying to get a handle on Israel and the Jews (see below).
The underlying theme of the chat was how to deal with the notion that Israel and its Jewish population must “convert” to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) in order to complete the restoration process.
“Israel is not being reformed, it is being restored,” said Shulam, director of Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry. “It began 105 years ago with the first pioneers, through whose strength and courage, and with God’s help, this land has become one of the most advanced nations in the world.”
Damkani, an outspoken street evangelist, continued, “And here we are doing the same work of the pioneers on the spiritual level. They laid the foundation for the restoration of Israel physically, and now there are pioneers in the body [of Messiah].”
Then came the more difficult question of how to return the Gospel to its proper, Jewish context.
“The Jewish people are rediscovering our relationship with Yeshua… [following] a bloody past with the Christian world,” explained Shulam. “You cannot restore something without first clearing out the garbage, both on the Jewish side and the Christian side.”
Damkani chimed in by noting that “we received things in a certain way from the Christian world, and we need to really undress Jesus [of his] blonde [hair and] blue eyes…and discovery him anew so our people can relate to him.”
Shulam pointed out that this process was not only beneficial for the Jews, but for the Christians, as well.
“Christians [around the world] are beginning to realize that they don’t need to import all the division and tradition and man-made institutions from the West, that they can [instead] go straight to the Word of God,” he said. “And all of this through a connection with the historical Yeshua and the historical people of God, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel.”
Shulam insisted that Christians reconnecting with this biblical foundation “is a key to the restoration. …You cannot have a biblical Church without the Jews being part of it.”
Damkani wondered what it would take to teach the wider Christian world that “it cannot do without Israel, and Israel cannot do without the Church, either.”
Shulam responded with the story of a famous Jewish rabbi who came to faith in Yeshua and who explained the faith-based relationship between Israel and the Church as being like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
“The Jewish people have 70 percent of the pieces, but the Church has the centerpiece,” the rabbi was said to have taught, concluding that “we can never finish the puzzle without the Church, and the Church can never finish the puzzle without Israel.”
Watch the full discussion: