The Seeds of Revolution
by Eitan Shishkoff
the Haifa Bay region
April 2007 Report on the Israeli Messianic Youth
are made by the young. I was a teenager when the 60's revolution
broke out in the States. I took part in its music, its drugs,
its immorality and its politics. My revolutionary companions across
the nation were primarily college students or drop-outs from American
universities. The same was true in Germany. Radical youth, desperate
for change, took to the streets, intent on rearranging society.
Like my European counterparts, I was ready to break the law and
received a jail sentence for non-violent resistance to the War
in Vietnam. My passion was to change the world. It still is, though
it is forty years later. Now I find myself amidst a gospel revolution
in Yeshua's homeland, Israel.
seven weeks in the late spring of 1989, the world watched as a
group of students on the other side of the world challenged the
status quo in Communist China. Not knowing the outcome of their
courageous resistance to the government's iron rule, thousands
remained in Tienanmen Square, demonstrating for freedom. Then,
suddenly the Red Army moved in. Tanks and troops charged the weaponless
students, mowing them down. Hundreds died and thousands were wounded
while the world looked on in shock. Though she remains under communist
rule, China enjoys many freedoms today that were unknown in 1989.
It was the youth of China who took action, willing to sacrifice
their lives to end repression. Revolutions are made by the young.
Youth Built the Nation
role of youth in revolution also applies to Israel's pioneers,
the Zionists who re-established the nation. In its way, the concept
of returning to the land of Israel was revolutionary. For more
than 18 centuries Jews had been exiled from their homeland. How
could we now go back and recreate a nation, especially in the
desert and swampland of Palestine? A young Lithuanian named Eliezer
BenYehuda was gripped, while yet in the Diaspora, with the need
to revive the Hebrew language. Today modern Hebrew is spoken because
of him. A Polish Jew arrived in Israel at the age of 19. In the
decades that followed he became known as David BenGurion, Israel's
first prime minister. The farmers, fighters and foundation-layers
of reborn Israel were young men and women, willing to die for
their dream of a Jewish homeland.
will the nation of Israel be changed today? We desperately need
a spiritual revolution that will bring our people back to the
purity and power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It has
been nearly 2000 years since the miracle working rabbi from Nazareth,
Yeshua (Jesus) walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He was
crucified in Jerusalem. Then, shocking his disciples, He appeared
to hundreds, alive. A revolutionary movement of Jews embracing
Him as Israel's promised Messiah began in that city and spread,
eventually, to every nation. In the centuries since, however,
He has become a foreigner, and faith in Him is considered by most
to be un-Jewish. Through a virile combination of unbelief and
anti-Semitism, Yeshua is a stranger in His own house.
can that be changed? How can Israel rediscover the very One who
can transform our nation? This is a question I ask myself daily.
Of course there is no one answer. But after living as an Israeli
and praying for God's light of revival to shine upon His ancient
covenant people, I have come to at least one conclusion. Israel
will be changed through its youth. Revolutions are made by the
order to serve the Messianic revolution so needed among the people
of Israel, we must invest in the youth of the nation. The prophet
Isaiah saw this coming. "Behold, I will lift my hand in an
oath to the nations, and set up my standard for the peoples; they
shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall
be carried on their shoulders. (Isaiah 49:22)" Another prophet,
Joel, knew it too. "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…your
young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28)" The prophets knew
that Israel's restoration would call our youth to the forefront.
in run-down buildings scattered around our town, near Haifa, are
the various Israeli youth movements. They go by names like "Shomair
HaTzair - Youth Guard" or "No'ar Lomed V'Oved - Studying/Working
Youth." Some are liberal, some are more conservative. All
are seeking to win Israeli youth to their political cause. The
high school students who are their target group are, however,
not very interested. Their thoughts are pre-occupied with final
exams, sexual encounters, drivers' liscenses and the inevitable
induction into the Israeli Defense Force that awaits them following
graduation. As in other industrialized countries, Israeli youth
experiment with extreme forms of drugs and the occult. Tens of
thousands attend "New Age" festivals designed as a market
place of Eastern and esoteric spirituality. They are searching
for a power beyond them, that will bring liberation, but few have
the young Israeli enters military service, everything changes.
During this 2-3 year period, the young man or woman is placed
in a disciplined environment, wearing the uniform of the Israeli
Army and learning to defend his or her country. For young Messianic
Israelis, this time of service is a test. One's faith is either
strengthened or weakened. But without exception, the young people
from our congregation who've performed their duty with the IDF
have returned as convinced believers in Yeshua, determined to
make their faith known in Israeli society. It is particularly
in these veterans that we are seeing the capacity to galvanize
the next generation of Israel's Messianic Jews. They are passionate
about their faith, having passed through the rigors of military
training and combat. Their hearts are to serve and give. They
are burdened for the teenage youth coming after them…to
disciple them and equip them to be strong witnesses.
Israel will be Saved' they shouted"
of these young soldiers, Stephan (22), stood before 120 Messianic
teens during a national conference last December. Several months
before, Stephan found himself in the midst of heavy mortar and
anti-tank missle fire in Southern Lebanon. As an officer it was
his responsibility to direct troops, rescue the wounded and evacuate
his fallen comrades in arms. The intensity of danger caused a
deep renewal of Stephan's faith in Yeshua as Messiah. He led his
troops in prayer. Relating these experiences to the teens, he
spoke honestly and compellingly of the crucial importance of a
vibrant faith. He exhorted the young believers to "get real"
with God, to walk in His Spirit and to touch the lives of their
fellow Israeli youth.
response of the group was phenomenal. First, the youth came forward
in sincere repentance. Many were weeping. Then gradually they
began worshiping, pouring out their hearts in love to the Messiah.
Finally, they lifted their hands before the Lord and shouted over
and over again "KOL YISRAEL YIVASHA…ALL ISRAEL WILL
BE SAVED!" It was electrifying. This cry is arising from
the hearts of young disciples of Yeshua in His land. God heard
them yielding their lives for His calling.This radical, biblical
declaration of faith for Israel's salvation is a cry for revolution.
Here is perhaps the most encouraging, promising phase of the reborn
Messianic community in Eretz Yisrael…the youth. Yeshua and
the prophets spoke of the end of the age as a harvest. They pictured
this harvest happening world-wide but particularly and finally
in Israel. In order to equip the Messianic youth of Israel for
this coming harvest, a multi-congregational ministry was formed
in 2001, called "The Harvest," in Hebrew "HaKatzir."
The December 2006 conference described above was a celebration
of the festival of Chanukah and was organized by The Harvest.
HaKatzir began, with inspiration and encouragement from the Chicago-based
youth ministry, Souled Out, which has brought hope and transformation
to Israeli youth for years. Seeing the pressing need for a national
youth ministry conducted in the Hebrew language, with Israeli
Jewish identity in Messiah a group of us came together in prayer,
asking God to birth such a work. Our path has not been smooth,
but with a solid team of 20-25 volunteer young adult leaders,
we are beginning to see good fruit. The vision is to strengthen
local congregations in their youth ministries and to provide events
that will inspire, train and launch a new generation of messengers.
are several active, dedicated ministries reaching out to young
Messianic believers in Israel today. This is essential. If we
only establish congregations and focus on adults, we will not
see "all Israel saved." One simple reason is that many
Messianic Jews in Israel arrived from other lands. For these,
Hebrew is not our native language, nor is Israeli culture intuitively
familiar to us. God honors our witness, but for Yeshua to become
widely known, Israel must hear of Him in her own vernacular. Our
children, however, are growing up as Israelis. They know the forms
of communication and relationship instinctively. They go to Israeli
schools, serve in the Israeli army and are an integral part of
the society. Their refreshing testimonies are already drawing
Israeli youth to Yeshua.
Messianic Youth Worshiping & Seeking God
this report from two young Messianic Jews in their early twenties,
who have grown up in the Messianic movement in Israel, served
in the IDF and are now leading youth and young adults. Dima and
Andrei live and serve the youth in their local area, the Haifa
Bay towns, yet their vision for Messianic youth revival is also
regional and national.
the 27th of January more than 300 youth and young adults from
all of Israel and from many congregations met in a well known
Haifa night club that was rented for the evening," Dima reports
with evident enthusiasm. "They praised God freely. One could
readily feel the presence of God. We could also see that God is
uniting young Messianic believers across the land with fresh intensity.
I can't remember when so many youth and young adults got together
here in Israel, believers in Yeshua, and I'm sure it's just the
beginning of what God intends to do among us."
eyes sparkling, Andrei adds "Worship is central to what the
Spirit is doing among young Israeli believers. In the last few
months groups have been meeting around the country in Jerusalem,
Tel Aviv, Haifa and more. There is a new unity. Kids are receiving
words from God. They are seeking God's face, even all night. The
barriers between generations are dissolving. There is an atmosphere
of love and tenderness of heart toward God and each other. We
are expecting more breakthroughs."
our congregation we are also meeting once a month, about 30 youth
and young adults together (ages 13-25)," continues Dima.
"We are simply coming before the Lord to worship Him and
to support each other in our faith. God is doing something special.
He is freeing us to worship with greater spontaneity and freedom.
It has been at such a level that it is hard to stop praising and
to end the evening. I believe that God is building relationships
that are more open and intimate with Him.
am privileged to serve as the coordinator for The Harvest and
as a mentor for Dima, Andrei and Stephan. I am excited about the
spiritual breakthroughs these young people are experiencing. I
see a new generation of Israeli Messianic leaders emerging before
my eyes. These youth have the potential of bringing to Israeli
society the desperately needed end-time revolution spoken of by
the prophets. Joseph, David, Daniel…these were youth in
ancient Israel who found a revolutionary role, that shaped the
history of God's people. The disciples of Yeshua were young men
too. They changed the world forever. Only when today's young Messianic
Jews of Israel are aflame with love for the Lord, equipped with
God's word and emboldened to make Him known in Israeli society
will the prophesied spiritual revolution take place. Revolutions
are made by the young.
For more information about The Harvest, Messianic Israeli Youth
Ministry, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Or visit our website at www.hakatzir.com