Eitan Shiskoff

Executive Director
Tents of Mercy Network
"If God has left the non-Jewish followers of Jesus out of Israel's historic / prophetic awakening, something's wrong."

"We Messianic Jews cannot fulfill our God-given role in hastening Yeshua's return without our Gentile brethren. Nor can they realize the age-old dream of God's Kingdom established on earth without us."

In honor of Eitan Shishkoff's 20th year in Israel, "Oasis Magazine" is proud to print the introduction from his forthcoming book, What About Us? Publication details will be available soon.

"Hey, what about us? What about the Gentiles?"

The woman who asked me this question had been journeying with us, visiting Israeli Messianic congregations. She was witnessing firsthand the phenomenal rebirth of faith in Yeshua (Jesus) among Israeli Jews, both native-born and immigrant. Her heart was touched and she wanted to participate, to be more than a spectator looking on.

The purpose of this book is to answer her question. It is a good question, an important question. If God has left the non-Jewish followers of Jesus out of Israel's historic/prophetic awakening, something's wrong. If in Israel's rediscovery of the most famous Jew of all times, our King Messiah, there's no place for His Gentile disciples to be involved, it leaves most of God's family out of the celebration.

Yet thankfully this is not the case. In fact, the Scriptures speak vividly and inspiringly of an end-time partnership between Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua. The precedents for such a partnership abound in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the New Covenant. I have been privileged to experience the deep joys of this partnership first hand, around the world. I want to share those stories with you. We will explore foundational passages from the Scriptures that provide a strong theological understanding of our mutual dependence.

We Need Each Other

It is this dependence which provides the key in answering the question "What about the Gentiles?" Simply stated, we need each other. We Messianic Jews cannot fulfill our God-given role in hastening Yeshua's return without our Gentile brethren. Nor can they realize the age-old dream of God's Kingdom established on earth without us. My prayerful hope is that through this book a friendship will be fostered. That has been the divine plan all along. We were tragically separated in the early centuries of this era. Yeshua's original community began with Jewish disciples in first-century Israel. Then the door was opened to the Gentiles by the apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts. That short-lived, active unity without uniformity was ended by religious leaders on both sides. The rabbis said "You can't believe in Jesus and be Jewish." The bishops said "You can't be a Christian and do Jewish stuff." But they were both wrong. This was an unscriptural, unintended uprooting of faith in Yeshua from its original and eternal roots in the Hebrew Bible, Israel's history and the prophetic expectation of the exiles' return and revival. Historians validate with one voice that Yeshua's first followers and the early congregations were fully Jewish, celebrating the Torah of Israel, looking for the fulfillment of her prophets' words.

A Shared Mission

Now, some 20 centuries later, we have returned to the land. We are walking with Yeshua as our Messiah. And the signs of His return are appearing daily. But what about the Gentiles? Is their time over? "... And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). "... Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (Romans 1:25).

Is that what Luke and Paul meant? Or is there a shared mission at the end? There is a mystery here (Ephesians 3:4-6) that is to be revealed in these times. We are being handed an unprecedented opportunity to overturn the tragic division between us and by so doing welcome back the King as His covenant friends, deeply committed to each other. I believe that we have a rare chance to show Israel and the nations of the world what humility and mutual serving looks like. I believe that we have been given a high and thrilling calling.

As a Messianic Jew involved in Jewish ministry for over 30 years, I've had the adventure of participating in the historic awakening of Jewish people to faith in Jesus. This phenomenon has been accompanied by increasing interest among the Lord's Gentile disciples around the world. What began in the 1970's as distant curiosity has become a growing passion to explore the Jewish roots of New Covenant faith and to further God's purposes for Israel.

Assisting in Israel's Salvation

Since immigrating to Israel in 1992, a meaningful portion of my work has focused on responding to the desire of Gentile Christians to assist in Israel's salvation. On every continent Christians are praying earnestly for Israel - crying out to God that we will find Yeshua (Jesus) as our Messiah King. Travelling to numerous countries, I've experienced this amazing love for the Jewish people within the Church.

In fact, there are churches where worshipers wave tambourines with stars of David, Israeli flags are proudly displayed and the call of the ram's horn (shofar) is heard. Until very recently in the history of Christianity this combination of Gentile Christians and Jewish symbolism was virtually unknown. Why is this happening now? And what are the implications for the life of the Church? As a Messianic Jew and an Israeli, I cannot but view positively this newfound attraction for things Jewish. Yeshua (Jesus) has been painfully cut off from His Jewish roots for some 1800 years. This development is a refreshing change in Church history, to say the least. Indulging in a bit of Jewish gallows humor we might say "Hey, I can put up with some extremes in Jewish 'accessorizing' among our Christian neighbors. It sure beats getting killed by them!" We might say that the Church is rediscovering her origin in the ancient soil of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Yet for all the celebration, there are also causes for concern. Many are confused. Are Gentile believers to adopt the Mosaic law as their requisite pattern of life? Should the Church yield to mainstream Jewish demands that evangelism be off limits because of the ugly anti-Semitic past? Is there a separate salvation covenant for Israel that removes the necessity of faith in Yeshua? How is the Church to relate to Israel ... or to the remarkable movement of Jews embracing Jesus? These and many other questions call for thoughtful answers. At stake is not only the health of the body of Christ, but the salvation of Israel.

God's Hour of Destiny

I want to address this extraordinary hour of destiny. God has set this up. I believe He opened the eyes of my generation of Jewish seekers, refugees of the wild and wooly cultural revolution of the 1960's. When we saw Jesus (this happened to me literally), we knew He was the true answer to all we sought. Then, many of us returned to our Jewish heritage, as members of the universal body of Christ.

Some of our Gentile brethren encouraged us to live an authentic Jewish life in Yeshua, realizing that a special work of grace was taking place. I simply could not have fulfilled my calling without them. In the decades since, God has used precious brothers and sisters from the nations to give us in-depth ministry training, abundant financial resourcing and steadfast intercessory backing. At the same time, I began seeing vivid evidence in Scripture that this was God's plan all along. I am convinced that this partnership, of Yeshua's Gentile and Jewish followers, is essential for the salvation of Israel, and thus for the Second Coming of Messiah.

We have a unique, history-making opportunity as Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus the Messiah. His plan is to bring us into covenant friendship - to share His cup, to share in priestly intercession for the sake of Israel's redemption and to share in restoring the presence of God in Israel ... just as King Solomon and King Hiram did when they teamed up to build the first temple.

By Eitan Shishkoff
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15:11 05Nov12 N -
Thank you for your loving balanced article, I have heard so many off balanced things lately in regards to Jew and Gentiles worshipping together as one. Some have said that Gentiles should not even be in messianic congregations and vise versa, this grieves me greatly. I was in Israel several years ago at your congregation and was greatly blessed by your ministry. I truly see the anointing of God at work in your ministry. I wish and pray for the same with the congregations in the United States (sadly they lack the power of God's loving spirit that unites the brethren). As you said we need each other, Gentiles have been grafted in and are the adopted sons and daughters, but does that mean they should be treated like second class citizens? I know you would say no to this because you truly have the love of God in you. Something has gone terribly wrong in the USA, people seem to be elevating everything but Yeshua, He seems to be in the background instead of the front, the traditions and making sure you say Yeshua instead of Jesus, the word of God is taught more from topical studies and never from a verse by verse perspective. What about even going through an entire book in the New Testament or even the Old Testament for that matter? I guess I'm babbling now but I have so much on my heart. Please pray for the messianic congregations in the USA.

16:05 05Nov12 Frank Onofrio -
As a Gentile believer in Yeshua as Messiah, I believe that the Gentile Church should:

  1. Have the liturgical year follow the Old Testament Jewish calendar (lunar calendar) with the first month of the year being the one that contains the Passover (Exodus 12:1-4).
  2. Both Gentile & Jewish believers should acknowledge all 7 mandatory Feasts: 4 of which have already been fulfilled in Christ (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits & Weeks [Pentecost]) & 3 have yet to be fulfilled (Trumpets, Day of Atonement & Tabernacles). The emphasis of the celebrations being on how Christ fulfilled them or will fulfill them.
  3. The dietary laws (& some other laws in the Old Testament) should be optional since God Himself seems to have amended them with Peter's vision in Acts 10. Gentiles should respect dietary laws when associating with Jews but it should not keep the two separated.
  4. No need for future Temple sacrifices as they were fulfilled in Yeshua.
Any thoughts or agree/ disagree with the above?
The Gentile & Jewish believers in Yeshua as Messiah should not have split apart. Differences should have been worked out.

16:20 05Nov12 Donny Polley -
From the way I see it if you become part of the tree then you should not be consinder a gentile any longer but part of the family of the Jews. A gentile is a non-believer. Am I wrong about this?

19:09 05Nov12 Tom and Carol Olsen -
So very excited -- and so very thankful. As a gentile believer in Yeshua and one called to prophetic intercession, I am very sure that the proper understanding of Ephesians 2:14-16 (one New Man) will open fully the opportunity to walk into Ephesians 3:9-12 -- and is the key that will open wide the eternal purposes of God for this hour -- revival/awakening/covenant fulfillment/certain return!!

19:31 05Nov12 Steve Magnuson -
AMEN! I used to long to talk to Moses and ask him what it was like to release the plagues in Egypt. To Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and ask them what was it like to walk in that fire with Jesus. To Peter about having a shadow that healed people. And to John about what it was like to be Jesus' best friend. I still do I guess, but I am beginning to realize they can't wait to talk to us. We are living in the days they foresaw, seeing with our owns eyes what they only imagined could be.
To see a growing number of Jewish believers that we can support, encourage and pray for is truly exciting. As a Gentile, to even have the ability to help is an honor and to have a heart to help is nothing less than a gift from God. The fact that this small, budding partnership between Jew and Gentile is producing such miraculous results is a testimony to God's power and evidence His plan is beginning to unfold.
Thank you to all Jewish believers for having the courage to stand for Yeshua and make yourself available for the partnership and friendship we are starting to enjoy together. May the Spirit of God rise up in you, the angels of God encamp around you, the Glory of God be seen on you and the Power of God be released through you as you testify of our coming King.

19:50 05Nov12 Steve Sherr -
Looking forward to reading the book. It brings tears to my eyes when I consider Gentile Christians' love for my Jewish people (especially me)!

04:09 08Nov12 Kaytee -
I always cry when I meet a Jew. I can feel God&039;s love for them and feel a blessing coming upon me from them. This includes Torah observant and assimilated secular left liberals. The greatest joy

  -- Eitan Shishkoff replies: Dear Prized Readers, my friends,

I am so grateful for the numerous responses I've received already to this article. Since this is only the introduction to a book I've been able to write on the subject, I'm encouraged.

One regret is that there are now too many e-mails for me to answer each one individually. Please know that your feedback is valued. For those who have asked questions, stimulated by the article, I hope to answer you soon.

Please continue to pray with me that the editing and design process will be completed this month and that the finished product will emerge from the printer in January.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Independent or Accountable Network?
Marty Shoub: Celebrating With Reverence and Joy
Asher Intrater: All Israel Shall Be Saved