The Jesus movie that’s impacted Israel
A faith-based film glorifying Jesus the Messiah has premiered in theatres across Israel. ‘A New Spirit’ – based on the life of Israeli Messianic leader and evangelist Jacob Damkani.
Jacob was once a local gangster from a poverty-stricken town in Israel who fled to the US where he became a Christian.
He’s now back in Israel with among other goals, a vision to see The Tabernacle rebuilt. As for the movie, A New Spirit – it’s reportedly had an impact on the nation of Israel after showings at 30 thirty theatres across the country.
As Jacob pointed out on his website ‘Trumpet of Salvation of Israel’….
“When we say ‘Christian’ we think of another religion. But the idea that Jesus came to establish a new religion is far from the truth. Jesus never intended to bring a new religion and the church has to understand that He is the natural continuation of God’s promises made to Israel… I didn’t become a Christian if that means following a new religion. If it means a follower of Messiah, then okay, I’m a Christian.”
A New Spirit has had plenty of news coverage and brought Jacob Damkani’s profile into prominence for many Israelis.
Jacob’s beginnings and Keith Green
But it’s been a long road for Jacob – a journey that goes back to a time in the 70s that included his involvement with singer songwriter, the late Keith Green.
“I’m glad I met him on the first year of my faith. He established something that was really powerful and it’s been a great blessing on the rest of my walk with the Lord.”
The Keith Green episode was 40 years ago when Jacob became a part of Keith Green’s ministry based at Woodland Hill in California.
“This was before they moved to Lindale Texas,” Jacob recalled. “It was a most glorious, a powerful, and a beautiful foundation the Lord gave me to follow Him on this narrow path.”
Jacob has been described as the busiest and most prolific evangelist in Israel – a man who’s boldly preaching the Good News to curious onlookers. That in itself is a recipe to stir up controversy with the contrast from ultra-orthodox Jews to the secular Israeli population.
‘This is Jesus the Jew’
This has meant some not-so-friendly encounters in some quarters for Jacob when he’s been out and about preaching the Gospel – a calling that has been his fulltime occupation for the past 35 years.
“My interest and my aim was to reach the nation at large. Those being the secular Jews and the religious Jews as well as the Arabs.”
Jacob wants the nation of Israel to wake up to the reality of the Jesus Christ.
“This is Jesus the Jew who has no intention to bring a new religion and who is the natural continuation of God’s promises to these people.”
“It’s to have them understand what has been a glorious revelation and understanding of the nation’s rejection of Jesus and that it’s been God’s way of doing things – His ways are not our way and His thoughts not our thoughts,” being Jacob’s answer to his bewildered compatriots.
But the rejection of Christ by the vast majority of Jews for thousands of years was all arranged as Jacob Damkani pointed out.
‘We had to take Him to the cross’
“We rejected Him so that He could be a blessing to all the families of the earth as He promised Abraham, and to be a light to the nations.”
“For that to occur we (the Jews) had to reject Him!” Jacob declared.
“We had to take Him to the cross. As the Scripture said, ‘The stone the builder rejected has become the chief cornerstone.’ This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes. ‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it,” Jacob quoted.
From Jacob’s perspective the words of the song ‘This is the Day’ should be understood by the Jews as the fulfilment of what the Bible talks about in Psalm 28.”
But if anyone’s a realist it’s Jacob. He understands that his role towards Israel’s recognition of the Good News has been and will continue to be for the time being, no overnight revelation.
“For me it’s really a long, long path of making this simplicity of truth clear to my people.” This is because the focus is on other issues.
‘I had this revelation 40-years ago’
“We are focused on the Inquisition, we are focused on the Crusaders, and we are focused on all the misconceptions,” said Jacob saying this is what he was learning about from his boyhood.
This was until the wakeup call came upon his life – that Jesus the Jew had nothing to do with all the tragedies the church has brought upon us as a nation for 2-thousand years and millions of Jews being killed in the name of Jesus,” Jacob emphasised.
“When I had this revelation 40-years ago as a 25-year old there was nothing more important to me than to bring that message to my people.”
“This was the deep calling that brought me back to Israel with the Lord giving me the joy the strength the wisdom and His favour and He opened doors before me.
If that was just the first course, the Lord had another serving for His servant Jacob.
“He gave me creativity in my mind and an anointed imagination of how to work out and bring forth the message to my people,” Jacob confessed, before commenting on the movie – A New Spirit.
“This is the third film and you’d never believe this boy from Galilee who didn’t finish high school, who had to escape the police and run away from this country and continue this gang life in America, who has become the producer of three films.”
‘God how great You really are!’
Two of the films were documentaries. ‘The Other Side of the Cross’ ‘The Messenger’ and now ‘A New Spirit’.
“This is a Hollywood fiction film with actors and it’s a very powerful movie,” Jacob shared saying it’s taken Israel by surprise.
“A New Spirit with some of the best actors Israel has to offer, and its story of a boy with its message pointing to Yeshua – Jesus, and I’m looking back and saying, ‘God, how great You really are!”
The Emotions overcame Jacob as he gave glory to God reflecting on the film’s portrayal of those who have laid their lives down for the truth.
“You open heaven for such people. You give favour and no matter what trials and tragedies come your way, the persecution and other passages of life, God gives the strength the joy and the power to carry on.”
‘The Jewish Gospel for the Jewish people’
It’s no exaggeration to say Jacob is very excited about the movie and believes the Lord has taken him to this phase in his life. Although there are changes, some things will always stay the same for Jacob.
“We will never give up on the street (witnessing), we will never give up on marching through the streets, gathering the saints from the nations and teaching them how to relate the Jewish Gospel to the Jewish people in the Jewish context,” Jacob outlined.
But the passion to make more movies has put down roots in Jacob’s life and, like Star Wars sequels, he already has a plot in mind for his next movie.
“My mind is already spinning with new ideas for the next film and I hope and pray the Lord will allow me to produce a major Hollywood film every two years and the next one on my mind is the re-trial of Jesus.”
Jacob Damkani – Born near the Sea of Galilee into a religious Jewish family. Came to faith through the witness of Jeff, a non-Jewish believer in the United States of America. The fire was lit. Jacob was burning to proclaim the same gospel to his Jewish kinsfolk back in Israel. He returned and Trumpet of Salvation to Israel was born.
Home-made tracts and fliers, a bunch at a time, were printed in his parents’ basement. He began to distribute these and share this good news with whomever would listen. Perseverance was blessed and by the grace of God, Trumpet acquired the Jaffa house. Today it remains the center and base for evangelism in Israel.
From tracts to books – Jacob’s autobiography “Why Me” came to print. To date 3.5 million copies have been distributed, and the press continues to run. With the help of the many brothers and sisters in Yeshua “Why Me?” has so far been translated into 17 languages, Chinese, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.