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Messianic Soldiers in 'Spiritual Desert' of Israeli Army Sharing Their Faith in Christ More Than Ever Before

Messianic Soldiers in 'Spiritual Desert' of Israeli Army Sharing Their Faith in Christ More Than Ever Before

As for the army, Daniel called it a "spiritual desert," as he experienced himself. He reflected that during his first year of service, he could not attend a single Christian conference, which made him physically feel how much he misses the fellowship and teaching.

"That is why I believe one of the most important targets of the conferences is to provide spiritual refreshments for the soldiers. It is very intense being 24/7 with unbelievers, surrounded by bad language, bad talk, bad behavior, and going through physical and mental challenges," he said.

"Those conferences give the soldiers an opportunity to rest, be in a 'safehouse' for a little, share stories with friends, pray, worship together, study the word of God, and 'fill the batteries,'" he added.

Daniel said that it is very hard to walk a straight line when you are surrounded by people who do not follow the word of God.

He identified some of these bad influences in the form of aggressive and cynical language, which he admitted affected him without him even realizing it, and relationships between men and women. Since Messianic soldiers spend a significant amount of time with unbelievers, it is easy for them to slowly forget what the word of God teaches and end up leaving the church.

"It is a topic we try to talk about and encourage people to stay in touch with believing friends that will watch over them as much as they can and go through the challenges together – not alone," Daniel added.

Jonathan, a Messianic soldier who has been serving in the IDF for two-and-a-half years, told CP that the real purpose behind the KNI survey was to raise awareness. He said that many churches pray for Israel, the IDF and for believers, but the survey helps give perspective about the experiences of soldiers, and how to practically pray for them.

"The more people learn about the struggles and issues we as soldiers have, the more they can support us, and we really need it, because the army isn't camp," he said.

He suggested that every Messianic soldier faces a trial – to either get stronger in their faith while serving in the army, or leave the faith "for the pleasures of the world."

Jonathan said that he is not surprised by the results of the survey, however, because there is nothing that can be hidden in the army.

"The soldiers beside you become your family because you live with them more than your family. You eat, sleep and do everything with them. They see you in good and bad times, so you can't hide anything, sooner or later they will discover that you are different and that you believe in Yeshua," he continued.

The soldier shared that the growing acceptance of fellow Messianic soldiers "fills my heart with joy," and said that many Israelis are looking for truth in their lives, and going into the army is a good time to "find Yeshua."

"I have heard a couple of testimonies of soldiers who got to know Yeshua in the IDF, and the survey shows growing acceptance of Messianic soldiers," he said.

"In addition, it's amazing to see God working here in the land. Twenty years ago there were only several Messianic soldiers, and now you can see how the body of Christ is getting bigger, and that's amazing."

Jonathan offered that there are some good values that the IDF teaches that are aligned with what Messianic soldiers believe, such as respect, brotherhood, and friendship.

He shared that not all soldiers walk according to this vision, however, and often there are daily challenges that believers face when it comes to standing up for their beliefs, such as the cursing and swearing in the army.

Jonathan added that the struggles of a Messianic soldier are hard to describe, and that one needs to experience the life in order to understand it.

"The main request that I can ask of you is to stand with us in prayer, because the army is a really intense, crazy time for soldiers, and especially for the believers. Pray that we will stay strong in the Lord, and that we can be a good example and a great testimony for our friends, so they can get to know our God and join the Messiah family," he added.

The detailed results of the survey can be read in full on the KNI website.