Messianic youth ministry goes online with biblical teachings around Israel

Joel Goldberg, filming episode one of "Mamash Po - Right Here" at the archeological site Afek (Photo: screenshot)

Netivah youth ministry has launched a new YouTube series called “Mamash Po” [Right Here]. This project represents a unique idea for Israel, perhaps one of a kind in the world. In each episode, Joel Goldberg stands in a place where something significant in the Bible occurred, gives a teaching relevant to the site and then a short spiritual conclusion. Each episode lasts no longer than five minutes.

At the time of writing only one episode has been posted, but many more are to be expected. The site of Afek is located close to Netivah’s center at the Baptist Village, near Petach Tikva in central Israel. Afek is where the Philistines camped when capturing the Ark of the Covenant, as described in 1 Samuel 4.

In the short episode, Goldberg not only explains the geographic significance of Afek for the Philistines and narrates the events from the Bible, but also connects it to the New Testament, providing a spiritual lesson. The Israelites thought bringing the Ark into the battle would help them – they used it as an amulet. This still happens today to us sometimes, Goldberg explains, when we think of prayer and daily Bible reading as merits on their own, earning us “points” in heaven. We use something good that God has given us to be a witness about him – and we turn it into an idol or an amulet.

“God wants us to be close to him. That we shall know his love and grace directly, and not through ritual acts or amulets.” Goldberg concludes his lesson by reading the passages in Hebrews 9 about the Ark and the Tabernacle.

KNI reached out to Goldberg and asked about the initiative.

“Because of the pandemic, many teenagers have a lot of extra time, and they spend it on their computers or their phones rather than go outside. So we wanted to bring the outside to them,” Goldberg explained to KNI. “We did a lot of regular online lessons when the pandemic started, but we felt we wanted something that will stay around and inspire them also after the pandemic is over. I hope it will also inspire them to read the Bible, to go outside, and to get to know the country.”

“We have a great team, Yoni and Neta, who put together the list of sites, the biblical events. I prepare the lesson, we tape it, and then they edit it. We keep the lessons under 5 minutes because that’s the attention span teenagers have.”

The concept of the first video, of not just teaching history and geography, but also adding a spiritual teaching connected to the New Testament, is the concept they have established for the entire series. The teaching is only in Hebrew, but they are considering adding subtitles in English for international viewers.

“It’s less relevant if you’re not Israeli but maybe your readers can comment whether they’d want us to do that,” Goldberg says to KNI.

“We really pray that this initiative will encourage teenagers to grow and be strengthened in their faith and in their knowledge of the Bible,” Goldberg adds. “That it will make the Bible more real – that these are actual historical events that happened right here. Those events affect not only their physical life in Israel but also their spiritual lives.”

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1