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Feast for a King
Jerusalem welcomed the nations at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration with 8,000 International Christian participants. View the festivities on video.

      To view a video format, visit Acts News Network. This text is a transcript of the video.

They are everywhere.

On busy streets, in backyards, at hotels and even on the rooftops of high-rise buildings, one can spot a tent-like structure, known in Hebrew as a sukkah throughout the nation of Israel.

Sukkah in Jerusalem.
Photo, courtesy Wikipedia.

“Jewish people went through the Desert and God lead them out of Egypt and performed all sorts of miracles,” recalled Benjamin Philip, Chairman of Hineni Jerusalem, referring to the Biblical exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. “Every year we celebrate by sitting in huts which we rebuild. Huts which are not always comfortable but [give] us the sense of how it must have been in those days.”

Constructing a sukkah is not only a tradition but some see it as a biblical command.

“We are supposed to dwell in it,” added Philip. “Dwelling is a broad concept. People sit in it, they eat in it, they read in it … and some people even sleep in it.”

Along with the appearance of the sukkah, in Jerusalem theJewish holiday, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is marked by thousands of Christian visitors from around the globe. Distinctive regalia accompanied by the flags of the nations were evidence that once again the nations were in town this year, en masse.

“The Bible teaches us that we are to love the Jewish people and to love this nation. It is a special nation that God has chosen,” affirmed Colin Chow, National Director of the Hong Kong office of the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. “For this reason we felt a special calling to come to Israel and … to tell them that, ‘we are here to support you [Israel].’”

Jim White, dressed in the national personification of the United States, known as “Uncle Sam”, is a regular attendee of the Jerusalem March. “We come up here to stand with the Israeli people … to let them know that they are not alone [and] that we love ‘em.”

Despite current global economic uncertainties, the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem reported a record number of 8,000 International Christian participants at their annual Feast of Tabernacle celebration.

According to the book of Zechariah, the nations represented in this vivid display of solidarity will be blessed by going up to Jerusalem to celebrate this particular feast. Clearly participants and on-lookers were already sharing in the joy of the occasion.

Yael, a first generation Israeli and child of holocaust survivors was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the foreign participants at the Jerusalem March. “It gives you a good feeling because a lot of people like Israel and we have friends in the whole world. It is not just that we have enemies, we have people that like us.”

New immigrant to Israel, Faydra Shapiro, shared in the delight of the experience. “We moved to Israel two months ago from Canada. It’s my first time at the feast as an Israeli so it’s exciting.”

So what exactly is the underlying motivation behind the yearly pilgrimage of thousands of Christians?

“This is the cradle of their belief system as Christians,” contended Malcolm Hedding, Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. “Secondly they have come here to extend an arm and a hand and a voice of appreciation to the nation of Israel for all that they have received as Christians because of the Bible and their belief in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Thirdly these people understand the significance of Israel’s restoration today and they have come to express solidarity with the Jewish state in these very urgent and dangerous times.”

Jerusalem resident and observant Jew, Benjamin Philip, added, “Actually [the Feast of] Sukkot is also a very prophetic time. In [the time of the Biblical prophets] it says that during this time … peace will come all over the world and Jews and Gentiles will actually go up Mount Moriah where the temple was, in order to give honour to HaShem, to the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. So it is not only a feast that represents the past but it also represents what will happen in the future.”

Marney Blom is the news director for Acts News Network.

Originally published on Acts News Network, October 2008.




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