By Victor Ochieng
There is rising anti-Semitism and it’s hit worrying levels. But even with that, thousands of Christians have made their way to Jerusalem to observe the biblical Feast of Tabernacles and to show their solidarity with the nation of Israel.
Those in attendance of the six-day event are drawn from all corners of the earth, with the event funded by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). They’re doing this in response to an ancient invitation as recorded in the holy scriptures.
“It’s the invitation of Zechariah the prophet. In chapter 14, verse 16 of the book of Zechariah, he envisions a time when all the nations will come up, celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, worship the Lord here and we’re like forerunners. It’s a dress rehearsal,” ICEJ Vice President David Parsons told CBN News.
In attendance of the opening gala are about 5,000 Christians coming from about 100 nations.
“In the end of the day it’s God’s faithfulness that has established for almost 40 years now this international gathering of the body of Christ in a unique way that you can’t find anywhere else,” Parsons said.
ICEJ was founded in 1980 in response to the move by some 13 countries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem after Israel made an infamous declaration that the united city is their eternal capital.
This became possible after Israel secured a surprise victory in 1967’s Six-Day War, a triumph that resulted in the uniting of Jerusalem. This and several other feats makes the celebration a special feast for Israel and their supporters.
“What’s really exciting, it’s the jubilee year for Jerusalem. We’re marking 50 years since the city of Jerusalem was reunited back under Jewish sovereignty,” Parsons said.
Interestingly, more than 50% of those in attendance of the celebration are joining the feast for the first time.
“We’re part of a 26-strong Cook Island delegation, and we’re here to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and we’re about to be registered as a nation with ICEJ for the first time ever, so it’s wonderful to be here just with the nations in the presence of God and worshipping together,” Paul Lynch said, adding, “It’s in the Bible, it’s quite clear. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. They’re God’s chosen country and our government is making a pledge to support Israel.”
Cruise Westerland from Samoa said he received word from God early this year, asking him to represent his country. “So I brought a team of 20 people. So we’re here happily from the ends of the earth, just two hours flight from Fiji,” he said.
When asked why they’re so strongly in support of Israel, many pilgrims, including Westerland, said they’re doing it “because the Bible says so.”