'What a Joy to be Here': Thousands of Christians Flock to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles
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JERUSALEM, Israel – This week, Israelis and Jews around the world are celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles – or “Sukkot” in Hebrew.
Thousands of Christians have come up to Jerusalem to join the gathering of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).
After two years of limited tourism to Israel because of the COVID pandemic, over 2,000 Christian pilgrims from more than 70 nations came here to take part in the Feast of Tabernacles.
THE ICEJ has celebrated the feast for more than 40 years.
“The Feast of Tabernacles is a fall harvest feast on the biblical calendar that also has a prophetic purpose hidden within it and that is the second coming of the Lord. So, we are here celebrating every year in anticipation of the coming of Jesus here to Jerusalem and it’s always this glorious celebration of Christians, the Body of Christ from all over the world,” ICEJ VP David Parsons told CBN News.
Sharren Haskel, a member of Israel’s parliament, came to welcome the pilgrims and why their presence means so much.
“The Jewish people throughout history didn’t have many friends,” said Haskel. “They had a few but not many. And to see thousands of people, Christian leaders and believers that are coming here to celebrate with us – people who are advocating for Israel – who are bringing that message that Israel is a light in the Middle East. How we bring those shared Judeo-Christian values of freedom and liberty and equality. And it’s important to me to show them that it’s not taken for granted.”
Haskel also mentioned in her message the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast.
“The prophet Zechariah spoke of a future time when all the nations would come to Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot,” Haskel told attendees. “Look around you now. We are the living proof of the accuracy of the Bible and the truth of the Word of God.”
She continued: “The prophecy speaks about bringing people from all around countries, all around the globe from different nations, from different religions and celebrate here in Jerusalem. You can feel it in the air. You can see those people, how important it is for them, and how important it is for us to fulfill it, to celebrate it.
For many pilgrims, the feast is a time of joy.
Andrea from Bolivia told CBN News it’s a “miracle” to be here.
“It’s the Promised Land. I’m so happy to be here,” she said.
“It’s hard to describe. It’s really something you have to experience and to be here in person in the eternal capital of the nation is just profound,” said Ashely from Zimbabwe.
Jenni, who is also from Zimbabwe, said it is a “privilege to come and take part in worshipping the King at the Feast of Tabernacles.”
One of the highlights of the Feast of Tabernacles is when Christians from around the world join Israelis for the annual Jerusalem March.
“What a joy to be here in Jerusalem. I’m telling you to see the nations going up is a fulfillment of prophecy and I just love it every time and it’s amazing to be here after two years,” Adam, a parade attendee, told CBN News.
For Israelis, the Christian presence touches their hearts.
“They came here to support us. I don’t have words to bring my happiness,” said Gershon.
Haddasha Sharoni described the feeling as "amazing.”
“The vision is coming true. The vision that we read just now in Shabbis Zechariah is coming true that all the countries are coming to Israel and Sukkot,” she said.
Naomi said it “feels like a big hug.”
“We always feel so isolated in Israel – this little, tiny, tiny Jewish people. And to feel this hug from people from all over the world is really wonderful. And we appreciate every single person who has come,” she said.
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