When I was approached to pen this article for Travelujah about the Feast of Tabernacles and what it means to me, I paused wondering if I was capable of expressing such a spiritual and emotional experience in mere words. After all, I am a former politician and news commentator – not a theologian. The question which kept circulating through my mind was, “How does one express in words one of the most significant spiritual holidays of the year in Israel?” My conclusion, pen the article from my heart.
|A march in Jerusalem during the ICEJ Feast of the Tabernacles celebrations|
Over the past decade I have not only lived for extended periods in Israel, but I have felt an urge to travel to Jerusalem many times each year and always for the annual Feast of Tabernacles. For three decades Christians from the four corners of the earth have come to Jerusalem to express their love and support for the nation of Israel during the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.
As the world increasingly turns her back on Jerusalem, there has never been a more important time to come up to the city of our G-d and show support for His plans and purposes in the land of Israel. Not only is this a great gathering, it is a powerful expression of solidarity with the Jewish people and it also constitutes a worldwide biblical teaching event that inspires them to serve the purposes of G-d for this generation.
|Crowds at the Western Wall|
As I mentioned, I have no formal theological training, yet my motivation for attending the Feast each year is theologically and spiritually based. Truth be told, I confess there is also an element of emotional motivation in that I thoroughly enjoy the fellowship of being with literally thousands upon thousands of my Christian (and Jewish) brothers and sisters from around the world as we “break bread” in fellowship and worship the Lord together often signing and dancing in the streets of Jerusalem from the entrance to the city near my room at the Jerusalem Gold Hotel all the way down to the Western Wall.
During the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, Christians and Jews alike expect to see the Messiah appear on the scene to set up His kingdom to rule and reign from a united, Jewish Jerusalem. Truly a cause for celebration! It is a time of unity, joy, ingathering and re-gathering. It is a time when every Jew is reminded of the merciful work of God in delivering them from bondage and slavery in Egypt and a time when Christians are reminded of God’s plan to deliver mankind from our bondage to sin and eternal death. For the Jew as well as the Christian, keeping the Feast is an act of obedience yet not all Christians are aware of how pleasing this is to God.
Keeping the Feast is an outward expression of our reverence for Him and our love for one another. It is a time for Christians to openly demonstrate our love and appreciation to the Jewish people for having so diligently, faithfully, fearfully, and carefully recorded and preserved God’s Word since the beginning. After all, Judaism is the root of the Christian faith and from it comes our Redemption.
Since its inception in 1980, the ICEJ’s annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles continues to grow as our understanding of the times in which we are living comes into sharper focus.
Right in line with Old Testament prophecy, a quick glance at most news casts reveals that prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes. The Bible says, “Salvation is of the Jews.” Thanks to the grace of God we are related to the Jewish people by faith yet we do little to demonstrate this familial relationship but one way we can do this is by keeping the feasts. Christians have been GRAFTED into the family of God. We are not the natural branch nor have we replaced the natural branch as some would like to believe. As Christians, it is our PRIVILEGE to keep the Feast of Tabernacles along side our Jewish brothers and sisters as together we dwell in unity awaiting, with great anticipation, that glorious day when we will all see the Messiah – the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace – as He sets up His kingdom here on earth.
The Bible refers to the seven various feasts as the Feasts of the Lord. So, to all those denominations who, as part of their weekly worship service regularly recite the phrase, “Therefore, let us keep the feast. Halleluiah!” Whether they know exactly what they are proclaiming or not, I say, “Amen and Amen.”
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