Pilgrims gather for Feast of Tabernacles

Int'l Christian Embassy Jerusalem media director talks about event attended by thousands of Evangelicals.

ICEJ Opening Night Feast of Tabernacles 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ICEJ Opening Night Feast of Tabernacles 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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It's that time of year again when people from all nations of the world prepare to come up to Jerusalem for the biblical Feast of Tabernacles Succot celebrations both in obedience to several biblical injunctions and in anticipation of prophesied future events.
As always, the premier event is the Feast of Tabernacles celebration hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) at the Jerusalem Convention Center from September 30-October 4.
The theme of this year's Feast is "The Spirit of Grace and Supplication," and it looks to improve on upon what has for decades been a very successful gathering of Christians in support of Israel's restoration.
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Travelujah spoke with ICEJ Media Director David Parsons about the event.
How many people are you expecting to attend the Feast?
We are expecting our usual numbers of around 5,000 Christians from some 90 nations. Groups are still registering but that is where we should wind up. Our opening event at Ein Gedi may top that figure alone with the local attendance added in.
What changes will there be this year to the traditional schedule?
First, we are moving our traditional Communion Night Service to the Garden Tomb this year. We will have over 3,000 of our Feast pilgrims taking part in two separate Communion Services at the Garden Tomb on Monday,  October 1.
In addition, we are cooperating with the Knesset Christian Allies' Caucus and the International Israel Allies Foundation to co-sponsor their annual "Chairmens' Conference" in Jerusalem at the same time as our Feast. This means that we will have up to 25 MPs from foreign parliaments here attending the Feast as well as the Chairmen's Conference.
 The annual Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, sponsored by Eagles' Wings Ministries, will also be held as part of our Feast this year, on Wednesday afternoon, October 3, in the Jerusalem Convention Center.
What about excursions during the Feast?
We have several bus tours, including:
Start-Up Nation' Tour
Visit to the futuristic showroom of Better Place and tour of the Microsoft offices in Herzliya.
Home Front Preparedness Tour
With a former IDF Home Front Command officer as guide, the tour will visit the newest Magen David Adom emergency response center and the world's largest bomb-proof underground emergency room recently built at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.Tour to Settlement of Efrat for Interfaith Dialogue
This tour takes pilgrims to the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in the community of Efrat, where renowned Rabbi Shlomo Riskin will teach on the "Ends of Days" from a Jewish perspective.
Israel's Foes Past-to-Present
Kay Wilson, a noted Israeli tour guide, offers a special journey through the strategic and beautiful Elah Valley which will trace Israel's historic enemies down through time, right up to the present.  The tour examines in order the Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Islamic invaders, right up to the Palestinian Arabs of today.ICEJ AID Visits with Gaza Evacuee Families
The ICEJ AID Department will host a special visit to Nitzan, a community near Ashdod established in the wake of the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza to house hundreds of Jewish families evacuated from the Gush Katif settlement bloc. The tour will show how the Christian Embassy has been helping the Gaza evacuee families and witness the delivery of a portable bomb shelter being donated by the ICEJ to protect the community's children from rocket barrages from Gaza.
Do you see an increase in Christian awareness of and interest in Tabernacles and other biblical holy days?
This will be the 33rd year of the ICEJ's Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and it is a biblical festival that is indeed catching on among Christians both here in Israel and across the world. For instance, the Ein Gedi celebration draws a huge crowd including over 1,000 local Christian and Messianic believers.
Other Christian celebrations of the Feast of Tabernacles have sprung up around the world. A couple of years ago I did some web searching and counted around 250 Christian celebrations of Succot being held in dozens of nations. There is now even a special website that helps Christians locate a Feast celebration near them.
Ryan Jones writes regularly for Travelujah. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.