The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has kicked off its annual “Christian celebration of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)” in Jerusalem this week at the Pais Center.
The event, according to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, is the largest annual event in Israel, drawing some 5,000 “Christian pilgrims” from roughly 100 countries to Jerusalem each fall, an activity which ICEJ claims brings between $15 to 18 million into Israel’s economy each year.
This year the ICEJ expects more than 6,000 visitors to attend the Feast.
“We are expecting one of our biggest crowds ever,” said ICEJ President Jürgen Bühler before the event. “Thousands of Christians are once again being drawn here from all over the world by the dynamic worship experience which surrounds this unique biblical festival. But there is also the added attraction of celebrating the fifty-year Jubilee of a reunited Jerusalem, and this means we are truly in for a banner Feast.”
The conference began on Friday with “Ein Gedi Night” – an outdoor meal, concert and organized worship beside the Dead Sea at the historic desert oasis and nature reserve located near Masada and the Qumran Caves.
Afternoon sessions will include, among others, speakers presenting Christian, Jewish and Jewish Messianic perspectives on the Feast of Sukkot. Other contributors will discuss the Jerusalem Jubilee, archaeological progress at the City of David, “The Persecuted Church,” and a Focus Israel segment each of three days featuring Anarina Heymann, City of David, Chris Mitchell of CBN and Susanna Kokkonen, director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.
The last full day of activities will be Tuesday, concluding with a march through the streets of Jerusalem “to express our solidarity with Israel.” The march will begin at approximately 3:30 PM at Gan Sacher in Rechavia and follow Betzalel, Hillel and King David streets to the south end of Sfarad Square in Talbiya, about 2.5 kilometers or 1.6 miles.
The Feast program will conclude with a closing prayer service, Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, at the Pais Arena on Wednesday morning.
The 2017 event is the 38th annual gathering sponsored by ICEJ whose proclaimed calling is “to connect the global Church to Israel.”
The Feast can be viewed live online at ICEJ Live Streaming.