Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feast of Tabernacles 2011

We are in the middle of the 7 day Feast of Tabernacles. Throughout the world this week, Jews, and many Christians, will have built temporary shelters, called sukkahs in their backyards, and wherever they could. When I was in Israel during Tabernacles 1999, I saw sukkahs on balconies, built against houses, and in parking lots. Weather permitting, Jewish families will eat their meals in the little structures, sitting underneath their see-through roofs. The sukkah is intended as a reminder of the type of fragile dwellings that the Israelites dwelt in during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. It is to remind all of us of God’s provision; and of our dependence on Him. 

Christians should learn about it too, because we will observe it even in the Millenium: Zechariah 14:6  “And it shall come to pass [that] everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”
The Institute of Christian Embassy in Jerusalem hosts a huge celebration every year in Jerusalem. You can watch it live, per the schedule shown below: 
This streaming is made possible by ICEJ’s partners, Visjon Norge.
Oct 14 2011 6:30pm (Jerusalem)
Oct 15 2011 1.30am (Tokyo)
Oct 14 2011 5:30pm (London)
Oct 14 2011 12:30pm (New York)
Here is an article about this year’s ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles from the Jerusalem Post:
“The Feast of Tabernacles begins Thursday evening at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center with delegations from countries that include Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. The event is the largest solidarity mission to Israel this year, injecting an estimated $15 to $18 million into the local economy. 
Pilgrims will come to pray for peace in Jerusalem and to extend their blessings to Israel. They believe that commemorating the feast is a step towards the fulfilment of the prophecy of Zecharia, which anticipated that "the nations shall go [to Jerusalem] every year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Succot."
The first feast took place in September 1980 and was organized by mainly local pro-Israel Christian leaders. Around 1,000 pilgrims from 40 nations attended and as a result, the Christian Embassy was established to express year-round support with Israel. This was at a time when the last remaining thirteen national embassies had just left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv. 
This year, the celebration includes an interesting roster of speakers, headed by Angus Buchan, a South African farmer-turned-evangelist, whose tale is told in the book and movie, Faith Like Potatoes. Another fascinating speaker is Pastor Werner Oder, the son of an Austrian Nazi war criminal, who is today a Christian minister in England and an outspoken friend of Israel. 
Celebrations include a huge variety of activities, music, worship, performances, outdoor events and seminars, all of which culminates in the grand finale evening celebration and the Jerusalem March. “Most pilgrims love being part of the march,” says David Parsons, Media Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. “It allows them to go into the streets of Jerusalem and express their love and support directly to the Israeli people.” Also popular is the outdoor event at Ein Gedi.
“The feast is very challenging for those of us who organize it each year, as it is a huge undertaking to host so many people from so many different countries,” says David. “But it is a very rewarding and memorable time to see old friends each year and new faces as well, while also experiencing the "joy" of Succot. This is truly a week where we can sense the joy of God's presence like in the age to come.”
Finally, it is helpful to know about the New Testament observance of Sukkot  because it sheds light (no pun intended) on Jesus' statement in John 8:12: "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." For you see, the priests lit gigantic torches that were set upon pedestals in the Temple area each night of the festival. This light extravaganza was in everyone's memory as they heard Jesus' words. He was the master of delivery, timing, and deliverance.

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