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Israel Insights

The Pulse of Israel’s Local Body

Getting to know local believers and to understand the situation on the ground in Israel is vital, and the best source for this is to connect directly with the people of the land. That’s why the ICEJ organised a panel discussion with three Messianic leaders from three different cities in Israel: Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ashdod. The open and frank discussion gave examples of how to show God’s love in direct and practical ways. Praying for healing continues to bring results, both among believers going out to pray and the ones who are being healed.

God’s Sovereign Faithfulness and Grace for Israel
At the Feast’s first morning plenary, Daniel Yahav gave a message about Israel that only a native Israeli can deliver – consisting of both hope and reality. He referred to Israel’s amazing history through the millennia: “It’s exciting to hear the words that God spoke with Abraham 4,000 years ago, recorded by Moses 3,500 years ago.” The reality is, however, that God has guided the Jewish nation very much in spite of itself, i.e., by grace, and that believers should have God’s sovereign works as their main focus as they rejoice over the miracles performed for Israel. He drove home his message on the sovereignty of the Lord by stating, “God is not waiting, and He is not dependent on the nations or the UN. Our God is God. He created heaven and earth, and He has decided that this land is the inheritance of the people of Israel.”

Restoring the Altar of the Lord
Peter Tsukahira delivered a superbly inspiring message, in which he managed to make Scriptures acutely relevant by speaking about the tribal nature of human conflict and God as the only unifying peacemaker. He used Elijah’s battle on Mount Carmel to illustrate the modern-day battle in which believers find themselves, asking, “Will you be among the ones who will restore the altar of the Lord in the midst of your people?” He ended by declaring about Jerusalem, “Here are your roots. Here is where your King laid down his life for you. Here is where He rose from the dead, and here, according to the Scriptures, is where He is going to return.”

Divine Dealings

ICEJ’s International Spokesman, David Parsons, delved deeply into theology in his teaching on the suffering of the Jewish people, investigating the hopeful notion that the worst is past for Israel, meaning that because of historical calamities that have already transpired, Israel “has [already] received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Is. 40:2) The judgment still to come will now focus on the nations.

Plugging into Israel’s Prospects and Challenges
Yet again, the ICEJ’s leadership assembled a roster of accomplished speakers to give Feast pilgrims a handle on what is moving in Israel. A new investment platform, “OurCrowd” was introduced. Recognizing that there is great interest investing in Israel but a reluctance to do the “deal picking,” OurCrowd vets more than 200 start--ups monthly before it recommends two to three to its global network of investors, which includes everything from private individuals to corporate giants like Google.

Although the OurCrowd investment initiative’s success is an effective counter to BDS, Dr Eugene Kontorovich and Calev Myers in their seminar highlighted the nature of the newest form of affront against Israel, Lawfare. Lawfare is to attack Israel and its policies through legal means. Lawfare has been one of the favourite tactics of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement in their efforts to delegitimise Israel, and while the key players have changed from being the Arab League to many European leaders and NGOs today, the goals remain the same. BDS is working to label every product created in the West Bank with what is for all intents and purposes “a yellow star” on Israeli products in the global market.

Find full DVD and MP3 coverage of Feast seminars, speakers and events at
www.icejstore.com

What happened at the Feast this year?

The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest. But it is also a time to look back. We just finished yet another amazing Feast and we would like to share some of the moments, we look back at with joy, and which continue to fuel our excitement in God. Our hope and desire is for you to join us anew, or for the first time, in 2019.

Spiritual Wellspring at the Shores of the Dead Sea
Whether you are a Feast veteran or a brand-new arrival in Israel, Ein Gedi is the place to be the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles. The excitement, expectations and blessing that is part of this modern-day classic is unrivalled. Every year we gather together during the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles in the desert at Ein Gedi to share a meal together, to pray and worship God. The Exodus story comes alive for us and helps us imagine what it was like to be camped in the wilderness. 

Catching Dreams at the Empty Tomb
Hervé Datro of the Ivory Coast stirred the crowd, stating, “Our big dream is of Heaven, not of earth. (…) Without Jesus your dream cannot be accomplished.” Echoing Pastor Khoury’s purposeful declaration of the “God who keeps His covenant with Israel,” Datro pointed out the debt Christians owe the Jewish nation: “I dream of Heaven. I dream of the restoration of the House of David (…) I am because Israel was.” In the second service he was followed by Juha Ketola, who boldly declared, “Because I want to live for the Glory of Jesus,” and who went on to achieve a combination of joyous excitement and humble contemplation as he underscored the choice between living a life in the flesh or in the Spirit. 

A Breakthrough Year for Israel - Evening Celebrations
Anointed speakers and performers from Israel and around the world set the tone for festive and insightful nights at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem. On the performance side, the audience saw and heard the powerful pulses of Eddie James’ young performers, who drew energy from the powerful Bible scriptures they declared with determination for the promises about Israel.

Hebrew sound waves by Shiloh Ben Hod and Jamie Hilsden’s Miqedem added contemporary Israeli music solidly planted in Scripture – providing a musical experience with a distinct Israeli flavour, praising God in the language of scripture. Insistent and powerful, Miqedem’s tunes unleashed the deep wellspring of joy and victory. 

Sarah Liberman delivered an equally crowd-rousing performance with quiet heartfelt testimonies and prayers in between songs, “He is the source, He is the vision, He is not only that, He is the God of miracles” inviting the crowd to join in the song. 

The smooth jazzy sounds of Togo’s French-speaking worship team got the audience going in a different groove. The Togolese group did so well that the audience joined them by dancing onto the stage with their national flags.

A vocal ensemble from Taiwan stepped onto the stage with great joy and pride, singing “Zai Jhe li" (The spirit of God is here). They sang in Mandarin with grace and unmitigated joy, lending a unique Asian voice to the many international contributions at the Feast.

Do not Limit the Holy One of Israel

Pastor Adeboye testified about his journey of faith and dreaming with God, and said, “You know your dream is from God when people laugh at you. And then you can tell them, just wait and see.” He confidently and humbly stated that, "God is not a joker. Whatever God says He will do...He will do!" 

The Wisdom From the East

Preaching the connection between receiving glory from God and unity in the Body of Christ and with God, Nathaniel Chow shared about his unique and ongoing journey to learn more about God’s glory. This journey was impacted significantly by his first visit to Jerusalem 17 years prior. He finished with a call for spiritual unity in Christ to transcend political differences between Chinese groups and between what he labelled “chopstick” and “fork” nations. The evening ended in a final Ruth salutation, “Your God is my God – your people shall be my people.” 

A Preview of Prophecy – the 2018 Jerusalem March

Imagine an Orthodox Jewish family from Herzliya, a city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, spending the holiday of Sukkot in Jerusalem for the first time. Then imagine that family seeing a multitude of Christians joining an Israeli parade. Add to this the Christians singing about their love for Israel as many of them joyously dance in the streets. Well, you might guess that the family from Herzliya would be visibly excited and moved by the annual spectacle known as the Jerusalem March, and indeed they were, as were thousands more. 

Prayer at the Tower of David

The unleashing of the freedom of the Holy Spirit was declared and felt on this morning as Eddie James and a Fijian mother prayed over the young generation to be set free from drug addiction and the hold of the enemy. The end of the meeting concluded with shouts of “BREAKTHROUGH” resounding from the mouths of all of the pilgrims that came to the Feast of Tabernacles. Many left the Old City changed, revived, and excited for the God of Israel to breakthrough in their lives, families, and nations!

Feast 2018 was filled with new experiences, fresh spiritual input, an outpouring of blessing in healing, and dreams coming alive again.

Find full DVD and MP3 coverage of Feast seminars, speakers and events at
www.icejstore.com

Stories and Dreams at the Feast!

Before penning the account of this year’s Feast – Dare to Dream – we asked ourselves which stories to tell? This Feast we wanted to tell the story of dreams new and old. Old dreams are just as vital as new ones. Dreams are only old because we deem them so. God can renew them or bring them to pass in the twinkling of an eye.

Prophecy is akin to sharing God’s dreams before they become fact. It is marvellous that our Lord creates through His Word. He speaks, and it is so. We latch on to the dream by believing the God-given vision, eagerly waiting and reminding God of its fruition. Dreams without God are powerless visions that remain hapless reveries. Dreaming with God is anticipating and building the future reality.

Looking back at the Feast of 2018, we also ask ourselves which experiences and newly gained insights we want to share? This Feast, we were enriched by an all-star line-up of speakers from many nations and blessed by talented and anointed worship leaders. They taught us about Israel and were conduits for experiencing God’s heart and will for our lives. Most importantly, the pilgrims brought a desire to honour and worship the great King in His own city, Jerusalem, along with a fervent love for God’s chosen people.

In the next pages, we invite you to join us in reliving the best moments of the 2018 Feast – Dare to Dream. We begin with a bouquet of hopes, aspirations and dreams from the Feast pilgrims themselves:

Kenneth – (14 years old, Israel) “My dream is to be a drummer in Hillsong and to study Palaeontology.”

Judith (Holocaust Survivor) – “My dream for Israel is peace. That’s all we need. My dream for me is to live a few more years. But my main dreams are for my family. I have three children, eight grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. I want a good future for all of them.”

Antonietta Evangelisti – Italy – “My dream is to serve the Lord and spread the gospel.”

Israeli bystander at the Jerusalem March – “My dream is the Messiah. He will bring world peace and peace in Jerusalem.”

Chai Chen – Thailand – “I am an interior designer in Thailand and it's my dream to build churches around the world and design them.”

Lesivou Bulabalavu – Cook Islands – “I have a dream of getting closer to God and strengthening my relationship with Him.”

Adam Gabelli - (Canada) “I had a broken dream, one that I never thought could come true, but this trip is a fulfilment of that dream. To worship the Lord with the nations in the land that I love, once again.”

Rebecca from Pennsylvania – “My dream has come true! The Lord brought me out of prostitution and addiction and has given me the ability to go back to rescue more people just like me. He left the 99 for the one, so I need to continue to go back for the one. He allowed me to rescue 10,000 and my dream is to create more homes for more people.”

Three women from Zimbabwe – “Our dream is that the Lord will bring a Godly government to Zimbabwe and that he will download a burden for Israel in us to take back to our nation. He is coming soon and we want Zimbabwe to be blessed. We want to have an Embassy of Zimbabwe in Jerusalem!”

Dreams from the little kids at the Feast's AJ’s Club - 

“Hmm. I have many! I want to go to the zoo and to America. I have never been and I would love to fly.”

“I want to be a doctor, because I don’t want people to cough and be sick. I like reading and doctors read a lot.” 

Just like all of these children of God, both young and old, dared to dream with God, we encourage you to take time to dare to dream with the God of Israel today!

What are we doing to stop anti-Semitism?

The Modern Manifestation of a Historical Evil

The slaughter of eleven Jews, while they worshipped the God of Israel in the Tree of Life Synagogue situated in Pittsburgh USA, on Saturday morning the 27th October was an act that goes well beyond anti-Semitism because it was evil, wicked and demonic. It was in every way the actions of a man who had no doubt bought into all the lies and conspiracies theories about the Jews and was consequently prepared to act. For him every Jew has to be killed and there is no doubt that the social media, which is awash with this stuff, had a role in all of this. Again, as it has been through all of history, the Jews are blamed for all the ills of our world and whether they live among the nations or even in their own state there are evil men, movements and states like Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and many more who are determined to liquidate them. More troubling still is the fact that many western politicians are in the process of appeasing these groups and thus bestowing upon them the stamp of respectability. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, is just one such example and there are many more.

The Peril of Remaining Passive

Throughout the western world neo-Nazi groups are again arrogantly walking the streets of Europe and beyond calling for the destruction of Israel and even in America these fascists are emerging from the shadows with their message of hate and destruction leveled at the Jews and Israel. In recent years anti-Semitic incidents have risen in America and on the campuses of American Universities those who support Israel and speak up for her are aggressively shut down and threatened. When a society tolerates these things it is making space for radicals to do what happened on Saturday. It is shameful and heartbreaking!

The Light from the Jewish People

No people have done more to bless the world than that of the Jews. Their light that has come from their Bible has revolutionized the world and transformed its manners and governing systems. The Judeo/Christian value system has made nations great and this is particularly true of the United States of America. However, when these are despised and systematically pushed out of society, we lose our moral compass, and evil begins to emerge unrestrained. It must also be noted that no President has done more to stand with Israel and the Jewish people than Donald J Trump and to implicate him in this awful crime is outrageous. This is a day for all of us to hang our heads in shame and not to point fingers at others. We must ask ourselves, “What are we doing to stop anti-Semitism and in general to make our world a more tolerant and peaceful one?”

We Must Choose to Stand Against Evil

Our hearts then go out to the Jewish community of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and to our Jewish friends all over the world. We stand with you today and share your grief and commit ourselves as ever to fighting anti-Semitism, wherever we find it expressed.
 

Envision 2018

(Yehuda Glick, MK, addressing Christian pastors and leaders at the Knesset.)

Sign up for Envision 2019

Gathering its largest contingent ever of 160 pastors and church leaders from around the globe, the 2018 ICEJ Envision conference in Jerusalem was exceptionally more than we asked or imagined! God moved powerfully in the hearts of these pastors and leaders throughout all of the seminars, times of worship, excursions throughout Jerusalem and Israel, and even through conversations just over a cup of coffee. Here is a snapshot of what God did throughout this four-day conference. (To purchase audio recordings of Envision 2018, please visit: icejstore.com/collections/audio-teachings)

The first full day of the Envision Conference kicked off with worship led by Steve Carpenter, followed by seminars by ICEJ senior leadership, and pastors and leaders from the Middle East. Calev Myers, a lawyer and founder of Jerusalem Institute of Justice, spoke about ways to overcome Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS). Calev explained to the influential leaders in the room, “You can be powerful ambassadors to help create a more balanced picture of Israel!” He encouraged all to purposefully purchase Israeli products and services to support and stand with Israel. 

Lovers of Jesus

The morning concluded with a faith-inspiring session led by Fabian Grech testifying of the powerful move of God in the hearts of Muslims. Many are going to churches to be baptized and hungry to read the Bible. He encouraged all to pray for the believers in the Middle East to continue in the strength and grace of Jesus to share the gospel and make disciples among Muslims. With great passion, Fabian continued by saying that the key to sharing the good news of Jesus is to love Jesus first and foremost. “Our first priority is to be lovers of Jesus! Our Father is a God of love, not a God of fear, so the more we gaze at Him the more we will become like him.” Fabian finished with a powerful prayer saying, “Father, thank you that in the midst of darkness your name is becoming famous!”

Continuing on into the next day, Ingolf Elsell also emphasized the first importance of being lovers of Jesus. He explained, “You can’t fall in love through study only. You need revelation. This goes for both the gospel and for Israel… You have to step away from your own guidance to let God’s guidance take over.” Later that evening, Steve Carpenter and his family led us into a beautiful time of worship, and shortly afterward they showed a documentary film about Ya’akov (Jacob) Damkani, who is a local Messianic Jewish leader. The evening continued with a message from Pastor Peter Tsukahira, who is the lead pastor at Carmel Assembly in Haifa. He explained, “Eventually, the Gospel will go so far west that it will make its way back to Jerusalem, where it all began 2,000 years ago.” Above all, Peter concluded that Believers need to keep their eyes focused on God and what He’s doing!

(Christian pastors and leaders from all around the world in the Knesset building.)

Get the Word out About Israel

A wonderful and unique aspect about the Envision Conference is that it incorporates excursions around Jerusalem and Israel. One of the special excursions was to the Knesset where the pastors and leaders were able to hear from Members of Knesset who are members of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. One of the speakers was MK Yehuda Glick, who welcomed his guests and delivered a stirring speech appointing them to be “goodwill ambassadors for Israel” in their home churches and communities. He wholeheartedly concluded, “Now it’s up to us to get the word out and tell people about what God is doing in Israel and the world!”

(The old city of Shiloh with the spiral building that holds a museum and a small theater.)

Adventuring through Judea and Samaria to Shiloh

The last but definitely not the least day of the conference began with an adventurous bus excursion through the mountains of Judea and Samaria to the old city of Shiloh. As the wind picked up and the rain drizzled down, we moved inside to watch a film that began with the lights dimmed, allowing the translucent screen to reveal the majestic hills of Samaria in the background. The film portrayed the history of Israel from Moses leading the Israelites up out of Egypt, to Joshua leading them into the promised land, to the Philistines attacking and destroying Shiloh, to Hannah praying for a son and having Samuel, and finally to the Tabernacle of God moving from Shiloh to Jerusalem. Today, the biblically rich city of Shiloh attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom come to pray for a child and hundreds have had their prayers answered just like Hannah.

The excursion in Samaria ended with a short visit at the Shomron Regional Council Memorial. The Mayor greeted all of the Christian leaders and pastors by saying, “Thank you for standing with us so that we are not alone. Thank you to Jürgen Bühler, Barry, and all of the leaders that have helped us build Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem! We are strong because you support us. Take this mission and share it with your people in your country. Share what happens here in the land. Our biggest enemy is ignorance.”

From the rainy and beautiful hills of Samaria to a warm and classy hotel, the pastors, leaders, and ICEJ staff members from all around the world concluded the Envision conference with a delightful banquet! Throughout the meal, many speakers shared messages that have been deeply impressed upon their hearts about God and Israel.

All for Him

Amazingly, Yehuda Glick (MK), not only spoke at the Knesset, but he also personally came to the last night of the conference, even after losing his wife only a few weeks prior. Taking the stage, a round of applause filled the house for Yehuda, and his first words were, “That applause was not for me, it was all for Him” (pointing up towards God). He expressed his gratitude to Christians partnering with Israel, and also spoke directly to the pastors and leaders, saying, “You cannot return to your country the way you came here 5 days ago. You are new people. Thank you so much for your support for Israel, and for your prayers for Israel.”

(Worship lead by Steve Carpenter, while Peter Tsukahira leads these pastors and leaders into a time of prayer.)

With no better way to conclude this year’s exceptional Envision conference, worship and praise to God filled the banquet room. Hands were raised, mouths were singing praises to our God, and hugs were exchanged between these Christian pastors and leaders from all around the world. Many lives and hearts were changed through their time together here in Israel. We give God all the glory and honor, and we look forward to what He will do next year. For more information about Envision 2019, please visit: envision.icej.org

To purchase audio recordings, please visit:

icejstore.com/collections/audio-teachings

Through my Eyes

This year the Publications team has two spectacular team members that have been helping us report on what God has been doing during this Feast of Tabernacles. Lily is from America and this is her first time at the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles. Below, you can read about the Feast through this ICEJ team member's eyes.

 

Through my Eyes – The 2018 FOT as seen by Lily Sironi

More than a Meeting
This morning I am sitting at the Garden Tomb listening to the mingling of praise in every tongue and from every nation. As the voices crescendo, something in me begins to stir. It’s a sense of urgency, one that I believe every believer in the crowd is feeling all at once. Since the moment I laid eyes on the great procession of nations in Ein Gedi, my spirit’s eye was filled with the image of the Lord smiling down on all of his children who had left their differences aside to join in brotherhood. The Great I am, basking in the praises of the people that answered his call to come up to the Feast.

More than Pilgrims
People from all walks of life and all pasts convening for one purpose: to worship at the feet of their savior. In this worship, unity is found and a kinship is born that is stronger than any earthly tie. When preparing for the Feast, I was thinking about the people and how they have come to bless Israel with their presence and prayer. However, what I did not consider until it struck me in the garden tomb this morning was the prophetic significance of this Feast. The Feast is not just a haphazard gathering of Christians that have come to enjoy Israel; it is a prayer and prophecy seat!

More than a Conference
The significance of a group of believers from around the world gathering in Jerusalem, the center of God’s world, to pray and to praise at this time of year cannot be overstated. We have just undergone the atonement of Yom Kippur and the washing of the nation of Israel in the eyes of the Lord, and now the nations are coming to be cleansed as well!

More than the Land of Israel
The Lord says in Joel 3:2, “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel.” I believe that the Feast is in fact part of the end time intercession for the nations of the earth now taking place. Since they are to be judged on their treatment of God’s nation, those Feast goers from around the globe that are here now in the land interceding for Israel and their nation are not merely pilgrims. They are repairing the breach between the hearts of their nations and that of the land of Israel.

Beyond the Present
As Herve Datro of the Ivory Coast said, “There is coming a day when there will be no more Africans, no more Americans, no more Asians”, and it is coming soon. This is the urgency that has brought us to this Feast, the “glimpse of heaven” (Rebecca Smith, a Feast Pilgrim from Pennsylvania). This urgency is what unites each one of us in our pursuit of His presence during this Feast, not for our sake, but for Zion’s sake and that of the nations of the world.

Photo credit: Reuallin David

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily state or reflect those of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.


Watch every evening of the Feast of Tabernacles on demand

For the Joy of Zion

For the Joy of Zion - Israeli Guest Night

How are Christians from around the world serving in Israel and how are Israelis serving around the world? This became overwhelmingly clear after the opening shofar blast sounded for the last Feast Evening. But first Israelis were welcomed to this special night with a moving and artistically accomplished rendition of the national anthem “HaTikva” by Elihana Elia, supported by virtuoso violin play from ICEJ’s own Serguei Popov. Other musical features of the evening included two very different but equally moving performances: Israel’s possibly cutest children’s choir, led by Vesna Bühler, and a stunningly dramatic musical composition interpreting the resurrection of the dry bones in Ezekiel by Ruth Fazal.


Personal Addresses by Israel’s PM and the Jewish Agency’s Chairman

Two personal addresses had been specially recorded to address the Fest Pilgrims on this special evening. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his address by stating, “I am delighted that there is a Christian Embassy.” He also stood by Israel’s relations to Christians in the land, telling the audience that “Sometimes a profound truth is a simple truth. Here is a simple truth: Israel is the only country in the Middle East that protects the rights of Christians. Think of that. For thousands of miles around us, there is only one place Christians thrive. Right here in Israel.” He finished his address with deep-felt thanks: “Thank you for recognizing Israel. Thank you for always supporting Israel.”
Another personal address was given by the newly elected chairman for The Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, “I want to thank you for your support. Your support has been enormous. (…) and we are partners with you, the ICEJ. (…) Together we have brought 140,000 new immigrants to Israel - I think it is an enormous achievement.”


Journey of Dreams – Joint Jewish-Christian Successes

The evening continued with moving highlights of Jewish-Christian cooperation and joint accomplishments. The ICEJ’s special effort in Aliyah moved the audience as they witnessed the trials and frustrations of a Jewish Ethiopian family, long awaiting an opportunity to immigrate to Israel before the family finally flew over Tel Aviv’s beautiful night-time cityscape to be reunited with their extended family in Ben Gurion Airport – all scenes from the ICEJ’s new documentary: “Journey of Dreams.” This was the beginning of a tour-de-force opportunity demonstrating to Israelis the impressive range of projects in which the ICEJ is involved, spanning aid work, public diplomacy and a unique home for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, a group of whom were actually present in the audience and received the entire arena’s standing recognition. The Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors also received gifts for 2 million and 1 million NIS from the ICEJ's German and U.S. branches respectively, presented by National Directors Gottfried Bühler and Susan Michael.
Israel in the International Arena.

Likewise, Israel’s efforts in the international arena and the country’s very tangible blessings to the world were also highlighted, as a CBN documentary under the time-honored Jewish endeavor for “Tikkun Olam” (loosely translated as “repairing the world”). The efforts of private Israeli citizens among refugees, for example, and the Israeli government’s responses to natural disasters around the world all underscored that Israel cares and does so with a global impact.

The Paradox of Operation Good Neighbor

The crowning jewel of these joint successes was delivered by retired IDF Colonel Marco Moreno, who headed up “Operation Good Neighbor” on the Israeli-Syrian border, an effort aimed at providing aid and humanitarian relief to war-struck Syrians. Moving scenes of young soldiers, trained to defend their country with force, but in this instance helping refugees reach safety in Israel passed over the screens. In one sequence, you see Marco Moreno in the Golan Heights, close to the border with Syria: “You can hear bombing as we speak. That means that tonight our soldiers, our brave soldiers will go and save lives.” Back in the arena, Moreno concluded, “It sounds like a joke: Christians and Jews helping Muslims, right? But it’s the reality”

Awards and Recognition

A prime function of this gala evening is to celebrate and recognize valuable contributions. This is why the ICEJ each year gives the Nehemiah Award to individuals who have served the Jewish people in exceptional ways. Because of the seminal move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, who originally sponsored the bill and legislation leading to the Embassy Act, was a most natural and worthy recipient of this year’s award.


The Cyrus Award

A new reward, directly related to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: the Cyrus Award, has also been instated by the ICEJ. This reward has been given to heads-of-state from nations taking the bold step to move their embassies to Jerusalem. These were highlighted by Mojmir Kallus, the ICEJ’s VP for International Affairs, who also mentioned smaller but very significant contributions from poor and minor countries around the world. The determination of local Christians in e.g. Tanzania and Albania to bless Israel is truly heartwarming and set an example of a different kind. Such quiet efforts are equally inspiring and worthy as some of the headline-making contributions.

Continue to Dream

These were just some of many highlights of an evening packed with excitement and events. Before the Feast’s final event the following day, the Prayer Service in the Old City’s Tower of David, ICEJ’s president, Dr. Jürgen Bühler, dismissed the Feast Pilgrims with one commission: “Dare to Dream.” We hope you will join us for next year’s Feast of Tabernacle under the theme “Beginnings.”

Chag Sukkot Sameach (Happy Feast of Tabernacles) from the ICEJ in Jerusalem.

A Preview of Prophecy

A Preview of Prophecy – the 2018 Jerusalem March

Imagine a Jewish family from Herzliya, a city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, spending the holiday of Sukkot in Jerusalem for the first time. Then imagine that family seeing a multitude of Christians joining an Israeli parade. Add to this the Christians singing about their love for Israel as many of them joyously dance in the streets. Well, you might guess that the family from Herzliya would be visibly excited and moved by the annual spectacle known as the Jerusalem March, and indeed they were, as were thousands more.

A Valued Family Tradition

For other Israelis, the annual parade has become a valued family tradition, and we met several large families of Jews from all walks of life and all parts of Israel cheering the march on, collecting bouquets of miniature flags handed out by the Feast Pilgrims. We asked one Israeli dad what he thought about the internationals participating in the Jerusalem March, and a matter-of-fact patriotic answer came across his lips, “Israel does good for all the world, so all the world should show its love for Israel.” When prompted about her reaction to this surprising phenomenon of people from another religion celebrating Israel and Jerusalem, an Orthodox mother said, “No, it’s not strange. Jerusalem is the Holy City!”
 

The Perfect Antidote

The most uplifting response came from a family father, who immigrated to Israel from abroad. He stated that this outpouring of affection is a “good antidote” to the negative attitudes that he had to live with abroad. This year is his fifth time at the march, which he sees it as a preview of Zechariah’s prophecy fulfilled. 

Unity in Asia & Around the World

Halfway through FOT 2018, pilgrims have tasted the excitement and richness of the Feast but are still hungry for more intimacy with the Lord, more learning, and deeper understanding of Israel. The activities at the Feast arena amply supplied this. From the prayer time in the morning with passionate worship led by Sarah Liberman over impacting plenaries going deep into the Bible and making the scriptures jump out to informative seminars on Israel’s tech-sector and Israel’s challenges in lawfare. Continuing on to a blast of an evening where riveting Messianic Israeli music and the continent of Asia and the global church were in focus, making for a rich day.

Israel-Focused Insights
After morning worship and prayer, Peter Tsukahira delivered a superbly inspiring message, in which he achieved to make scriptures acutely relevant through speaking about the tribal nature of human conflict and God as the only unifying peacemaker. He used Elijah’s battle on Mount Carmel to illustrate the battle that modern-day believers find themselves asking, “Will you be among the ones who will restore the altar of the Lord in the midst of your people?” He ended by declaring about Jerusalem, “Here are your roots. Here is where your King laid down his life for you. Here is where He rose from the dead, and here, according to the scriptures, is where He is going to return.”

ICEJ’s own International Spokesperson, David Parsons, picked up the theological thread in his teaching on the suffering of the Jewish people, investigating the hopeful notion that the worst is past for Israel, i.e., that because of historical calamities that have already transpired, Israel “has received from the Lord’s double for all her sins.” (Is. 40:2) This judgment will now pass to the nations. 

Plugging into Israel’s Prospects and Challenges – Afternoon Seminar
Yet again, the ICEJ’s leadership assembled a concentration of accomplished speakers to give Feast pilgrims a real hand on what is moving in Israel. A new invest platform, “OurCrowd” was introduced. Recognizing that there is great interest investing in Israel but a reluctance to do the “deal picking,” OurCrowd vets more than 200 startups monthly before it recommends two to three to its global network of investors, which includes everything from private individuals to corporate giants like Google.
Although the OurCrowd investment initiative’s success is an effective counter to BDS, Dr. Kontorovitch and Calev Myers in their seminar highlighted the nature of the newest form of affront against Israel, Lawfare, as the attack of Israel and its policies through legal means. Lawfare has been one of the favorite tactics of the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement in their efforts to delegitimize Israel, and while the key players have changed from the Arab League to many European leaders and NGOs today, their goals have not. BDS is working to label every product created in the West Bank with what is for all intents and purposes “a yellow star” on Israeli products in the global market.

Furthermore, Mr. Myers drove home the point that looking at Israel’s actions under a microscope would distort the image. This is especially true when looking at the population exchange that took place in 1948. Finally, he shed light on the truth of the situation, which is that Israel provides for over 1 million Palestinians in the West Bank, and without the state, those people would be left without livelihood. Israel is in fact the standard of corporate social responsibility rather than the apartheid state that BDS would have people believe it is. 

Near to Far East - Evening Celebration
Hebrew sound waves by Shiloh Ben Hod and Jamie Hilsden’s Miqedem brought contemporary Israeli music solidly planted in scripture – providing a musical experience with a distinct Israeli flavor, praising God in the language of scripture. Insistent and powerful, Miqedem’s tunes unleashed the deep wellspring of joy and victory, and following was Sarah Liberman who delivered an equally crowd-rousing performance with quiet heartfelt testimonies and prayers in between songs, “He is the source, he is the vision, He is not only that, he is the God of miracles” inviting the crowd to join in the song. 

Peace in the Middle-East
The evening’s emcee, ICEJ’s VP for International Affairs, Mojmir Kallus opening remarks concerned the growing number of Christians coming to the Feast, “This is the glory of God. We are coming together from all nations. Not to fight but in peace and unity to worship the only true god – The God of Israel.” Calev Myers then took the stage speaking a constructive and uplifting message on Israel, musing, “What would happen if I could see a miracle, like what we read in the Bible (…) What would that do to my faith? But I am here to tell you this evening that we are living the dream. The reestablishment of Israel is a modern-day miracle. (…) In the mind of God, the miracle that you see today is greater than the Exodus from Egypt.” He concluded that in order to support Israel, “we shouldn’t be anti-Palestinian. In order to support Palestinians, we shouldn’t be anti-Israeli. We should look for solutions that benefit both sides of the conflict,” thus underscoring the potential of peaceful business cooperation. 

The Wisdom From the East - Nathaniel Chow
The ICEJ’s mission is connecting the Church with Israel. The Feast of Tabernacles brings the church to Israel. And speakers from different continents have addressed the Feast this year in their own languages. The evening’s Chinese-speaking pastor, Nathaniel Chow was preceded by a vocal ensemble from Taiwan, who stepped onto the stage with great joy and pride, singing “Zai Jhe li – The spirit of God is here.” They sang in Mandarin with grace and unmitigated joy, lending a unique Asian voice to the many international contributions at the Feast. Preaching the connection between receiving the glory from God and unity in the body of Christ and with God, Nathaniel Chow shared about his unique and ongoing journey to learn more about God’s glory, which was impacted significantly by his first visit to Jerusalem 17 years prior. He finished with a call for spiritual unity in Christ to transcend political differences between Chinese groups and between what he labelled “chopstick” and “fork” nations. This evening’s ended in a final Ruth salutation, “Your God is my God – your people is my people.”

 

Watch every evening of the Feast of Tabernacles on demand

Aid tour to the Gaza border

Delivering protection and showing love and solidarity

On Tuesday a group of 50 Feast pilgrims from many countries including Australia, Singapore, the US, the UK, Fiji, Germany, Sweden and Ireland joined Nicole Yoder, director of ICEJ Aid, and Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, director of Operation Lifeshield, on a bus tour to the Gaza border. The purpose of the tour was to show Christian solidarity with Israelis living in the South under the steady attack of rockets, burning kites and balloons. Thanks to the donations of Christians from all over the world, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) has been able to build 65 much needed bomb shelters in numerous communities bordering Gaza in the past 12 years. In addition, six quickly maneuverable firefighting trailers were delivered this summer.

Protection and Prayer
Rabbi Shachar Butzchak and his family welcomed the Christian visitors at the synagogue of Moshav Maftechim. The ICEJ group and the excited and grateful recipients witnessed the delivery of a steel shelter donated by ICEJ Switzerland for the protection of the residents who gather three times a day for prayer in the synagogue. When a rocket alarm sounds, locals only have 12 seconds to find refuge before the rockets make contact.

“Our friends in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv invite us to have some rest and quiet from the alarms. But it should be the opposite: They need to come here to be with us, when we are hurt and it is difficult,” said Rabbi Butzchak who is also part of the first response team for the security of his community. “Yesterday we had six fires caused by balloons sent from Gaza. When people come and see it with their own eyes that´s the best.” “You had the courage and dared to come,” he continued. “Thank you for coming, God bless you!”

“I pray almost every day for the protection of Israel. It is good to meet people who cope with security issues on a daily basis with full commitment,” Jill from the UK was impressed.

“It was a special moment,” described Liane Rasch from Germany when describing her experience of the shelter delivery. “Because of the shelter they can live with a deeper feeling of security now.”

Fighting Terror and Fires
From a spot just 1.7 kilometers away from the border with Gaza, the group got to see a demonstration by the firefighting trailer of Kibbutz Kissufim. “This trailer contains 700 liters and works with high pressure. The idea is to get quickly to the fire to extinguish it or contain it until the fire fighters arrive,” explained Ilan Isaacson, head of security of the Eshkol region. “Everything has to be done very quickly. Therefore, the first response units and security officers in our 32 communities are not only responsible for first defense until the army arrives but they are also trained medics and fight fires.”

For the Lean family from Australia, it was eye opening to stand at the Gaza border and to meet locals. “We got connected with the struggles and the reality under which the people live here every day. It was impressive to see their heart and joy and their connection to God despite it all. We will share it with our friends!” they promised.


Watch every evening of the Feast of Tabernacles on demand

 

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