More than 5,000 evangelical Christians from nearly 100 nations celebrated in Israel during the recent week-long Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) holiday.
The annual pilgrimage, organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, is highlighted by a colorful march through Jerusalem, held this year on October 10 under sunny skies.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus, whose Sukkot holiday visit to the capital city is described in the Gospel of John, the visitors marked 50 years of Jerusalem’s reunification.
“The Feast of Tabernacles is always a wonderful foretaste of that future time when all peoples will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot,” according to an ICEJ statement.
The annual festival has been held for the past 38 years and has become the largest annual Christian gathering in Israel, said David Parsons, vice president and senior spokesman for ICEJ.
“I warmly welcome our thousands of Christian friends who have arrived to Israel from 100 countries at the initiative of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Your steadfast support warms our hearts,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The event opened on October 6 at the Ein Gedi Spa with a festive meal and evening celebration under the stars and palms trees along the shores of the Dead Sea. A traditional Communion service was held at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem on October 7.
On October 8 and 9, participants chose among various bus excursions throughout Israel. After the march on October 10, the pilgrims and hundreds of Israeli guests attended a concert and festival at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena.
The festival concluded October 11 with a prayer service in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Tower of David.
Pre-registration has opened for next year’s event, September 23-28, 2018, which will mark the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary.
Today, unrelated to the ICEJ event, Israel’s first-ever International Christian Media Summit begins in Jerusalem, running through October 18.