JERUSALEM, Israel – For the first time in four decades, thousands of Christians from around the world will not be traveling to Jerusalem for the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. COVID-19 is the culprit but this year’s celebration will still go on.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) https://int.icej.org/ hosting the Feast of Tabernacles celebration. Much like the rest of the world, 2020 is making its presence felt.
“Because of corona, Israel isn’t allowing people in. We’ve had all sorts of troubles over the past 40 years of the history of the Embassy when there are wars here, rocket wars, terror campaigns and all and yet, our people always came,” said ICEJ Vice President David Parsons.
Regardless, Parsons says the show will go on.
“For the first time in the 40 years of hosting this event, we’re not able to bring in these thousands of Christian pilgrims. So, we’ve had to move the Feast online,” Parsons told CBN News.
This year’s theme is ‘Prepare the Way’ and will provide more than 100 online seminars and bible teachings as well as virtual tours and worship experiences.
“In fact, we probably have more speakers and more worship leaders involved in this Feast than in any Feast before because you don’t have to go to all the trouble and expense and for them to fit in their schedule coming to Israel for a week or two. They can just contribute from where they are,” he said.
Still, Parsons admits they will miss certain special moments from years past.
“We’ll miss the people coming; that experience when their eyes open. They experience Israel or Jerusalem for the first time. We’ll miss that moment when they are able to express their love, concern for the people of Israel and the Jerusalem March or our traditional Israeli guest night,” Parsons reminisced. “But, otherwise, we’re going to have a big, happy Feast.”
In 1980, a number of Christians living in Israel got together to host a celebration of the Feast and that resulted in the ICEJ’s birth with the mission to support the Jewish state.
Several months earlier, Israel had declared Jerusalem as its capital sparking an international uproar and resulting in the closure of 13 embassies here.
Parsons calls the Feast a “uniquely prophetic event.”
“The prophet Zachariah (14:16) foresees a time when all nations will come and celebrate it and that’s a time when the Lord is here, Himself, in Jerusalem and to keep the Feast. But we’re forerunners. We’re coming each year and by faith saying we believe that that day is coming. We want to go ahead and prepare the throne of the Lord here in Jerusalem through this Feast,” he said.
For information on joining this year’s online Global Feast, go to: https://feast.icej.org/
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