Feast of Tabernacles 2011 event by ICEJ

This week I went to the opening night of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s Feast of Tabernacles, at a large hotel in the north part of Jerusalem.

I know many of the volunteers that are involved and this is the week they have been getting ready for all year, and probably the most significant event the Christian visitors to the holy land come for.

Sterling effort as usual, some great worship music.

It was also interesting to check out the conference room outside with various different Christian ministries and people from tourism offices promoting places like Nazareth and Beer Sheva as well.

Would of been nice to check out the rest of the event, but it is quite expensive to attend, but quite a bit cheaper for local Israelis or Christians with volunteer visas.

Worship event on the Haas Promenade

The Haas Promenade, close (1.5km uphill from my house) also known as the peace park had a special event on the sunday before last.

A worship event was on with several churches and Christian organisations jointly together.   There was a speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, and one of the city’s chief Rabbis, and this was filmed on God TV.  There was speakers from different Christian charities here and also a few Arab believers too.

This was a really good event, although I had to leave part way through, as it overlapped with the normal service at my regular church at 6pm.

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem Feast of Tabernacles concert

Last week I want to the first event at the Feast of Tabernacles at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) at a hotel here Jerusalem.   I personally know quite a few of the volunteers from this organisation and this is their busiest time as they put on a 5 day event for Christians supporting Israel and the Jewish people.

On the thursday we got our tickets and queued up, my friend John who came to visit me and two friends who are fellow volunteers at Bridges for Peace.

There is some really good speaking followed by a translator which was in surprise, Portuguese!  There were a lot of attendees from Brazil.   Actually there were people there from all over the world, with different groups of believers who got up on stage with flags representing their countries, not unlike the Olympics or Eurovision, there were even people from Egypt and Jordan there.   In the lobby outside I got chatting to some people from Finland who were waving their white and blue flags.

For anyone often thinking that Christian supporters of Israel = Nutters, well I support Israel, but number One – I love Jesus, and this land played a part in the events of the bible, there is still an important role in what the Lord has still for this country today and in the future.    Its important that Christians reject the common but completely bogus “replacement theology” doctrine which mistakenly gives the impression that the Israel mentioned in the bible is a metaphor for today’s church.   Check out Romans 11 : 1 which clears up this confusion.

The worship consists of a band with about 20 musicians and there are many dancers and acrobats.  I particularly liked the version of Paul Baloche’s Glorious (heres a Youtube clip of a version of this song)  which has become recently one of my favourite worship tracks.

During this event, there was a man from the Israeli government who came to show his thanks for the support (I forget his name)  as the Embassy has always had good relationships with government here, and they are now celebrating their 30th year here supporting this nation.   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an appearance, but via a recording on a TV screen at the beginning.

After the event, there was a variety of stands outside you can visit and get food, falafels, hotdogs etc and drinks whilst wandering around.   One of the stands I saw was the blacksmith who recycles rockets that hits Jewish towns close to the Gaza strip into a variety of table decorations and candlesticks, I blogged on recently.

This was a nice evening, the only downside was tickets for the whole week, and even for this one event was a lot, although I got a heavy discount being a Christian volunteer here.

Yom Kippur in and around Jerusalem

This week I had my Christian friend John come to visit, John is an older gent also from Portsmouth UK, but originally from Malta.  He has Jewish roots, and his family came from Armenia.

He is here to see the Feast of Tabernacles which is coming up soon which is hosted by the ICEJ, International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem.

So I got to show him a lot of sites around here, a few days ago it was Yom Kippur, a holiday, in which Jews fast for a day.

We went around the UN headquarters at the end of my street and around the forest overlooking the city, then made our way into town.

There are no cars around the centre of town.   None at all.   I might see a police car once an hour or so.  This is normally a busy street.

This was unusual.   There were a lot of Arab families in the park picking some of the wild olives.   This man and his son was smarter than the others, as a large tarrapaulin was laid out to catch the dropped ones.  Funny as in the year I have been here, I have never seen anyone pick fruit from trees in public places here.

The world famous King David hotel.   Top right. This nice wooden counter just had one Arab chap manning the desk, as everyone is observing Yom Kippur.  As well as the beautiful decor here, there is a Sukkot (tent/shed type structure.  Bottom right. Some of the staff from the kitchen are taking a break chatting on the tables as no-one will be eating until about 6.30pm.

John got chatting to a elderly Canadian couple there, who have lived in Jerusalem for 30 years now.  This chap was talking about a nearby building called ‘Yimcer’   then I realised he meant the YMCA, which is opposite the King David 🙂    He told me off as I was drinking some water from a bottle, I didn’t realise the fast included water from then!   oops.   For me as a foreigner I think its unwise to fast from water, as the extreme heat can make you feel very unwell if you do.   But I did use this day to do some praying and abstain from food from darkness Wednesday till Thursday.  I had a whole chicken in a slow cooker for when we came back home to my flat.   I am a recent convert to slow cookers, just the thing when you want to come home and have dinner more or less ready. 🙂

Leviticus 23 : 27 says more about this event.

The outside of the YMCA.   Although the ‘Y’ is a Christian organisation and originally a Youth Hostel.  Its now a proper hotel and owned by Muslim, but still known as the Jerusalem YMCA.  Sadly I didn’t see anyone do any comedy dancing either.  Not that it would be a appropriate with most people fasting that day. 🙂

Walking along the walls with Dutch Christian couple who mentioned on earlier post ‘never be silent’.

The really interesting thing about John’s Armenian Jewish and Maltese background is the Maltese language is a mixture of mostly Arabic and some Hebrew and Italian, so this meant he could converse with the Arab taxi driver who took us home later. 🙂

The Jews have a generous amount of feasts and holidays in their calenders, next one is Sukkot, a kind of religious campsite outside your house, more soon….