Highlights of Feast 2022
Feast Coverage by: Laurina Driesse, Christ Chambers, and Deniela Staengle
The ICEJ concluded its first in-person Feast of Tabernacles celebration in three years, which included an exciting eight-day journey through Israel under the theme “The Land of Promise.” This was our first-ever hybrid Feast, with in-person and online participation, as well as our first time hosting Feast events on the Sea of Galilee.
More than 2,000 Christians from 70 nations came up to Jerusalem for the Feast, marking the return of Christian tourism to Israel post-COVID. Several thousand more from at least 30 nations joined us through our special streaming platform, many at church and home Feast watch parties around the globe.
The Lord’s wonderful presence, which abided with us daily from start to finish, marked this year’s Feast. God’s word consistently flowed throughout the Feast as ministers from around the globe spoke with clarity and anointing into our times. Meanwhile, every worship session was powerful and dynamic, which touched our Feast pilgrims as we ministered to the Lord in praise.
The Feast began at the beautiful Capernaum National Park on the Sea of Galilee, where we spent two nights worshiping the Lord in this incredible setting and hearing inspired messages by Apostle Renê Terra Nova from Brazil and Evangelist Manasa Kolivuso from Fiji. We then ascended Jerusalem for five days of Feast gatherings, including the colorful “Roll Call of the Nations” in the Jerusalem Pais Arena, morning seminar teachings, the ever-popular Jerusalem March, a Day of Prayer in the Pavilion, and a moving communion service in the Garden Tomb. We also brought back the tradition of holding a healing service at the Feast. ICEJ Philippines National Director Pastor Stephen Mirpuri gave an inspiring message on faith and healing before many were prayed for and touched by the Lord.
The Feast concluded with a special Solidarity Rally in the western Negev to show support for Israeli communities living under constant rocket threat along the Gaza border area. We also partnered with Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (KKL/JNF) to offer a ceremony to reflect the ICEJ’s commitment to the security and regreening of the western Negev region. Each Feast day featured local Israeli and international speakers and worship leaders. In addition, the vast array of musical artists made for a beautiful multicultural worship experience.
Meanwhile, there was a powerful flow of the Word of God during the preaching and seminar sessions, including messages from Dr. Jürgen Bühler, Lou Engle, Andrew Brunson, Sergey Shidlovskiy, Steve Mirpuri, Malcolm Hedding, Peter Tsukahira, David Parsons, Stephan Christiansen, Calev Myers, Benjamin Berger, and many others.
At the Galilee opening, Malaysian pilgrim Huan shared: “We want to experience God during this Feast of Tabernacles because He promised to tabernacle with us. We have an appointment here with Him, so we came. It’s the convocation with God—like a rehearsal until He returns and tabernacles with us.”
In Jerusalem, the opening night at the Pais Arena included a colorful display of national flags and costumes representing 86 nations in person and online during the “Roll Call of the Nations.” MK Sharren Haskel, the co-chair of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, was on hand to welcome the return of Christian visitors to Israel but also encourage us to stand with the Iranian people currently seeking basic freedoms. In a dramatic act that made headlines across Israel, Haskel cut off part of her trademark flowing hair to show support for the female protesters in Iran.
On day four of the Feast, Jerusalem’s deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum warmly greeted our Feast pilgrims after the difficult years of COVID. “Don’t take anything for granted,” said Hassan-Nahoum. “Everything can be temporal. Your house is not necessarily your castle. Only God is your protector, and this is what we celebrate on Tabernacles. We are so honored that all of you are our shelter to the sometimes-horrible hatred we get from so many places around the world.”
That same evening the ICEJ also presented its prestigious Nehemiah Award to the former Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, the honorable Mogoeng Mogoeng. For over a year now, Chief Justice Mogoeng has stood firm in his support for Israel on biblical grounds, despite tremendous pressure and widespread vilification in South Africa and worldwide.
The focus of day five of the Feast was the popular Jerusalem March. Several thousand Feast pilgrims paraded through the capital city’s streets with national flags and traditional costumes to express their love for Israel. Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was so pleased to see Christian visitors in his city again that he invited ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler to lead the Jerusalem March with him. One marcher from England, Mary, spoke to a camera crew as she waved her country’s flag: “The Feast is just such an amazing experience,” she said. “I love Israel and the Jewish people.” Naomi, an Israeli watching the march, responded: “We always feel so isolated in Israel—this little, tiny, tiny Jewish people. And to feel this hug from people from all over the world is really wonderful. We appreciate every single person who has come.”
The next day, we held a special Day of Global Prayer at the Pavilion in Jerusalem, which saw the nations come together to pray for their respective regions and Israel. In addition, an online prayer sukkah was open throughout the Feast for pilgrims to join in prayer. Another highlight for Feast pilgrims was the special communion service hosted in the Garden Tomb. Pastor Andrew Brunson from the United States was the main speaker, while Arab Pastor Naim Khoury from Bethlehem and Jewish pastor Avraham Ben Hod from Israel served communion. One couple at the Garden Tomb service shared how they first met in this very place three years ago at the Feast. “Now we are a married couple, and today we celebrate our anniversary back here,” shared Lars and Randi, now living in Switzerland. “Meeting each other here has been a new beginning for each of us. We believe that God gave us a joint purpose and heart for Israel. Each visit to Israel has been an especially intense time. … Like Yeshua himself wished even as a child to stay in the temple, in God’s presence, we feel the same and would stay if we could.”
“It is absolutely awesome,” added Aletta and Johannes from South Africa. “When you come to Israel, you always come with an expectation … [and] you are always really surprised what God gives you in His Spirit! … I hadn’t expected so many Jews would appreciate our support for them at the Jerusalem March. It was a real powerful demonstration of the love people from the nations have for Israel. Breathtaking!”
On the final day of the Feast, 700 Feast pilgrims from 50 nations traveled south to show solidarity with the Gaza border communities. They received a warm welcome from Mayor Ofir Libshtein of the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council and firsthand accounts of what life is like for people living in these resilient towns and villages close to the Gaza border. As the solidarity rally ended, 1,000 blue and white balloons were released as “prayers for peace” in the Gaza border region.
We hope you will consider coming up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles 2023 from September 29 to October 6, 2023