Happy Feast of Tabernacles and Upcoming Events
Tricia Miller, Ph.D.
Dear Christian Leaders,
This evening at sundown marks the beginning of what many of us know as the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew. Sukkot is the third of three biblical feasts (following Pesach, or Passover, and Shavuot, or Pentecost), for which the Jewish people are commanded to go up to Jerusalem.
The Feast of Tabernacles has been celebrated for approximately 3,300 years and commemorates the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert after being delivered from slavery in Egypt. According to Leviticus 23:33-44, the people are commanded to observe the holiday by living in temporary booths (sukkot) for seven days in remembrance of how God sheltered, protected and provided for them in the wilderness. Furthermore, they are to observe this festival "throughout the ages" (Lev. 23:41) and in so doing, they are to teach future generations (Lev. 23:43).
This is an important Jewish holiday for obvious reasons. However, according to the Scriptures, Sukkot is also to be observed by Gentiles - the Goyim from the nations of the world. In the context of calamitous events, the prophet Zechariah describes how people from all nations will make an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16-19). So, in addition to Sukkot being a time of commemorating God's protection, provision and preservation of the Jewish people, this important biblical festival provides Christians with understanding for current times, in which Gentiles go up to Jerusalem to celebrate in accordance with Zechariah's prophecy.
Inspired by Zechariah 14, and in recognition of the biblical and prophetic significance of the reestablishment of the Jewish State in the land of Israel, a small group of Christians celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem in 1980 for the first time. Since that first observance 40 years ago, an ever-increasing number of Christians gather every year in Jerusalem in recognition of this sacred holiday. Multiple thousands from all over the world participate in the annual celebration hosted by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, and the Christian commemoration of Sukkot has spread worldwide among millions of Christians who stand with Israel and the Jewish people, and comprehend the Hebrew roots of their Christian faith.
Israel's Appreciation of Christian support for the Jewish State
The importance of Christian support for Israel and the Jewish people is well understood by the people and government of Israel. In recognition of, and in appreciation for this support, the Israeli government established the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus in 2004. The Caucus acknowledges the contribution that Christians in America, Europe, and around the world are making to the security of the State of Israel and to the welfare of the Jewish people.
According to their website:
"The mission of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is to build direct lines of communication, cooperation, and coordination, between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world. We strive to establish relationships between the members of Knesset and leaders of Churches, Christian organizations, and political representatives worldwide. The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus has attracted an increasingly diverse and growing number of Christian leaders globally. The Caucus works with Christians who support Israel alongside those who are undecided on their position towards Israel. Many Christians recognize that their belief in the Bible connects them to the land and the people of Israel. On this basis, we work together to achieve our goals."
In 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives formed the first reciprocal caucus to the Knesset Caucus - the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. Since then, additional caucuses have been formed all over the world under the umbrella organization of the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), which was formed in 2007 to coordinate the activities of caucuses from around the globe. Together they work to bring a unified voice on issues regarding Israel by educating, empowering and supporting the initiatives of the growing worldwide legislator network.
This year, in honor of the holiday of Sukkot, the Israel Allies Foundation published its first annual list of Israel's Top 50 Christian Allies. These honorees have all demonstrated a deep love for, and history of support for, the State of Israel - which is the direct result of their Christian faith. The list includes pastors, former politicians, organizational leaders, and businessmen. For a complete list of these friends of Israel and the Jewish people, go here.
As we enter this seven day period of the Feast of Tabernacles, may we be encouraged by our knowledge of the everlasting protection and provision of God for these times in which we live, and may we be strengthened in our commitment to stand and act in support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Chag Sukkot Sameach - Happy Sukkot!!
CAMERA's Partnership of Christians and Jews is pleased to announce that we will host a webinar on Thursday, October 22nd, at 1:00 pm ET, titled "What does the Christian Testament REALLY Say about the Jews?" This in-depth seminar will feature Dr. Brad Young, translator and publisher of the Hebrew Heritage Bible Newer Translation, a new version that affirms the Christian Testament's Hebrew heritage and allows the modern reader to understand what the first century audience actually heard.
Dr. Brad Young (Ph.D. Hebrew University) is emeritus Professor of Biblical Literature in Judaic Christian Studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has taught advanced language and translation courses as well as the Jewish foundations of early Christianity to graduate students for over thirty years. In addition to his well-known research on the life of Jesus, he as devoted much energy to interfaith dialogue to build relationships between the Jewish and Christian communities. He is the author of numerous books including, Jesus the Jewish Theologian, The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Meet the Rabbis, and Paul the Jewish Theologian.
Stay tuned for registration information to follow and please forward it to your friends!
On Sunday, November 1, at 7:00 pm ET, the Partnership's Tricia Miller will speak on the topic "The Source, Scope and Solution to Antisemitism" during a webinar hosted by the Friends of Israel.