Thousands of Evangelical Christians from over 80 countries reportedly flocked to Jerusalem this week for the Feast of Tabernacles to show support for Israel, and anticipate biblical prophecy centered on the eventual return of Jesus Christ.
“The Bible says, the Word of the Lord will go out of Jerusalem to the ends of the Earth,” said International Christian Embassy Jerusalem Director Juha Ketola. “Today the ends of the Earth are coming back to bless the Jewish people!”
The Associates Press reported that the summit, based on the ancient biblical festival, reached its apex on Thursday with the Jerusalem Parade. The Feast of Tabernacles is the Christian term for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which is marked by a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.
“Israel has no better friends throughout the world,” declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thousands of cheering pilgrims on Thursday.
Both Christians and Jews look forward to a future Messianic age, though the latter do not accept that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
“Jesus is Jewish. He’s coming again,” said Marilyn Henretty, 77, of Annandale, Virginia. “We believe it’s going to be soon. All signs point to that.”
Akiva Tor from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the annual pilgrimage that draws thousands of Evangelicals is very helpful for the nation.
“The number of Jewish communities is limited,” Tor said. “When there are large numbers of Christians who are interested in visiting Israel and understanding Israel that, of course, is very, very helpful toward improving our international standing.”
Jürgen Bühler, executive director of ICEJ, said that even if the U.N. does not support Israel, Christians have proved that they do.
“They pray for Israel,” said Bühler. “They support the state of Israel, they are defending Israel day and night. Ladies and gentlemen, the united nations are here.”
ICEJ further noted on its website that Christians celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, “serves as a powerful statement of faith that we believe that day is coming when the earth will finally be at rest in Messiah, the King of Israel.”
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, wrote in an opinion piece in March that many Evangelicals continue to support Israel because they believe the Abrahamic Covenant is still in force.
“The Abrahamic Covenant also promises that ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed,’ (Gen. 12:3),” Land, who is also the executive editor of The Christian Post, explained.
“The second half of the verse is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, the promised Messiah and Savior of the world. The first half of the verse clearly means that God will bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them,” he added.