Christians 'Keep a Biblical Feast' in Solidarity with Israel
By Chris Mitchell
CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief
Many Evangelicals are taking their show of support directly to Israel. The Christian presence there is definitely noticeable because of the lack of tourists during the last 2 years of terrorist attacks on Israel and its 'war on terror'.
Despite the danger, last month thousands of Christians gathered in Israel to celebrate the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles, with worshipful singing, dance and marching.
The International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, the ICEJ, began celebrating the Feasts more than 20 years ago. During the past 2 years, it has been mainly Christians who braved the dangers in Israel to come to the Feast. Evangelical Christians-from all over the world-thus represent the largest group of supporters to visit Israel.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon personally addressed the Christians who had come from around the world and assembled in Jerusalem. He said, "Thank you for coming. Thank you for your solidarity with Israel."
A little later in his address, he said, to the cheers of the Christian audience, "I have a message I would like you to carry home. Send more of you to visit Israel!"
Christian participation in the Feast, despite danger, is a visible sign to many Jews of a growing Christian support for Israel.
David Parsons is the Public Affairs Officer of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. He said, "Israel is looking at the dangers around them in this era of weapons of mass destruction. The Jewish people are asking, 'Who's our friends?' And the answer they're finding is: Bible-believing Christians are the best friends they have."
During the Feast, the press took note of a dramatic rise in rallies around the world by Christians on behalf of Israel and Jews.
However, Donna Holbrooke, the Canadian representative of International Christian Embassy in Canada expressed alarm about growing anti-Semitism in Canada. She said, "We have to safeguard our Judeo-Christian values, our humanity. If we allow a group to be singled out, such as the Jewish people have been in Canada and worldwide, we are putting ourselves into jeopardy."
This kind of support has caught the attention of many Jews. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He said, "I see a greater enthusiasm and pathos on the part of Bible-believing Christians to stand with Israel and the Jewish people-in all sorts of ways: politically, financially, morally, every way. And I cannot but believe that God's Hand is in this."
Thousands of Christians joined in the Annual Jerusalem March during the Feast of Tabernacles.
For Zvi Gavoti, a Jew, and the Israeli liaison for the International Christian Embassy, the march represents the change in Jewish-Christian relationships. He said, "In the last several years, we've seen more and more Christians who really love Israel, because it is Israel and nothing more."
Many political and theological differences remain between Jews and Christians, but for now, and the foreseeable future, there seems to be growing common ground between Bible-believing Christians and the Jewish community.
Parsons believes this relationship will continue to grow. He said, "This is what I think we're going to find, more and more. It'll have it's own pace. Things might accelerate it. There are still considerations on the Jewish side about how quickly they want to form an alliance."
On the net: www.icej.org
Christianity's Jewish Roots
CBN News in Israel
Tour Israel with CBN.com
More from Spiritual Life
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.