Guide for Those Perplexed over ICEJ’s Feast

“Israel's largest annual tourism event” may be a virtual “Feast” for Jewish eyes, but it’s a full blown Jesus Fest for its evangelical participants – and that presents the Jewish state with a very real problem.

The International Christian Embassy’s (ICEJ) Feast of the Tabernacles is an evangelical spectacle - an extraordinary display of religious pageantry which mesmerizes Israelis, fills our hotels, , and brings in tourist dollars. While most Israelis think of the event in terms of a colorful, flag-waving, pro-Israel parade; in reality- and by the ICEJ’s account- the week-long happening is clearly focused on the worship of Jesus.

In addition, “the Feast “presents an ideal networking opportunity for missionaries and those promoting apostasy among Jews – via messianic communities in Israel.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of the Jewish State’s public, private, religious and secular institutions, and citizens, are partaking in this festival which pushes the Avodah Zarah envelope to its outer limits.

Jewish Israel has written the following Guide for Those Perplexed over ICEJ’s Feast. This report intends to explain the nature of "the Feast", as well as to explicate on the challenges the event poses to the very nature of the Jewish state.

What is, and what isn’t, “the Feast”?
Jewish Israel wants Israelis to clearly understand that ICEJ’s annual Feast of the Tabernacles is not primarily a pro-Israel event. Rather, it is a christ-centered Pilgrimage with an emphasis on Christian “praise and worship” and the eschatological theme of the second coming of Jesus.
This is something ICEJ reiterates over and over again in their literature:

The Christian Feast of Tabernacles is held during the Jewish celebration of Succot… It was at this Feast (where part of the ceremony included the pouring out of water before the Lord) that Jesus stood in the Temple and said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

Last Year’s [2008] Feast theme: The Lion of Judah
In 2008 ICEJ crowned Jesus as the Lion King and Ruler of Jerusalem:

From the tribe of Judah came King David, and from the House of David the true “Lion King” – Jesus – appeared. Jesus’ identity as the triumphal Lion of Judah is revealed in Revelation 5, where He is described as the only one worthy to open Heaven’s scroll.

This year’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration raises a banner bearing the symbol of the Lion of Judah. By lifting up His tribal ensign, we proclaim in this 60th year anniversary of Israel’s national rebirth, that the coming Lion of the Tribe of Judah will soon establish His rightful inheritance and establish His throne to rule over His city and the nations.

This Year’s [2009] Feast Theme: The Tabernacle of David
Below is a daily thematic sampling from the 2009 Feast Schedule:

Sunday, October 4th THEME: The Tabernacle of David – The Promised King
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

Monday, October 5th THEME: The Tabernacle of David: A Glorious Future
“I have consecrated My King on Zion, My holy mountain.” I will declare the Lord’s decree: He said to Me, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession.” Psalm 2:6-8

Tuesday, October 6th THEME: The Tabernacle of David: A Tabernacle of Worship
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise– the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrificesGodispleased.Hebrews13:15-16

Thursday, October 8th THEME: The Tabernacle of David: A Day of Triumph
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11

Other Memorable Feast years:
In 2004, Judy Balint reported that Pat Robertson spilled his evangelical guts at The Jerusalem Convention Center when he, “… turned the auditorium into a church, as he exhorted the throng to get down on their knees in prayer, urging them to, ‘Pray for Jesus to come back again, so the rule of Jesus Christ may descend…Jews need to begin to cry out for their Messiah, he said. I've met wonderful Jews... here in Jerusalem, who are all saying 'Yes, Jesus you are our Messiah,'"

In 2007 the Chief Rabbinate's decided to proscribe Jewish participation in the Feast and related events, due to a missionary presence.

Missionary and “Messianic” Participation:
This year, as in past years, known missionaries and messianic personalities are an integral part of the ICEJ Feast programming. Seminars are being held for “local believers” and the “Young Generation of Messianic Believers in Israel”.

What are “local believers” and who are the “young generation”? Take a look (do you know where your children are?)

Ariel Messianic leader, David Ortiz, is a featured speaker as is Tiberias Messianic leader Daniel Yaniv.

Missionary Christine Darg of the Heichal Shlomo worship convocation imbroglio is also a featured speaker at this year’s ICEJ Feast of the Tabernacles

The Building of Christian altars in Eretz Yisrael:
At the 2007 Feast, Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet was present when missionary Pastor Jack Hayford – a featured ICEJ personality - boasted of establishing permanent altars in four remote locations, one each in the North, South, East and West of Israel.

Recently The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has announced the opening of “a new altar of prayer there near the Western Wall”

[note: Last August Jewish Israel reported on TBN’s opening of a Russian-language missionary station in Israel which enjoys Israeli government endorsement.]

Rabbinic Participation in the Feast:
Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, is scheduled for an appearance at two Feast-related events:

On October 4th he is listed as a participant in the Christian Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. This is an event co-Chaired by Robert Stearns and missionary Jack Hayford – both great proponents of “messianic Judaism” in Israel.
In 2007 Rabbi Riskin defied a ruling by the Chief Rabbinate that Jews may not participate in any Feast-related Christian worship events, due to a missionary presence.

Jewish Israel has posted a complete excerpt of Rabbi Riskin taken from a 10 minute video promoting the Christian 2009 day of Prayer for Peace. Must Watch. Is Rabbi Riskin suggesting that G-d's Brit Bein He'Betarim (Covenant Between the Parts) between G-d and Abraham had the Christians in mind from the outset?

What Is the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem? Well according to Lou Engle who just happens to be featured on Stearn’s site

"It is important for the body of Christ to pray because, first of all, it is commanded that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Secondly it is the capitol of Christ on the earth; when he returns, that will be his throne. Therefore, all the demonic powers are there focusing and raging against this and it’s going to take millions of intercessors to break through the demonic powers that are trying to keep it from happening. The Church must rise and fulfill Jesus’ great prayer burden."

[Watch Lou Engle on fire at the Jerusalem Convention Center]
[Watch Rabbi Riskin in a new video promoting the 2009 ChristianDay of Prayer]

On October 5th Rabbi Riskin is scheduled as the featured speaker at the Feast Succah Reception at the ICEJ headquarters.

Rabbi Raphael Shore, formerly of Aish haTorah, is also scheduled for to put in an appearance at this year’s Christian Feast Pilgrimage.

ICEJ’s Feast of the Tabernacles is more than controversial. Can the Jewish State welcome evangelizing Christian Pilgrims and allow them to worship here without contravening the halacha and compromising our very souls?

UPDATE: A7 cites Jewish Israel in their Feast coverage

Related articles:
The UnKosher Feast

Forum on the ICEJ Feast

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Comment by Jewish Israel on September 30, 2009 at 4:29pm
That was the strategy used in 2007. The Chief Rabbinate did issue a welcoming statement to the pilgrims arriving for the feast. It said, that they "bless the tourists who will arrive in our Holy Land for the upcoming holidays, among them also those of different religions."
But the Rabbinate simultaneously proscribed Jewish participation in feast-related events. ICEJ and other Christian groups attacked the decision. Malcolm Hedding, Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, felt emboldened to tell the Jewish people in the Jewish State that it's "a violation of Biblical edicts to reject the mass influx of Christian visitors during the holiday." It seems ICEJ rejected the Rabbinate's statement of blessing and decided to make a PR issue out of their ruling against Jewish participation. A predictable reaction.

It was unfortunate that the Rabbinate's statement came late in the game, as many Torah observant Jews did attend the Succot March. And yes, there was proselytizing.
Comment by Nathan L on September 30, 2009 at 3:56pm
We cannot stop them, and we should welcome them but not be present at their feast. And persuade any Rabbi not to attend, but above all we should also publicly warn the Jewish People of the danger and consequences of thei missionarys amongst them and emphasize all Jewish parents to put their children on guard from missionarys

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