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A Spectacular Beginning

Ein Gedi & Opening Night- Feast 2019

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19 Nov 2019
A Spectacular Beginning

Feast 2019 Opens with Worship in the Wilderness
From the shores of the Dead Sea to the heart of Jerusalem, ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles 2019 blessed and challenged thousands of Christians from nearly 100 nations during the week of Sukkot! As the sun slipped behind the Ein Gedi cliffs and the full moon began to rise, a blow of the shofar summoned hearts of Christians around the world to worship the Lord! American singer/composer Eddie James and his team of young performers led the crowd in energetic, joyful worship to Jesus. Thousands of voices united together to proclaim, “You are worthy of it all.” Pastor Alberto Magno from Bolivia emphasized the importance of presenting an offering of thanks to our Lord. Joshua Aaron, a local Israeli musician, then brought a lively ukulele vibe to traditional Jewish worship music. 

A Heavenly Perspective
In this refreshing atmosphere of praise and worship, Brother Yun, former leader of the underground Chinese church and author of the book “The Heavenly Man”, recounted the miraculous ways God showed up during times of intense persecution for preaching the Gospel. “If God comes into your persecutions and challenges, then everything is possible”, Yun told the pilgrims. “I have had the great honor to serve Jesus and was in prison four times over 12 years for preaching the gospel… But God said to me, ‘The prison is the reality, but I am the truth.’” Hundreds came forward in response to Brother Yun’s message seeking personal ministry from this proven servant of God. 

Communion & Confession in the Garden Tomb
After the exciting evening of worship in the desert setting of Ein Gedi, hearts were awake early Monday morning and ready to commune with Jesus at Jerusalem’s tranquil Garden Tomb. The garden was full of God’s people and His sweet presence and peace were evident. To one side, the empty tomb stood as a reminder of our resurrected Lord and King, as pilgrims raised their voices in unison to proclaim, “This is amazing grace.” Local pastors Berlie Belay (Jewish) and Saleem Shalash (Arab) together led the gathering in a beautiful time of sharing communion. Saleem remarked, “What Jesus prophesied in His days, is happening in our days!” 

Respected Bible teacher RT Kendall shared a life-changing message on the importance of ‘total forgiveness’ in the life of every believer. In response, many pilgrims responded, and tearfully confessed away bitterness and unforgiveness. “You may be waiting for vindication and you want the world to know what someone has done to you”, said Kendall. “But God says, ‘Totally forgive them and make sure that no one knows about it’... The proof of total forgiveness is that you don’t tell anyone. Total forgiveness is a life sentence. You don’t do it just once.”

“I cried and cried, because I can feel that Jesus is here”, said an elderly woman from Fiji who has visited the Garden Tomb many times. “This is not history we are remembering; Jesus is alive and here with us today.” 

The Nations Gather In Jerusalem

Monday evening, thousands of pilgrims from nearly 100 nations assembled at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena, many wearing their national attire and proudly waving their country’s flag. Some of the new or unusual nations represented at the Feast this year were Macedonia, Iraq and our first-ever large delegation from Egypt! Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, delivered a short and encouraging welcome to the city: “We don’t take it for granted that we have friends dedicated to Jerusalem, Israel, and the Jewish people. Thank you for your support, love, and your advocacy in your own countries. Today in synagogue, we read Ecclesiastes, but the essence of this book is very clear, faith is the purpose of why we are here in this world… Our faith comes above everything else. Thank you for your love and support. Come back again.” 

Singing, dancing, and vibrant music filled the arena throughout the evening, which culminated with a message on the Feast theme “Beginnings” from ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “This year’s Feast of Beginnings is, in one sense looking back at where things started, but also looking forward to new beginnings”, exhorted Dr Bühler. He also stressed the importance of having the right foundation with God before stepping into a new beginning, which starts with a hunger and respect for the Word of God. Holding his Bible aloft, he declared, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most precious book in the world.” 

New in 2019:

The ‘After Glow’ - An old Feast tradition known as the “After Glow” was revived at Feast 2019, as pilgrims were invited to stay around for an extended time of worship at the end the evening services. After the main program drew to a close, pilgrims were encouraged to linger at the foot of the stage as the Feast music team led them in a special time of worship and soaking in the presence of the Lord.

In addition to livestreaming on our social media outlets, this year’s Feast was broadcast worldwide through four networks (Vision Norway, Daystar, GodTV, and LMTV). YouTube also actively promoted morning and evening sessions to viewers.