And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
Preparing for the day when the gentile nations will celebrate Sukkot each year in Jerusalem, members of Charisma Life Ministries in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, waved the Biblical four species and prayed that God return a lost tribe of ancient Jews from India back home to Israel this Feast of Tabernacles.
Under the spiritual leadership of Pastor David Swaggerty, Charisma Life is affiliated with Ebenezer Ministries which helps support Jewish families immigrating to Israel. Pastor Swaggerty sits on the board of Ebenezer USA and has made it the primary mission of his congregation to teach Christians about the importance of “Aliyah”, the Hebrew word describing the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. While Swaggerty’s church is used to hearing about Aliyah regularly on Sunday mornings, the service on Sunday, September 22, during the Feast of Tabernacles was a part of a global prayer effort organized by Jerusalem based ‘Israel Returns.’
Galvanizing the prayers of both Jews and Christians during the 8 days of the Feast of Tabernacles, Israel Returns’ 4 Corner Prayer Journey is raising awareness to the plight of 899 members of the ‘Sons of Menasseh’ (‘Bnei Menashe’ in Hebrew) who are longing to be brought back to their ancestral heritage from India. In recent years, Israel Returns has brought thousands of ‘Lost and Hidden Jews’ from all over the world back to their Jewish roots and to the Land of Israel. The plight of the 899 Indian Jews is of utmost urgency since Israel’s government will be debating their immigration status over the next few weeks. The upcoming vote by Israel’s cabinet was the impetus for organizing the 4 Corner Prayer Journey, which Ebenezer promoted via their website.
“What a delight it is to assist tribes like the Bnei Menashe in making an historic return after approximately 2700 years in exile,” said Ebenezer USA’s Planning and Development Director Peter Scheller. “Ebenezer staff, volunteers and supporters consider it a great privilege to be involved in the work of Aliyah all over the world. It gives us great joy to be used by the Lord to fulfill the scriptures that gentiles will help Jewish people to return to the Promised Land.”
To add greater fervor to their Sukkot prayers, Charisma members reconnected to their Jewish roots and waved the 4 Biblical species known as the citron (etrog), date palm (lulav), myrtle (haddasim) and willow branches (aravot). “Praying for the return to Israel of the Bnei Menashe from India during Sukkot with the four species in hand was awesome,” said Pastor Swaggerty. “To think that after all these years of anti-semitism, Christian churches like ours are joining our Jewish brothers in worshipping God and helping to bring Jews home to Israel from the four corners of the world is both humbling and inspiring.”