The week-long International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Feast of Tabernacles culminated on Tuesday with the Parade of Nations, in which thousands of Christians came from the farthest corners of the earth to display their love of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Israelis joined in, cheering on and marching alongside the exuberant visitors in a recreation of the joyous celebrations that filled the city in Temple times.
The festivities are Biblically-based but framed in a modern context. One celebrant from Mexico explained to Breaking Israel News that she felt obligated to leave her hurricane-ravaged country for one week to come to praise Jerusalem.
“Israel was there for Mexico when we needed help after the earthquakes, so I had to come to proclaim my thanks and to say that I will always be there for Jerusalem,” she said.
6,000 pilgrims from the ICEJ Feast were joined by Israeli organizations, making the Parade of Nations a grand display. No other country hosts a parade of this kind, in which foreigners come simply to express their love of the capital city.
The unique nature of the gathering created some improbable yet inspiring sights, such as Thais in traditional costume blowing shofars with the flags of Israel and Thailand co-joined. Though separated by more than 4,000 miles, the two nations are clearly close to each other in their hearts.
China was heavily represented, and though it is unclear whether their ancestors came to the Temple on Sukkot, those who attended this year’s Feast clearly felt a strong connection to Solomon’s Temple. Though the priestly vestments and Ark of the Covenant were imitations, the love for the God of Abraham and his city were clearly authentic.
The crowd was cheering God’s city, the Lion of Zion, His holy Torah, and the Holy Temple.
People at the parade were amazed to see a prophecy unfold before their eyes as celebrants from the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu sang praises to Hashem in a mixture of English, Hebrew, and Bislama.
This year’s parade had a conspicuous Israeli element as Israeli corporations, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and social groups joined in the parade.
The United States was powerfully represented by a diverse crowd of Americans, representing different states and different branches of Christianity, but united in their love of Israel, a love that runs deep on both sides.
Throughout the afternoon, the themes of the parade were joy, excitement, love for Israel and unity behind the Jewish State.