"Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God […] and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:16–17)
The three great pilgrimage feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles were times when Israel was to appear in Jerusalem to meet with God. The Hebrew Bible calls these feasts mo’edim, which means special “appointed times”. That is, God reserved in His heavenly calendar certain dates to meet His people. Even Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, continued to keep this tradition and went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts (Acts 18:21; 20:16).
The greatest of these three pilgrimage feasts was the Feast of Tabernacles, when tens of thousands of pilgrims would flock to Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel. And as they came, God asked them not to appear empty-handed but to come into His presence with gifts which would honour God.
The prophet Zechariah saw days coming when this tradition would be revived at the end of days, with not only Jews but even the Gentiles coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). Together with the Jews, they would meet with God, instruction would go forth from Zion, and they would bring their gifts to the Lord. In return, it would unleash blessing to the nations which would appear in Zion. Those who would not come would have no rain upon their land.
Over the past 30 years, we have seen God starting to place this vision into the hearts of thousands of Christians every year. Coming from the four corners of the world, they fill this city with praise and with His presence. It is an amazing foreshadow of even greater times ahead!
I understand that many of you might not be able to come to Jerusalem this year. But you can become part of this year’s Feast in a special way. Please consider making a special Feast of Tabernacles gift as we arrive at the fall High Holidays. Every gift which will be delivered to Jerusalem before October 16th, we will present it before the Lord during the Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem.
Also, if you have a prayer request, please write it down for us and we will pray over it during the Feast.
This is a special season in the year which is of great importance for Israel but more importantly it is God’s appointed time. Follow this divine call and make a generous gift for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles by blessing Israel and by placing a special seed into the Kingdom of God “according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17)
Finally, I ask you to start making plans for next year’s Feast. I know that God will speak to you and will bless you as you come to Jerusalem.
May the Lord bless you richly out of Zion!
Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ Executive Director