Days 1&2 - USA to Tel Aviv
Arrive in Tel Aviv and board a new, climate-controlled motor coach where our guide will greet us and give us an orientation of the land. We will check into our hotel on the coastal plains of the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner included.
Day 3 - Caesarea MaritimaMount CarmelMegiddoNazarethSea of Galilee
After a buffet breakfast, we depart the hotel on route to Caesarea Maritima, where we will visit the magnificent city with Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader ruins. Here we will elaborate on the story of the baptism of Cornelius, the first gentile convert into Christianity (Acts 10), and on the travels of Paul — those events that led Caesarea Maritima to become the springboard of Christianity to the West. We will then continue to Mount Carmel and consider the contest between the Prophet Elijah and the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), discussing the reasons why the Prophet chose that place for the contest, and the lessons we learn from the story. We then travel to Megiddo, and explore the Tel that goes back in history to 4000 BC, looking at ruins from the times of King Solomon and King Ahab. Overlooking the Armageddon Valley, we will also discuss the reasons why we believe this will be the setting for the final battle between good and evil mentioned in Revelation 16:16. After a lunch break we travel to Nazareth where we will visit Mary’s Well where she received the announcement from the Angel of the birth of Jesus. Then we will climb to the Mount of Precipice, the brow of the hill on which the city was built (Luke 4). There we will reflect on the rejection of Jesus by his family and friends in Nazareth. In addition to discussing Jesus’ boyhood we will also consider the life and times of Deborah (Judges 4). We check into our hotel on the Sea of Galilee for the next three nights and enjoy another dinner together.
Day 4 - Mt. of BeatitudesPeter’s PrimacyCapernaumJesus BoatBoat ride
You will be encouraged each morning to rise for a private, early morning walk and a time of prayer on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Most likely you will get to see modern fishermen using nets the way Jesus and His disciples did. After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a short trip to Bethsaida, the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. This is one of three cities that make up the Gospel Triangle and the location where Jesus spent two of His three years of public ministry. We then proceed to the Mount of Beatitudes and discuss the Sermon on the Mount, finishing the theme that was started earlier that day. During our lunch break you will have the opportunity to try St. Peter’s fish, commonly eaten by people in Jesus’ day. We will then visit Capernaum, Jesus’ Galilean ministry base. There we will see the house of Peter’s mother in law, in addition to other ruins of the village. We will stand in the ruins of the ancient synagogue where Jesus was confronted by the demoniac. We end our day with a visit to the ancient boat museum, containing a recently-discovered 2000-year old fishing boat. We will then sail on the Sea of Galilee on a replica of that boat. We return to our hotel. Dinner included
Day 5 - Peace VistaRoad to DamascusTel DanCaesarea PhilippiHazor
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee from the Peace Vista lookout, where we will be able to see the entire lake. From this view we will consider why Jesus chose to begin delivering His message from there. We continue traveling to the northern boundary of Israel and begin with visiting Tel Dan, the northern extremity of Biblical Israel. We will visit the location of the altar where the golden calf was placed by King Jeroboam. There we will discuss the downfall and idolatry of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. We will move on to the Dan Stream, the largest tributary of the Jordan River and possibly the place where Psalm 42 was written (“As the dear pants for the water brook, so my soul pants for Thee…”). We will then continue to Caesarea Philippi, where we will visit the ruins of the pagan altars and consider the confession of Peter in Matthew 16 (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You will be invited to lunch where you will have the option to try falafel, a typical Middle Eastern meal. We will drive further north to the border with Syria where we will consider the dramatic conversion and life-transformation of Saul of Tarsus: The Apostle Paul. We then travel to the baptismal site of Jesus on the Jordan River. You will be offered the opportunity to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan in an available location picked by your host and guide. We then spend the evening in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner included.
Day 6 - Beth SheanJerichoBethany Beyond the Jordan BaptismBethany and Tomb of Lazarus
After a buffet breakfast, we leave the area of Galilee, following the Jordan Valley Road to Beth Shean, the capital of the Decapolis. There we will see the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine cities. We will also discuss the demise of King Saul and his sons, whose bodies were hanged on the walls of Beth Shean. We will then continue traveling south to the actual location where John the Baptist was baptizing on the Jordan River and offer opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River. Jericho will be our next stop, where we will visit the Tel of Jericho with its ancient ruins, pointing out what possibly could be the foundations of the ramparts that Joshua and the Israelites brought down. After lunch, we travel to Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. While there we will visit Lazarus’ tomb and recount together the events around the miracle of raising Lazarus from the Dead. We then proceed on to Jerusalem for a welcome into the Holy City. We then check into our hotel, where we will stay for the remainder of our time in Jerusalem. Dinner included.
Day 7 - Western Wall TunnelsTemple Mt.St. Anne’s Church and Pools of BethesdaAntonia FortressIsrael Museum
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day entering the Old City and a visit to the Western Wall, a section of the Western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, and Judaism’s holiest site. We will ascend the Temple Mount, discussing its connection to both the Old and New Testaments. We will also discuss why it is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Leaving the Temple Mount, we will visit the Church of St. Anne’s, a perfectly intact Crusader church. It is a wonderful place to gather and sing a song (sometimes with fellow Christians from all over the world). There, we will also visit the pools of Bethesda where the healing at the pool took place (John 5). We will then walk the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering), the actual path that Jesus walked from the Antonia Fortress to the crucifixion site. We will also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jesus’ tomb. After lunch in the Old City, we travel to the Israel Museum where we will visit the Second Temple Period Model of Jerusalem, a 1:50 scaled model of the city from the year 66 AD. We will also visit the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit. We then return to our hotel. Dinner included.
Day 8 - Mt. of OlivesSouthern Wall ExcavationsBethlehem
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with an orientation over the holy city from the Mount of Olives, pointing out important locations within the Old City, connecting them with Biblical stories and prophecies about the return of Jesus. We will then walk down the Palm Sunday Procession road to the Garden of Gethsemane, where the passion of Jesus began. Each of us will be given some personal time in a private section of the Garden. We will then visit the Southern Wall excavations where ruins of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount are still visible. We will then gather at the teaching steps, the main entrance to the Temple where Rabbis met and taught their disciples. After lunch we then travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. We begin with a visit to the Shepherds fields where the angels appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of Our Lord. These fields are also the setting of the Book of Ruth. We will then travel to the Church of the Nativity and view the actual place where Our Lord was born. Time will then be given to shop for olive wood and other items. We return to our hotel. Dinner included.
Day 9 - MasadaEin GediQumranJerusalem
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day visiting Masada, the fortress built by King Herod the Great and made famous by the Zealots in 73/74 AD with the standoff against the Romans. We visit the fortress and see the ruins that are considered a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. We then continue to Ein Gedi, the oasis in the desert where the meeting between David and King Saul took place (I Samuel 24) and where many of the psalms were written by David. After lunch, we visit Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found by a Bedouin boy back in 1947. There we will see the caves and other buildings that the Essenes, the group of Jews who wrote the scrolls, lived. We then get ready to enter the Holy City of Jerusalem. Beginning with an orientation of the city and “a Genesis Welcome” from Mount Scopus, the overlook of the city. We then check into our hotel, where we will stay for the remainder of our time in Jerusalem. We then return to our hotel. Dinner included.
Day 10 - Hezekiah’s TunnelCaiaphas houseGarden tomb
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a visit to the original location of the city of Jerusalem, going back in history 3000 years. We will also visit Hezekiah’s tunnel, a 1749 foot long tunnel that was dug by King Hezekiah as he prepared for the Assyrian King Sennacherib’s invasion in 701 BC. Those interested in walking the foot deep water tunnel will have the chance to do so. We will visit the Upper Room, the place of the Last Supper and also the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas. We will then visit the Jewish Quarter. After a self-hosted lunch, we will spend part of the afternoon exploring the Old City of Jerusalem. We end our day with a visit to the Garden Tomb, where we will worship together and celebrate communion. We return to our hotel for our last Dinner provided.
Day 11 - Departure
Travel to the airport. Return home with unforgettable memories, amazing new friends and a life-changing understanding of the Bible.