Experience a Israel Familiarization Tour
We begin our Israel familiarization tour in Tel Aviv, where we are met by our guide who assists us through customs and security. We transfer to our motorcoach for a short drive to our hotel in Tel Aviv in time for our dinner and overnight beside the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Today we depart for the Galilee, visiting the following Biblical sites: Caesarea where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10), Megiddo and Mt. Carmel where Elijah prayed and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven (1 Kings 18). Time permitting, we’ll stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break. We continue our familiarization tour in Nazareth (Luke 1 & 2), visit the Mount of Precipice and drive through Cana (John 2). We arrive in Galilee area for dinner and overnight. There is nothing like watching a sunrise on the Sea of Galilee from our hotel. We begin our familiarization tour today by sightseeing with a short drive to Tabgha, Primacy of Peter, and the Mt. of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), with time for reflection and worship. We make our way to Capernaum (Jesus’ base for His early ministry), then board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We also have an opportunity to see the recently excavated boat from the time of Jesus. Our lunch stop includes the option of the special St. Peter’s Fish for those interested. Afterwards we travel to Gadara and if time permits, we’ll include a short visit to Bethsaida, before we make our way to the Jordan River, for an opportunity to see this special river. Dinner and overnight are in Tiberias.
This is a Clergy Familiarization Tour This tour is designed for Clergy members to experience Israel and bring their own group.
Journey to Jerusalem
After breakfast, we travel north for Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made the good confession of Christ as “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We have a short hike to Tel Dan where we see the altar of Jeroboam and visit Banias Falls (if time permits), and then drive to Gideon Springs. Afterwards, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. In Beit Shean, the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls after they were defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). We then ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 NASB).We begin the day on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our familiarization tour proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, and the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed. We enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate, and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18-25). On this site now stands El-Aqsa Mosque, and the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in Islam). From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, to walk the Via Dolorosa including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. Our familiarization tour will take us on a short walk to stand on the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem. We pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts, and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we drive to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here we drive to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. Following the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea, we visit Masada, ascending the wilderness mountain by way of cable car, to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, the synagogue, temples and palaces. We make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a short visit to Jericho during our familiarization tour to see the oldest inhabited city in the world and the ancient walls as they would have appeared 3,200 years ago. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
Visiting the Garden Tomb
After breakfast on our Familiarization tour, we begin our sightseeing with a visit to the Western Wall to see the Rabbi’s Tunnel. From here we continue to the church of St. Peter Gallicantu. We then drive to the Shrine of the Book Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We see the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. If time permits, we will have a visit to the Temple Institute for a detailed explanation of the rebuilding of the Temple. Afterwards, we visit Golgotha and the Garden Tomb for worship. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.We begin our familiarization tour this morning with leisure time in Jerusalem. After lunch, we begin our sightseeing with a visit to the Elah Valley, where David slew Goliath. We have a special Farewell Dinner before we transfer in the morning to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A. At the close of an unforgettable familiarization tour, we take home wonderful memories of the Old and New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.