Journey Through the Holy Land
Tour members depart the U.S.A. on our flight to Tel Aviv. After take-off, we will be served dinner according to flight schedule. We arrive in Tel Aviv, where we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security. We are then transferred to our motor coach to our hotel in Tiberias near the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. There is nothing quite like watching a sunrise in the Galilee from our hotel. We begin our sightseeing with our first stop at the Mt. of Beatitudes with time for worship and Bible Study. From here, we make our way to Capernaum (Matt. 5-7). We then board our replica wooden Jesus Boat for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee followed by a special St. Peter’s Fish lunch (not included). From here, we see Gadara and then make our way to the River Jordan for an opportunity for Baptism. Time permitting, we will drive through Nazareth (Luke 1 & 2), Cana (John 2), and Tiberias (John 6:23). Dinner and overnight will be in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel north for the Golan Heights and view the area from a special lookout. From here, we continue our drive to Caesarea Philippi, which is situated 25-miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Next, we travel to the base of Mt. Hermon, where we will have time for worship and devotion. Afterwards, we have a short hike/walk to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. Jeroboam was the first king of the Northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the Northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam, which ended the United Monarchy. Our next stop will be at Tel Beit Shean (located 17 miles south of the Sea of Galilee), situated at the strategic junction of the Harod and Jordan Valleys. Time permitting, we drive through the Jezreel Valley to Ein Harod, Gideon Springs (Judges 7). Afterwards, we make our way back to our hotel in Tiberias in time for dinner and overnight.
Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane
Today, we depart the Galilee to Jerusalem, visiting the following Biblical sites: Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kings. 9:15; Rev. 16:16). Mt. Carmel, where Elijah prayed, and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven (1 Kings 18). We have lunch (not included) at a Druze Village. Then we continue to Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). 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 our explorations with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage will proceed down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove. There we will visit the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed. We will enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Sam. 24:18-25). On this site now stands the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El-Aksa Mosque. From the temple mount area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, and the Sister of Zion Convent to see the Pavement where Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate. Then we view the Ecco Homo Arch and see the ancient Cardo. After stopping for lunch in the Old City (not included), we conclude our sightseeing today with a visit to Hezekiah’s Tunnel or shaft. (Please be sure to take with you good water shoes and a flashlight.) Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. After dinner, we head back to the Western Wall for a visit to the Rabbi’s Tunnel for an incredible visit and opportunity to see some of the recent excavation made within the last year.
Scaling King Herod’s Fortress
After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing and begin our drive to the Wilderness, the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea region is a decent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. Our first stop will be at Masada, where we will by way of cable car make our way to the fortress built by King Herod. Here, we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples, and palaces. From here, we drive to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Afterwards, a short drive takes us to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We will make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest physical spot on earth) for a short swim/float. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a visit to the new baptismal site, Qasr El-Yahud Baptismal Site, the newly excavated site where tradition believes Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Time permitting, we will have a short visit to Jericho followed by dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. This morning we have a short drive to Bethlehem where we will pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Then we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. After stopping for lunch (not included), we leave Bethlehem and make our way to the Shrine of the Book Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Then we will be fascinated by a model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Afterwards, we make our way to the Garden Tomb for time of worship and communion. Then we drive to Tel Aviv and, time permitting, visit Independence Hall where the establishment of the State of Israel was declared. We then enjoy a Farewell Dinner in the Tel Aviv area and have a transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A. We arrive back home in the U.S.A. at the close of an unforgettable 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.