ITINERARY

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
See the Arrival and Departure link for additional information.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1
NEGEV: OUT OF EGYPT I HAVE CALLED MY SON

Our study begins with an examination of Old Testament sites in the southern desert region known as the Negev. In this demanding landscape God tested the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here also, some Israelites attempted an ill-fated and ill-advised premature "conquest" of the promised land. David lived in this region during his "friendship" with Philistine kings. A visit to a Bedouin theme attraction will allow us to experience the Bedouin lifestyle, its rich culture, and provide an opportunity for a camel ride.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2
DEAD SEA AND SHEPHELAH: KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT, #1
Today we address the social, religious and political tensions which lie behind the relationship between the Jewish people and the foreigners in the land. At Masada we consider the fate of the Zealot movement which the Roman army brought to an end on this rocky promontory in the spring of 73 AD. The second half of the day we travel into the geographical region known as the Shephelah. Located between the Coastal Plain and the Judean Hill Country, these foothills served as an important "buffer-zone" between the Judeans in the hill country and the Philistines on the coast. Within the Shephelah we will visit the general locale of David's battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and conclude the day at biblical Gezer. 


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3

SHARON PLAIN AND JEZREEL VALLEY: KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT, #2

Today we continue the theme of cultural and political conflict between Israel and foreigners in the land. At Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea, we give thought to the beginning stages of the Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 66 AD. The conversion of Cornelius at this city will illustrate how God changed hearts and minds in the midst of political, religious and cultural tensions. At Megiddo we examine the Israelite conflicts with the Canaanites in this region. Arriving at Sepphoris, the capital of Roman Galilee at the time of Jesus' birth and a city where Jews and Gentiles lived together, we explore impressive excavations and Jesus' ministry in this area. Only five miles away, we conclude today's activities in the childhood home of Jesus -- Nazareth. 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4
NORTH: HEAD OF KINGDOMS and WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?

Today we examine two themes. At the Old Testament sites of Hazor and at Dan we explore the vital need to capture, fortify and hold strategic military centers in the north. These cities were of vital importance to ancient Israel if it was to maintain its unity and security in its northern territories. After lunch we shift our thoughts to the various messianic expectations in the first century and how they penetrate into the language of Jesus and the Early Church. At Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider the event of the Transfiguration from which Jesus set his face for Jerusalem. In view of the Lebanese and Syrian borders, the dynamics of the modern political situation are briefly addressed. 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5
SEA OF GALILEE: THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE

A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum we consider the second stage of Jesus' ministry with attention given to his teachings within their contemporary context. In the afternoon we visit Magdala to view a 1st century AD synagogue as we continue to discuss Jesus' teaching ministry around the lake. We continue to Kibbutz Ginosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) was discovered and now on display. We conclude our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. 

WEDNESDAY. NOVEMBER 6
JORDAN VALLEY: CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS

Today we travel south via the Jordan Valley to the Jericho and Dead Sea region. Jericho, the first city conquered during the Conquest, lies several miles north of the Dead Sea. Throughout its history Jericho served as an important "way-station" for people traveling to or from Jerusalem. At the oasis of Ein Gedi we walk in to observe a "river in the desert" in the region where David hid from King Saul. Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. A stop at the Dead Sea will provide you an opportunity to float in this unique body of water. We end our day traveling through the Wilderness of Judea en route to Jerusalem.  

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7
JERUSALEM: INTRODUCTION

Today begins with a visit to the Temple Mount, a site of historical significance and political dispute. Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will venture through the various Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem as an orientation to local sites of historical interest and local free time activities. The remainder of the day is free time for you to enjoy the character of Jerusalem's Old City. After lunch we will visit the City of David of Old Testament times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC). We conclude the day with a visit to the Pool of Siloam (John 9). 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8
JERUSALEM: JERUSALEM OF JESUS

Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. We enter the Old City to examine the physical setting of Jerusalem nestled among the hills and valleys of Judah. We now turn our attention to the historical rule of Herod the Great (ending in 4BC), his successors and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. Key archaeological sites to be visited in the Jewish Quarter include the Wohl Museum, the Herodian Villas, the Western Wall and the Southern wall.  

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9
BETHLEHEM and JERUSALEM: THE BEGINNING AND THE END

Our settings today involve the historical backgrounds associated with Birth Narratives and the Passion Narratives. In the morning we focus on the rule and personality of Herod the Great in conjunction with Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. We begin at the Herodium, a palace-fortress built by Herod. We shift our attention to Bethlehem and after lunch we return to Jerusalem. Here, we pay particular attention to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. In connection with this theme we begin our touring atop the Mount of Olives. We descend the mount to the Garden of Gethsemane. We continue into the Old City to visit St. Anne's church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection. 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10
SAMARIA: BLESSINGS and HARDSHIPS

Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the region of Samaria, to the north of Jerusalem. We begin at the Old Testament worship center of Shiloh where the Tabernacle once stood. Mount Gerizim served as a worship center for the Samaritans of the New Testament times and is still revered today by the Samaritan communities in this region. Shechem was frequented by the patriarchs and served as the first capital city of the Northern Kingdom. Nearby is Jacob's Well, thought to be the well mentioned in John 4 where Jesus met a woman of Samaria. We end our day at the city of Samaria which served as the last capital city of the Northern Kingdom. Here, in later times, Herod rebuilt the city and dedicated it to Caesar Augustus, calling it Sebaste (Augustus’ name in Greek is Sebaste),  

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11
DEPARTURE DAY
See the Arrival and Departure link for additional information.

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Testimonials

  • "Can't thank you enough for your input in putting together our Israel adventure! Phil and I were absolutely amazed how beautifully the whole experience went. The schedule was full, but not overwhelming. Steve was incredibly flexible about tucking in extra sites as time allowed and interest was shown. He is an absolute treasure when it comes to guiding a group. Every site added to the richness of my understanding. I would hate to have missed any of them. Some of my sweetest memories where I was most touched were when we got our first glimpse of Jerusalem at sunset, with the driver playing the song " Jerusalem " on the bus. I was also incredibly moved to touch the Western Wall and have a chance to pray there. I hadn't expected such emotional responses in those places! One of the best parts of our trip was the timing. The Land was green and lush, with wild flowers growing everywhere. I think it really helped our group that Phil had us meet weekly before the trip and go over basic knowledge of the Land. That way we felt engaged before we even got there. The booklet you folks put together was also a great resource. To sum it all up, this was the trip of a lifetime for me! I was totally blessed by the experience and am sensing such new richness when I read the scriptures. Thank you for making it all possible. I know we will all be recommending the trip to our church family!!"
    L.A.O., Israel Trip