ITINERARY

B = Breakfast provided
L = Lunch provided; BL = Box lunch provided
D = Dinner provided
 
MONDAY, APRIL 29
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL

Two bus transfers are scheduled from the Tel Aviv airport to your hotel. See the Planning Your Flight to Israel link for additional information. Overnight in Herzliya. We are at this hotel for one night. (D)
 

TUESDAY, APRIL 30
SHARON PLAIN and JEZREEL VALLEY

We check out of our hotel to begin our day in the region of the Sharon Plain at the NT seaport city of Caesarea. Built by Herod the Great and later serving as the official residence of Pontius Pilate, Caesarea was the principal commercial and cultural sea link to the Roman Empire and to Rome in particular. Peter came to Caesarea and ministered to the household of Cornelius (Acts 10) and it was from here that Paul, as a prisoner, was sent to Rome (Acts 24). The site of Caesarea is well excavated and several restored facilities will draw our special attention: the Theatre, Herod’s Palace, Hippodrome, ancient Harbor, Crusader fortifications and the Roman era aqueduct. We leave Caesarea and continue our journey northward for an hour to the region of Mount Carmel. It was here that the prophet Elijah confronted and defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Next is the biblical site of Megiddo. Fortified by Solomon and resting on the slopes adjacent to the Jezreel Valley, this site is perhaps best remembered for associating its Greek name to the Valley of Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). The archaeological ruins of Megiddo reflect its strategic location on an ancient international route. Of special interest are its succession of entry gates, an ancient Canaanite worship center and a dry water tunnel which supplied water in times of peace and especially if under a military siege by an adversarial nation. We conclude our day with a view of the Sea of Galilee prior to arriving at our hotel in Tiberias, located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. We are at this hotel for 3 nights. (B,BL,D) 

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1
HULEH VALLEY and GOLAN HEIGHTS

We begin our day with a drive to the north. Our first site is ancient Hazor -- a strategic Canaanite city captured and burned by Joshua (Joshua 11:10-11) and redeveloped under the kingship of Solomon (1 Kings 9:15). We will visit the Solomonic city gate and an earlier palace thought to be the palace of Jabin, the Canaanite king of Hazor. We continue our travels to the north and arrive at the Old Testament site of Dan. Here we discuss the importance of an ancient Old Testament site having strong fortifications against adversarial northern neighbors. It was at Dan that Jeroboam set up one of his Golden Calf worship centers (1 Kings 12:28-30). The ruins of Dan are nestled within a beautiful national park with the spring of Dan issuing forth volumes of fresh water that serves as one of the sources of the Jordan River. At nearby Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider the event of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36) and Jesus’ question to Peter: “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). Here is one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River; the abundant water supply made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship as evidenced by the remains of various Greek and Roman worship centers. Leaving Caesarea Philippi we journey eastward and uphill to the plateau of the Golan Heights. From Har Bental we will have a view and discuss the importance of the Golan Heights in biblical and modern times. Overnight Tiberias. (B,L,D)

 

THURSDAY, MAY 2
SEA OF GALILEE

Today we give attention to the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. We begin with a visit to the New Testament village of Chorazin. Located on the northern hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee, this city was strongly rebuked by Jesus for having witnessed many miracles but still having hearts of unbelief (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13). A restored synagogue provides us the opportunity to discuss the various elements of synagogue worship during New Testament times. Next, we will spend some time on the northern slopes of the Sea of Galilee at the site known as the Mount of Beatitudes. Here, on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, we consider Jesus’ most famous sermon and his call to discipleship (Matthew 5-7). You will be offered free time to enjoy the garden environment of the mountain and then we will hike down the hill to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Near the shore is a small church known as the Primacy of St. Peter with remnants dating back to the 4th century. The historical records indicate that this church was dedicated to the events of Jesus’ resurrection appearance along the sea shore (John 21:9). A short drive to the east brings us to Capernaum, the headquarters city of Jesus’ Sea of Galilee ministry. Here we will consider how the Sea of Galilee, as if a magnet, drew the infirmed and served as the perfect locale for Jesus’ Galilean healing ministry. We return to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee to Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient Sea-of-Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) was discovered, excavated, preserved, and is displayed. We conclude our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. What a perfect way to end the day—on the Sea of Galilee! Overnight Tiberias. (B,L,D) 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 3
JORDAN RIVER and JORDAN VALLEY REGIONS

We depart the hotel to travel south via the Jordan Valley, but first, we begin our day with a visit to the Jordan River at a pilgrim site known as Yardenit (“Little Jordan”). Here Christian pilgrims have the opportunity to be baptized or rededicated by emersion in the Jordan River. Should this be an opportunity for you, we will make the needed arrangements. Be sure to pack proper water clothing. We now drive south through the Jordan Valley to reach the OT city of Jericho. This Canaanite city was the first city to be conquered under the leadership of Joshua as the Israelites made their entry into the Promised Land. Not only did the walls fall down (Joshua 6:20) but a curse (Joshua 6:26) was pronounced upon anyone who would rebuild this city. The city remained abandoned for 500 years until a rebuilding effort (1 Kings 16:34). Jesus visited NT Jericho, healed blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46) and brought salvation to the house of Zacchaeus, the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10). From here Jesus began his final journey to Jerusalem through the rugged terrain of the Wilderness of Judea. Your journey continues south to ancient Qumran, the location of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We continue south to our hotel located next to the Dead Sea. Here you have an overnight opportunity to enjoy the uniqueness of this body of water. You are at this hotel for one night only. (B,L,D) 

 

SATURDAY, MAY 4
MASADA and JERUSALEM

We check out of our hotel and travel a short distance north to the historic site of Masada where we consider the fate of the Zealot movement which ended at Masada in 73 AD. Fortified and embellished by Herod the Great, the site abounds with points of interest. We will spend several hours atop this rocky promontory. A cable car provides access to the top. Points of interest include the Western Palace, the Roman Ramp, the Synagogue, the three-tiered Northern Palace and the Storerooms. Leaving Masada we travel north then west in route to Jerusalem. Upon arrival in Jerusalem we will stop at Mount Scopus to overlook the city. After checking into our hotel located within the Old City of Jerusalem, we will venture into the alleyways and byways of the Old City as an orientation and introduction to its many venues. We are at our Jerusalem hotel until departure from Israel. (B,L,D) 

 

SUNDAY, MAY 5
JERUSALEM

NOTE: No Bibles, tablets, or laptops are allowed on the Temple Mount; leave these items at the hotel this morning. Also, refrain from wearing Christian or Jewish jewelry this morning. We depart the hotel at 7:30 am and walk to the Temple Mount. Occupied today by two famous landmarks, the Golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount once housed the First Temple (built by Solomon; Old Testament period) and the Second Temple (built by Herod; New Testament period). No remains of either temple survive but the mount provides us the venue to discuss many topics associated with such a historical mountaintop. Abraham presented Isaac as an offering (Genesis 22), David purchased it (2 Sam 24:18-25), Solomon built upon it (2 Chronicles 22), as did King Herod, and Jesus preached in it and foretold of its destruction (Luke 19:40-44; 21:20-24) which took place in 70 AD. In the afternoon we will visit the Old Testament City of David where we have an opportunity to travel through an Old Testament water course known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20:20). There is water knee-deep in the tunnel and the trek through the 1500 foot tunnel is optional. You will need a flashlight and water shoes of some type to go through the tunnel. Others can travel through a dry tunnel. We all meet at the end, at the Pool of Siloam. You may recall Jesus sent a blind man to wash his eyes in the Pool of Siloam to receive his sight (John 9). (B,D) 

 

MONDAY, MAY 6
JERUSALEM

This morning we will walk to the Jewish Quarter to visit excavations preserving several homes of the time of Jesus that reflect the wealth of the ruling classes, whether religious or political rulers. Artifacts and restorations provide us a glimpse into the life of the privileged in Jerusalem. Our first stop will be the Burnt House, so named because of its fiery destruction in 70 AD at the hand of the Roman army. Second, is the Wohl Museum which also presents a complex of grand homes destroyed by the Romans. The Davidson Center and the area of the Southern Steps continue our study of the Temple Mount and its destruction during the First Jewish Revolt (66-70 AD). In the afternoon, we will explore the underground excavations adjacent to the Western Wall. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the probable site of Jesus' crucifixion, death and resurrection. (B,D)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 7
BETHLEHEM and JERUSALEM

This morning we begin with a short drive southeast into the Wilderness of Judah to a site known as the Herodium. This is a 1st Century BC fortification and palace complex built by Herod the Great. Located in view of Bethlehem, the ruins of the fortress provide a unique setting where we can discuss the life, death, rule and complexities of this infamous Jewish ruler. A short drive takes us to Bethlehem. Here we will acquire the services of a local Palestinian guide who will assist us while in Bethlehem. Next is the Church of Nativity which was built above a grotto-cave venerated as the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem is known for its fine olive wood craftsmanship so we will visit a local shop that specializes in olive wood carvings. We return to Jerusalem to the crest of the Mount of Olives for an overview of the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Golden Gate. Here the modern and ancient cities of Jerusalem lie before us in their entire splendor. We will walk down the Mount of Olives to the traditional Garden of Gethsemane where Judas betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:47).  (B,L,D) 

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8
JERUSALEM

Our morning begins at a model of Jerusalem representing the city as it would have appeared in 66 AD, during the period of the New Testament and early church. Based on archaeological and literary documentation, it is a faithful recreation of the city of Jerusalem of that time period. Second, is the Shrine of the Book, dedicated to the discovery, restoration and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Next is the Israel Museum which houses both archaeological, classical and contemporary artifacts and art of Israel and the Jewish world. Our day ends at the Temple Mount Sifting Project where we will have an opportunity to be guest archaeologists. You will be given several buckets of debris salvaged from illicit construction done at the Temple Mount. After being instructed in the fine art of recognizing artifactal remains you will clean, sift, and search your debris for historical treasures. Yes, you will find historical items. A staff archaeologist will gather all items of importance and explain their historical significance to the group. (B,L,D)

 

THURSDAY, MAY 9
JERUSALEM and DEPARTURE DAY #1 

Our pilgrimage is nearing its end and there is no more fitting place to celebrate the culmination of our journey than at the Garden Tomb. Here we will celebrate our pilgrimage with fellowship and communion. The grounds are picturesque and invite worship and thanksgiving. This is our last formal pilgrim site. The remainder of the day is free time. For those of you scheduled to depart Israel this evening or just after midnight, transportation to the airport will be arranged for you. Your room has been reserved for you until your transportation to the airport is available. (B,D)

Departing Israel: Please schedule your departure flight from Tel Aviv to take place between the hours of 6:00 PM May 9 and 3:00 PM May 10. Hotel checkout time on May 10 is 11:00 AM. 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 10
DEPARTURE DAY #2 and ARRIVE USA
Departing Israel: Please schedule your departure flight from Tel Aviv to take place between the hours of 6:00 PM May 9 and 3:00 PM May 10. Hotel checkout time on May 10 is 11:00 AM. 

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Testimonials

  • "My trip to Israel in May was one of the highlights of my life. To see the immensity of the stones of the walls of Jerusalem, to pray at the Wailing Wall, and to imagine the crowds that pressed in to Jesus made me want to press even closer to Him myself! The wonderful teaching offered by our leaders, (Steve, Marc, Wink) brought much more than just knowledge for its own sake. Their teaching brought the Life and Love of our Lord Jesus into a clear focus. Because of their vibrant teaching and the many glorious places we visited that were often "off the beaten path", such as the Emmaus Road, I didn't just visit Israel...I EXPERIENCED Israel!"
    N.R., Israel Trip