ITINERARY

B = Breakfast provided
D = Dinner provided
Lunches are a personal expense

 

THURSDAY, MAY 12
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
The first overnight is in Tel Aviv. See the link: Arrival and Departure Infomation. (D)

FRIDAY, MAY 13
KINGDOMS IN CONFLICT

Our day begins with a morning drive through the region of the Sharon Plain to 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. 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: Theatre, Herod’s Palace, Hippodrome, ancient Harbor, Crusader fortifications and the Roman-era aqueduct. Next we travel to Mount Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Here we consider the conflict between the Israelite and Canaanite cultures.  We continue our journey northward to the site of Sepphoris. Located only a few miles from Nazareth, the city served as the capital of Galilee during Jesus' early life. We end our day in Nazareth, with a visit to the Church of Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s home. Overnight: Ein Gev Holiday Village. We are at this hotel for four nights. (B,D)  

 

SATURDAY, MAY 14
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM
We begin our morning on the Golan Heights. The first stop is at Umm el-Kanatir (“Mother of the Arches”). Here we see the archaeological reconstruction of a beautiful 6-8 century synagogue that was destroyed by earthquake.  A short drive north brings us to the 1 century Jewish city of Gamla.  During the First Jewish Revolt (66-70 AD), this Jewish city witnessed the full force of the Roman army and fell victim to its superiority.  We next visit Tel Dan, location of the tribal allotment of Dan and later a religious center for the Israelite king Jeroboam.  Our final visit is Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon. Here, 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). One of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River is located here and 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. On our drive to the hotel we stop briefly for an opportunity to taste the wines of the family-owned Assaf boutique winery.  Overnight: Ein Gev Holiday Village. (B,D)

 

SUNDAY, MAY 15
THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE

Today we give attention to the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. We begin with a visit to Et-Tel, an ancient iron age city, with a panoramic view of the plains of Bethsaida. Then we travel to the location of NT Chorazin. This city (along with Bethsaida and Capernaum) was strongly rebuked by Jesus for having witnessed many miracles but still having hearts of unbelief. A restored synagogue provides us the opportunity to discuss the various elements of synagogue worship during New Testament times. Next, we will spend time on the northern slopes of the Sea of Galilee at 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). Located at the base of this hill and on the shore of the Sea of Galilee is a small church known as the Primacy of St. Peter, having remnants dating back to the 4th century AD. The historical records indicate that this church was dedicated to the events of Jesus’ resurrection appearance along the lakeshore (John 21:9). A short drive to the east brings us to Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Finally, we travel to nearby Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient 1st century boat was discovered, preserved, and is now displayed. We conclude our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Ein Gev Holiday Village. (B,D)

 

MONDAY, MAY 16
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
We explore the Sea of Galilee, looking at additional sites that inform us about the setting of the Gospels. Our day begins at the Byzantine church and synagogue of Kursi, the likely location of the meeting between Jesus and the “Gergasene” demoniac (Luke 8:26-39; Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34). Rex will be able to add some first-hand information here, since he excavated at Kursi some years ago. Next is Khirbet el-Araj situated on the lakeshore. This site is currently under excavation by Dr. Steve Notley and several consortium institutions. It is viewed as a possible candidate for the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida and the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44). Traveling on to Magdala, the home of Mary of Magdala has undergone extensive excavations since 2009. The most exciting find is that of a synagogue that dates to the 1 century and could well have been visited by Jesus. Then we ascend to the cliffs of Mount Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and the hills of Upper Galilee. Here we bring to a close our consideration of Jesus’ ministry in the northern regions of the country.  We conclude our day at Yardenit on the River Jordan. An opportunity will be provided for those who desire to be baptized.  Overnight: Ein Gev Holiday Village. (B,D)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 17
SETTING OUR FACES TOWARDS JERUSALEM
Today we follow in the footsteps of Jesus as we leave Galilee with our faces towards Jerusalem. We travel through the eastern edges of the Jezreel Valley with views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain on our way.   In the Harod Valley, we visit the springs of Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon’s encampment against the Midianites.  A few minutes further east brings us to Beth Alpha, the site of an ancient 6 century Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs.  After a short drive we arrive at the biblical city of Beth Shean, a Philistine stronghold during the days of Saul and David.  There we examine the recent excavations of its Roman-Byzantine remains when it was known as Scythopolis, one of the Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis.  The afternoon will be spent in our journey to Jerusalem.  On the way, a stop in the Jericho region may be possible, if political circumstances allow entry into Jericho.  From Jericho westward, we travel through the Wilderness of Judah until we reach Jerusalem.  Overnight Jerusalem:  Prima Kings Hotel. (B,D)

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18
JERUSALEM'S PAST AND PRESENT

We begin our day on the Temple Mount.  Occupied today by two famous landmarks, the golden Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount once housed the First Temple (built by King Solomon) and the Second Temple (built by Herod the Great). Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will visit a small museum (Ben Zvi) with a multi-media presentation that will give us an overview of the topography of Jerusalem and how the city developed from a small Canaanite town into the capital of the Israelite nation. In the afternoon we will visit the OT City of David where we have an opportunity to travel through an OT water course known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20:20). 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). From the Pool of Siloam, we will walk underground through an ancient rainwater drainage channel used in the NT period. This channel will return us to the area within the Old City walls.  In the evening following dinner, we will enjoy a Sound and Light show at the Citadel of David.  The walls of the citadel provide a stage for a multi-sensory experience showcasing Jerusalem through the years.  Overnight Jerusalem: Prima Kings Hotel. (B,D)

 

THURSDAY, MAY 19
CITY OF THE GREAT KING

This morning we begin in the Jewish Quarter and visit excavations preserving several homes dated to the time of Jesus. We begin at the Wohl Museum where several homes are preserved that give us a glimpse into the life of the privileged class in Jerusalem. Next, is a return visit to the Roman destruction of the Temple Mount area within the Davidson Center grounds for additional discussion. On the south side of the Temple Mount is a series of steps dated to the 1st century AD. These steps lead to two major underground entrances-exits that provide access to the Temple Court of the Gentiles in the days of Jesus' ministry. Adjacent to the steps are ritual baths that were utilized for purity emersion purposes prior to entering the Temple. In the afternoon free time will be given for shopping in the Old City of Jerusalem.  After dinner we will re-group for a visit to the Western Wall Tunnels. Here, we will explore underground the northern continuation of the present-day Western Wall. Overnight: Prima Kings Hotel. (B,D)

 

FRIDAY, MAY 20
JESUS IN JERUSALEM 

Today we consider events and places from the beginning and end of the life of Jesus. We begin our day at Herodium, which is south and east of Bethlehem. It was the desert palace of Herod the Great, who tried to end Jesus’ life from the beginning.  Next we visit the city of Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. In the afternoon we consider Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem.  In connection with this theme, we begin on the crest of the Mount of Olives with an overlook to the eastern “Golden Gate” of the Temple Mount.  Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion.  We descend the mount to the Church of Dominus Flevit and the Garden of Gethsemane.  On the Via Dolorosa we stop at St. Anne’s Church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda.  We conclude our day at the Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Overnight Jerusalem: Prima Kings Hotel (B,D) 

 

SATURDAY, MAY 21
CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS
We follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived near the Dead Sea and in the Judean Wilderness areas. We spend the morning at Masada where we consider the fate of the Zealot movement (First Jewish Revolt 66-73 AD) which ended at Masada in the spring of 73 AD. Fortified and embellished by Herod the Great, the site abounds with points of interest. Then, at the oasis of Ein Gedi, we walk into a canyon to discover a “river in the desert” in the region where David hid from Saul. We travel to Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and we are invited to think about their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. We conclude our day with a visit to a local beach on the Dead Sea where those who desire will be given an opportunity to float in this unusual body of water. It is a unique experience. Towels and changing areas are provided. We then return to Jerusalem. Overnight Jerusalem, Prima Kings Hotel. (B,D)

 

SUNDAY, MAY 22
JERUSALEM MUSEUMS
Our morning begins at a model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in 66 AD, during the period of the New Testament and early church. 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. Of particular interest for us will be the archaeological wing which displays many artifacts from the sites we have visited during our time in Israel. Nearby is the Bible Lands Museum. Twenty different galleries in historical chronological order place visitors within a context of biblical cultures, themes, and selected passages. The afternoon takes us to the Temple Mount Sifting Project where we will have an opportunity to be guest archaeologists. Overnight Jerusalem, Prima Kings Hotel. (B,D)

 

MONDAY, MAY 23
JERUSALEM FREE DAY 
Today is a free day for you to do as you please. You are welcome to visit other venues throughout the city and continue your exploration of the Old City. Overnight Jerusalem, Notre Dame. (B,D) 

NOTE: Some of you may have scheduled your departure from Israel on this day. You may ask for a taxi at the front desk. Cost is $90-$100 and the cost can be shared according to the number of riders. You are welcome to keep your room until it is necessary for you to leave for the airport.

NOTE: Please see the Arrival and Departure Information link for additional information. 

 

TUESDAY, MAY 24
DEPARTURE DAY 
This is the scheduled departure day. Check out time is 11:00 AM. See the link: Arrival and Departure Infomation. (B)

Related Links

Testimonials

  • "Dr. Emanuel was a Blessing. I learned so much from him. He is very familiar with Israel and the Holy Land. He is a walking dictionary as it pertains to the Bible. It is because of Dr. Emanuel's readings of the Bible and the way he connected various Holy Sites we visited to the Bible that I can now read the Bible with increased comprehension. The Trip to the Holy Land was wonderful. At no time did I feel we were in any danger during our visit. Among many of the joyful activities we participated in was being baptized in the Jordan River, sailing on the Sea of Galilee and floating in the Dead Sea. I cannot wait to return to the Holy Land with Dr. Emanuel."
    B.T., Israel Trip