Day 1: Departure – Friday
Today we embark on our Journey to the Holy Land. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…tomorrow you will be walking where Jesus walked!
Day 2: Arrive Israel – Sabbath
Arrive in Israel where you meet your guide and travel northward to our hotel for one night in the coastal area near Tel Aviv. The remainder of the day is free to walk along the Mediterranean, relax, and have dinner. The time is right for a personal devotional with the sunset over the “Great Sea.” Enjoy a time of thanksgiving for safety and the special blessings ahead and a prayer for a good night’s rest.
Day 3: Caesarea, Megiddo & Nazareth – Sunday
After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea Maritima, where Paul was imprisoned and where the Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre, hippodrome, and aqueduct as well as the ruins of Herod the Great’s palace and sea harbor. We will then journey on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next, we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Tel Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We drive through the area of Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. Continuing toward Tiberias, we drive up to Mount Arbel for a spectacular view of the northern Sea of Galilee for an excellent time of teaching on the region of Jesus’ ministry. We will have dinner and overnight lodging for the next two nights in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Magdala & Sea of Galilee - Monday
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites. Dan, where the children of Israel fell to the depths of idolatry in sacrifice to Baal, and Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s Confession. We pass by the possible site of the multiplication of loaves and fish in Bethsaida and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum form the triangle where Jesus performed most of his miracles and ministry. Of special interest are the ruins of a 1st century synagogue in Chorazin and the House of the Fisherman in Bethsaida. In Capernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home followed by a visit to the seaside village of Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene. The recent excavation of the 1st century synagogue and well-preserved village makes Magdala one of the most interesting Biblical sies in Israel. We then visit the ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating Kibbutz and enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee. A brief scripture reading and devotional on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen disciples concluding a wonderful day.
Day 5: Beth Shean, Jordan River Baptism Site, & Dead Sea – Tuesday
We begin our day traveling southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hung their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis - a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, we pass through ancient Jericho famed as the oldest city in the world before coming to the Jordan River at Bethany Beyond the Jordan. In this area Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan, as well as where the children of Israel, led by Joshua, entered the Promised Land. Here you will have the opportunity to be baptized in the river itself. Our lodging for the evening is at the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa and enjoy a dip in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float before dinner.
Day 6: Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls, Abraham's Tent – Wednesday
Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of Masada. Here our guide will treat us to the history of the famous zealot stand. Afterwards we proceed to Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea where David hid from King Saul. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. This is where God defeated the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King Jehoshaphat. Next, we visit Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This afternoon we will take part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent, where we enjoy a trip back in time: a reliving of life in the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, camel ride, and authentic food. Upon entering Jerusalem, we will enjoy a devotional with an evening overlook of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in Jerusalem.
Day 7: Shiloh, Bethel, Around Jerusalem, Temple Mount – Thursday
We will travel to the Old Testament city of Shiloh was the capital of Israel during the time of the Judges and home for the Tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant. You will walk to the likely plateau where it was pitched and picture the cloud pillar of God’s presence rising up above the valley walls. This would also be the spot where Hannah came to pray for a son. Later, she dedicated that son, Samuel, to serve the Lord in the Tabernacle. It was from Shiloh that the Ark was taken into battle and temporarily lost to the Philistines. Our next stop is in Bethel, the “House of God,” where Abraham pitched his tent and where Jacob saw in a dream the ladder coming down out of heaven. Returning to Jerusalem, we will visit the ancient site of the town of Gibeon, whose residents tricked Joshua into signing a peace treaty. Conditions permitting, we will visit the Temple Mount, with commentary on the Temple Periods, and the variety of belief systems past and present that make this area so valuable. Before returning to our hotel, our guide will take us to an overview of the city from the hillside overlooking Jerusalem and the Gehenna Valley. This meaningful teaching time will bring together the many things you have seen to date.
Day 8: Israeli Museum, Mount Olives, City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam – Friday
An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israel Museum. Walk through collections of centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical Jerusalem will help to prepare you for what you will experience in Jerusalem. From there we will enjoy a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from across the Kidron Valley atop the Mount of Olives. We will walk between the ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, reflecting on Jesus' prayer and his arrest. We will visit the Wailing Wall and then continue our sightseeing in the City of David. We visit Gihon Springs, the original water source for Jerusalem, view new excavations including a typical Israelite four-room house, and the lower city wall. A highlight today will be a water walk through the incredible Hezekiah’s Tunnel to the Pool of Siloam, the place of Jesus’ miracle in John 9. Before returning to our hotel, we will enjoy a time touring the city marketplace near the Jaffa Gate.
Day 9: Pentecost, Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa Garden Tomb – Sabbath
On our way into the city we will visit the Southern Steps of the Temple, the main entrance for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own entrance from the higher eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard have been unearthed along with the purification pools. From here Jesus entered the Temple Mount and drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the people. It is also likely that this is the place that Peter stood and preached and where thousands were saved and baptized on the Day of Pentecost. Next, we will visit the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the lame man, Stephen's Gate and St. Ann’s Church, the traditional birthplace of Mary, the mother of Jesus. From here, we will begin the walk along the Via Dolorosa at Pilate’s Hall, the site of the ancient Antonia Fortress. We are reminded of His way of suffering with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Our guide will explain the differing opinions on the route that Christ was led and the actual place of crucifixion and burial. Our journey will climax at the Golgotha (place of the skull) site and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise.
Day 10: Return Homeward - Sunday
Depart for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for our flight homeward.