Day 1: Departure from US
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
We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport where we will be met by our Israeli guide who will accompany us during our entire stay in Israel. We 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 prayer of thanks for safety and the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of this land, and a good night’s rest.
Day 3: Caesarea, Megiddo & Nazareth
After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre, hippodrome, a film on history and remains of this famous port city, and aqueduct, and then journey on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We drive through the area ofCana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth Village – a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed guides. We will have dinner and overnight lodging for the next two nights in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi & Mount of Beatitudes
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites. Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship and Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s Confession. InCapernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we travel on to the site of the possible multiplication of loaves and fishes in Bethsaida and the Mount of the Beatitudesoverlooking the Sea. After viewing the ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating Kibbutz, we 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: Jordan River Baptism Site, Beth Shean – Arrive Jordan
We begin our day with a visit to the Jordan River Baptismal site. Next we travel southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. (1 Sam 31:10-12) During the intertestamental period, the city was renamed the “Scythopolis”. Archaeologists have uncovered a huge number of ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Scythopolis. 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.We turn east and cross the Jordan River at the Sheikh Hussein Border Crossing. After completing passport formalities we enter the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We travel to Jerash, one of the best preserved and most complete provincial Roman cities. Jerash, Gerasa of Roman Times, was one of the cities of the Decapolis, a confederation of 10 Graeco-Roman cities dating from the 1st century BC situated in Jordan, Syria and Israel. Known as the Pompeii of the East for its extraordinary state of preservation, the ruins indicate human occupations at this location for more than 2,500 years. The most well known monuments include the colonnaded street, the Temple of Zeus, the Forum, and Hadrian’s Arch. We overnight in Amman.
Day 6: Petra
Onto the King’s Highway we drive to Petra. Walk through the “Siq,” an immense crack in the Nubian sandstone, to the city of Petra. 2000 years ago the Nabateans carved a city out of the rose red rock and the Treasury, El Khazneh, is one of the most elegant remains of antiquity. Beyond El Khazneh we are surrounded on both sides by hundreds of Petra’s carved and built structures. We overnight in Petra.
Day 7: Mt Nebo, Madaba, – Arrive Israel, Jericho, Dead Sea
Mt. Nebo, believed to be the site of the tomb of Moses, commands a spectacular view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. The drive continues to the town of Madaba, the biblical Medeba, 30 kilometers south of Amman. Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics and at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George we may view the earliest surveying original map of the Holyland. We travel onto Allenby Bridge and cross back into Israel. Following the fertile Jordan Valley, your guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey,” the Kibbuzt system and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We follow the road south past the ancient city of Jericho, view from a distance this city famed as the oldest in the world, before coming to our lodging for the evening 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 8: Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls
Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress ofMasada. 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. 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 King David hid from Saul, and 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. We travel into Jerusalem and our lodging for the next four nights.
Day 9: Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum
Conditions permiting 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. From here we will also be able to see the Pool of Bethesda, Stephen’s Gate and St. Ann’s Church. Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visit the “Upper Room” just outside the Zion Gate where the disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later Thomas cried, “my Lord & my God.” An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israeli 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 the following days. We conclude the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a needed reminder of what the Jews have suffered as a people.
Day 10: Jesus’ Steps, the Last Days
Today we walk where Jesus walked; beginning the day with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop theMount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemane. How many have wished to be whisked back in time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a moment? To walk between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of Jesus’ prayer and take time for personal reflection is important here. Next we visit the House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon. See a pit where he may have been held for the evening and the ancient hillside steps he walked as he was taken to be condemned. On our way into the city we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. The tunnel and exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the Temple Mount, giant stones, water supply and Roman street where our Lord was led to judgment. Before exiting the tunnel we see the immense cornerstone rejected by the builders. We move on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation.
Day 11: Way of Suffering, Garden Tomb, Pentecost, Bethlehem
While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we are reminded of His way of suffering along with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our guide will explain the differing opinions on the route that Christ was led. The actual place of crucifixion and burial is a very interesting study. Our climax of the day is the area of Golgotha (place of the skull) and theGarden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise. This afternoon we visit the Southern Wall Excavations. This southern side of The Temple was 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. We will enjoy a challenge from God’s Word and a song before an optional time this afternoon. Those who wish may stay in the city marketplace for shopping, while others may choose to spend the remainder of the day surrounding the birth of Christ, with a visit to Bethlehem. This evening we return to the hotel for dinner following by free time to freshen up before traveling to the airport for our overnight flight home.
Day 12: Arrive Home
We arrive home early this morning.