7 NIGHTS / 8 DAYS
Israel… The Christian Experience of the Holy Land. The Magical experience of visiting Israel where the ancient past and modern present sit side-by-side. Come and enjoy the miracle of the Holy Land. One moment you’ll be taking in magnificent skyscrapers overlooking the Mediterranean; the next you’ll be examining ancient ruins that have been there since the days of Christ. Nazareth, Cana, the Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi—we’ll even be baptized in the waters of Jordan. And then there’s Jerusalem, where we’ll worship in the city Jesus traveled to for worship. We’ll take communion in the city where He and the disciples had the Last Supper. We’ll study the Gospels in the place where He died and rose again. It’s hard to overstate the impact on your life and faith! Israel, truly a magical region that brings to life the realities of the bible where the hand of God is just about everywhere.
Tour Program Summery Outline
Day 1 - Arrive Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv)
Day 2 - Caesarea – Megiddo - Nazareth
Day 3 – Caesarea Philippi – Capernaum – Magdala - Sea of Galilee Boat Ride - Mt. of Beatitudes
Day 4 - Jordan River Baptism Site - Beit Shean - Dead Sea
Day 5 - Qumran – Ein Gedi - Masada – Jericho – Jerusalem
Day 6 – Jerusalem (Bible Times & Holocaust Museum)
Day 7 - Jerusalem (New City)
Day 8 - Jerusalem (Old City)
Day 9 – Departure
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Day 1: Ben Gurion Airport - Tel Aviv
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport where you will be met by your Special Tour Guide and transfer to your hotel. Balance of day is free to walk along the Mediterranean, relax or take a moment to thank the almighty for this amazing opportunity to walk the Holy Land along the footsteps of Jesus; maybe seek blessings for the people of the "Promised Land".
Overnight and dinner at your hotel.
Day 2: Caesarea – Megiddo - Nazareth
After breakfast we begin our tour driving along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea. The city and harbor were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC and thus it became the seat of the Roman governor in Judea the place where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We will view excavations on the site, the magnificent remnants that can still be seen today including the Roman Amphitheatre and aqueduct. Continue to Mount Carmel, an impressive mountain range where a dramatic event took place in the 8th century BCE when Elijah the Prophet wins the day against creeping paganism under King Achab and queen Jezabel as told in detail in the book of Kings. 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 of Cana and Nazareth, near Mount Tabor, Jesus’s childhood home. Those visiting Nazareth to view Mary’s Well where Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel to announce that she would give birth to the Son of God. There is also the opportunity to visit the Church of the Annunciation, a church built in honor of this significant event.
Dinner and (2) overnight(s) in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3: Caesarea Philippi – Capernaum – Magdala - Sea of Galilee Boat Ride - Mt. of Beatitudes
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s Confession and pagan worship. We pass the possible site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes in Bethsaida and the Mount of the Beatitudes. Returning to Tiberias for a St. Peter’s Fish Lunch (other selections available), we then visit the ancient Fisherman Boat followed by 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. In Capernaum we view the excavations of the sea-side village and Peter’s home, followed by a visit to Magdala, home town of Mary Magdalene. The recent excavation of the First Century Synagogue and well preserved village makes Magdala one of the most interesting Biblical sites in Israel.Dinner and overnight in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Jordan River Baptism Site - Beit Shean - Dead Sea
Today we head to Yardenit Baptismal Site located along the Jordan River in the Galilee Region of Northern Israel frequented by Christian pilgrims. The site is located south of the river's outlet from the Sea of Galilee near Kibbutz Kvutzat Kinneret that owns and manages the site. Next stop is Yardenit situated on the banks of the Jordan River, at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Each year this is a stop for pilgrims seeking to experience the tranquility and spiritual beauty of the waters in which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. We continue to Beit Shean settled as early as the Chalcolithic era (about 6000 years ago) and has remained continually inhabited since then. Extensive excavation of a large mound in Beit Shean has revealed over 20 layers of remains from ancient civilizations. Canaanite Temples pre-date Egyptian occupation of the region followed by Israelite rule and the Philistines during the Old Testament period. Beit Shean is mentioned in the Bible several times and is best known as the site where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. We continue along fertile Jordan Valley southward and view the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. Lodging for the evening at the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa before dinner.
Day 5: Qumran – Ein Gedi - Masada – Jericho – Jerusalem
We begin our morning in Qumran, a Jewish settlement along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea; it dates from approximately 100 B.C.E. to 68 C.E., when it was destroyed by the Roman army. It is famous because of the Dead Sea Scrolls, considered the greatest manuscript find of all time. Discovered between 1947 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls comprise some 800 documents dating from around 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; they contain Biblical and apocryphal works, prayers and legal texts and sectarian documents. Continue our drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, where David fled from King Saul. Continue to the mountain fortress of Masada. Ascend by cable car to visit the excavations of the site where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans in the 1st century. Time and weather permitting enjoy a 'swim' in the Dead Sea. Next we visit excavation site of Jericho, located in the southern Jordan valley in Israel, an excavation carried out by a German team between 1907 and 1909. They found piles of mud bricks at the base of the mound the city was built on. It was not until a British archaeologist named Kathleen Kenyon re-excavated the site with modern methods in the 1950s that it was understood what these piles of bricks were. She determined that they were from the city wall which had collapsed when the city was destroyed! The story in the Bible goes on to say that when the walls collapsed, the Israelites stormed the city and set it on fire. Archaeologists found evidence for a massive destruction by fire just as the Bible relates. Kenyon wrote in her excavation report.
Overnight in Jerusalem
Day 6: Jerusalem (Bible Times & Holocaust Museum)
A detailed circle driving tour including many sights in the various sections of Jerusalem will provide insight into the history, industry, cultural diversity, and daily challenges of this great city. An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israeli Museum. Enjoy collections of centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls and a then a guided overview of 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.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem
Day 7: Jerusalem (New City)
This morning we begin our visit to the majestic city of Jerusalem, a holy and sacred city for Jews, Christians and Muslims going back to the biblical era. We make our way driving to the top of the Mt. of Olives, from where Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection. From the top of the Mount there is a magnificent view covering all of ancient and modern Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the biblical world. We visit the holy shrines on the Mount and walk on down the “Palm Sunday Road” visiting the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (Jesus wept) en route to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations where Christ prayed on the night of his betrayal (Lk. 22:40-46). Next we shall visit the Upper Room and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu which is built over the Palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, before whom Jesus was brought for trial and sentenced to death. Beside the Church we shall see the “Roman Steps” which were probably used by Jesus and his disciples on the day of his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. West Jerusalem is home to several renowned museum and no visit is complete without visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial set on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem. The new Yad Vashem Museum opened in 2005 and its nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays present the Holocaust using a range of multimedia including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. We end this fascinating day with a special treat at Friends of Zion Museum (FOZ Museum). This museum is like no other in every way. It presents a technologically advanced, interactive experience that tells the story of the dream of restoration of the Jewish people to their historic homeland and the brave non-Jews who assisted them in realization of that dream, a must see event.
Dinner and overnight Jerusalem.
Day 8: Jerusalem (Old City)
Today is a very special day as we enter the ancient walled city at Jaffa Gate on foot. We have now entered biblical Jerusalem. According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. It is with awe and a sense of reverence that we visit the Tower of David and its exhibition on the history of the city over the ages. Walk through the streets of the Jewish Quarter to the restored Roman Cardo, which was the main street of Jerusalem during the Roman occupation. Continue to the Western Wall, the last remnant of the second temple. Ascend the Temple Mount and see the Dome of the Rock and the El Aqza Mosque. Walk along the Via Dolorosa passing the Stations of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Proceed to the Garden Tomb (Gordon's Calvary). Next we visit the Pool of Bethesda, among the most famous of Jesus’ miracles is recounted in the Gospel of John, where Jesus heals the paralytic at the Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-9). It is not the only one of Jesus’ miracles of healing to take place at a pool in Jerusalem, however. In addition to the Bethesda Pool, the Gospel of John also says that Jesus healed the blind man at the Siloam Pool discovered in 2005 and was quickly identified with the pool mentioned in John. The Bethesda Pool, on the other hand, was excavated in the late 19th century, but it has taken more than 100 years for archaeologists to accurately identify and interpret the site. The Siloam Pool has been identified as a mikveh. Is it possible that the Bethesda Pool was also a mikveh, meaning that both of Jesus’ miracles were performed at Jewish ritual baths? We visit the underground vaults in Ecce Homo from the time of Herod. Towards the end of the day visit to the Garden Tomb, religious service in the compound of The Tomb.Dinner and overnight Jerusalem.
Day 9: Departure
Transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for departure or take the optional extension.
(Optional extension 4 days / 3 nights Eilat & Petra)Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel. This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.
(Optional extension 4 days / 3 nights Eilat & Petra)
Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel. This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.