Day 1: Departure
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 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 of Cana 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 emphasizing the loss of God's blessing on Israel. Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship and Caesarea Philippi which is also the site of Peter’s Confession. In order to save valuable time, a box lunch will be provided. In Capernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we travel on to the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking 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 & Dead Sea
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. 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. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, your guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey,” the Kibbutz system and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We pass ancient 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 6: Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls,
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. 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. 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, and authentic food. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in Jerusalem.
Day 7: Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum
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 8: Jesus' Steps, the Last Days - Messianic Lecture
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 the Mount 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. From here we will also be able to see the Pool of Bethesda, Stephen's Gate and St. Ann’s Church. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel.
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.
Day 9: 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 the Garden 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.
Day 10: Frankfurt, Worms, Mannheim
An early morning flight to Frankfurt and we begin our sightseeing in nearby Worms. It was here, during the Imperial Diet in 1521, that Martin Luther challenged the entire Roman Catholic establishment by his refusal to recant the great doctrines of Protestantism. It was also here that William Tyndale completed the printing of his English version of the New Testament in 1525 which he had begun in Cologne. After seeing St. Peter's Church and the symbolic Luther Memorial near the town square, we will stop in nearby Mainz for commentary and a picture of the Gutenberg Monument dedicated the German printing of the Bible. Our lodging this evening will be in Manheim.
From a Priest to a Protestant
Tour sights are colorful with historic charm that cannot be found anywhere else. The study of how a large portion of our doctrine of today came to be could not have a more picturesque setting. Be challenged by the faith and courage of our church fathers on this wonderful tour vacation.
Day 11: Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Romantic Road
This morning, we travel on to one of the most charming cities in all of the world - Heidelberg, ancient capital of the Palatinate and home of Germany's oldest university. But most importantly, it was a stronghold of German Reformed Protestants beginning in 1560. One of the great confessional statements of the Reformation, the Heidelberg Catechism was produced here in 1563. Heidelberg Castle, a most impressive historic landmark of Germany, stands majestically overlooking the Neckar River. The structure, now largely in ruins, preserves numerous examples of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque German architecture. The afternoon adventure includes the panoramic "Romantic Road" with a visit to the best preserved medieval town in all of Europe, Rothenburg. We see the quaint Rathaus (town hall) with its tower and have free time for coffee and shopping in the many delightful shops. You may choose to visit on your own the Kriminal-museum, housing all manner of medieval instruments of torture. Our lodging for the next two evenings will be in Augsburg.
Day 12: Neuschwanstein Castle, Augsburg
This morning we travel into the Alpine region of Bavaria to the Rococo-style chapel in the Meadow and Ludwig II’s most luxurious former residence, the Neuschwanstein Castle. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Augsburg, site of the Augsburg Confession, will bring to light the history behind much of our doctrine today. It was here in 1518 at St. Anne's Church that Luther met the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the pope. Augsburg was also the site of another Imperial Diet (1530) and in the town hall the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555 ending for a time the religious wars in Germany between the Catholics and the Protestants.
Day 13: Coburg, Erfurt
This morning we travel northward to view the fortress of Coburg known as Veste, the place of Luther's imprisonment in 1530. We visit the apartment where he stayed and continued his translation work, a chapel where he spoke and worshiped, and a gallery of period paintings. This afternoon we spend time in nearby Erfurt, where Luther attended the university. A highlight will be the Augustinian Monastery where he spent his early years as a monk and the famed doors that he closed on his protesting friends after saying "You can see me today, but never again." You will find it interesting and uplifting to hear how the studies here brought him to his understanding of scripture. Our lodging this evening will be in Erfurt.
Day 14: Erfurt, Eisleben, Leipzig
Leaving Erfurt, we visit Eisleben which is noted among the most significant in Luther's history; he was born here in 1483, died here in 1546 and old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity to Eisleben. We will see the house of his birth and death, St. Andrews Church where he preached his last sermon, the Luther Monument, and St. Anne's Church with the famous Biblical scenes hewn in stone and many other sites. This afternoon we travel to the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach's city, with free time and a visit to St. Thomas Church where Bach was choir master and organist. Our lodging this evening will be in Leipzig.
Day 15: Leipzig, Wittenberg, Berlin
We continue on the Reformation Trail today with a visit to Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. You will see the Castle Church door area where Luther posted his 95 Theses, giving birth to the Reformation. This beautiful church is also the burial site of Luther. We see the university where Luther taught and the Luther House which is the greatest museum of Reformation History in the world with a detailed history display of his life and accomplishments, historical documents and an outstanding collection of period paintings of his life and family members. Our lodging for the next two evenings will be in Berlin.
Day 16: Berlin, Pergamon Museum
We enjoy a inspirational guided tour of this fascinating city including the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate and many other sights. There will be free time this afternoon for shopping and sightseeing on your own. The highlight today will be a visit to the fabulous Pergamon Museum.
One of the most popular attractions in Berlin, the Pergamon Museum is world famous for its archaeological holdings. The monumental highlights are truly breathtaking to behold, including the
Ishtar Gate of Babylon from 6th century BC and the 2nd century BC Pergamon Altar. Also notable in this collection is the façade of the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar with artifacts from the earliest history of the written word, and an excellent collection of Islamic Art.
Day 17: Departure
We transfer to the airport early this morning for our flight home.