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
Arrive in Israel 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.” Meet your Israeli guide, enjoy a time of prayer of thanks for safety and the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of the "Promised 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 an opportunity to be baptized at 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 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 Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, where Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan as well as the area where the children of Israel led by Joshua entered the Promised land. 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
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.
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. The 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.
Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our believer 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 10: Jerash, Amman
An early departure from our hotel takes us to Sheikh Hussein Border. 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 11: Petra
Onto the King’s Highway we drive through the land of the Moab where to the east we view the hilltop palace/fortress of Machaerus, the place where John the Baptist was beheaded to the amazing city of 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 known to be inhabited by the Edomites - the descendents of Esau.
Day 12: Mt Nebo, Madaba, Jerusalem
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. As we travel North we view the Plains of Moab, the area where the tribes of Israel camped before crossing the Jordan and picture Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where Jesus was baptized. Crossing back into Israel, we drive to Jerusalem for dinner and one last night.
Day 13: Homeward
Early today we depart Tel Aviv Airport for our flight home.