The Itinerary for the 9 Day Biblical Israel Study Tour (with 5 Day option to Jordan, Red Sea, and Southern Israel)
June 10 – 18, 2018 (with Jordan, Red Sea, and Southern Israel Option from June 18-23)
THIS TOUR IS NOW FULL. SORRY!
This is a shorter 9 day Israel tour. We will see about 40 sites. We head north first to the Sea of Galilee area before heading to Jerusalem. We stay in four different hotels – Netanya, Tiberias, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. The 5 day Jordan option includes Mt. Nebo, Medeba, Petra and Wadi Rum. We then cross back into Israel. We’ll enjoy snorkeling in the Red Sea before driving north to see many biblical sites! This includes Masada, Engedi, Qumran, and Kh. Qeiyafa where David fought Goliath in the Elah Valley!
Israel Tour Itinerary
DAY 1 – SUNDAY, JUNE 10: DEPART FOR TEL AVIV
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 2 – MONDAY, JUNE 11: ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport in the early afternoon. Here we are met by our Israeli guide and driver. We leave the airport and make one stop in Jaffa. This is where the Jonah story begins, as well as the story of Peter (Acts 10). Both were being asked by God to go to a people outside of Israel with the Good News of God’s grace. We spend our first night in Bat Yam along the Mediterranean Sea in the Tel Aviv. We enjoy a late dinner, followed by an orientation meeting to help us prepare for the exciting days of studying God’s Word “in context.”
DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JUNE 12: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
After an abundant breakfast buffet, we journey north along the coast to Caesarea, built nearly 2000 years ago by King Herod. We walk through the ancient theater, the Crusader city and the fantastic aqueduct that served as a back drop for the book of Acts. From here we depart to Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Then we proceed to Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kings 9:15; Rev. 16:16). Across the Jezreel Valley is Sepporis, a large city in the days of Jesus. We see the Cardo (main Roman street), the theater, and many mosaics, including the “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee. We end the day by driving to the precipice of Nazareth (Luke 1 and 4). Driving through Cana (John 2), we finally arrive at the outskirts of Tiberias (John 6:23) at our “kibbutz-hotel” located right on the Sea of Galilee shoreline. After dinner, we enjoy sitting together for an optional time of fellowship and worship.
DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN, MISGAV AM
We begin the day by driving into the Golan Heights. Stopping on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee, we are able to see the area of Bethsaida and the area of the Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6). Our next site is Gamla, a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s A.D. Here we see a first century synagogue (one of seven that date to the first century), as well as the ruins of the city, called the “Masada of the north.” Close by is the site of Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We see what a typical village looked like during the days of Jesus. Here we’ll read from Mark 2 about the lame man being lowered down to Jesus through the roof. We continue north and learn about the modern wars of Israel, primarily the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria. Next, we drive to the base of Mt. Hermon. Here we enjoy the unique experience of riding up the chair lift at Israel’s ski resort. The view from on top will be spectacular! We’ll enjoy a bite to eat here (not included). Next, we descend the Golan Heights and visit Caesarea Philippi. It was here where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16). Nearby is the amazing nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan. This is one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet national park and impressive Old Testament city and hear the stories of disobedience that took place here (Judges 18, 1 Kings 12). We end the day by visiting Misgav Am on the Hills of Naphtali. Here we are only ½ mile from the Lebanon Border. We look down to Abel Beit Maacah (2 Samuel 20) where Dr. John excavated in 2014. We drive back through the Huleh Valley to our hotel in Tiberias. After dinner, we again meet to review the day.
DAY 5 – THURSDAY, JUNE 14: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES
We begin the day by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. We have the option to hike to the top of this 800-foot cliff (the bus will take others to the top from the other side). The view from the top is the best there is of the whole Sea of Galilee below! From here we drive to Magdala. We will see a first-century synagogue where Jesus no doubt would have taught. Next is another New Testament city, Chorazim. This was one of the three cities condemned by Jesus (Matthew 11). We visit the third-century synagogue here, built out of basaltic rock. Then we visit Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Here we read from Mark 1 and 2 in the 4th-5th century synagogue. Next, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, with a quiet and peaceful worship service. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy optional baptism in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We end the day by reading from Matthew 5 on the Mount of Beatitudes. We walk down the pathway, recollecting the transforming words of Jesus shared in this place. We return to our hotel for dinner and an optional gathering once again by the water.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY, JUNE 15: BETH SHEAN, JERICHO, DEAD SEA, JUDEAN WILDERNESS, JERUSALEM
We begin the day by driving south to the Jordan Valley to the site of Beth Shean (1 Sam. 31), an impressive Roman city of the Decapolis. We’ll see many ruins from the Roman city, including the theater, the pillared “cardo,” bathhouse, and many mosaics. An optional hike to the top of the Old Testament tel (ancient site) is available. From here we drive south through the Jordan River Valley to Jericho. After lunch (not included), we climb the tel and see portions of the wall that “came tumblin’ down” (Joshua 6). Nearby is the Dead Sea where you have the opportunity to “float” in the unique body of water rich with minerals and salt. On our way to Jerusalem, we make a brief stop overlooking the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Desert. The images of Psalm 23 and Isaiah 40 will come alive with a spectacular view of this unique region of Israel. After dinner, at our hotel in Jerusalem, an optional walk to the famous Western Wall will be offered.
DAY 7 – SATURDAY, JUNE 16: JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM
We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday road to the church known as the Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. From here we enter the Old City where we first will visit the Pools of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to the Holy Sepulcher, stopping along the way to consider all that Christ endured on his way to His crucifixion. In the afternoon, we visit Herodium. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this is where Herod the Great was buried. We then drive into Bethlehem and visiting the Shepherds’ Field. We then return to our hotel in Jerusalem. We have the option to visit the Prayer Center near the hotel prior to dinner. We enjoy a free evening for walking or shopping.
DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 17: WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, SOUTHERN STEPS, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, DRAINAGE CHANNEL, GARDEN TOMB, FAREWELL DINNER
We begin the day by walking through the Western Wall Tunnel. This is a fascinating experience where we walk 400 yards parallel to the Western Wall itself and see the massive stones of the Herodian temple. Next, we visit the southern wall excavations where we see more massive stones erected by King Herod, even the “pinnacle” of the Temple. We also sit on the very steps used by Jesus and His disciples. From here we walk down to the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to can walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). Others can walk through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converge at the Siloam Pool where we listen to the story of John 9. From here, we provide the option to walk to the southern temple excavations through a 1,300 foot Herodian drainage tunnel. Following a late lunch (not included), we end the day with a visit to the Garden Tomb, an alternative location for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. We enjoy a special time of Communion and worship here. We end this part of our tour with a Farewell Dinner together. Following dinner, we drive to the airport for our flight home (those who are continuing on the extension will return to our hotel for overnight).
DAY 9 – MONDAY, JUNE 18: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We arrive back in the U.S.A after our overnight flight home. The end of a life-changing journey of a lifetime!
OPTIONAL EXTENSION IN ISRAEL & JORDAN
DAY 9 – MONDAY, JUNE 18: OLD CITY, TEMPLE MOUNT, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
We begin the day by entering the Old City and ascend to the Temple Mount itself. This is where both Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples once stood. Today, the Dome of the Rock stands (since 692 AD). From here we visit the Jewish Quarter. We also visit Shorashim where we will hear Moshe, on Orthodox Jew, talk about his faith. Following some free time and lunch in this area (not included), we drive out to West Jerusalem and visit the Israel Museum and the spectacular Jerusalem Model of the 2nd Temple Period as well as Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. This will be a free evening.
DAY 10 – TUESDAY, JUNE 19: ALLENBY BRIDGE, BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN, MT. NEBO, MEDEBA, MACHARUS, PETRA
We begin the day by driving south to the Jordan Valley the Allenby Bridge. Here we make the crossing from Israel to Jordan. After border formalities, we meet our Jordanian guide and bus and drive to Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is where Jesus was baptized (John 1:28). Then we climb to Mt. Nebo to stand where Moses stood and viewed the Holy Land (Deut. 34). Here you can take in a breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. We continue to Medeba dubbed the “City of Mosaics” due to the vivid sixth century Byzantine mosaic map in the church of St. George. Time permitting, we will then drive to Macherus, one of Herod’s palace-fortresses. It was here where John the Baptist was beheaded (Mark 6). In the late afternoon, we drive south down the Desert Highway to Petra, where we spend the night. We arrive at our hotel and enjoy a late dinner together.
DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20: PETRA, WADI RUM
We arrive this morning at the entrance of Petra and spend the entire day within this red-rose ancient city. We are in the heart of the Seir Mountains, Land of Edomites, mentioned in the Bible in Genesis. These mountains house the Aaron Peak, the highest in Petra and the burial place of Moses’ brother Aaron. A walk through the Siq, the main entrance to Petra, brings us to the first monument “The Treasury” “Al-Khazneh” a dramatic site. This well-preserved monumental tomb appears in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” A walk further down through the outer siq with all of its tombs and burial chamber brings us to one of the largest theaters in Jordan. A 3000-seat theater from the early first century is carved in the sandstone mountains at the bottom of the High Place of Sacrifice Mountain. Apparently some sacrificial rituals had taken place here. From here we walk uphill to the Royal Tombs for a great view of the lower part of Petra with all its Roman remains. There will be the option to walk to the “Monastery” of Petra and/or the High Place. Leaving the site of Petra in mid-afternoon, we drive south to Wadi Rum. Here we enjoy an amazing jeep ride in the desert. We then stay in Wadi Rum at Captain’s, a Bedouin Village. We enjoy dinner together and a devotional time under the stars. It will be a unique experience!
DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JUNE 21: SOUTHERN BORDER CROSSING INTO ISRAEL, RED SEA, TIMNAH, EIN BOKEK/DEAD SEA
Following breakfast, we leave Wadi Rum and drive to the southern border to cross back into Israel. Greeted once again by our Israeli guide and bus, we make a brief stop to see the coral reefs of the Red Sea. We will have a chance to swim in these crystal-clear waters. From here we drive north through the Aravah (Rift Valley) to Timnah. In ancient days, this was a copper mine of the Egyptians. We also walk through a full-size replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle. Continuing north, we drive to Ein Bokek . We check into our hotel and have a chance to float in the Dead Sea. Following dinner, we’ll enjoy a free evening.
DAY 13 – FRIDAY, JUNE 22: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, GEZER, ELAH VALLEY
We begin today driving north along the western coastline of the Dead Sea to Masada. Here we ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. We survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, the synagogue, temples and palaces. An optional walk down the snake path will be offered. Our next stop is Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, and we enjoy a walk back to the waterfalls. Continuing north, we visit Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After lunch (not included), we visit the ruins of Qumran. From here we drive west through Jerusalem to Gezer located in the Ajalon Valley. We climb the tel and see the ruins dating to the Canaanite and Israelite periods. If time permits, we end the day by visiting Kh. Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley. We will read the story of David vs. Goliath from 1 Samuel 17 and see the battle unfold before our very eyes. On our way to the airport, we will enjoy dinner together before our night flight home.
DAY 14 – SATURDAY, JUNE 23: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We arrive back in the States today. What an incredible trip! Praise be to God for a life-changing experience!