The Itinerary for the 12 Day Biblical Israel Tour FAM Tour for Pastors & spouses
October 31 – November 11, 2016
SORRY… this tour is now FILLED! We invite you to consider joining us for our next Clergy/FAM tour in January, 2017. It is a 10 Day FAM tour! This January, 2017 FAM Tour page can be found HERE.
** NOTE: This tour is specifically designed and priced for pastors who have a desire to experience our travel services and lead a trip of their own with their church at a later time. We warmly welcome you to join us! I will be happy to personally teach you how to lead your own future trip with your church. But please know that this is not just a lower-priced tour for pastors.
(Sites visited on this tour)
DAY 1 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 31: DEPART FOR TEL AVIV
We meet today at the airport for our flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
DAY 2 – TUESDAY, NOVEMEBER 1: ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport and are met by our Israeli guide and driver. We leave the airport and make a 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 Tel Aviv. We enjoy a late dinner, fol-lowed by an orientation meeting to help us prepare for the exciting days of studying God’s Word “in context.”
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2: GEZER, BETH SHEMESH, AZEKAH, ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GUVRIN, LACHISH, BEERSHEBA
We spend the day in the Shephelah (lowlands) of Judah. We begin by driving to Gezer to see ruins from Solomon’s day (I Kings 9) and be-yond. The famous “Gezer calendar” was found here. From here, we drive to Beth Shemesh (in the Sorek Valley), where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (1 Sam. 6). Next, we travel to Azekah (in the Elah Valley) and see where David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). We reenact the scene in our imagination as we listen to the story and see before our very eyes how this famous battle took place! We also can see Gath from here, Goliath’s home town. Continuing south, we visit the Maresha Caves (in the Beit Guvrin Valley) with hundreds of bell-shaped caves caused by ancient Roman quarrying. This was the home of the prophet Micah (Micah 1). Our last site of the day is Lachish, a city that was conquered by the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32). Here, we see where the famous “Lachish Letters” were discovered. We end the day by driving south to Beersheba for overnight. After dinner, we gather to review the day and prepare for tomorrow.
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3: BEERSHEBA, SDE BOKER, WILDERNESS OF ZIN, ARAD, DEAD SEA
Our first site of the day is the ancient site of Beersheba, the primary city in the Biblical Negev. We see the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical four-room Israelite house (Genesis 21). Next, we drive south to Sde Boker, the site of the tomb of Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. Here we learn about the history of the State of Israel. Next, we enjoy hiking in the majestic canyon of the Wilderness of Zin and we have the option to hike all the way to the opposite rim of the canyon. After lunch at Avdat (not included), we drive to the archaeological site of Arad, a Canaanite and later Israelite city where Josiah enacted his reforms (2 Chronicles 34). We end the day by driving to the Dead Sea. Prior to dinner, you will have a chance to “float” in the Dead Sea. It will be a unique experience! Following dinner, we’ll enjoy a free evening.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, JERICHO, TIBERIAS
Following breakfast, we visit Masada. We ascend in the cable car to the top of this Herodian fortress in the heart of the Judean Dessert. On top we’ll see cisterns, dwelling places, storehouses, the city “casemate” walls, a synagogue, and a bathhouse. We’ll descend in a cable car (although the option to walk down the “Snake Path” will be given). From here we drive north along the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, hiking into the valley to enjoy the waterfalls. We’ll read about David (I Samuel 24). From here it’s on to Qumran and the possible settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After Qumran, we enjoy a late lunch in Jericho (not included) before visiting this site where “the walls came tumbling down” (Joshua 6). We drive north along the Jordan Valley to the Sea of Galilee to overnight for the next three nights. An optional gathering will take place by the quiet waters of the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5: MT. ARBEL, CHORAZIN, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, JORDAN RIVER, MT. OF BEATITUDES
We begin the day by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. An option will be given 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 on top is the best there is of the whole Sea of Galilee below! From here we drive to Chorazin, one of the three cities condemned by Jesus. Here we will see the “seat of Moses” within the partially-restored synagogue. Next is Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Here we will read from Mark 1 in the 4th-5th century synagogue. Following lunch (not included), we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, for a quiet and peaceful worship ser-vice together. 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 an optional baptismal in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We end the day by reading from Matthew 5 on the traditional Mount of Beatitudes locat-ed on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. If time permits, we will walk down the pathway recollecting the transforming words of Jesus shared in this place. We return to our hotel for dinner and over-night. An optional gathering will again take place out by the water.
DAY 7 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6: GOLAN HEIGHTS, KATZRIN, BENTAL, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN
After breakfast, we drive around the northern area of the Sea of Gali-lee before driving east into the Golan Heights. We make a stop for a beautiful overlook of the northeast corner of the lake. Here we see the area of Bethsaida, the home of Peter, Andrew, and Phillip (John 1:44). From here we visit Gamla, an impressive first century site de-stroyed by the Romans in 66 A.D. We see an ancient synagogue, one of only seven that date to the time of Jesus. Our next stop is Katzrin, a Talmudic village where we walk through a reconstructed house very similar to the type of dwellings from the days of Jesus. Here the story of Mark 2 will come alive! We continue to ascend to the eastern heights of the Golan and visit Bental, an old Israeli military site. Here, we are only 36 miles from Damascus. We remember the road Saul of Tarsus used during his encounter with Christ. Following lunch (not included), we descend the Golan Heights to Caesarea Philippi. Here Peter made his declaration about Jesus (Matt. 16). Here, we are also at the foothills of Mt. Hermon (Psalm 133). Our last stop of the day is the Old Testament site of Dan and its refreshing springs, one of the sources of the Jordan River. Here we walk through the nature preserve. We will also see the “high place” of Dan (2 Kings 12), and a Middle Bronze gate (Deut. 14) that dates close to the time of Abraham. On our way back to the Sea of Galilee area, if time permits we will make a brief stop at Abel Beit Maacah, an Old Testament site where Dr. DeLancey excavated in 2014. We arrive back at our hotel for dinner and enjoy a free evening before retiring for the night.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 7: NAZARETH, MEGIDDO, CARMEL, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM
This morning we head toward Nazareth where we view the city from the “precipice” from which Jesus was almost thrown. We continue into the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo (har Megiddo in Hebrew), which gave its name to Armageddon (Rev. 16). Our day continues as we as-cend Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Descending the mountain, we drive toward Caesarea, nestled between the banana groves and the sand-skirted sea. We enter Caesarea Maritima to explore this Roman bridgehead to the east, which became the Christian springboard to the west. We end the day by driving to Jerusalem. We arrive at our hotel in Jerusalem and enjoy dinner and an optional “orientation walk” of the Old City.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8: JERUSALEM, MT. OF OLIVES, OLD CITY, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday route 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 Gospels. From here we enter the Old City where we will visit the Pool 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 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 end the day by driving into Bethlehem. We visit the Shepherds’ Field and the Church of the Nativity. The day ends with shopping at an Olive wood store. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem, with another optional walk.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL/TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, TEMPLE INSTITUTE, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
We begin the day by entering the Old City and visit the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the most holy place in Judaism. After some time for personal prayer and reflection, we walk 400 yards (called the Western Wall Tunnel) along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount itself. Upon completing this unique walk, we return to the Jewish Quarter for a visit to the Temple Institute. Here, we will see some of the preparations being made for the 3rd Temple. Following this, we will visit Moshe, an Orthodox Jew. He will talk about his Jewish faith. In the afternoon, we will be fascinated by our visit to the Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusa-lem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here, we explore some of the artifacts of the archaeology museum. We end the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We see the Chil-dren’s Memorial as well as walk through the museum on our own. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. A free night is planned to allow you to explore or relax.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL, FREE AFTERNOON
We begin the day by visiting the Garden Tomb. We also enjoy a quiet Communion Service together. From here, we spend the rest of the morning by visiting the amazing ruins from Biblical days! First, we visit the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to can take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes if you want to walk through the tunnel. We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. From here, we are given the option to walk up through a Herodian drainage channel that takes us to “Robinson’s Arch” and the southern wall excavations. We walk on a Roman street and ascend the Temple steps. We ascend to the Jewish Quarter where the rest of the afternoon is spent on our own. It will be a time to grab a bite to eat, explore the Old City, or shop. We enjoy a Farewell Dinner followed by a transfer to the airport for our return flight home.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11: ARRIVE IN U.S.A.
Today we arrive back in the U.S.A. and after proceeding through customs, we make our connecting flights back home.