May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 9

DAY 9 – SUNDAY, MAY 13: SEPPORIS, NAZARETH PRECIPICE, MEGIDDO, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM

(Theme of the Day: Learning to trust God in our battles)

Today we checked out of our hotel in the Galilee. Leaving shortly after 7:30, we headed to our first site on what would be another very nice day (with a mix of sun and clouds, good visibility, and temps in the high 70s).

Sepporis

Mona Lisa Galilee

The “Mona Lisa of there Galilee” mosaic at Sepporis

Located in the Lower Galilee, Sepporis was our first site. This was a huge Hellenized Jewish city in the time of Jesus and served as the capital city of the region. Here we saw beautiful mosaics, including the Nile and Mona Lisa of the Galilee mosaics. This was a cute that flourished through the Roman period. We also saw a small theater. Even though not mentioned in the Gospels, Jesus must have visited this city, especially while growing up only 5 miles away in Nazareth.

Precipice of Nazareth

Nazarerth

Precipice of Nazareth

Close by is the city of Nazareth. It is predominately an Arab city (who are Israeli citizens) of about 80,000 today. Driving through the edfe of this city, we arrived at the Precipice of Nazareth. Here we enjoyed our first of three views of the Jezreel Valley. We saw Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), and Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). We considered the story of Luke 4 (Jesus teaching in the Nazareth synagogue) and John 1. We were invited to “come and see” Jesus anew. We also enjoyed a time of worship and reflection here as well.

Megiddo

Megiddo

The excavations at Megiddo

Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we visited Megiddo. This is an archaeological site that has over two dozen levels of occupation over a 2,500 year period (from Early Bronze to Israelite). Climbing the tel (ancient mound), we saw three gates complexes( from both the Canaanite and Israelite time period), Solomon’s stables, a Canaanite stone altar, and a grain bin (9th century BC) among other things. Looking out upon the valley (Armegeddon) we recalled Revelation 16 and celebrated that God has the final word in the end times! We exited the site through the water system.

Mt. Carmel/Muhraka

Jezreel Valley

The Jezreel Valley

Following lunch at a place owned by Druze, we made a brief stop at Muhraka. Here we gathered in a small chapel and read from Isaiah 35, Song of Songs 7, and 1 Kings 18. It was here God displayed His power and glory to Elijah. We enjoyed singing in the chapel too! The roof of the chapel provided us a marvelous last view of the Jezreel Valley below.

Caesarea

Caesarea

Hippodrome at Caesarea

Our last stop of the day was Caesarea. Tis was another huge city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Sitting the the theater, we read from Acts 10, 12, 21, and 26. Both Peter and Paul proclaimed their faith boldly here! We also saw the palace and hippodrome. Before leaving the site, we enjoyed seeing the aqueduct that was used to bring water into the city from the Carmel Range.

Jerusalem

Western Wall

Jerusalem Day at Western Wall

From here was drove about 2 hours to Jerusalem. Traffic was heavy heading into this capital city of Israel. We checked into our hotel, enjoyed dinner and then an optional walk to the Western Wall. It is both exciting and historic to be here for Israel’s 70th Anniversary tomorrow and the moving the the US Embassy to Jerusalem!

DAY 10 –MONDAY, MAY 14: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

(Theme of the Day: Jesus and His redemptive plan)

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January 2017 Pastors Israel Tour – Day 3

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25:

Caesarea Theater

The Caesarea Roman Theater. Both Peter and Paul would have been here (Acts 10, 26)

Today was our first full day here in Israel. The weather would be overcast most of the day, with highs in the 60s. Leaving the hotel around 7:40, we drove north to Caesarea. Located along the Med Sea coastline, this was a city built by King Herod in 22 BC. Sitting in the theater, we read from Acts 10 (Peter & Cornelius), Acts 12 (Herod Agrippa), and Acts 26 (Paul’s bold testimony). Walking from the theater to the rest of the excavations we also saw the palace, the “Pilate Inscription” (found in 1961 in the theater), the hippodrome, the Crusader city, and the harbor area. The Apostle Paul used this port several times.

Next, we ascended up to the top of Mt. Carmel, a mountain range that overlooks the Jexreel Valley. We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah defeating he prophets of Baal here. We also remembered the stories of Elisha (2 Kings 4), and the romantic words of Song of Songs 7. The view from the top of the chapel of the Jezrel Valley below was limited, but we could at least see the Nazareth Ridge (Luke 1,4), Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31).

Canaanite Gate at Megiddo

Canaanite Gate at Megiddo

After lunch at a nearby Druze restaurant, we drove down to the Jezreel Valley and visited Megiddo. After view a map of the region highlighting the importance of this ancient city as well as a archaeological model of the tel of Megiddo, we climbed the site together. We saw three gates (Canaanite and Israelite), Solomon’s “stables”, an Early Bronze altar, and an Israelite granary. We read from Revelation 16 and celebrated the victory we have in Christ when He returns! We left the site by descending down through the amazing water system.

Crossing the valley, Sepporis was our next visit. This was the primary Hellenistic-Jewish city in Jesus’ day. Here we saw beautiful mosaics, including the famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.” We also saw the Nilometer moaic.

Mona Lisa of the Galilee

The “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” mosaic at Sepporis

Our last stop was the Precipice of Nazareth. The view from here provided our last perspective of the Jezreel Valley. Once again we saw Mt. Tabor, the Hill of Moreh, and Mt. Gilboa. We read from Luke 4 about Jesus’ synagogue encounter. We also were invited to “come and see” Jesus anew (John 1). We enjoyed a time of quiet reflection.

Driving through Cana (John 2), we arrived at our hotel called Nof Ginnosar located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee. After checking in, we enjoyed dinner and a brief gathering down at the water’s edge.

It was a great first day!

DAY 4 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 26: ARBEL, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES

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September 2016 Israel Tour – Day 3

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

pool caesarea

Herod’s fresh-water swimming pool at Caesarea

Today was our first full day in Israel. The weather would be warm and sunny, with temps in the 90s. Following a great breakfast, we loaded the bus and drove north along the Med coastline to Caesarea. This was a city established by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Sitting in the theater, we heard the stories about Peter & Cornelius (Acts 10), Herod Antipas (Acts 12), and Paul (Acts 21 & 26). Paul would also sail in and out of the city’s harbor. We also saw Herod’s palace, a replica of the “Pilate Inscription,” the hippodrome, mosaics, the Crusader part of the city, and the aqueduct.

canaanite gate megiddo

Canaanite gate at Megiddo

Driving north and east, we ascended the Carmel Range to a place called Muhraha. Within the small Carmelite chapel we read the story of Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal from 1 Kings 18. We also enjoyed singing together. From the rooftop of the chapel we enjoyed our first view of the Jezreel Valley. We could see Nazareth (Luke 1 & 4), Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7) and Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31).

Following a visit to a nearby Druze restaurant, we descended to the Jezreel Valley and to the massive archaeological site of Megiddo. Here we talked about Israel being “the land between” the south (Egypt), and the north (Assyria, Babylon, etc…). Understanding the strategic importance of this city, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III (15th century BC) said that “capturing Megiddo was like taking 1,000 cities.” Joshua would later conquer the city (Joshua 12), with Solomon re-fortifying the city (1 Kings 9). On the site we saw 3 gate structures, Solomon’s horse stables, a Canaanite high place, and a grain bin. We talked about this being the place of “Armageddon” (Rev. 16) and rejoiced in the fact that God has the final word in the end times! We left the site by walking down and through the impressive water system.

mt tabor jezreel valley

Mt. Tabor and the Jezreel Valley

Sepporis was the next site. This was a huge Hellenized Jewish city during Jesus’ day and located only 4-5 miles from tiny Nazareth. We walked on Roman streets and saw amazing mosaics (including the famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee”). Although not mentioned in Scripture, for sure it as a prominent city visited by Jesus.

Driving to the precipice of Nazareth was our final stop for the day. We read from Luke 4 and John 1, as well as quietly listening to The Lord’s Prayer as we sat and overviewed the Jezreel Valley from the north. We were invited to “come and see” (John 1) Jesus with new eyes and a fresh heart. It was a wonderful time of “connecting the dots” between Scripture, the land, and the life and ministry of Jesus.

From here we drove to Nof Ginnosar, our “kibbutz-hotel” for the next three nights. We enjoyed dinner together, followed by an optional gathering at the water’s edge of the Sea of Galilee under the stars. A great way to finish our first great day!

 

DAY 4 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN

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June 2016 Israel Tour – Day 3

DAY 3 – THURSDAY, JUNE 23

Caesarea Aquaduct

Caesarea Aquaduct

Today was our first full day here. We had full sun (typical for this time of year) with temps around 95 (a little humid along the Med Sea coast but not bad otherwise). After a great breakfast, we checked out and boarded the bus. Our first stop was Caesarea. This was a city started by King Herod the Great in 22 BC. Starting in the theater, we read from Acts 9,10, 12, and 26. We celebrated the boldness of both Peter and Paul who proclaimed their faith here. Walking from the theater, we also saw the palace, fresh-water pool, hippodrome, mosaics, the harbor area, statues, and the walls and gates of the much-later Crusader Period city. Leaving the city we made a brief stop to also see the aqueduct.

From here we depart to Mt. Carmel. We read the story of Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). We also sang in the Carmelite chapel. It is called Muhraqa (burnt offering). Although it was hazy, the rooftop view of the Jezreel Valley below allowed us to see the Nazareth Ridge, Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), and the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7). We enjoyed lunch nearby at a place owned by a Druze family.

Megiddo Canaanite Gate

Megiddo Canaanite Gate

We proceeded down from Mt. Carmel and into the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo. This is an archaeological site with over to dozen levels of ruins (dating back as early as the Early Bronze Age). The city in biblical days was a strategically located site. It was located on the main route into the Jezreel Valley. On the tel of Megiddo we saw 3 gate systems, a horse stable, a Canaanite altar, and a silo. We left the site by walking down through the city’s water system.

Across the Jezreel Valley was our next site, Sepporis. Located only 4 miles from Nazareth, this was the main city in the Lower Galilee area at the time of Jesus. As we walked the Roman streets of this city, we saw many mosaics, including the famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.”

on the Nazareth Precipice

On the Nazareth Precipice

Our last stop was to the precipice of Nazareth. Although only a traditional location for the “cliff” mentioned in Luke 4, the view of the Jezreel Valley was awesome. From here we once again saw Mt. Tabor, the Hill of Moreh, and Mt. Carmel. We read from Luke 4 and John 1. We were invited to “come and see” Jesus (Philip’s words from John 1). It was a great place to end the day!

Driving through Cana (John 2) and the hills of the Lower Galilee, we arrived at our hotel for the next three nights, Nof Ginnosar. We enjoyed dinner together followed by a free evening.

DAY 4 – FRIDAY, JUNE 24: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN, ABEL BEIT MAACAH

 

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May 2016 Israel Tour – Day 3

DAY 3 – MONDAY, MAY 23

Caesarea

Caesarea Theatre

Today was our first full day here in Israel, and it was a great one! The weather was very comfortable, with sun and clouds and highs in the 70s. After a wonderful breakfast, we loaded the luggage and departed the hotel here in Netanya around 7:45. As what will become our usual way to start each day, we began our drive to our first site with Scripture and a song (“Oh, the Sun’s Coming Up”).

After a 20 minute drive northward along the Med Sea, we arrived at Caesarea. This was a port city built by Herod the Great, a projected that lasted 12 years (22-10 BC). After watching a brief movie about the history of Caesarea, we sat in the theater and read from Acts 10, 12, and 26. Both Peter and Paul boldly proclaimed their faith and testimony here. Leaving the theater, we also saw many marble and granite pillars, the palace, the hippodrome, many mosaics, and the harbor area. We left the site through an impressive Crusader gate dating to the 12th century AD. Additionally, seeing the aquaduct (that transported water from the Mt. Carmel Range) was quite impressive as well.

Jezreel Valley

Jezreel Valley (from Mt. Carmel)

Driving from the Coastal Plains to the Mt. Carmel Range, we drove to the top of this mountain range called Muhraqa (“burnt offering”). This is a Carmelite chapel preserving the story of Elijah. We read from 1 Kings 18 and sang a few songs celebrating God’s awesomeness and grace. The view from the rooftop of the chapel provided our first perspective of the Jezreel Valley below. From here we could see many stories from the Old Testament unfold (Mt. Tabor, Judges 4-5; Hill of Moreh, Judges 6-7; Mt. Gilboa, 1 Samuel 31, and the Nazareth Ridge (Luke 1, 4).

After our first “falalfel” lunch at a nearby “Druze” restaurant, we drove to Megiddo. This strategically-located city that guarded the primary “route” into the Jezreel Valley is a massive archaeological site with about to dozen “levels” of ruins. It was so important that the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III said, “Capturing Megiddo is like capturing 1,000 cities…” Even King Solomon re-fortified the city (1 Kings 9).We climb to the top of the tell, seeing three different gate structures along the way. We also read Revelation 16 which refers to “Armageddon” (e.g. “har-megiddo” or the “hill of Megiddo”).

Precipice of Nazareth

The Precipice of Nazareth

Our last experience of the day was on the precipice of Nazareth. From here we could look in one direction and see the city of Nazareth today, and look the opposite way and see the Jezreel Valley (and Mt. Tabor, Hill of Moreh, Mt. Gilboa, Mt. Carmel) from this different perspective. We read from Luke 4 (synagogue story) and John 1. We were invited to “come and see” Jesus again in a new and exciting way!

Driving to the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, we checked into Nof Ginnosar, our hotel for the next three nights. We enjoyed dinner together as well as a gathering on the shoreline of the lake itself. What a great first day!

DAY 4 – TUESDAY, MAY 24: SEA OF GALILEE, GOLAN HEIGHTS, GAMLA, QATZRIN, BENTAL, MT. HERMON, VALLEY OF THE TEARS, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, and DAN

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Oct-Nov 2015 Israel Tour Day 7

DAY 7 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 It was another perfect weather day here in Israel, with sunny skies and highs in the 70s. Leaving at 7:40 again, we headed to the Golan Heights. Taking the eastern road high above the lake below, our first stop (at the “Peace Vista”) was remarkable! With the sun behind us, the visibility of the region of the Sea of Galilee was excellent. From here we drove north to Gamla, our first archaeological site of the day. Gamla as a Jewish city that revolted against the Romans in 66 AD. Although not mentioned in the NT, it is probable that Jesus would have been here. We sat in the 1st century synagogue as we read … Continue reading

Oct-Nov 2015 Israel Tour Day 6

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31 Today was another ideal weather day, with lots of sun and temps in the 70s. We left our hotel in Tel Aviv (located on the Med Sea) at 7:40 once again, We drove north about 40 minutes to Caesarea. This was a city built by Herod the Great, a projected that began in 22 BC. In the theater we read form Acts 10, 12 and 26 about the boldness of Peter and Paul (both who were here). Seeing the palace and crossing the hippodrome, we entered into the Crusader part of the city. From here we could see part of Herod’s impressive harbor (into which Paul sailed a few times). Driving through the Sharon … Continue reading

July 2015 Israel Tour – Day 8

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JULY 19

This morning we said goodbye to the Sea of Galilee. After another great sunrise and breakfast, we loaded our luggage and drove southwest to our first site, Sepporis. This was the main city in this lower Galilee region and was located only 4-5 miles from Nazareth. Here we saw the main Roman stone streets of the city (“Cardo” and “Decumanus”), the theater, and many mosaics, including the famous “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee.

Precipice of Nazareth & Jezreel Valley

Precipice of Nazareth & Jezreel Valley

Nearby we visited the “precipice” of Nazareth. From here we enjoyed our first full view of the Jezreel Valley. We could see Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), Megiddo (Rev. 16), and Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). We also read about Jesus’ ministry here in the synagogue (Luke 4). We reflected on what Phillip said, “Come and see!” from John 1 in response to Nathaniel’s question, “what good can come out of Nazareth?”

Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we visited Megiddo. Located strategically guarding the natural pass that leads into the valley, Megiddo boasts of over two dozen levels of civilization over the span of about 2,500 years. We saw various ancient gates here as well as walking through the water system. We read from Revelation 16 and rejoiced together in God’s control over the world.

Caesarea

Caesarea

Driving through the Mt. Carmel range, we enjoyed lunch at another Druze place before driving to Muhraqa (“burnt offering”), a Carmelite chapel overlooking the Jezreel Valley below. We read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah’s confrontation vs. the prophets of Baal. The view of the valley from this direction was fairly descent despite the summer haze.

Our last stop of the day was Caesarea. Located on the coast in the Sharon Plain, we visited the theater, hippodrome, Crusader part of the city, the harbor area, and the aqueduct, among other things. This city was built by Herod the Great from 22-10 BC. He was sure an impressive builder!

From here we drove to Jerusalem. We checked in, had dinner, and then walked to the Western Wall. We are looking forward to the next four days in this grand city!

DAY 9 – MONDAY, JULY 20: JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM

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April-May, 2015 Tour – Day 4

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29 Our first full day here in Israel was a warm one, with highs reaching the mid 90s. After a wonderful buffet breakfast, we left the hotel at 7:45. Our first site, Caesarea, was only about 10 miles north on the coastline. Built by King Herod in 22 BC, this coastal city was the main harbor into Israel during the days of the New Testament. After watching a video on the history of Caesarea, we entered the theater. We read from Acts 10 (about Peter and Cornelius), 12 (about Herod Agrippa I) and 26 (about the boldness of Paul).  We also saw here the palace, the Pilate inscription, the hippodrome, the Crusader part of the … Continue reading

June, 2014 Israel Tour – Day 8

JUNE 16 – DAY 8 We left the Sea of Galilee area this morning.  Checking out of the Maagan hotel around 7:30, our first stop o this beautiful morning was the Kinneret cemetery.  We listened to the story of a Jewish immigrant named “Rachel.”  She is someone who is admired today by all Israelis, with many of her poems still read and even put to songs.  Traveling from her to Lower Galilee, Sepporis was the next stop.  This city was the primary city in Jesus’ day, and located only 4 miles from Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown.  Here we saw paved Roman streets (the “Cardo” and “Decumanus”), villas, and mosaics.  One is called the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” and was made … Continue reading