Biblical Israel Tour Experiences for our 10 Day Biblical Israel Tour (with Cairo-Luxor, Egypt 4 Day Option)
February 18-27, 2019
TOUR MEMBER PHOTOS
DAYS 1 & 2 – MONDAY-TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18-19: DEPART U.S.A., ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA, NETANYA
Our day of departure finally arrived. About half in the group met in Chicago for our flight to Tel Aviv. It is the second largest city in Israel (about 600,000+). Others in the group had different international flights or made travel arrangements on their own. With thanks to God, we all arrived safely here in Israel! After landing at the Ben Gurion Airport and proceeding through the passport and luggage areas, we boarded our bus.
We drove through the southern area of Tel Aviv to Jaffa (also called Joppa). Here we recalled the story of Jonah (Jonah 1) and Peter (Acts 9 & 10) as we walked through the alleyways of the city. It did rain upon us for about 10 minutes along the way. Boarding back on the bus we battled the Tel Aviv rush-hour traffic to Netanya. Although it took a little longer than normal, we checked into our hotel and enjoyed dinner together. We also had an orientation meeting following dinner to prepare us for the trip ahead.
It is exciting to be here in the land of the Bible.
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
Today was our first full day here in Israel. We encountered off and on rain and showers this morning (not originally predicted), but in the afternoon we were blessed with breaks of sun. The temps were comfortable, with highs in the mid 60s.
After a full buffet breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we boarded the bus and drove about 10 miles north to Caesarea. This was a city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, the city had everything a typical Roman city would have elsewhere: a theater, palaces, many mosiacs, and a hippodrome. We saw all of this here! Caesarea also had a massive harbor for ships. There are many biblical connections with this city, such as Philip who lived here for about 20 years (Acts 8, 21), Cornelius and Peter (Acts 10), Herod Agrippa (the grandson of Herod the Great who died in 44 AD, Acts 12), and Paul (Acts 9, 21 and 23-26). Paul sailed in and out of the harbor a few times, and resided here before saying to Rome for 1.5 years. Before leaving the Roman site, we also saw the Crusader walls, gates, and mote. Along the sea, we also saw the aqueduct Herod built in order to bring water in from the Carmel Range.
Next, we drove to the top of Mt. Carmel. This is a mountain range of about 13 miles long. Sitting in the Carmelite chapel, we read for I Kings 18 about Elijah confronting the 450 prophets of Baal here. We also read from 2 Kings 4 (Elisha), Amos 1, Isaiah 35, and Song of Songs 7. From the rooftop of the chapel we got our first glance at the Jezreel Valley. While the view was a bit cloudy and overcast from here, we could see Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 7), Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), and part of the city of Nazareth (Luke 1, 4). Following the visit here, we ate lunch at a Druze restaurant.
Driving down into the Jezreel Valley, Tel Megiddo was our next visit. After seeing a model of this Canaanite and Israelite city, we climbed the tel. On the way, we saw three different city gates, the stables of Solomon, and a sacrificial altar dating to the time of the early Canaanites. We considered the passage from Revelation 16. Some suggest that the Battle of Armageddon will take place. One thing is for sure… that when Christ returns, God will have the final word. We are on the winning side of redemptive history! Leaving the site we passed by the grain silo (8th century BC) descended down through the incredible water system (dating to around the 9th century BC).
Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we were able to squeeze in an extra site, Sepporis. This was the most prominent Hellenized Jewish city at the time of Jesus. The city continued to flourish during the Roman period. Here, we saw many amazing mosaics, including the famous Mona Lisa of the Galilee.
Precipice of Nazareth
Our last encounter of the day was the Precipice of Nazareth. The view from here gave us our third view of the Jezreel Valley below. We read from Luke 4 and John 1. Jesus taught from Nazareth’s synagogue, proclaiming the purpose of His kingdom ministry! We were invited to come and see (the words of Philip, John 1) Jesus anew! We closed with a time of reflection and a song as the sun set to the west.
It took about an hour to travel to our hotel along the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee through the traffic jams in Nazareth and Cana (John 2). Upon arriving, we enjoyed dinner together followed by a brief time of sharing on the water’s edge. The almost full moon was spectacular to see over the water! God is indeed a God of wonders!
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21: ARBEL, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, MAGDALA, CAPERNAUM, MT. OF BEATITUDES
Today was a wonderful day of focusing on the life and ministry of Jesus in the context of the land and culture. The sun greeted us this morning, with perfect temps in the high 60s. We spent the entire day in the area of the Sea of Galilee.
At 7:30 after another full buffet breakfast, we departed for the cliffs of Mt. Arbel. This is a high 800+ foot mountain that overlooks the NW corner of the lake below. Reading Mathew 4 on the way to the trailhead, 19 in the group hiked to the top while the rest bussed around and walked up to the top from the other side. Although hazy, the view was amazing.
Yardenit/Jordan River Baptism
Driving to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, we arrived at Yardenit. Here in the Jordan River, 10 in the group reaffirmed their faith in Christ by being baptized. The water was cool, but our hearts were warmed by the experience.
Driving back north along the coastline and through TIberias, we arrived at Magdala. Here we saw a 1st century synagogue, one of only 7 uncovered in Israel. Even though it is not specifically mentioned that Jesus taught here, it is quite probable that Jesus taught about the kingdom here in this modest structure. We also saw a few miqve (ritual baths) among the ruins. Jesus probably returned to this city after the Feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15, called Magadan, which means tower). Mary Magdalene was from here.
Close by we enjoyed an amazing St. Peter’s Fish lunch. Some also had chicken or kabab. We were also treated to a chocolate cake in celebration of Pastor John’s birthday. It was a very nice surprise!
Mt. of Beatitudes
Driving north through the Plain of Genesseret, we enjoyed a reflective time on the Mt. of Beatitudes. Sitting on rocks overlooking a natural – topographical amphitheater (a traditional location for where the Sermon on the Mount may have taken place), we listened to the first portion of Matthew 5 in both Hebrew and English. These were the kingdom principles Jesus shared with the multitudes! We were invited to seek first the kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33) and to be the salt and light of the world!
Back down on the shoreline, our next stop was Capernaum (the village of Nahum). This city in the days of the Gospels served as Jesus’ home-base for ministry. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue, we read from Mark 1,2 and 9; Luke 7; and John 6. These were teachings, healings, and life-lessons shared by Jesus right here! It is also most likely along the shoreline here where Jesus called His first disciples (Matthew 4). He also called Matthew (Levi here, Mt. 9).
Ancient Boat/Boat Ride
We ended the day by returning to Nof Ginnosar where we saw the 1st century ancient boat discovered here in 1986. This wooden boat was literally found in the mud of the lake and then careful extracted and restored. It was incredible to see this, helping us to picture the type of boat used in Jesus’ day. We also enjoyed a 50 minute boat ride out on the lake. We enjoyed a time of worship and reflection, reading the two storm narratives (Mark 4 and Matthew 14). We also saw a nice sunset.
Following dinner, our activity was rock painting. Taking the rocks/stones we collected in the afternoon, we enjoyed painting our rocks reflecting themes and life-lessons that touched our heart.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22: KINNERET CEMETERY, BETH SHEAN, SHILOH, JERICHO, DEAD SEA
Today was another sunny day. It was a bit warmer too as we drove south all day. High temps today were in the 70s.
At the southern end of there Sea of Galilee is a famous cemetery named the Kinneret. In this cemetery are buried many of the early Jewish pioneers of Israel from the late 19th century/early 20th century. One grave belongs to Rachel, a single Jewish woman from the Ukraine. She died in 1931. She is famous for her poems. Shlomo read a few and sang a them of them. He picture appears on the new 20 shekel bill today!
Driving south through the Jordan Valley we arrived at Beth Shean. This is a huge Roman city. It was one of the Decapolis cities, the only one on the western side of the Jordan River. Walking through the ruins we saw colonnaded Roman streets, a bathhouse, the agora (forum or marketer place), many mosaics, public latrenes, and a large theater. Some in the group hiked up 190 steps to the Old Testament tel of the city where the bodies of Saul and his three sons were hung on its walls (1 Samuel 31). The view of the Roman city from the top was incredible.
Next, we continued south, driving uniquely through the Hill Country of Samaria. The Patriarchs traveled through this region (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob). Along the way we saw shepherds with the flocks. We finally arrived at Shiloh. It as here where the Tabernacle stood for about 305 years (the Talmud says 369 years). After climbing the tel and watching a short video, we read from 1 Samuel 3 (the call of Samuel by God), and Jeremiah 7. We walked down to the area where some believe the Tabernacle once stood before being destroyed by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4). Others feel the Tabernacle was located on top of the site.
Desert of Pareth
Boarding the bus, we continued southward past other biblical cities (Bethel, Gen 12, 28; Michmash, 1 Samuel 13-14) to the Desert of Pareth. Driving down into the deep canyon, we read from Jeremiah 13 about Jeremiah hiding a linen belt here. We stopped briefly to see the amazing flowers blooming in the desert (see Isaiah 35!). Really incredible!
Driving eastward now from here (see a few gazelles along the way!) to the southern end of the Jordan Valley, the tel of Old Testament Jericho was our next stop. After a quick bite (falafel), we climbed the tel. Looking east, we recalled the stories of Elijah/Elisha (2 Kings 2), Jesus baptism (John 1). Looking south we could see New Testament Jericho where Zacheaus and Bartimeaus lived. King Herod the Great died here too in his winter palace. We then focused on the story of Joshua 6. We saw the retaining walls at the southern end that supported a mud-rick wall on top. It was the mud-brick wall that came tumblin’ down when the shofars (rams horns) were blown. Once again, archaeology confirms the historicity of the Bible!
We ended the day by driving to the southern end of the Dead Sea. Before dinner, some enjoyed floating in the sea (others plan on floating tomorrow morning before breakfast). After dinner, we enjoyed a free evening.
DAY 6– SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, WILDERNESS OF JUDAH, JERUSALEM
Today was a day spent in the Judean Desert along the Dead Sea. The weather was sunny and warmer, with temps in the 70s, with cooler temps in Jerusalem when we arrived at the end of the day. The day included a few optional hikes too!
The day started with a pre-breakfast “float” in the Dead Sea. It was a great experience with the sun rising over the Jordanian mountains. It was beautiful!
Driving north about 15 minutes, Masada was our first site of the day. We read from Psalm 18:1-2 on the way, remembering that God is our “fortress” (metzada in Hebrew). We took the cable car to the top of this palace-fortress built by Herod the Great. About 75 years after Herod, 967 Jews found refuge for three years on Masada from the Romans. We saw palaces, cisterns, the case-mate wall, the Roman ramp, and the synagogue. Leaving the site, about a third in the group enjoyed walking down the Snake Path.
Continuing north along the Dead Sea, Engedi was our next site. Walking into the canyon (Wadi David), we stopped briefly to read from Songs of Songs 1, 2 Chronicles 20 and 1 Samuel 24. This last passage highlights the story of David hiding in a cave from Saul. We then walked back to some of the water falls. It was amazing to see this much water here in the desert. Some also saw some ibex here (Psalm 104).
Our last site to visit for the day was Qumran. This is the most important archaeological site in all of Israel because of the Dead Sea Scrolls being discovered here in 1947! These scrolls date from the 1st century! During the lunch hour, nearly half in the group hiked to Cave 1 where the first scrolls were found (including the Isaiah Scroll). We then visited the small archaeological site. We celebrated the preservation of God’s Word over the last 2,000 years. We read from Psalm 151 (an extra psalm found in 1956 in Cave 11). We also read from Psalm 19 and 2 Timothy 3. Leaving the site we saw the miqve that was damaged in the 31 BC earthquake mentioned by Josepheus.
On our way to Jerusalem, we made a brief stop overlooking Wadi Qelt. This is the heart of the Judean Desert. With the sun going down, the view was spectacular!! Here we heard the words of Isaiah 40 echo through this chalk-limestone desert. We also heard Shomo sing Psalm 23. Both passages use the Judean Desert as the backdrop! Jesus spent 40 days being tempted in the desert. John the Baptist also served in this region, proclaiming the same words that Isaiah did! Our hearts rejoiced in God’s redemptive history.
Jerusalem – Western Wall
It was exciting to finally ascend to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. After checking into our hotel, we enjoyed dinner together followed by an orientation walk to the famous Western Wall. It was a great walk and experience! We are excited to be in Jerusalem for the next three days!
DAY 7– SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24: MT. OF OLIVES, OLD CITY, POOL OF BETHESDA, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
Today was another sunny day, with comfortable temps around 65. It was also our first full day in Jerusalem! And what a great day it was as we connected with the Bible and Jerusalem in so many ways.
Mt. of Olives / Garden of Gethsemane
Leaving the hotel at 7:35, we drove to the Mt. of Olives. We past the west and north sides of the Old City and crossed over the Kidron Valley on the way. The view from the top of the Mt. of Olives was special! We could see the City of David (OT Jerusalem), the entire Old City as well as the Temple Mount. Stopping at the Dominus Flavet chapel, we read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about Jesus’ kingship. Jesus will one day return to earth and will stand right here!
Walking down the path, we enjoyed a special stop at the Garden of Gethsemane. We arranged a private place where we reflectively read Luke 22 (Jesus betrayed by Judas) and listened to a beautiful song shared by Phebe. We also spent a few moments of quiet on our own.
We walked through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called the Lion’s and Jericho Gates), we entered the Old City. At the Pools of Bethesda we read from John 5 about the healing that took place here. We also sang in the St. Anne’s Church. This is a Crusader Church that produces an 8 second echo. From here we walked through the Muslim and Christian Quarters to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is the most likely location for the crucifixion and burial place of Jesus! We walked into the church on our own.
Ordering our falafel and shawarma in advance, we ate these sandwiches “on the go” and walked to the bus outside Jaffa Gate. Boarding the bus, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things. First, we saw the 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem of what it looked like in 70 AD. We retraced many of Jesus’ ministry here. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We also saw the jars that contained scrolls within Cave 1. Lastly, we walked through the archaeological museum, seeing highlight artifacts along the way from the Canaanite and to the Roman period.
Our last stop of the day was Yad Vashem. This is Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. Shlomo shared his personal story about losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We also saw the Children’s Memorial and then walked through the museum on our own.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM, SHEPHELAH – SOCOH, GATH, GEZER
Today we left the hotel early because of our set reservations. So we managed to get up, eat breakfast, and get off by 7 a.m. The weather was again sunny, with temps around 70.
Western Wall / Tunnel
We first drove a short distance to the Dung Gate where we entered into the Western Wall plaza. We had two reservations for the rabbinical tunnels here (as they are also called). What we did is walk parallel to the massive Herodian wall that served as a retaining wall for the 2nd Temple. One stone (the Master Course) weighs several hundred tons, and yet was placed with such precision! Indeed the Temple was an incredible building project (see John 2:20… this was already a 46 year old project to this point!).
Boarding the bus again, we drove south then east to Herodium. This was yet another of Herod’s palace-fortresses. Built on the edge of the Judean Desert and just east of Bethlehem, Herodium was also where Herod was buried. Climbing the site, we saw many ruins, including the rounded towers, the synagogue, and the water cistern system. The view of the surrounding area (Judean Desert to the east, Tekoa to the south, Bethlehem to the west, and Jerusalem to the north) provided a panoramic perspective of this region.
Driving to a place just east of Bethlehem (in Beit Sahour), we gathered in a cave in an area known as the shepherds’ fields. Here we learned the role of the shepherd in biblical times. Reading from Luke 2, Micah 5, and Galatians 4, we also celebrated Christ’s birth and the perfect timing of His coming. We also sang a few Christmas songs in the cave as well as in the Chapel of the Shepherds. The acoustics were very good!
From here we drove to Bethlehem. We visited an olive wood shop and store. We first went down to the factory to see how the olive wood items are made. Many of the olive wood items were handcrafted. We then visited the store of the finished wood product and jewelry.
Driving west now, we descended to the Shephelah (Lowlands) of Judah. This region comprises of smaller hills and valleys. Five main valleys ran west to east, providing natural transpiration routes from the Coastal Plains to the Hill Country of Judah. Stopping along that valley near the site of Socoh, we literally stood in the narrow section of the Elah Valley where David fought Goliath! We read the story from 1 Samuel 17. We could pinpoint the battlefield here!
Located about 5-6 miles west of Azekah is Gath. We drove to the base of this Philistine site where Goliath lived. The site was taken by Hazael the Aramean king in 830 BC (2 Kings 12).
Next, we visited was Gezer. Located on the Aijalon Valley, this was first a Canaanite city conquered by Joshua and later by Egyptians (I Kings 9). At the site was saw Canaanite walls, towers, gates, and a water system. On the other side of the tel we saw Israelite walls and gates built by Solomon. We passed by the Canaanite standing stones as we left the site.
We returned back to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB
Today was our last day in Jerusalem, and it was another great one! We were once again blessed with sun and temps in the 60s, although it cooled into the 50s in the afternoon.
City of David
After breakfast, we boarded the bus and drove to the City of David. Looking north from the observation deck, we could see the southern end of the Temple. Looking across the Kidron Valley we could see the Mt. Of Olives. And looking south we could see the area known as the City of David. After watching a 3D movie, we descended down through “Area G” of the excavations where Dr. John dug in the early 80s. We remembered the stories of the conquest of Jesus by David (2 Samuel 5) and the story of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19-20, 2 Chr. 32, Isaiah 36-37). We saw the area defined as David’s palace. Walking further down the slope of this ancient city, we descended down through Warren’s Shaft (previously thought to be the “water shaft” through which David’s men infiltrated the city) to get to the Gihon Spring. Dividing into two groups, some walked through the “wet” Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long), while others walked through the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read from John 9 in dramatic fashion.
South Wall Excavations
From here some bussed to the southern excavations of the Temple while others walked through part of the Herodian drainage channel. Under the SW corner of the Temple, we walked on Herodian streets and saw the massive stones toppled by the Romans in 70 AD. On the southern steps (used by Jesus to enter the Temple), we remembered the stories from the Gospels and Acts of all those who walked on these very steps (e.g. Luke 2, Mark 13, Acts 2, etc…)
For there next almost three hours we had free time on our own. We grabbed a bite to eat, shopped, and explored on our own. It was a fun adventure for all!
In the mid afternoon we walked through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and out the Damascus Gate to the Garden Tomb. Located north of the Old City, the Garden Tomb is an alternative location for the crucifixion and burial place of Jesus. We enjoyed a time of worship and Communion here.
We drove back to the hotel for our farewell dinner. Some in the group are flying home on a late-night flight and we transported by Shlomo and David to the airport. The rest of us either fly home tomorrow morning or fly to Egypt to the optional extension.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27: U.S.A. and/or CAIRO-LUXOR, EGYPT
For many, today was a travel day back home to the States. It was the end of a great eye-eye-opening and heart-touching trip! For about a third of the group, we continued on to Egypt. It would also be a travel day for us, but south to the incredible city of Luxor!
Flight to Egypt
Those flying to Egypt packed up and boarded the bus to the airport. Our flight to Cairo was at 11 a.m. It rained hard most of the way from Jerusalem. The flight took little over an hour to Cairo. Meeting our Travel Plus agents, were escorted directly through passport and then to our gate to Luxor. We also met our guide, Heba. This second flight from Cairo to Luxor (500 miles south) took about an hour and a half. Upon arriving, our agents there took good care of us. We drove a short distance to the hotel (located right on the Nile River) and checked in. The streets of Luxor reflected the culture and customs of Egypt!
About 5:15, we drove to the famous Luxor Temple. This was built about 4,000 years ago, about the time of Abraham. We arrived there just before sunset. Heba guided us through these enormous ruins as the lights came on, illuminating the temple in dramatic fashion. While other Pharaohs had a part in building/adding on to the original temple, it was the famous Ramses II (about 1,280 – 1,220 BC) who is widely displayed here. His statues are seen everywhere! Once it got complexly dark, this grand temple stood majestically against the darkened Egyptian sky.
We returned to our hotel for dinner. We all retired early since it will be an early wake-up and departure tomorrow.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28: LUXOR – VALLEY OF KINGS, HATSHEPSUT, MEDINA HABU, & KARNAK TEMPLES, FLIGHT TO CAIRO
We spent the entire day here in Luxor, one of the highlight areas of ancient Egypt. The day was sunny and pleasant, with highs around 70. We saw a lot on both sides of the Nile River.
Valley of the Kings
After an early breakfast, we crossed to the western side of the Nile to the Valley of the Kings. Since this has been excavated, a little over 60 tombs of Pharaohs have been uncovered in the cliff area. When we arrived we took a small car-train to the entrance of the valley. We went inside three tombs (the royal tombs of Ramses III & IV, and Merneptah). The inside reliefs on the walls and ceilings of these ancient Egyptian symbols, hieroglyphs, gods, and scenes were incredible! The colors are so well preserved.
NOTE: A new special camera permit can be purchased for the Valley of the Kings. Below is a special 2 set collection of pictures from here as well as inside the tombs of Ramses III, IV and Merneptah:
Hatshepsut Temple (Deir El Bahari)
Near by is the Temple of Hatshepsut. Most likely according to biblical chronology, she was the Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2) who cared for young Moses. This large Temple was carved from the cliff of the rock. The front of the temple was lined with her statue. Hatshepsut was buried in the Valley of the Kings. Her half-brother was Thutmose III. Here at the temple we saw lots of Egyptian school groups filled with kids eager to get their picture taken!
Madinet Habu Temple
Next (and still on the west side of the bank of the Nile), we visited the Temple of Madinet Habu. This is another massive temple primarily made by Ramses III. He was the pharaoh who battled three people groups, one of which were the Sea Peoples (known in the Bible as the Philistines). The Philistines are depicted as having a raised helmet on their heads. This battle took place in the beginning of the 12th century BC.
Colossei of Memnon
Before crossing the Nile, we made a brief stop at the Colossei of Memnon. These are two massive figures/statutes the are facing east. They date to the 14th century BC (Amenhotep III).
After crossing the Nile to the east side in a small motor boat, we enjoyed lunch back at the hotel. After checking out, we visited the Karnak Temple. This was the largest of all the temples in Egypt. Walking past the huge pylon, we entered into the hypostyle area of pillars. Between the pillars erected in this area by Seti I and Ramses II (his son), there are 134. They stand a good 60 feet high! We also saw obelisks dedicated to Hatshepsut, the email pharaoh. The Sacred Lake is still with water. We also saw many mud-brick structures that were used to help build the temple. It made us recall the mud-bricks made by the Israelites.
After a brief stop to a papyrus store, we boarded our flight back to Cairo. We arrived in the early evening. Our bus and agents picked us up and took us to our hotel for a late dinner after battling the crazy Cairo traffic!
What an amazing day here in Luxor!
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MARCH 1: CAIRO, PYRAMIDS & SPHINX, MEMPHIS, SAKKARA, COPTIC CHURCH, EGYPTIAN MUSEUM
Today was the last day of our tour. We spent the entire day in Cairo, a busy city of about 22 million (including Giza). The sky was sunny to partly cloudy with highs in the 60s, and with clear visibility (uncommon for Cairo).
Giza Pyramids & Sphinx
Following an easy breakfast and leaving at 7 a.m., we drove south to the Giza area. Here one of the seven wonders of the worlds stands tall, the Great Pyramids of Giza! Among the 120 or so total pyramids uncovered in Egypt to date, the three here are most famous. We enjoyed seeing these 500 foot-high burial tombs dating back to about 2,500 (the Old Kingdom) from various perspectives. Not until you stand next to them do you realize just how massive they are. The largest one was built with about 2.5 million stones! A few in the group went into one of them. At the base of the pyramids stands the Sphinx. This too was impressive. Both the pyramids and the Sphinx were built about 500 years before Abraham!
After getting an early snack at a convenient store, we drove about 40 minutes to Memphis. This was the first capital of ancient Egypt (in the Old Kingdom) until it moved to Luxor/Thebes. The most impressive ruin here is the statute of Ramses II. It is laying down, with the lower part missing.
Close by was Sakkara. Here the very first pyramid was built. It is called the Stepped Pyramid. We first descended down through a smaller pyramid and saw the tomb of a nobleman. It dates back to the 2,300’s BC. The detail and color preserved was amazing! We then walked through the temple to get a close-up view of this pyramid built with 6 sets of steps in honor of King Zoser.
St. Stergius Coptic Church
Driving to Old Cairo, we visited a church named St. Stergius. It is a Coptic Orthodox Church that preserves the traditional place where Moses was received by Pharoah’s daughter and where Jesus was brought by Joseph and Mary. About 15% of Egyptians at Christians. The lower foundational parts of the church was built in the late 4th/early 5th century AD.
We ended the day with a 2 hour visit to the Egyptian Museum. The size of the museum is enormous. We only saw the highlights of the artifacts. These included such things as Mentuhotep II (probably known by Abraham), Senusret II (the Pharoah who appointed Joseph vizier or prime minister), Hatshepsut (the probable Pharoah’s daughter who rescued Moses), Thutmose III (a possible Pharoah of the Exodus and great invaded), Amenhotep II (the leading possibly Pharoah of the Exodus), and Merneptah (who wrote about Israel in his stele). Upstairs we saw some of King Tut’s artifacts. We also saw the Amarna Letters. Some also went to see the mummy room.
We returned to the hotel for a fabulous dinner. We then went back to our rooms for a few hours sleep until our 12:30 a.m. drive to the airport for our flight home.
DAY 13 – SATURDAY, MARCH 2: DEPART CAIRO / ARRIVE BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We returned home today! What a great trip God blessed us with! Both the Israel and the optional extension to Egypt was life-changing! Praise be to God!
This is a 1:50 scale-model of Jerusalem. It represents what Jerusalem looked like in 70 AD. It is displayed at the Israel Museum. Prior to this, it was at the Holyland Hotel. The model was built through the means of archaeological discoveries and historical (e.g. Mishnah, Josephus, etc…) resources.