Tour Experiences of our 12 Day Israel Tour (with a 4 Day “7 Churches of Revelation” Trip in Turkey)


September 10-21, 2022 (Turkey extension – Sept. 21-25) 


Mt. Carmel - Jezreel Valley

"Life transforming Israel tours & teaching in the context of the land of the Bible"

Group Photos

Precipice Nazareth Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Baptism Jordan River Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Masada group Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Lachish Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Temple Mount Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Izmir Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Hill 713 Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Capernaum Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Wadi Qelt Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Hezekiah's Tunnel Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Hezekiah's Tunnel Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Laodicea Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Arbel Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Masada group Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
SW corner of Temple Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Pergamum Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey

360 Photos

Israel & Turkey Tour Experiences

Days 1& 2 – Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11: Depart U.S.A. for Israel, Arrive in Tel Aviv

Our day of departure finally came. God brought together 31 people from the US (and Australia) for our trip to Israel. Following the completion of our Israel Entry Form this past week, we met at various airports for our flight to Israel. Most flew out of JFK, NY or San Fransisco, CA, with a few others meeting us in Israel. We landed at the Ben Gurion Airport where we went through the Passport procedures, picked up our luggage, and proceeded to our bus.

Shlomo (our guide) and David (our driver) were waiting for us. Leaving the airport we drove along the canal of the Aijalon (Joshua 10) to Netanya, located north of Tel Aviv. Arriving at the hotel we unloaded the bus and checked in. Some arriving earlier had the chance to walk down to the beautiful beach. An excellent buffet dinner was served in the dining room. We retired to our rooms for what we hope will be a good night’s rest. We are all eagerly awaiting our first full day tomorrow! It’s so good to be here in the “land of the Bible.”​

Tel Aviv, Israel
Welcome to Israel
Netanya Sunset Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 3 – Monday, September 12: Caesarea, Carmel, Megiddo, Mt. Gilboa, Precipice of Nazareth, Tiberias

Today was our first full day in Israel. The weather was sunny and mild, with highs in the upper 80s. We left the hotel at 7:35, reading from Psalm 44 as we started our day.


Caesarea Maritima

We drove north in the Sharon Plain to get to our first site, Caesarea Maritima. It was a city built between 22-10 BC by Herod the Great. We started in the theater where we read from Acts 10, 12, 21, and 26. Peter, Phillip, and Paul were all here sharing their faith in Christ here. Among the ruins we saw the praetorium (palace), hippodrome, and the area of the harbor. We left by walking through the Crusader part of the city.


Mt. Carmel

Our next site was the Carmel Range (or Mt. Carmel). This range separates the Sharon Plain with the Jezreel Valley. We drove to Muhraha, a Carmelite chapel located at the highest peak. In the chapel we read from Amos 1 and 9, Isaiah 35, Song of Songs 7 and 1 Kings 18 (the story of Elijah). After a time of singing in the chapel we ascended to the rooftop of the chapel for a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley below. Nearby we ate lunch at a Druze restaurant.



We descended to the edge of the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, an archaeological site that has about 25 levels of occupation that span 2,500 years! After seeing a model of the tel (ancient mound), we walked to the top of this Canaanite/Israelite site. We saw two Canaanite gate complexes, and the gate, stables and palace areas attributed to Solomon (1 Kings 9:15). Additionally, we saw a sacrificial altar (Canaanite), and a grain silo Israelite). The also enjoyed a great view of the surrounding area from here and the valley itself (Revelation 16:16). We left the site through the impressive water system.


Jezreel & Mt. Gilboa

We added an extra stop to our program. We passed by the site of Jezreel (1 Kings 21, 2 Kings 8-9) and took the windy road to the top of Mt. Gilboa. Looking east, we had a great view of the Hills of Gilead (in Jordan today across the Jordan Valley), and Beth Shan, where the bodies of Saul and his three sons were hung on the walls of the town square. We read from 1 Chronicles 10 about Saul’s death here.


Precipice of Nazareth

Lastly, we drove across the Jezreel Valley to the area of Nazareth. We ascended towards the top of the Precipice. A short walk took us to a panoramic view of the Jezreel Valley. From here we enjoyed a great view of Mt. Tabor (Judgers 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7) and Nain (Luke 7).

We read from Luke 4 about Jesus’ synagogue teaching. While Nathaniel asked, “What good can come out of Nazareth?” It was Philip who replied, “Come and see!” (John 1). We celebrated Jesus as Messiah here!


Sea of Galilee

It took about 50 minutes (past Cana, John 2 and 4) to arrive at our hotel (Nof Ginnosar) along the western coastline of the Sea of Galilee. We enjoyed dinner here and a wonderful gathering following dinner out on the stone jetty beyond the shoreline. The rising moon over the Golan Heights was spectacular! What a great first day here in Israel!

Caesarea Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Megiddo Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Caesarea Aqueduct Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Mt. Gilboa Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Mt. Carmel Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Precipice Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 4 – Tuesday, September 13: Hippos/Susita, Qatzrin, Syrian Border, Caesarea Philippi, Dan, Upper Galilee View from “Hill 713”

Today was another typical September sunny day, with comfortable temps in the 80s, and even a bit cooler up in the Golan Heights. We enjoyed a great breakfast once again. Leaving the hotel at 7:20, we read Matthew 4 as we drove to our first site.



Our first stop of the day was to one of the Decapolis cities, Hippos (Sussita). On our way to this site we made a brief stop to the one and only cliff area on the eastern side where the Mark 5 story took place. As we arrived at Hippos, we walked through this impressive Roman city. As we walked up to the site, we notice a team of Israelis looking for mines laid in previous years. As we were told, they found several of them and after we left the site they were going to detonate them. On top of the site are the ruins of about five Byzantine churches. Coming down off the site, and with a great view of the Sea of Galilee, we read from Mark 5. The demonic man was delivered by Jesus and transformed to be a proclaimer of the kingdom!



From here we drove north on the plateau of the Golan Heights to Katzrin, a Talmudic Village (3rd-7th centuries AD). Among the ruins we saw the synagogue and other house structures. Sitting together in a completely restored stone house, we read from Mark 2 (the paralytic). These were events in Jesus’ ministry that we could picture happening!


Syrian Border

Driving to the NE corner of Israel, we ascended to the the border with Syria. We could clearly look across the border and see the UN headquarters as well as Kuentra, an abandoned Syrian town. The civil war in Syria ended a few years ago.


Caesarea Philippi

From this northeastern border we now turn west. We past by Mt. Hermon, a high mountain owned by three countries (Syria, Israel, and Lebanon) We read from Psalm  42, 89, 133 and Song of Songs 4. On the slopes of the Golan Heights is Caesarea Philippi. This was our next stop. During the Roman Period, this pagan city had a temples and shrines dedicated to Augustus, Pan, Zeus, and Nemesis. We read Matthew 16 by the waters that flowed from the Banias Spring here. The question, “Who do you say I am?” served as a “final exam” for Jesus’ disciples.



Close by on the north end of the Huleh Valley is the site of the day, Tel Dan. We walked through the nature preserve and the largest tributary of the Jordan River. We enjoyed Shlomo playing his recorder along the waters of the Dan Spring. We also read and sang Psalm 42. Walking to the archaeological site, on the steps of the High Place we read from Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12. Above the high place provided us the opportunity to look across the border into Lebanon. Next, we saw the area where Dr. John excavated this past summer. They found primarily ruins from the 9th and 8th centuries BC. Leaving the site we saw the Middle Bronze mud-brick gate and the ruins of the walls and gates of the 9th century BC city. The famous and most-important Dan Inscription was found just outside this Iron Age / Israelite gate in July, 1993.


Upper Galilee – “Hill 713”

Our last stop of the day was an extra one put into the day’s schedule. It included a 25 minute hike in the Upper Galilee (near Mt. Merom) to a wonderful lookout called “Hill 713” by Dr. John’s old Jerusalem professor (Jim Monson). The view was spectacular! We could see the entire width of northern Israel. This included the Golan Heights, the entire Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Arbel, Horns of Hattin, the top of Mt. Tabor (in the Jezreel Valley), Mt Gilboa, and the Carmel Range.

We returned to the hotel for a late dinner and a free evening.

Hippos Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Caesarea Philippi Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Hippos Mine work Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Dan seat Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Katzrin Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Hill 713 Sept 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 5 – Wednesday, September 14: Arbel, Yardinet, Kinneret Cemetery, Magdala, Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Sea of Galilee Boat Ride

We spent the entire day around the Sea of Galilee, connecting with the life and ministry of Jesus. After some cloud cover in the morning, the sun was bright, with temps around 90. We left our hotel at 7:30, reading the first part of Matthew 13 on the way to our first site.



We began the day by visiting Mt. Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. Six in the group choose to hike the trail to the top, while the others drove around the back side and walked to the top from the visitor center. The view of the lake was amazing. It could have been the lower slopes of this mountain where Jesus shared His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). Additionally, it also could have been the top of this cliff where Jesus met His disciples after His resurrection (Matthew 28).



We drove to the southern end of the lake where the Lower Jordan begins. Here, six in the group reaffirmed their faith in baptism in the Jordan River at a place called Yardenit. Jesus Himself was baptized at Bethany Beyond the Jordan further south across from Jericho (John 1). The experience was special for all of us!


Kinneret Cemetery

Near by is the Kinneret Cemetery. Many Jews who were pioneers to the land in the late 19th and early 20th century are buried here. This includes Rachel Bluwstone, an Ukrainian who wrote many poems. Shlomo read, sang, and played some of her poems now put to tunes. She died in 1931. Her picture appears on Israel’s 20 shekel bill today!



We drove back through Tiberias to the northwest side of the lake where we visited Magdala. Here, we saw an impressive but simple 1st century synagogue. There are only seven (or maybe eight now) synagogues that date to the time of Jesus in the country. Magdala is only mentioned once in the Gospels (Matthew 16). We also saw a few ritual baths (mikveh or mikvot, plural).



After a great St. Peter’s Fish lunch in Magdala, we visited Capernaum. This Jewish town served as Jesus’ “home base” for His Galilean ministry. In the 5th century synagogue, we read from Mark 1, 2; Luke 7, 8; and John 4, 6. We also saw the Byzantine church, octagonal in shape, that dates to about the same time period. This ancient church surrounds a 1st century house structure suggested, by tradition and archaeology, to be Peter’s house. Down on the lakeshore, we read from Mark 9. Serving in Christ’s kingdom requires a heart of humility and servanthood.


Mt. of Beatitudes

Further up the hill from Capernaum is the traditional location of the Mt. of Beatitudes. We gathered on the hillside where we heard Matthew 5:1-9 read in both Hebrew and English. The kingdom proclamation of Jesus was His “go-to” message throughout His ministry! He preached the same kingdom message down on the plain (Luke 6).


Ancient Boat/Sea of Galilee Boat Ride

Our last stop of the day was at Nof Ginnosar. First we saw a 1st century wooden boat discovered in 1986. It was found on the shoreline of  Sea of Galilee). Lastly, we enjoyed a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. This included a brief time of worship and reflection. We read from Matthew 14 about one of the storm narratives. We were inspired to trust in Jesus!

We returned to our hotel about 5:45! Some enjoyed swimming in the Sea of Galilee. Dinner was once again abundant, with many selections! Tomorrow we leave the Galilee and head south to the Dead Sea!

Arbel Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Magdala Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Olive raking Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Capernaum Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Yardenit Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Boat Ride Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 6 – Thursday, September 15: Beth Shean, Shiloh, Judean Desert/Desert of Parath, Jericho, Dead Sea

Today was another great day. The sun was bright, with warmer temps in the 90s. We left the Sea of Galilee in the morning and arrived at the southern end of the Dead Sea in the late afternoon.


Beth Shean

We loaded the bus after breakfast and drove south, reading portions of Matthew 13 on the way. We also opened our day with the Aleinu prayer, a Jewish prayer used today but with origins back to the days to a time before Jesus. From the Sea of Galilee we drove along the Jordan Valley to Beth Shean, the only city of the Decapolis on the west side of the Jordan. This is a massive archaeological site, primarily Roman. Here we saw the bathhouse, walked the colonnaded street, sat in the public latrenes, and sang in the impressive theater. Some in the group hiked up 190 steps to the top of the Old Testament site where Saul’s body was hung on the walls of the town square (1 Samuel 31, 1 Chronicles 10, 2 Samuel 21).



We continued south along the Jordan Valley about 20 minutes before ascending into the Hill Country of Samaria. We saw shepherd with his large flock of sheep and goats on our way to Shiloh (located about 20 miles north of Jerusalem). This was the location of Tabernacle for over 300 years until it was destroyed by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4). At the site we saw an impressive video presentation. By the ruins we read from 1 Samuel 3 (“Hineni” – “Here I am” was said here by young Samuel!), and Jeremiah 13.  We also saw the walls and structures that were perhaps part of the Tabernacle.


Judean Desert & Parath

We continued our drive south towards Jericho. To get there we took a unique windy road down through the Judean Desert and specifically to the area of the Pareth (Parat in Hebrew) where Jeremiah once hid a linen belt (Jeremiah 13). The views were incredible. We spotted a number of gazelles.



We arrived at Jericho at the southern end of the Jordan Valley in time for a late lunch. We then climbed the site of ancient Jericho. We saw an old stone tower that predates even Abraham and a small portion of the city wall on the southern end. Mud-bricks and a burn level could also be seen in a few places. We recalled the Joshua 6 story how the city was defeated (and burned) by the Israelites. Afterwards, we made a brief stop within Jericho at a store that sells Hebron glass.


Ein Bokek/Dead Sea

In the late afternoon we made our way along the western shoreline of the Dead Sea to Ein Bokek. We past Qumran, Ein Gedi, and Masada along the way (we’ll see these sties tomorrow). Once we arrived at our hotel, most in the group changed into our swimming suits and enjoyed a pre-dinner “float” in this unique body of water. What a fun experience this was!

Beth Shean Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Shiloh Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Beth Shean Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Gazelle Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Sheep Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jericho Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 7 – Friday, September 16: Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Wilderness of Judah/Wadi Qelt, Jerusalem, Western Wall

Today was the hottest so far (sunny and in the high 90s), but this is to be expected here in the area of the Dead Sea this time of year. We first loaded the bus with our luggage and then enjoyed breakfast in preparation for the day.



Following breakfast, we drove north along the Dead Sea to Masada (metzada, in Hebrew, from Psalm 18:1-2). This was built in the 30s BC as a palace-fortress by Herod the Great. We took the cable car to the top and began seeing the ruins from the 1st century. We saw huge cisterns, the western and northern palaces, the Roman Ramp, the synagogue, and the bathhouse. In 70 AD, this was the location where 967 Jews found refuge from the Romans following the destruction of the Temple. The holdout lasted about three years until all by five of these Jews (a few women and children) took their own lives. It is a story of bravery and courage! Due to the hot temps, we all took the cable car back down.


Ein Gedi

We drove about 15 minutes north of Masada to get to Ein Gedi, one of only a few oasis here in the edge of the Judean Desert. We walked back to the first water falls. We read from Song of Songs 1, 2 Chronicles 20 (the “Ascent of Ziz”) and 1 Samuel 24 (David hid from Saul here). A number in the group hiked back to the end of the canyon. Some even got wet under some of the lower water falls! It was so refreshing! It was amazing to see so much water here in the desert! No wonder David was here!



Continuing about 30 minutes north we arrived at Qumran. We enjoyed lunch here before seeing this most important site. A few in the group chose to hike to the cliff area during lunch time. It was here at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found! The discovery began in 1947, while the excavation took place through 1956. We saw the ruins where a small community of Essenes lived (or retreated to from Jerusalem, as the new theory suggests). To date, over 900 scrolls and fragments of texts scrolls have been discovered in 12 caves. The scrolls/texts date primarily from the 3rd century BC – 1st century AD. At the small archaeological site we saw cisterns, ritual baths (mikvot), and the scriptorium. In front of “Cave 4” (where the majority of texts were found), we read from “Psalm 151,” and Psalm 19. We celebrated the perseverance and accuracy of God’s Word!


Wadi Qelt

En route to Jerusalem, we took a narrow road newly opened from Jericho to the eastern part of the Judean Desert called Wadi Qelt. Here we saw the St. George Monastery built right into the side of the cliff!  Driving further west we made another stop overlooking the heart of the Judean Desert! We enjoyed hearing “Isaiah, the prophet” proclaim the words, “Prepare the way for the Lord…” (from Isaiah 40; John the Baptist would proclaim the same words in the same desert!), and Psalm 23 sung by Shlomo. The view was breathtaking!



We continued ascending to Jerusalem, passing Bethany and Bethpage on the way! We checked in to our hotel, enjoyed a wonderful “Shabbat” dinner, and an optional walk to the Western Wall to end the evening! We are looking forward to our first full day in Jerusalem tomorrow!

Masada Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Qumran Ein Gedi Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Ein Gedi May 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Judean Desert Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Ibex Ein Gedi Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Judean Desert Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 8 – Saturday, September 17: Jerusalem, Mt. of Olives, Old City, Holy Sepulcher Church, Herodium, Bethlehem

Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. We enjoyed the cooler start to the day. With the bright cloudless skies the temps were comfortable in the 80s by afternoon. We spent the afternoon south of Jerusalem at Herodium and Bethlehem.


Mt. of Olives

Our first full panoramic view of the Old City and the Temple Mount came from the top of the Mt. of Olives. We read from Ezekiel 44 (about the Eastern Gate) before we walked down the slope to Dominus Flavet. This was a chapel built to remember Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Here we remembered Jesus’ Palm Sunday event (Luke 19). He will again come as king (Zechariah 14). Further down the slope we gathered in a small olive orchard where we read from Mark 14. The Garden of Gethsemane could have been anywhere on this western slope.


Old City

We walked uphill to St. Stephen’s Gate (also called Lion’s and Jericho Gate). We then walked along the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount to see the Eastern Gate. We then returned and entered the Old City to the Pools of Bethesda. We first enjoyed singing in St. Anne’s, a Crusader Church. The church has an eight-second echo, making us sound angelic! By the Pools, we read from John 5. From here we walked to the Holy Sepulcher Church, the most-likely location (from an archaeological perspective) for Christ’s death and resurrection. We spent some time in the church before enjoying lunch in the Christian Quarter.



Walking out the Jaffa Gate, we boarded the bus and drove southeast to Herodium. Herod the Great built this as a palace-fortress. He was buried here in 4 BC. We saw the grand Reception Room above the small theater built here. Following an excellent video presentation, some walked up the Royal Arch steps to the top of the site. We could see the Mt. Of Olives and the outskirts of Bethlehem from the top. We then descended down through the cistern system as we left the site.


Shepherds’ Fields/Bethlehem

Driving to Beit Sahour (an eastern suburb of Bethlehem), we visited the Shepherds’ Fields. We descended into a small cave, much like used by shepherds in Jesus’ day. Here we read from Luke 2 and recalled the connections with Micah 4 and 5 about the birth of Jesus. The shepherds were the first ones who witnessed thee Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb born humbly in Bethlehem. We sang carols in the cave and in the small chapel. Before we ended the day, we also stopped at an olive wood factory and store.

We drove back to our hotel in Jerusalem. We stopped for a brief overlook of the Old City from the south before arriving at the hotel for dinner.

Jerusalem Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Bethesda Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jerusalem Golden Gate Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Herodium Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
St. Anne's Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Bethlehem Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 9 – Sunday, September 18: Nebi Samuel, the Shephelah: Gezer, Beth Shemesh, Socoh, Beit Guvrin, Lachish

Today we traveled to the Shephelah (lowlands) of Judah. It was a day with many connections to the Old Testament in this region that served as a buffer between the Hill Country of Judah and the Coastal Plains. With partly sunny skies, the temp was quite comfortable, with highs only in the low 80s. We read from 2 Chronicles 1 as we left the hotel at 7:35.


Nebi Samuel

Our first site of the day was Nebi Samuel. This is the traditional tomb of Samuel the prophet who grew up in nearby Ramah. While there are Hasmonean ruins here, most of the site dates to the Crusader Period. We climbed to the roof of the Crusader structure to get a good view of the Central Benjamin Plateau and the OT city of Gibeon. Joshua battled on behalf of the Gibeonites here (Joshua 10). Gibeon also served as the “high place” for David and Solomon prior to the Temple (1 Chronicles 16, 21, 2 Chronicles 1-2). Lastly Joab and Abner faced off here on opposite sides of the pool (2 Samuel 2).



Descending from the Hill Country, we entered the Shephelah (Lowlands) of Judah to see a few Old Testament sites. Our first site was Tel Gezer. It is located in the Aijalon Valley. Dr. John excavated here in 2017. This was a Canaanite and Israelite/Judean city. We saw city walls and gates, including one built by Solomon (1 Kings 9). Some descended down to the impressive water system. Leaving the site we saw the standing stones most likely from the Canaanite Period.


Beth Shemesh

Further south is the Sorek Valley where the city of Beth Shemesh is located. We climbed the tel (ancient mound) to see the view of the valley. The stories of Samson (Judges 13-16) and the return of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 6) unfolded before our very eyes!



Socoh was the next site of the day. Located along the Elah Valley, we climbed this unexcavated site to see where David and Goliath battled. David was armed only with five stones but he found his confidence in the Lord. The battle was God’s and David placed his faith in Him! We read the story from 1 Samuel 17. After the reading, some in the group climbed to the very top of the site.


Beit Guvrin

An extra site put into today’s program was Beit Guvrin. After grabbing a sandwich at a gas station for lunch, we drove to see the Columbarium cave (built for raising pigeons) and the Bell Cave. These caves were cut out from the softer limestone of there area. Shlomo played his recorder in the Bell Cave. We also sang a song of worship there among the doves above us.



The last site was a Canaanite/Judean city called Lachish. It was a city taken by Joshua during the Conquest (Joshua 10). In the end of the 8th century, the city was conquered from the Judeans during Hezekiah’s time by Sennecherib and the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32). It would recover in the decades to follow only to be destroyed for good by the Babylonians at the beginning of the 6th century BC. We saw the double fortification walls, the two gates (inside the outer gate is where the famous “Lachish Letters” were discovered), and the palace probably built by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11). A Canaanite temple was found here just a few years ago.

We end the day by driving back to Jerusalem dinner and an optional walk south on the Promenade.

Gibeon from Nebi Samuel Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Socoh Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Gezer Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Beit Guvrin Bel Cave Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Prickly Pear Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Lachish Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 10 – Monday, September 19: City of David, Southern Excavations, Western Wall, Jewish Quarter, Free Time

Today was another full day in Jerusalem. It included a mix of both Old and New Testament connections. It also included a lot of fun (Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam, free time). The sun was once again predictably bright, with temps in the 80s. We read from Psalm 48 as we left the hotel at 7:30 a.m.


City of David

We drove down through the Hinnom Valley to the City of David excavations just south of the Old City. We saw the excavations where Dr. John dug for over four weeks in 1982. We saw remnants of city walls and houses in “Area G.” We then walked through Warren’s Shaft all the way down to the Gihon Spring. Here, some walked through the “wet” Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,710 feet long) while others took the “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Pool of Siloam where we read John 9 in dramatic fashion. 🙂


Southern Wall Excavations/Western Wall

From here some in the group climbed up through the Drainage Channel (underneath a pavement probably completed by Pilate in 30 AD) to the SW corner of the Temple Mount (Robinson’s Arch) while others bussed to this spot. Here we saw Herodian pavement and massive stones. Jesus walked on this pavement! On the southern end of the Temple, we sat on the very steps used by Jesus and others as well (Luke 2, John 2, Luke 18, Mark 13, etc…). The Acts 2 Day of Pentecost most likely took place in the area of the Temple too. We considered that we now are the temple empowered by God’s Spirit (2 Corinthians 3). Leaving this area we walked to the Western Wall. This is the most holy place for Jews today. The wall served as a retaining wall that supported Herod’s expanded Temple platform on top.


Free Time

We walked to the Jewish Quarter for lunch on our own. We then enjoyed meeting and listening to Moshe, an Orthodox Jew who owns (with his brother Dov) a biblical shop called Shorashim. We then had a few hours on our own to explore the Old City. Some went up on the Temple Mount while others enjoyed the “spice guy” in the Muslim Quarter. At 4:45 p.m. we walked out of Zion’s Gate where David picked us up and drove us back to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.

Hezekiah's Tunnel 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Temple Steps Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Pool of Siloam Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Temple Mount Dome of the Rock Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
SW Corner Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Old City Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 11 – Tuesday, September 20: Yad Vashem, Israel Museum, Garden Tomb, Farewell Dinner, Flight Home (for those not doing the Turkey extension)

On this last day of the Israel portion off the tour, we started at 7:30 once again. The temps were beautiful today, with a crisp cool air in the morning and sun and a high of about 80 in the afternoon. We read from Psalm 137 about how special Jerusalem was to those in Exile in Babylon.


Yad Vashem

Our first stop of the day was Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum and Memorial. It is named after Isaiah 56:5 (“To them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name…”). We first entered the Valley of the Communities, marking all the towns and cities where Jews were killed throughout Europe. We then heard Shlomo’s testimony about how he lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the Children’s Memorial. 1.5 million children were killed. On our own, we walked through the Museum. It was a somber experience.


Israel Museum

Also located in West Jerusalem but closer to the Old City, we visited the Israel Museum. We saw three things here: A 1:50-scaled model of 2nd Temple Period Jerusalem, the Shrine of the Book, and the archaeological wing of the museum itself. In the museum (we had to drive back to the museum at 4 pm to see the artifacts) we saw highlights of artifacts, such as the Hazor standing stones, the Dan Inscription, the silver amulet from a Hinnom tombs, the Lachish Letter #4, the “to the place of trumpeting” inscription, the Pilate Inscription, Herod’s bathhouse and sarcophagus, and many more. We ended with seeing a 1,900 year old “pie plate” found at Ein Gedi. 🙂 

Garden Tomb

Our last stop of the day was to the Garden Tomb. This is an alternative and must later location (end of 19th century AD) for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. We saw the rocky scarp (Golgotha) and the proposed tomb. We enjoyed a special time of worship, with Pastor Marcus leading us in Communion. Following the footsteps of Jesus first in the Galilee and now here in Jerusalem, and considering God’s salvation made available to each of us through Christ was a perfect way to end not only this last day but the tour.

We drove back to the hotel. We enjoyed our “Farewell Dinner” at the hotel at 6. Those flying home tonight then departed at 7 pm for the airport. There are 11 of us who are continuing on to Turkey to see the seven Churches of Revelation.​

Yad Vashem Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Dan Inscription 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Yad Vashem Shlomo family Sept 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Garden Tomb Aug 22 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Israel Museum 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Garden Tomb 2022 Israel Tour John DeLancey

Day 12 – Wednesday, September 21: Ben Gurion Airport or Turkey Extension

For those who were not doing the Turkey extension, they arrived safely back to the States where they went through Passport Control and boarded their domestic flights home. For those us us traveling to Turkey, we woke up early (1:30 a.m.) for our 7 a.m. flight to Istanbul and then to Izmir (ancient Smyrna). We made our connections without any difficulty, although we did a lot of walking through the brand-new airports in Istanbul and Izmir. The weather that greeted us in Turkey was perfect, with sun and highs in the 70s.



Once we landed in Izmir, we boarded our bus and drove about 1.5 hours to  Pergamum, the third of seven “Churches of Revelation” mentioned in Revelation 2-3.. At the site, we took the cable car to the acropolis. What an amazing view from here! We saw many temples (Trajan Athena, Demeter, etc.). We also saw the altar of Zeus, most likely referred to in Revelation as the “throne of Satan.” Most impressive was the theater. It was the steepest in the Greek and Roman world and could hold 10,000. A few of us carefully climbed down the steps and back.



At the base of Pergamum is the site of Asclepion. It was dedicated to the Asclepius, the healing god. Here we saw the colonnaded street, many pillars, the theater, and the “hospital” where the physically and mentally sick were treated.

About 6:30 we began our drive back to our hotel in Izmir for a late dinner and overnight.

Pergamum Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Pergamum Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Pergamum Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ascelpion Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Pergamum Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ascelpion Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey

Day 13 – Thursday, September 22: Izmir / Thyatira / Sardis / Philadelphia / Pamukkale

Today was our first full day here in Turkey. We travel a long distance today, visiting four of the seven Churches of Revelation along the way. Our final destination was Hierapolis (Pamukkale). The weather was cool in the morning (50s), with perfect temps (low 70s) in the afternoon, with partly sunny skies.



Following an hour and a half drive, our first stop was to ancient Smyrna. It is located within the modern city of Izmir. We read from Revelation 2:8-11 before we got off to see the very limited ruins (primary the agora) from outside the fence. We then drove up to a high hill for a great view of Smyrna and the small archaeological site below.



We drove about 45 minutes east to the next site, Thyatira. Within the site we read from Revelation 2:18-29. Like Smyrna, this site has only limited ruins, mainly from the Late Roman / Byzantine Period, although arches from the time of Alexander the Great (4th century BC).



We drove about an hour to our next stop, Sardis. We read Revelation 3:1-6 within the site of the ancient synagogue. The visit included walking through the ancient synagogue with amazing mosaics and gymnasium. We also saw the huge and most impressive Temple of Artemis. This temple once had about 120 massive pillars. It dates to the 4th century BC.



Our last site of the day was Philadelphia. It is located 45 minutes east of Sardis. Only two large arches remain among the limited ruins. There was also an inscription with “Philadelphia” in Greek. We read from Revelation 3:7-13.

It took about two hours on the road to arrive at our hotel in Hierapolis (Pamukkale). It is a very nice hotel. We enjoyed a buffet dinner together. Some even took the opportunity to enjoy a Turkish Bath.​

Izmir Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Sardis Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Thyatira Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Philadelphia Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Sardis Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Philadelphia Turkish man Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey

Day 14 – Friday, September 23: Hierapolis, Laodicea, Collosea, Kusadasi

Today was our third day here in Turkey. The weather was perfect, with cloudless blue skies, a cool and crisp start in the morning, and highs in the low 70s. Today’s first two sites were enormous and quite incredible in every way. We read from Colossians 4 that mentions both Laodicea and Hierapolos.



We left the hotel this morning at 8 a.m. and drove straight to Hierapolis (Pamukkale). We spent two hours at this large site, and saw a lot of the ruins. We first walked into the site to the area of the white calcium deposits caused by the hot springs. Most of us enjoyed sticking our feet into the hot channel of water. On our own we then walked through the rest of the site. One of the most intact and complete theaters in the Roman world is here. It even incudes the scainea, the back section that extended high above the orchestra area.



Across the valley is Laodicea, another huge archaeological site. The city was named after the wife of the Seleucid rule named Antiochus II. In the days of the NT, the city was known for its eye salve. We saw many things here, including a church (from the 2nd century AD), a large Temple (from an earlier period) dedicated to Aphrodite, Artemis, and Zeus. The theaters (on the north and west) were built on the steep slopes of the site. The city also had a few marketplaces (agoras) and a stadium not yet excavated. Lastly, Laodicea had two elaborate water distribution centers. It brought cold water from the snow-capped mountains near Collosae and hot water from the other direction from Hierapolis. This church was criticized for being “lukewarm.” We read from Revelation 3:14-22.



Located on the slopes of the mountain range 20 minute drive from Laodicea is Collosea. Today, this is an un-excavated site. It served as a home of Epaphras who was imprisoned with Paul in Rome in the early 60s AD when Paul wrote a letter to the church here. While Paul passed through this region on his mission journeys, there cannot be certain Paul was actually in Colosse. “For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” (Colossians 2:1). On the other hand, Paul mentions to Philemon to prepare a guest room for him here (Philemon 1:22). A few in the group climbed to the top of the site. The only thing on top to see were grapes laid out to dry into raisins.



The drive west to Kusadasi took about 3.5 hours. This is a beautiful part city on the Aegean Sea. After we arrived at our hotel, we walked a few blocks for dinner. Following dinner, some in the group enjoyed walking around and experiencing the local Turkish culture.

Hierapolis Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Laodicea Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Hierapolis Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Laodicea Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Hierapolis Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Laodicea Stadium Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey

Day 15 – Saturday, September 24: Miletus, Ephesus, Flight from Izmir to Istanbul

Our morning started early today, our last full day here in Turkey. We added an additional site (Miletus) to the program before visiting Ephesus. We flew to Istanbul this afternoon to end the day. The weather was once again ideal, with full sun and highs in the 70s. We read from Colossians 2 and Ephesians 1 as we left the hotel.



Following an early breakfast, we left the hotel at 7:05 and drove about 30 miles south of Kusadasi to Miletus. The last 10 miles or so was flat farmland with many cotton fields. In Paul’s day this was all under water. The most impressive thing at this site is the theater originally built in the Hellenistic Period. It was later expanded to hold about 10,000 people. Some of the marble “reserve seats” had Greek inscriptions. We also saw the bathhouses. We read from Acts 20:15-38. Paul met the elders of Ephesus here en route to his travels to Jerusalem at the end of his third mission journey.



We drove back north about 1.5 hours to Ephesus. This city was the fourth largest city in the Roman world (after Rome, Alexandria, Antioch). The city when Paul was here was about 250,000 in population. It was the center of commerce, located on a port. Artemis (Diana) was the primary deity worshipped here. She was viewed in the pagan world as the goddess of fertility. We began our site seeing of Ephesus at the top part of the city. We saw an incredible display of marble, columns, arches, and amazing architecture. Among the more impressive ruins was the Library of Celsus and the grand theater. In the agora (marketplace), we read from Acts 19 and Revelation 3:1-7. Paul spent nearly three years here during his third missionary journey. He also wrote 1 Corinthians from here. Before leaving the site, we grabbed snacks for lunch and also saw the Temple of Artemis.


Izmir – Istanbul

The drive to Izmir to catch our flight to Istanbul took us a little over an hour. We arrived in Istanbul in the evening. We arrived at our hotel for a late dinner. We fly home tomorrow afternoon.

Miletus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey
Ephesus Sept 22 Turkey Tour John DeLancey

Day 16 – Sunday, September 25: Istanbul/U.S.A.

After a late breakfast, we transferred back to the Istanbul Airport for our return flight back home. We saw a lot on this extension to Turkey.

Mt. of Beatitudes

Located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, the traditional “Mt. of Beatitudes” is where Jesus shared His “Sermon on the Mount.” In this five-minute devotional, Dr. John shares some of the text of Matthew 5.


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