HIGHLIGHTS: Caesarea, Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Dead Sea, Masada,Ein Gedi,The Western Wall, Jerusalem, Shrine of the Book, Yad Vashem, Jaffa
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DAY 1- FRI. DEC. 27 – DEPART U.S.A.
Today we depart Raleigh for our flight to Tel Aviv, Israel, with a connection in Newark. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 2- SAT. DEC. 28 – ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV
In Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security and meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in the Tel Aviv area in time for dinner and overnight at our hotel overlooking the shores of the Mediterranean.
DAY 3- SUN. DEC. 29 – CAESAREA / MEGIDDO / MT. CARMEL / NAZARETH / GALILEE
This morning, we depart for the Galilee to visit Biblical sites at Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the good news to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). We also see Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Time permitting, we will stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). Then we continue to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home), Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle-John 2) and the Mt. of Precipitation. We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 4- MON. DEC. 30 – MT. OF BEATITUDES / CAPERNAUM / BOAT RIDE / BETHSAIDA / MAGDALA
Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today at Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Afterwards, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” to set sail on the Sea of Galilee and visit the Ancient Boat at Ginosar. Our lunch stop includes the special St. Peter’s Fish (other menu options available as well). After lunch, we head to Gadara and Bethsaida (time permitting). We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to the new Magdala archaeological site, which is rich in cultural history for both Jews and Christians. Dinner and overnight are back in the Tiberias.
DAY 5- TUE. DEC. 31 – GOLAN HEIGHTS / CAESAREA PHILIPPI / BEIT SHEAN / JERUSALEM
After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of the northern Israel’s landscape. Then we head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the alter of Jeroboam before heading to Gideon Springs. Next, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where King Saul and his sons’ bodies were hung from the city walls after being defeated by Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Finally, we ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘let us go to the house of the lord.’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 NASB).
DAY 6- WED. JAN. 01 – WESTERN WALL / TEMPLE MOUNT / VIA DOLOROSA / SOUTHERN STEPS / MT. OF OLIVES / GARDEN OF GETHESMANE / BETHLEHEM
Today we enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and proceed to the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by Kind David (2 Samuel 24:18-25), which is called the Temple Mount. This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the El-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. We get to Walk through the Rabbinical tunnels to get as close to the Holy of Holies as one can. From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to walk the Via Dolorosa– including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the pavement (where Jesus Stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and then a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We then proceed to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the famous, breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the ancient olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane. Then we continue to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We finish off our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then we visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 7- THU. JAN. 02 – QUMRAN / EIN, GEDI / MASADA / DEAD SEA
After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We then travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on Earth) for a short swim or float. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a visit to Qasr El-Yahud, the newly excavated site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. If possible, we will also include a short stop to Jericho.
DAY 8- FRI. JAN. 03 – SHRINE OF THE BOOK MODEL CITY / YAD VASHEM / HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL / POOL OF SILOAM / ST. PETER GALLICANTU / GARDEN TOMB
After breakfast, we visit the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. Then we have a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Next, we drive to the City of David, and then we go on a short walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through Hezekiah’s shaft. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We end our day in worship at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
DAY 9- SAT. JAN. 04 – ELAH VALLEY / JAFFA / FAREWELL DINNER / BEN GURION AIRPORT
This morning, we depart the city for the Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. Afterwards we’ll include visits to sites missed throughout the journey. From there, we continue our drive to Jaffa for a special Farewell Dinner. We then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.
DAY 10- SUN. JAN. 05 – ARRIVE IN U.S.A.
We arrive back in the U.S.A. in the morning. At the close of an unforgettable tour, we take home wonderful memories of the Old and New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.