Israel Holy Land Tour with Pastor Ronald Gray
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Day by Day
Today we will meet at Atlanta International airport for our flights to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
saturdayIstanbul, Tel Aviv, Tiberias
This morning we will arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our flight to Tel Aviv Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. Continue through Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel. We proceed up the new toll road in Israel to the famous Sea of Galilee where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
sundaySea of Galilee, Capernaum, Beit Shean
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, returning to Nof Ginosar where we will see the New Testament boat found below the sea. Continue our morning tour with a visit to Capernaum, Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. In the afternoon we stop at Magdala, one of the oldest synagogues dating back to the first century AD. Home of Mary Magdalena and was the fishing center where Peter would have brought his catch to be sold or processed.We follow the Rift Valley running parallel to the Jordan, along the route Jesus most frequently traveled to Jerusalem, to Bet Shean at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, where King Saul was slain. Here we see the evidences of Egyptian, Roman, and Byzantine occupations, and view the ancient tel, Roman Theater and church mosaics. Our last stop today will be at the River Jordan where we will have the opportunity to be baptized, then transfer to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
mondayCana, Nazareth, Caesarea, Jerusalem
“We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matt. 20:18). We drive west to Nazareth. Traveling through Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first Miracle, turning water into wine (John 2). We proceed to Nazareth and ascend the Mount of the Precipice at the brow of Nazareth overlooking the Valley of Jezreel, synonymous with Armageddon. We then drive through the valley to the mound of Megiddo, Har Megiddo in Hebrew, which gave its name to Armageddon. We then ascend Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. From there we drive towards the Mediterranean coast traveling south along the coastal highway to Caesarea by the Sea. We enter Caesarea Maritima to explore this Roman bridgehead to the east, which became the Christian springboard to the west. After the visit to this ancient harbor, we board our bus and we head up the historic Beth Horon road (Joshua 10:10) to the Benjamin Plateau, passing ancient Gibeon and continuing on to Jerusalem. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem. Check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
tuesdayJerusalem, Masada, Dead Sea
Today we drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth-century Byzantine church. Continuing alongside the Dead Sea, 1300 ft. below sea level -- the lowest spot on earth -- we proceed to Ein Gedi where time permitting we will walk the path to see the waterfall in the desert. This afternoon we continue to Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We will have a stop for lunch and time to swim in the Dead Sea for those that want to. We will head up to Jerusalem and return to the hotel for dinner.
wednesdayMt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Herodium, Shepherd's Field, Bethlehem
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace" (Luke 19:42) Our drive this morning takes us past the Chapel of Ascension and Paternoster to the Mt. of Olives for an orientation view of Jerusalem and the opportunity of a group photograph overlooking Jerusalem. We then walk the traditional Passion walk. We descend to the church known as Dominus Flevit ("Our Lord weeps"). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text and view the Church of All Nations. Next we visit the Upper Room and the Tomb of King David, enter the Zion Gate and proceed to the Steps that entered the temple and the Southern Wall. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. See a video that shows the temple as it was at Herod's (or Jesus') time. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11). We drive south to the region of Bethlehem passing Rachel's Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. We drive to a hilltop for a view of Bethlehem, noting its relation to the rest of the central mountain range, including Jerusalem, as well as to the desert and the area of ancient Moab. This is Herodium, the palace set in a conical mountain built by Herod to mark his tomb. Note the juxtaposition of the two Kings of the Jews: King Herod buried in great opulence and the King of the Jews born in a humble manger in Bethlehem sitting in the background of the Herodium. We then drive to one of the possible sites for Shepherds' Fields. We continue into Bethlehem itself, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
thursdayOld City, Via Dolorosa, Garden Tomb
“He has risen!” (Mark 16:6) After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate, where we walk via the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the alAqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount. Here the first and second Temples once stood. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church. The church is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. Continuing on we see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) through the bazaars as far as the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk from the Christian Quarter along the Arab Souks through the Cardo Maximo and past the Armenian Quarter. Continuing to Mt Zion and to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here, the Assumptions Fathers suggest, was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus). We board our bus to the Garden Tomb where we will end our day with a special visit and the possibility of having a private communion on the grounds outside the city walls. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
fridayJerusalem, Free Day
The entire day is free to explore this famous city, take any private sightseeing excursions desired, shop or just relax. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
saturdayJerusalem, Tel Aviv, USA
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading.
Post-Tour: Italy & Turkey Post Extension Pastor Gray
Day by Day
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Istanbul and then on to Italy. Upon arrival in Rome we will be taken to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning we will visit the most interesting sites which are linked with the life of the Apostle Paul in Rome beginning with Insula di San Paolo alla Regola. Tradition has it that this is the area for Paul's first visit and house arrest in about 62AD. We visit the Church of Santa Prisca where you can still see the big Doric Capital used by Apostle Peter to baptize Prisca. Next we visit the Catacombs of San Sebastian, located on the Ancient Appian Way, where the bodies of Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter where kept during the Christian persecution of Valeriano ( 253 – 260 AD). Continue on to the Abbey of the Three Fountains, the place of Paul’s martyrdom, where tradition has it that three different springs gushed out at each spot touched when Paul’s head fell down. Next we visit St. Paul Outside the Walls and the adjoining Basilica where the bones of Paul have recently been found. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
mondayRome, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Sistine Chapel
This morning we visit the Vatican Museum and Gallery, Raphael's Rooms with their wonderful frescoes, the Sistine Chapel – where Michelangelo's recently restored masterpieces adorn the ceilings and walls – and Pincio Garden. We continue into St. Peter's Basilica and view Vatican City. This afternoon we continue sightseeing of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Navona Square; with its beautiful Bernini’s Fountain of the Rivers. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
This morning we have time to relax before we leave for the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival we will be taken to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning we begin our day with a tour to the unique Blue Mosque built in 1609 by Sultan Ahmet. The interior walls are covered with twenty thousand blue Iznik tiles. Our sightseeing continues with Hippodrome and Basilica of St. Sophia, which has inspired architects and religious leaders for over fifteen hundred years. Constructed in 326 by Constantine the Great, it has been a cathedral, a mosque, and now a museum. Return to the airport where we board our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always.