Israel Tour Phillip Shuford & Velma Merritt
Custom Bible Teaching Tours
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Day by Day
mondayDallas , Istanbul
Today we will meet at the Dallas / Ft Worth International Airport for our flight to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
tuesdayIstanbul, Tel Aviv, Tiberias
This afternoon we will arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our flight to Israel. 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 past Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel, to the famous Sea of Galilee in Tiberias where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
wednesdayDan, Caesarea Philippi, Magdala
"The Head of all those Kingdoms" (Joshua 11:10) The Sources of the Jordan.
This morning our drive takes us to the northern limits of Jesus' travel as we cross the River Hatzbani to Dan. Here we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, topped by the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). Then a short drive to Banias (Caesarea Philippi), dedicated to Pan the Greek god of pastures, flocks and shepherds; here Peter made his great profession of faith, recognition of Christ Jesus (Matthew 16). Driving along the foot of Mount Hermon, we ascend onto the Golan Plateau for a magnificent view of upper Israel. On our return we will stop at Chorazin and then on to 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. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
thursdaySea of Galilee, Capernaum, Beit Shean
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, landing at 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 follow the Rift Valley the Rift Valley running parallel to the Jordan, along the route Jesus most frequently traveled to Jerusalem. We visit Bet Shean at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, where King Saul was slain, 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 Jordan River where we may have the opportunity to be baptized (provided a pastor is traveling on the tour), then return to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
fridayCana, Nazareth, Caesara, Jerusalem
“We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matt. 20:18). This morning we travel west passing Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first Miracle, turning water into wine (John 2). Continue on to Sepphoris, birthplace of Mary. Next we make our way to Nazareth and ascend the Mount of the Precipice at the brow of Nazareth overlooking the Valley of Jezreel, synonymous with Armageddon. Continue on to 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.
saturdayMasada, Qumran, Dead Sea, Jericho
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, 1,300 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 for those that want to swim in the Dead Sea. We travel to Jericho, the world’s oldest city. From the excavated tel atop the ruins of ancient Jericho we view the lush green Jordan Valley, Elisha’s spring and Qarantal, the Mount of Temptation. We will head up to Jerusalem and return to the hotel for dinner.
sundayMt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Shepherd's Fields, 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. Enter the Old City and make our way to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, before we proceed to the Jerusalem Archeological Park where we see 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). This afternoon we drive south 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.
mondayRabbi Tunnel, Sifting Project, Yad Vashem, Shrine of the Book
This morning we will board our bus for our exciting tour to the famous Rabbi Tunnel . Here we will enter by the Western Wall Plaza and go down to the foundation of the Second Temple. We will see a model that will demonstrate where we are in location to the Temple in the time of Christ. Continue along the tunnel as we proceed to the Gateway of the Priests entry to the Holy of Holies. We continue to the Temple Mount Sifting Project on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Here we have the opportunity to sift through rubble that originated in ancient buildings from the Temple Period and learn about findings from archaeologists and expert guides at the site.
This afternoon we will head to Yad Vashem and see the Museum of the Holocaust. Continue to Shrine of the Book and the model city of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
tuesdayOld City, Via Dolorosa, Garden Tomb
“He has risen!” (Mark 16:6) After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate, where we ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, considered the third holiest site of Islam, located on the 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 on to Mount Zion we visit the Upper Room and the Tomb of King David, and then 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.
wednesdayJerusalem, Tel Aviv, USA
We transfer to the Ben Gurion 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.