Israel Tour The Orchard Church
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Day by Day
Today we will meet at Atlanta International airport for our flights to Frankfurt via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
tuesdayFrankfurt, Tel Aviv, Tiberias
This morning we will arrive in Frankfurt 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 where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
wednesdayDan, Caesarea Philippi, Jordan River
"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). Our last stop today will be at the River Jordan where we may have the opportunity to be baptized. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
thursdaySea of Galilee, Capernaum, Magdala
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 tour with a visit to Capernaum, Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. On our return we will 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 end our day with a visit to the Valley of the Doves, sitting below the imposing cliffs of Mt Arbel. The path from Nazareth to Magdala passed through this valley, linking in with the old Via Maris (Way of the Sea). This is the road Jesus travelled on his way to Capernaum. From here we can view some of the original caves in the side of the mountain that were used as hideouts for the Jews who fought against the Greeks and Romans. Return to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
fridayTiberias, Nazareth, Caesarea, Jerusalem
“We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matt. 20:18). We drive west to past 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. 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, Ein Gedi, Qumran
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 we will walk the path to see the waterfall in the desert. There will be time for those wishing to explore further up the trail. We end our day at Qumran and view the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. 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 Bethlehem, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. After time for shopping we drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
mondayJerusalem, Archaeological Dig, Bible Land Museum
This morning we make our way to Beit Guvrin National Park, the ancestral home of King Herod, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompassing the remains of Tel Maresha. Here we have the opportunity to join Dig-for-a-Day, a hands-on experience that combines excavating, sifting, pottery examination, and exploration of an extensive archaeological cave system. The program is approximately three hours and is led by professional guides under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authorities. Time permitting we will enjoy additional caves in the park before returning to Jerusalem. Later this afternoon we visit the Biblical Garden at Yad Hashmona, giving visitors a glimpse into the spiritual, physical, and agricultural world of the Jewish people in the land of the Bible. While here we may (if available) have the opportunity to participate in a Passover Biblical Meal as Jesus would have experienced it. Return to the 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, 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 on to Mount Zion we visit 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. This evening we have time for a short nap and to pack our bags before our early morning wake up call.
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.