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Israel Tour Pastor Michael Zechman March 8, 2021

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Day by Day

Atlanta, Tel Aviv

Today we will meet at Atlanta International Airport for our connecting flight to Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv, Netanya

After arrival, we motor up the coast to the capital city of Roman Palestine, Caesarea by the Sea.  This expansive city built by Herod the Great just before the life of Jesus furnishes an experience in the worlds of Greek culture and Roman imperialism.  It also sets the stage for our understanding of early Christian, with both Jewish and Gentile influences. Overnight.

Mount Carmel, Megiddo, Tiberias

This morning we head for Mount Carmel where Elijah squared off against the prophets of Baal and Asherah (I Kings 18). Though an Old Testament event and site, our overlook here provides a penetrating discussion of "covenant faith," important background for understanding the Sermon on the Mount and the Passion narratives in the Gospels. Before lunch, we journey along the Valley of Armageddon to Megiddo, store city of Solomon and Ahab. Here we view a pillared house from the time of Joshua and consider the connection between its architecture and the birth accounts of Jesus. After lunch we move a short distance to the village of Nain, near where Elijah raised the widow's son from the dead and where Jesus did the same (Luke 7). The sites today give us a sense of the background to Jesus' life and ministry also his heart for the people of the north and their plight. Overnight Leonardo Club, Tiberias.

Cana, Sepphoris, Nazareth, Magdala, Arbel, Genesareth, Tiberias

Our day begins with a jaunt from Tiberias through the Beit Netofah Valley, passing by Cana, where Jesus turned the water to wine (John 2). We will view the ruins of Cana from atop the capital city of Herod Antipas near Nazareth, Sepphoris. This immensely important site, star city of the north in Jesus' day, gives opportunity to build a case that Jesus, as a conscripted teen-aged laborer worked here as a stone mason during Antipas' great rebuilding of this major Galilean urban center. Here we consider six major influences during Jesus' adolescence that impacted his life and teachings thereafter. Then before lunch we move to Jesus' boyhood home of Nazareth. We visit the grand Basilica of the Annunciation, housed over the ruins of Herodian Nazareth. This stop plays upon our discussions at Sepphoris, just visited, give us a fuller picture of the early years of Jesus. After lunch in Nazareth, we move back to the region of the Sea of Galilee and the Jewish town of Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. This seaside fishing vilage and its center synagogue are rapidly changing our view of early Jewish Christianity. Then finally, we rise toe the heights of Arbel, which provide us with a promontory of the whole region of Genesareth, setting from much of Jesus' healing ministries. Here we'll consider the Old Testament prophets' anticipation of the Messiah as well as the events that forced Jesus from his home in Nazareth to "hide out" around the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4). Overnight Leonardo Club, Tiberias.

Chorazin, Sermon on the Mount, Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, Tiberias

Our day begins on a slight plateau above the northwest shore of the sea at the town of Chorazin, once condemned by Jesus for its failure to repent. This little northern town gives a complete picture of life in the Jewish Galilee of Jesus' day. Then it is just a short walk to the level ridge where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount to an ever-increasing number of commoners who came to him. We'll walk together down this uplifted plain all the way to Capernaum, where Jesus often billeted. Lots to look at here from Matthew's account of Jesus' ministry in this town. After lunch, we launch onto the sea on a boat across the Sea of Galilee in a ferry fashioned from the ferries of Jesus' day, relaxing with modern day fishermen on board and docking finally at the city of Tiberias, built by Antipas in honor his patron, Emperor Tiberius during Jesus' teen-aged years. Overnight Leonardo Club, Tiberias.

Jordan River, Beit Shean, Dead Sea, Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem

Our day begins on the shores of the Jordan River for an Old Testament water rite and meaningful moment at the waters where Jesus was baptized. Then we move along south to the impressive remains of the Star of the Decapolis, Beth Shean, known as Scythopolis in Jesus' day. here we'll walk through a day in the life of a citizen of this Roman/Byzantine city. Just before lunch we drive to the desert area in the vicinity of the Dead Sea (1300 ft. below sea level!), for a visit to Qumran, site of an Essene monastery whose inhabitants produced the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. We'll view some of the caves where the scrolls were found. And then finally, after lunch, we stop at Jericho, necessary stop for all Jewish pilgrims and others in Jesus' day before making the climb to Jerusalem. We'll stop near the Roman road where Jesus told the Good Samaritan story and where he encountered Zachaeus (Luke 19). To hear the story of Jesus and Zachaeus from the very spot where it took place is unforgettable!. A final short drive west culminates in our first view of the holy city, Jerusalem, and our residence for the remainder of our tour. Overnight Ambassador Hotel, Jerusalem.

Ein Gedi, Masada, Jerusalem

. Today we leave Jerusalem early in the morning, driving back to the area of the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, where David hid out from Saul (1 Samuel 24). The vistas here on our hike up the canyon are breath-taking. After this, we drive a short distance to Masada, on the western shores of the sea, and Herod's infamous fortress, where 969 Jewish revolutionaries stood to the last against the 10th legion of Roman. We'll view the synagogue, Herod' norther palace, and rooms where the Zealots lived during their occupation. We'll also see where biblical scrolls were found and discuss the importance of these finds. After this visit, we drive north again for lunch along the shores of the Dead Sea and stop for a swim, or float, n the densely saline waters of this body of water, an event not to be missed, before we drive back again to our hotel in Jerusalem. Overnight Ambassador Hotel, Jerusalem.

Israel Museum, Herodium, Basilica of the Nativity, Jerusalem

Today we start in the western suburbs of Jerusalem with a visit to the Israel Museum, for a look at a 1:50 scale model of the Jerusalem of Jesus' day. This look furnishes helpful information and perspective for tomorrow when we trace the footsteps of Jesus to the cross. We also get a look at the Israeli owned cache of Dead Sea scrolls, which were recorded during the days of Jesus. After this, we motor on to Bethlehem for lunch and a shopping opportunity. Our afternoon will be filled with visits to Herodium, the site of Herod the Great's burial mausoleum, and the famous Basilica of the Nativity, which stands over the likely site of Jesus' birthplace. Throughout the afternoon we frequently refer to the differences between the "king by might" (Herod the Great) and the "king by right" (Jesus of Nazareth). The gospels of Matthew and Luke constantly compare these two figures in their birth narratives. After this exhilarating day, we drive the six-mile road back to our hotel in Jerusalem. Overnight Ambassador Hotel Jerusalem.

Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Calaphas' House, Citadel, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Our final day in Jerusalem is a full and impacting one. We begin with a panoramic view of Jerusalem from just west of Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Here we will lay out the steps of Jesus between March 27, and April 4, 33AD, the days of His passion in Jerusalem. Then we move along the pilgrim route down the mount to Gethsemane. Here we'll find a quiet spot in the olive grove to contemplate the agony and temptation of our Lord. Just before lunch, we drive to the upper city to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus in the courtyard outside Caiaphas' house, the site of Jesus interrogation before Saduccean members of the Sanhedrin religious court. After lunch, we will visit the Citadel, where Jesus was tried before Pilate and scourged before being led to the cross. We walk the historical Via Dolorosa, the "way of sorrows," ending at the site of his execution, burial, and resurrection at the Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This very emotional day ends with our hands on the bedrock that shook when the earthquake released our risen Lord from the tomb. Our day ends at our hotel with a farewell meal and time of communion, reflection, and testimonies, having shared memories for a lifetime in this unique and "real time" experience in the life and world of Jesus. We depart then for the airport and our flight home.

Tel Aviv, USA

Our flight home leaves Tel Aviv just after midnight, arriving finally in the USA the next morning.

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* $500 deposit per person
Departure Date Mar 30 - Apr 8, 2021
Price / Person $4,850.00
Tour Number: 210325 (from Atlanta)
* Wait listed must call before signing up 602.788.8864