9 DAY’S IN THE HOLY LAND BEGINS HERE
DAY 1 – Sunday, March 19, 2017 NEW YORK / ISTANBUL 9 DAY’S IN THE HOLY LAND BEGINS HERE Tour members are welcomed for our departing flight to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
DAY 2 – Monday, March 20, 2017 ISTANBUL / 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.
DAY 3 – Tuesday, March 21, 2017 MAGDALA / HAZOR/ DAN / CAESAREA PHILIPPI /UPPER GALILEE “The Head of all those Kingdoms” (Joshua 11:10) The Sources of the Jordan. This morning 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. Then on to Chorazin, through the Hula Valley to Hazor, ruins of the powerful Canaanite city destroyed by Joshua and rebuilt by King Jabin and then by Solomon as a chariot city to command upper Galilee. We continue to the northern limits of Jesus’ travel as we cross the River Hatzbani to Dan, where 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 4 – Wednesday, March 22, 2017 TIBERIAS / SEA OF GALILEE / BET SHEAN / TIBERIAS 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 follow 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 River Jordan where we will have the opportunity to be baptized, then transfer to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 – Thursday, March 23, 2017 CANA / 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
DAY 6 – Friday, March 24, 2017 JERUSALEM / MASADA /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, 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 for those that want to swim in the Dead Sea may. 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. SPECIAL EVENT: Tonight travel to Bethlehem where we will participate in the lighting of the Christmas Tree ceremony. We will join others as we sing carols and pray at this annual celebration.
DAY 7 – Saturday, March 25, 2017 MT. OF OLIVES / PASSION WALK / SOUTHERN WALL / HERODIUM / SOLOMON’S POOLS /BETHLEHEM “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42) We start the day via 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. 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 Western 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. The 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. Time permitting driving south, we visit Solomon’s Pools, Jerusalem’s main source of water for almost 2000 years. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 – Sunday, March 26, 2017 OLD CITY / TEMPLE MOUNT / 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, 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 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.
DAY 9 – Monday, March 27, 2017 JERUSALEM / 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