Tour Biblical Israel
We proceed through customs and security and meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in Netanya in time for dinner and overnight. This morning, we depart for the Galilee to visit the Biblical site of Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). We also see Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Time permitting, we will stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). Then we continue on to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home) and visit Nazareth Village. Next, we proceed to Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle – John 2) and the Mt. of Precipice. Afterwards, we arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today at Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5,000) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes, then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Afterwards, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” to set sail on the Sea of Galilee. For those interested, our lunch stop includes the option of ordering the special St. Peter’s Fish (not included). After lunch, we head to Gadara and Bethsaida (time permitting) before making our way to the Jordan River. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias.
Visit the Best Preserved City of Beit Shean
After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then we head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam before heading to Gideon Springs. Next, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where King Saul and his sons’ bodies were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10- 12). Finally, we ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord. ‘Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 NASB). We begin today on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the famous, breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the ancient olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane. Then we continue on to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. Next we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to walk the Via Dolorosa – including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Next we arrive in Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
Travel the Road to Zion
After breakfast, we enter the old city of Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and proceed to the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18-25), which is called the Temple Mount. This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the El-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. Next, we take a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area and where Peter preached the first gospel sermon, (Acts 2). We depart the old city and drive to the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ day. We journey to the Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. Last, we return to Jerusalem for Dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we drive to the City of David then go on a short walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through the tunnel. Anyone wanting to stay dry can walk through Hezekiah’s shaft. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We end our day in worship at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a visit to Qasr El-Yahud, the newly excavated site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. If possible, we will also include a short visit to Jericho. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. Next, we travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada and ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. At the Dead Sea we may enjoy a time to float in the buoyant waters. Our Farewell Dinner and overnight are in our resort hotel by the Dead Sea.
Optional Egypt Extension
We transfer to St. Catherine for check-in, dinner, and overnight at our hotel. This morning, we meet in the hotel lobby by 2:00 a.m. to start our day by climbing Moussa Mountain with our local guide (those who choose not to climb, can stay back at the hotel). On the southern end of the collection of peaks, is Mount Moussa (Mountain of Moses), biblically considered to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Climbing the mountain takes about 3 hours on foot following the Path of Moses – a stairway of nearly 4,000 steps – to arrive at the peak for the wonderful view of the sunrise. After enjoying the sunrise, we visit St. Catherine’s Monastery, located at the foot of the mountain. The monastery is built around what is thought to be Moses’ Burning Bush and is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art. We then transfer to Sharm El Sheikh airport for our short flight to Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, we transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we venture to some of Egypt’s oldest sites, and enjoy a camel ride. We begin with the Pyramids of Giza. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest, comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks. We enter this pyramid and visit the King’s Chamber. Nearby, we journey to the Solar Boat Museum to see an ancient Egyptian cedarwood boat dating back 4,500 years. We also visit the Great Sphinx. Next, we see the Necropolis of Sakkara, the site of King Zoser’s Step Pyramid. This vast site in the heart of the desert plateau is the largest necropolis in Egypt. We end in Memphis, to see the limestone Colossus of Ramses II. Here the remnants of the nation’s first capital, once the most cosmopolitan city in Egypt, lie scattered in the desert. Dinner and overnight are in Cairo. After breakfast, we enjoy a special tour of the Museum of Antiquities. The museum houses the greatest collection of Pharaonic treasures in the world, including the expansive Tutankhamen collection of golden treasures. We continue to the Citadel. Inside, we see the lavishly decorated Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. We continue to the famous Suspended Church, dating back to the late fourth and early fifth centuries. We then visit the Church of St. Sergius, a fifth-century Coptic