|TEL AVIV: We arrived at Ben Gurion Airport.
We traveled to our hotel for one night in the Sharon Hotel in Tel Aviv,
overlooking the Medeteranean Sea.
CAESAREA, CANA, NAZARETH: After breakfast, we traveled by private motorcoach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. Saw the Roman Amphitheatre and aqueduct. Then journeyed on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah hid from King Ahab, and through the Jezreal Valley to Megiddo, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. In the afternoon, we continued on to Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and then on to Mt. Arbel for a panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee and surrounding lands. From this overview Irene was able to have a valuable lesson in the geographic layout of Jesus' early ministry.
CAPERNAUM & MOUNT OF BEATITUDE: We traveled to Dan and Caesarea Philippi, site of Peter’s Confession. A relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee with easy viewing of the nearby Golan Heights brings to life the experiences of the fishermen disciples. In Capernaum we visited the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we traveled on to the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea. A relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee with easy viewing of the nearby Golan Heights brings to life the experiences of the fishermen disciples.
JORDAN RIVER, BETH SHEAN AND DEAD SEA: We traveled southward to visit the Jordan River Baptismal site, and then to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. (1 Sam 31:10-12) During the intertestamental period, the city was renamed the "Scythopolis". Archaeologists have uncovered a huge number of ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Scythopolis. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis--a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. We viewed the oldest city in the world - Jericho, before coming to our lodging for the evening at the Dead Sea. We enjoyed a dip in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float.
MASADA, DEAD SEA SCROLLS, EIN GEDI: Our day began with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of Masada. Our guide treated us to the history of the famous zealot stand. We visited Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Afterwards we proceeded to Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. This is where King David hid from Saul, and where God defeated the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King Jehoshaphat. (1 Sam 23:29; 24 Song of Songs 1:14). The day was highleighted by Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent, where we enjoyed a trip back in time at this site on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem; a reliving of life in the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, and authentic food.
JERUSALEM: We walked where Jesus walked. Began the day with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemene. How many have wished to be wisked back in time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a moment. We walked between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of Jesus' prayer and take time for personal reflection. Next, we entered the Old City through Stephen's Gate, and visited the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus cured a cripple. We moved on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation. While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we were reminded of His way of suffering, viewed the Church of the Sepulchre before we arrived at the climax of our tour - the Garden Tomb.
BIBLE TIME IN ISRAEL: Our guide walked us through an accurately detailed smaller version of Biblical times in Jerusalem as well as the architecture and décor of the Temple. Next we visited the house of Caiaphas and the “Upper Room” where the disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later Thomas cried; “my Lord & my God.” We saw the ancient Roman Cardo, Herodian Mansion, Temple Institute and Western Wall. On our way out of the city we visited the Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. Our guide escorted us to the marketplace in Old Jerusalem.
BETHLEHEM, BIBLICAL GARDENS AND MESSIANIC LECTURE: This southern side of The Temple was the main entrance for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own entrance from the higher, eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard, have been unearthed. It is in this courtyard that Jesus likely drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the people. We traveled to the Shrine of the Book with time to enjoy the museum, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the absolute miracle of God’s preserved Word. We visited the Biblical Resource Scriptural Gardens to view a threshing floor, wine press, olive press and sheepfold, as well as the many plants of Biblical times as portrayed by costumed guides. We attended a messianic moshav to include a lecture by a local believer.