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Biblical Study Tour of the Holy Land and Jordan
Jerusalem ... Bethlehem ... Sea of Galilee ... Nazareth ... Tiberias ... Caesarea-by-the-Sea ... Masada ... Mt. Nebo ... Jericho ... Bethany ... Arad ... Beersheba
Petra ... Wadi Rum ... Jerash ... Machaerus ... Bethany Beyond The Jordan
Day One — Departure: Today we begin our trans- Atlantic journey. Dinner will be served en route.
Day Two — Tel Aviv / Tiberias: On arrival in Tel Aviv, we continue to Tiberias where our hotel is located on the Sea of Galilee.
Day Three — Golan Heights / Bethsaida / Tel Hazor / Tel Dan / Caesarea Philippi / Hippos: We begin the day by exploring the excavations at Bethsaida, the hometown of Peter, Andrew and Philip. Next, we visit Hazor, a city taken by Joshua. Later, we continue north through the Golan Heights to Tel Dan and its refreshing springs, one of the sources of the River Jordan. Nearby is Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Mt. 16). Overnight in Tiberias.
Day Four — Sea of Galilee Area / Bet Shean / Tiberias: Our morning begins with a cruise on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. We will visit the Mount of Beatitudes and Tabgha (feeding of 5,000 and the post- Resurrection appearance to the disciples). Later, we drive south through the Jordan Valley to Bet Shean, whose Biblical history covers the Canaanites, the Philistines (who hung Saul’s body on the town walls), the Romans and the Byzantines. We return to Tiberias for our overnight.
Day Five — Mt. Tabor / Cana / Nazareth / Sepphoris / Tiberias: Today begins with a visit to Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration. Next it’s on to Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle, and then to Nazareth - the boyhood home of Jesus. In Nazareth we will visit the Church of the Annunciation and see Mount Precipice. On our return to Tiberias, we’ll visit Sepphoris - which Josephus called “the ornament of all Galilee.” Sepphoris was the largest city in Galilee at the time of the First Revolt in 66 AD. Overnight in Tiberias.
Day Six — Caesarea / Mt. Carmel / Acre / Jerusalem: Today we visit Mt. Carmel, where we remember the glorious appearance of the Lord with Moses and Elijah, and then continue to the Crusader city of Acre (Akko). Following lunch, we motor along the Mediterranean Sea to visit the ancient port and crusader city of Caesarea-By-The-Sea, where Peter preached and where Paul was imprisoned for two years. A Roman theater, an ancient harbor and a fortress from Crusader times testify to the importance of this seacoast city. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Seven — Mount of Olives / Mount Zion / Bethany / Western Tunnels: This morning, we’ll visit the Mount of Olives where we’ll see the Church of the Ascension, the Church of the Pater Noster, and the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, crossing the Kidron Valley to Mount Zion, we pass the Tombs of Absalom and Zechariah en route to Mount Zion. Here we visit the Church of St. Peter’s in Gallicantu (Caiaphas’ House) and the Upper Room. In the late afternoon, we’ll make a very special visit to the Four Homes of Mercy in Bethany. Late this afternoon or in the early evening we’ll visit the Western Wall and its tunnels ... one of the most popular tourist sites in Jerusalem. These underground tunnels connect the Western Wall prayer area to the northwest side of the Temple Mount, passing under the present day houses in the Old City. Along its path are remains from the second temple period, as well as structures from later periods. The experience of walking along the tunnels is like taking a time machine back to the second temple period. Today, a small area is preserved with some of the original Roman columns. Just beyond the columns is an underground mall with a number of Jewish stores and art galleries. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Eight — Bethlehem / the Via Dolorosa (the way of the Cross) / the Garden Tomb: This morning we travel to Bethlehem to visit the Grotto of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. Following lunch, we enter Jerusalem’s Old City ... today’s program includes the remains of the City of David, the Western Wall, a view of the Dome of the Rock, St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Crusader Church with the Pool of Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, the Arch of Ecce Homo, Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Lithostrotos, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Before returning to our hotel, we’ll visit the Garden Tomb. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Nine — Arad / Beersheba: Our full day excursion today includes Tel Arad, an archaeological tel and one of the oldest cities in Israel. Solomon built a temple here. One of the most overlooked arachologicial sites in Israel but rich in history. Located west of the Dead Sea and surrounded by mountain ridges which are known as the Arad Plain. The site is divided into a lower city and an upper hill which holds the only ever discovered “House of Yahweh” in the land of Israel. Later, we visit Beersheba (Beer Sheva), one of the world’s oldest cities! The Biblical forefathers; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived and prophesized here. On this unique, off the beaten track program, we’ll explore the “Capital” of the Negev Desert where “Our Past Meets Our Future.” Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Ten — Jericho / Masada / Dead Sea / Qumran / Aqaba, Jordan: This morning we visit the ancient Tel in Jericho and then travel through the Judean wilderness to the Qumran Caves, the site where the community of Essenes lived and recorded the books of the Old Testament. Then we visit the shore of the Dead Sea, possibly to float in its mineral-rich waters en route to Masada, we’ll visit the remarkable ruins of the fortress built by Herod the Great. This afternoon, we’ll cross the Israeli border into Jordan and overnight in Aqaba on the Red Sea.
Day Eleven — Wadi Rum / Petra: Today we tour Wadi Rum by jeep – a journey to another world. It is a vast, silent place, timeless and starkly beautiful, and is one of Jordan’s and the world’s most stunning desertscapes. It is probably known best for its connection with the British officer, T. E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab revolt of 1917, and is the setting for the film that carried his name, “Lawrence of Arabia.” In the late afternoon we’ll arrive in the Rose Red City of Petra ... one of the most important, ancient Arab kingdoms, whose history goes back as far as the Middle Paleolithic period and forward to the days of the Crusades and Saladin. Overnight in Petra.
Day Twelve — Petra / Machaerus and Dead Sea: Our morning visit of the Rose Red City of Petra might just be one of the highlights of the entire trip. It can only be reached through a narrow siq, flanked by towering cliffs. Following our late lunch we continue to Machaerus, known today as Mukawir, which is located on a dramatic hilltop and is known as the traditional site of the execution of John the Baptist. The fortress was first built by the Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC). The fortress was later destroyed by the Romans in 63 BC. It was then restored by Herod the Great (37- 4 BC), according to the contemporary historian Josephus. When Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, divorced his Nabataean wife to marry Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, John the Baptist outspokenly condemned his behavior. It was here that John was imprisoned, and Herodias’ daughter Salome danced and demanded the Baptist’s head on a platter. We plan to overnight on the Dead Sea or near Madaba.
Day Thirteen — Bethany Beyond The Jordan / Amman: This morning we visit Bethany Beyond Jordan to renew our Baptismal Promises and then continue to Amman, the Capital of Jordan.
Day Fourteen — Mt. Nebo / Jerash / Amman: This morning’s journey takes us north to Mt. Nebo where, like Moses, we look across the Jordan River. Later, we visit Jerash, a Greco-Roman city, with its temples to Artemis and Zeus, a vast Roman Forum, Hadrian’s Triumphal Arch, an impressive Theater, and a mile-long Street of Columns. In the late afternoon we tour Amman – the modern center of an ancient world ... here you’ll find Roman ruins built over Iron Age ruins, and a later Arab citadel built over a temple to Hercules. Overnight in Amman.
Day Fifteen — Amman / USA: Today we begin our journey home.