Dates: September 2-13, 2019 (12 days)
Cost: $3,797 from LAX (see brochure for details and fine print)
Host: Pacific Southwest District/Imagine Tours & Travel
DAY 1 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2: FLIGHT TO TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 2 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3: ARRIVE TEL AVIV, JAFFA, CAESAREA MARITIMA, GALILEE
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security and are assisted to our motor coach. Here, we are met by our Israeli guide and our driver. We leave the airport and make a quick stop in Jaffa and Caesarea Maritima. We then arrive at the Galilee for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4: NAZARETH, NAZARETH VILLAGE, CANA, MEGIDDO, MT. CARMEL, GALILEE
This morning, we depart for Nazareth to visit a village as it would have appeared during the time of Jesus, along with a stop in Cana. 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 drive up to Mount Arbel, a beautiful landmark in Galilee. Dinner and overnight are back at our hotel in the Galilee area.
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: GALILEE, MT. OF BEATITUDES, CAPERNAUM, BOAT RIDE, BETHSAIDA, JORDAN RIVER, KURSI (GERGESA)
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 5000) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. We will stop briefly at the site of John 21. 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). We’ll drive to the Kursi overlook, the mountainside where the demons entered the swine after being cast out of the demoniac. Dinner and overnight are back at our hotel by the Galilee.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6: TEL DAN, KORAZIM, HAZOR, CAESAREA PHILIPPI.
After breakfast, we travel north to Tel Dan. We head to Korazim to visit a ruined synagogue, before making our way to Hazor, a city taken by Joshua (Joshua 11:10-14). Then, we head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We will travel up nearby Mount Hermon, the location of Jesus’ Transfiguration (cable car not included). From here, weather permitting, we will be able to view the city of Damascus in the distance. Dinner and overnight are back at our hotel by the Galilee.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7: LOWER GALILEE, BETH SHEAN, EIN HAROD, JORDAN RIVER, JERUSALEM
We begin the day by driving south to the Lower Galilee to the site of Beth Shean (1 Sam. 31), to see the recent excavations that have disclosed the impressive ruins of the country’s largest city in the Roman and Byzantine periods, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 749 C.E. We then visit Ein Harod, the site of Judge Gideon (Judges 7:1-25). We stop at the Jordan River baptismal site of Yardenit. Here, we have the option to be baptized. 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).
DAY 7 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8: QUMRAN, EIN GEDI, MASADA, DEAD SEA FOR SWIM/ FLOAT
After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first-century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here, we head to Ein Gedi the oasis in the desert where David hid from King Saul. We then travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim or float. Dinner and overnight are again in Jerusalem.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9: BETHLEHEM, CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, HERODIUM, WADI QELT
We begin the day with a visit to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. Then, we will drive south of Jerusalem to Herodium, a palace-fortress of Herod the Great. It was here where Herod was buried in 4 B.C. As time permits, we will make a quick stop to enjoy an overview of the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Wilderness to hear the words of Isaiah 40 and Psalm 23 shared in the context of this desolate area! Conditions permitting, we’ll include a short visit to the excavations at ancient Jericho (Joshua 6). Dinner and overnight are back in Jerusalem.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: JERUSALEM, MOUNT OF OLIVES, CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
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) known as the Dominus Flevit, where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We will then visit Caiphas House and the Upper Room. We will also be at 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 end the day at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of two possible locations for Christ’s crucifixion and burial. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: JEWISH QUARTER, CITY OF DAVID, WESTERN WALL
Today, we discover the archaeology of Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter. We start at the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which according to Jewish tradition, is the part of the Kidron Valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. From here, we continue to visit the City of David (2 Samuel 5) and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to, can take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long, 2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 8 & 37). We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of the blind man healed by Jesus (John 9). From here, we walk to the Dung Gate and proceed to the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. We will visit the Davidson Center to have a better perspective of the Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: TEMPLE MOUNT, NEW CITY, SHRINE OF THE BOOK, ISRAEL MUSEUM, EIN KAREM, GARDEN TOMB, AIRPORT
This morning, we enter the Old City where we first visit 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. We will visit the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just outside at the Israel Museum, we see the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. We visit Ein Karem, the town where John the Baptist was born, and where Mary visited Elizabeth. We end the day at the Garden Tomb and enjoy a communion service together. From here, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner together and then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: ARRIVE IN U.S.A.
We arrive back in the U.S.A. today. At the close of an unforgettable tour, we take home wonderful memories of the Old and New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.