Mark Correll Holy Land Tour September 2018
Pastor Mark Correll
September 2, 2018 to September 14, 2018
Rome and/or Tel Aviv, Israel
Sept 2-3, 2018 – Day 1&2: Fly to Rome
September 4 Day 3 – Rome
Today’s tour will show us the great “power” of Rome and Emperors who demanded divinity for themselves. This was mainly what Apostle Paul preached against in Roman 1-25:
Romans 1, 25
And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
From the Trajan’s Column, jewel of architecture and sculpture made by Apollodorus of Damascus, our guide will show you along the Via dei Fori Imperiali (street of the Imperial Fora), the ruins of the fori that the great emperors built as lasting memory of their power. We see the Forum of Trajan, the biggest and most splendid of all, whose markets, true forerunners of the modern commercial centers, offered to the Roman citizen any goods to be found at that time. On foot you will reach the Capitoline Hill, once political and religious center of the town, which today is the seat of the Municipality.
The stairway will lead you to the Piazza del Campidoglio, the magnificent result of a single project by Michelangelo, with a copy of the most famous equestrian statue in the world, the statue of Marcus Aurelius, in the middle. Behind Piazza del Campidoglio you will find a natural terrace providing the best panoramic point over the valley of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Walking through the valley of the Roman Forum the great Rome with its important buildings will revive before your eyes; the Curia, seat of the Roman Senate, the State Archive, the basilicas, palaces of justice, the temple of Vesta, and the House of the Vestals, the virgins in charge of keeping the sacred fire always alive, and all around temples and columns and arches of triumph erected to commemorate gods of Roman history
Romans 1, 23
And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…
From the Forum the guide will show you to the place linked to the fabulous origins of Rome: the Palatine. Here Romolus founded the town in the year 753 B.C. and starting with Augustus the great emperors settled here. From the valley of the Roman Forum you will admire the Domus Tiberiana only partially explored and the ruins of the Imperial Palaces. Leaving the Roman Forum you will find the Arch of Constantine, erected to commemorate the victory of the emperor over Maxentius in the 4th century A.D. (tradition says that before the battle the Emperor saw a brilliant cross in the sky and said the famous words “in hoc signo vinces”). The tour ends at the Colosseum, everlasting symbol of the greatness of Rome and the stage for the historical fights of the gladiators. Drive to the hotel for check in, dinner and overnight.
Sept 5, 2018 – Day 4
After breakfast, we depart the hotel and drive along the Appian way to visit the Catacombs of Santa Domitilla. The Christian catacombs are extremely important for the art history of early Christians. At first they were used both for burial and the memorial services and celebrations of the anniversaries of Christian martyrs (following similar Roman customs). They probably were not used for regular worship. Many modern depictions of the catacombs show them as hiding places for Christian populations during times of persecution.
Regain our bus and continue the tour visiting Abbey of the Three Fountains, the place of Paul’s martyrdom, where tradition has it that three different springs gushed out at each spot touched when Paul’s head fell down. Legend claims that when St Paul was decapitated, his head bounced three times and fountains miraculously sprang out when it touched the ground. The legend is nice, but the springs were known in pre-Christian times as the Aquae Salviae, and the excavations revealed ancient mosaic pavements. Still, even if it is not true it helps identify the site of St Paul’s martyrdom. It is also said that there was a stone-pine tree at the site of his death, and the identification of this place was strengthened when ancient stone-pine cones were found here during excavations in 1857.
We will then visit the place where the bones of Paul have recently been found, Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. It is a Benedictine Abbey which shares its name, origins and centuries of history, both joyful and sorrowful, with the adjoining basilica.
Paul was not the only Apostle of the early church associated with Rome. Peter was martyred on the Vatican Hill and the memory of the impact of the Apostle Johns lasting ministry before and after his apparent arrest and exile to Patmos by Emperor Domitian also has its place.
In the afternoon we continue our Roman visit with the Basilica of St John in Lateran which became among the most important Christians Churches of Rome. When Constantine opened the Roman world to Christianity, his apparent conversion was symbolized by the donation of a significant family property for the Basilica. The important Lateran Baptistery reminds us of the many early converts to the faith and the process of moving it from a rouge influence to a sponsored and ordered faith.
Then the Holy Steps, According to tradition, these steps (now covered with wooden plants) are the very ones Jesus climbed in the house of Pontius Pilate only to see the Roman governor wash his hands of the self-styled messiah . Martin Luther, on his trip to Rome to meet the Pope, climbed on his knees, a tradition still maintained today- Balance of they at leisure to explore the city on your own – we will see the Trevi mountain and Navona square. Dinner will be served in a panoramic restaurant, with great view over Rome!
THURSDAY – September 06 (Day 5): Arrival Tel Aviv – Caesarea – Muhraqa – Meggido – Nazareth Village
Welcome to Israel! We will arrive in Ben Gurion Airport where we meet our local guide and transfer. We then drive to Caesarea Maritima (entrance included), where we will visit the magnificent city with Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader ruins. Here we will elaborate on the story of the baptism of Cornelius, the first gentile convert into Christianity (Acts 10), and on the travels of Paul — those events that led Caesarea Maritima to become the springboard of Christianity to the West. We will then continue to Mount Carmel (entrance included) and consider the contest between the Prophet Elijah and the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), discussing the reasons why the Prophet chose that place for the contest, and the lessons we learn from the story. We then travel to Megiddo (entrance included) and explore the Tel that goes back in history to 4000 BC, looking at ruins from the times of King Solomon and King Ahab. Overlooking the Armageddon Valley, we will also discuss the reasons why we believe this will be the setting for the final battle between good and evil mentioned in Revelation 16:16. After a lunch break (included) we travel to Nazareth where we will climb the Mount of Precipice, the brow of the hill on which the city was built (Luke 4). There we will reflect on the rejection of Jesus by his family and friends in Nazareth. In addition to discussing Jesus’ boyhood we will also consider the life and times of Deborah (Judges 4). We will then visit Nazareth Village (entrance included), a reconstruction of an ancient village from the time of The Lord. We check into our hotel on the Sea of Galilee for the next three nights and enjoy another dinner together.
FRIDAY – September 07 (Day 6): Sea of Galilee – Bethsaida – Mt. Beatitudes – Capernaum – Boat Ride & Jesus Boat Museum
You will be encouraged each morning to rise for a private, early morning walk and a time of prayer on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Most likely you will get to see modern fishermen using nets the way Jesus and His disciples did. Others may want to bring a special paper tribute to a loved one and bury it in the sands of the Sea of Galilee. After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee from the Peace Vista lookout, where we will be able to see the entire lake. From this view we will consider why Jesus chose to begin delivering His message from there. We then travel to Bethsaida (entrance included), the hometown of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, This is one of three cities that make up the Gospel Triangle and the location where Jesus spent two of His three years of public ministry. We then proceed to the Mount of Beatitudes and discuss the Sermon on the Mount, finishing the theme that was started earlier that day. During our lunch break (included) you will have the opportunity to try St. Peter’s fish, commonly eaten by people in Jesus’ day. We will then visit Capernaum (entrance included), Jesus’ Galilean ministry base. There we will see the house of Peter’s mother in law, in addition to other ruins of the village. We will stand in the ruins of the ancient synagogue where Jesus was confronted by the demoniac. We end our day with a visit to the ancient boat museum (included), containing a recently-discovered 2000-year old fishing boat. We will then sail (included) on the Sea of Galilee on a replica of that boat. We return to our hotel. Dinner included.
SATURDAY – September 08 (Day 7): Tel Dan – Tel Hazer – Caesarea Philippi – Jordan River
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with traveling to the northern boundary of Israel and begin with visiting Tel Dan (entrance included), the northern extremity of Biblical Israel. Our First stop will be Tel Hazer (entrance included), where we will view the ruins of the largest Canaanite city and the only place that Joshua burned. This is one of three cities mentioned in the Book of Kings as part of the building activities of King Solomon. We will visit the location of the altar where the golden calf was placed by King Jeroboam. There we will discuss the downfall and idolatry of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. We will move on to the Dan Stream, the largest tributary of the Jordan River and possibly the place where Psalm 42 was written (“As the dear pants for the water brook, so my soul pants for Thee…”). We will then continue to Caesarea Philippi, (entrance included) where we will visit the ruins of the pagan altars and consider the confession of Peter in Matthew 16 (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” We will have our lunch break where you will have the option to try falafel, a typical Middle Easter meal (included). We will drive further north to the border with Syria where we will consider the dramatic conversion and life-transformation of Saul of Tarsus: The Apostle Paul. We then travel to the baptismal site of Jesus on the Jordan River. You will be offered the opportunity to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan in an available location picked by your host and guide. We then spend the evening in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner included.
SUNDAY – September 09 (Day 8): Beit Shean – Jordan River – Tel Jericho – Mt. Scopus Jerusalem
After a buffet breakfast, we leave the area of Galilee, following the Jordan Valley Road to Beth Shean (entrance included), the capital of the Decapolis. There we will see the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine cities. We will also discuss the demise of King Saul and his sons, whose bodies were hanged on the walls of Beth Shean. We will then continue traveling south to the actual location where John the Baptist was baptizing on the Jordan River. Jericho will be our next stop, where we will visit the Tel of Jericho (entrance included) with its ancient ruins, pointing out what possibly could be the foundations of the ramparts that Joshua and the Israelites brought down. After lunch (included), we travel to the Old Roman Road, where we will consider the setting for the Parable of the Good Samaritan. From there we will go up to Jerusalem, and have a Genesis Welcome to the Holy City. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem
MONDAY – September 10 (Day 9): Mount of Olives – Gethsemane – Davidson Centre – Bethlehem – Shepherd’s Field
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with an orientation over the holy city from the Mount of Olives, pointing out important locations within the Old City, connecting them with Biblical stories and prophecies about the return of Jesus. We will then walk down the Palm Sunday Procession road to the Garden of Gethsemane, where the passion of Jesus began. Each of us will be given some personal time in a private section of the Garden. We will then visit the Southern Wall excavations (entrance included) where ruins of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount are still visible. We will then gather at the teaching steps, the main entrance to the Temple where Rabbis met and taught their disciples. After lunch (included) we then travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. We begin with a visit to the Shepherds fields where the angels appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of Our Lord. These fields are also the setting of the Book of Ruth. We will then travel to the Church of the Nativity and view the actual place where Our Lord was born. Time will then be given to shop for olive wood and other items. We return to our hotel. Dinner included.
TUESDAY- September 11 (Day 10): Masada – Ein Gedi – Qumran
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day visiting Masada (entrance & cable car included), the fortress built by King Herod the Great and made famous by the Zealots in 73/74 AD with the standoff against the Romans. We visit the fortress and see the ruins that are considered a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. We then continue to Ein Gedi, the oasis in the desert where the meeting between David and King Saul took place (I Samuel 24) and where many of the psalms were written by David (entrance included). After lunch (included), we visit Qumran (entrance included), the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found by a Bedouin boy back in 1947. There we will see the caves and other buildings that the Essenes, the group of Jews who wrote the scrolls, lived. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
WEDNESDAY- September 12 (Day 11): Western Wall Tunnels – Temple Mount – St. Anne – Via Dolorosa Ecce Homo – Israel Museum
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day entering the Old City and a visit to the Western Wall, a section of the Western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, and Judaism’s holiest site. We will ascend the Temple Mount, discussing its connection to both the Old and New Testaments. We will also discuss why it is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Leaving the Temple Mount, we will visit the Church of St. Anne’s (entrance included), a perfectly intact Crusader church. It is a wonderful place to gather and sing a song (sometimes with fellow Christians from all over the world). There, we will also visit the pools of Bethesda where the healing at the pool took place (John 5). We will then walk the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering), the actual path that Jesus walked from the Antonia Fortress (entrance included) to the crucifixion site. We will also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jesus’ tomb. After a lunch (included) in the Old City, we travel to the Israel Museum (entrance included) where we will visit the Second Temple Period Model of Jerusalem, a 1:50 scaled model of the city from the year 66 AD. We will also visit the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit, in addition to the archeological section where many artifacts are displayed we will play special attention to those items that relate to Bible history. We then return to our hotel. Dinner included.
THURSDAY – September 13 (Day 12): City of David – Mt. Zion – Jewish Quarter – Yad Vashem – Garden Tomb
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a visit to the original location of the city of Jerusalem, going back in history 3000 years. We will also visit Hezekiah’s tunnel (entrance included), a 1749 foot long tunnel that was dug by King Hezekiah as he prepared for the Assyrian King Sennacharib’s invasion in 701 BC. Those interested in walking the foot deep water tunnel will have the chance to do so. We will visit the Upper Room, the place of the Last Supper and also the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas (entrance included). We will then visit the Jewish Quarter. After lunch (included), we visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. We end our day with a visit to the Garden Tomb, where we will worship together and celebrate communion. We return to our hotel for our last Dinner provided.
FRIDAY – September 14 (Day 13): Departure to Rome Leave 10:35 AM Arrive 2:25 PM
We will travel to the airport and return home with unforgettable memories, amazing new friends and a life-changing understanding of the Bible.
Roundtrip Non-Stop Flight – Wide-bodied trans-atlantic jets.
Porterage of Baggage – Your bags will be put on buses and taken up to your room for you.
Air-Conditioned Motor Coaches – Ride aboard a brand-new, private, air-conditioned motor coach.
Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee – Complete the experience with prayer, singing and dancing on a 2,000 year old boat replica.
Guides Knowledgable of Historical and Biblical Context of Sites Visited
Customized Guidebook – Complete with study on where you have been and where you will go on your tour.
Superior First Class Hotels – We stay at only the best hotels the area has to offer.
Group Photos and More – Get a group photo and tons of photography opportunities!
Three Meals Daily
Comprehensive Sightseeing – With plenty of time and opportunity for pictures.
Limited Trip Size – We strive to make your trip special and unique, so this trip offers limited group size.
Entrance Fees to Places Visited – Walk right past the ticket booth with all your Entrance Fees paid in advance!
Special Rabbinical Tunnel Visit
Masada Visit Including Round-Trip Cable Car Ride to the Top
*Some accommodations may be changed on certain tours depending on the leader’s wishes. Please see your dedicated tour page for more information.