The Bishop’s Institute of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida Holy Land Tour
The Rev. Canon Aaron Smith
February 15-23, 2018
Tel Aviv, Israel
Day 1: Depart the USA
After much prayer and preparation, we will depart arrive at the airport at least three hours early for our international check-in and departure for Tel Aviv.
Day 2: Arrive in TEL AVIV
Arrive in Tel Aviv and board a new, climate-controlled motor coach where our guide will greet us and give us an orientation of the land as we travel towards Jaffa. There we will consider the vision of Peter (Acts 10) and start following the sequence of events that lead to the opening of the gates of the early church to Gentiles. As we look at the very place where Jonah ran from the Lord, we will also reflect on our own walk with God. Check into our hotel on the coastal plains of the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner included.
Day 3: CAESAREA MARITIMA, MOUNT CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH, SEA OF GALILEE
After a buffet breakfast, we depart the hotel on route to Caesarea Maritima, 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 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 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 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 check into our hotel on the Sea of Galilee for the next three nights and enjoy another dinner together.
Day 4: PEACE VISTA LOOKOUT, BETHSAIDA, MOUNT OF BEATITUDES, CAPERNEUM, ANCIENT BOAT, BOAT RIDE, 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, 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 you will have the opportunity to try St. Peter’s fish, commonly eaten by people in Jesus’ day. We will then visit Capernaum, 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, containing an recently-discovered 2000-year old fishing boat. We will then sail on the Sea of Galilee on a replica of that boat. We return to our hotel. Dinner included
Day 5: BET SHEAN, BAPTISMAL SITE, JERICHO, OLD ROMAN ROAD, JERUSALEM
After a buffet breakfast, we leave the area of Galilee, following the Jordan Valley Road to Beth Shean, 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 with its ancient ruins, pointing out what possibly could be the foundations of the ramparts that Joshua and the Israelites brought down. After lunch, 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.
Day 6: MOUNT OF OLIVES, SOUTHERN WALL, St. ANNE’S (POOLS OF BETHESDA), WESTERN WALL, BETHLEHEM, JERUSALEM
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. We will then visit the Southern Wall excavations 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. We will then visit the Church of St. Anne’s, 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). lunch 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.
Day 7: MASADA, EN GEDI, QUMRAN, DEAD SEA, JERUSALEM
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day visiting Masada, 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 En 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. After lunch, we visit Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were 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. We will end the day with some time to float in the Dead Sea. Jerusalem. Dinner included.
Day 8: TEMPLE MOUNT, UPPER ROOM, GARDEN OF GETHSEMANI, HOUSE OF CAIAPHAS, JUDGMENT HALL, VIA DOLOROZA, CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, GARDEN TOMB, JERUSALEM
After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day with a 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, We will then continue to the Upper Room. We will then spend some time at the Garden of Gethsemane (time will be given at the private section of the garden). We will then walk through the Kidron Valley past the Pool of Siloam. We will then continue to the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas. We will then visit the judgement hall (Ecce Homo). After lunch, 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.
Day 9: Return Home
Travel to the airport. 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 plus Drinks Included on the Bus
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.