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2024 Tour of Israel

Hosted by Pastor Greg Neal
January 9 - 18, 2024
(5.0)
5/5

Starting at

$3,995

/person

About This Trip

Israel is a land steeped in rich history, where Jesus was born, delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount, performed miracles, and was resurrected. There’s no way to describe the joy and wonder of walking the path followed by Jesus, his disciples, and other biblical luminaries when touring this place. You simply have to see it for yourself.

We want you to experience the awe that can only come from standing in the birthplace of Jesus, following in the footsteps of his disciples, and entering the city of Jerusalem as pilgrims have done for generations.

If you’re ready for 10 days filled with unforgettable sights and experiences you’ll cherish for the rest of your life, book let us know you’re interested in coming below!

Included

Itinerary

This day is a travel day from the United States to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Jaffa (Joppa)  

This ancient port city whose name means “beautiful” in Hebrew is a significant part throughout the Bible. First mentioned in book of Joshua (19:46) as the Hebrew children divided the Promised Land, it was the port where the cedars of Lebanon were shipped for the temple built by King Solomon (I Kings 5:6; II Chronicles 2:16). Jonah also took a ship from this port as he ran to Tarshish from God’s call for him to go to Ninevah (Jonah 1:3).

 

Simon the Tanner’s House

In the New Testament, the apostle Peter spent copious time in the home of Simon the Tanner (Acts 10-11). Here, through a vision, the Lord made it clear that the Mosaic laws were no longer applicable after Jesus paid sin’s debt on the Cross. During this time, Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius a Gentile centurion, who became a testimony to the church in Jerusalem that salvation was meant for everyone and not just the Jews alone.

Caesarea

Once a Phoenician trading port, Caesarea is now an active archaeological national park. This same city where Peter won Cornelius to Christ was given to Herod the Great by the first Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, for whom it was named. Here, among the remains of the once grand city stands the foundations of Herod’s palace, where the apostle Paul argued his defense before Felix the governor. Paul was imprisoned here for two years as documented in Acts 23-25. It is here King Herod Agrippa, who had murdered James the brother of John and persecuted much of the early church, suffered an unfortunate fate found in Acts 12.

 

Mount Carmel

A high, wooded mountain ridge, Mount Carmel is biblically famous for Elijah’s showdown with 850 pagan prophets. Here, he rebuilt the ruined altar and called the fire down from God in I Kings 18. It seems his double-portioned protégé, Elisha, also spent time on Mount Carmel (II Kings 4:25).

 

Meggido

Mentioned multiple times throughout the Old Testament, this ancient city was backdrop to many intense, significant battles. First cited as one of the cities of the “Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites” who kings Joshua defeated (Joshua 12:21), it is also mentioned in conjunction with the battle between Sisera and Barak with Deborah in Judges 5:19. King Josiah fought the Egyptian king Necho here, contrary to God’s will, and was killed in Meggido (II Chronicles 35:20-24). King Solomon ruled this city when it was in its prime and the remnants of Solomon’s Gate and his stables remain today. Here, above the sweeping, fertile Jezreel Valley, is believed by many to be the site of the future battle of Armageddon mentioned in Revelation 16.

 

Jordan River

Mentioned over 185 times throughout the entire Bible, the Jordan River is an icon of biblical heritage for all. Running 156 miles between the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the Jordan River is first cited in Genesis 13 when Lot and Abraham were divvying up their God-given lands. After 40 years of wandering, the children of Israel crossed the overflowing tributary on the miracle of dry ground (Joshua 3:14-17) to the Promised Land. It had significance in the story of Gideon (Judges 7:24-25) and for the end of King Saul (I Samuel 13). So many stories around the lives of Elijah and Elisha involved the river, including telling Naaman to bathe away his leprosy (II Kings 5:10), retrieving the floating ax head (II Kings 6:1-6), and crossing it miraculously together (II Kings 2).

Here, John the Baptist baptized many, most famously Jesus Christ (Matthew 3; Luke 3).

Sea of Galilee  

Mentioned by a variety of names in scripture––Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), sea of Chinneroth (Joshua 12:3; 13:27), Kinnereth (Joshua 19:35), Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), sea of Tiberias––the Sea of Galilee stretches 13 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, shaped similarly to a harp. The Old Testament references it in relation to the tribes of Israel, and Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a light in the region of Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2, 6). As the most significant freshwater lake in the region, the Sea of Galilee supported a substantial fishing industry in Bible times. Here is where Peter left the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33) and where Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 4:36-41). Copious scripture documents the many miracles Jesus performed up and down the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

 

Tel Dan  

Now a nature reserve and the source of the Dan and Jordan rivers, Tel Dan is an impressive archaeological site with unique remains of the Canaanite and Israelite cities. It was also a biblical “High Place” for the tribe of Dan, …the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it,…possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father. (Joshua 19:47)

 

Caesarea-Philippi

Banias Springs that flow from the hillside in Caesarea-Philippi is a natural spring that is the largest source of the Jordan River. In the days when Jesus was on earth, this city was named for its ruler, Herod’s third son Philip. Caesarea-Philippi is mentioned only in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, which both record the same incident, yet the biblical significance is monumental. Here, Peter confessed Peter confessed, …Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16.) To Peter’s declaration, Jesus made a powerful statement, …thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 18:18) The first mention of the word “church” in the New Testament, this statement would ring true in a few short years when Peter was a main proponent of spreading the Gospel throughout the world.

 

Kursi

Today, Kursi is a national park with significant Byzantine ruins. However, it has been identified as the place where Jesus cast the demons out of the maniac man and into a herd of swine. (Luke 8:26-37) Also once known as “Gergesa” or “Gadarenes,” Kursi was believed to have been a Gentile town, discovered by chance while roads were being built following the Six Day War in 1967.

 

Magdala

Once a humble fishing village, this is believed to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus in his risen form (John 20:11-18). Archaeological excavations have discovered the oldest synagogue in the Galilee, dating back to the Second Temple period and long before the birth of Christ.

Beit She’an

Believed to be one of the oldest cities in the region, Beit She’an has huge historical significance because of its location on the crossroads of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley. Dating back to sometime between 6000 and 5000 BC, this city was ruled by many different civilizations and was where the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung on the walls by the Philistines (II Samuel 31:8-12). Archaeological findings have determined it was also a major administrative center in Solomon’s kingdom and an ancient Roman Decapolis city.

 

Gideon’s Spring

Also known as the spring at En Harod, it is now a lush national park at the base of Mount Gilboa on the southeast side of the Jezreel Valley. It was here that God pruned away Gideon’s troops to just a mere 300 men before God gave them the victory in their battle against the Midianites (Judges 7). Some also believe that Saul may have camped here the night before his death (I Samuel 29:1).

Elah Valley  

Once an important corridor from the coast cities up to the cities more centrally located in Israel, the Valley of Elah is most known as the place of the famous Biblical battle between young David and the giant Goliath (I Samuel 17). A brook still runs through the valley, perhaps the same one from which David’s five smooth stones came. Elah Valley became a main throughfare for many other battles as the Philistines and Babylonians tried to conquer the land, eventually becoming part of a major Roman road connecting the coastal city of Ashkelon to the major inland cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. This area is also known as the “Judean foothills.”

 

Tel Lachish

Perhaps the second most important fortified city in Judea (Jerusalem being first), Lachish guarded the main road from Egypt to Jerusalem, making it a key city for conquest. The city played a major role as the Hebrew children reclaimed their county (Joshua 10-12), and Rehoboam later refortified the city for Judah’s defense (II Chronicles 11:5-12). As the Assyrians swept through the country during King Hezekiah’s rule (8th-7th centuries BC), they laid siege to Lachish (II Chronicles 32:9-10) and destroyed it. It was one of the last three cities to fall to the Babylonians (Jeremiah 34:7) in 587 BC. It was reconstructed once again after the Persians released the exiles from captivity (Nehemiah 11:1, 30) 50 years later.

 

Beth Shemesh

First a large Canaanite city, the people may have worshipped the sun as its name means “House of Sun.” It was initially given to the tribe of Dan as the Tribes of Israel divided the land (Joshua 19:41) and was also one of the 48 Levitical cities (Joshua 21:16). Beth Shemesh was significant during the Judges period, as it bordered the lands of the Philistines during the time of Samson. Perhaps the most notable biblical mention is found during the return of the Ark of the Covenant, being the first station upon its return by the Philistines (I Samuel 6:10-21). It was one of the twelve precincts of the Kingdom of Solomon (I Kings 4:1-9) and was where two Israelite kings clashed (II Kings 14:11-14). It changed hands through warfare between the Israelites and the Philistines multiple times throughout the centuries (II Chronicles 26:6-7; 28:16-18). It was left in ruins after the Assyrians swept through Judah the battles between Sennacherib and King Hezekiah.

 

Ein Gedi

Today, Ein Gedi is a beautiful nature preserve near the shores of the Dead Sea and nestled in side of the bluffs just below the Judean Desert. Named for King David, the Nahal David streams flows year round as this area is known for its springs and caves. Ein Gedi is most biblically famous for being where David hid for his life from the angry, pursuing King Saul (I Samuel 23:29; 24:1). It is also mentioned as a place of beauty in Song of Solomon 1:14.

 

Dead Sea

Cited 16 times in the Bible, the Dead Sea is also referenced as the Salt Sea, the Sea of the Arabah, and the Eastern Sea. It is just 16 miles east of Jerusalem, where it lies in the Rift Valley which forms the longest deepest crack in the earth’s crust. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth’s surface at 1,300 feet below sea level. With 26 percent salt content, it is the world’s most saline body of water, with almost five times the level of salt as the ocean. It is fed from the Jordan River and other smaller streams with no outlet. Many believe the Dead Sea is the site of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19. Ezekiel prophesied that the waters of Dead Sea would be healed and restored when God creates a new earth during the Millennial Reign (Ezekiel 47).

Mount of Olives

This iconic hill separates the city of Jerusalem from the Judean Desert to the east. It owes its names to its olive groves that once served the city in making olive oil, perhaps the same used to anoint Israel’s kings and temple priests. King David fled here, barefoot, weeping, and brokenhearted at the betrayal of his son Absalom (II Samuel 15:30). The Mount of Olives is where Jesus came more than once to wait, rest, and pray (Luke 19:29-37; 21:37; 22:39). From here, in His risen form, He ascended into Heaven after giving the disciples the charge of the Great Commission (Acts 1:8-12). The Mount of Olives is where Jesus will one day return, as prophesied by Zachariah in chapter 14.

 

Garden of Gethsemane

A place whose name literally means “oil press,” the Garden of Gethsemane lies on the slope of the Mount of Olives on the edge of the Kidron Valley. The tranquil grove has magnificent, ancient olive trees dating back to approximately 1,000 years ago, that are still producing olives today. Jesus prayed in the garden often with his disciples (John 18:2) and was betrayed here by Judas Iscariot, who kissed Him as a signal for the soldiers to arrest Him. It was in the garden where Peter cut off Malchus’s ear, but Jesus restored it (Luke 22:50-51). The famous events of the night before Jesus’ Crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane are recounted in all four gospels, each with unique details (Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:40-53; John 18:1-11).

 

Kidron Valley

Running between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives all the way to the Dead Sea, the Kidron Valley is technically a wadi, a stream (wash) that runs only after heavy rains. In the Bible, it is often associated with sorrow, judgement, and death. Idols and pagan relics were burned here by King Josiah (II Kings 23:1-6), King Asa (I Kings 15:9-13), and King Hezekiah (II Chronicles 29:16; 30:14). Traversed by King David (II Samuel 15:23) and set as a boundary for Shimei by King Solomon (I Kings 2:36-38), the Kidron Valley is also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat from his victorious battle here (II Chronicles 20). As referenced in Joel 3, after His return, the Lord will bring judgement down on all nations …in the valley of decision… (Joel 3:14).

 

Lion’s Gate (Stephen’s Gate)

While the gate that stands today was built by the Turks in the 16th century, it is near here where the biblical Sheep’s Gate (Nehemiah 3:1) would have stood. It is likely that outside of this gate is where sheep would have been bought and sold as sacrifices during the Second Temple era (John 5:2). Somewhere outside of this gate is where the first Christian martyr Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:28).

 

Pools of Bethesda

Excavated in the 19th century, the Pools of Bethesda is unique in today’s Old City Jerusalem for not being covered over by other later construction. These pools may have provided water for the temple in Old Testament times (II Kings 18:17). The Aramaic name translates to “house of mercy,” perhaps because it was known as a place of healing for the physically suffering (John 5:2-4). Here, Jesus healed the invalid man (John 5:1-15), telling him to …Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

 

House of Caiaphas

Located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion just outside of Jerusalem, the House of Caiaphas was where Jesus was brought for trial on the night of His arrest. He was brought before Caiaphas the high priest and head of the Sanhedrin (John 18:13) to endure a series of trials in these halls, and He then was declared guilty of blasphemy by Caiaphas himself (Matthew 26:57-68). In fact, Caiaphas had wanted Jesus dead and even conspired to do so (John 11:47-53). Many believe that, in a set of underground cave still on the site, Jesus was held until the next day when He could be sent to Pontius Pilate for sentencing. Nearby is where Peter waited by the fire and famously denied Christ three times (Mark 14:66-72) as Jesus prophesied he would (Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; John 13:38).

 

Bethlehem (Shepherds’ Fields)

Located east of the city limits of modern day Bethlehem are fields and caves where shepherds are still tending their flocks of sheep. Many believe these same fields are the ones where the angels announced the birth of the Saviour Jesus Christ (Luke 2:8-16). While in those days considered to be of the lowliest professions, these shepherds were among the first to know that a Saviour was born, Who would one day proclaim of Himself, I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11) 

 

Bethlehem (Fields of Boaz and Ruth)

Beyond the Shepherd’s Fields is a fertile plain that descends down to the Dead Sea (now increasingly hemmed in by buildings) known as the Field of Boaz. The beginning of Ruth’s story, leaving her homeland of Moab to return to Judah with her mother-in-law Naomi, continued in these fields where Ruth met the landowner and her kinsman redeemer, Boaz. For her faithful words found in Ruth 1:16-17, …for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God…, she was rewarded by her place in history as the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

City of David

Built around the Gihon Spring on the southeastern hill to the south of the Temple Mount , the City of David is considered to be the original settlement core of ancient Jerusalem. David left Hebron to conquer the land from the Jebusites and established Jerusalem there as his capital city (II Samuel 5:3-12; I Chronicles 11:4-9).

 

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Considered to be one of the greatest works of pre-Classical water engineering, Hezekiah’s Tunnel was carved during his reign as king to bring the water of the Gihon Spring from one side of Jerusalem to the other (II Chronicles 32:30; II Kings 20:20). The Gihon Spring is the only natural spring in the city and gushes from a natural cave. Solomon was anointed king at the Gihon Spring (I Kings 1:38-39). Hezekiah’s Tunnel connected this important spring to the Pool of Siloam, where people would “cleanse” before entering the Temple and where Jesus healed the blind man in John 9.

 

Hezekiah’s Broad Wall

In a monumental attempt to fortify the rapidly growing population against the warring Sennacherib and his Assyrian forces, King Hezekiah fortified the existing wall and built a new wall to encompass those living beyond the original city walls (II Chronicles 32:5). While only a small portion that was excavated in the 1970s is visible today, the massive original structure measured 22 feet wide by 25 feet high and 2.5 miles in length.

 

Western Wall

Known through the recent centuries as the “Wailing Wall,” this wall was built by Herod the Great as a retaining wall for the Temple Mount as the second Temple was being remodeled. This is the same temple that would have been standing during the time of Christ. This wall is one of the few parts of the area remaining after the Temple buildings’ complete destruction by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:1-2.

 

Southern Temple Stairs

As one of the main entrances to the south of the Temple Mount during the time of Christ, the Southern Stairs also provided main access to the City of David and the western side where most of the population resided. Certainly, Jesus walked these steps in His lifetime because Mary and Joseph brought Jesus as a baby to the Temple (Luke 2:21-39). It was the Temple where they almost forgot Jesus as a child (Luke 2:42-50) and where He taught during His ministry (Luke 21:37, 38).

 

Golgotha

Best known today as Calvary, Golgotha is what the Bible calls “Place of a Skull” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17). Golgotha is located just 500 feet outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate (Hebrews 13:12) and near to a garden as referenced in John 19:41. The face of what looks like a skull can still be seen in the side of this small, unassuming hill where evidence strongly points to this being where our Saviour Jesus Christ died on the Cross and shed His blood to pay for the sins of mankind (John 19:17-35).

 

The Garden Tomb

Located in the shadow of Golgotha is the Garden Tomb. Archeological and historical evidence suggest this tomb could be where Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathaea (John 19:38-42). The rocky ledge in this borrowed tomb is perhaps where He lay for three days and three nights until His resurrection on Sunday morning, and this garden is perhaps where He appeared first to Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-17).

 

Days in Jerusalem may include the following, if time permits: Jewish Quarter, Cardo, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Western Wall Tunnels

This day is a free day for travelers to enjoy some time of relaxation or to tour the Old City and Jerusalem at their leisure. In the evening, we will gather as a group for a Farewell Dinner with our guides and enjoy recapping all we have seen and learned on this life-changing trip.

This day is a travel day from Tel Aviv, Israel back to the United States.

*This itinerary is contingent on weather, site visiting hours, and the discretion of the local tour guides. We reserve the right to alter any part of the tour as listed below.

*Upon selecting "Book Now," you will be directed to pay the $300 deposit. Your spot will not be held until the deposit has been received.