WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
DEPARTURE DAY FROM THE USA
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
Current suggested flight information indicates an afternoon arrival in Israel. After airport customs, we have a 2-hour bus journey to our overnight destination in the south of Israel near the modern city of Arad.
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
NEGEV AND SHEPHELAH: “LAND OF PROMISE"
Our study begins with an examination of Old Testament sites in the southern desert region known as the Negev. In this demanding landscape God tested the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here also, Moses attempted an ill-fated and ill-advised premature "conquest" of the promised land. David lived in this region during his "friendship" with Philistine kings. The second half of the day we travel into the geographical regions known as the Shephelah. Located between the Coastal Plain and the Judean Hill Country, these foothills served as an important "buffer-zone" between the Judeans in the hills and the Philistines on the coast. Within the Shephelah we will visit the general locale of David's battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and conclude the day at biblical Beth Shemesh, near Samson's home and exploits.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
SHARON PLAIN, MT. CARMEL AND JEZREEL VALLEY: “KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT"
Today we address the social, religious and political tensions which lie behind the relationship between the Jewish people and the foreigners in the land. At Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea, we give thought to the conversion of Cornelius and at Mount Carmel we consider Elijah’s confrontation with the Phoenician prophets of Baal. Arriving at Sepphoris, the capital of Roman Galilee at the time of Jesus' birth and a city where Jews and Gentiles lived together, we explore impressive excavations and Jesus' ministry in this area. Only five miles away, we conclude today's studies in the childhood home of Jesus -- Nazareth.
SUNDAY, MARCH 6
HULEH VALLEY AND GOLAN HEIGHTS: “HEAD OF KINGDOMS" AND "WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?"
Today we examine two themes. At the Old Testament sites of Hazor and at Dan we explore the vital need to capture, fortify and hold strategic military centers in the north. These cities were of vital importance to ancient Israel if it was to maintain its unity and security in its northern territories. After lunch we shift our thoughts to the various messianic expectations in the first century and how they penetrate into the language of Jesus and the Early Church. At Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider the event of the Transfiguration from which Jesus set face for Jerusalem. In view of the Lebanese and Syrian borders, the dynamics of the modern political situation are briefly addressed.
MONDAY, MARCH 7
SEA OF GALILEE: “THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE"
A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Bethsaida, Chorazin and the Mount of Beatitudes we consider the second stage of Jesus’ ministry with attention given to his teachings within their contemporary context. In the afternoon we take time at Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, to consider his teachings and miracles in this lakeside town. We continue to Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) is preserved. We conclude our day with a relaxing boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee.
TUESDAY, MARCH 8
JORDAN VALLEY: “SETTING OUR FACES TOWARDS JERUSALEM" AND "CITIES IN THE RIFT"
Today we travel westward into the Jezreel Valley and then south via the Jordan Valley. We begin with a scenic drive through the hills and valleys of Lower Galilee. Views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain capture our attention as we make our way to the Harod Valley. In this valley we visit Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon's encampment against the Midianites. A few minutes east brings us to Beth Alpha, the locale of an ancient Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs. A short drive takes us to the biblical city of Beth Shean, a Philistine stronghold during the days of Saul and David. There we examine the recent excavations of its Roman-Byzantine remains when it was known as Scythopolis, one of the Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. The afternoon will be spent in journey to Jerusalem. On the way, a stop in the Jericho region is warranted if political circumstances allow entry into Jericho. From Jericho westward, we travel through the Wilderness of Judah until reaching Jerusalem.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9
JERUSALEM: “CITY OF THE GREAT KING”
Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. Today begins with a visit to the Temple Mount, a site of historical significance and political dispute. Upon leaving the Temple Mount we examine the historical rule of Herod the Great (ending in 4BC), his successors and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD.
Key archaeological sites to be visited in the Jewish Quarter include: (1) the Southern Excavations,
(2) the Herodian Villas, (3) the Burnt House, and
(4) the Gennath Gate. After lunch we will visit the City of David of OT times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC). We conclude the day with a visit to the Pool of Siloam (John 9).
THURSDAY, MARCH 10
BETHLEHEM and JERUSALEM
We begin our day at the Herodium, which is East of Bethlehem, the place of Herod's burial. Next we will visit the city of Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity. In connection with these themes we continue our touring on the crest of the Mount of Olives with an overlook to the Golden Gate. Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. We descend the mount to the church of Dominus Flavit and to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the Via Dolorosa we stop at St. Anne's church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection.
FRIDAY, MARCH 11
DEAD SEA: “CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS”
Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the Judean wilderness. At Masada we consider the fate of the Zealot movement which ended on this rocky promontory. At the oasis of Ein Gedi we walk in to observe a “river in the desert” in the region where David hid from Saul. Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early
Christianity. Our journey to Jerusalem has us driving through the Wilderness of Judea.
SATURDAY MARCH 12
JERUSALEM FREE DAY WITH EVENING DEPARTURE
This is a free day for you to explore the city. We leave for the airport after the evening meal so it is important that you pack your bags prior to dinner.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13
ARRIVAL DAY TO USA