Holy Land Pilgrimage – to the Roots of our Faith With Pastor Byron Thomas
Holy Land Pilgrimage – to the Roots of our Faith With Pastor Byron Thomas
Ben Hill United Methodist Church
March 16 – 28, 2018
Friday, March 16
- Depart Atlanta for your amazing tour to Israel
Saturday, March 17
- Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.
- Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport to be met by a CHT representative (today’s program depends on arrival time). Visit the ancient port city of Jaffa (Joppa) from where Jonah tried to flee from his appointed mission and Solomon brought the Cedars of Lebanon. Joppa was the place of the miracle of the resurrection of Tabitha (Acts 9: 36-43) and the house of Simon the Tanner, on whose roof Peter had a vision that changed the face of Christendom (Acts 10: 9-16). After touring Old Jaffa and lunch on your own, we will check in to our hotel on Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean Coast.
- Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv
Sunday, March 18
- Jaffa / Caesarea / Jewish-Arab Co-existence Seminar / Haifa
- We begin the day by traveling north to Caesarea Maritima to visit the Roman Theater, Herod’s Palace, Palace of the Roman Procurator (Acts 23: 23 and Acts 26: 23 – Paul; Acts 10: 20-48 – Peter and Cornelius), Amphitheater and Crusaders’ City and Harbor. Participate in a fascinating seminar on Arab-Jewish coexistence at Givat Haviva, including a visit to an Israeli Arab village. Travel to Haifa for a panoramic view of the city, its harbor and northwestern Israel, followed by hotel check-in and dinner.
- Overnight: Bay View (Nof Hotel), Haifa
Monday, March 19
- Mount Carmel / Megiddo /Nazareth / Tiberias
- After breakfast, we ascend Mount Carmel to visit the Monastery of the Muhraka, where Elijah fought with the Baal priests. From the roof of this Monastery, we have a beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley. Driving south, we reach Megiddo, associated with Armageddon of the Book of Revelations, its biblical tel inspired James Michener’s book “The Source.” Archaeological digs have revealed over 20 layers of civilization, including remains from the times of Solomon and Ahab. We continue to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. There we enjoy some time at Nazareth Village where the Bible comes to life. We travel through Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle, to the Sea of Galilee. We conclude our day at the Yardenit Baptismal Site on the Jordan River near the southern part of the Sea of Galilee.
- Overnight: Kibbutz Nof Ginosar, Galilee
Tuesday, March 20
- Sea of Galilee Sites / Caesarea Philippi (Banias)/ Ginosar
- After breakfast, we drive along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee to reach Capernaum, where Jesus lived in the house of Peter, performing his miracles and healings (Matthew 4:13, Matthew 8:14-15). Drive to Tabgha to study about the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fish (Matthew 14:14-34) and continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 7). We then travel north to the Banias, the ruins of ancient Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13-20), one of the main sources of the Jordan River, where Peter reaffirmed his faith and was given the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (Mathew 16:18-19). Returning to Ginosar, we visit its local museum to see the wreck of a 2,000 year old fishing boat from the time of Jesus that was found just off its coast. We conclude a fine day of touring with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on the water (Matthew 14: 22-32).
- Overnight: Kibbutz Nof Ginnosar, Galilee
Wednesday, March 21
- Baptismal Site / Mt. Nebo / Madaba / Amman
- We will set out early to cross the Sheikh Hussein Bridge into Jordan. If we cross in good time, we will visit Pella in the northern Jordan Valley, where early Christians sought refuge, fleeing Jerusalem during the Great Jewish Revolt in 66 AD. We then travel south to the baptismal site called Bethany beyond the Jordan on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. Next we will travel east and uphill to Mt. Nebo, where Moses looked at the land he could not enter. From Mt. Nebo it is a short ride to Madaba to view the famous Madaba Map. This ancient Byzantine mosaic pavement is the oldest map of the Holy Land ever discovered. We will then travel to Amman, Jordan’s capital, for the night.
- Overnight: Grand Palace Hotel Amman
Thursday, March 22
- Petra – The Red Rock City
- We depart early for Petra (approx. 3 hours drive) to explore the amazing red sandstone. city carved out of the bedrock by the ancient Nabateans. We will tour its Treasury (“Khaznieh”), Roman theatre, impressive caves and rock formations of this Nabatean City. Buffet lunch included. Time permitting: We will also see Hor Hahar, burial place of Aaron the Priest.
- Overnight: Petra – Panorama Hotel Petra
Friday, March 23
- Arava Crossing into Israel / Red Sea/ Timna / Dead Sea
- After breakfast we drive to the Israeli border at the Arava Crossing. Before turning north we will briefly travel south along the Red Sea coast to avail ourselves of the opportunity to see an extraordinary Underwater Observatory, where we actually stand inside a coral reef. Next we travel north to Timna, an ancient Egyptian copper mining site and a magnificent natural sculpture sandstone garden. From there we travel north through the Arava Valley to the Dead Sea Region, the lowest place on earth. There we will check in to our hotel by the Dead Sea. If time and daylight permit, we can already go for a brief dip, although time has specifically been allotted for bathing in the Dead Sea the next day.
- Dinner and overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dead Sea
Saturday, March 24
- Masada / Ein Gedi / Dead Sea
- We begin the day with a short ride north along the Dead Sea Coast to the mountain top fortress of Masada, the last outpost of Jewish independence in the revolt against the Romans, which we ascend by cable car to visit the palaces of Herod the Great with its Roman bathhouse and mosaic pavements. From Masada we board our bus for another short ride to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, where after a brief walk we will have the opportunity to bath in a waterfall and hear how David hid in Ein Gedi from King Saul. We then return to our Dead Sea resort hotel to enjoy a “dip” and “float” in the salty water of the Dead Sea and experience a remarkable sense of buoyancy. The hotel also has a fresh water pool and spa facilities. Massage and spa treatments are available by prior reservation at own expense.
- Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dead Sea
Sunday, March 25
- Qumran / Mount of Olives / Gethsemane / Bethlehem*
- After breakfast, we travel north along the Dead Sea coast to Qumran, the ruins of an Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave by a shepherd. We then ascend to Jerusalem via the Good Samaritan Route (Luke 10: 25-37). Upon arrival in the Holy City, we ascend the Mount of Olives for a wonderful panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. At the base of the Mount of Olives, we reach the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26: 36-58). Here we see the old olive trees and join together in prayer. We then proceed to Bethlehem * to visit the Church of the Nativity (Luke 2: 1-7) and, time permitting, the Shepherds’ Field.
- Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Monday, March 26
- Temple Mount / Bethesda Pools / Via Dolorosa / Garden Tomb
- Early start to enter the Old City and walk across the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock now stands. We exit the Temple Mount to reach St. Anne‛s Church, the Bethesda Pool and the area of Antonia Fortress. We then walk in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa (all 14 Stations of the Cross), passing through an exotic bazaar to arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We travel by bus to the Garden Tomb and Golgotha (place of the skull/Gordon’s Calvary) to celebrate the resurrection with Communion and a time of praise.
- Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem.
Tuesday, March 27
- Southern Wall / Western Wall / Jewish Quarter / Mt. Zion/ Israel Museum / Ben Gurion Airport
- After breakfast, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem and gaze over the Southern Wall Excavations, where Jesus drove away the money changers. We walk to the Western Wall, the holiest place for the Jews. Then head up hill to the rebuilt Jewish Quarter, where we will see Hezekiah’s Broad Wall, the Byzantine Cardo and take in a panoramic rooftop view of the Old City’s Four Quarters. From there we will exit the Old City to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room, site of the Last Supper and Pentecost. We then take in a panoramic tour of the New City of Jerusalem. At the Israel Museum we visit the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept and the Model of Jerusalem as it was at the time of Jesus.
- Farewell dinner: Olive and Fish Restaurant. Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for flight home.
Wednesday, March 28
- Arrive in U.S.A.
- Begin planning your next trip to the Holy Land with Pastor Byron Thomas and ITC/CHT Tours!