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BEST OF ISRAEL & ROME

13 DAY INSPIRATIONAL TOUR

"Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." Psalms 122:2

Day 1: Departure

Today we embark on our Journey to the Holy Land. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…tomorrow you will be walking where Jesus walked!


Day 2: Arrive Israel

Arrive in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport where we will be met by our transfer agent. We travel northward to our hotel for one night in the coastal area near Tel Aviv. The remainder of the day is free to walk along the Mediterranean, relax, and have dinner. The time is right for a personal devotional with the sunset over the “Great Sea.” Meet your Israeli guide, enjoy a time of prayer of thanks for safety and the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of the "Promised Land," and a good night’s rest.


Day 3: Caesarea, Megiddo & Nazareth

After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre, hippodrome, a film on history and remains of this famous port city, and aqueduct, and then journey on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We drive through the area of Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth Village - a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed guides. We will have dinner and overnight lodging for the next two nights in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.


Day 4: Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi & Mount of Beatitudes

Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites. Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship and Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s Confession. In Capernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we travel on to the site of the possible multiplication of loaves and fishes in Bethsaida and the Mount overlooking the Sea. After viewing the ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating Kibbutz, we enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee. A brief scripture reading and devotional on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen disciples concluding a wonderful day.


Day 5: Jordan River Baptism Sites, Beth Shean, Bethany & Dead Sea

We begin our day with an opportunity to be baptized at the Jordan River Baptismal site. Next we travel southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis - a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, your guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We pass ancient Jericho, view from a distance this city famed as the oldest in the world, before coming to the Jordan River (Queser El Yehud) the Israeli side of Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, where Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan as well as the area where the children of Israel led by Joshua entered the Promised land. Our lodging for the evening is at the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa and enjoy a dip in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float before dinner.


Day 6: Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls, Abraham's Tent

Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of Masada. Here our guide will treat us to the history of the famous zealot stand. Afterwards we proceed to Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. This is where King David hid from Saul, and where God defeated the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King Jehoshaphat. Next, we visit Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This afternoon we will take part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent, where we enjoy a trip back in time: a reliving of life in the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, camel ride and authentic food. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in Jerusalem.


Day 7: Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum

Conditions permitting we will visit the Temple Mount, with commentary on the Temple Periods, and the variety of belief systems past and present that make this area so valuable. From here we will also be able to see the Pool of Bethesda, Stephen's Gate and St. Ann’s Church. Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visit the "Upper Room" just outside the Zion Gate where the disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later Thomas cried, "my Lord & my God." An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israeli Museum. Walk through collections of centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical Jerusalem will help to prepare you for what you will experience in the following days. We conclude the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a needed reminder of what the Jews have suffered as a people.


Day 8: Jesus' Steps, the Last Days - Messianic Lecture

Today we walk where Jesus walked; beginning the day with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemane. How many have wished to be whisked back in time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a moment? To walk between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of Jesus' prayer and take time for personal reflection is important here. Next we visit the House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon. See a pit where he may have been held for the evening and the ancient hillside steps he walked as he was taken to be condemned. On our way into the city we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. The tunnel and exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the Temple Mount, giant stones, water supply and Roman street where our Lord was led to judgment. Before exiting the tunnel, we see the immense cornerstone rejected by the builders. We move on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel.


Day 9: Way of Suffering, Garden Tomb, Pentecost, Bethlehem

While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we are reminded of His way of suffering along with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our guide will explain the differing opinions on the route that Christ was led. The actual place of crucifixion and burial is a very interesting study. Our climax of the day is the area of Golgotha (place of the skull) and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise. This afternoon we visit the Southern Wall Excavations. This southern side of The Temple was the main entrance for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own entrance from the higher eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard have been unearthed along with the purification pools. From here Jesus entered the Temple Mount and drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the people. It is also likely that this is the place that Peter stood and preached and where thousands were saved and baptized on the Day of Pentecost. We will enjoy a challenge from God’s Word and a song before an optional time this afternoon. Those who wish may stay in the city marketplace for shopping, while others may choose to spend the remainder of the day surrounding the birth of Christ, with a visit to Bethlehem.


DAY 10: Catacombs and Rome Walking Tour

We depart Tel Aviv early this morning and fly to Rome, Italy. Upon our arrival we will meet our Italian tour guide and enjoy a visit to the Rome Catacombs before visiting some of the famous downtown sites in Rome. Our walking tour will include Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Piazza Narvona. After our tour we check into our hotel and enjoy our dinner and overnight.


DAY 11: Paul in Rome, Forum, Coliseum, Ostia Antica

First, we see the Forum of Trajan, the biggest and most splendid of all, offered to the Roman citizen any goods to be found at that time. On foot you will reach the Capitoline Hill, and then the stairway which leads to the Piazza del Campidoglio, the magnificent result of a single project by Michelangelo. From here you will find the best panoramic view over the valley of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. We begin our walking tour at the ancient Roman Forum, where our guide will divulge its secrets. We will visit the Arch of Titus which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70. We will view the Mamertine Prison exterior, where tradition says the Apostle Paul was imprisoned. The Roman church would say that Peter was imprisoned here as well, but there is no imperial evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. Next, we visit the Coliseum, where thousands of people and animals perished during gladiatorial games. The Coliseum first opened in AD 80 and within 100 days of its opening, 5000 wild beasts perished here. The slaughter of both humans and animals continued for three more centuries. Historians believe the Coliseum could hold between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on how close the seating was. The floor has recently had a plank placed over the middle making it accessible for people to walk over the labyrinth of brick cells, ramps, and elevators used to transport animals and gladiators into the arena. Hear the stories of the games that have fascinated people for years. We conclude our day at the Catacombs where thousands of Christians were buried in a remarkable tiered series of galleries. We conclude our day at the ruins of Ostia Antica, which provides an excellent example of city life in classical times and the Ostian Gate, today called the Gate of St. Paul.


Day 12: Vatican Museums, St. Peter's, Scala Santa, Abbey of Three Fountains, St. Paul Outside the Wall

After breakfast you will begin a full day of sightseeing. First visit Vatican City where you will see the Basilica at St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with stunning works of art at every turn. After some free time for lunch, you will stop at The Abbey of the Three Fountains, the traditional site of Paul's martyrdom and the ancient street that he walked on. Next, visit the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the site of Paul’s tomb. Finally, we visit the Scala Santa, where Martin Luther made his stand against the practice of indulgences. This fascinating museum houses the Steps from Pilot's Judgment Hall in Jerusalem brought to Rome by Helena, the mother of Constantine. Additional sights include the Arches of Constantine and Titus, Circus Maximus and the beautiful marble monument called the Wedding Cake.


Day 13: Home

A very early morning departure for the Rome Airport for our flight homeward

Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel. This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.


Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, Israel.

The tomb is believed by some Christians to be the burial and resurection site of Jesus Christ.

Bethlehem

In The Holy Land

Bethany

Bethany

Bethany

Bethany

Basilica of the Annunciation

Basilica of the Annunciation