One Year Ago – Our Journey Ends

Our group standing on the Mount of Olives.

Our group standing on the Mount of Olives.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, our journey came to a close.

Just as quickly as the tour started, it came to a close. We arrived at Ben Gurion International airport weary and tired. But, thankful for the opportunity that was provided to us to visit this beautiful land.

For me, it was a great two weeks. I enjoyed being able to help people understand the geography of the Bible. I’ve attached our group picture from the top of the Mount of Olives.

Shalom!


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – The Israel Museum

The Mediterranean Sea from the city of Ashkelon.

The Mediterranean Sea from the city of Ashkelon.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we went to the Israel Museum and to Ashkelon.

We started our day with a stop at the Israel Museum. This is your typical museum with more things to see than you could possibly see in a few hours. We started off at the huge model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. This is a fantastic way to visualize the way that the city looked during the time of Jesus. Our attention was then directed into the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. We ended our tour of the museum in the Archaeology wing, where we could see many different artifacts related to Biblical history.

Our last stop of the day was at the tel at Ashkelon. Most tour groups don’t travel all the way to this site. But, I have some good friends that were in Israel working the dig at this city. They provided us with a fantastic personal tour of the site and showed us the work that they are doing.

Tomorrow: Our journey ends.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – The Little Town of Bethlehem

Tim Smelser, one of the members of our tour, stands with the Negeb in the background.

Tim Smelser, one of the members of our tour, stands with the Negeb in the background.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we went to the small town of Bethlehem. (Actually, it is no longer that small.)

Located just six miles south of Jerusalem, is the town of Bethlehem. This was the town that David was from. And, it was the town that Jesus was born in. We visited the Church of the Nativity, which sits above the traditional location where Jesus was born. From there, we traveled to the Shepherds’ fields and then to the Herodium.

Our final stop of the day was at Shibly Kando’s Antiquities shop. Mr. Kando is the grandson of one of the main people involved in the discovery and recognition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In his store, you can see one of the four original jars on display. (Two of the other three are located at the Israel Museum and the other one is located at the Vatican in Rome.)

Tomorrow: The Israel Museum and Ashkelon.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – A Tour of the Lowlands

Sorek Valley

Looking northeast in the Sorek Valley.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we toured the Shephelah.

Pressed between the coastal plain and the central mountain range is a small area of land called the Shephelah. In our Bibles, it is translated “lowlands”. It only measures about 10 miles wide and 50 miles long, but it played a very important role during the United and Divided Kingdoms.

The Shephelah is bisected by five valleys. During the time of Saul and David, Philistines controlled cities on the western end of the valleys and the Israelites controlled cities on the eastern end. This arrangement was the setup for numerous battles between the two nations.

Probably the most famous battle was the one commonly referred to as “David vs. Goliath”. This battle took place in the Valley of Elah. An Israelite defeat in this battle would have given the Philistines an easy path up the valley and into the hill country.

Tomorrow: The little town of Bethlehem.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – A Walk Through the Old City

Our group in front of the Dome of the Rock.

Our group in front of the Dome of the Rock.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we walked through the Old City.

Our day began by entering the Temple Mount area and viewing the city from there. You can imagine the temple as it once stood on this location before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. The beautiful Dome of the Rock now stands out on this platform.

Our tour continued at the Pools of Bethesda and then we walked west on the Via Dolorosa toward the Church of the Holy Sepulture. After eating lunch and doing some shopping in the Christian Quarter, we walked through the Spice Market and arrived at the Jewish Quarter where we visited the Western Wall.

We toured the ancient city of David and then walked through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Our day ended on the steps leading up to the southern end of the Temple Mount. Jesus and His family used these same steps about 2,000 years ago.

Tomorrow: We visit the Shephelah.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – The Lowest Place on Earth

Herod's Palace at Masada

Herod’s Palace at Masada

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we went to the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. This beautiful body of water does not live up to its name…it exceeds it. The water in the Dead Sea is a beautiful shade of blue and is actually quite clear for several feet.

We began the day by driving down to Masada, where Herod built a beautiful palace. Years later, nearly a thousand Jewish zealots held off the Roman army for a couple of years by using this “stronghold”.

Our next stop was at En Gedi, for a short walk up a path to a waterfall. It is interesting to see the abundance of water in this place given the arid environment around it. It is no wonder why David fled to this location while being pursued by Saul.

After a stop at Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found), we visited one of the oldest cities in the world, Jericho. You can visualize so many Biblical stories from this location.

We finished our day by trying to take a dip in the Dead Sea. Of course, everyone just floated to the top. But, it was a great day to end the day.

Tomorrow: We visit the Old City.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – Up To Jerusalem

bethshan

Some of the ancient ruins of Beit-shean.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we went “up to Jerusalem”. I have read that phrase a hundred times in the Scriptures. But until you actually go up those mountains and find Jerusalem on the ridge, you don’t quite understand it.

We left our hotel in Tiberias and traveled south, stopping on Beit-shan. The excavations at this city are amazing and from the top of the tel, you can see the strategic importance of this city. Any traffic traveling east-to-west through the Harod Valley or north-to-south through the Jordan Rift Valley could be closely monitored by this city.

We followed this stop with visits to the Spring of Harod (where Gideon gathered his army of 300 men), Jezreel (where Ahab and Jezebel had a palace) and Samaria (which was one of the capitals of the Northern Kingdom of Israel).

Traveling through this area allows you to see multiple examples of terraced farming, which demonstrates how the early inhabitants of the land adopted this hilly countryside into useable farmland.

Our journey for today ended at one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Jerusalem.

Tomorrow: From the heights of Jerusalem, to the lowest place on earth.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – The Sea of Galilee

arbel

The northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee, as seen from the top of Mount Arbel.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

Admittedly, I have not seen every place in the entire world. But, the Sea of Galilee has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. And when you combine that beauty with all of the Biblical history that took place in and around this lake, this quickly becomes one of the favorite spots on the tour.

Our day started off with a boat ride across the beautiful lake. From this vantage point, it is easy to visualize the paths that Jesus and His disciples took during the first century. Our boat ride ended with a visit to the museum at Nof Ginnosar, where we could see the remains of a boat from the first century.

During the day, we visited the cities of Capernaum, Magdala and Chorazin. We also visited a number of traditional sites such as the Church of the Beatitudes and the Church of the Primacy.

Our day ended with nearly the entire group sitting on the back porch of our hotel enjoying the last rays of the sun reflect off of the surface of the lake. (Sigh.)

Tomorrow: We go up to Jerusalem.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – Northern Galilee and the Hula Valley

The ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi.

The ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

Waking up on the shores of the Sea of Galilee is an experience like none other. Before the sun rises, you hear the water lapping up on the shore. Then, the eastern sky gradually changes from a deep, dark blue to a golden yellow. All of the sudden, the first rays of the sun poke through the trees in the Golan Heights. Every time that I see it, I imagine Peter, Andrew, James and John seeing very similar sunrises after a night of fishing. It is a beautiful thing to see.

One year ago, we spent the entire day traversing north up the Hula Valley. Our first stop was at Hazor. The size of this city is amazing and something that doesn’t come through in the Biblical narrative. It is no wonder why Joshua thought it was so important to seize this city.

We drop past Abel Beth Maacah and remembered the story of Sheba. We walked through the tel at Dan. There we visited the High Place built by King Jeroboam to keep the people in the nation of Israel from traveling to Jerusalem to worship God. We also visited Caesarea Philippi and remembered Peter’s confession of Jesus as the son of God.

As we drove back to the Sea of Galilee through the Golan Heights, we were able to look over into the modern country of Syria toward the city of Damascus. Paul received his vision somewhere in this area.

Our day ended at et-Tell, the possible location of the New Testament city of Bethsaida. Another wonderful day in the books.

Tomorrow: A full day around the Sea of Galilee.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.


One Year Ago – From Sea to Sea

The remains of Herod’s palace in Caesarea Maritima.

NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour from one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

After getting a good night’s rest and leaving Netanya, we arrived at Caesarea Maritima. Simply referred to as Caesarea in the New Testament, this city played a prominent role in the book of Acts. The Gospel was first shared with the Gentiles in Caesarea. And Paul passed through this city many times as he traveled.

Rising up from the coast, we arrived at the top of the Mount Carmel ridge. This location offered us our first view of the Jezreel Valley. From this location, we considered the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al.

Our next stop was at Megiddo. This ancient city has been destroyed and rebuilt more than 20 times. Its location overlooking the Jezreel Valley made it strategically important and explains why it was conquered so many times.

At Nazareth, we visited a reconstructed first century village. This stop allows you to get a good feel for life during the time of Jesus.

Our day ended with our arrival at the Sea of Galilee. Watching the changing colors across the sea as the sun set was a great way to end our day.

Tomorrow: Exploring Northern Galilee and the Hula Valley.


2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year’s tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.