All videos linked on this page were taken during the 2017 Apologetics Study Bible to the Holy Land (Feb-March 2017), organized by Eric Johnson and attended by 55 people!
Day 1: Wednesday, March 21, 2018: LAX DEPARTURE
A chartered bus picks up passengers at El Cajon’s Christian High School and Capistrano Valley Christian in the early afternoon before heading to Los Angeles International Airport for an early evening flight. The flight on a jumbo jetliner from Turkish Air includes snacks, drinks, and two full meals along with on-board entertainment for 15 hours to Istanbul.
Day 2: Thursday, March 22, 2018: ISTANBUL / TEL AVIV / NETANYA
Today we arrive in Istanbul in the late afternoon (thanks in part to a 10-hour change in time), transferring to a 2-hour flight to Tel Aviv (never leaving the Istanbul airport). We will be met by our excellent guide Andre and incredible driver Azam, checking into our hotel in the coastal city of Netanya that evening.
Day 3: Friday, March 23, 2018: CAESAREA / MEGIDDO / NAZARETH VILLAGE / BET SHEAN / TIBERIAS
This morning we proceed to Caesarea, an ancient city built by Herod the Great, to visit the Roman port, Crusader’s Moat, Hippodrome, theater, and aqueduct. We then proceed to Megiddo to check out the excavations revealing 20 different civilizations. It is better known as Har Megiddo, or “Armageddon,” according to Revelation. Next comes Nazareth Village, located in Jesus’s hometown. We travel back 2,000 years, with a chance to interact with shepherds, carpenters, and other folks living in the boyhood days of Jesus. Our final destination of the day is Bet Shean, the city where Saul was hung from the city gate. It is also known as Scythopolis, the only Decapolis city west of the Jordan River. From here, we make our way to the hotel, a Jewish kibbutz, on the shore Sea of Galilee. What a perfect location to swim in the Sea of Galilee and watch the sun rise each morning while you read your devotions on the shore!
DAY 4 – Saturday, March 24, 2018 – BAPTISMS AT JORDAN RIVER / MOUNT OF BEATITUDES / TABGHA / ST. PETER’S FISH LUNCH (included) / CAPERNAUM / BOAT RIDE ON THE SEA OF GALILEE / JESUS BOAT / TIBERIAS
This morning is a special time to practice the ordinance of water baptism. We make our way to the Jordan River where those who have never been baptized (or who do not remember their infant baptisms) will have a chance to give their testimony and be immersed the same way as Jesus. Next, we head over to the Mount of Beatitudes to see the traditional site where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. This is the perfect time to read through Matthew 5-7 as a group and remember the words of the Savior. From here we visit Tabgha where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes—a mosaic in the church reminds us of this miracle. We’ll be hungry, so let’s stop by St. Peter’s restaurant to experience a fish lunch (or chicken, if you prefer). (This is the only lunch provided on our tour.) We head over to Capernaum and visit, among other things, the excavated house where Peter lived. We’ll cap this day off by visiting the Jesus boat, which was discovered a few years ago during a drought in Israel, before boarding our own boat on the Sea of Galilee, giving us the chance to meditate, worship, and even learn a Jewish dance. This day is always a top highlight for previous student groups! Tonight after dinner we will be given a history/cultural lesson from Gilad, a Jewish high school teacher in Israel. So much in just two days in Israel!
- See a video on Baptisms at the Jordan River (if you haven’t been baptized, you too can participate in this very important ordinance)
- See a video on the Mount of Beatitudes
- See a video on Capernaum
- See a video on the Jesus Boat and a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee
Day 5 – Sunday, March 25, 2018 – EIN GEDI / CAMEL RIDE / MASADA / RESORT HOTEL ON THE DEAD SEA
Today features a trip from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the earth. Our first stop is Ein Gedi as we hike to the upper waterfall. Here we can have a devotional and experience one of the most beautiful places in the land, remembering the site where David found Saul and cut off part of his robe (1 Sam. 24). Next we head over to a Bedouin camp in the desert to take a camel ride! Now which of your friends has done this? Our next stop is Masada as we ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from AD 70-73, Jewish defenders made their historic stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We then head over to the Dead Sea where we have planned a special retreat at a resort hotel. Here you can enter the waters of the Dead Sea for a swim or visit the basement spa area of the hotel—just sit back and let the bubbles relax you. The dinner tonight is awesome, a relaxing evening for sure.
Day 6 – Monday, March 26, 2018 – HERODIUM / BETHLEHEM / SHOPPING AT OLIVE WOOD SHOP / ISRAEL MUSEUM / WALK ON JERUSALEM’S WALLS (RAMPARTS) / JERUSALEM
We head back north to the Herodium, the palace set in an artificial mountain that was built by Herod the Great and where his tomb was uncovered in 2007. Herod was visited by the Wise Men and he did what he could to prevent the “King of Kings” from being born, including killing the city’s babies. After seeing this man’s monument to himself, let’s go visit one of the possible sites for the Shepherds’ Fields—perhaps we could celebrate Christmas a bit early by singing “Silent Night” inside one of the caves! We can visit the Church of the Nativity where, in a basement cave, we will stand in the same place where the Savior was born. We will also visit the study where Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate of the Bible in the fourth century. Let’s take time out for lunch as well as shop at an olive wood store run by Christian believers. We then head over to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Finally, we’ll be dropped off at the Jaffa Gate and make our way to Zion’s Gate to walk on the walls of Jerusalem—what a great way to be introduced to the ancient city of Jerusalem. It’s been a long day, so let’s make our way to our hotel, the Ambassador (a personal favorite) for dinner and overnight.
- See a video on the Herodium
- See a video on Bethlehem
- See a video on the Israel Museum
- See a video on the Ramparts (Jerusalem’s Walls)
DAY 7 – Tuesday, March 27, 2018 –RABBI TUNNEL AND WESTERN WALL / SOUTHERN STEPS / POOL OF BETHESDA / ST. ANNE’S CHURCH (AMAZING GRACE) / MOUNT OF OLIVES / CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS / GETHSEMANE / GARDEN TOMB (COMMUNION) / JERUSALEM
We’ll begin our up-close look at Jerusalem as we head to the Western Wall, the holiest place in all of Judaism, before touring the Rabbi Tunnel, which takes us down to the very foundation of the walls. This wall is the only thing not destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. We’ll then go over to the Southern Steps—Jesus was certainly here just outside the temple area. From here we head over to the Pool of Bethesda, the five-columned portico pool where Jesus healed a man in John 5. The church memorializing that event is St. Anne’s Church, which has great acoustics. Let’s sing Amazing Grace together. Next we’ll get on our bus and head up to the Mount of Olives to have a group picture and get an overview of the entire city of Jerusalem. We’ll make our way down to the Church of All Nation, memorializing what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. We’ll drive over to the Garden Tomb and partake in communion together – it’s a service you will never forget. We’ll go back to the hotel for dinner, and after we’re done we’ll have filmmaker/ archaeologist Joel Kramer speak to us about the science of archaeology. He is our guide for the next three days. (NOTE: Having Joel with us is tentative at the time of this brochure, as he is unable to make a full commitment this far in advance…but this trip is definitely on his calendar!)
- See a video on the Western Wall (filmed by Eric Johnson)
- See a video on the Western Wall
- See a video on Amazing Grace in St. Anne’s Church
- See a video on Sifting, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane
DAY 8 – Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – TEMPLE MOUNT / PRAETORIUM / CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER / CHURCH OF THE APOSTLES / HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL / POOL of SILOAM / DAVID’S TOMB / JERUSALEM
(With Joel Kramer). Let’s wake up early this morning and begin our day at the Temple Mount, which is where the Dome of the Rock is located, marking the site of the ancient temple’s Holy of Holies. (Note: It is Holy Week and, depending on the political climate, we may or may not be able to get up to Temple Mount.) Joel will then take us to the place of the Praetorium where the judgment would have taken place. Let’s journey together to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus was crucified and buried. We move to the Church of the Apostles, located near Zion’s Gate. Finally, we head over to Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which was chiseled out 2700 years ago. Haven’t you always wanted to walk through a tunnel that is almost 2,000 feet in length? Bring your flashlights and water shoes, as the Gihon Spring is still bringing water into Jerusalem this many years later! Just after we exit, we can see the newly dug Pool of Siloam mentioned in John 9. And right around the corner from here is the authentic tomb of David—no longer recognized by tourists but it has history attached to it. It’s been another big day, so it’s time to head over to the Ambassador for dinner and overnight.
- See a video on Temple Mount
- See a video on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
- See a video on the City of David
- See a video on Hezekiah’s Tunnel as well as comments by students afterward
Day 9: Thursday, March 29, 2017 – JACOB’S WELL / SHECHEM / SAMARIA / SIFTING PROJECT / JERUSALEM
(With Joel Kramer) We begin our day by heading over to Jacob’s Well in Nabalis where Jesus had a conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4). You will have a chance to drink a cup of cold water from this deep well! Next we head over to Shechem where a gate from the time of Abraham and a temple mentioned in Judges are located. After lunch in Samaria, we take a hike to see the Israelite ruins from the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Few tourists ever see these authentic sites! We’ll end our day by going to the Sifting Project in Jerusalem and participate in our own “dig.” This project has allowed people from all over the world to sift through materials illegally dumped in 1999 by the Temple Mount Islamic authority, so we can help the archaeologists sort pottery, glass, and even coins! We’ll end back at the hotel for dinner and resting up for our final day.
DAY 10 – Friday, March 29, 2018 – BETHEL / AI / JERICHO / QUMRAN / SHOPPING / JERUSALEM
(With Joel Kramer) We begin today’s journey at Bethel and Ai, two cities that are quite important to the story of Joshua. Using a radio antenna and a local mosque to mark our positons, Joel will help us understand the importance of these two cities. Then we take an ancient road to Jericho, the city of Palms, where Joel will give us an on-site “rest of the story” to the DVD that you received for signing up on this trip. (Every family that comes receives this complimentary documentary, Jericho Unearthed.) After a quick bite to eat, we head over to Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947. Ancient Jews called the Essenes copied several hundred manuscripts (later known as the Dead Sea Scrolls), including the earliest copies we have of the Old Testament. We can look around the village where these Jews lived 2,000 years ago. For those in shape and who are more adventurous, we will take a hike up the hill to Cave 1, the place where Bedouin shepherds first found the scrolls. (Warning: this trek is not for the timid! Bring good shoes and gloves to hold onto the sharp rocks.) We will hear a devotional from Joel in front of the cave, and you will have a chance to go inside the cave where the scrolls were first discovered. We return to our hotel for dinner. Afterwards, those who would like to go shopping in the Old City can do so tonight! We will have an early-morning departure to Southern California in the morning.
- See a video on Bethel and Ai
- See a video on Jericho and Qumran
- Climbing Cave 1 in Qumran (with Joel Kramer)
- Inside Cave 1 in Qumran
DAY 11 – Saturday, March 31, 2018 – TEL AVIV / USA
We transfer to the airport for an early flight back to Los Angeles where the chartered bus will meet us. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading and will enable us to better “own our own faith.” Truly this has been an unforgettable experience!
For further information, contact Eric Johnson ([email protected])