The Apologetics Study Bible Tour to the Holy Land

February 24-March 6, 2020

Optional Postextension to Germany, March 6-10, 2020


Have you always wanted to see the Holy Land?

Would you like to walk where Jesus walked?

Do you have a thirst to learn more about the Bible?

This will be a trip that will forever change the way you read your Bible! 

Join us for so many sites that you have read about in the Bible, including:

  • Sea of Galilee boat ride
  • Baptisms in Jordan River
  • Rabbi Tour of Western Wall
  • Valley of Elah (David/Goliath)
  • Communion service at Garden Tomb
  • Valley of Elah (David and Goliath battle)
  • Masada
  • Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • Climbing up to Cave 1 where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered
  • And much more!

Every family going on this trip will receive a complimentary copy of the DVD Jericho Unearthed by Joel Kramer as well as a personal souvenir booklet of our trip.

To sign up online for this trip with a $500 deposit, click here. To fill out a hard copy, click here and print the PDF.

$100 Early Bird Discount if you sign up by January 31st, 2019. And if you sign up online by January 16, 2019, you not only get the Early Bird Discount, but you will receive a copy of the wonderful new book The Holy Land for Christian Travelers: An Illustrated Guide to Israel, authored by John A. Beck, sent to your home. You will want to read this before you go and then take it with you for references during the trip!

For the hard brochure, click official brochure Israel 2020


DAY 1 – Monday, February 24, 2020: Flight from LA to Germany (layover)

Today we will meet at Los Angeles International airport for our connecting flights to Israel on Lufthansa Airlines via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.

Hotel: Plane USA

DAY 2 – Tuesday, February 25, 2020: Flight from Germany to Tel Aviv

We arrive in Germany and transfer to our flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. Board our bus and travel through Tel Aviv, proceeding to the city of Netanya on the Mediterranean to our hotel where we will check in for overnight.

HOTEL: Leonardo Plaza in Netanya

DAY 3 – Wednesday, February 26, 2020: CAESAREA / MT. CARMEL / MEGIDDO /  NAZARETH / BET SHEAN / TIBERIAS

This morning we begin our day at Caesarea, a port on the Mediterranean Sea that was built by Herod the Great and dedicated to Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor. Here you will have a chance to sit in the Roman theater, walk along the hippodrome, and check out a Crusader fort. You can also see where Herod’s palace once stood, as 2,000-year-old floor mosaics can still be seen on the shore. Paul was under arrest and certainly was here! This is considered one of Israel’s major archaeological sites, and the sea makes it one of the most beautiful places in the country. We proceed to Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s successful challenge with the Baal priests. We can look over the entire valley from this spot and get a good idea of the geography. After lunch, we proceed to Megiddo to visit the excavations that unearthed 20 different civilizations. It is better known as Har Megiddo, or “Armageddon” according to the book of Revelation.  We then take a step back in time at Nazareth Village, which has been constructed to look like a 1st century village just like Jesus would have known. You will have a chance to talk to a shepherd, carpenter, and others who will converse in their first century way. It is quite an experience! Our next stop is the ancient city of Bet Shean, a site where Saul’s head was hung from the city wall after he was killed. It is a wonderful archaeological site that gives us an idea of what an ancient city looked like, with a theater, baths, and a large “tell” which we can climb up. This site comprises more than a dozen civilizations and is an awesome place to explore! Finally, we make our way to our hotel for the first of our three-night stay.

HOTEL: Nof Ginosar in Tiberias


Today we go to the northern part of Israel (Galilee), starting with Chorazin and Bethsaida before driving through the Hula Valley to Hazor, where we will see ruins of the powerful Canaanite city destroyed by Joshua and rebuilt by King Jabin and then by Solomon as a chariot city to command upper Galilee. We continue to the northern limits to Dan where we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, topped by the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). Next we’ll take a short drive to Banias (Caesarea Philippi), dedicated to Pan the Greek god of pastures, flocks and shepherds, where Peter made his great profession of faith. Driving along the base of Mount Hermon, we ascend onto the Golan Plateau for a magnificent view of upper Israel and have lunch. On our way back, let’s stop by Magdala along the Sea of Galilee and visit Mary Magdalene’s hometown. There is a first century synagogue here, the first to be found in the Galilee region. Return to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.

HOTEL: Nof Ginosar in Tiberias


(Photo at left, the “Jesus boat”; photo at right, baptismal candidates at the Jordan River) This morning is a special time to practice the ordinance of water baptism. We will go to the Jordan River where those participants 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 by Pastor Kenny Dodd from Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church. Next we continue to Capernaum where the home of Peter’s mother-in-law and the town’s synagogue can be seen. Let’s have lunch at a restaurant to partake of a St. Peter’s fish (or, if you wish, chicken) meal. After lunch, we visit Christian churches located at Tabgha (loaves and fishes) and the Mount of Beatitudes—a place where we can read from the Sermon on the Mount. Our final activity is taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee…how exciting! We will have a chance to hear Christian worship music, dance to Jewish songs, and celebrate our time in the Holy Land. After this, we will see a New Testament boat found two decades ago during a drought dating to the time of the apostles. We will spend the night at the Sea of Galilee for a third night and prepare for our drive south in the morning.

HOTEL: Nof Ginosar in Tiberias

DAY 6 – Saturday, February 29, 2020: EIN GEDI / MASADA / CAMEL RIDE / DEAD SEA RESORT HOTEL

(Photo of cistern on Masada) We wake up early and start the day by taking an extended bus ride down to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the earth (1300 feet below sea level). After a few hours of driving, we visit Ein Gedi and take in a little bit of Paradise in the desert as we observe the wildlife and hike to a wonderful waterfall. In one of these caves above the waterfall area, David found Solomon and cut off part of his robe. After sampling authentic Bedouin tea or coffee, we head over to Masada and 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 will have a chance to explore as we walk through the storehouses, cisterns, and palace created by Herod the Great. We then head over to a Bedouin camp to ride camels in the desert—how many of your friends have done that? Finally, we go to the Dead Sea where we have planned a special retreat at a resort hotel. This is a place where you can enter the waters of the Dead Sea for a swim and mud yourself. Or, if you’d like, utilize the basement spa area of the David Resort hotel—just sit back and let the bubbles relax you.

HOTEL: David Resort in Dead Sea


(Photo at the left: The Pontius Pilate inscription at the Israel Museum) Let’s start the story of Jesus right by heading back north to the Herodium, the palace set in a conical mountain that was built by Herod the Great and where his tomb was uncovered in 2007. Remember, it was Herod was visited by the Wise Men. He did what he could to prevent the “King of Kings” from being born, including the “Massacre of the Innocents.” 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! Bethlehem is where Jesus was born, a direct fulfillment of Micah 5:2. 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 quarters where Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate in the fourth century. Let’s take time out for lunch as well as shop at an olive wood store run by believers. Our next stop is the city you have heard so much about, Jerusalem, the capitol of the Bible. We will go to the Israel Museum and see some ancient artifacts, including pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as a model city of the ancient city of Jerusalem that is a football field in size! We will also have a chance to see such important artifacts as the Pontius Pilate inscription, the Tel Dan stone (with proof of David), and the ossuary of Caiaphas.



(Photo at right: Jewish boys at the Western Wall; photo) This morning we will visit the Temple Mount, which is where the Dome of the Rock is located. This is the site where the Holy of Holies was located. We’ll then go down to visit the Western “Wailing” Wall, the holiest place in all of Judaism, before touring the Rabbi Tunnel, which takes us down to the very foundation of the walls. From here, we will visit the Southern (Teaching) Steps—Jesus was certainly here, right outside the temple itself. After lunch, we’ll head over to Yad Vashem to consider the effect of the Holocaust.

HOTEL: Grand Court in Jerusalem


(Photo at the Garden Tomb) We begin the day at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, which is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. Why don’t we sing “Amazing Grace” together! You have never heard this hymn sung more sweetly than here. Our next destination takes us across the valley to the Mount of Olives and down to the Garden of Gethsemane. There are olive trees in this garden with root systems going back to the time of Jesus! This is where Jesus prayed before getting betrayed and arrested. We then head over to the Garden Tomb! A private communion service led by Pastor Kenny Dodd from Clairemont Emmanual Baptist Church in San Diego will be given at a possible site of the tomb. The words “He is not here. He is risen indeed” will have extra meaning for everyone as we return home the next day from this wonderful trip. After lunch, you will have the freedom to head out on your own or how about some shopping? Tonight archaeologist Joel Kramer will address our group after dinner at the hotel. Joel will take over the guiding duties for the next three days.

HOTEL: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 10 – Wednesday, March 4, 2020: BETHEL / AI / JACOB’S WELL / SHECHEM / SAMARIA

(Photo at right: Joel Kramer at Shechem) (With Joel Kramer) Today we will have a chance to see sites that many tourists will never experience, with Joel Kramer leading us. First, we begin at Ai, the city conquered by Joshua (see Judges). Next to Ai is Bethel, where Abraham pitched his tent. Very few tourists have ever been to these sites. Next we go to Jacob’s Well in Nabalis where Jesus had a conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4). Drink a cup of cold water from this deep well! From here we head over to Shechem, a place so very important in the Bible located between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal. Finally, we head over to Samaria to see the Israelite ruins of the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem


(With Joel Kramer) We begin today’s journey by traveling to “Tel Lachish,” which is the site of an Old Testament city and is now an archaeological site as well as an Israeli national park. Next we go to Gezer, an ancient Canaanite city 20 miles west of Jerusalem. Because the Israelites never fully obeyed God’s commands to destroy the Canaanites, they eventually lost this city to the Philistines. We’ll hear about the child sacrifice that was practiced by the pagan nations, a good reason God why wanted these enemies of God eliminated. Next we go to Azekah and overlook the Valley of Elah, the place where David fought Goliath. From a certain location, you will be able to see exactly where the battle took place and even view the stream where David picked up his rocks. Next, we head to Jerusalem to the old city where Joel will take us to the place where Pilate judged Jesus. Then we will take the less traditional (but more accurate) walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—this is the place where Jesus was crucified and buried. Although there is plenty of tradition that goes beyond the biblical facts, Joel will help us cut through the incense so we can understand the historical significance of this site. Our final stop today is at the Church of the Apostles, marking the place where Pentecost took place.

HOTEL: Grand Court in Jerusalem


(Photo at right, Hezekiah’s Tunnel) (With Joel Kramer) We start at the City of David and Hezekiah’s Tunnel and hike 1749 feet from one end to the other. This tunnel was dug by Hezekiah’s men in the 8th century BC. We will also see the Pool of Siloam talked about in the Bible, as part of it has recently been uncovered! And Joel will show us a possible site for the actual tomb of King David in a rock-cut tomb near the Pool of Siloam. We get back on the bus and 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 where the scrolls were first discovered. (Those who are not interested may stay in the Qumran Village and shop for Dead Sea salts and lotions.) Finally, we end in Jericho, the city of Palms, where Joel will give us an on-site “rest of the story” to the complimentary DVD that you received for signing up on this trip.

HOTEL: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 13 – Saturday, March 7, 2020 JERUSALEM / HOME OR GERMANY Extension

We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. 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. For those who are coming on the optional extension, we will be continuing our journey.



Transfer to the Tel Aviv airport in the morning for a nonstop flight to Munich, Germany.  Arrive in Munich and drive north to the Dachau concentration camp memorial.  See the buildings used by the Nazis during World War II and hear the stories of those that lived through this experience. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Augsburg, site of the Augsburg Confession, will bring to light the history behind much of our doctrine today. It was here in 1518 at St. Anne’s Church that Luther met the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the pope. Augsburg was also the site of another Imperial Diet (1530) and in the town hall the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555 ending for a time the religious wars in Germany between the Catholics and the Protestants.  Continue to the hotel in Nuremberg.


Travel north to the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach’s city, with free time and a visit to St. Thomas Church where Bach was choir master and organist.  Continue to Eisleben which is noted among the most significant in Luther’s history; he was born here in 1483, died here in 1546 and old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity to Eisleben. We will see the house of his birth and death, St. Andrews Church where he preached his last sermon, the Luther Monument, and St. Anne’s Church with the famous Biblical scenes hewn in stone and many other sites.  Transfer to the hotel in Wittenberg.


We continue on the Reformation Trail today with a visit to Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. You will see the Castle Church door area where Luther posted his 95 Theses, giving birth to the Reformation. This beautiful church is also the burial site of Luther. We see the Luther House which is the greatest museum of Reformation History in the world with a detailed history display of his life and accomplishments, historical documents and an outstanding collection of period paintings of his life and family members. Continue to Berlin where we enjoy an inspirational guided tour of this fascinating city including the “East Side Gallery”, the longest continuous and still standing section of the Berlin Wall, the infamous “Checkpoint Charlie”, the majestic main gate the “Brandenburger Tor” and nearby “Holocaust Memorial,” a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  Overnight at a hotel in Berlin.

Day 4 — Monday, March 10, 2020: Flight back to USA

We transfer to the Berlin airport for the flight home.

Total Cost of the 13-day Israel trip

Tentative price $5095 (to be verified in March 2019) based on 20 total travelers. (If fewer than 20, there would be a price increase of $250.)

$100 off the cost of the trip for those who sign up by February 1, 2019

$100 additional off the cost of the trip if we sign up 40+ passengers. This trip will only take one bus and we are limited to 50 passengers, 15 minimum.

Post-extension Cost: Tentative price $1330 (to be verified in March 2019)

 $100 will be deducted off the extension if 20+passengers travel. The post-extension is limited to 40 passengers, 15 minimum.

What does the trip cost include?IMG

  • Air transportation/transfers from LAX
  • Full-time guide / bus / driver (Andre Sharma and Azam, my favorite guide and bus driver)
  • All 4-star hotels
  • All admission fees
  • 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner buffet
  • A St. Peter’s fish lunch
  • Travel Diary of the Holy Land, specifically for your trip (designed and produced by Eric Johnson–see the diary from the 2015 trip to your right)
  • Email correspondence throughout the months preceding the trip from Eric Johnson, including teaching, tips, video links, etc
  • Free copy of the Joel Kramer-produced DVD–Jericho Unearthed (one per family)
  • A 50-day Devotional Preparation Guide (given PDF)

And so much more!

Not included: Optional travel insurance policy (7.25% or 9.8% of tour cost), transportation to LAX, most lunches, snacks/drinks

Hotel List

Check out our 4-star hotels where we’ll be staying. Just click on the hotel name.

 Actual comments from previous travelers

“Whoever goes with Eric Johnson is happy and satisfied because he cares about his passengers”–Andre Shama, Tour Guide in Israel

“This trip has so much power to change you!”

“The thrill of walking where Jesus walked and seeing the hills that Jesus preached from…it changes the way you read the Bible. It’s definitely worth it!”

“My experience on this trip was unlike any other. I will never forget what I saw and felt as we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee — I knew I was seeing the same things that Jesus Himself saw. This was the trip of a lifetime and it was worth every cent!”

“Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for such a life changing trip. I am so grateful for your time and planning for the last 10 days. This Easter has new meaning to me now that I have walked where Jesus walked, prayed where He prayed and saw where He was sacrificed. What a gift it is to visit the Holy Land and get to fellowship with such an amazing group of people.” K.B., traveler on the March 2018 trip

 Click here for a letter written on 3/6/2017 by a passenger on the 2017 trip.

2018 Video Testimonies:

“There are no words to express the appreciation we have for this most outstanding trip-of-a-lifetime. Our hearts and minds are overflowing with new, deeper knowledge of the land and history of our precious Savior and Father. All glory to Him!!” –Shelly Anderson

“As I reflect back on our amazing trip and continue to try to adjust for the time zone change (smile), I just wanted to drop you a note and thank-you for the incredible journey you led. As people have been asking me about our time in Israel I am finding that it is so very difficult to put into words the dramatic impact that it had strengthening my faith and opening my understanding of God’s Word.”–Pat McCarty

“Just want to say one more time how grateful I am for your leadership of such a life-changing trip.  There is not a single person that didn’t have an incredible time, and many people’s faith grew significantly because of the experience. . . . You really did a great job at managing the details and all you did to make the trip smooth and enjoyable was noticed and appreciated.”–Chris Rutz

Check out these videos from Ritch Sandford

Check out our article 7 reasons why you ought to consider coming to the Holy Land

About archaeologist Joel Kramer

DSC04326Joel Kramer has led a life of adventure. (If you doubt this, just read his 2001 book Beyond Fear: A Harrowing Journey Across New Guinea through Rivers, Swamps, Jungle, and the Most Remote Mountains in the World).  Joel has produced a number of feature-length and short-length videos on a number of topics, including Mormonism, polygamy, the Worldwide Church of God, and archaeology. (You can order his DVDs on Joel served as a pastor at the Brigham City Main Street Church before moving to Israel about a decade ago. Joel has studied archaeology in Israel and has worked hands-on with top-notch archaeologists, including Shimon Gibson. In late 2016, Joel and his family moved to Jordan but will come back to Israel to guide our group to such sites as Jericho, Jacob’s Well, and Shiloh. In the previous seven trips organized by Eric Johnson, Joel has spoken to the travelers or guided us, and he is somebody you don’t want to miss!

Do we need passports, visas, and shots?

Passports, YES! Your passport should not expire before October 2020 or you will need to renew it. You can apply for a passport at your local post office. Do yourself a favor and obtain this well in advance! Sometimes passport deliveries are delayed and you don’t want to risk it. As far visas and shots, the answer is no to both!

Do we need the insurance policy?

There are two different policies from which you can choose. One is a standard policy, covering missed connections, medical issues, and lost luggage. The other allows you to cancel for any reason and receive 80% of your money back. You need to decide for yourself, but I definitely recommend the basic insurance for peace of mind.

What about safety?

I have to be honest, I feel much more safe in Israel, even in the West Bank, than I do in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC! Nobody on my trips has ever felt threatened at any site we have visited. As I understand it, no American tourist has been killed or even seriously injured for decades by any terrorist activity while going on a pilgrimage to Israel. The entire time we are in Israel, safety will be our highest priority. If anything is ever happens in a particular area during our trip, we will avoid that place–the guide will be in constant communication with the authorities. Also understand that governmental security is all around us, especially in sensitive areas such as Temple Mount and the Western Wall. And security is tighter in the Ben Gurion Airport than anywhere in the world. You will be as safe as possible and much safer than if they were in London, Paris, or Rome. So, in conclusion, I believe this is a very safe trip, or I would not have traveled here, without incident, eight times since 2009 and have brought every member of my family!

About trip organizer Eric Johnson:

Photo to the left: Eric with daughters Janelle (now a University of Utah junior) and Carissa (CHS, class of 2010, now employed by Liberty University in Virginia and soon-to-be English teacher at a Christian school) stand on the Mount of Olives overlooking the old city of Jerusalem.

Eric Johnson graduated from Christian High (El Cajon) in 1980. In 1993, he returned to the school as a teacher, serving the Home of the Patriots for 17 years as the Bible department head, Genesis adviser, and JV softball coach. In 2009, he organized his first Holy Land adventure for 45 students, teachers, and parents. This was the first of six trips that he led. In fact, more than 200 people, including a dozen pastors, have traveled to the Holy Land with him. They have learned how the Bible speaks about real people and real places while describing historical events. Eric believes that everyone should come to the Holy Land and experience this incredible place for themselves in order to make the Bible come alive. Reading God’s Word will never be the same!

Eric is married to Terri (30 years) and has three daughters. After teaching at CHS for 17 years, he moved to Utah in order to become a full-time Christian missionary to the Mormon people. He received his Master’s of Divinity degree in 1991 and has written several books, including Answering Mormons Questions (with Bill McKeever, Kregel, 2013), Mormonism 101 (with Bill McKeever, Baker Books, 2015), Mormonism 101 for Teens (MRM, 2016) and Sharing the Good News with Mormons (Kregel, 2018, co-edited with Sean McDowell). He is a regular contributor to the Christian Research Journal and was a contributor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students (Holman, 2010). Since 2015 he has taught at Alta Christian Seminary (for high school students), which he and a local pastor founded. The class gathers twice a week before school begins at Alta High School in Sandy, UT to study the Bible and apologetic issues.

Photo to the left: Eric stands in front of the Pontius Pilate inscription and the Caiphas family ossuary located in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Photo to the right: Eric and daughter Hannah on the CHS/CVCS trip in 2011 after Hannah’s baptism in the Jordan River

Previous trips to Israel taken by Eric Johnson

  • 1990 (passenger on a tour led by Dr. Ronald Youngblood, my professor at Bethel Seminary San Diego and a translator of the 1978 New International Version — see photo at right)
  • 2009 (CHS): 47 students, teachers, parents, staff from Christian High School (CHS) in El Cajon, CA in April
  • 2011 38 students, teachers, parents, staff from three different Christian high schools in March (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2012 (CHS): 43 students, teachers, parents, staff from CHS in March (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2013 (Adult): 45 adult travelers, including several pastors in February (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2015 (Adult): 18 adult travelers in February (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2017 (Adult): 55 adult travelers in February, including five pastors (Feb-March 2017) (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2018 (Adult): 27 adult travelers in February, including members from Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Diego (with Joel Kramer)
  • 2018 (CHS/CVCS) 57 students and parents from two different Christian schools  in March (with Joel Kramer)

Please, I encourage you to talk to anyone who has been on one of my previous trips and they will tell you, “Go!” You will never see more than on my trips. And this will be something you will never regret.

To sign up online for this trip with a $500 deposit, click here. To fill out a hard copy, click here and print the PDF.

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