The Apologetics Study Bible Trip to the Holy Land

March 6-18, 2020

With your host Cindy Albert

Photo: Our scheduled guide Andre (right) with Eric Johnson (center) near Qumran

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! 

A trip that is limited to two dozen passengers to guarantee the intimacy of the trip!

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
  • And much more!

For the official trip brochure, click official itinerary pdf brochure.

To register for this trip, click here.

To see the insurance policy, click Allianz Travel Insurance.


 Itinerary

Itinerary subject to change while touring for the best interest of the group.

DAY 1 –FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2020: Flight from LA 

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

DAY 2 – SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2020: Flight to Tel Aviv

We transfer to our flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide Andre Sharma 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 – SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2020: CAESAREA / MT. CARMEL / MEGIDDO / NAZARETH / BET SHEAN / TIBERIAS

This morning we begin at Caesarea, a port on the Mediterranean Sea that was built by Herod the Great and dedicated to Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor (hence the name). Here you will have a chance to sit in the Roman theater, walk along the hippodrome, enjoy the Mediterranean Sea, 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. Our next destination is 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 visit Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation where the angel appeared to Mary and told her not to be afraid. Archaeology of this site is confirmed to be very authentic. Our final stop for the day is the ancient city of Bet She’an, a site where Saul’s head was hung from the city wall after he was killed. This 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” that we can climb. This site comprises more than a dozen civilizations and is an awesome place to explore! We head to our hotel for dinner and the first of a three-night stay.

Hotel: The Sea of Galilee Hotel in Tiberias

DAY 4 – MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2020: CHORAZIN / BETHSAIDA / HAZOR / DAN / CAESAREA PHILIPPI / GOLAN HEIGHTS / MAGDALA / 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. This is 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 where Jesus certainly was. Return to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.

Hotel: The Sea of Galilee Hotel in Tiberias

DAY 5 – TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2020:  JORDAN RIVER / CAPERNAUM / INCLUDED ST. PETER’S FISH LUNCH / TABGHA / MOUNT OF BEATITUDES / BOAT RIDE / TIBERIAS

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. 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: The Sea of Galilee Hotel in Tiberias

DAY 6 – WEDNESAY, MARCH 11, 2020: QUMRAN / MASADA / CAMEL RIDE / DEAD SEA RESORT HOTEL

Picture to right: Cistern at 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 stop by Qumran and check out the village once inhabited by the Essenes, the people who compiled the Dead Sea Scrolls 2,000 years ago. These scrolls were first discovered by a shepherd boy in 1947, including the earliest copies we have of the Old Testament. This discovery helps us see how accurate the Old Testament really is. Then we head 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 three-tiered 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 spas—just sit back and let the bubbles relax you.

HOTEL: David Resort in Dead Sea

DAY 7 – THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020: EIN GEDI / HERODIUM / BETHLEHEM / MOUNT OF OLIVES / JERUSALEM

We begin at a place called Ein Gedi, a desert oasis, as we have a chance to 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. Next we travel to the Herodium, a 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 who 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. After lunch, 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. After a stop at a Bethlehem olive wood shop run by Christians, we head to Jerusalem, the place where we will spend the rest of our trip. Let’s go on up to the Mount of Olives and offer us a bird’s-eye view of the old city of Jerusalem. This will give you a perspective as we embark on a tour of this city over the next week. We head to our hotel for the first of a six-day stay—unpack your bags for the rest of the week!

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 8 – FRIDAY, March 13, 2020: POOL OF BETHESDA / ST. ANNE’S CHURCH / YAD VASHEM / VALLEY OF ELAH / JERUSALEM

We begin today’s journey by going to the Old City and visiting 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. Now we head over to Yad Vashem, a place the memorializes the horrible Holocaust and depicts how evil man can be. We can catch lunch before heading to Azekah, which overlooks 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. We return to Jerusalem with experiences that will be, certainly, mixed but hopefully this day will provide us with an understanding of those things that are important and give us courage to face whatever obstacles are in our way.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 9– SATURDAY, March 14, 2020: GALLIGANTU / CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS / GETHSEMANE / GARDEN TOMB / JERICHO / JERUSALEM

We start out in Jerusalem at Galligantu, the traditional place where Jesus was incarcerated and awaited his trial. There is a walkway of stones that traditionally has been believed to be the very walkway used by Jesus to go from the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem. Then we head over to the Church of All Nations, the place where Jesus went after the Last Supper and the site of 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 he was betrayed and arrested. We then head over to the Garden Tomb! We will have a private communion service here that you will never forget! The words “He is not here. He is risen indeed” will have extra meaning for everyone. After lunch, we get on the bus for a visit to Jericho, the city of palms. We will learn more about the destruction of Jericho as described in the book of Joshua, with the obvious burn level seen today. There are some shops at Jericho that we can look through as well before we head back to the hotel.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 10 –SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020: JACOB’S WELL / SHECHEM / SAMARIA / LUNCH GRATIS BY ERIC JOHNSON / SHILOH / JERUSALEM

Today we will have a chance to see sites that many tourists will never experience. We start off by visiting 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. Next we visit Samaria to see the Israelite ruins of the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. There is a wonderful authentic Palestinian lunch awaiting us where we will be treated by Eric Johnson, the organizer of the trip and one who is coming with us. Finally, we visit Shiloh, the town that was home to the sacred tabernacle for many years. In fact, the holes in the stones used to hold up the tent poles are still visible today.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 11 – MONDAY, MARCH 16: RABBI TUNNEL / WESTERN WALL / TEMPLE MOUNT / SOUTHERN STEPS / ISRAEL MUSEUM / JERUSALEM

This morning we start at the 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. Next we will climb up to the Temple Mount, which is where the Dome of the Rock is located. This is the site where the Holy of Holies was located. From here, we will visit the Southern (Teaching) Steps—Jesus was certainly here, right outside the temple itself. After lunch in the Old City, we will head over to the Israel Museum to spend the afternoon seeing authentic samples of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as walking around a model city of the ancient city of Jerusalem that is a football field in size! We will be given the chance to look at such important artifacts as the Pontius Pilate inscription, the Tel Dan inscription (with proof of David), and the ossuary of Caiaphas.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 12 –TUESDAY, MARCH 17: HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL / POOL OF SILOAM / PRAETORIUM / CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER / FREE TIME / JERUSALEM

We begin at the City of David by visiting the place where the palace used by King David was located. This is where we can visit Hezekiah’s Tunnel, with the option to walk through the wet tunnel 1749 feet from one end to the other—be sure you bring your flashlights. For those not so adventurous, there is a shorter dry tunnel as well. This tunnel was dug by Hezekiah’s men in the 8th century BC and you will feel the chisel marks that were made almost 3 millennia ago! We will also see the Pool of Siloam talked about in the Bible, as part of it has recently been uncovered! After this, you will have time to do some things on your own. Possibilities include hiking on the ramparts (ancient wall) of Jerusalem, wandering to some nearby tombs, shopping, or just exploring a city where there is so much to see and do! Tonight we have a special plan for dinner…shhh, we won’t tell you now, but trust us, it is going to be memorable! Don’t forget to pack your bags before you fall asleep because we leave early the next morning for the airport.

Hotel: Grand Court in Jerusalem

DAY 13 –WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18: TEL AVIV / LOS ANGELES / HOME

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.


Total Cost of the 13-day Israel trip

Tentative price $5095 (to be verified in March 2019)

$100 off the cost of the trip for those who sign up by January 31, 2019

This will be a small group of no more than 25 paying passengers plus chaperons.


What does the trip cost include?IMG

  • Air transportation/transfers from LAX
  • Full-time guide / bus / driver (Andre Sharma will be our guide, he’s AWESOME!)
  • All 4-star hotels
  • All admission fees
  • 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner buffet (and a very special “last meal” dinner in Jerusalem)
  • Two lunches, the first St. Peter’s fish lunch at the Sea of Galilee and another in Samaria compliments of Eric Johnson
  • 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 DVD–Jericho Unearthed (one per family)
  • A 50-day Devotional Preparation Guide (given PDF) at Christmas

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


 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


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
    • 2012 (CHS): 43 students, teachers, parents, staff from CHS in March
    • 2013 (Adult): 45 adult travelers, including several pastors in February
    • 2015 (Adult): 18 adult travelers in February
  • 2017 (Adult): 55 adult travelers in February, including five pastors (Feb-March 2017)
  • 2018 (Adult): 27 adult travelers in February, including members from Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Diego
  • 2018 (CHS/CVCS) 57 students and parents from two different Christian schools  in March
  • 2019 (Covenant Retirement Communities): 43 adult travelers from the West

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.

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