Picture: Our full group at Caesarea in front of an aquaduct that was built 2,000 years ago by Herod the Great. To see a number of other pictures from our trip, go here.
Since 2009, I have had the chance to organize trips allowing about 200 people to see the Holy Land. In the five trips I’ve taken to Israel, I have never heard anyone say, “I wish I hadn’t come!” or “It wasn’t worth it!” Instead, I hear things like:
- The Bible has been opened up to me in a way that I never knew it could
- Visiting this place was always my dream, and it came true
- I can’t believe I’m walking where Jesus walked
By visiting the Holy Land, the Christian has a chance to empirically experience the Bible that just can’t be replaced by just reading the pages . That is, the pilgrim gets a chance to see, taste, and touch the Holy Land, including marvel at the sunset over the Sea of Galilee, walking on the ramparts (walls) of Old Jerusalem, and smelling the inside of the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered in 1947.
Maybe this is a trip you have always thought about going on but you said to yourself, “There’s no way I could ever go.” My question to you is, why not? If not today, when? Don’t wait until it’s too late or the land becomes closed to tourism. Based on the political situation, I believe that there will be a time the land will close.
If you ask those who have been on trips with me, the word is that you will never be the same. I know sometimes people say that a trip to the Holy Land sounds scary. It may even sound dangerous. Really, it’s not. (Listen to the testimonies of these travelers from a trip we led in 2013.) Throughout this article, I will provide links to some special videos that I produced to give you a better idea of what this trip is all about. When you see a link, that video might be 3-10 minutes long. Feel free to linger and watch whatever catches your fancy.
So what is this 14-day trip all about?
We call it the “Apologetics Study Bible Tour to the Holy Land” because apologetics is stressedthroughout this trip. Quite simply, apologetics comes from the Koine Greek word “apologia” and it means the “defense of the Christian faith.” This is why Peter was able to say “have an answer for everyone who asks you…” (1 Peter 3:16). On any trip that I put together, you will be kept busy as we maximize our time. For instance, I believe we’ve paid a lot of money not to sleep in each morning. Rather, we wake up and tackle the new adventures.
Whenever we go to a site, we will see as much as we can and are taught by qualified guides. You can go here to see the whole itinerary and other important details, but let me provide a summary of our trip that was put together by the folks at Maranatha Tours (Phoenix, AZ), a family-run business that has been sending people to the Holy Land since 1974–this is a company to be trusted and, I guarantee, they will make sure our trip is first class!
This 14-day trip takes place in February 2017 and includes a number of wonderful sites, including:
- Sea of Galilee
- Baptisms in the Jordan River
- Day in Northern Galilee, including Chorazin, Dan, and Caesaea Philippi
- Mount of Beatitudes (where we’ll read through the Sermon on the Mount)
- Dead Sea (and a night’s stay at a luxury hotel on the sea itself)
- Masada (where 1,000 Jews committed suicide rather than be taken captive by the Romans)
- Jacob’s Well
- Western “Wailing” Wall
- Rabbi Tunnel
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel
- Israel Museum
- Communion at the Garden Tomb
- 3 days with Joel Kramer, including climbing to Cave 1 in Qumran.
Picture: Bill McKeever stands in front of the Caiphas ossuary and the Pontius Pilate inscription in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem
OK, I couldn’t list every site (above) because you probably would have stopped reading. Let’s look at 7 quick reasons why you ought to come!
1. Limit on how many people are coming. We are limiting the number of how many can sign up for this trip. Having a smaller number–all on one bus–means that we get a chance to better know one another and develop great comraderie. If you’re thinking that you don’t know anyone coming on this trip, don’t worry. If our trip is anything like the others, we will all become very good friends–everyone will be on the same page and want to share their experience of a lifetime.
Picture: Sunset on the Sea of Galilee
2. The price of this inclusive trip includes practically everything, including:
- International air (from Chicago)
- Hotels (3 and 4 star, incredible places where you will wish you could stay longer than we can)
- Qualified guide and a personal bus/driver
- 2 buffet meals a day–excellent food everywhere we go!
- St. Peter’s fish lunch in Galilee
- All admission fees
- And (which many companies won’t include in the price) all taxes and tips–for our trip, this portion of the cost ends up being more than $800! But this too is included!
There is no nickel and diming on this trip. The only things not included are domestic air to Chicago, snacks/drinks, and souvenirs. But everything else is included–you have my guarantee!
3. Three special days with Joel Kramer: You can see his website here. Joel is a film producer/ archaeologist who lives in Israel. Joel once lived in Utah where he once was a pastor in Brigham City. This is an incredible man of God who is a complete joy and exciting to be around. Among other places, he will take us to Cave 1 in Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. He will also take us to Jericho, a place he knows like the back of his hand because he produced a wonderful DVD that explains why this place is evidence that Joshua really did fight the battle of Jericho. Everyone who goes on the trip will receive his video Jericho Unearthed and one other Sourceflix video as well. In addition, Joel will take us to places such as Lachish, Jacob’s Well (drink the water from the well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman), Ai, and Joseph’s Tomb, places most tourists never go. Joel will present a lecture one evening at the hotel on the topic of archaeology. These three days with Joel makes this trip worth the price of admission! (Check out a teaching session, on site in the West Bank by Joel.)
4. Several devotions every day: You will have a chance to hear from qualified Bible teachers (including several pastors) on our trip. Generally, a devotion at a site lasts 10-15 minutes long; we like to focus on the events that took place at that particular site. While there will be plenty of fun and excitement, we want to stress Bible teaching and the spiritual commitment. After all, why else are we visiting the Holy Land?
Picture: Bill McKeever baptizes his son Jamin in the Jordan River
5. Participating in the ordinances: For those who haven’t been baptized or who were baptized at an age too young to remember, baptism in the Jordan River can be arranged. (Those who don’t get baptized will have the ability to wade in the river and contemplate their commitment to the Lord.) On the last day, we will get a chance to walk through Jersualem, sing Amazing Grace in St. Anne’s church, and participate together in the Lord’s Supper at the Garden Tomb.
6. Plenty of adventure on this trip: If you’re not sure, let me give you some examples:
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem, where we wade through a 1700-foot tunnel and allow you to feel chisel marks made 2700 years ago, all described in the Old Testament
- Riding camels in the desert: If you’ve never done this, I promise that you’ll never forget this experience.
- Going to Masada and hiking, if you wish (or a cable car can take you directly to the top) and seeing the amazing fortress built by Herod the Great
- So many archaeological sites to visit and explore–you’ll feel like Indiana Jones!
- Getting an exclusive tour behind the Western Wailing Wall (Rabbi Tunnel tour)
- A chance to dance on a boat sailing on the Sea of Galilee
And so much more
7. Singing Amazing Grace at St. Anne’s Church: You will NEVER forget this experience!
I could keep going, but I think you have the idea. Listen, here’s a final video that will give you a good overview of this trip. Watch this as well if you are concerned about safety. In fact, here’s another video to calm your worries.
Picture: MRM’s Eric and Terri Johnson, Sharon Lindbloom, and Bill McKeever at the Library of Celsus in Ephesus
Finally, let me say that if you are thinking about going, you really ought to consider putting down a $300 deposit ($175 fully refundable if cancelled by December) and save your spot now. Space is limited. To sign up, just call Jen (our personal agent at Maranatha), tell her how you heard about the trip, and she will take down your information. Her number is 602-788-8864.
Have questions? If so, please contact Eric: eric at mrm dot org.
If you want to see the Bible open up to you in a way you could never imagine, then would you prayerfully consider coming with us in February 2017? Shalom!
MRM’s website for this trip is www.mrm.org/israel-2017
Marantha Tour’s website for our trip is www.theapologeticsstudybibletour.com