The basic tour focuses upon sites related to the life of Jesus and to His Second Coming. The tour originates out of Dallas or Newark with a flight to Tel Aviv. A sample itinerary for the basic tour is outlined below:
Depart Dallas in the evening for Tel Aviv.
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] Arrive in Tel Aviv in the afternoon. Proceed to our hotel in Tel Aviv located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. After dinner, the evening will be free for you to stroll along the Mediterranean beach or explore Tel Aviv.
Old Jaffa and Tel Aviv
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will begin our tour of Israel by going first to the ancient port of Jaffa, located just south of modern day Tel Aviv. (Keep in mind that Tel Aviv was not established until the 20th Century.) Jaffa is the port from which the prophet Jonah began his ill-fated voyage. We will stroll through the old city, visiting the traditional site where Peter received the vision that called him to preach to the Gentiles. We will then do a bus tour of Tel Aviv, including a walk through the Carmel Market. The group will then be released to walk down Diezengoff Street, the main shopping area of Tel Aviv. You will be free to select a cafe of your choice for lunch. After lunch we will regather to continue our tour of Tel Aviv. We will visit a bookstore and meeting place in central Tel Aviv that is run by Messianic Jews, and we will likely have a worship service there. We will then proceed to Independence Hall where the Israeli Declaration of Independence was read by David ben Gurion on May 14, 1948. We will complete the day with a visit to the Israeli Mint where you can shop for commemorative medals. We may also try to visit an immigrant relocation center. We will try to get back to the hotel a little early so that you can do some swimming in either the hotel pool or the Mediterranean Sea. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will begin our day at the excavations of Caesarea Maritime, the Roman capital in the time of Christ. This is the city where the first Gentile, Cornelius, accepted the Lord. It is also the place where Paul spent two years in prison. Here we will see the Roman amphitheater, the port constructed by King Herod, and the remarkable Roman aqueduct. We will continue north along the Mediterranean coast to Mt. Carmel where we will visit the site of Elijah’s triumph over the prophets of Baal. From this vantage point we will also be able to get a panoramic view of the Valley of Armageddon. We will next proceed to Haifa for a breathtaking view of the city and the harbor. After lunch in Haifa, we will continue north almost to the Lebanese border where we will tour the Crusader city of Akko. The most important edifice in the town is the Hall of the Knights Hospitallers, one of the finest examples of Crusader architecture still in existence. From Akko we will head for our hotel in Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Overnight at the Sheraton Moriah Hotel in Tiberias.
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] This will be a day of worship services at sites that were important in the life of Jesus. We will begin the day with a devotional service at the Hill of the Beatitudes. We will then proceed to the site of the city of Khorazin where there are the remains of a First Century synagogue where Jesus frequently ministered. We will conduct another devotional there which will center on the healing ministry of Jesus. Our next stop will be Capernaum, the town that served as the headquarters for Jesus’ ministry. If possible (depending on the crowds), we will conduct our third devotional of the day at this site. We will next visit the Church of St. Peter at Tabgha, a small church located right on the seashore. We will have a devotional here that will focus on Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to the Disciples while they were fishing. We will then take a cruise back to Tiberias, stopping the boat in the middle of the sea to conduct a devotional about Peter’s brief walk on the water. After a lunch of St. Peter fish, we will drive to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee to visit one of the oldest kibbutzim in Israel, Kibbutz Deganya, where Moshe Dayan was born and raised. We will conclude the day with a visit to the Christian baptismal site on the Jordan River, just south of the Sea of Galilee. We will conduct a baptismal service for those who desire to be baptized in the Jordan as a witness of their faith. Overnight at the Sheraton Moriah Hotel.
Tiberias to Jerusalem
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will start out with a visit to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. In Nazareth we will visit the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph. These churches are located over the traditional site where Mary and Joseph lived. We will also visit the traditional site of the synagogue of Nazareth where Jesus preached His first sermon. Our visit to Nazareth will be concluded with a stop at the ancient city well where it is believed the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. From Nazareth we will drive across the Valley of Armageddon to the tell of Megiddo, the ancient fortress city that guarded the approach to the valley. We will tour the tell, including its fascinating water tunnel. After eating lunch at the Meggido kibbutz, we will proceed back across the Valley of Armageddon to the Jordan River Valley where we will begin to follow the course of the Jordan River south to Jericho. En route we will stop to walk through the incredible excavations at Beit Shean. This is the city where the body of King Saul was nailed to the walls. It is the largest excavation in the land of Israel. We will conclude the day by making our ascent to the city of Jerusalem, “the city of the Great King!” (Psalm 48:2). Upon arrival, we will proceed immediately to the Western Wall for a time of prayer. Then we will go to our hotel, the Sheraton Plaza. We will spend our next five nights at this hotel. In the evening, after supper, you will be free to walk to Ben Yehuda Street in new Jerusalem to visit the shops and the cafes.
The Mount of Olives, the Arab Quarter of the Old City, and New Jerusalem
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will drive to the top of the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. We will then stroll down the mount to the Garden of Gethsemane, pausing en route at a lovely chapel called Dominus Flevit. This chapel marks the traditional site where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. We will have a devotional at this spot that will focus on the Second Coming of Jesus. We will continue walking down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane where we will visit the Church of All Nations. From Gethsemane we will proceed to the Lion’s Gate of the Old City and begin our walking tour through the city. After making stops at the Pool of Bethesda and the Crusader Church of St. Anne, we will walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the traditional Catholic site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus). This walk will begin at the Convent of the Sisters of Zion where the pavement floor is located that served as the foundation of the Antonio Fortress. This is the place where Pilate judged Jesus and the soldiers scourged Him. When we finish our walk on the Via Dolorosa, we will proceed to the Joppa Gate on the west side of the Old City. We will drive up to the Promenade for lunch. This is a beautiful new park and strolling area that overlooks the Old City. After lunch we will proceed to the new city of Jerusalem for a visit to the Mt. Herzl cemetery and the Holocaust Museum. If time permits we will also visit the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum. Overnight in Jerusalem.
The Jewish Quarter of the Old City and Bethlehem
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will begin the day on Mt. Zion where we will visit the traditional sites of the tomb of David and the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held. Then we will walk through the Zion Gate and head for the Jewish quarter of the Old City where we will visit the Temple Institute. This Institute is preparing the implements to be used in the Third Temple. We will proceed to the Western Wall (the “Wailing Wall”) and then on to the Temple Mount where we will visit the Dome of the Rock. After lunch we will tour the archeological tunnel that runs along the Western Wall. We will then proceed to Bethlehem where we will spend the afternoon visiting the shepherd’s fields and the Church of the Nativity. We will also spend some time in Bethlehem shopping. Overnight in Jerusalem.
The Dead Sea
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] We will get an early start for the Dead Sea. Our route will take us back down the main highway to Jericho where we will turn south and start driving along the shores of the Dead Sea. This is the lowest point on the surface of the earth. We will ascend to the top of Herod’s fortress of Masada by cable car and spend considerable time walking around this remarkable site with its fantastic view of the Dead Sea. On our return trip to Jerusalem, we will stop at Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were found in 1947. We will eat lunch there and then tour the area. From there we will go to the oasis of Ein Gedi where David often hid from Saul and the Philistines. Our next stop will be a kibbutz where Ahava body products are manufactured. We will visit the factory discount store and give you an opportunity to purchase their products. We will then proceed to a spot where you can go swimming in the Dead Sea. Our last stop of the day will be along the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. We will go to the Wadi Kelt and give you an opportunity to see the incredible Monastery of St. George which perches on the side of a steep cliff in the wadi. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Free Day in Jerusalem
[Blog: 2014 | 2009] This will be a free day for you to use as you please. You can shop in the Old City, walk the walls, and go through the Cave of Zedekiah. You can visit the Citadel Museum which presents the history of Jerusalem. You can visit the King David Hotel and the YMCA on the west side of the Old City. You may want to go to the spectacular national museum of Israel, one of the world’s greatest archaeological museums. You may want to arrange with the Jewish National Fund to plant some trees. If you are particularly adventuresome, you may want to walk Hezekiah’s tunnel. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem to Tel Aviv
We will begin the day with a worship and communion service at the Garden Tomb. We will then head west out of the city toward Tel Aviv, driving to the Arab town of Abu Gosh (the Biblical town of Kiriath-jearim). This is where the Ark of the Covenant rested in a farm house for 70 years. We will visit the Church of the Ark and then go to a beautiful Messianic moshav called Yad Hashmona where we will eat lunch. A moshav is a collective farm which, unlike a kibbutz, divides the profits among its members. After lunch we will return to our hotel in Jerusalem where you will have the afternoon free to shop, rest, and/or pack your suitcases for the trip back home. That evening we will drive to Tel Aviv to catch our direct flight back to Dallas.
We will arrive in Dallas where you will catch your connecting flight back home.
We use some of the premier air carriers, like Lufthansa and British Air. It is cheaper to fly on an Arab airline like Royal Jordanian, but you have to land in an Arab country where you must spend the night. We will be flying directly into Israel, landing at Tel Aviv. An overnight stay in an Arab country like Jordan raises problems of safety and health, especially health, because a person can get sick easily from drinking the water or eating any uncooked food. Also, a lot of time is wasted crossing the border into Israel. Depending on the number of tourists present at the border, the crossing can take from 2 to 5 hours. And another border crossing must be made at the end of the trip since you must depart from the same airport where you landed. You should also avoid economy carriers like Israir. Their equipment is shoddy; their crew members are rude; their food is awful; and they cram the seats together to load the maximum number of passengers.
Some groups cut costs by using kibbutz motels or Arab hotels. The kibbutz hotels are okay, but they are in remote locations, and they are not first class. The Arab hotels are pretty awful. It would not be unusual to sit in the dining room and watch cats play on the counters in the kitchen! We stay at first class, five star Jewish hotels.
Be sure to check to see what meals are provided. Some groups provide only breakfast, and it is often continental style. We provide all three meals each day.
Some groups cut costs by using Arab guides. This will absolutely ruin your trip because the Arab guide will spend the entire time running down Israel and giving you a very distorted picture of what is going on in the Middle East.
Make certain to check to see what is covered by the cost of the trip, and what is not covered. Believe it or not, there are unethical tour operators who offer a rock bottom cost that does not even include the entrance fees to the places on the itinerary! Thus, when the group arrives at a site like Masada, they suddenly discover that they must pay the entrance fee, including the cost of the sky tram. Our tours include the entrance fees to all sites listed on the itinerary. When the cost of a trip is so low that it seems too good to be true — beware!
The first time I went to Israel the trip was a gift. I had no choice about the group I would go with. The leader was a wonderful man of God, but he didn’t know anything about Israel or the Jewish people. He had to rely entirely on the guide. I have since been to Israel over 40 times. I know the country and its people very well. And I know how the land relates to the Bible. The staff members I take along are also very knowledgeable about the land and the people. Don’t go with a leader who knows nothing about the land and its people.
The first time I went to Israel, I was not given any resources to help me prepare for the trip. We provide a very carefully prepared booklet that is designed to introduce you to the land and its people. And we provide you with a list of other recommended resources.
The vast majority of tours follow a standard itinerary that is dictated by the tour agency. I personally design every aspect of our tours. That’s one of the reasons that we spend a day in Tel Aviv. Most tours spend no time at all in this city. That’s a shame, because there is a lot to see in Tel Aviv, including things like Independence Hall which relate directly to Bible prophecy. Over the years I have diligently sought out unusual, out of the way places for our groups to visit. We see a lot of the standard places, but we go to many that are off the beaten track.
Many group trips to Israel turn out to be just tours, and nothing more. Our trips are spiritual pilgrimages. We go there for spiritual purposes: to draw nearer to the Lord and to develop a better understanding of His Word. We focus on the visitation of sites that relate either to the life of Jesus or to end time Bible prophecy. We conduct devotionals at each of these spots and we do Bible studies when time permits.
The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. I’ll never forget one lady who made her second trip with one of our groups. She was amazed at how nice our hotel was in Tel Aviv the first night. When I told her it was nothing all that special, she explained that on her previous trip her husband had insisted on purchasing the cheapest tour he could find. The result was that on their first night in Tel Aviv, they stayed in a hotel that had no electricity (they were issued candles at the check-in desk!) and had gang baths at the end of each hall! Again, you get what you pay for!
Formerly, Dr. David Reagan served as host of all Lamb & Lion tours. He had led more than 45 pilgrimage groups to Israel since the ministry began in 1980, and was usually accompanied by a staff member who helped with the coordination of the group. Now, one of the ministry’s experienced staff or member of the board of trustees will serve as the tour host. Every member of the Lamb & Lion staff and board has been to Israel, some several times.
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