Experience the Holy Land Pilgrimage
December 11 -20, 2019
Join David and Cherie Shepherd for an 10-day trip to the biblical land of Israel. Explore the wilderness of the Negev. Sail on the Sea of Galilee. Travel through the Galilee of Jesus. Wander the ancient streets of the Holy City Jerusalem. Experience the land of the Bible and see how it transforms your reading of the Bible.
(Scroll down for full itinerary)
Mount of Beatitudes
Sea of Galilee
$4510 (with Airfare)
$3025 (Land Only)
$637 (Single Room Fee)
Payments Due By:
$650 at Registration
50% Remaining Balance July 11
Full Balance Sept. 11
**please note: processing fees may apply for electronic forms of payment
Tour Costs Include:
Hotels including breakfast and dinner
Local English speaking tour guide
Biblical Expeditions expert instructor
All entrances and activities per itinerary
A private AC motor coach with driver
All tour related tips
Biblical Expeditions pre-trip learning and devotional resources
Round-trip airfare from Nashville* (*for those who elect to travel with the group flight)
David and Cherie Shepherd
David and Cherie, both native Nashvillians, have been to Israel numerous times and enjoy introducing first-time pilgrims to the experience of being in the Holy Land. In addition to their love for pilgrimages with God’s people, they enjoy taking care of their large family – eight kids and 13 grandkids – and serving at their church, St. Mary of Bethany Anglican Parish in Nashville.
David is an ordained Anglican deacon, while Cherie is a licensed spiritual director. They are both third order Benedictines in the Company of Jesus. When family or church is not on the agenda, David, a 25-year veteran of Christian publishing, is either working as a literary agent representing Christian authors or helping authors and organizations get books produced for use in their ministries and distributed through online retail outlets.
Marc Turnage holds an MA in Ancient Judaism and the Origins of Christianity from Jerusalem University College. He is currently finishing his PhD in the Land of Israel Studies Department at Bar Ilan Univerity located in Ramat Gan, Israel, under the supervision of Professor Esther Eshel. Marc has taught graduate and undergraduate students at several universities in the United States and abroad.
Marc moved to Israel to study because he felt that the issues of spatial, historical, cultural, and spiritual settings played a vital role in how we read the Bible. While studying in Israel, he fell in love with the lands of the Bible. He has been guiding groups through Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy for over twenty years. Marc is a highly sought-after guide and teacher and routinely trains and lectures local tour guides about guiding Christian groups. He is passionate about leading biblical tours that deliver the very finest experience and helping people understand how to read the Bible.
Marc has published widely for both academic and popular audiences. His most recent book, Windows Into the Bible, was named by Outreach Magazine one of its top 100 Christian living resources. Marc is a widely sought-after speaker, and a gifted teacher. He resides in Springfield, MO with his family.
Tour Itinerary - December 11 -20, 2019
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11
Pilgrims from around the United States will meet in a U.S. gateway city and board our airliner to Tel Aviv. Our fellowship will begin even as we fly across the Atlantic overnight to arrive in the Land mid-day on Day Two.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 12
Arrive in Tel Aviv
In Tel Aviv, our agent will meet us and assist us through customs and security.
We will transfer to our motor coach and head over to Joppafor a short visit in the area where Jonah departed on his ill-fated boat ride and where Peter had his vision at the house of Simon the Tanner.
Afterwards, we will head to our hotel by the Mediterranean Sea for dinner.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 13
Kingdoms and Cultures in Conflict
Our morning begins at the port-city of Caesareabuilt by Herod the Great (Matt. 2). This was the second largest harbor in the Roman Empire during the first century. At Caesarea, Peter visited the gentile centurion Cornelius (Acts 10), and he and his household became the first gentile followers of Jesus. The Apostle Paul remained under house arrest in Caesarea for two and a half years. Here he stood before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa II (Acts 23-25). From the harbor of Caesarea, Paul sailed to Rome leaving Israel for the last time. While at the site, we will visit the ancient theater with its magnificent view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We will see Herod the Great’s palace that served as the residence of the Roman officials in the land, like Pontius Pilate. We will remember Pilate’s governorship of Judaea by looking at a replica of a stone inscription mentioning Pilate dedicating a temple to the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
Our visit takes us through the ancient stadium and harbor and ends looking at the ancient aqueduct of Caesarea that supplied the city with its water. After departing Caesarea, we travel to Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba’al (1 Kings 18). We then journey through the Valley of Jezreel.
Our day concludes at the boyhood home of Jesus, Nazareth. We visit the Church of the Annunciation, built over the traditional place where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary thatshe would be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-37). The church is built on top of the ancient village of Nazareth, and we will visit a small museum that shows some of the finds and homes from the village. We will end our visit in Nazareth with an overlook of the Jezreel Valley from Mount Precipice. From this vantage point, we will see the settings for a number of biblical
Dinner and overnight at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 14
"Who Do Men Say That I Am?"
Today we travel into the Golan Heightsand the upper Jordan Valley. Our day begins at the nature reserve of Dan. The ancient city of Dan, which formed the northern boundary of biblical Israel, sits on the Dan Spring, one of the three tributaries of the Jordan River. In addition to walking through the beautiful nature reserve, we will visit the ancient site of Dan seeing its high place (1 Kings 12:29), Israelite gate, and the Middle Bronze Age gate from the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:14).
Next we travel to Banias, ancient Caesarea Philippi(Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27). In the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” From Banias, we drive up into the foothills of Mount Hermon(Ps. 133) and into the Golan Heights. At a high overlook on the Israel-Syrian border, we look into Syria towards Damascus.
Dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 15
The Ministry of Jesus
Our journey today focuses upon the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. Our morning begins at Yardenit, which provides an opportunity for people to be baptized in the Jordan River.
We next visit one of the most exciting and important ongoing archaeological excavations in Israel, Magdala. Here we will visit one of the few, excavated, first century synagogues in the land of Israel. Its date coincides with the time of Jesus ministry in the area. We will also see wealthy homes from the village, as well as the first century harbor.
Next, we journey to Chorazinone of the three cities cursed by Jesus (Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13). At this site, we see the ancient homes and Jewish ritual immersion pools, as well as the magnificent basalt synagogue from the fifth century AD. Inside the synagogue is a replica of a Seat of Moses (Matt. 23:2). Our journey continues with a stop at the Mount of Beatitudes, a traditional site overlooking the Sea of Galilee where we reflect upon Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). We travel next to the ancient town of Capernaum where Jesus made his home around the lake (Matt. 4:13). Here he healed the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5). In our visit, we will see the modern church built over an ancient church, which was built over a first century home, identified as the home of Peter. The magnificent limestone synagogue of the fourth century AD has been party reconstructed and looms over the site. From Capernaum, we travel to the small museum at Kibbutz Ginnosar that houses an ancient boat discovered in the 1980s in the Sea of Galilee. This boat dates to the first century and was a boat used by fisherman on the lake.
Our day concludes with an evening boat-ride on the Sea of Galilee.The ancient fishermen fished the lake at night. Riding on the waters of the lake in the evening offers a unique opportunity to connect with Jesus and his disciples on the lake.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
MONDAY DECEMBER 16
Today we drive from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. Our first stop is the desert palace-fortress built by Herod the Great, Masada. During the First Jewish Revolt (AD 66-73), Jewish rebels lived on Masada until they were surrounded by the Tenth Roman Legion. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, the rebels chose to commit suicide instead of slavery and death at the hands of the Romans. While visiting the site, we will see the palaces of Herod the Great, his bath houses and store rooms. We will also see buildings converted by the Jewish rebels for their use, like the synagogue. Evidence of the Roman siege can be seen in the siege ramp and Roman camps that surround Masada.
We travel next to En Fescha where the words of Isaiah 35 come alive right before our eyes as we see streams flowing in the desert. From En Fescha, we visit the site of Qumran. In caves around the site, the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Qumran was the settlement of the community that produced many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After visiting Qumran, participants have the unique experience of floating in the Dead Sea.
Our day ends with an overlook of the Wadi Qilt, the ancient road between Jerusalem and Jericho. This was the setting for Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). On Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem, he used this road as he came from Jericho to Jerusalem (Luke 19:1-11).
Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 17
Biblical Jerusalem / David and His Line
Our morning begins with a visit to the Israel Museum. Here we will see a scale model of Jerusalem on the eve of its destruction in AD 70. We will visit the Shrine of the Book, which houses some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including some of the oldest copies of the Old Testament. Our tour of the museum concludes with a walk through the archeological wing to visit the two galleries dedicated to Israel in the Old and New Testament periods. We will see original artifacts found in sites we visited, as well as other artifacts that make the Bible come alive.
We travel from the Israel Museum, we journey to the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, the city David conquered and made his capital. From David’s capital, we stop at the Western Wall, the most sacred site for Jews. From David’s capital we travel to the hometown of David, Bethlehem. In Bethlehem, we remember the birth of Jesus and visit the Church of Nativity, the oldest church in the Holy Land, built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18
Jesus' Final Days
Our morning begins with a beautiful view of the city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. We walk down the mountain following the modern path used by pilgrims on Palm Sunday visiting the church of Dominus Flevit, which remembers Jesus’ weeping over the city as he rode into it, and the traditional location of the Garden of Gethsemane.
We cross the Kidron Valley into the Old City and visit St. Anne’s Church built over top of the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) where Jesus healed the lame man. We will take the opportunity to sing in the beautiful Crusader church on the site. We conclude our tour along the southern wall of the Temple Mount. On the first century street, we see the shops and markets around the Temple, a possible location for the money changers (Luke 19:45-48).
We then proceed to the southern entrances of the Temple where we walk the steps ancient pilgrims took to ascend to the Temple.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 19
New Testament Jerusalem and Departure
Our journey begins at Jaffa Gate where in the first century Herod’s palace stood. Here the story of Jesus begins (Matt. 2) with the visit of the wise men to Herod, and here his story ended because at Herod’s palace Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:16).
From Jaffa Gate, we walk into the Jewish Quarter and visit the Herodian Quarter, a series of priestly homes from the first century. We then walk along the Byzantine Cardo and see the walls of Jerusalem from the eighth century BC and the first century BC. Passing the Gennath Gate, we follow the historicroute Jesus traveled from Pilate to his place of execution at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Free time in the Old City. Our day ends with a communion service.
After a farewell dinner, we depart Jerusalem for Ben Gurion Airport where we will return to sour home refreshed, challenged, and renewed in our faith.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 20
***Please note Visits, excursions, mentioned in the program may have slight changes in the time or order they are to be visited.