Cary Brown Private
Expedition ID: 23-10.5
Do you ever feel confused when you read the Bible? Do you feel like you are missing things the author intended for you to understand? Would you like to gain clarity and confidence reading the Bible? Would you like to encounter God in the lands of the Bible?
Join Cary and Jill Brown for this exciting eleven day expedition of Israel. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus as you explore the lands where He and the disciples walked. Explore sites familiar from the Scriptures, such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Sea of Galilee, and many more.
Join us as we use the world of the Bible to help you understand the words of the Bible.
In the Galilee, you will visit the port-city of Caesarea where Paul was held under house arrest, encounter the breathtaking view from Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba'al, and explore the nature reserve of Dan.
Visit Masada, the desert palace-fortress built by Herod the Great, encounter Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and then venture on to float in the Dead Sea.
In Jerusalem, enjoy a private tour of the Western Wall Tunnels with the chief archaeologist, follow the historic route Jesus traveled from Pilate to his place of execution at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Enjoy a chef-style restaurant farewell dinner prior to departure.
Please note that this route does not reflect every site that will be visited.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25, 2023 Depart U.S.A. THURSDAY OCTOBER 26, 2023 Upon arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, you will be met planeside and escorted through passport control and assisted in retrieving your luggage. You will then be escorted to your transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv. After checking into the hotel, you will have free time to relax until dinner. This evening our program officially begins with a group dinner. After dinner, you are free to retire to your rooms to rest and have a good night’s sleep. FRIDAY OCTOBER 27, 2023: In the Footsteps of Kings and Prophets Our journey today takes us through the Shephelah (Deut. 1:7), an area of rolling hills between Israel’s hill country and the Mediterranean coast. Our first stop is the Elah Valley, the site of the famous confrontation between David and Goliath (1 Sam. 17). We will experience this biblical landscape via ATVs. We next visit the ancient city of Beth Shemesh. After the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, it returned to Israel in the area of Beth Shemesh (1 Sam. 6). Across the Sorek Valley from Beth Shemesh sits Zorah, the hometown of Samson (Judges 13). Our final stop of the day provides a unique experience learning about shepherds in the Bible at the biblical nature park, Ne’ot Kedumim. Here participants learn about ancient shepherds by shepherding sheep and goats. While at Ne’ot Kedumim, participants encounter the flora and fauna of biblical Israel and see how the land of the Bible played a dynamic role in communicating the message of the Scriptures. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Tel Aviv SATURDAY OCTOBER 28, 2023: Kingdoms and Cultures in Conflict Our morning begins at the port-city of Caesarea built 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 drive from Mount Carmel to Megiddo. At Megiddo, we will view an important, ancient site, 21 layers of settlement superimposed one on the other including remains from Solomon's days (1 Kings 9). This site guarded one of the most important highways of the ancient world that connected Egypt with Damascus and Mesopotamia. Our day concludes driving through the Valley of Jezreel, to the ancient site of Jezreel, the winter palace of Ahab and Jezebel. Dinner and overnight at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. SUNDAY OCTOBER 29, 2023: “Who do men say that I am?” Today we travel into the Golan Heights and 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. This evening, after dinner, we will visit a private wine room for a wine tasting with an Israeli wine sommelier and sample wines from around the country. Dinner and overnight at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. MONDAY OCTOBER 30, 2023: The Faith of Jesus Our journey today focuses upon the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. Our morning begins at the archaeological excavation of el-Araj/Beitsaida, situated in the Beitsaida Valley where the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee, and where Jesus fed the 5,000 (Luke 9:10-17). Our journey takes us to the Mount of Beatitudes. Our journey continues with an opportunity for people to be baptized in the Jordan River. From the baptismal, we visit 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 touring day concludes with a visit to 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. 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 our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. TUESDAY OCTOBER 31, 2023: Desert Refuge Today we drive from the Sea of Galilee, the lowest fresh-water lake in the world, through the Jordan River Valley, to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. Our first stop is the ancient site of Beth-Shean. The ruins of the Roman city provide a window into the city life of non-Jewish cities. We continue driving through the Jordan River Valley to 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 storerooms. 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. After Masada, participants will have an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea and eat lunch. After lunch, we drive past 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. 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 in Jerusalem. Overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 1, 2023: Jerusalem Our morning in Jerusalem 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. Our lunch today is a tasting tour of the Mahaneh Yehudah market of Jerusalem where we will have opportunity to sample many cuisines. We next travel to David’s hometown, 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. From Bethlehem, we return to Jerusalem for free time. Dinner in Jerusalem. Overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. THURSDAY NOVEMBER 2, 2023: Biblical Jerusalem Our morning begins at the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, the city David conquered and made his capital. We make our way into the Old City of Jerusalem and visit the Western Wall and have a private tour of the Western Wall Tunnels with the chief archaeologist of the excavation. Our afternoon is free to shop, wander around Jerusalem, or rest in the hotel. Dinner in Jerusalem. Overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3, 2023: Jesus’ Jerusalem 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. Our journey continues 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 wisemen 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 historic route Jesus traveled from Pilate to his place of execution at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our day ends 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. After a farewell dinner at Satya, we depart Jerusalem for Ben Gurion Airport where you will return to your home country refreshed, challenged, and renewed in your faith. SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2023 Arrive U.S.A.
Cary Brown is a principal in the Moriah Group where he manages investments in oil and gas, real estate, financial services, technology and various other direct ventures. Mr. Brown served as an auditor for Grant Thornton in Midland, Texas from January 1991 to June 1991 and for Touche Ross in Houston, Texas from June 1989 to December 1990. Mr. Brown has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with honors, from Abilene Christian University.
John Monson is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He was born to missionary parents in Zaire but spent most of his youth in Jerusalem where he developed an interest in biblical studies, historical geography, archaeology and Near Eastern languages ancient and modern. He went on to Wheaton College (BA), Institute of Holyland Studies, now JUC (MA), the Hebrew University (doctoral studies) and Harvard University (PhD).
He taught for 12 years at Wheaton College, where he supervised the archaeology lab and museum and received the Faculty Achievement Award in Teaching. His archeological fieldwork has taken him to numerous excavations in Israel and research in Jordan Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. He writes on the context of Scripture, biblical geography and the integration of texts and artifacts, with a forthcoming book on the Temple of Solomon (Oxford University Press). He teaches in Israel frequently and creates teaching materials with his father and Steven Lancaster at Biblical Backgrounds. Sites include www.monsoncourse.com and www.biblicalbackgrounds.com
Service is at the core of who we are. Our expeditions offer the finest travel experiences to the lands of the Bible. We provide the peace of mind that everything down to the smallest detail has been taken care of for you, so that you can experience the journey, encounter God, learn how to understand the words of the Bible through its world, and rest when it’s time. Our experienced team of travel concierges accompany every group in Israel. They meticulously attend to logistical details and personal service to ensure your experience is truly exceptional.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, jeep rides on uneven terrain, or easy hikes.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, jeep rides on uneven terrain, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of activity (e.g., hiking, or kayaking) each day.
Travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of activity (e.g., hiking, or kayaking) each day. Certain days may have more challenging physical activity, such as ascents/descents on steep terrain.
Designed for experienced active travelers in excellent physical condition, these itineraries may include full-day hikes. Trails often include terrain with steep ascents/descents.