The Signatry Private Israel Expedition
March 24 - April 4, 2020
A private, luxury expedition of Israel for The Signatry and its friends.
Sea of Galilee
Western Wall Tunnels with chief archaeologist Dan Bahat
Israel Museum with a private tour through the Shrine of the Book with curator Aldofo Roitman
ATVs through the biblical land
Tour Costs Include:
All site entrances and tour activities outlined in the itinerary
Local English speaking tour guide
Expert biblical instructor
Private Air Conditioned Bus and Driver
Breakfasts and dinners. Please note dinners in Jerusalem are at chef restaurants. Dinner and gratuity is included. Beverages, such as wine, beer, and alcohol are not included.
Biblical Expeditions Private Trip Conceirge
VIP airport assistance upon arrival and departure
Dale Brantner serves as the Chief Catalyst Officer for The Signatry, a global Christian foundation https://thesignatry.com . His goal is to inspire new growth for The Signatry initiatives and inspire radical biblical generosity.
Dale served within the Office of the President at Museum at the Bible, and continues to work closely with MOTB, where he brings a rich set of skills and leadership experience, gained from a diverse career path both in the United States and internationally.
Prior to Museum of the Bible, Dale served as President and CEO of CURE International, after serving for many years as Senior Vice President, responsible for leading the organization’s spiritual ministry and development efforts.
Dale and his family have followed God’s calling to serve in numerous roles across three continents. Over the last thirty years, Dale has served as a pastor, professor of Hebrew Bible, President of the Theological College of Zimbabwe and even as a shepherd of the largest flock of sheep in northern Israel.
Dale has a master’s degree from Evangelical Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Messiah College. He has done both undergraduate and graduate work in Israel, as well as Ph.D. work at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has been leading people in Israel for over thirty-three years.
Dale is an outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, and fly fishing. He loves to travel and experience other cultures and to lead small study treks in Israel. He is passionate about integrity in biblical studies, spreading the gospel holistically, and working among the poor in underserved regions of the world. Dale and his wife Dianne live in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, and have three children, Jordan, Shirah, and Taliah.
Tour Itinerary - March 14 - 23, 2020
TUESDAY MARCH 24
WEDNESDAY MARCH 25
Upon arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, our representative will meet you in the arrival hall to assist you with your luggage. You will meet your guide and bus and travel to your hotel in Israel’s south, the Negev. Dinner and overnight at Beresheet, which overlooks the Ramon Crater, one of Israel's great natural wonders.
THURSDAY MARCH 26
Children of the Desert
Our morning begins at En Avdat located in the biblical Wilderness of Zin (Numbers 20). While the children of Israel wandered in the Wilderness of Zin, Moses disobeyed God’s command by striking the rock instead of speaking to it. We continue to the ancient site of Beersheva (Tel Sheva).
At Beersheva, Abraham made a covenant with Abimelech (Gen. 21:22-33). We visit the ancient Israelite site of Beersheva with its four-room houses, grain stores, and water system. We will see a replica of a four-horned altar discovered among the excavations of the site. We return to the hotel to relax and have dinner.
Our touring day concludes with a night-time jeep tour through the Negev desert to view, like Abraham (Genesis 15), the stars in the heavens.
Overnight at Beresheet.
FRIDAY MARCH 27
In The Footsteps of Kings and Prophets
Today our journey 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). Here we will open the biblical story and see the landscape recorded in the Bible come alive before our eyes.
Our next stop is 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 along the Mediterranean coast.
SATURDAY MARCH 28
The Galilee of Jesus
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). 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 that she 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 stories.
Dinner and overnight at the Scots Hotel in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.
SUNDAY MARCH 29
"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.
Dinner and overnight at the Scots Hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
MONDAY MARCH 30
The Faith 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 travel to Almagor, which overlooks 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 Chorazin one 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).
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 at Magdalena.
Overnight at the Scots Hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
TUESDAY MARCH 31
Today we drive from the Sea of Galilee, the lowest fresh water lake in the world, through the Jordan River Valley, to 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 have a private tour of the Shrine of the Book, which houses some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including some of the oldest copies of the Old Testament, guided by the curator of the Shrine of the Book.
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. Our day concludes with a walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, where we will visit the Western Wall and have a private tour of the Western Wall Tunnels with the chief archaeologist in charge of the excavation. Dinner at Angelica.
Overnight at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 1
Our morning begins at the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, the city David conquered and made his capital. We will be led through the City of David by one of the archaeologists who excavated the site and see areas not open to the general public.
From David’s capital, we travel to his 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. In Bethlehem, we will experience the local culture and hospitality. Dinner at Adom.
Overnight at the Waldorf Asotria in Jerusalem.
THURSDAY APRIL 2
Today our travel takes us 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.
After Masada, participants will have an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea. On our way to 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.
After lunch, we will explore the Judean Wilderness by ATVs. 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 at Eucalyptus. Overnight at the Waldorf Astoria.
FRIDAY APRIL 3
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.
FRIDAY APRIL 4
***Please note Visits, excursions, mentioned in the program are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances