We will travel through the land, from coast to desert to mountains, visiting places where important biblical events took place. We will delve into the Scriptures in their original context to learn about God’s faithfulness to his people, past, present, and future. We will visit sites from both Old and New Testaments as well as gain an understanding of modern Israel, including some of God’s work among believers in the land today. Yeshua (Jesus) will always be the center of our studies, as we seek to better understand his ministry, his place among the Jewish people, and how to apply his teachings to our lives.
All photos were taken by Alan Gilman during a previous tour. They are provided here for illustrative purposes. Itinerary details are subject to change due to local conditions, time restrictions, or other circumstances.
Day One: Departure
Depart from Toronto (other departure cities available).
Day Two: Early afternoon arrival in the Land of Promise
Following arrival, we will travel to our hotel in the Negev for dinner, followed by a brief meeting for introductions, orientation, and prayer.
Day Three: The Lives of the Patriarchs
Today we begin our journey in the steps of the Patriarchs to the southern desert region, the Negev. Here we visit Tel Beersheva, one of the most impressive and ancient fortified cities of the Kingdom of Judah. We then continue through the Negev, to Sde Boker to visit the house of the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion. From here we will travel to see Bedouin tents to examine their nomadic culture in order to shed light on the lives of Abraham and the Patriarchs. You may even get to ride a camel! We then travel through the Judean Desert to our spa hotel on the Dead Sea, where we can enjoy floating in the therapeutic mineral rich waters.
Day Four: The Judean Desert & Jordan Valley—Refuge in the Wilderness
Today’s initial theme is the wilderness and what it signified to the ancient Israelites. We will also discuss the temptation of Yeshua in the Wilderness. We begin our day at Masada, Herod the Great’s magnificent fortress palace in the desert, and the last stand of the Zealots, a Jewish revolutionary group at the time of Jesus. From Masada we drive north to the beautiful subtropical oasis of Ein Gedi, where David hid from Saul. We may even see wildlife, including the furry rock badger and the graceful ibex. We then visit Qumran, the likely home of the Essenes, a first-century Jewish sect which may have influenced early Christianity, and the site of the most exciting archaeological discovery ever made in Israel—the Dead Sea Scrolls. Later that day we travel north up the spectacular Syrian African Rift Valley. We end our day at our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Following the evening meal, we will have a time of worship and hear from a local believer.
Day Five: Around the Sea of Galilee—Daily Life & Religion in Yeshua’s Time
This day will be spent visiting various sites around the Sea of Galilee as we try to picture daily life and religion in the first century, seeking to better understand the miracles and teachings of Yeshua in his original Jewish context. We start the day at Chorazin, the well-preserved ruins of a typical Galilean village, where we will study village life, Jewish religion, and the Pharisees. Our next stop is the Mount of Beatitudes, traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount to consider the Kingdom of God in Yeshua’s teachings. After a short walk or drive down the hill, we arrive at Capernaum, where Yeshua lived during the majority of his ministry. At lovely Tabgha, which commemorates the multiplication of loaves and fish, and the place where Yeshua met the disciples after the resurrection, we may have the opportunity to enjoy a contemplative time on the shore of the Lake. Time might allow for a visit to “the other side” of the Sea to briefly consider Yeshua’s relationship to the non-Jewish world during the time of his ministry, including the site of Gergasa. Later that afternoon we visit Kibbutz Ginosar to see the “Jesus Boat”, a Galilean fishing boat from the first century. From here we will set sail for a boat ride on the Lake to enjoy the views and have time of worship, prayer and reflection.
Day Six: Northern Israel—“Who Do Men Say That I Am?”
Today we explore Northern Israel, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. We will seek to understand what the Jewish people of 2000 years ago expected of the Messiah, and how that is fulfilled in Yeshua. Our first stop for the day is the Dan Nature Reserve, where we will see the incredible archaeological remains of the Old Testament city of Dan, including a city gate from the time of Abraham. Here we will consider ancient Israel’s apostasy. We will also enjoy a pleasant walk by a stream to discuss the meaning of “living water” in the Hebrew Scriptures and in Yeshua’s teaching. We will climb up to the magnificent Golan Heights. We then travel along the lower slopes of Mount Hermon—Israel’s highest mountain—the most likely site of the Transfiguration. Next stop is Caesarea Philippi, the region where Peter made his famous confession that Yeshua is the Messiah. Along the way we will pass Druze Villages before coming to Mt. Bental, a lookout spot near the border with Syria and the area of the road to Damascus where the Apostle Paul met the Lord.
Day Seven: Light to the Nations—Jews, Gentiles, & the Messiah
Today we travel west and then down the coast, visiting a number of biblical sites that especially testify to God’s faithfulness to his Word—past, present, and future. We begin along the route of the ancient Via Maris to Mount Carmel, with a spectacular view of the North of Israel near the spot where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. We then visit congregation Kehilat HaCarmel to learn about their multiple ministries. We complete our day at the fabulous ruins of the Herodian city of Caesarea Maritima, the site of Cornelius’s home and from where Paul set sail for Rome. In the afternoon we travel to our hotel in Samaria and in the evening we will view a full-size replica of the Tabernacle at our hotel.
Day Eight: Samaria: Ancient Israel
Today we journey into the northern homeland of the Patriarchs, of the Israelites under Joshua, and later the breakaway Kingdom of Israel. Sites visited will likely include Shiloh, Mt. Gerezim, and an overview of Bethel. We will focus on our roots in the Old Testament, which are vital to our understanding of the New Testament. In the late afternoon we enter Jerusalem, the City of the Great King. After dinner we will be treated to a short stroll for a rooftop panorama of the Old City and talk with the Director of Shoresh Study Tours.
Day Nine: Jerusalem in the Time of Yeshua—the Temple at the Center
Today is devoted to learning about Jerusalem in Yeshua’s day, when the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish life. We will study how worship was performed there. We will also learn about the Sadducees, the ruling priesthood at the time of Yeshua, and his attitude towards them, generally enriching our insight into many important events in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. An early start will take us up to the Temple Mount, where we’ll consider some of Yeshua’s activities there and the claims of Islam. After a visit to the Western Wall, Judaism’s most holy site, we will take a trip to the subterranean Western Wall Tunnels to walk at what was street level in Yeshua’s time. We then make our way through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to see the Herodian Villas, the palatial mansions that were the home to the Sadducees. We complete our day at the excavations near the base of the Temple Mount and discuss Pentecost on the Southern Steps where Yeshua walked.
Day Ten: The Shoah—Darkness before the Dawn
Today we begin by focusing on sites relating to biblical passages concerning Yeshua’s last week in Jerusalem. Our goal is to understand why He was crucified, how He was buried, and what it meant to the Jewish people of the first century that He was raised from the dead. We begin with a panoramic view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the site of Yeshua’s ascension to heaven and his future second coming. We will also view a tomb from Yeshua’s time and walk down the Mount of Olives to Gethsemane. Next, we cross the Kidron Valley and enter the Old City through Stephen’s Gate, stopping to examine the remains of the Pool of Bethesda. The theme of death and resurrection continues in the afternoon as we visit Yad Vashem (the Israel Holocaust Museum), where we examine the spiritual and theological roots of the most notorious genocide in history and the connection between the Church, Yeshua, and the Jewish people.
Day Eleven: Free Day in Jerusalem & Shabbat Celebration
Most of the day is free to rest and explore on your own. Shoresh will provide a list of interesting options. Toward evening we tour the Christ Church compound, home to the oldest protestant church in the Middle East and part of CMJ the two-hundred-year-old ministry that had a major role in the development of modern Jerusalem. We will then celebrate a special Shabbat (Sabbath) meal, followed by worship & fellowship at the Christ Church Guesthouse.
Day Twelve: Refreshment & Return
Today we will enjoy a quiet Shabbat with the option of attending the Messianic service at Christ Church in the morning. Then after supper, we will drive across the Sharon Plain to the airport in plenty of time to catch our overnight flight home.
Overnight: Return flight.