Trinity Lutheran Seminary /
Trip to the Holy Land
April 27-May 10th
Join Trinity Bible Professor and Hebrew Bible Scholar, the Rev. Dr. Rachel Wrenn, and Trinity Professor Emeritus and New Testament Scholar, the Rev. Dr. Walter F. Taylor, on a trip with students to the Holy Land this spring (April 27-May 10th). The total cost of the trip will be about $3600.
To sign up or get more information, please reach out to A.J. Minney (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Day 1, WED, APR27: Tel Aviv arrival – visit Jaffa – transfer to the Hotel in Netanya Arrive in Tel Aviv and board a new, climate-controlled motor coach where our guide will greet us and give us an orientation of the land as we travel towards Jaffa (time permitting). There we will consider the vision of Peter (Acts 10) and start following the sequence of events that led to the opening of the gates of the early church to Gentiles. As we look at the site where Jonah is said to have run from the Lord, we will also reflect on our own walk with God. We check into our hotel on the coastal plains of the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner and overnight in the hotel in Netanya.
Day 2, THU, APR28: Caesarea Maritima – Mount Carmel – Megiddo – Nazareth – Sea of Galilee After a buffet breakfast, we depart the hotel on route to Caesarea Maritima, where we will visit the magnificent city with Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader ruins. Here we will reflect on the story of the baptism of Cornelius, the first gentile convert into Christianity (Acts 10), and on the travels of Paul — those events that led Caesarea Maritima to become the springboard of Christianity to the West. We will then continue to Mount Carmel and consider the contest between the prophet Elijah and the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18), discussing the reasons why the prophet chose that place for the contest, and the lessons we learn from the story. We then travel to Megiddo and explore the Tel that goes back in history to 4000 BCE, looking at ruins from the times of King Solomon and King Ahab. Overlooking the Armageddon Valley. After a lunch break, we travel to Nazareth where we will visit Church of the Annunciation, which commemorates the house where the Angel appeared to Mary, announcing that she would be with child, a son called Immanuel. We will proceed to Sea of Galilee through Cana of Galilee. We check into our hotel at the Sea of Galilee for the next three nights and enjoy another dinner together.
Day 3, FRI, APR29: Bethsaida – Capernaum – Mount of Beatitudes – Tabgha – Magdala – Mount Arbel lookout – Sea of Galilee After a buffet breakfast, we will start our day with a stunning view of the Sea of Galilee from Peace Vista at the Golan Heights. Visit Bethsaida, hometown of Jesus’ five disciples, located amid the “triangle” where Jesus’ ministry was centered, along with Korazim and Capernaum. Then, visit Capernaum, the hometown of adult Jesus and his Galilean ministry base. There we will see the site commemorating the house of Peter’s mother-in-law and ancient synagogues where many of Jesus’ teachings took place. At the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes, we will contemplate the parable of the sower. We will enjoy the Mount’s enchanting gardens and reflect on Jesus’ teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. We will also visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Fish and Loaves which commemorates how Jesus miraculously multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed five thousand people. We will then proceed to Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene, to experience the oldest synagogue discovered on shores of Galilee and its stone-carved model of the Temple and menorah carving. On to Mount Arbel, overlooking the ancient road from Nazareth to Galilee with a possible hike on part of the Jesus Trail. Return to our hotel at the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. Day 4, SAT, APR30: Sea of Galilee Boat Ride – Tel Dan – Caesarea Philippi – Sea of Galilee After breakfast, we begin our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee on a replica of a boat from Jesus’ time. We will ride to Kibbutz Ginosar where we will see the ancient Jesus boat. We drive to Tel Dan national park, the northern extremity of biblical Israel and the main source of the River Jordan. We will visit the location of the altar where the golden calf was placed by King Jeroboam and see the impressive gates dates from 10th-8th century BCE ending our visit at the Gates of Laish known as the “Abraham Gates” dating to 1800 BCE. We proceed to Caesarea Philippi (also known as Banias, fed by springs from a source of the Jordan River), where Peter confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. We will also see the gates of Hades, the Augustus Temple and the High Place where the God Pan was worshipped. We then enjoy a stroll to view where Herod’s Palace stood, along with the intact Roman bridge dated to 28 BCE. On our way back, we will drive along the Golan Heights with view over the road to Damascus. Dinner and overnight at the hotel at the Sea of Galilee.
Day 5, SUN, MAY01: Bet She’an – Tel Jericho – Bet Arabah Baptismal Site – Herod’s Winter Palace – Jerusalem Road – Bethlehem After breakfast and check-out, we leave the area of Galilee, following the Jordan Valley Road to Bet She’an, the capital of the Decapolis. There we will see the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine cities. We will also discuss the demise of King Saul and his sons, whose bodies were hanged on the walls of Beth She’an. We will then continue traveling south to Jericho, where we will visit Tel Jericho with its ancient ruins. From the Tel we will have a view of the Mount of Temptations and the location of the New Testament Jericho. Then, visit Bet Arabah (“Qasr el Yahud”), the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River (also known as Gilgal), where the Israelites crossed into the promised land, from where Elijah was taken to heaven, and where Jesus was baptized. We visit the archaeological site of winter palace of King Herod in Jericho where Herod died in 4 BCE; some scholars see it the background for Jesus teaching the Prodigal Son parable. To conclude our day, we enjoy a hike from Jericho along Wadi Qilt reaching St. George Monastery. This is the same ancient Roman road that Jesus took on his way from Jericho to Jerusalem. We will then travel to Bethlehem to check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6, MON, MAY02: Herodion – Bethlehem – Shepherds’ Field – Bethlehem After breakfast, we drive to Herodion, Herod’s monumental palace that functioned later as his burial location. Nearby we stop to see a threshing floor, offering insight to the story of Ruth and Boaz. Next we visit the Shepherds’ Fields at Migdal Eder where the angels appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of the Christ. We will then travel to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, visiting the birthplace place of Jesus. Time will then be given to shop for olive wood and other items. We return to our hotel in Bethlehem for dinner and meeting with Bishop Azar (ELCJHL). Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 7, TUE, MAY03: Hebron & Mamre – Bet Guvrin – Valley of Elah – Bethlehem After breakfast, we drive to Hebron and visit Mamre, where Abraham set his camp and built an altar. Here we also visit the nearby caves of Machpelah, known as Cave of the Patriarchs, the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. Then, we visit Bet Guvrin, the Maresha National Park, that is located in the center of the “Land of a Thousand Caves,” overlooking the land of the Philistines. Our next stop will be the Valley of Elah, where we will recall the encounter between David and Goliath. We may also visit Tel Socoh or Tel Azeka, remains of biblical border cities, dated to the times of David and successor kings of Judah. Return to our hotel in Bethlehem for dinner and overnight.
Day 8, WED, MAY04: Mount of Olives – Lutheran World Federation – Western Wall – Southern Wall excavations – City of David – Bethlehem After a buffet breakfast, we drive to Jerusalem. We begin our day with an orientation to the holy city from the Mount of Olives, pointing out important locations within the Old City, connecting them with Biblical stories and predictions about Jesus’ return. We will visit the Lutheran World Federation and enjoy a talk with the Federation’s representatives in the Ascension Church in order to know its mission, especially the work of the Augusta Victoria Hospital. We will visit to the Western Wall, a section of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, and Judaism’s holiest site. We will then visit the Southern Wall excavations where ruins of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount are still visible. We will then gather at the teaching steps, the main entrance to the Temple where rabbis met and taught their disciples. We will then visit the Yad Vashem Museum, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. We finish by visiting the City of David, the location of Jerusalem’s earliest settlement that was formerly the royal city of King David. Return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 9: THU, MAY05: Shiloh – Mount Gerezim Samaritan Temple and Museum – Sebastia “ancient Samaria” – ancient Shechem and Nablus – Bethlehem After breakfast, we head towards Samaria, where the ancient kingdom of Israel was located. We visit Shiloh, the ancient city that was the major Israelite worship center before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem. Jews performed pilgrimages and brought offerings until the death of Eli, the High Priest, when the Ark of the Covenant was stolen by the Philistines. Our next stop is at Mount Gerizim. Overlooking Shechem, known as city of Nablus, at the top of the mountain we have the Samaritan worship center, where they believe Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac. We will have the opportunity to see the Samaritan Temple and Museum. Then, we visit Sebastia, known as “ancient Samaria”. It served as the capital of Israel during the period of the First Temple, and Sebastiya, an outstanding Roman bastion, was built upon its ruins in 30 BCE at Herod's orders. We proceed to ancient Shechem, located today in the city of Nablus. Time permitting, we will also visit Mount Ebal, designated by the Lord to proclaim the curses that people would incur for forsaking the Torah. There we will see the Joshua altar. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 10: FRI, MAY06: Masada – Ein Gedi – Qumran – Dead Sea swim – Bethlehem After a buffet breakfast, we begin our day visiting Masada, the fortress built by King Herod the Great and made famous by the conflict between the Romans and the Zealots in 73/74 CE. We visit the fortress and see the ruins, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We then continue to Ein Gedi, the oasis in the desert where the meeting between David and King Saul took place (I Samuel 24). We will enjoy a hike there, admiring the beautiful, varied landscapes. Then, we visit Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found by a Bedouin boy in 1947. There we will see the caves and other buildings of the Essenes, the group of Jews who wrote the scrolls. We stop at one of the Dead Sea beaches to have a float in its salty waters. Return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem. Day 11: SAT, MAY07: Mount Zion Cemetery – Upper Room – Caiaphas Palace – Garden Tomb – Jewish Quarter – free afternoon in Jerusalem In the morning, after breakfast and a checkout, we head to Mount Zion to visit the cemetery where many great thinkers were buried. We will see the Essenes’ gate and the new Herodian wall discovered only a few years ago. We will also see an ancient mikveh, a ritual bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Then, we will visit the Cenacle that commemorates the Upper Room and Jesus’ Last Supper with the disciples. We will visit the House of Caiaphas, the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where we can see parts of the streets where Jesus was dragged by his capturers. Then, we visit the Garden Tomb, a peaceful spot where we can remember Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. We will celebrate a communion service at the Garden, reaching the culmination of the pilgrimage at the empty Tomb. We will then tour one of the four quarters of the Old City where we can see Roman Cardo, King Hezekiah broad wall, Hurva Synagogue, and the Golden Menorah. Enjoy your free afternoon. Check-in to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. Day 12: SUN, MAY08: Sunday Worship at Jerusalem Lutheran Church – meet with an Israeli Jew – Israel Museum – meet with a Muslim imam – afternoon free time in Jerusalem After breakfast, we will have Sunday worship with the Jerusalem Lutheran Church. Next, we will have a meeting with an Israeli Jew. We will head to the Israel Museum where we will visit the model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple Period, a 1:50 scale model of the city from the year 66 CE. We will also visit the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on exhibit, in addition to the archeological section where many artifacts are displayed we will play special attention to those items that relate to Bible history. After a self-hosted lunch, we will meet with a Muslim imam. For the remainder of the day, we will have some free time to explore Jerusalem on our own. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 13: MON, MAY09: Temple Mount – St. Anne’s Church and Polls of Bethesda – Via Dolorosa – Holy Sepulchre – Ancient Tomb – free time in Jerusalem old city Early in the morning, we will ascend the Temple Mount, discussing its connection to both the Old and New Testaments. We will also discuss why it is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Leaving the Temple Mount, we will visit the Church of St. Anne’s, a perfectly intact Crusader church. It is a wonderful place to gather and sing a song (sometimes with fellow Christians from all over the world). There, we will also visit the Pools of Bethesda where the healing at the pool took place (John 5). We will walk the Via Dolorosa following Christ passion toward the church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known by the locals as the Church of Resurrection. The two sections built over the hill are the focal points on where the Crucifixion took place, called Golgotha or Calvary, and the other, the tomb where Jesus was laid. These sites encompass the continuation of the Via Dolorosa and the final Stations of the Cross. Not far from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem lies the site where King Herod the Great chose to bury members of his family; it gives us an example of a first-century tomb. In the afternoon, we will have some free time in the old city. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
Day 14: TUE, MAY10: Departure After breakfast and check-out, drive to the airport for your homebound flight.