"It was, very possibly, the best ten days of my life. I learnt so much, and never before has the Bible come to life as much as it did in Israel."
Exploring the Bible together
Oak Hall have been travelling to Israel for many years Ė experience that we have used to hone these tours to be packed with interest. Israel and Palestine provide an ideal opportunity for us to explore the Scriptures in the locations where the events took place. Enjoy being with a friendly Oak Hall group for the study tour of a lifetime. Our programme is based in three main areas: Jerusalem, Galilee and Bethlehem.
The country of orange blossom
Following the air flight from London to Tel Aviv we emerge from the aircraft into the distinctive atmosphere of this exciting country. Often the air is heavy with the scent of orange blossom. We transfer by coach from the coastal plain and climb into the hill country to arrive at Jerusalem.
Ancient city of Jerusalem
A walk around the city walls helps us to find our bearings as we discover the city gates with their descriptive names Ė Damascus Gate, New Gate, Jaffa Gate, Dung Gate. The bazaars within the city walls are crammed with merchants selling every conceivable type of merchandise.
Old and New Testament archaeology
As part of our separate package of excursions we will also visit the Mount of Olives, the Pool of Bethsaida, the Pool of Siloam, the site of the City of David, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Broad Wall and the Western Wailing Wall. There have been very interesting, recent discoveries dating from the time of King David to the Babylonian destruction of the city. For the adventurous in the group, wading through the water tunnel built by King Hezekiah is a never-to-be-forgotten experience. The Israel Museum contains much of archaeological interest for the Bible student. In the Shrine of the Book there are the Dead Sea scrolls to examine, giving further proof of the reliability of the Scripture texts.
The peaceful Garden Tomb
At the peaceful Garden Tomb we consider the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the Israel Museum, a miniature reconstruction of the ancient city of Jerusalem will help to give us our bearings.
The fields at Bethlehem
At Bethlehem, we look out from the hills across the fields where the shepherds received the joyful news on the first Christmas. In the town we visit Manger Square and the busy, narrow streets that were equally crowded on that important night. We also visit the House of Hope where Christians care for disabled children and blind residents.
The surprises of the Judean Desert
We will drive through the Judean Desert seeing part of the old track from Jerusalem to Jericho where the story of the Good Samaritan is set. At the Wadi Kelt we look out over the wild countryside where the Lord Jesus Christ faced the temptations. It also gives us an insight into the lifestyle of John the Baptist who lived in this wilderness. The desert is full of surprises for those who enjoy the great outdoors with desert flowers and the sudden springs gushing from the sides of ravines giving life to the soil. At night the silent desert is cool and majestic; in the day it is hot and dry, with a shimmering grandeur.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
At Qumran we see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Here a sect lived away from civilization awaiting the coming Messiah and the remains of their buildings can still be seen. They waited even as Jesus Christ was revealed but sadly, as far as we know, they did not believe in Him.
The beautiful En Gedi Oasis
At the oasis of En Gedi we will be right by the Dead Sea. This beautiful area, mentioned in the Song of Solomon, has lush vegetation and fascinating wildlife. We cool our feet in the clear, fresh waters of King Davidís Spring and understand the significance of streams in the desert.
Sunshine at the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea with its rich content of mineral salts is 1,200 feet below sea level. We have the opportunity to swim in the special waters and afterwards to bask in the desert sunshine. At Masada we visit the ancient Judean fortress. The cable car takes us up to the heights where the defenders fought against the Romans after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
The battle of Jericho
We climb the ancient mound where the city of Jericho stood. It is a moving experience to read the account of the taking of Jericho as Joshua obeyed the Lordís instructions. We consider the significance of faith for all those involved in the story. Jericho is still a place of springs and we have the choice of locally grown, huge, fresh oranges to eat.
Capernaum by Lake Galilee
The area around Lake Galilee is green and beautiful, with the Golan heights in the distance. Capernaum is the location of the little fishing town where Jesus stayed with Peter. A later synagogue gives us a suitable place to read the record of the declaration by Jesus that He is the Bread of Life. We sit by the shore at Tabgha and consider the feeding of the five thousand and also the reinstatement of Peter following the resurrection. We also visit the site of Korazim which, together with Capernaum, had its opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Across Galilee by boat
A relaxing boat ride takes us across the beautiful Sea of Galilee with all the stories of fishing, storms and the Lordís care.
Sunshine springs in the foothills of Mount Hermon
At Dan we see the gushing springs in the foothills of Mount Hermon. Further south, these become the rushing waters of the River Jordan. Banyas has the caves where Baal was worshipped and later the god Pan was revered. Here too political power was recognized with the building of Herodís palace. We read of how Jesus brought His disciples to this spot to ask them who they considered Him to be. Peter made the declaration upon which the Church was founded. We also make an interesting visit to the Golan Heights above Galilee.
The busy streets of Nazareth
We visit a fascinating reconstruction of a village as it would have been in the time of Jesus and meet a shepherd, weaver, household owner and carpenter. The donkey turns the olive press as we sit by the village well. Later we listen in at the synagogue. The Bible accounts come alive.
Megiddo Ė Tour the fortress site above Armageddon
At Megiddo we explore the fortress site which guarded the plains below. So many Old Testament battles were fought here. A Canaanite High Place testifies to the corrupt religious practices overthrown by the Israelite invasion. The drinking troughs remind us of the huge number of horses stabled here by King Ahab. The shouts of the charioteers can be imagined as they battled on the plain below. Also called Armageddon, it illuminates some of Johnís vision in Revelation.
Many excursions in Israel
The sites listed above are part of our comprehensive excursion package. It includes all entrance fees and full day tours of Jerusalem by coach and on foot, the surprises of the Judean desert, Wadi Kelt, Miniature Jerusalem, the Israel Museum, Shrine of the book, Bethlehem, Masada, a boat ride across Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, the source of the River Jordan and the Syrian border.
God continues to work out His sovereign purposes and our study tour is a vivid reminder to pray for Israel and Palestine.