Christian Leadership Center





... A Journey through the Gospel of Matthew


The Land of Israel


June 9 - 21, 2003


Allen P. Ross



Here is an exciting opportunity to participate in a Shoresh study tour in the land of Israel!  We will be focusing our attention on the presentation of Jesus as the Messiah in the Gospel of Matthew.  But to be able to do this in all the places where Jesus taught and did His mighty works will make the Bible come alive in a powerful way.  It is a chance to experience the world of the Bible, to walk the land and sense what it must have been like to live there in biblical times, to visit many remains from those familiar days, and to recapture the impact of what it meant, and still means, to say that Jesus is the Messiah. 

The tour will be hosted by Allen Ross, Director of the Christian Leadership Center in Tallahassee, Florida.  Allen has taught in seminaries for a number of years and led numerous groups in Israel.

The price for the Israel trip, June 9-21, is $1280. This amount covers all the hotels, breakfasts and dinners, transportation in the land, entrance fees, guides and tipping. It does not cover the air fare (we get a group rate if and when the trip is sure, and it usually runs $800 or so), costs of visas (small amount), lunches, and miscellaneous spending of course.

For those who would like to take advantage of the opportunity to see Egypt and Sinai while in the Middle East, an additional tour has been prepared. See Egypt and Sinai.




Sun     Jun 8         Flight for Israel for those coming for the Israel part of the tour.


Mon Jun 9       Arrival in Israel in the afternoon, and transfer to the hotel on the Mediterranean Coast.  Evening Orientation.


Tues Jun 10      “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

We will be introduced this day to the clash in cultures in biblical times.  We begin with Herod’s seaport city of Caesarea by the Sea, which was intended to appeal to Gentiles.  Here Peter met Cornelius, Herod Agrippa was struck down on stage, and Paul was imprisoned before sailing to Rome.  Our second stop will be at Dor to see a little maritime museum and center for underwater archaeology. Then we will drive up Mount Carmel for a panoramic view of the Jezreel Valley; here Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal.  In the afternoon we will visit Haifa’s  Maritime Museum and Church of Elijah (Carmelite Monastery), and then have a brief tour of Acco and consider the whole Crusader period.  Overnight in Nazareth.  Evening Discussion: “What It Meant To Be Called a Nazarene.”


Wed Jun 11         “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”

The day will start with a tour of Nazareth to consider the annunciation to Mary and the early life of Jesus in this little town.  Then we will drive to Megiddo, one of the best examples of an ancient tel, and consider how the ancient history of this place is brought to bear on the teachings about “Armageddon.”  Our next stop will be at Mount Tabor, the traditional site of the transfiguration, where we will have a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley.  On our way to Galilee we will visit Sepphoris, the remains of the capital city of that old fox, Herod Antipas. Before finding our way to the lodgings we will have an overview of Galilee from Mount Arbel.  Lodging for three nights will be at Maagan, on the shores of Galilee.  Evening Discussion: “The End of the Age.”


Thurs Jun 12       “Who do you say I am?”

Today we will tour the Upper Galilee, starting with an overview of the Sea of Galilee from the top of the Golan Heights.  Then we will proceed to the Talmudic Village of Qatsrin to see a reconstructed house from that period and learn more about how people lived in the days of Jesus.   Then we will drive into the foothills of Mount Hermon, to the location of Caesarea Philippi at Banyas.  Here is where Peter made his confession of faith; and up Hermon near here Jesus was transfigured.  After a short worship service we will walk down to the waterfalls to see one of the sources of the Jordan River.  Then we will wind our way to Tel Dan to see some of the most fascinating archaeological discoveries, the Israelite judicial gate, the high place, and the Abraham gates.  Evening Discussion: “The Claims that Christ Made.”


Fri Jun 13            “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

Today we will travel to places around the lake itself.  First we will visit the remains of Chorazin, a city Jesus denounced for unbelief, and talk about synagogues and ritual baths.  Then we will go to the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking Galilee and reflect on the Sermon on the Mount.  Close by we will see the churches that commemorate the miracle of the loaves and the fish, and the commissioning of Peter.  After lunch we will visit Capernaum and see the remains of the church built over Peter’s house and the synagogue nearby.  We will then stop in the museum to see the amazing find of a first century fishing boat, and then cross the lake in a replica of the “Jesus Boat.” On the other side we will visit the fishing museum at En Gev before returning to the kibbutz.  Evening Discussion: “The Cultural Setting for the Teachings of Jesus.”


Sat Jun 14            “Then came Jesus from Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan.”

The tour will now make its way down the Jordan Valley towards the Dead Sea.  After a quick stop at Yardenit to have a close look at the Jordan River, we will make our way to Belvoir, another crusader castle high in the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley.  Then we will spend some time at Beth Shean, an important Old Testament tel and an amazing Roman city called Skythopolis with its bath houses, theater, temples, toilets, colonnaded streets and shops.  This was one of the cities of the Decapolis.  After this we will have a leisurely lunch and time of rest at Sachne, a beautiful little park surrounding natural springs of water.  After a time of refreshment we will make our way down the valley.  If conditions permit we will stop in Jericho to see the ruins of the Old Testament city and the cliff-side monastery at the Mount of Temptation


Sun Jun 15         “Free Day in Jerusalem"

This will be a day to rest and relax, or go places that are not on the itinerary, or shop.  Plenty of options will be suggested.  Evening Discussion: “The Place of Jerusalem in God’s Program.”


Mon Jun 16      “The voice of one crying, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord’.”

This will be a day to experience the desert.  We will start the day with Masada, Herod’s desert refuge where the Jewish zealots later held out against the Romans until they perished in 73 A.D.  Then we will descend the Roman ramp where our bus will be waiting to take us to see the desert citadel of Arad with its ancient Israelite temple. Afterward we will drive back to the Dead Sea where folks will have an opportunity to swim, or float. Then we will drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to visit En Gedi, a lovely nature reserve with waterfalls where David encountered King Saul in the cave.  We will probably see some wild life here, notably the long-horned mountain goat, or Ibex. Our last stop will be at Qumran, the ancient settlement of the Essene community where many of the Dead Sea scrolls were found.


Tues Jun 17      “Not one stone will be left on another”

This will be our introduction to the old city of Jerusalem.  We will wind our way through the streets to the Cardo and down to the famous western wall of the Temple Mount, which today is a holy place for the Jews, and the temple area on the other side is a holy place for Islam.  Then we will have a close look at the archaeological work being done at the corner of the temple area, where the huge stones that the Romans toppled have been left in place.  Then we will look at the steps and baths on the southern side of the temple and talk about Peter’s sermon on Pentecost.  In the afternoon, for those who have the energy, we will walk down to the city of David and if possible through Hezekiah’s tunnel to the Pool of Siloam.  Others may want to have a free afternoon.  In the evening we will have a brief tour of the Israel Museum, to see some of the most significant artifacts for biblical studies.


Wed Jun 18       “Every good tree bears good fruit”

A day trip out of the busy city to a biblical gardens park, called Neot Kedumim, to see the variety of plants and trees from the Bible, as well as olive presses and threshing floors and scribes displaying their trade.  Then we will head to the coast, to Joppa, or Jaffa, for lunch. This is an ancient seaport town, where the mission to the Gentiles was launched, first with Jonah, and then with Peter, who saw the vision of the sheet of unclean animals here.  After lunch we will visit a Philistine site, Tel Qasile, as well as some nice little museums. Then, on our way back to Jerusalem, we will stop at a couple of significant places in the Lowlands, including the valley where David fought Goliath.  Evening Discussion: “The Passion of Our Lord: the Psalms in Matthew.”


Thurs Jun 19      “I am going to celebrate the Passover with My disciples at your house.”

Our focus will now turn to the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will begin with a stop at the traditional location of the Upper Room on Mount Zion and consider the events that occurred there.  Then we will go down to the Church of Gallicantu (“cock’s crow”), and from there have a good view of the Valley known as Gehenna, and the field of Aceldama where Judas Iscariot died.  Then we will go into the old city and visit the Herodian Villas museum, the probable residences of the high priest and the place where Jesus would have been first tried.  After lunch we will make a thorough study of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the location of the crucifixion and tomb.  In the evening we will have a Passover Seder meal at Christ Church.


Fri Jun 20         “Now in the place he was crucified there was a garden; And in the garden a new sepulcher,  wherein was never any man laid.”

In the morning we will drive to the Mount of Olives for an overview of the city, and then down to the village of Bethpage to see one of the best examples of a first century tomb.  We will then go to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in agony, and then was betrayed and arrested.  From here we will walk up the Via Dolorosa, stopping at the Church of St. Anne at the Pools of Bethesda, and then at various stations of the cross on the way back to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  In the afternoon we will go to the Garden Tomb for a worship service with communion.  Evening: Shabbat meal at Christ Church, and then preparation for departure.


Sat Jun 21      Return to the USA


Contact Numbers

For more information about the trip, contact:


Allen P. Ross

4017 Danbury Circle

Birmingham, AL 35243

(205) 970-3034 or (205) 726-2072