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In the Paths of God

A Unique Program of Biblical and Spiritual Study in

in the Lands of the Bible

TURKEY, SYRIA, JORDAN, ISRAEL

May 16--June 16, 2001

with Dr. Allen P. Ross

 

Imagine spending a few weeks next summer walking In the Paths of God--spiritually, of course, but actually “walking” as well in the lands of the Bible!  This study trip will be truly unique, for not only will it have the tour of Israel, but it will begin with Turkey, from Istanbul to Antioch,  and then continue to Syria and to Jordan. 

This month-long travel program is designed to be a time of study and spiritual growth, with time for worship and fellowship, and an opportunity to support and encouragement for Christian ministries in the Middle East.  As we travel from place to place and sharpen our understanding of Scripture and of the spiritual life, we will be constantly aware that we are in places where the LORD visited His people, and where His people have served Him and are serving.

This program has been developed through Shoresh at Christ Church, Jerusalem, which is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East.  Our study program forms part of Shoresh’s biblical studies ministry; it is being coordinated through Shoresh, USA, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.  Dr. Ross will be the tour director and teacher; he brings years of experience to this adventure, having taught Biblical studies in several seminaries for the past thirty years, and having brought people to the Holy Land on study tours for a good part of that time.  He will be coordinating the teaching with capable local guides and other guest speakers throughout the study tour.

A Spiritual Journey

 During the tour the study of the Bible in its proper setting will be our major interest.  But it is actually being in the setting that makes the text come alive in a new way.  On location we will give full attention to the details of the biblical and historical  events connected with the places, but we will also be able to identify with the spiritual meanings pilgrims have derived from such places over the centuries.   And in the evenings there will be optional discussions and classes. Some will be on Biblical Meaning, solid Bible studies in relation to the events of the day.  Others will be discussions on the Spiritual Life, reflecting on the event in these places.  On occasion we will have special Talks about archaeology, prophecy, missions, and even modern politics.  All meetings will be informal and open to everyone on the trip, whether they are taking them for academic credit somewhere, or simply attending as they wish.  

           Regular worship will be an important feature of our time, but it will be varied to fit the occasions, situations and locations.   At times the group will worship together on location; at other times we will worship with other groups, or meet with ministries in their settings. We will have the opportunity to experience different forms of the Christian faith firsthand, which in turn will help us evaluate what we do. And there will be plenty of time for fellowship, or private reflection, or personal interests.

There is a fair amount of free time built into the schedule, so that folks can explore on their own, visit places the group may not go, shop, or simply relax and try to take it all in.  There is much to see and much to learn about the cultures of the modern countries we will be visiting.      

Two Journeys Together

The study tour has been divided into two parts to make it available for people who may not be able to come for the full 30 days.  The prices listed below are the Land Prices only, and do not include the air fare.  We generally arrange air travel a few months before the trip in order to get a group price, although participants are certainly free to arrange their own travel (making sure to coordinate things well so that everyone arrives at the same time).  Air fare usually runs about $800-900 per person to the Middle East.  The Land Prices are:

 

Full Trip    The full trip is 30 days long; it begins with the arrival in Turkey (May 17) and continues through Syria, and Jordan for 18 days; it concludes with the Israel tour for 12 days until the departure on June 16.  The Land Price for the whole trip is $2825.00 per person.

 

Part One     The Land Price for the first part of the trip covers 18 days (or nights spent on the tour) beginning with the arrival in Istanbul on May 17 and ending when we leave Jordan and arrive in Jerusalem June 3.  The Turkey--Syria--Jordan part will be $1650.00 per person.

 

Part Two     For those who come only on the Israel part, the Land Price will be $1475.00, covering the 12 days   (or nights spent on the tour) from June 4 until the departure June 16.         

 

The Land Price includes all hotels or lodgings, breakfasts and dinners (excluding special drinks), tour transportation, entrance fees, and normal tips for porters and servers, and special speakers.  All participants will also receive the study notes. 

What the Land Price does not include is the Air Fare, of course, which we will arrange later, daily lunches, extra drinks and snacks, and the cost of passports, travel visas, and airport and exit taxes.  Normal tips for the bus drivers and the guides have been included for most of the trip; for Turkey they have not been included in the price and will be collected on tour.  The cover letter for the trip will explain costs. 

These prices are based on double room occupancy.  There would be a supplementary charge for single room accommodations; some places may not actually have sufficient single room places and so there might be some adjustment needed.  

 

Contact Numbers

For more information about the trip, contact:

 

Allen P. Ross                                                                     Mary Reilly

3453 Monitor Lane                                                             Shoresh USA Inc.

Tallahassee, Fl, 32312                                                        Jacksonville, Florida

(850) 383 9725                                                                   (904) 646 1609

 

The Scheduled Itinerary

The following itinerary lists the main places we will visit and a bit of the significance of those places.  Participants on the trip will receive all the important information about the places we are staying and things to do in preparation for the trip.  They will also receive study notes with more detailed information about the sites.

The itinerary is basically set; however, it is the Middle East, and schedules do not always work out exactly as planned.  We may have some adjusting to do to compensate for times of openings, ease of access, political concerns, or religious activities and holy days.  Those who can be flexible will have the more enjoyable time visiting these countries.  

 

PART ONE ITINERARY: TURKEY, SYRIA, JORDAN

                  

Wed May 16       Departure from the USA for overnight flight to the Middle East.

 

Thurs May 17     Arrival in Istanbul, Turkey; transfer to the hotel to rest from the trip.  Introductions and orientation to Istanbul and   to the tour.

 

Fri May 18       Today we will have a fairly full tour of Istanbul, the ancient capital of the Byzantine Empire, then called Constantinople after Constantine; we will see the historic church of St. Sophia, now a museum, the Blue Mosque, the incredible Topkapi Palace, and the Great Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul.

Evening: Talk on “The History and Culture of Turkey from the Hittites to Today” — to help put it all in perspective.

 

Sat May 19          “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” 

Leaving Istanbul and crossing the Dardanelles we will travel south to the area of Troas where Paul received the Macedonian Vision. Our tour, though, will visit the more significant remains of the ancient city of Troy made famous by Homer’s  Iliad. Overnight in Canakkale.

Evening: Discussion on “The Tale of Two Cities: The Impact of Troas and of Troy on Our Cultural Heritage.”

 

Sun May 20          “Where Satan dwells.” 

Now we will visit the extensive archaeological remains of the city of Pergamum, one of the sites of the churches  of western Asia Minor addressed in the Book of Revelation; of particular importance will be the Acropolis, the Asclepium (health center),  and the Red Basilica dedicated to St. John. Overnight in Izmir.  Evening: we will have a worship service and hear of modern ministries in this region.  

 

Mon May 21       “You have left your first love.” 

Leaving the city of Izmir, the biblical Smyrna, we will travel to  the city of Ephesus, so important in the ministry of Paul and the history of the early Church.  Our tour will include the extensive ruins of the theater, gymnasium, agora, temples, market gate and the library of Celsus.  We will also visit the Church of the Virgin Mary, the place of the third ecumenical council in 431, and the Basilica of St John.  Overnight at Kusadasi.  

Evening: Bible Study on “Ephesus, the Ephesians, and the Book of Ephesians.” 

 

Tues May 22      “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” 

After a visit to two other cities of the churches in Revelation, Philadelphia (now called Alasehir) and  Sardis (near modern Salihli),  with its temple to Artemis, we will turn our attention to the ruins of the Roman city at Laodicea,  the location of the church that thought it was fine, but did not know that it had tremendous needs. Overnight at Pamukkale. 

Evening: Bible Study on  “The Letters to the Churches in the Book of Revelation.”

 

Wed May 23       “Because you judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Our travels will now take us west to visit the ruins of Hieropolus, and then to the site of ancient Kolossai, the location of the Colossian church.  Our focus will then be on Pisidian Antioch (modern Yalvic), where Paul’s message was so powerful that the whole town turned out to hear and many Gentiles were delighted that they could be saved--all of which displeased some of the Jewish leaders.  Overnight at Konya.

Evening: Bible Study and Discussion on “Colossians.”  

 

Thurs May 24      “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.”

We start the day with a review of  Iconium (modern Konya), where the apostles found great response to the message of the Gospel.  From there we will drive  to Lystra, where Paul and Barnabas were called Mercury and Jupiter and almost worshiped; and where Paul was stoned. We will go south through the famous Cilician Gates, a rocky gorge north of Tarsus. Overnight in Tarsus. 

Evening: Spiritual Life Discussion on “The Cost of Ministry: Paul’s Missionary Travels.” 

 

Fri May 25           “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus to find Saul.”

Today we will have a look at the city of Tarsus, the place that was the home town of Saul, better known as St Paul.  We will then travel to Antioch, the sponsoring base for Paul’s missionary journeys.  The rest of the day and evening will be free.  Overnight in Antioch.

 

Sat May 26          “And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

The entire day will be spent touring the city of Antioch, which very early became a thriving center of Christianity that included Jews and Greeks. We will have a short visit to its archaeological museum, then see some of the ancient buildings and structures of Antioch, go to the Grotto of St Peter, and end the day with the Mosaics Museum.  

Evening: Bible Study: “The Spread of the Gospel in Acts.”

 

Sun May 27          “When they came to Antioch they spoke to the Greeks, preaching the Lord Jesus.”

After a morning worship service, we will leave Turkey and cross over into Syria and travel to Aleppo. The rest of the afternoon will be free for looking around Aleppo. Overnight in Aleppo. 

Evening: Archaeology Talk on “The Contributions of Mari, Ugarit, and Ebla to the Interpretation of the Bible.”

 

Mon May 28        “His strong cities shall be as a forsaken bough.”

Today we will have a closer look at Aleppo.  Our tour will take in the National Museum briefly with its exhibits of the discoveries at Mari, Tell Halaf, and Tell Arslan Tash; its famous Mosques; and the Byzantine Cathedral dedicated to Simon Stylitos, the ascetic who actually lived up on the pole. Overnight in Aleppo. 

Evening: Spiritual Life Discussion on “Separation from the World.”

 

Tues May 29      “He came near Damascus, and suddenly there shone round him a light from heaven.”

We will leave Aleppo and head for Damascus, the oldest continuously occupied city in the world.  Here we will be introduced to the ancient kingdom of Syria, often referred to in the Bible as Aram, and its people the Aramaeans--very close relatives to the ancient Israelites.   After we arrive at the hotel and get settled, we will have an overview of the city.  Overnight in Damascus. 

Evening: Bible Study Survey on “A Short History of Warfare.”  

 

Wed May 30      “Let not your heart tremble because of the two tails of these smoldering firebrands.”

Today we will have a closer look at the city of Damascus, which will include its museum for the antiquities found at Mari, Ebla, and Ugarit; its famous palaces and mosques; and some of the historic houses of old Damascus.  We will have time to learn of its ancient history as the capital city of the Aramaeans.  But our interest will also be in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and so we will see the Street called Straight, the Chapel of Ananias, and the Chapel of St Paul, recalling his escape over the wall.  Overnight in Damascus.

Evening Bible Study: “Uncle Laban, Eliezer the Damascene, Naaman the Leper, and Brother Ananias.”

 

Thurs May 31      “Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?”

After we cross the border into Jordan we will make short visits to Umm Qais and Pella, not far from the Jordan River and Galilee; where many Christians fled when Jerusalem fell to the Romans.  We will then visit the remains of Jerash, one of the cities of the Decapolis, the ten-city league mentioned in the New Testament. Making a brief stop at the river Jabbok to reflect on Jacob’s wrestling with the mysterious Assailant, we will drive down to Amman, the capital city of modern Jordan as well as of the ancient Ammonite Kingdom. Overnight in Amman

Evening: a time of fellowship with the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary.  

 

Fri June 1             “He caused them to ride on the high places of the land.”

Our drive south will follow the ancient route known as the King’s Highway, the way the Israelites came up (on foot) through Edom and Moab across the deep Arnon valley and into Ammon.  We will make early stops at Mt. Nebo to look into the land as Moses had been permitted to do, and at Medeba to see the famous mosaic map, and at Macharius, a fortress of Herod’s where  John the Baptist was beheaded.  We will pass through Kerak, the site of a crusader fort and eventually come to Petra in the region of the Edomites. Overnight in Petra.

Evening: Bible Study on “From the Wilderness to Edom and Moab: the Journey of the People of God.” 

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Sat Jun 2               “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock.”

We will walk down through the gorge to visit Petra, the Edomite and Nabatean city carved in the rocks (hence the name).  We will explore the palaces, temples, theater and houses carved into the magnificent rocks.  Then, in the late afternoon we will drive south to Aqaba, imagining Laurence of Arabia coming off the desert in a bygone day.  In Aqaba one of the oldest Christian churches was recently excavated.  Overnight in Aqaba.

Evening: Spiritual Life Discussion on “Security in the LORD.”  

 

Sun June 3             “When I found Israel it was like finding grapes in the desert.”

After a time of worship we will make our way to the crossing to Israel.  In the land we will immediately be by Eilat, ancient Israel’s famous seaport in the Gulf of Aqaba; we will head up into the desert regions to Timnah and the ancient refining works used by Solomon.  We will come to the region of the Dead Sea, and then make our way to Jerusalem.  What is left of the day and the evening will be free.  Overnight in Jerusalem.

Evening: optional walk-about of the holy city.

 

Mon June 4         For those leaving for the USA today, this will be a chance for a brief look around the old city of Jerusalem, a little shopping, and of course packing.  For those continuing with the Israel part, we will transfer to Netanyah.  

 

The bus will leave Jerusalem for the airport in the early afternoon; some will be departing, and others will be arriving.  When we have everyone accounted for, the bus will continue to the hotel in Netanyah on the Mediterranean Sea.

 

PART TWO ITINERARY: ISRAEL                   

                  

Sun June 3         Those coming for the Israel part only will depart from USA for their overnight flight to the Middle East (see the cover letter for more details).

 

Mon June 4         Arrive in Tel Aviv; transfer to our hotel in Netanyah on the Mediterranean shore with those   already on the tour.

Evening: Introductions and Orientation.

 

Tues June 5          “How long will you halt between two opinions?”  

We will be introduced this day to the clash of cultures in the 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, the king died on stage, and Paul was imprisoned before sailing to Rome.  Our next stop is Mt Carmel, where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal.  The spot gives us a great overview of the Jezreel Valley.  Then we will visit our first Tel in Israel, Megiddo (“Armageddon”) and recall the events and conflicts that took place in this area--and learn something of the archaeologist’s work. Our last stop will be in Nazareth.  Overnight by the Sea of Galilee. 

Evening: Bible Study on “The Spiritual Conflict of the Ages.”

 

Wed June 6           “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” 

The focus today will be on the ministry of Jesus around  the Sea of Galilee.  First we see Chorazin to learn about ritual baths and synagogue worship; then to the Mount of Beatitudes to talk about  the “Sermon on the Mount”; and then to churches that commemorate the miracle of the loaves and the fish and the commissioning of Peter. At Capernaum we can see the remains of the church built on Peter’s house and the nearby synagogue.  Then we will have a look at the “Jesus Boat” discovered a few years ago, and have a boat ride out onto the lake to consider Jesus’ authority over nature. 

Evening: Spiritual Life Discussion on “Faith and Righteousness.”

 

Thurs June 7       “Who do you say that I am?” 

Now we will travel through Upper Galilee, starting with an overview of Galilee from the Golan Heights, and then proceeding to the Talmudic village of Qatzrin, where archaeologists have reconstructed an entire house to show how people actually lived in the early period.  Then we will drive to the location of Caesarea Philippi at Banias, where Peter made his great confession and  Jesus announced His Church; it was also probably from here that Jesus went up Mt Hermon and was transfigured.  After a short Communion service we will walk to the waterfalls to see one source of the Jordan River. We will then visit the amazing discoveries at Tel Dan, the Israelite judicial gate, the “high place,” and the “Abraham” gate. 

Evening: Bible Study on “The Claims that Christ Made.”

 

Fri June 8            “Then came Jesus from Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan.” 

We begin our journey to Jerusalem by driving down the Jordan Valley, stopping at a crusader castle Kokav  haYarden (“Star of the Jordan”) with a scenic overview.  At Beth Shean we will see the important Old Testament tel and an amazing Roman city called Skythopolis with its bath houses, theater, amphitheater, temples and streets.  Further south we will survey the tel of Old Testament Jericho and talk about the conquest. From there we will head up the “Old Jericho Road,” Wadi Qelt, to Bethlehem, to visit the Church of the Nativity, as well as the adjacent Grotto where St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. Then we arrive at the Old City of Jerusalem, where we will stay. 

Evening: Free, time for settling in and/or an introduction to the old city with a guided walk to the Western Wall of the Temple.

 

Sat June 9             “The voice of one crying, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD.’” 

A full day trip to the desert will begin with a visit to the ancient Tel Arad to see the ruins of the Canaanite city as well as the Israelite fortress with its little temple. Then we will enter Masada via the Roman ramp; this was Herod’s desert refuge, where later the Jewish zealots held out after the destruction of Jerusalem.  At our lunch stop there will have the opportunity to swim (or float) in the Dead Sea.  Then we will walk up the nature trail to the waterfalls from the spring of En Gedi, where David encountered King Saul in the cave, and probably see some of the animal life, especially the long-horned goat, or Ibex.  On our way back to Jerusalem we will stop at Qumran to see the remains of the Essene community and caves where they found the Scrolls.

Evening: free time to recuperate.

 

Sun June 10        “I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel.”   

Sunday morning will be free for the rest of worship, either at Christ Church or one of the other services in the city. In the afternoon we will visit the holocaust memorial Yad weShem (literally, “hand and name” meaning remembrance), and consider the causes and effects of that tragic period.  Afterward we will visit a Moshav (a settlement) of Jewish believers in Jesus, called Yad Hashmonah (the memorial of the eight) and hear how out of the ashes of the holocaust sprang new life in Christ. 

Evening:  Bible Class on “Messianic Prophecies.”

 

Mon June 11      “Jerusalem, which is built as a city all compacted together; where the tribes go up to give thanks to the name of the LORD.”   

In the morning we will have a walking tour of the old city and the Temple Mount, which is now an Islamic holy place. Then we will survey the archaeological work that has been done on the western and southern sides of the Temple area.  In the afternoon we will walk down to the remains of the City of David, and enter the water system used by David’s men to capture the city.  If conditions permit, we will wade through Hezekiah’s Tunnel from the spring of Gihon to the pool of Siloam.   For those not wishing to go down to the City of David, the afternoon will be free time.

Evening: Bible Class on “The Place of Jerusalem in God’s Kingdom.”

 

Tues June 12       “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kills the prophets.” 

This will be another walking tour, starting with today's Mt. Zion area and the location of the Upper Room. Then a visit to the Church of Gallicantu (“Cock’s Crow”), one of the proposed locations for Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin; from here there is a fine overview of the lower city where Gehenna and the Kidron Valley meet, and where Aceldama is located.  From here we will go to the Herodian Priestly Villas in the Jewish Quarter for a look at how the wealthy religious leaders lived.  Then over to the Pools of Bethesda where the healing waters were stirred up; here we will sing in the Crusader’s Church of St Anne.  After lunch we will have a  free afternoon. 

Evening: a guided tour of the archaeological section of the

Israel Museum. Here we will see the many artifacts from the tels we have visited that shed light on the biblical culture and history.

 

Wed June 13       “The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” 

Today will be another day trip out, but very different.  We will go to Neot Kedunim, a fascinating nature reserve where they have planted the trees and plants of the Bible, and where they have set up olive-presses and threshing floors to show how they were used.  There is even a demonstration of the scribe’s trade.  We will go down to the sea coast town of old Joppa, today Jaffa, for lunch and a brief look.  This was where Jonah began his brief “voyage”; it was also the home of Simon the Tanner.  Then we will return to Jerusalem through the Shephelah (Lowlands), stopping at the place where David fought Goliath. 

Evening: Spiritual Life Discussion on “Inspiration for Prayer and Meditation.”

 

Thurs June 14   “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” 

Back in Jerusalem we turn our attention to the passion of our Lord Jesus.  In the morning we will drive to the Mount of Olives for an overview of Jerusalem, and then down to the village of Bethany where there is a tomb that could be Lazarus’ tomb, and Bethpage where there are good examples of first century tombs. From the top of Olives we will walk down to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in agony.  Then we will walk up to St Stephen’s Gate and begin the Via Dolorosa, the traditional route that traces the stations of the cross.  Free afternoon.

Evening: Passover Seder meal at Christ Church; afterward, a time of praise and thanksgiving in the lounge, and a word about Christ Church ministry.

 

Fri June 15         Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never any man yet laid.” 

After a short orientation about what we are going to see, we will walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or, The Church of the Resurrection as the Christians called it, which is built over the remains of the rocky hill known as Golgotha and over the location of the Garden Tomb.  There will be time for people to stay and meditate in the church.   In the afternoon we will go to the other location suggested for the crucifixion and burial, Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb.  Here we will have a brief worship service with Communion.  The rest of the afternoon is free. 

Evening: a Shabbat dinner at Christ Church, and afterward a

Bible Study on “The Garden of God.”

 

Sat June 16      This will be a day for last minute shopping, another visit to a favorite place, a look at something new, or of course packing.  Transfer to the air port for the late afternoon flight out of Tel Aviv to the   gateway city and connecting flights (see details in the cover letter).

 

Sun June 17      Final leg of the trip home for the group, arriving in the USA in the afternoon. 

 

The next trip, "The Land of Israel," December 28, 2001 through January 10, 2002, is being planned. The itinerary can be seen here. Details will follow.

Another trip is scheduled for April-May 2002, and the details will be provided later.