July 2021 Ensign Peak Academy Holy Land Tour
July 1 — 11th, 2021
(Tour includes Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine with extension options thru July 17th to Jordan & Egypt)
Director:Dr. Clark D. Anderson EdD & Ruel Hammond
Day 1-2 (Thurs & Fri July 1—2nd): FLY FROM USA to TEL AVIV
Today we fly from the USA to Tel Aviv. When we arrive we will go directly to the Mount of Olives for orientation and a view of ‘the Golden City’. We overnight in Jerusalem where our hotel is only steps away from the Old City.
Day 3 (Sat July 3rd): JERUSALEM CENTER / MT OF OLIVES (BETHESDA)
This morning we enjoy Church Services at the remarkable BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. The view of Jerusalem during our Service is inspiring. On our way to lunch we will wander down the Mt. of Olives and pass thousands of Jewish graves, including those of the Biblical Prophets; Haggai, Zechariah, & Malachi. We make a brief stop at the “Teardrop Church” and then enjoy lunch in a unique local place near the Old City. We will next visit St. Anne’s which is the ancient site for the Pool of Bethesda. As we make our way back to the hotel we will be introduced to the shopkeeper that makes LDS scripture covers, necklaces, etc. and after dinner those interested can peruse olive wood carvings from the shopkeepers who have been making LDS Olive Wood pieces for over 40 years. We enjoy a relaxed evening and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 4 (Sun July 4th): BEGINNINGS: BETHLEHEM / (TEMPLE MOUNT / MUSEUMS)
What a fantastic day to celebrate our Independence Day with a visit to the place where Jews believe is the Center of the Universe and where the Spirit of the Lord resides. We explore this site beginning with a visit to the Tunnels at the Western Wall and then conclude with an actual visit on top of the Temple Mount. We view the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, etc. and discuss the past, present and future of that significant site for all three major religions: Jews, Muslims, & Christians. Next we will visit the unique historical museums in Jerusalem. The Israeli Museum displays the Dead Sea Scrolls and also features the very impressive miniature model of the city of Jerusalem in Christ’s day; The Model City. We conclude our museum visits with the sobering Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem. Time permitting we will enjoy the sights and sounds of Jerusalem by walking on the Old City Walls of Jerusalem on the Rampart. This afternoon we will cross through “The Wall” (20’ cement wall that separates Israel and Palestinian controlled land) and visit the traditional birthplace of the Savior in Bethlehem (Church of the Nativity). We conclude our day by visiting a local Shepherds’ Field near Bethlehem where we will review the account of the humble beginnings of the Saviors Life. In this setting we will review the Saviors Birth as well as consider Jesus as the “Good Shepherd”. We again overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 5 (Mon July 5th): JESUS/MARY AS A TEENAGERS: NAZARETH (CAESAREA)
Today we consider Jesus and Mary during their teenage years as we visit Nazareth and the surrounding areas. We will drive up north and our first stop features the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and represents the spot where the first Gentile convert joined the Church and the Gospel spread to the world. Paul was imprisoned for 2 years here and also departed for his 4 historic missionary journeys. We will view the ancient theater and aqueducts before making our way north to Mount Carmel. On Mt. Carmel is a great view of the Jezreel Valley (Valley of Armageddon). From this vantage point we will discuss Armageddon, the 2nd Coming, and the future of this Holy Land as well as reenact the remarkable story of Elijah and the Priests of Baal. Following lunch, near Carmel, we travel to Nazareth and from Mount Precipice we will have an amazing view of Nazareth, Mt Tabor and the surrounding area. We conclude our day with a visit to the Nazareth Village which will give a glimpse into 1st century life. We will overnight in the Nazareth area.
Day 6 (Tues July 6th): BEATITUDES / PETER’S PRIMACY / MAGDALA / YARDENIT
Today we spend our day seeing the sights and sounds surrounding the Sea of Galilee. We begin with a visit to a beautiful overlook of the Sea of Galilee on Mount Arbel. Next we visit the Mount of Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. Lunch is a unique experience where those interested can enjoy St. Peter’s Fish. Next we visit Peter’s Primacy where we will discuss John 21. This afternoon we will visit Magdala (birthplace of Mary Magdalene) followed by Yardenit at the Jordan River (Jesus’ traditional baptismal site). We then drive around the Sea of Galilee to our Hotel. Checking into our Hotel this evening is a joy. Every room is only steps away from the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This evening you can enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening strolling on the Sea shores, or taking a dip in the Sea, etc.
Day 7 (Wed July 7th): JESUS’ MINISTRY: SEA OF GALILEE / CAPERNAUM / DAN
Today we explore more of the Galilee area where Jesus spent the majority of His ministry as well as some other significant scriptural sites. Our first adventure of the day is boarding a small fishing boat and crossing the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. On our way we cut the engines & have a short discussion. On shore we’ll visit the ancient site of Capernaum. Next we will drive to the very north border of Israel where we will look over into Lebanon and Syria. We will enjoy a short nature hike to view the ancient city and alter at Tel Dan. Our next stop is at Banias, the ancient site of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter was promised to receive the Keys of the Kingdom and is declares as ‘the Rock’. As we bus our way home we will travel on the Golan Heights where we can look over into Syria.
Day 8 (Thurs July 8th): JESUS’ FINAL DAYS: BETHANY (LAZARU’S TOMB / DEAD SEA)
Today we visit and consider the events leading up to the death of the Savior and the final days of His mortal ministry. As we make our way back to Jerusalem we pass through the Green Line and parts of the West Bank and will take this opportunity to discuss the current political situation, borders, and history. As we pass Bet She’an we will consider the “Fall of Saul”. We drive by Jericho and then make a stop at the Jordan River (Children of Israel River Crossing and Jesus’ baptismal site). Following lunch we will enjoy a quick visit to Qumran (discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and also have the unique experience of taking a float in the Dead Sea. (You cannot sink!) From here we make our way up to Jerusalem. We will visit Bethany and Lazarus’ Tomb and conclude our day with a unique walk through the flowing waters in Hezekiah’s Tunnel. We overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 9 (Fri July 9th): JESUS’ FINAL HOURS: (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST!)
Today is one of our most significant as we venture through the wonders of the “Eternal City” and retrace the events and sites of the final moments of the Saviors Life! We begin in the Upper Room where the Savior held the Last Supper. From here we trace His steps to the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of all Nations). We next visit Caiaphas’ Palace (St. Peter of Gallicantu) where Jesus went before the Sanhedrin and where Peter allegedly denied Christ thrice. Following lunch we enjoy a stop at the Antonio Fortress (Jesus before Pilate) and from here we will follow the Via Dolorosa (or Path of Suffering), the path Jesus carried His cross to Golgotha. Next we will reflect on the burial & resurrection of the Savior as we visit the two possible sites for Golgotha & Calvary. First we visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher [believed site for many Christians] and then the Garden Tomb [where others feel is the true site]. We will discuss the crucifixion and resurrection of the Savior and the majesty of the final moments of His mortal ministry! This evening those interested will view how the orthodox Jews bring in the Sabbath at the Western Wall. We overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 10 (Sat July 10th): MT OF OLIVES (ASCENSION)
Today we conclude our tour with one final visit to the Mount of Olives. On the Mt of Olives Jesus officially concluded His mortal ministry on that continent (Acts 1 – Christ’s Ascension) and fittingly we will also complete our visits here as well. Following our discussion the group will divide; those continuing on will head southward and cross the border into Jordan (see below). Those returning home will make their way to the airport in Tel Aviv and begin their journey home.
Day 10 (Sat July 10th): BofM BEGINNINGS: WILDERNESS (TIMNAH / PETRA)
Following our Mt of Olives visit those continuing on will depart Jerusalem and go “down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea” (1 Nephi 2:5) just as Lehi and his family. As we do so we will be traveling on the road from “Jerusalem to Jericho” and will reflect on a certain parable (Luke 10). On the way we pass Qumran (discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and stop for a picture of the natural spring and waterfall at Ein-Gedi (where David hid from King Saul) and where we most always see ibex. We visit the majestic Masada and gondola to the top and reflect on its remarkable story. If possible we will enjoy a brief stop at Timnah where we will view a replica of the ancient Tabernacle built by Moses in the wilderness. We will also discuss Sodom & Gomorrah as we drive through that remains of those ancient cities. We cross the border and make our way up to the fascinating city of Petra, Jordan where we will overnight.
Day 11 (Sun July 11th): 7 WONDER OF THE WORLD: PETRA, JORDAN / SINAI
This morning we explore Petra, one of the newly voted “7 Wonders of the World.” We will walk down the narrow canyon to the breathtaking view of the Treasury (Petra’s most famous landmark). You will have time to visit this fascinating city carved from the cliffs of the canyon and experience some of the best ruins found anywhere in the world. Petra was once a great commercial empire with a long history, it is best known today as the lost city in the Indiana Jones Movie, The Last Crusade.
Following lunch those continuing on will cross 2 borders and make their way down to St. Catherine’s in Egypt’s Sinai. We will orient ourselves to our current surroundings (Red Sea) and review the account of the Exodus as we bus our way through the Sinai to our Hotel (Morganland Village) which is near the base of “Mt. Moses”. We will enjoy a relaxing evening reviewing the scriptural account of Moses and the Children of Israel in preparation for our climb up the ancient temple….Mt Sinai.
Day 12 (Mon July 12th): LIVING THE OLD TESTAMENT: (MT. SINAI / RED SEA)
We arise very early and enjoy a moonlight hike up Mount Sinai (Camels are available for those interested in the adventure). On top we will enjoy the sunrise and a very special meeting before making our descent. Once off the mountain we will bus our way to one of the very best locations for snorkeling and deep sea diving in the world…Sharm El Sheikh (Ras Mohammed). Arriving at this luxurious resort is a very welcomed experience following our early morning hike. We will enjoy all the amenities and comfort of this 5-star resort for the next day and a half. There will time for deep sea diving, snorkeling, swimming, reading, spa treatments, relaxing, etc. We overnight in Sharm.
Day 13 (Tues July 13th): RED SEA
This morning we will continue to enjoy the Red Sea. Those who desire can enjoy some of the world’s best snorkeling & deep sea diving and those who are not interested in getting in the sea can relax at the resort hotel which has several beautiful pools, a lazy river, spa options, para-sailing, boat adventures, 4-wheelers in the desert, etc. Other options include a visit to Naama Bay for some shopping and night life, or one can enjoy retiring early and other various options at the resort. We once again overnight in Sharm.
Day 14 (Wed July 14th): LUXOR, EGYPT: TEMPLES (LUXOR & KARNAK)
This morning we take a short flight from Sharm to Luxor. We will first enjoy lunch and then begin our exploration of Luxor where over 60% of the world’s ancient ruins are located. Today we will explore the sites on the East Bank of the river Nile. Our first site is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and is also one of the largest temple structures in the world; the Karnak Temple. You will truly be amazed at this 64 acre temple. Following dinner we will enjoy an evening visit to the impressive Luxor Temple. These structures are amazing and must be seen to be believed. You might even enjoy these experiences more than the Pyramids in Cairo! We overnight in Luxor.
Day 15 (Thurs July 15th): PEARL OF GREAT PRICE: (VALLEY OF KINGS / TEMPLES)
This morning we explore the sites on the West Bank of the Nile where we will visit one of the most intriguing spots in the world; the “Valley of the Kings” (burial spot for the Egyptian Pharaohs & Queens). You will marvel at the similarities in Egyptian beliefs and rituals and those of the Church of Jesus Christ! We will next take pictures of the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Collosi of Memnon & Nobels as well as Pit Tomb #33 where the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price was discovered. We will next explore the Temple of Ramses III and be amazed at the very unique scenes displayed on the Temple walls. Alabaster is mined near Luxor and we will visit a shop that specializes in hand carving alabaster items. This evening we will take a short flight to Cairo and overnight.
Day 16 (Fri July 16th): 7 WONDER OF THE WORLD: (PYRAMIDS & SPHINX)
Today we enjoy a full day touring the sites in Cairo! We begin with the splendor of the famous Pyramids & Sphinx. Those interested can go inside the Pyramid as well as take a camel ride (these have a small additional cost). From here we will make a visit to the Egyptian Museum and explore all the unique items there: a Rosetta Stone replica, thousands of ancient Egyptian artifacts & statues, King Tut burial items, and for a small cost you can view real Egyptian mummies of many of the Pharaoh’s. This afternoon we will visit one of the largest mosques in the world; the Mohamed Ali Mosque. This evening we will enjoy our ‘last supper’ together with a short program followed by a rest in our hotel rooms before making our way to the airport to begin our journey home.
Day 17 (Sat July 17th): FLY HOME
Today we arrive at our homes and will be reunited with our loved ones!