Israel Study Tour with North Coast Church

Jun 18-29, 2019

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Standing in the very place the events took place

After a few good hours of sleep, a delicious breakfast, and some much needed coffee our group was ready to start our first day in Israel. And what a day it was! Our first stop was Kiriath Jearim, which means "Town of the Forest." Standing at the top of the Judah mountains admiring the breath taking views of the valleys below, we studied 1 Samual 4-6. The very location where the Philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant to Kiriath Jearim (1 Samuel 6:21). There is nothing like studying Gods word while standing in the very place the events took place.

The second site was Beth Shemesh, which means House of Sun. Here we learned about "Tels" which is a place where many different civilizations have built on top of each other over time. We sat on top of the Tel to learn more about Samson and the Philistines while just down the hill was an active biblical archeological dig.

Beth Shemesh

A border city between Judah and Dan, Beth Shemesh was given to the Levites. Beth Shemesh was the most important Israelite city in the Sorek Valley as it watched both east-west traffic through the Sorek Valley and north-south traffic along the “Diagonal Route.” Recent excavations have shown a thriving city here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period.

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Our next site was at Azekah overlooking the valley where the infamous battle between David and Goliath took place. We learned that God is in control of who’s in control and that God can and will use anyone he wants to do His will. We picked up stones in the dry stream a the bottom. Could one of us have picked up the deadly stone that killed Goliath?


Azekah (Heb: עזקה, ʿazeqah) was a town in the Shephelah guarding the upper reaches of the Valley of Elah, about 26 km (16 mi) northwest of Hebron. The current tell (ruin) by that name has been identified with the biblical Azekah, dating back to the Canaanite period. According to Eusebius' Onomasticon, the name meant "white" in the Canaanite tongue. The tell is pear shaped with the tip pointing northward. Due to its location in the Elah Valley it functioned as one of the main Judahite border cities, sitting on the boundary between the lower and higher Shephelah.[1] Although listed in Joshua 15:35 as being a city in the plain, it is actually partly in the hill country, partly in the plain.

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Our last site was the Bell Caves at Beth Guvrin. Down in the caves our teams sang worship songs, using the incredible acoustics to worship God.

Now on to the Dead Sea, hiking to king Herod’s fortress Masada and then down the Roman siege wall. Can’t wait!

Beth Guvrin (Maresha)

Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park is a national park in central Israel, 13 kilometers from Kiryat Gat, encompassing the ruins of Maresha, one of the important towns of Judah during the time of the First Temple,[1] and Beit Guvrin, an important town in the Roman era, when it was known as Eleutheropolis.

Archaeological artifacts unearthed at the site include a large Jewish cemetery, a Roman-Byzantine amphitheater, a Byzantine church, public baths, mosaics and burial caves.

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Featured Upcoming Tour

GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020

Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

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