Touring God's Holy Land
"Holy Land" — this is what it is called in Zechariah 2:12. God once considered the land of Palestine his sanctified land. He set it apart for his purposes. It was his holy land. But it served its usefulness for the sanctified purposes intended. God's "holy land" is still enchanting. What Bible student fails to be impressed by the great emphasis put on geographical sites in Bible narratives? What devout Bible reader has failed to entertain visions and imaginations of places like the Jordan River, Jacob's well, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem and all the others?
A visit to the Bible lands gives a special "charge" to some Christians. My daughter and I are included in this number. In June we journeyed around the Bible lands on a "private tour." We traveled alone. In Israel we drove from Dan to Beersheba, seeing most of the points of interest in between. This was my second trip to the Bible lands. In 1967, shortly before the "six-day" war, Ferrell Jenkins and I led a most enjoyable group tour.
Our 1971 trip was especially meaningful because, traveling privately, we were able to see more, spend a little more time at various places, and tailor our journey to our particular tastes. We would recommend such a private tour only to those who have been to the area before, and who have given considerable study to both ancient and modern geographical history of the area. If such be the case, a private tour, although somewhat more expensive, is more conductive to absorption of inspirational and enlightening matters relating to Bible history.
It would be well if every preacher could take a tour through the Bible lands. It is not essential of course to scholarship or spirituality to undertake such a journey. But such a visit will do for one what a nostalgic visit to his old homeplace might do ... plus much more. It would be especially meaningful to him.
The largest obstacle before Christians who would tour the Bible lands is a financial one. It is expensive. The average group tour today costs $1000.00 plus. This does not include the transportation from your home to New York and back. It is difficult for many people to swing the kind of deal necessary to have this much money available, and to lose three week's work.
With these problems in mind I have wanted for sometime to arrange a tour which the average "working man," or "retiree," or "poor preacher" could afford. Most anyone in these classifications can save a little, or borrow a little, for a tour of Palestine. We are thinking of a tour price of around $700.00 with Houston, Texas being the point of departure.
Most of the tours include exciting places in their itineraries like Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and various European countries. If you can afford a tour that takes in all these places, by all means take it. But if you prefer the economy route, which involves an 8 to 11 day tour of the "promised land," you can arrange it. Financing can be provided for you.
We are planning on leading an economy tour in October of this year, after the peak tourist season is over, when airfare and hotel prices are down. Our tour will feature only the land of Israel where most of the events which you read about in the Bible took place.
We plan on leaving from Houston, Texas flying direct to Israel. A one-day stop-over in a European capital is possible. We will tour Israel in a modern bus, staying in modern hotels, eating American style meals, while viewing ancient Bible sites and sights. All of this is included in the cost of the trip.
There are other things besides money matters which discourage some from taking a Bible land tour. The reason Mrs. Wallace did not accompany daughter and I on our tour is ... well ... she expressed it like this: "You get me over there without my leaving the ground or getting on water and I'll go!" But if there were a land causeway all the way over to Palestine we couldn't guarantee her that she would not be in a motor car accident! Anytime you travel, via any means, you expose yourself to possibilities of an accident. Yet travel by airplane is the safest of all, believe it or not.
As to "wars and rumors of wars," we can only say, that thousands and thousands of tourists are going and returning quite safely, without any incidents to mar the pleasantries of the trip. Things are calm in the area now, and the interests of tourists are protected by all nations involved.
So, if your "heart's desire" is a trip to the Bible lands, here is an excellent opportunity for you.
Want to go to Palestine in October this year? Let me know, and I'll send you the information and help you prepare for the journey.
Rebecca Anne, our 16-year-old daughter, is planning to lead a "teen-age tour" next summer - 1972. This tour will be especially designed for teenagers, with chaperones in attendance. You might be thinking of this in advance. Information on this tour will be available before the first of the year.