Captain Headknowledge Goes On a Pilgrimage?

I just typed the question, “What is a pilgrimage?” into my search engine and the first thing that came up on the list of suggested sites was the American Heritage Dictionary definition of the word. That sounds like a good place to start. It has two definitions:

  1. A journey to a sacred place or shrine.
  2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.

The first definition seems a little more simple and straightforward, while the second seems a little more lofty. I’m going on the first kind of pilgrimage. Or, rather, the wife and I are.

 Where are we going?

It’s only the ultimate vacation for a believer in Jesus Christ.

Next month, my wife and I are accompanying a few other families from our church, including our pastor and his wife, a professor from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (whose name escapes me) and a few dozen other couples and individuals from other churches for an eleven day, whirlwind tour of Athens and Corinth, Greece, several locations in Israel, to be elaborated on below, culminating in a few sights seen in Cairo, Egypt, including pyramids, camels, the Nile River and a laser light show.

A friend of mine showed me pictures of his trip with his church to Israel, and I was finally tired of not being sure exactly what I had in store for us on our trip, so I decided to transcribe the itinerary brochure provided by the travel agency. Following is what we will be taking in:

Athens/Corinth Visit November 12-14

We arrive in Athens to change planes for our continuing flight to Tel Aviv. This stop permits us to enjoy a tour of Corinth and Athens.

 Tel Aviv/Caesarea, Megiddo/Haifa November 14

We begin our day visiting Caesarea on the Mediterranean Coast. This ancient port was used by Herod the Great. It was here that the first Gentile, Cornelius the Centurion, and his household were baptized. Continue to Megiddo and the Valley of Armageddon. Visit this historical military fortress that controlled the highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. See the excavations and museum showing how this famous hill served an important function in the wars of antiquity.

 Tiberias/Capernaum/Sea of Galilee Boat Ride November 15

Today we visit the region where Jesus spent most of his ministry. We visit Nazareth, and the Church of the Annunciation. Visit Tiberias, Capernaum and the Mount of Beatutudes, and enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

 Jerusalem/Bethlehem November 16-17

This morning we drive to the Kneset, Israel’s Parliament, visit the Hebrew University campus and its Shrine of the Book Museum, where the Dead Sea Scroll collection is exhibited. From there we drive across the Valley of Kidron to visit Gethsemane and the Mt. of Olives. Continuing our drive to Mt. Zion we visit Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper and King David’s Tomb. We drive to Bethlehem where we will visit the ancient Basilica of the Nativity. In addition we will see Shepherd’s Field of Boaz, the nearby Milk Grotto and manger Square.

Jerusalem November 17-19

This is our day to visit the Old City. We will take a walking tour visiting Mt. Moriah, the Dome of the Rock, where tradition holds that Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice him. We will see Al Aksa Mosque and the Western Wall, the only remaining portion of Herod’s Temple. We will pass through picturesque native bazaars and the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross from the Fortress Antonio to Calvary. We visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the famous shrines of Christendom, and conclude by visiting the Garden Tomb.

 Masada November 18

Today we see the Dead Sea, Qumran and the optional tour of Masada where the Jews committed suicide rather than surrender to the Roman Army.

Eilat/Sinai/Cairo November 19-20

today we see the Biblical promise come alive. The desert is blossoming like a rose. Cross the Suez Canal and through the Delta region as we approach Cairo. See what has happened to this region since the peace treaty.

 Cairo Sightseeing November 20-21

Today we begin an unforgettable experience and visit to one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. You’ll get to admire the treasures of ancient Egypt at the Egyptian Museum; see the Mohammed Ali Mosque and the beautiful panorama of the city; see the Tomb of Sadat, the martyred President of Egypt who built a bridge for peace with Israel; Sail the Nile River aboard an authentic Egyptian Felucca; ride a camel to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, colossal monuments to the former power of Egypt. Climax your stay in Cairo by attending one of the world’s greatest Sound and Light presentations at the Pyramids on the Sahara Desert.


I keep warning our children that they’re in for nothing but Middle Eastern souvenirs for Christmas. They’re pretty bitter that they don’t get to go. But my wife keeps reminding them that a trip like this is for grownups who’ve worked for years and earned the money to make the trip. This gives them something to look forward to. I just keep reminding them that envy is a four-letter word.


I’ll be sure to post a few pictures and comments after Thanksgiving. By the way, it costs four hundred fewer dollars to fly home on Thanksgiving day than it does to fly home the day before. My wife gets the year off from Turkey prep. That’s something she’s probably thankful for.   


11 responses

  1. Oh, sure, just had to outdo my Westminster visit didn’t you? Now who is the jealous one? Oh, wait, that would be me. Have a great time and can’t wait to see the pictures.

  2. John

    have a great time with the Lord on this trip. I have been to several of the places you are going.

    Dangerous yes, fun, very much so!

  3. Sorry, Alan, but it’s certainly true that if I had to choose between a visit to the land where God fulfilled all of his promises of salvation in Christ, where God was manifested in the flesh and earned eternal life, resisting all temptation in thought, word and deed, enduring suffering at the hands of obstinate sinners, returning only blessing, and exhibiting the greatest expression of God’s love for sinners in his death, burial and resurrection, and ascending to the right hand of the Father to reign over his people, send us his Holy Spirit and interceed for us in the Father’s presence until he returns in the same way he left . . . uh, yeah, I think I gotta choose a trip to Israel. Of course, after one trip to Israel, I could thereafter probably afford only the “pilgrimage” to the “Holy City(-ies)” (now there’s a stretch!) of Escondido, or Santee.

    Although, I do have a bit of a similar choice to make, because, the weekend prior to my departure, R. C. Sproul and Steven Lawson are bringing the regional conference to Pantego Bible Church
    in Fort Worth, Texas, and that’s just 6.62 miles from my house according to Mapquest! Yes, for a while I was eating my heart out until I looked at it as I just spelled it out in the previous paragraph. Kind of makes things pale in comparison, and builds my faithless, sinful self up in the gospel, too!

  4. Michael,

    Been a while! Good to hear from you, and thanks for the well wishing.

    Naturally, several folks have expressed their concern for our safety, but our pastor reassures us that the professor with whom we’re travelling has lead these tours yearly for the past thirty years or so, which is to say the odds are against the real prospect of injury or loss coming to any of us on our trip. But even so, our times are in the Lord’s hands, and that’s good enough for us!

  5. yes and as we say around here, for true blue Christians, today is as good a day to die and live for God’s glory as living for His Glory now!

    In any event, you will be prayed up and filled up and maybe the ethnicity of foliages you eat will whisper?

    Goat cheese and humus, how can you go wrong? Grape leaves and olives, yum yum!

    Sheep and beef meat wrapped in bread with cucumbers and mint and fresh tomatos, please!

    Oh yeah, sight seeing is it?

  6. . . . and maybe leeks and onions when we get to Cairo!

  7. If you want too, but remember what we all have been warned, once we leave Eygpt, should we return to leeks and onions once again?

    I will pray for your forgiveness after you have lunch!

    bon voyage’

  8. JC,
    I thought I was cool because I went to Kim’s Church (Christ Reformed). But are taking the cake altogether…you must submit pictures and blog daily any updates on your trip. I will be traveling with you in spirit. Have a blast and thanks for letting us know about RC coming to Pantego.

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  9. Blogging daily may be a little impractical, but I’m certainly planning on posting on it when I return. You can expect to see something after Thanksgiving. Plus, God was gracious in my giving up my opportunity to see R.C. Sproul. My wife and I attended the Sean Michael Lucas conference at New St. Peter’s Presbyterian Chruch, where Dr. Lucas spoke on “Is Reformed Important?” You’ll be seeing a post or two on that beginning later in the day.

  10. John,
    You know I was thinking of you the other night while watching John Hagee…(hmmm)..but he was talking about taking the trip you are about to take…and I thought wow! John Hagee…John Chitty…taking the same trip…hmmm

    Be prosperous…your best life can be now!

    Gage Browning
    Post Tenebras Lux

  11. Thanks for the warning, Gage. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, just in case.

    I ran into an older lady from church who just returned from her own trip to Israel with another group. She got to bump into Laura Bush at Petra. Considering my prospective encounter with celebrity, my friend, Sandra’s, life’s definitely better.

    This life sure beats burning in hell, though. But I much prefer the glory that is to come (Romans 8:18).

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