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THE GREAT PASSION PLAY TOUR TO ISRAEL
 

This is the only Holy Land tour dedicated exclusively to the life of Jesus! Our next tour is May 23-June 1, 2025 (during summer break). Register here.

How is the Great Passion Play Israel Tour different?

Watch this video.


Register here.

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Join us on our next tour, May 23 - June 1, 2025

Register here.

Have specific questions about this tour? Call Octagon Tours at 405-227-8243.

  • Founder of The Octagon Project

  • Producer of the virtual reality exhibits at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC., and the Great Passion Play.

  • Author of The Merged Gospels.

  • Professor of linguistics.

  • Historian, and veteran Holy Land tour guide

  Meet Your Guide -

  Dr. Gary Crossland

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Check out Gary's Linkedin page here

This is a totally FREE interactive eBook version of our live Octagon Tour to the Holy Land. We just started publishing it, so there are only a few videos in it right now.  However, every month we will be uploading new videos, and each time we do you will receive a notice. This free eBook can be loaded onto any mobile device, or you can view it on your computer. There are links to Google Maps, so you can know exactly where each site is located.

 

Use this book as a primer before you visit the Holy Land on a live Octagon Tour, while traveling, or as a refresher when you return home.

Since this eBook is totally free to distribute, you can share it with a friend who is contemplating traveling to the Holy Land.

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Here are some of the sites we often visit.

It's all about Jesus, and all of the sites in our tours are referred to in the Gospels. However, time never allows us to go to all of these places

  • The actual site of the Sermon on the Mount (MT 5:1, 5:2-12, LK 6:17-26)

  • The cave where Jesus prayed all night (MT 5:1b, MK 3:13, LK 6:12)

  • Where Jesus appointed His Apostles (MT 5:1b, 10:2-4, MK 3:13-19, LK 6:12-16)

  • The mountain of the miracle of the swine (MT 8:28-34, MK 5:1-21, LK 8:26-40)

  • The site of the feeding of the 5000 (MT 14:13-21, MK 6:32-44, LK 9:11-17, JN 6:1-14)

  • The site of the great catch of fish (MT 4:18-22, MK 1:16-20, LK 5:1-11)

  • Peter’s home (MT 8:14-15, MK 1:29-31, LK 4:38-39)

  • The Capernaum synagogue (MK 1:23-28, LK 4:33-37)

  • Chorazim, the town that Jesus cursed (MT 11:21, LK 10:13)

  • Herod’s palace in Tiberias (MT 14:6-12, MK 6:21-29)

  • The home of Mary Magdalene (MK 16:9)

  • A praise boat ride across Galilee (MT 14:22-33, MK 6:45-52, JN 6:15-21)

  • The ancient Galilee boat museum (MT 14:34-36, MK 6:53-56)

  • Jacob's Well, the site of the woman at the well (JN 4:4-42 )

  • Jesus' boat dock at Gennesaret (MT 14:34, MK 6:53)

  • The Mountain of Temptation (MT 4:1-11, MK 1:12-13, LK 4:1-13)

  • Herod’s Jericho palace (MT 2:20)

  • Jesus’ baptism site (MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11, LK 3:21-23)

  • The birthplace of Jesus (LK 2:1-7)

  • The infant home of Jesus (MT 2:9, MT 2:11)

  • The shepherds’ field (LK 2:8)

  • The shepherds’ caves (LK 2:20)

  • The home of Mary (LK 1:30-38)

  • The wedding chapel at Cana (JN 2:1-11)

  • The Nazareth synagogue of Jesus (MT 13:54-58, MK 6:1-6, LK 4:16-30, JN 4:44)

  • Ancient Nazareth (MT 2:23)

  • Where John spent his life in the desert (LK 1:80)

  • The Upper Room (MK 14:15, LK 22:12)

  • The Via Dolorosa, and the stations of the cross (MT 27:31, MK 15:20b, JN 19:17)

  • Mount Calvary (MT 27:33, MK 15:22, LK 23:33, JN 19:17)

  • Jesus’ Tomb (JN 19:41)

  • The Western Wall of the Temple (MT 24:1, MK 13:1, LK 21:5)

  • The Temple Mount (LK 1:9)

  • The Pool of Bethesda (JN 5:1-47)

  • The Tomb of Lazarus (JN 11:38)

  • The site of Jesus’ ascension (MK 16:19-20, LK 24:44-53, AC 1:4-12 )

  • The road where Jesus rode the donkey (MT 21:8-9, MK 11:8-10, LK 19:36-40, JN 12:12-13, 17-19)

  • Where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer (LK 11:1-4)

  • The place where Jesus met Nicodemus (JN 3:1-21)

  • The gate through which Jesus carried the cross (MT 27:31b, MK 15:20b, JN 19:17)

  • The Pool of Siloam (JN 9:7)

  • The synagogue, from which the man born blind was cast (JN 9:13)

  • The palace of Caiaphas (MT 26:57, JN 18:24 )

  • The Garden of Gethsemane (MT 26:36-46, MK 14:32-42, LK 22:39-46, JN 18:1)

  • The Cave of the Ten Lepers (LK 17:12)

  • The final path of Jesus after Gethsemane (MK 14:53, LK 22:54, JN 18:13)

  • The stairs that Jesus ascended before His trial (MK 14:53, LK 22:54, JN 18:13)

  • The rock of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane (MT 26:39, MK 14:35, LK 22:41)

  • Sebastia, the burial site of John the Baptist (MT 14:12, MK 6:29)

  • Bethphage, from which Jesus took the donkey (MT 21:2, MK 11:2, LK 19:30)

  • Gabbatha, where Jesus was tried by Pilate (JN 19:13)

  • The Potter’s Field (MT 27:7)

  • The Mount of Olives (JN 8:1)

  • The Tower of Siloam (LK 13:4)

  • Gehenna (Hinnom Valley) (MT 5:22)

  • The site where Jesus spent the first 27 years of His life. (LK 2:40)

  • The site of Jesus post-resurrection fish breakfast at Galilee (JN 21:1-23)

  • The un-excavated ruins of Capernaum (JN 2:12)

  • The courtyard of flagellation (JN 19:1)

  • The prison of Jesus and Barabbas (probably also John and Peter) (Acts 5:18-23)

  • The crushed 1st-century street of Jerusalem (MT 24:2, MK 13:2, LK 21:6)

  • The site of Peter's Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2:14-41)

  • The road of escape for the Magi (MT 2:12)

  • The Church of St. Gabriel, with the Spring of Mary (LK 1:26-28)

  • The Chapel of the Holy Innocents (MT 2:16-18)

Testimonies from our most recent tour!

What an awesome tour.  Gary has so much knowledge. He just brought the events and places to life.  Some say that a trip to the Holy Land can be a tour, or it can be a pilgrimage. This clearly was a pilgrimage that significantly deepened our faith.

Bob and Nancy Spickelmier

I enjoyed my tour of the holy land.  To walk where Jesus walked and to be in the area He lived will always be on my mind. I promise not to get lost on the next trip. I have already mentioned the Octagon tour to others who are planning a trip to Israel.

Larry Scott

This trip had been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. Gary has done extensive research to provide such an awesome tour. I traveled on my own with an extension and felt totally safe while visiting Israel.  Everyone on the tour was very caring and helpful.

Donna Minard

Wow, I can’t believe how much I miss our group!  I met some pretty awesome people on this tour, I want to say friends for life!  What a great experience I had in Isreal. My most incredible moment was the boat ride in the Sea of Galilee!  The presence of God was there and I felt it!!  I have not stopped talking about that moment to family and friends back home. It brings tears to my eyes every time I talk about it. Also having communion in the upper room was another "aha" moment. I definitely would recommend this to anyone I know. Thank youfor everything!

Liz Powell

This was the most moving, inspirational, trip I've ever had the pleasure of being able to experience.  I feel blessed by visiting the Holy Land with you. Your knowledge is very impressive! It's very evident that you have done a lot of study and research of the places we visited! Thank you! Thank you!!

Terri Hill 

Thank you for a most memorable trip ever! The tour was positive & full of information of the life of our Lord and Savior. We felt safe & gained fond memories in our hearts as well as many new friends. So thirsty for more of Our Lord. We we're personally impressed how the trip guides went above and beyond our expectations accommodating everyone's needs. The plethora of information and locations visited was outstanding. Thanks so very much, We could do it again.

Ruben and Laurie Martinez

This was the most amazing trip! Words cannot even express the joy and emotion we received on this journey. Thank you for your extensive knowledge, fact finding, and passion.

Sara and Jeff Bass

I was honored to be Baptized in the Jordan river, go out on Sea of Galilee and the Garden of Gethsemane. Very touching and emotional for me.

LaFonda Trantham

 

What a wonderful adventure we had! I don't know how you do it. Thanks to all of you!

Craig Shikles

Questions and Answers

 

What is the cost for this tour?

The May 2025 tour will cost $4,495 per person.  (There is an additional single's supplement of $1050 for travelers wanting to reserve a room for just one person). Register here.

What does the tour price cover?

It covers everything, including airfare to and from Houston Intercontinental Airport, complete buffet breakfast and dinner (not lunches), hotel, guides, tips, and all entrance fees.

How much is the deposit?  When is the final amount due? 

The deposit is $300 per person.  The remaining balance is due three months prior to travel .  We recommend that you don't wait long to get your deposit in, since space on this tour is limited.  You pay all of this to our tour provider, Pilgrim Tours.

What if I am transferring funds from a previously booked tour?

There will be a link at the top of the online registration form that says, "If transferring funds from a previous tour, please use this form - Transfer Reservation Form". Click that first.
 

If the tour is sold out, what are my options? 

We will put you on a waiting list after you pay your deposit.  If we don't have any cancellations, you will recieve your full deposit back. If there are cancellations, we will contact you in the chronological order of the wait list, and notify you or your inclusion on the tour.

I am single.  Is it possible that I can room with another lone traveler to avoid the single supplement?

If this is your desire, we will try to make this arrangement.  These assignments will be made prior to 90-days before the trip.  On every trip we have always been able to pair singles who want a roommate (although this is much more common among women than men). When we do this the supplement will be erased for both. 

Is there a discount for children 12 and under?

Yes. That discount is $300 if they room with a parent.

How does the Octagon Tour compare to Pilgrim's "Best of Israel" retail tour on the same date?

There is a vast difference between the two tours, and the chart at this link will tell you all you need to know about the differences. 

Who do I call if I have questions?

Start by calling Octagon Tours at 405-227-8243. 

Do I have to be vaccinated against Covid 19 before I can travel to Israel?

No. Also, at this moment you DON'T need to have medical insurance that covers Covid related illnesses, nor emergency medical insurance, nor emergency medical evacuation insurance.  This is explained in the next paragraph.

Tell me about the insurance (Updated 9/14/22)

If you wish to purchase insurance for any reason (including trip cancellation) there are very affordable options. You can shop many affordable plans and prices here - https://www.squaremouth.com.  Also, Pilgrim Tours sells insurance. If you have any questions about purchasing insurance, you may call us at 405-227-8243.

Do I need a visa?  What are the rules regarding passports?

You don't need a visa for traveling to Israel.  Plus, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after your return date.

Is it safe in Israel?

Safety is a very imporant concern of ours, and everywhere on our tourist trail is guaranteed to provide a totally safe and stress-free experience.  Everyone who lives in Israel loves tourists, for obvious reasons - Jews, Christians and Arabs alike.  And besides, we never do anything that would be considered unsafe.  Israel is one of the hottest tourist destinations, and the high level of security in every corner of the country means that everyone can relax and enjoy their pilgrimage.

 

How do I stay in touch with people back home?

Your phone will work anywhere we go.  Check with your mobile provider about charges while traveling.  In addition, we recommend using mobile or computer apps that allow you to communicate for free or cheap.

 

How different is this tour than other Israel tours?

Our travelers who have been to Israel before tell us that it's about 75% different than other tours.  That's because we take you to places that are related to the life of Jesus, and this often takes us away from the typical tourist trail.  Our goal is to put you into Jesus' three-foot circle as many times as possible.

 

How physically fit do I have to be? 

We are very conscious of the fact that our travelers have different levels of mobility. But keep in mind, Israel is not a handicap-friendly country. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account. There are many stairs, steep terrain, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing and walking. If you can keep up with a group of people who are walking at a normal pace, you will be OK on this tour. If you require a cane, crutches, walker or wheelchair, unfortunately this is not your tour.

Can I fly a different airline and just purchase the land portion of the tour?

Yes.  All you would do is pay the land portion of the tour, and arrange your flights separately.  The thing you want to do is to schedule your arrival in Tel Aviv before our group flight arrives, so that we can all leave the airport on a bus together.

 

How long is the flight?

The travel time is about 17 hours with about a 3-hour layover.  The longest stretch will be about 12 hours.  Of course, these times are approximations.

What will the weather be like?

At this time of year, the weather is almost always identical to what it is in Dallas, Texas.

Can I come to Israel sooner, stay longer, or extend my trip to some other location?

Yes, and that's another issue that you can discuss directly with us when our tour is scheduled.

Can I upgrade my airfare to first or business class?

Yes.  These arrangements can be made with Pilgrim Tours prior to travel.

Do you have a recommended packing list?

About two months before we depart we will send each traveler a travel packing and tip sheet.

What about taking medical equipment or medical electronics on the plane?

We recommend that you get an official letter from your doctor.  It is best to pack these items into checked luggage, but if you need them handy during travel, then this letter is a good thing to have.

What are the rules regarding luggage?

Airlines normally allow two checked bags for international travelers.  However, for this tour we can only allow one checked bag.  This is because our buses in Israel don't have the storage capacity for two bags per person.  That being said, there are three types of bags that you are allowed on the plane. 

 

  • One checked bag (23 kg, or 50.7 lbs, overall dimensions - 158 cm, or 62 inches). 

  • One on-board bag (8 kg, or 17.6 lbs, overall dimensions - 118 cm, or 46 inches).

  • One personal bag, such as a purse, briefcase, computer case or backpack.  We generally recommend the backpack solution, since there is no size or weight requirements for personal bags, and backpacks hold the most stuff.

  • Of course you can also carry stuff in your pockets, and the more pockets you have, the better.

 

What airline are you flying on the 2025 trip?

We will not know this until about ten months before we travel, since airlines generally do not post their flights until ten-months out.

What hotels are you staying at on the 2024 trip?

We are staying at two great hotels:

Nof Ginnosaur in Tiberias. This is my favorite hotel in Galilee. It has a tropical resort feel, and it's right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee - https://english.ginosar.co.il/

Leonardo Jerusalem. This is one of my top three hotels in Jerusalem, right near the Old City. I've spent much of my life in this hotel - https://www.leonardo-hotels.com/jerusalem/leonardo-hotel-jerusalem

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