Our study trips provide participants with experiences and insights into the culture, geography and history of the lands of the Bible. In order that as many as possible are able to experience the Lands of the Bible we offer a variety of tours targeted to participants of varying abilities. Our vigorously paced “Out of Egypt” tour involves (when possible) climbing and over-nighting atop Mt. Sinai under the stars. Our “Heart of God” tour is designed with those with special needs and our “Thru the Roof” tour is targeted for those with limited movement.
Under the Fig Tree study experiences are not the typical “tours” where tourist sites drive the tour. We view our study trip ministry as a message to be experienced, one from which God will seek fruit. Signing on to travel with George will involve going to a variety of key biblical sites along with ones not found on typical tours.
Our trip experiences typically include visiting upper and lower Egypt (pyramids), the Sinai, the Negev and Judah wilderness, central and southern Jordan (Petra), north and central Galilee, Jerusalem and the old city, including traditional and non-traditional sites.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Biblical Studies Abroad
This partnership provides a student with direct experiences of biblical geography, culture and languages, along with opportunities for face-to-face exchanges with those who have a working knowledge in these fields. Each trip and its accompanying courses help students to deepen their theological understanding of the Old and New Testament narratives. This training provides skills to develop a sound worldview by learning what it means to follow Christ in the world today.
George DeJong has served as Senior Pastor of Holland Heights Church in Holland, Michigan since the summer of 1990. In 1998 God ignited a great passion in George as He led him to journey the land of Israel, walking in the footsteps of his Rabbi, Jesus. Since then George has been committed to a deep study of the Text in its Jewish context.
In turn, this has not only shaped his life and ministry at Holland Heights Church, but his love for the Word has opened opportunities to study with Ray Vander Laan of That The World May Know Ministries as well as at Jerusalem University College! Shaped by the rabbinic method, George has participated in and led dozens of study trips. As great as George’s passion for the study of God’s Word is his love and delight to share and to teach it in the context of Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
George is a much loved and highly respected teacher and leader and to experience the lands of the Bible with him is to be in the care of a good shepherd whose love for those he leads is only surpassed by his love and respect for God’s word. A recent participant said it well: “There were many highlights on the trip, George’s teaching and leading is without doubt the most outstanding highlights of the trip.”
Under the Fig Tree
In biblical imagery, the fig tree symbolizes prosperity, peace and leadership — prosperity because of the abundance of sweet juicy figs, peace because of the tree’s refreshing shade, and leadership in that the fig tree itself grows to be a large magnificent tree, often referred to be “the king of trees.”
In the Ezekiel 40:4 passage, “See with your eyes, hear with your ears, and set your heart on all that I show you for that’s why I brought you here. Then go tell Israel …,” the man of God invites the prophet to see, hear and focus on what God has to reveal in such a way that his word and life become the message. Under The Fig Tree Ministry seeks to provide an environment for such focus through studying the Bible in its literary, cultural, and geographic context. This is accomplished by Biblical tours to Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
First century talmidim (disciples) would follow their rabbi as he walked throughout the Holy land teaching with both word and action. The Bible describes learning from a rabbi as “sitting at his feet,” which was often done in the synagogue as well as in the Temple colonnades. Sitting at the rabbi’s feet was also done under the fig tree, not only because of the shade it provided but also because of the tree’s sweet fruit. Soon “under the fig tree” became an idiom for one who sits under the shade of a Rabbi’s teaching enjoying the “sweet” fruit of his instruction and wisdom.
Jewish sources speak of rabbis who pursued their studies by discussing and debating the meaning of scripture with their colleagues and students under the cool shade of fig trees. With this in mind, Under The Fig Tree Ministry endeavors to offer trip alumni, whose passion for the text has been “fanned into flame,” a place for follow-up guidance and mentoring by means of on-line studies and conferences. We are honored to provide a place of “shade” for those seeking to grow in obedience, where “sweet fruit” is shared and enjoyed as they develop into the leaders God envisions them to be.