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Today is May 30, 2020

Stepping back into biblical times

By Nancy Jo Maples

Stepping back into biblical times

Dressed as a Levitical High Priest, Pastor Bill Freeman guides groups through the Promise Land Journey helping visitors understand biblical times. Approximately 3,000 people visit the Lauderdale County site each year.

Promise Land Journey is a 7,000 square-foot facility, built by the Baptist preacher and his wife, Jo Anne, along with fellow church members. The two-hour tour includes viewing replicas of Solomon’s Temple, Moses’ tabernacle furniture, the crucifixion cross and Christ’s burial tomb. Dioramas of first-century Jerusalem and the Holy Land give guests a bird’s eye view. Most exhibits are remakes; however, a few artifacts are authentically from Israel including the 12 stones on the high priest’s breastplate that represent the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Freeman quotes 150 to 200 Bible verses throughout his presentation. He ties Old Testament stories with the story of redemption. “Jesus can be felt in the building,” Freeman said, emphasizing that the tour is Christian-based, but is nondenominational. “I want to exalt Him and to magnify Him, but I try to do it in a way that is not pushy.”

Inspired in 1991 by a professor during their theological training, the Freemans began physical construction on the facility in 2004. Tours began in 2015 in parts of the building, and the structure was completed the following year.

The Promise Land Journey is located on the grounds of Covenant Life Church, 624 Highway 19 North in Collinsville. Tours are free, and donations are accepted.

In addition, Freeman offers church speaking engagements in which he depicts biblical characters. Contact him at 601-986-8839.


Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. Contact her at

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