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Megiddo

"Then they gathered the kings together in the place called Armageddon." (Rev. 16:16)

"multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision." Joel (3:14)

Megiddo, is set on a hill 700 feet above the Jezreel Valley, with sweeping views of Mount Tabor, the Gilboa range and the hills of Nazareth. A fertile plain that was mostly swamp until the 1920s stretches below, producing an abundance of grains and vegetables. A highway, cutting a ribbon across the valley, winds from south to north.

Today’s highway was also yesterday’s main access route, and for centuries it linked Egypt to Syria and Mesopotamia – and made this particular spot incredibly strategic. He who had Megiddo could control all the traffic, both trade and military, and had the key to ruling Israel. The words of Thutmose III, an Egyptian Pharaoh who captured Megiddo understood this well. He claimed "The capturing of Megiddo is the capturing of a thousand cities."

No wonder this tell contains 26 layers of fortified cities from the Early Bronze Age to the sixth century. Remains have been found here that date back to the third millennia BC including a 5,000 year old Canaanite sacrificial altar. There is also an impressive ancient water system that comprises a shaft dug 120 feet into the rock. This meets a 200-foot-long tunnel dug leading to a camouflaged spring outside the city walls. There are also remains of a chariot stable from the reign of Ahab.

John, in Revelation, tells us that the last battle of history will take place on the Plains of Armageddon. The word ‘Armageddon,’ Greek for Har Megiddo (Mount Megiddo in Hebrew), had never been mentioned before Revelation. John explains that there will be a clash between the forces of good and evil in this place.

According to John, an assembly of nations will meet here for the battle. In fact, over 100 battles have been fought in this very place, including wars fought by Napoleon and General Allenby. Another interpretation of this assembly points to Zachariah, saying that the armies will simply gather here and prepare to proceed to Jerusalem. The gentile nations will try to destroy Jerusalem, heralding the return of Jesus as Christ the Redeemer on the Mount of Olives. Jesus Christ, according to the church, will then deliver the repentant remnant of Israel.

Many Christians visit Megiddo today to draw inspiration from the Book of Revelation’s prophecy of Armageddon.


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