Day 5 – Megiddo – Battle grounds

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The drive from Nazareth to Megiddo was very interesting, showing off a very fertile and lush land. The other thing I noticed is that places around here are a lot more closer together than I imagined. We drove down the plain of Esdraelon (known in the Bible as the Valley of Jezreel), with the Kishon River running through the middle, and from there went to the ruins of Megiddo.  Apparently it’s real name is “Harr Megiddo”, but because people cannot pronounce the Hebrew properly, it is more commonly known as Armageddon. (According to Effie our tour guide)

Megiddo is most famous for its mention in the book of Revelation. Rev 16:16 “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” It is here that the Biblical image of the great final “Battle of Armageddon” is described, and has since been portrayed in many artworks, books and movies. It is the final battle between good and evil at the end of time. Click here for a great commentary on the Seventh-day Adventist perspective on Armageddon, and how it fits in with prophecy.

“The imagery for this spiritual battle is drawn from OT history in the Valley of Jezreel where God’s people fought against their enemies. The battles were frequent and decisive. See for example Judges 4 & 5 where the battle between Deborah and Sisera in the Valley of Jezreel between Mt Tabor (4:6,12,14) and the waters of Megiddo (5:19), was a victory for the people of God. (See also 2 Kings 9 and 23).”

2019 Study tour notes

Up on the hill are ruins that date way back before Jesus time. 4th millenium BC (around 3,500 years!) So far, that when Jesus was walking this land, it would have been ruins on a hill. Now let that fact soak in for a minute. Jesus would have looked upon the bottom layers of ruins at this site. Megiddo appears to be on a hill, but it is because there are so many civilizations built one upon another that it is ‘on a hill’. There are around 26 different civilisations built in Megiddo!

This shows the layering of some of the almost 30 civilisations that are buried here.

“In 732 B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III took the region from the Northern Kingdom. In the following years Megiddo served as the capital of an Assyrian province. With the fall of the Assyrian empire the great religious reformer, King Josiah of Judah, was called to Megiddo to report to Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, who was on his way to assist the crumbling Assyrian army in its last-ditch efforts against the Babylonians. Josiah was slaughtered by Necho (II Kings 23:29). Recollection of this event, along with the memories of the great battles fought here, were probably the bases for the idea in the Book of Revelations (16:16) that Armageddon (the mound of Megiddo) would at the end of days be the site of the last battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.”

https://megiddoexpedition.wordpress.com/history-of-megiddo/

From Megiddo we could see Mount Tabor in the North (place of transfiguration of Jesus and near where the Witch of Endor lived), to the North West is Mount Carmel (Ezekiel), Mount Gilboa in the East, and in the South is Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim.   Beneath these mounts are the towns of Samaria, Shechem and Sychar (today called Nablus). Near the base of Megiddo, is the Megiddo Junction. It was the major international highway of Biblical times, said to have linked Egypt in the South with Babylon in the North. It linked empires, and was a major trade route. This is why Megiddo has been the most contested piece of land in history. See this website for interesting stories about King Thutmose III and other nations, with their endeavours to capture the place, and also some perspectives on the prophetic meaning.

At Megiddo, they accessed water from a spring that was outside the walls. So to do that, they built a tunnel down, and through to the spring. We walked down these steep steps, then through a tunnel hand carved (yes, hand carved…very impressive workmanship!), then back out the other end. There is still very clear water at the end. 

Video footage of Megiddo

We had lunch at Megiddo – salads, hummus, bread, and a selection of hot meats. I seem to be spending all my shekels on drinks! Cold ones – as cold as I can get them! Megiddo was so very hot, it was nice to get back into the bus.

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