As we were leaving the Sea of Galilee that morning my excitement continued to grow. I’m not sure I even blinked while staring out our tour buses windows. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that I was really looking at the biblical country of Israel. The Bible seemed to be coming more alive with each passing minute.
As we drove through the Jezreel valley, with its endless green fields and beautiful views, we neared our first destination of the day, Meggido. Or as its more commonly refereed to, Armageddon.
Megiddo is significant for many reasons. One is that it sits in the Jezreel valley. Which is going to be the sight of Armageddon. It’s where Jesus comes back to deal with satan and the anti-christ at the end of this age, talked about in the book of Revelation. The name Armageddon comes from the greek word har-meggido. Har means “a mountain or range of hills” and Megiddo means (“a place of crowds.”)
An interesting fact about Megiddo is that its not actually a hill, but a tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot). There are at least 20 layered cities that built up this tell of Megiddo.
Megiddo was also significant in ancient times because it guarded the western branch of a narrow pass on the most important trade route, it linked Egypt with Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. The road is known today as the Via Maris. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles. The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC to 586 BC.
King Solomon also rebuilt Meggido as a royal city, administering the northern part of the kingdom. Megiddo was surrounded by a sturdy casemate wall (two parallel walls with partitions between them, creating rooms). The casemates served as barracks for soldiers and for storage of equipment. A new city gate was constructed on the remains of the Canaanite gate in the northern part of the wall. It included three sets of chambers with a passage between them; for additional security, towers and an outer gate were added outside this gate.
Megiddo continued to serve as the seat of the royal governor during the reign of Jeroboam II, king of Israel. This is attested to by a seal, found in excavations at the beginning of the 20th century, bearing the inscription “to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.”
Megiddo was apparently conquered and destroyed in 732 BC by the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 15: 29)
The Last Days of Megiddo
In his days Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. (2 Kings 23: 29)
From then on, Megiddo fell into decline; it was finally abandoned during the Persian rule, in the 5th century BC.
1 Kings 4:26
Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.
1 Kings 9:15
And this is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the Lord and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.
While standing on the 3,500 year old fortress, I caught myself starring at the vast landscape of the Jezreel valley. Where the history of all mankind, as we know it, will come to its end. As I was standing there, scriptures from the book of Revelation started jumping out at me, this one in particular;
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon – Har-Meggido.
Its said that 200 million men will come to this valley to fight in the battle of Armageddon.
I couldn’t seem to get over the significance of the place I was standing, it brought about the humbling perspective of how small I really am in the history and future of this world. And in its own way, showing me how big God really is.
With this new dose of perceptive, I slowly made my way back to our waiting bus. Preparing myself for what came next.
Day 1 part 1 – Arrival in Tiberias / day 1