Megiddo: what it means



Armageddon. Whether you’ve read your Bible (Rev. 16.16) or seen a cheesy sci-fi movie, you know that word. But to what does that word refer? What’s it about?

Imagine a fortified city in ancient times. It’s overlooking a valley. In fact, the city has a commanding view of the entire valley and beyond. And running through that valley is an exceedingly important highway.

Can you see it?

Now locate that valley in north-central Israel. Carve that valley, the Jezreel Valley, as a pass through the Mount Carmel range of hills and mountains. Place two significant mountains roughly 10-12 miles away from it (Mount Carmel to the NE, not far from the Mediterranean Sea, and Mount Tabor to the NW, halfway to the Sea of Galilee). Make the highway running through the valley one of the two main arteries in that region for commerce, trade, and military mobility; arteries connecting the perennial power in the south, Egypt, and the ever shifting great powers in the north, Syria and beyond. And call that highway the Via Maris (aka: the Way of the Sea).

Can you picture it?

Think about it as you picture it. Consider how whoever commands the city controls it all. The valley. The pass. The highway. The trade. The economics. The movement of people. The means to war and to make war. Yes, to own the city is to own not just that city, but to effectively influence and control a great many things, even far and away.

Get it?

What would you name that city? Try this one on for size: Megiddo. That means “mountain of troops” or “the place of rendezvous.” “Megiddo” as in “Armageddon” (Harmagedon), meaning “mountain of Megiddo.” Not that it’s a natural mountain, but that it’s a tel, a small “mountain” that’s been created by successive layers of building by various civilizations of people across time. Or as in Megiddo’s case, over two dozen distinct layers.

And those layers mean one thing: the city traded hands many times. Many times it built with control, power, and strategy in mind. Many times it was torn down violence, blood, and death. Many times, many people, from many places in history met here to fight, kill, and die, all for the sake of power and control. Many, many times.

That’s Megiddo, a name best written in red for all the blood that has been spilled there. And it’s from Megiddo that the pics we’ll share here the next several days will come.