Ask anyone who wants to travel to Israel, why, and the usual answer is….to walk where Jesus walked. Nothing wrong with that answer, in fact, it’s a great answer, but the Holy Land isn’t just about the New Testament, Israel fully engages you with the Old Testament!
Location, location, location . . . a familiar phrase that dates to 1920s Chicago real estate describes Megiddo, a significant Old Testament city, to a “Tee.” Time rarely alters geography. The flood in Genesis may be the exception….but for the most part, mountains, valleys and rivers stay constant and consistent through the ages.
Geography guaranteed Megiddo, a coveted Old Testament city strategically located in the Jezreel Valley, a “front and center” position in the Holy Land’s past, present and future. Megiddo guarded the Via Maris, an ancient international trade route, running the length of early Palestine, from Asia to Egypt. She held the trifecta or hat trick of strategic value for any empire, militarily securable, financially desirable and, with a convenient water source nearby, easily sustainable.
Egyptian Pharaoh, Thutmose III, who conquered the city in 1468 BC, left us this quote, cementing Megiddo’s significance AND securing her place in history: “Taking Megiddo is like capturing a thousand cities.”
The Old Testament history confirms Megiddo’s historical heritage:
- Judges 11:26 and 1 Kings 6:1 both relate the defeat of the king of Megiddo by the Israelites under the command of Joshua
- Judges 1: 19 narrates the battle between the Israelites, who fail to wrest Megiddo from the Canaanites, who were fully aware of its strategic importance
- Judges 19 recounts the victorious battle of the Prophetess Deborah against the Canaanites at Megiddo
- 1 Kings 9 describes all of Solomon’s achievements, including fortifying Megiddo
- 2 Kings 23 reports the death of good King Josiah at Megiddo as he battled Pharaoh Neco for the region
In recent history, during WWI, British General Allenby battled and defeated the Ottoman Empire at Megiddo in 1918. That victory set the stage for the British Mandate in Palestine, which led to the November, 1947 UN partition plan and Israel’s birth in May, 1948….battles still being waged….begun at Megiddo!
In addition, Revelation 16: 16 earmarked Megiddo as an important location during the end times. Har-magedon or hill of Megiddo is prophesied as the site of Armageddon that ushers in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Thus, past, present and future….all represented at Megiddo.
Archaeologists began excavating Tel Megiddo in the early 1900s. The advent of WWI interrupted the excavations until digging resumed in 1925. The Megiddo excavations led the way for the nascent science of archaeology, with excavations suspended or stopped until technology could catch up. Even today, excavators limit themselves to a square or a trench on the basis that they must leave something for future archaeologists with better techniques and methods.
- Excavations reveal that Megiddo was inhabited over a span of 6000 years, from 7000 to 586 BC
- Archaeologists have uncovered 20+ cities in the mound or tel
- Israelite structures dating from Solomon and Ahab include stables, a grain silo, and a water system
- Pagan artifacts include a large Canaanite altar
Undisturbed For Centuries
After the Israelites were taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 BC, Tel Megiddo lay intact and uninhabited for centuries, allowing archaeologists an undisturbed look into ancient life. For archaeology, Tel Megiddo remains an invaluable location with excavations continuing as time and technology permit.
Get Fully Engaged
For faith based travelers, a stop at Megiddo also proves invaluable. It brings the Old Testament alive and at the same time, assures us of Christ’s promised return, His gift of salvation and eternal life. Visit Tel Megiddo in 2019 with us….it will engage you with the Old Testament and strengthen your passion for Jesus.