English-speaking church in Eindhoven

Day 8 – Towards Jerusalem

Sunday was a day of moving from Tiberius in Galilee via two significant sites to Jerusalem, a name that generates so much expectation.

Our first destination lay half way between Galilee and the Mediterranean coast. It’s a place people know in English as ‘Armageddon’ which renders the Hebrew Ha Megiddo = ‘Mount Megiddo’. While God made the mountain in a very significant place overlooking the Jezreel valley (also referred to as ‘Armageddon Valley’ and the main route connecting Egypt with places north such as Syria and beyond, people built a known 26 layers on that mountain so it is technically Tell Megiddo.

This place lays claim to having hosted more battles through known history than anywhere else and is pointed to in Revelation 16:16 as the place of the last great battle between those representing God and Satan. Whether he knew that or not, Napoleon Bonaparte once stood there and remarked, “All the armies of the world could manoeuvre their forces on this vast plain.” On Day 8 we walked up it, looked around and explored.

The view certainly lays out a large chess board for vast military actions. Megiddo reached its peak in the 8th Century BC under Israelite Kings of the Northern Kingdom. Ahab in Elijah’s time dug vast water channels and cisterns forming a system which we walked through. Megiddo was the focus for struggle between the kings of Israel and Judah. Jehu of the northern kingdom slew King Ahaziah of Judah near there. King Josiah of Judah was killed here on the orders of the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco in 732 BC.

In summary, not a sweet site, and not one Jesus frequented, but so pivotal in Old Testament history.

From here it was back on the road and west to the Mediterranean site of Caesarea. This was a city built just before Jesus’ time by Herod the Great. His agenda was manifold but included making up to the Roman emperor Octavian Caesar after he had backed his defeated rival for the Roman Imperial wreath. Herod built the most amazing Roman seaport here to serve the eastern Mediterranean.

Biblically much happened here. This was the home of Cornelius and the site of the Gentile Pentecost related in Acts 10. This is where St. Paul was held for two years before being sent to Rome in his appeal to the Emperor and then his execution. This is also the place where the only artifactual evidence has ever been found of Pontius Pilate whose name was carved in stone here.

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