PART 2 of 3
Megiddo is an important Israeli city which was mentioned twelve times in the Old Testament. It gave its name to the surrounding district including the Valley of Megiddon which is a broad valley often referred to as the Plain of Esdraelon or Jezreel. This fertile plain, drained by the Kishon River, stretches from the Mediterranean Sea, near Mount Carmel, southeast to the Jordan Valley at the ancient city of Beth-shan. It provides a passageway to the Jordan Valley from the Mediterranean coast and was the favourite route of ancient Egyptians travelling to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers called Mesopotamia.
The Carmel Range runs along the southwestern boundary of the Valley of Megiddon. It is largely a range of steep hills culminating at Mount Carmel which reaches a height of 1,732 feet. There are three routes through the Carmel range. The middle route, via Megiddo Pass, is the fastest and most direct. However, in ancient times, advancing armies considered the middle route to be the most treacherous. Megiddo Pass contained a narrow ravine with only enough space for troops to travel single-file. If their enemy was waiting for them at the other end of the ravine, they ran the risk of being ambushed and utterly annihilated.
The strategic importance of the district of Megiddo was exemplified in 609 BC. After the Babylonians joined forces with the Medes to defeat the Assyrians at their capital city of Nineveh, the Assyrians retreated westward to the city of Haran, located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Josiah, the last of Judah’s godly kings, was pro-Babylonian. When Pharaoh Necho II attempted to join his Assyrian allies at Haran in their last desperate battle against the Babylonian and Median forces, he was intercepted by Josiah at Megiddo Pass. Josiah was fatally wounded by Egyptian archers while trying to block Necho's passage through the Valley of Megiddon. He was carried by chariot to Jerusalem where he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. Following his burial, there was a national day of mourning which was kept as an ordinance in Israel.
The prophet Zechariah foresaw a similar mourning that will occur in the house of David and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. At the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Jews will weep bitterly when they look upon God’s only Son, the first born of the universe, whom the Romans pierced with nails and spear at their request.
In Zechariah 12:11, the prophet compares the mourning at Christ's Second Coming to the national mourning for Josiah. “In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.” Hadadrimmon was an ancient village near the city of Megiddo.
Because Zechariah compared the Second Advent with Josiah's tragic death, some Bible commentators believe that the Battle of Armageddon will be fought on that same fertile plain where Josiah was mortally wounded, the Valley of Megiddon.