Let’s Go Do Some Battle at Armageddon!

This is about another word that people think they know what it means, but usually they do not.  That word is Armageddon.  Yep, that great battle at the end of the world.  Or is it?  In all actuality, that battle has happened several times through the years.  Not the end of the world Supernatural fans, keep your cool.  I am just talking about the battle.  How exactly is that even possible?  Hold on to your war horses ya’ll and I will tell you.

What does the word Armageddon mean if it is not a battle?  Well, the thing is people seem to skew the meaning of this word when they read the Bible.  It makes me think that some people are not even comprehending what they are reading.  The one and only place that Armageddon is mentioned in the entire King James Bible is at Revelation 16:16 and it reads “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon”.  Wait!  Does that even mention that Armageddon is a battle?  Nope.  Sure does not look that way to me.  The verses around that seem to imply that there is a battle about to take place AT A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON.  Gasp!  It is a place!  Yes, it is in Israel.  Yes, it still exists and you can go visit it.  The word itself actually comes from a phrase; הר מגידו.  For those who do not know a lick of Hebrew, that would be har məgiddô.  The word har means “mountain” and implies being at said mountain.  Məgiddô, or as it is commonly Anglicized, Megiddo, means “a place of crowds”.  People refer to this place as Tel Megiddo or the Mount of Megiddo.  Here is what it looks like.

 

Contrary to what the meaning is, har Megiddo is not actually a mountain.  Rather, it is a tel.  A tel is a large artificially created hill.  How is it made?  Well, there are several places that are made in the same way.  That way is that generations will build their new settlement atop the ruins of the previous generation.  That is why there are a lot of archeological sights that can be studied at the area of Megiddo.

We now know that it is a mountain and not a battle, but if it does not reference a battle, does it have anything to do with battles at all?  Yes, it does.  The area around Megiddo is perfect for battles.  This week’s Fun Fact Friday is about what makes the area around this tel so perfect for battles.  Around Tel Megiddo is a vast plain called the Jezreel Valley.  A part of this valley, specifically the part closest to the tel, is referred to as the Plain of Megiddo.  It is huge.  Just to show how large it is, this picture below is a panorama of a portion of the valley.

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jezreel_Valley_panorama.jpg

There have been several battle at the area of Megiddo.  In fact, there are battles that are described as far back as 1457 BC in Ancient Egyptian texts.  The 1457 BC Battle of Megiddo was the first described use of the compound bow!  That is not the only important historical battle there.  The most recent battle at Tel Megiddo was the Battle of Megiddo in 1918.  Yep, World Ward I history people will know this as the battle where English General Allenby led the Allied troops to victory over the Ottoman military force.

So, there you have it.  This week you have learned what Armageddon means.  You should know now that when Revelation 16:16 says that it is called Armageddon in Hebrew, that text is wrong.  In Hebrew it is har məgiddô which became Harmagedōn when used in the Greek New Testament.  That went to Latin and became Armagedōn because apparently those lovely hard “h” sounds are not romantic.  I beg to differ with that since I do not like Romance languages.  From the Latin it came to English to finally become Armageddon.

 

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