And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth
and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew
tongue Armageddon (Megiddo).
Acts 18:22 And when he (Paul) had landed at Caesarea,
having gone up, and greeted the church,
he went down to Antioch
As day 5 began, our bags are packed and we were ready to move
from Tiberias (on the Sea of Galilee) to Jerusalem at the end of
the day. In the meantime, we'd be touring in Nazareth,
Megiddo, Mt. Carmel, Caesarea and finally Jerusalem.
Gid has a Diet Coke and does some journaling while waiting for
Everyone had to identify and verify their luggage before it
could be loaded on the bus
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel.
Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up
predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. In
the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home
of Yeshua (Jesus), and as such is a center of Christian
According to the Gospel of Luke, Nazareth was the home village
of Joseph, Mary and also the site of the Annunciation (when Mary
was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Yeshua as her
son). In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary resettled in
Nazareth after fleeing to Egypt from their home in Bethlehem.
Nazareth was also where Jesus grew up from some point in his
Touring through Nazareth
Note the date palm trees on the left covered with dates
Megiddo is a tel (hill) in modern Israel near the Kibbutz of
Megiddo, known for its historical, geographical, and theological
importance especially under its Greek name Armageddon.
In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state. It is
also known alternatively as Tel Megiddo (Hebrew). Megiddo is
made of 26 layers of the ruins of ancient cities in a strategic
location at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge, which
overlooks the Jezreel Valley. Megiddo was a site of great
importance in the ancient world, as it guarded the western
branch of a narrow pass and an ancient trade route which
connected the lands of Egypt and Assyria. Because of its
strategic location at the crossroads of several major routes,
Megiddo and its environs have witnessed several major battles
Megiddo is a great representative of the 200 Biblical tels in
Israel which were flourishing cities in the past. These
cities were established alongside ancient commercial roads and
near prosperous agricultural areas, and were ruled by a central
government. They made their mark on the history of the
land of Israel and the people of Israel. Archaeological
finds uncovered in these tels attest to urban planning,
including gates, walls, temples, palaces, storerooms, stables,
and water systems. The finds also represent an encounter
between the local culture and the cultures of Egypt, Syria,
Lebanon and the lands of the Aegean Sea. These cities
existed during the Canaanite and Israelite periods, from the
third to the first millennia BCE.
For millions of Christians, Megiddo is the Armageddon of St.
John's Revelation, where the forces of Good will defeat the
forces of Evil in the Final Battle at the End of Days.
The entrance to Tel Megiddo
Once off the bus, everyone gathered under the carob tree
as Pamela told us about the significance of the sight
The Late Bronze Period
The Late Bronze period (1550 - 1150 B.C.) is marked by Egyptian
rule of Canaan. At that time, Begiddo was one of the
country's major city-states and its king a loyal vassal of the
Egyptian pharaoh. The city-gate and the elaborate palace
located just inside the gate are the best known remains of this
period. The city gate was apparently incorporated into the
Middle Bronze (2000 - 1550 B.C.) fortifications that were still
in use at the time.
Megiddo became an Israelite city sometime between the 10th and
9th centuries B.C. and functioned as an administrative center
for the fertile Jezreel Valley. Some time later, a massive
wall (1) and a monumental city-gate (2-4) were built.
According to one opinion, the gate dates to the reign of Solomon
(10th c. B.C.). Other scholars postdate the gate to the
reign of either Ahab (9th c.) or Jeroboam II (8the c. B.C.).
The Northern Palace
The foundations of this palace, first investigated by Y. Yadin
in 1960, are presently being excavated by The Megiddo
Expedition. The edifice was apparently laid out as a
bit hilani (North Syrian Palace) whose architecture included
a monumental portico entrance and a large central ceremonial
This area served as a focus of worship for over two thousand
years, from the Early Bronze through the Iron I Periods.
The University of Chicago excavation section revealed a series
of temples (1, 3-5) built one on top of the other. The
Megiddo Expedition, led by a team from Tel Aviv University,
uncovered an additional temple (2) unique in the Levant in its
monumentality and the thousands of sacrificial animal bones
found in and around it.
A Unique Continuity
The deep section dug by the University of Chicago Expedition
(1925 - 1939) provides a unique glimpse into the nearly thirty
settlements built one on top of the other at the site. Due
to the unique continuity of its occupation from the Neolithic
period through the Persian period - and the scope of its
excavations, Tel Megiddo is considered the 'cradle' of Biblical
archaeology and the 'laboratory' of modern research methods.
look over the Jezreel Valley
The city of Megiddo played
a prominent role in the history of the ancient Near East.
Strategically located at the mouth of the Nahal "Iron Pass",
Megiddo controlled access to the road that linked Egypt with
Mesopotamia and Anatolia - the most important trade and military
route of that time. Megiddo is the only site in the Land
of Israel mentioned in the records of all Near Easter ancient
powers and was one of the most fought-over cities in the region.
Architectural complexes dating from the same period (9th or 8th
c. B.C.) and of similar design were found near the northern and
southern edges of the mound. Through the years they were
variously interpreted as stables, storehouses or marketplaces.
Recent research seems to corroborate their identification as
The Southern Stables
The southern stables' five units could accommodate 150 horses.
As in the northern stable complex, each unit consists of a
rectangular building divided into three sections by two rows of
alternating pillars and troughs. It seems that the
Northern Kingdom established a major horse-breeding and training
center at Megiddo in the 8th c. B.C., and this was apparently
one of the reasons for its prosperity. Assyrian records
from the 9th and 8th c. B.C. praise Israel's skills in chariotry.
The problem of supplying water to large cities, a serious issue
even in times of peace, could become acute in times of siege.
Megiddo's main water source was located at the foot of the
mound, beyond the city's fortifications. In order to
ensure access to the spring from within the city, a hidden
gallery was built on the slope of the mound in the 19th or 9th c.
B.C. This gallery was later blocked and replaced by an
elaborate water system which remained in use in the Assyrian
city of the 7th c. B.C.
The water system, which consists of a square shaft 35 metres
(115 ft) deep, the bottom of which opens into a tunnel bored
through rock for 100 metres (330 ft) to a pool of water.
Visitors leave through the original entrance to the spring,
which brings them out at the foot of the tel.
Down and down we go
Finally reaching the bottom ...
... we see the spring
Looking back down the steps as others gather around the spring
Mount Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and
fertility. To be given the "splendor of Carmel" was to be
blessed indeed (Isaiah 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved:
"Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel" (Song of Songs 7:5).
For Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum
The Mount Carmel region was allotted to the tribe of Asher (Josh
the tour continues,
we head toward Mt. Carmel and pass some ancient burial caves in
the side of a hill
On the southeastern part of Mount Carmel lies Muhraka meaning
"the sacrifice" and is the traditional site of Elijah's contest
with the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:20 - 46).
Elija's challenge came during a period after successive kings
"did evil in the sight of the Lord" (1 Kings 16:30). King
Ahab had married the Phoenician princess Jezebel. She
turned his allegiance from Yahweh to her god Baal and had the
prophets of Yahweh slaughtered. Elijah called on Ahab to
assemble the 450 priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. There he
challenged the priests to call down fire from Baal to light a
sacrifice. When Baal failed to respond to the priests'
cries, Elijah rebuilt the ruined altar of the Lord and offered a
sacrifice. Immediately fire from heaven consumed the
offering, even though it had been soaked in water.
Entrance to Muhraka
The main reason for our visit to Muhraka
was to look at the scenic view from the top of the monastery
What an absolutely incredible view - from one side of Israel to
Pamela talks with the group about the area
surrounding the Carmelite Monastery (2:46)
pause to read the story of Elijah
map painted on the roof showed you where to look to see
the Mediteranean Sea, Tel Aviv, Caesarea, hadera, Netanya,
Jerusalem and much more
The old city Caesarea required a steady flow
of running water. Initially its waters came from the local
wells. However, as the population grew to several hundred
thousand people, a large scale aqueduct was required to bring
the water from a distance. The aqueduct was built in several
phases, starting from King Herod. The first aqueduct was
built by Herod (37BC to 4BC), at the time the new city was
founded and dedicated to the Roman Caesar, Augustus. It brought
the water from the southern side of Mount Carmel, at Shummi,
about 10KM to the north east of the city. The water flowed on a
single raised canal, and in one section it is dug into the rock
(at Jiser-e-zarka, an Arab village north of Caesarea).
Later, additional aqueducts were built. The aqueduct
continued to supply water for 1200 years. During the ages it was
repaired several times.
Caesarea Maritima (Caesarea of the Sea) was a
city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BC. Herod
constructed a palace, public buildings, a Roman-styled theatre,
an amphitheater and hippodrome and other entertainment
facilities. Today, its ruins lie on the Mediterranean
coast of Israel about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and
Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos ("Straton's Tower").
Caesarea Maritima was named to flatter Caesar.
Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea,
with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas (covered walkways).
In 13 BC, Caesarea became the civilian and military capital of
Iudaea Province and the official residence of the Roman
procurators and governors, including Pontius Pilate. Josephus
describes the harbor as being as large as the one at Piraeus,
the major harbor of Athens.
Going into the Caesarea National Park
The Caesarea Roman Theatre originally built by Herod the Great
Pamela talks about Caesarea - CLICK HERE
Heading down to the remains of Herod's palace
[Below] Excavations have uncovered the remains of four rooms on
the eastern side of the pool, three of which were decorated with
mosaic floors. The mosaics bore the signs of heavy fire
damage that may have caused the destruction of the building.
The middle and the largest of the tree rooms was fronted by a
portico - a roofed space forming the entrance or centerpiece of
the facade - of which only the foundation has remained.
The portico framed an excellent view of the large shallow pool,
less than a meter deep, that was at the heart of the complex.
The pool was surrounded by a row of columns supporting a partial
roof. At a later period of its history, after the building
had been destroyed, channels were excavated from the pool to the
open sea, and apparently at that time it began to be used as a
The rock-cut ornamental pool at the palace
Looking toward the Herodian Harbor
Herod's Ampitheatre and Hippodrone was hosting a Sukkot
remembering events from 2000 years ago
We were invited to go up into the Dugit Prayer Room in the
building behind the coffee shop. From the 12th floor there
was a wonderful view of the city. We prayed for Tel Aviv,
the Jewish People, Israel and one another.
Gid takes the opportunity to share a song before we leave Dugit