Megiddo (which is within the valley of Jezreel) was a town belonging to Manasseh, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The word comes from the Hebrew root gadad
number #H1413) which means "cut off" and "slaughter." It had been originally one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Joshua 12:21) and was one of those which took the Israelites a long time to possess. The city and valley were eventually fully occupied by Israel, and the city rebuilt and fortified under the reign of King Solomon: "And this is the reason for the labor force which King Solomon raised: to build the house of the Lord, his own house, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer." (1Kings 9:15)
Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement in the area. Anciently, it was important because it guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria. The plain of Megiddo is part of the plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel valley), which is known as the great battlefield of Palestine. Many decisive battles, especially in ancient times, have been fought in or near this area such as:
The battle in the 15th century B.C. fought between the army of Egypt's Pharaoh Thutmose III and a coalition of Megiddo and Kadesh rulers. Thutmose III was the likely Pharaoh who was confronted by Moses and Aaron demanding the children of Israel be set free from slavery.
The battle in 609 B.C. between Egypt's army and Judah's King Josiah which is mentioned in the Bible (2Kings 23:29-30, 2Chronicles 35:20-35). The battle is also described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of Thutmose's temple in Upper Egypt. King Josiah is considered by some to have been the BEST king to rule over the Kingdom of Judah. He reigned for 31 years and was killed in the valley of Megiddo - Jezreel.
The battle in 1918 A.D., fought during World War I, between Allied troops led by General Edmund Allenby and the defending Ottoman Empire army.
The word Armageddon, which means "mount of Megiddo," occurs only once in the Bible. Armageddon is frequently used as a term to label the entire time period starting from when the armies of the world begin to gather together (along with the beast and false prophet) to FIGHT Jesus to his actual return and victorious war over the forces of evil. It is after this victory that Christ sets up His Millennial Kingdom on the earth.
In the sixteenth chapter of Revelation the word Armageddon is used to designate the place of the final conflict between Jesus Christ and the Antichrist:
"Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared . . . For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty . . . And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, ARMAGEDDON." (Revelation 16:12, 14,16, NKJV)