"And he gathered them together into a place called
in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Rev. 16:16)
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Israel is to use the latest in computer technology to provide millions of pilgrims flocking to the Holy Land with the ultimate experience at the spot marking the world's ultimate battlefield: Armageddon.
The biblical site of Armageddon, which in Hebrew means the Mount of Megiddo, is to be transformed for the millennium into an "intellectual theme park" where pilgrims will experience the final battle between good and evil that many Christians believe will signal the end of the world.
At a cost of millions of pounds and in cooperation with computer giant IBM, Israel will begin work in creating what the planners describe as a "virtual Armageddon."
The project involves using a combination of computer graphics created in a system known as "magic windows," holograms, sound and light shows and the imaginative siting of 14 new multimedia "visitor centers" on the historic mound where the final battle of Armageddon is supposed to be fought.
The project involves a controversial attempt to bring the past alive while trying to put flesh and blood on the words of Old Testament prophecy in Joel 2:1, describing the future battle meant to usher in the end of days: "Let all who live in the land tremble. For the day of the Lord is coming."
In the Book of Revelation, the author writes that the final conflict between good and evil before the millennial age will take place amid "a great earthquake such as never had been since men were on the Earth."
So what is the possibility that a major earthquake will strike the Israeli town of Megiddo, the biblical site for Armageddon? It's not just possible--"It's certain," said geophysicist Amos Nur. "We just don't know when."
In an article in Biblical Archaeology Review, Nur, a geophysics professor at Stanford University in California, and Hagai Ron, of the Geophysical Institute of Israel, trace the history of earthquakes in and around Megiddo.
In their article, Nur and Ron write that Megiddo, located in the middle of a strategic trade route between Syria and Egypt, was the site of several important battles. The scientists say that Megiddo, surrounded by active faults that crisscross northern Israel, was also repeatedly damaged by earthquakes.
The last major earthquake to hit Palestine occurred in 1927, when hundreds were killed by a magnitude 6.3 quake centered near Jericho.
Nur said it is impossible to predict when another major earthquake will erupt near Megiddo: It could be as soon as next week or it could be hundreds of years away. Nur compared conditions there to those found along the San Andreas fault in California.
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"A great earthquake such as never had been"
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