Or, “Fuck, man. This is better than Disneyland!”1
I’ve been reading the Left Behind series and then I watched part of the History channel’s Armageddon week and I’m here to clear up any misconceptions you may have on the subject because I consider my Doomsday studies to be complete and myself at the forefront of End Times knowledge. For example, I now know that Armageddon is NOT about how Bruce Willis will save us from an asteroid when NASA sends him into outer space with his surly team of misfits. That was just a movie.
Armageddon is where the final battle between God and the Devil will take place. Some people believe Armageddon to be a derivative of some Greek and Hebrew stuff that basically boils down to a place called Megiddo (or Har-Megiddo, Har meaning funny and Megiddo meaning that place over there where they’re fighting) where many ancient battles were fought. If you need to find a place in your mind’s eye to follow along visually, think of Armageddon as a WalMart the day after Thanksgiving. Some Christians believe thee Last Judgment will not take place at Mageddon, rather in the Valley of Jehosephat, named after a young boy who was relentlessly teased in school because of his thyroid condition. He smote them all in a valley and then said, of his thyroid afflicted comrades (as reported by King James), “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” It looks like one group of Christians will be pretty disappointed on the day of Armageddon when they show up to their special spot and realize their tickets only get them front row seats to a monster truck rally (I went to a monster truck rally once, when I was younger. It was very loud and we left after 15 minutes because, hey, monster truck rallies are stupid).
Dispensationalists believe in a literal interpretation of Armageddon from the Book of Revelations. In case you didn’t know, because you’re not a religious scholar like me, dispensationalism is, basically, the evangelical arm of Christianity brought to us by the Protestants. Dispensation means to dispense, or give out, especially when and where not wanted. These are the people who preach to us about the Rapture. These are also the people who brought us the Left Behind series, Jerry Falwell (hey, side note regarding this piece of shit Falwell, his ex-speech writer turned gay activist is competing on the current season of the Amazing Race with his son) and Kirk Cameron. For brevity, we’re going to stick with this dispensationalist version of events.
One important thing to remember is that The Rapture and Armageddon are not the same thing, but are somewhat related. Let me break it down for you.
The Rapture is the event in which certain Christians, true Christians, not you bullshit Christians who only go to church on Christmas and Easter because they give free donuts and coffee, are swept from Earth to heaven, to chill with Jesus in his infinite crib in the sky, where they will remain until some time later, when the shit starts hitting the fan.
Rapture is derived from the Latin term Raptus, meaning to rap, or to beat box while talking about your gat and your bitches. The Greek term is harpazo, meaning to harp on, or pester. All together it means to be taken away in the beauty and splendor of angels with trumpet music and fanfare while the rest of us are left to toil away in a world without art. Or something. Honestly, I made that up.
According to Aurelia T. Fule, some lady living in New Mexico, the Rapture can be broken down into five acts, as told in Thessalonians. First, we have The Return of Christ, followed by the Resurrection of Believers, then comes the Rapture of Living Believers, next comes the Big Trip to Heaven and lastly, we will experience Reassurance, Comfort and Encouragement. Unless you’re burning in Hell.
Pre-Tribulationists believe that The Rapture will happen before the Tribulation period. Others believe it can happen in the middle or at the end. The Bible is like that – so confusing. It’s a miracle anyone can make sense of it at all, but thank God for the evangelicals. They make everything so much easier for the rest of us by translating the Bible with their special decoder glossolalia. So for brevity’s sake I’m sticking with Pre-Tribulationist ideas because that’s what the Left Behind series is talking about, and it appears to give me a chance to change my mind about loving the Lord in the middle of all the shit going down.
So picture it, Earth, December 2012. Millions of people disappear completely. Chaos. Car accidents, plane crashes, explosions, death, dismemberment, live nude girls, total mayhem. Serious shit is going down. People are freaking. No one can find Ja Rule.
Then comes the Tribulation. This is serious shit, right here. Those of us left have a choice to make. We’re either with the evil-doers or against the evil-doers. If you’re like me, and you plan to take this second-chance opportunity to say NAY! to the Antichrist and YAY! to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when you notice all those piles of clothes and cell phones and purses and wallets filled with money people no longer need littering the streets and sidewalks, so they won’t miss it when you take it, then you’re in for a long, hard fight for your very soul. Everyone else is just fucked. Totally fucked. Sorry about that, but the choice will be yours. There is still time, Janie.
The Tribulation is a seven year period of time after the Rapture of believers, where the left-over, awakened followers of God go through some troubled times, my friends. The Antichrist, not to be confused with Annie Christ of Burning Well, PA, will rise up with his partner in crime, the False Prophet or The Beast (not to be confused with that new show starring Patrick Swayze or my sister’s dog). Two witnesses will appear. They will be unstoppable. They will preach the word of God and breathe fire out of their mouths to kill those who try to stop them. They will be wicked cool. I want to be one of them. Janie can be the other. We will fire-breathe the shit out of everyone who tries to cheat us or steal our donuts and bacon.
“‘And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’ These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. these have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into the graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:3-13 – New King James Version)
AWESOME. This is like the most perfect ending to Xena: Warrior Princess. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Seriously. In my mind, Xena and Gabrielle were fire-breathing, drought-inducing plague bringers and when they were killed by the devil on their way to that place that time, they lay in the street for three days and then came back to life. Again. No, not like that one time. This will be different. And then what, motherfuckers? THEN WHAT!? That’s right. ZIP! Off to heaven, where they will make sweet, sweet gay lesbian love for all of eternity. Who else needs a cigarette?
Next up, in Jerusalem, a Third Temple will be built. This is incredibly important to religious Jews. They’ve been praying for it since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70. Not 1970, just 70. You’d think they could just build a temple and be done with it now, right? Well, you’d be wrong. The Third Temple has to be built on the same place as the Second Temple. The problem is that there is already some stuff occupying that space and it’s protected as a matter of “international obligation.” Also, some people think it might not be the right place, anyway, and wouldn’t it suck if you went through all that trouble only to find out you built it about 500 feet to the left of where it was really supposed to be built? Dispensationalists believe that the Temple will be rebuilt when the the Antichrist creates peace between Israel and it’s Muslim neighbors. This is all after a war between Russia and the US where Sarah Palin will watch those commie bastards firing bombs from that scrap of land across the ocean into her house, destroying Todd’s snowmachine racing awards. The war will ruin the US and Russia either from nuclear fallout or that pesky Rapture or, perhaps, BOTH. That bastard Antichrist will then use the Third Temple to declare himself God and demand we worship him in all his evil glory. We are either with him or against him and JANIE, YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE! We can fight this son of a bitch together along with our reformed friends and, in our eventual death, bask in the glory of God’s love as good friends, not lovers, because that’s unnatural and ungodly.
Then comes the heavy-hitting stuff. The Judgments. This is where you should maybe get up, have a stretch and think about your life. Get a sip of coffee and a snack. Carrots are delicious.
First, we have the Seven Seal Judgments. This has nothing to do with Heidi Klum’s husband and trying to figure out what happened to his face (I’m guessing knife fight with a hooker). It has everything to do with your immortal soul. The first seal releases the Antichrist upon the earth atop a pretty white pony. At the outset, he’ll appear to be a decent guy. Sort of like how cats appear cute and fluffy and sweet, but the moment you forget to scoop a litterbox, they shit on your pillow and scratch your face. The second seal changes the white pony to one of a fiery red. OOHH…a pony on fire, running free across the plains! This means that the Antichrist will show his true, murderous colors and he’ll start wars, like he’s playing a quick game of Risk with some kids from school back in 1984. The third seal opens and the apocalyptic horse is now black, like a piece of burnt toast. Famine and disease plague the land and we’ll all start to starve and die. Seal number four turns the pony to a pale color. That horse is dying and so are the rest of us. Roughly a quarter of the world populations will die. Make amends while you can, friends. Those nonbelievers who die go to Hades, a place of torment, until the 1000 years are up (to be covered in a future installment!) after which those sad sacks will go to fire and brimstone and a Celine Dion concert. Seal number five will have all the martyrs of heaven railing against God, asking why he is letting all this happen, begging him to end the suffering on Earth, trying to offer him a Snickers to satisfy him. He will not give in, because the Bible says he can’t give in and maybe God can’t change his mind? The next seal is perpetrated directly by the hand of God and, I shit you not, if I am still alive I’m going to freak the fuck out. EARTHQUAKE! So fierce that every piece of land and every mountain will be moved. And can you believe it – some people (Janie) will not be swayed! They will not believe and open their hearts to God. Seriously? What will it take? Maybe seal number seven will do it for you, when an angel throws shit at the earth and causes lightning and thunder and another earthquake. Seven angels will line up for the next seven judgments called *TOOT! TOOT! TOOT!* The Trumpet Judgments.
(to be continued…)
Please enjoy this Armageddon flow chart.
1Quoted from Apocalypse Now