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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
The Key to Biblical Prophecy: It Doesn’t Exist 
Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 | 11:00 am [commentary, religion, writing]
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bad habit of listening to conservative talk radio. Usually not Limbaugh, who hasn’t had anything interesting to say in seven or eight years; not O’Reilly, that deeply deluded narcissist; and for God’s sake not Glenn Beck — I’m not that self-loathing. In the mornings the last few weeks it’s been Dennis Miller, who has grown progressively less funny over the years but still manages to make me laugh every once in awhile. And at least Miller is hip to modern popular culture and has decent taste in music. Then in the afternoons, as I’m driving back and forth to school or wherever, it’s the G. Gordon Liddy show.
Liddy burglarized the Watergate Hotel on behalf of President Richard Nixon in 1972 and wound up serving four years of a twenty-year prison term for it (he was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter). Since then he’s been an author and touring lecturer, and since 1992 a radio host. I find myself agreeing with virtually none of his personal opinions, but his show is one of the few places where callers with views contrary to those of the host are allowed on the air and given a chance to speak. Liddy’s show is often a forum for expression and debate, rather than a platform for the host to pontificate.
Sometimes he’s a little too indulgent with the callers. Yesterday the topic for the hour or so I listened off-and-on was Biblical prophecy, and whether or not we are in the End Times, and how we can tell. Liddy tried to steer the show in different directions after the topic seemed to have run its course, but the audience wasn’t having any of that. Caller after caller phoned in to offer their own personal interpretations of Christian eschatology — how with just a few additional seats added to the Security Council, the United Nations would be a perfect fit for the seven-headed, ten-horned Beast of Revelation; how the governments of the world are working to established a single world currency, which was foretold in the scriptures; how the Mark of the Beast and the number 666 is manufactured into every computer being built in the world, and how every barcode on every product sold ends with the digits “666”. But no one called in to offer what seems to me to be the only logical and correct possible interpretation of Biblical prophecy. That interpretation goes something like this:
There is no such thing as Biblical prophecy. The Bible doesn’t predict the future. It never has and it never will.
It is a fascinating subject, the source of much vigorous debate within certain parts of the Christian community. Do the End Times begin before or after the Second Coming of Christ? Will the Last Judgment take place after Christ returns, or at roughly the same time? Will there be a rapture of the church that spares true believers the horrors of the Great Tribulation? Who are the figures named in the Bible that play important roles in the last days — Gog and Magog, the Great Whore, the Beast, the Antichrist? If you have even a slight familiarity with the material, it can be fun to talk about. But it’s a hypothetical game. The Bible is many things — a book of morals, a book of shocking violence, a record of the changing conception of God by a culture over thousands of years, a book of mythology — but it does not tell us what’s going to happen. I don’t think it even tries.
I’ve heard many different people cite many different reasons why the Bible — as they interpret it — is the complete and inerrant word of the one true God, none of which I find incontrovertible or even all that compelling. They say the Bible is true because of this — whatever “this” happens to be, usually meaningless semantics. A great many Christians desperately want the Bible to be more than it is — they want it to be their personal oracle, keeper of the perfect answers to all their questions, including questions about their ultimate fate. Lucky for them, the Bible has an entire section about just that very thing: the Book of Revelation.
Except that John of Patmos, the self-identified author of Revelation, was writing figuratively about events contemporary to him, not some far-flung future two thousand years hence. John lived in the first generation of Christians, when they were a weak and persecuted sect under assault by the Roman Empire they opposed. Jesus supposedly told his followers that he was returning after his death to reign over the Earth and judge the living and the dead. His followers, including the author of Revelation, quite understandably took this to mean that Jesus was coming back soon, within their lifetimes, not thousands of years in the future. Whatever prophecy Revelation contains, if any, has long since been fulfilled. John simply was not writing about our generation; he was writing about his.
Christians began predicting the return of Christ and the end of the world as soon as he’d been taken down off the cross. They have continued to announce his imminent return and the establishment of his holy everlasting kingdom on Earth for the last twenty centuries. Anabaptist leader Melchior Hoffman predicted the Second Coming in 1533; the Millerites, later the Seventh-Day Adventists, in 1844; the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1925; Pat Robertson in 1982; Hal Lindsey in 1988; Marilyn Agee in 1998; and on and on and on. Whenever the prophesied last day passes without incident, someone else comes up with another one. It happens with such frequency that few people except the true believers pay such predictions any attention at all. Yet Biblical prophecy is taken seriously by millions of Christians all over the world. Most will admit that they have no idea when any of this — the Rapture, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming — is going to happen, but they believe very sincerely that all of it will happen eventually. Some of them can see events lining up into place even now. They believe themselves to be on the verge of seeing Biblical prophecy fulfilled.
There’s a fellow who comes into the library where Ashley works, a friendly guy who talks candidly about his belief that we are now in “prophetic times.” He quotes lines from Revelation, and Daniel and other supposed sources of prophecy in the Bible, but he also regards the spiritual beliefs of American Indians with great reverence, and claims to have experienced first-hand the power of enchanted crystals. He will take his hocus pocus wherever he can find it. Most of the callers yesterday on the Liddy show were probably not as eclectic in their beliefs as this guy, but I think his is typical of that mindset: blind and deaf to reason, and credulous to the point of gullibility.
I’ve never heard of a case where the Bible actually predicted something in the future, and that prediction was helpful in avoiding some catastrophe. But, like the supposed prophecies of Nostradamus, Biblical prophecy is supposedly designed to be interpreted after the fact. So George W. Bush is revealed to be the Antichrist and Christians go running to their Bibles, flip breathlessly to Revelation, skim the relevant passages and excitedly exclaim “Yes! It all fits, praise God!” Well that’s just super, but would it have killed the Bible to tell us about this a few years ago, so someone could’ve put a bullet in the guy’s brain before he enslaved the human race or whatever he’s supposed to do? Oh wait, I forgot — the Antichrist is supposed to get shot in the head. It’s part of the prophecy.
Believing in this sort of thing makes you feel important, makes you feel like you and the times you live in really matter in the grand scheme of things. To many people the knowledge that the Earth is just one planet circling one unremarkable star among hundreds of billions in a typical spiral galaxy, in a remote corner of an inconceivably vast universe, is depressing. But if the Earth was formed directly by the hand of God, and if the Son of God himself is coming back to judge the living and the dead — and best of all, we’ll get to see it! — then our little patch of sky is consequential, and our generation gets to stand above those who came before.
It’s a beautiful idea, though also an appallingly self-centered one. The truth can be just as beautiful — more beautiful, even, because we can see it right before our eyes. We only need to let go of our selfish, treasured delusions and embrace it.
Tuesday, May 15th, 2007 | 05:11 pm (UTC) - My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead
My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions! The Secret Rapture soon, by my hand!
My Site = http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007 | 02:05 pm (UTC) - Re: My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead

I actually took a few minutes to read some of this yesterday, since as a college student I have nothing else to do. So let me get this straight -- Satan was "loosed" in 1070 A.D. and one of the things he caused to happen was ... the Renaissance? I always knew the dude was getting a bum rap. The rest is the incomprehensible rantings of a lunatic, but that part made me laugh.

Friday, May 18th, 2007 | 06:00 pm (UTC) - Re: My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead
I am the author of the Address.

And I am indeed a far out Space Cadet, for sure.

Quoting my Address: ' You may feel this is a spoof or hoax and laugh. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not!'

Yes indeed, Satan was (deliberately) released around a thousand years ago. And, among other examples I listed, the Renaissance was from Satan. It was a revival of ancient Greece and Rome and of paganism. Those two empires rightly went defunct, the fate of all empires that are immoral and that conduct orgies as they did, and which is also going to shortly be the fate of the West, which has again become what John of Patmos labeled the Whore of Babylon.
Within months, if not years, by my hand, we will be in the post apocalyptic world of 'Jericho' on TV! The proof is in the pudding! Stay tuned!
Friday, May 18th, 2007 | 06:37 pm (UTC) - Re: My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead

Fascinating. I noticed an awful lot of speculation, conjecture, and wild proclaimation in your writing, but do you happen to have any actual empirical evidence? Just curious.

BTW, you know you need to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible, right?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 | 04:24 pm (UTC) - My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead
I am the author of the Address.

Empirical proof is that starting in 1973 we have had multiple Raptures (which is actually Mass Psychosis).

Quoting my Address:

'It's the shot heard round the world – heard not with your ears but inside your head - Mass Psychosis - the Secret Rapture. As Led Zeppelin sang, 'your head is humming, and it won't go!'

The next time will be the last with me laying out billions of corpses.
Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 | 04:26 pm (UTC) - Re: My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead
I forgot to tell you that I am indeed a far out Space Cadet. But I'm in good company since I contend Jesus was also mad.
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