It’s the End of the World as We Know It

In Trinity Broadcast Network’s take on the end of the world, we see at the climax of the film the great battle known as Armageddon. Satan is there in full gargoyle attire, directing the Forces of Evil to destroy all that stands in their way. The bright light of Jesus comes and in a montage we see, among other things, Jews praying at the Wailing Wall.

The Real Video version of the video is available here. If you like B-movies, this one is for you. It’s worth it at least to watch the final minutes, so cue it to 1:29 and make sure you don’t have to urinate…

Huh? A great battle within a few miles and they’re praying instead of running for cover?!

This “oversight” is symptomatic of the general Fundamentalist view of the Book of Revelation and the end of the world. The whole scenario is laughable: the Satan unites the duped world into an alliance with him. Those who resist meet on the plains of Megiddo and fight the greatest battle the world has ever seen, cut short by Jesus’ second coming and the banishing of Satan to a bottomless pit.

It’s Lord of the Rings. But to some people, it’s a sure thing. In fact, you can see the rumblings of it already, with the United Nations or the European Union, depending on which breed of Fundamentalist you’re talking to. Soon, a powerful leader will rise and start working miracles and uniting the world with his…

Wait. Let’s think about it for a moment. It’s the twenty-first century. What’s going to happen if someone starts working “miracles?” Anyone hear of James Randi? What’s going to happen if some world leader starts calling on people to worship him?

As for the apocalyptic battle that rages in the Middle East, the notion that all the armies are going to gather on the plains — when was the last time you saw modern warfare conducted like that?

But that basic logic clashes with what the Bible “clearly” says, and so the True Believers stumble on saying that the end is just around the corner. Yet even Jesus seemed to get his timing wrong. Speaking of the end of the world in Matthew’s gospel, he says,

bq. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (23.34-36)

Later, he utters the same thing: “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (24.34). So for almost two thousand years folks have been saying, “This generation won’t die without seeing the end of the world!”

But that’s neither here nor there. No man knows the hour and all that, but we do know the signs: rebuilding the temple; resurrected Roman Empire; 666; miracle-working world leader who calls himself a god. Or do we? There’s so much hopeless confusion and contradiction in the various end of the world scenarios that it’s difficult to keep a straight face hearing such nonsense.

No one seems to wonder, “Well, if all the pieces of the puzzle can be put together in such different ways, maybe the puzzle itself is broken. Or our understanding of it.”

I’d say it’s a little of both.

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