Why Don't You Recognize Your Own Story, Evangelicals?
By Chris Churchill
Listen, I was raised in a relatively fundamentalist Christian Church. I understand a strict interpretation of the Bible but I also understand there are parts of the Bible, namely the prophetic parts that are (conveniently) highly metaphorical. So Christians listen to those who’ve studied the Bible, presumably their pastors, preachers, elders, ministers; whatever it is they call themselves. I’m certain that 99 percent of Bible believers don’t have any understanding of the symbolism in these prophetic books.
I tried to tackle them a couple times and it seemed about as arbitrary as reading tea leaves or finding shapes in the clouds. But over the centuries a lot of these meanings have become accepted by the authorities in our churches. Those leaders then pass those meanings onto the masses. So really, most well-meaning religious folk can only honestly report that “I’ve been told by a preacher that that Bible section means—”or really, as I’ll be saying for the rest of this piece: “This is what I heard.”
This is what I heard, growing up, in regards to “the end of the world” as predicted in the Bible. I heard that there would be a “Rapture” where all God’s chosen would be swept up to be with God “in the twinkling of an eye.” That “no one would know the time or the hour” of Jesus’ return. That there would be a great tribulation, lasting seven years, for those left behind. During that tribulation, people would only be able to do business if they had the mark of the beast, “666” on their “forehead” or their hand.
I’d always heard that Jesus would return in the same generation that saw Israel become its own nation once again. I’d always heard that the world would unite against Jerusalem.
I’d always heard that there would be an Anti-Christ, also know as the “Great Deceiver” and the “Prince Of The Power Of The Air,” or even the Whore of Babylon. This person would be so charismatic that he could fool legions of people.
This stuff probably sounds familiar to anyone still involved in a fundamentalist church or still with vivid memories of a childhood raised in it.
I know this digital magazine isn’t generally the forum for anything bordering on religion but I have found I have quite the talent for belaboring a metaphor. Allow me to do that several times more in this piece for the purpose of making a very large point. The point being, “When Did You Stop Believing Your Own Story, Evangelicals?” And “When don’t you recognize your own Beast?”
Let’s look at these prophecies that the most devoted, self-proclaimed Christians have believed with their very beings since they first sobbed at the altar in front of a tithing audience.
“The Rapture” is always portrayed as like a magic trick. One day, without warning, Jesus will come down out of the sky and, “in the twinkling of an eye,” the good people will be raised up to Heaven to be with God. Well, what if “in the twinkling of an eye” wasn’t in reference to a measure of time (i.e. an instant) but rather a way that the event was seen by all those watching. The twinkling of an eye that occurs when we are watching any of our chosen screens. All the stories we watch twinkle their lights in our eyes. Maybe we already watched it happen. That’s the only way that no one could have known the hour or the day for these events; we didn’t recognize it when it was actually happening. Come on, evangelicals. Sounds as true as anything, doesn’t it?
What about this 666 number? There are two ways to go here. If you like satisfying numerical conclusions in your prophecy, try this one on for size: 666+666+666+6+6+6=2016.
That’s when the Rapture happened and no one recognized it. Good job, Jesus. What am I talking about? First: what have we always said the Rapture would be? All of God’s chosen going to join Him “in the twinkling of an eye.”
Go back and look at the sheer number and quality of celebrities and personal relations we lost that year. Also, think back to how you felt as story after story of this amazing artist, leader, thinker after another were gone too soon. They all disappeared to be “with God” (because “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”) in “the twinkling of an eye” (i.e.on tv). There are those of you that will try to call these conclusions based on technicalities and little known new information. You might be right but that would be irrelevant. If the point was just to make people perceive a thing then the perception of the thing is the point, not the facts. It’s a secret message to you, evangelicals, isn’t it?
Here’s the other thing about 666. People “in the church” are always looking for 666, “The Mark of the Beast” so they’ll be able to warn everyone about the end being near. I remember people saying it was Ronald Wilson Reagan just because of the number of letters in each of his names. I also saw a clip floating around the Internet where a woman was trying to show us that the logo for “Monster” energy drink was 666. Then it occurred to me that the Hebrew letters “www” have the numerical value of 666.
I’d always been taught that all of humanity would gladly accept the “mark of the beast” on their forehead or their hands because, without the mark, no one can participate in society. And, look, evangelicals, we can barely communicate, eat, do business without the internet either in our head or in our hands (computers, smartphones, etc.) Just like I always heard growing up in the church, we all participate and have taken this Mark of the Beast. In fact, I think Apple will tempt us with a new Mark of the Beast next spring.
So Jesus was supposed to return in the same generation that Israel was restored to its people. Of course, any good apocalyptic evangelical knows that happened in 1948 when modern Israel was established. So it’s been 70 years. Psalm 90 even says “The days of our years are threescore and 10”. That’s 70 years. So He should be back anytime. Only no one can know when, right? But like I said, it will happen and no one will recognize it. That’s how that will work.
Then Israel will have the whole world opposed to it. Well, recent news in Gaza has Israel doing things that have the world furious with them. Netanyahu would have us believe that we in the USA are their only ally. Maybe the USA is that “New Jerusalem” the Bible takes about? Maybe not.
So who would fit the bill as this Anti-Christ? Maybe, as I was always taught, he’d be someone who claimed to be Christian but served a different master. As Jesus said, “One cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money.” That one, evangelicals conveniently forget all the time.
God, as the Bible clearly states, is Love. It’s money or Love. So I’ve heard people say they voted for Trump because he was already rich and so he couldn’t be bought. To those people I’ll say, I agree that he can’t be bought...because he’s already owned...by money. He’s owned by the master of the thing that is the opposite of Love. The AntiChrist. Sure. I guess that could be any rich businessman but let’s keep going.
The Anti-Christ is to be “The Prince Of The Power Of The Air.” I remember as a kid truly wanting to understand what they could mean. What did it mean when they first wrote it? Maybe it didn’t mean anything when they first wrote it because it was meant to be understood by the people reading about it in the future time when it would all happen.
If that’s the case, then it would have to be a “Great Deceiver” (the best liar the world has ever known) that did the bulk of his deception through mediated channels, I.e. the airwaves. The air. That’s TV. That’s the internet. That’s the media. Someone who is a master manipulator of media would be “The Prince Of The Power Of The Air.” But if he’s the prince, then he wouldn’t be the AntiChrist I’d always been taught about, would he? Correct.
He’d be the “False Prophet” that serves the agenda of a more powerful King that stands against Love. Putin seems the obvious choice here, evangelicals. He rules a place that you have called Godless for the last 100 years. He’s never denied or renounced it’s atheism. But, suddenly, because Trump says it’s fine, you’re fine with it. (“Trump” or “Trump/Pence” by the way. Like the “Trump”s or “Trumpets” mentioned in Revelation.)
I feel like a lot of this stuff should seem pretty obvious to those who learned it in church. But why is it ignored when it so clearly matches your own prophecy? Because you want to ignore it. There’s a small, selfish, fearful spot inside you that blinds you to your own weaknesses.
But seriously, maybe this piece can lift the veil for you.
I’ve seen a few focus group style interviews with “Christians” who blindly support our president even though they know he’s a vile human being. Some say it’s because “He’s ordained by God.” Doesn’t mean you have to be complicit with the Devil just because it’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to resist evil, even when you think you might lose.
I’ve heard others say, “he fulfills our agenda”, in which case, you’re making a deal with the devil. Or don’t you recognize your own “Beast” as the “Beast”?