Hi and welcome back! Yesterday, I showed you a story about how right-wing American Christians tried really hard to help fanatical Jews in Israel breed the SUPER-COW THAT WOULD END THE WORLD. That story reminded me that there is a wealth of Christianese that these Christians have developed around that topic. So today, I offer you a quick lesson for your Degree in Christianese at Fundagelical U: How to Speak Endtimes.
(Related posts: A Quick Introduction to the Endtimes; Using the Endtimes to Disobey Jesus; Idaho’s Earthquakes Are Not a Sign of the Endtimes; The Google Ghost and the Endtimes Scare; Evangelicals’ Israel Obsession; The September 23 Endtimes Scare.)
Everyone find a seat? Good. First, let’s whisk through the basics. This is the lowest-level Christianese to know.
Evangelicals: Literally the only Christians who believe the right things about the end of the world. Seriously. But not even all of them believe exactly the right things. As just one example, many evangelicals believe in the filthy Catholic heresy of Trinitarianism instead of Oneness Theology.
Literalism: the belief that the Bible is 100% literally true in every single way, including all the stuff about the Endtimes which can only be arrived at by considering various bits of it as metaphors. Only Jesus Power grants fervent believers the ability to tell which verses are literal and which ones are metaphors which are also literal.
Inerrancy: This involves the Bible being completely correct in every particular. Often, Christians who go in for literalism also believe in inerrancy as well. Obviously, however, tons of variations exist here.
You did well with that! Let’s try some more:
The Endtimes: A seven-year period that will absolutely definitely and for sure feature the rise of the Antichrist, a global war, horrific natural disasters and plagues everywhere, and fire-breathing Jews. I’m not kidding. At the end of this period, Jesus destroys everything. Evangelicals try hard to pinpoint when this period will begin. They also constantly (and mistakenly) proclaim that this or that news event indicates its beginning.
The Antichrist: A world leader arising during the Endtimes. Every single country on Earth will obey, revere, and love him. He’ll do amazing things, unify the planet, and start fixing everything wrong. For some reason, he’s the ultimate villain in the story — second only to Satan. Evangelicals either don’t know or don’t care that the word “antichrist” actually refers to anybody rejecting Christian rule, especially ex-Christians.
Judgment Day: After everything in the Endtimes has concluded, Jesus will judge all humans who’ve ever lived. At that point, all the TRUE CHRISTIANS™ go to Heaven. Everyone else goes to Hell.
666: Bad number. Baaaaaaaaaaad. Evangelicals don’t realize it’s probably just code for “Nero,” any more than they realize that the entire Book of Revelation concerns events that occurred centuries ago and isn’t a book of future Endtimes prophecies at all. Consequently, they go out of their way to avoid any incidences of this number in their lives. Ask any Southern cashier about this if you want a good laugh. (Thanks Cozmo!)
Armageddon: The final battle of the Endtimes. It totally takes place in a real location on Earth called Megiddo. Obviously, Jesus will totally win this battle — but still, it must be fought for Important Bible Reasons. Evangelicals tend to believe that humans will fight in this battle against and alongside angels and demons.
Tribulation: A vast persecution of Christians that will totally occur during the Endtimes. The Antichrist will imprison and execute TRUE CHRISTIANS™ for refusing to follow his rules.
Rapture: an event that’ll take place before, during, or after the Endtimes. Living TRUE CHRISTIANS™ will hear a trumpet (which others might or might not hear). Right then, they’ll fly to Heaven! Many Rapture believers think that they’ll leave their clothes behind and that babies and children get auto-Raptured. Of note: the Bible says nobody, not even Jesus himself, knows exactly when this will happen. However, a lot of evangelical hucksters make a lot of money trying to predict it.
Prophets: (Almost entirely) men who claim to speak for a real live god, make erroneous predictions about the future, and demand money.
Pre-Trib Rapture: Only for weenies. Hardcore TRUE CHRISTIANS™ know it’ll come after the Tribulation and at the end of the Endtimes.
Ready? This part’s intense!
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel: literally, a period of centuries interrupted by an intermission of unknown length between weeks 69 and 70. Again, this period literally consists of 70 literal weeks that might be metaphorical. The whole idea comes from a bizarre fever-dream prophecy related in the Book of Daniel. Bible scholars think that the relevant prediction in Chapter 9 of Daniel was written around 176-163 BCE, during a period of persecution of the Jews. Many evangelicals believe this prophecy not only predicts the end of the world, but the arrival of Jesus Christ himself. (See also: this interesting paper.)
The Mark of the Beast: A symbol the Antichrist will demand that all people get tattooed on their hands or foreheads in order to be allowed to buy goods and services. Getting it auto-dooms someone to Hell, but the Antichrist will only give it to someone who voluntarily requests it. Of course, this literal mark might metaphorically mean bar codes on canned goods or name badges required of high-school students and many workers. Don’t do it! Don’t be tricked! Refuse all such marks forever!
ETA: The Millennial Kingdom: After the Tribulation and Armageddon, the world gets a brief respite. Jesus reigns over the universe for a thousand years and everything’s great. Those who missed the Rapture or began to believe in TRUE CHRISTIANITY™ will go on to repopulate the planet during these years. After the thousand years, then Jesus destroys everything forever. (ORigel reminded me of this one.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick romp through Endtimes Christianese! You all graduate with solid As!
Got any additions?
NEXT UP: SCOTUS has just given us all yet another reason to avoid any Christian business that considers itself a “ministry” — and yet another hint about why Christianity finds itself in a solid, inexorable decline. See you tomorrow!
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