Friday, April 5, 2013

Revelation, Chapters 13 & 14: I Dream of Jeannie

Chapter 13

John stands on the beach and watches a creature emerge from the deeps. Like everything in this book, it has seven heads, each with ten horns, each horn adorned with a crown. Each head has the word 'blasphemy' written on it. It sort of looks like a leopard, except that it has bear paws and the mouth of a lion. One of the heads also has a terrible scar on it. Satan gives the beast a high position in his government and people start worshiping it because they figure they can't beat it.

The beast starts blaspheming and continues for 42 months, at which point it makes war on the christians. Non-christians, meanwhile, worship it. John warns us that this will be a very traumatic time and we must be prepared to be taken hostage or even killed.

Now John sees another beastie emerging from the earth. This one has a normal number of lamb's horns, but talks like a dragon. This one is kind of an enforcer for the first one, making everyone worship it and paint a picture of it, which he then brings to life. Except that unlike the paintings in Harry Potter, this one kills people who don't worship it. The second beast can also make fire fall out of the sky. It marks people with its name or number (666 natch) on the right hand or forehead. Only those people can engage in commerce.

Chapter 14

Jesus now appears on a mountaintop with his 144,000 fabulous followers, all with god's name tattooed on their foreheads and, unsurprisingly, all virgins. They burst into song, a song only they know. Nope, not gay at all.

Next, three angels fly across the sky. The first one is shrieking at us to worship god, because the end is nigh. The second one is shouting that Babylon has died of shame from getting drunk and hooking up. The third warns that people bearing the mark of the beast will be tortured with fire and brimstone and that Jesus will watch and laugh and laugh.

Now a voice calls out to John to write: Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (v. 13) He looks up and sees Jesus sitting on a cloud, wearing a crown and holding a sickle. An angel flies out of the temple and tells him its harvest time. Two more angels with sickles come along to help and they all thrust their sickles into the earth, and come up with vines bearing grapes (humans, I assume), which they put into the great winepress of the wrath of God (v. 19). It's one of those old-timey I Love Lucy style wine presses, but rather than produce wine, they flood the city with blood that reaches the horses saddles.

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