Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Antichrist's Birthday

I suppose a third of heaven celebrates April 10 every year, for I have inside knowledge that the Αντίχριστος, or Antichrist, was born on this day.  Yes, I can imagine the fallen angels blasting their trumpets and rejoicing, if it’s possible for demons to rejoice (and if they have trumpets).  I don’t mean the “antichrist” as a metaphor for rebellion against the establishment or as a generic symbol of social iconoclasm; rather, I’m talking about the man who according to Biblical prophecy will help Satan lead people to hell at the end of the world—the real flesh and blood Antichrist.  How do I know his birth date, you ask?  Armed with some knowledge of theology and Biblical hermeneutics, not to mention basic math skills, I solved the riddle that scribes had buried deep in the Scriptures long ago and has baffled scholars for centuries.

Many people think that the number of the Beast is 666.  However, the oldest version we have of Revelations 13:18, the passage where the author states the number, comes from papyrus fragments found in Egypt and dating to the third century CE.  The ancient source states 616, and I believe this is the correct number.  Now, add up the numbers and you’ll arrive at thirteen: 6 + 1 + 6 = 13.  Anyone who has studied the Bible would know that the Antichrist opposes the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  So what you then do is subtract three from this number, as if to show the devil’s detraction from God’s purposes, thus yielding the number ten: 13 – 3 = 10.   Voilà!

Where do I get April?  Well, I don’t want to boast, for I’m told that pride comes before a downfall; nonetheless, this discovery took some ingenuity on my part.  The Bible, namely 2 Corinthians 11:14, refers to Satan as an “angel of light,” which I suppose is an oblique reference to Lucifer, the morning star, in Isaiah 14.  I believe that this is code language for the Antichrist’s birth month.  In my dark neck of the woods sunshine does not appear on a regular basis until the month of April.  So there you have it, my friends!  Enough with my cogent argument!  Let’s move on to some of the more interesting questions about the Antichrist’s personality and psychological state.

Although I arrived at his birth date, I admittedly know little about the Antichrist’s identity. My hunch is—and this is pure speculation on my part—the Man of Lawlessness, to use Paul’s reference in his second letter to the Thessalonians, originates from California, for he’s no doubt a libertine and—let’s face it—most people in California are going to hell.  How old would he be by now?  I don’t know.  46?  50?  I figure he was probably born during the godless Sixties.  I suspect he's easy on the eyes as well, for he's going to charm the pants off the nations of the world in order to lead them down the road to perdition.  You would think I’d know more about devilish matters considering the fact that I’ve been possessed by demons three times in my life.  The first possession took place after I attended a Pentecostal service as a young teen.  The second possession occurred in 2000, after I watched a special re-release of The Exorcist on Friday the 13th.  My soul succumbed to a third demonic visitation when, like Martin Luther, I was in cloaca, that is to say, having a bowel movement on the toilet.  Luther famously threw an ink bottle at the devil, but I had only toilet paper at my disposal.  They laughed at me with their little demon voices as I tossed spit wads at them in vain.  I’ll get those little shits!  Anyway, I digress.

Imagine being the Antichrist!  Does he somehow know from birth that he’s the Man of Sin?  Or does he come to this realization at some point in his life?  What a sense of empowerment, huh?  I remember watching a scene in the mediocre 1978 horror film Damien: Omen II in which the 13-year-old Damien learns of his identity as the Beast.  He’s a bit shocked at first, but he seems to warm to the idea quickly. (For some reason, I found this scene memorable, even if the acting is less than stellar.  Unfortunately, the audio quality of the YouTube link is poor.)  I mean, wouldn’t you embrace your evil destiny if you had such power at the ready?  No, you say?  You wouldn’t want to be damned to hell?  And you’re just not hankering for such absolute power over life and death?  Whateva!  You'd start using that power in a heartbeat regardless of the price!  You know you want it.

Many eschatological expositors interpret the Antichrist as the embodiment of Western society’s fears of the Other: the Jew, the pagan, the Turk.  Those coming from an anthropological perspective see him as Christianity’s explanation of a very real problem in the world: human evil.  Elaine Pagels in The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics argues that the disciplines of Christ, given the death of their leader, needed to place their trials and tribulations on a cosmological scale.  Their Jewish enemies were merely pawns of dark spiritual forces lurking about.   Likewise, Bernard McGinn, in his Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil, demonstrates that Antichrist lore reveals the myriad ways in which Christians saw their opponents as representatives of pure evil.  More broadly, his working assumption is that “changing images of Antichrist as the totally wicked human can tell us about the understanding of evil in the history of Christianity.”  All of these interpretations are fine and dandy, but they fail to confront the obvious: a handsome middle-aged dude who likely hails from California, possessing preternatural intelligence, born on April 10, is about to take over the world.  So dust off your prayer beads and crucifix and gird your loins for spiritual warfare, for the hour of tribulation is almost upon us!