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Apocalypse When?

Iíve been wondering if the rapture, where good Christians are brought up to Heaven in the end times, hasnít already happened - only the reason we donít know it is that God is really, really picky and he only raptured up like about a dozen people and nobody much noticed it. All those other people who expected to be raptured up, well, he didnít like them so much because they were too arrogant. They just expected that God should go out of his way to fetch them and he didnít like being told what he had to do.

Anyways, thatís just a thought.

Please read the following sentence: ďI plan to go to the Mall of America, in Minneapolis, and buy socks.Ē

After reading that did you believe that I meant that I, after dying and going to Heaven, plan to be resurrected and return in two thousand years to a Mall that had in those two thousand years been destroyed which does not exist in two thousand years but must be rebuilt in a place called Minneapolis, that also will not exist and must also be rebuilt? Or, on the other hand, did you think that I (more reasonably) meant that I was going to buy socks sometime during my present lifetime, most likely pretty soon?

Aha. So ... you selected the second option. Didnít you? Then why if you didnít automatically assume that I was talking about aeons in the future would you assume that in the book of Revelations that St. John the Divine did?

This one occurred to me at a time when I had both insomnia and no cable and the only thing on TV was a show called the World Tomorrow which of course, I had to watch. (What? Turn off the TV? Iím sorry, thatís just not an option). I remember this one show in Texas called the 3 to 5 AM Solution that featured a married couple in their sixties. She had too much make-up and a blonde bouffant, and he had the most remarkable comb-over Iíd ever seen with ever single hair remaining on his head grown long and shellacked over the bald parts, which was most of it. I rather admired him for that spectacular comb-over. About then Iíd started to get a little bit thinner on top myself and I paid very careful attention to how he did it - just in case.

The World Tomorrow was set up like a news show with the star Jack Van Impe reporting. He had his wife, too, I think, doing her special commentary. Jack Van I. Was giving his interpretation of Revelations and I followed along in the Bible I had at that time, which had belonged to an ex-room-mate named Al who still owes me two hundred and thirty dollars for long distance calls to Washington State, where he became a big, fancy engineer for Boeing. (Al, pay up. I need that money). This particular Bible started each chapter with a little summary of the book, including who wrote it, where and more importantly when.

It said Revelations had been written between 66 and 69 A.D. By this time I knew a little bit about the history of this era. At this time Israel was in revolt and Rome was experiencing a civil war as the reign of the emperor Nero was coming to a close. 69 A.D. was called the year of the four Caesars, who were successively: Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian. In 70 A.D. Vespasianís son (and future emperor) Titus destroyedthe temple in Jerusalem.

Well, this just made sense. Of course, St. John the Divine would be talking about a temple that existed when he was writing. Just like he was talking about a Rome that existed when he wrote about it and not some future Rome-like entity like the Common Market or the European union. Just like he would be talking about an Israel that existed at the time and not some future new Israel.

Revelationists usually have a problem in explaining why the United States does not show up in any form in their great prophecy, like Hal Lindsay, who wrote The Late Great Planet Earth and excuses this omission by saying that the United States must have declined so much by the End of the World that it didnít even bear mentioning.

Maybe. Or maybe it was that nobody in the first century Roman era had any idea that there were a couple of extra continents across the Atlantic. And thatís why it isnít mentioned. In general I have a bone to pick with Lindsay and other authors of his ilk. He uses basic fortune tellers tricks, taking very vague references out of context and then bending them to his own uses. When I got wise to him, I went through his book and then read the verses before and after the ones he cited. In context, it looks entirely different from what he says. Hereís one that sticks in my mind: he says that the quotation from Revelations that Ďa great noise will come from the Northí (or something like that) actually means that Russian troops will invade Israel because the word or noise in Hebrew is Ra-ash (true enough) which sounds like Russia (kind of. Okay) so obviously that means Russian troops.

But why would the author, writing in Greek, switch to Aramaic to indicate foreign troops from a specific area when in all other places he specifically names the countries - in Greek -and when he talks about troops, he says so? Russia just becomes Ďnoiseí and weíre supposed to accept that? OR maybe he really did mean a literal noise. You think?

One more thing. Thereís a lot of talk about in these circles about the increased number of natural disasters indicating the approach of the end times - like birth pangs for the end of the world. Are there really more natural disasters or is it just that there are more people on the Earth and so more people are going to be affected by them and it seems like more, but it isnít? Ninety percent of the Worldís population lives within a hundred miles of a major coastline which if you look at a world map is the area occupied by the line that shows you where the coastlines are. When a natural disaster hits a coastal area, like the Tsunami, or hurricanes or typhoons or Earth quakes, then a lot of people are going to feel it.

It all comes down to this question: How obtuse is God, anyways? If he really has something he wants to tell us, why is he only sending us cataclysmic hints and not getting to the point. If he wanted to, for example, he could write on the moon whatís on his mind, like maybe Ďstop fornicatingí and then weíd all know for sure that heís really serious about us not fornicating.

About the Author: Steve Sommers new book, Evil Super-Villains Need Love, Too ... and other important wisdom, is available at
His novel, REXROI, is available at

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