This is the second part of a six-part series about the Christian apocalypse, in which a resuscitated Jesus and his angel army will end civilization and maybe even the universe, usher in the messianic age, and take 144,000 of the elect (who the elect are is debatable) someplace where they’ll live eternally. Welcome to silly season.
I find the number of 144,000 folks interesting. Why? Almost eight billion people live on this planet, so that would mean only 0.00002 percent of humanity will go to paradise. That leaves a lot of folks not going. It gets worse. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim they are the only ones qualified to attend this messianic banquet. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses have over eight million members worldwide, only about 0.02 percent of them would be chosen. I foresee lots of infighting and maybe even post-Armageddon battles.
The return of the undead Jesus is usually called the Second Coming. Some folks also use the fancy Greek word Parousia, which originally meant “presence” but has been retranslated to mean “the coming of Jesus on Judgment Day.” Silly season just became sillier.
Many fundamentalists are putting their money, literally, on the Second Coming happening in Jerusalem. This is the reason the United States moved its embassy there. This could be problematic. Orthodox Jews think they own Israel and are adamant that only the Orthodox can live there. I do hope the fundamentalists have an ironclad document permitting the Parousia to occur in Jerusalem. (I’d love to read it.) I also wonder if the Orthodox Jews realize they will not be invited to the messianic party.
The second issue with Jerusalem being the site of the Parousia is that it’s a small, walled city with narrow streets and a large Muslim population. Where would a huge heavenly army land, and would the Muslims be welcoming?
Do the fundamentalists realize that by supporting the Israeli government, they are supporting the genocide of the Palestinians? (Methinks yes.) I suspect my Jesus wouldn’t want anything to do with genocide.
The fundie response seems to be “Who cares? The world is ending.”
Fundamentalists also believe Jesus will be opposed by a man called the Antichrist. (Why not a woman?) Who is he? No one knows. Personally, I think the Antichrist is just a pejorative term used for someone the fundamentalists don’t like. I was on the Dislike list once. I felt honored, so they took me off.
Enough silliness. This is all preposterous, but so many folks buy into it.
Next time, we’ll look at why fundies believe all this and what the payoff is.
The Last Judgment by Stefan Lochner is in the public domain