Call me crazy, but I can’t get enough of Armageddon predictions. Ever since I was a kid and read Nostradamus, I’ve always been enamored with predictions that the world would soon end.
Periodically, groups will gather together and await the imminent date of the end of the world. When it doesn’t happen, the people sheepishly emerge from their foxholes and recalculate the date.
The Internet is a great place to go if you’re hungry for some good end-time prophecies. You can find information on how to prepare for the Apocalypse, what to do when it comes and how to ensure your place in heaven once it does.
As any good student of the book of Revelations knows, the Apocalypse will be preceded by a number of events. When Christ was asked what these signs would be, his response (as recorded in Matthew 24) was typically vague and cryptic, but not without some resonance with today’s events.
Among the leading indicators of the end times are wars and rumors of wars; nation rising against nation; the persecution of Christians; and the ever-popular rise of false prophets.
Some have used these signs and others and have arrived at a mid-2004 date for the Rapture, the pre-Apocalyptic event in which all believing Christians will disappear from earth and be swept up to heaven.
At raptureready.com, a Web site which publishes a Dow Jones-like “rapture index,” there are many pages devoted to Rapture preparedness. The impending Rapture will be well-publicized before it occurs, giving people one last chance to repent.
In the “twinkling of an eye,” as the Bible puts it, millions upon millions of people will vanish from the earth. Celebrities, political leaders, some ministers, all will be gone.
This is where the Internet sites come in handy, because many of them have thoughtfully written guides on what to do once the Rapture occurs and you’re still here. They pull no punches, though, so be ready for some blunt commentary. “If you are reading this manual and the Rapture has already occurred, then you probably are not going to physically survive; you most likely will die sometime in the next few years,” raptureready.com says.
“This manual is about the survival of your soul. You are going to go through terrible suffering. The only question that remains is whether you will go to heaven or go to hell when you die.”
If you missed out on the Rapture, remember a few key points. Don’t trust the media and don’t take “the mark.” The people left behind will immediately deny that anything out of the ordinary has happened. “The world’s leaders will declare that there was no Rapture, that a mass hysteria took place, and the news media will follow the party line,” raptureready.com says.
“Then to make things easier, shortly after the rapture, one-fourth of the world’s population will be decimated due to wars, famine and plague. Those who were Raptured will be counted among the dead.”
Even after an Apocalyptic event, politicians and the media will lie. A number of Christian celebrities will also be left behind and they’ll also do their best to convince you there was no Rapture. I’m sure Pat Robertson will host an hour-long special on the faux Rapture and use it to call for even more money.
This is where the real fun begins. You’ll have to find a way to buy and sell goods without having accepted the government-issued microchip required to be a consumer. If you accept the mark of the beast, you’ll be able to buy Hostess Twinkies and All-Tempa-Cheer without worry. But then you’ll be assured of going to hell. Tough choice.
Raptureready.com advises, just as in the pre-millennium days, to stock up. Hoard food, ammunition, gold and water and store them in a remote area away from a major city. “You will need enough for seven years,” they point out.
Three major meteor strikes will destroy much of the world’s drinking water, vegetation and livestock, so be sure to put in more supplies than you think you’ll need. Nothing spells bad Apocalyptic preparedness quite as much as failing to include enough food and water.
Be sure to have enough of vitamins C and E, too.
These manuals make surviving the Apocalypse both easy and fun. Anyone wishing to be around to enjoy the end of civilization would be well-advised to follow their advice. And, of course, there’s an open offer to readers of this column.
In case of the Rapture, feel free to break into my apartment and help yourselves to all of the Coca-Cola and Crown Royal you want. Hopefully, I won’t be needing it.