You’d think it would be pretty fun to write for a magazine where you constantly get to talk about the end of the world. It’d be especially thrilling for you every time a new pope gets announced because, obviously, you get to ask, IS THIS POPE THE LAST...
Are We There Yet? is a feature in which I break down the current issue of Endtime Magazine, the bimonthly print publication of Endtime Ministries. As you might have guessed, Endtime’s purpose is to advance the notion that the end of the world is nigh and that current news events were prophesized in the Bible's more apocalyptic passages. The magazine has been published for 22 years without ever questioning whether the end times are actually upon us, which is impressive in a way. I’ll be writing this column every other month or so until the sounding of the first trumpet, or until I get bored with it, whichever comes first.
You’d think it would be pretty fun to write for a magazine where you constantly get to talk about the end of the world—the gigantic battle between good and evil, the seven seals, the Antichrist announcing himself, all that cool stuff. It’d be especially thrilling for you every time a new pope gets announced because, obviously, you get to ask, IS THIS POPE THE FINAL, EVIL POPE WHO WILL USHER IN THE AGE OF THE ANTICHRIST? Plus you get to run a cover of that new pope surrounded by flames and resembling a villain from one of the Star Wars prequels.
(The secret to making the Catholic Church look evil is that any old man in fancy robes like that looks evil. And that collection of cardinals behind the pope on Endtime’s cover provide another ominous-looking visual. If the Church wants to improve its image, maybe it should stop dressing its leaders in blood-red robes and having them assemble in high-ceilinged places full of ancient, grotesque statues? Gatherings like this look fucking terrifying. But I digress.)
Unfortunately, this issue of Endtime, despite the cover story featuring the new pope, is tame. Boring, even. The big feature on Pope Francis starts with a promising tagline…
...but the story itself is mostly a dry, almost textbook-like account of the recent history of the Church and an explanation of who the Jesuits are. The only way it differs from one of the countless news accounts written by nonapocalyptic sources is that it also discusses Saint Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Last Pope,” which is, like, the lamest prophecy ever. It’s a list of 112 popes that was supposedly revealed to Malachy in 1139 and “rediscovered” in 1590, but more likely, given that it describes all of the pre-1590 popes very accurately and gets vague after that, was written by some goofball who only claimed it came from the 12th century.
Malarchy’s (or whoever’s) prophecy claims that the 112th pope will be the last one, and Pope Francis is (duh duh duh) the 112th pope on the list. According to Endtime, prophecies say that the last pope (a.k.a. the False Prophet) will “endorse a program of global socialism, causing all people to receive a mark or number that will be required for buying and selling. This "mark of the Beast" will apparently be a global scheme for wealth redistribution (social justice).”
Endtime Magazine is a little bit confused about the prospects for a global government run by socialists—it says that “most of the world is presently rejecting capitalism and embracing socialism,” which is craaaAAazy—but even these worrywarts don’t seem that concerned that Francis will be the pope to usher it in. Why? He might be an evil socialist who is dangerously popular, but he’s too old. The False Prophet’s reign as pope is scheduled to end only after a seven-year period “that will begin upon the signing of a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement.” Since that won’t happen for a few years at least, Francis is probably going to be too old and frail to perform his end-of-the-world duties. So the article ends with a wishy-washy, “We can’t yet say for sure whether this pope is the final one.” C’mon, Endtime! I subscribe to you because I trust you know how the world is going to end. Enough with this equivocating horseshit!
I also don’t subscribe to Endtime to read about Obama’s trip to Israel, which happened nearly two months ago at this point. The only thing that this has to do with the end of the world is that the folks who write Endtime say that the big apocalyptic event will be a Middle East peace treaty, which will last for a few years before resulting in a war that will kill one-third of humanity. Obviously, that peace treaty is a dream at this point, so this article just sort of fills up space. What else is in this issue?
Oh yeah, this piece of shit. From the headline, you would think that this prophecy, which is in the book of Daniel, would have a “date on it!” But no, there’s no date. It just once again reminds us that there’s that “seven-year period” that will feature animal sacrifices in Jerusalem, peace in the Middle East, a false messiah who will unite the world under one government, and horrific war. Thrilling stuff, but I already read all about it in your last issue, guys. That big scary prophecy in Daniel just says that a couple things will happen before the end times—the coming of the messiah and the destruction. Both of those events happened nearly 2,000 years ago, so it could be another two millenia before the last seven years, or it could kick off on March 11, 2014. That’s a date, assholes. I know it’s tough writing “The End is coming!” over and over for three decades, but you could at least do your job without the intentionally misleading headlines.
Those three dull articles are the only things in this issue apart from the regular features (the letters to the editor and the short news items that rehash the same information you get elsewhere in the magazine), but there were a couple highlights. First, there was this:
All timelines should end with an arrow pointing toward “eternity.” It gives them a certain amount of authority.
Then there was this ad (as usual, all the ads in the issue were for products from Endtime Ministries):
WWII: ENTRANCE RAMP FOR THE ANTICHRIST! I found this on YouTube, and it turns out that the video is a bunch of vaguely threatening images and a long, long lecture from Irvin Baxter, the Endtime Ministries head honcho, who looks like a balloon of old skin that is slowly leaking air and sounds like a cartoon frog who has been smoking for decades.
But! That title! “Entrance Ramp for the Antichrist” is a phrase that needs to be recycled—a metal album, a video game, an entrance ramp… let’s give it a new home, guys. And soon. Because you know what’s coming any day now.
Previously: The March/April Issue