Okay, so with all of the apocalyptic talk surrounding the conflict in Israel and Lebanon right now, I was reminded that I've been negligent in my duties as Official Apocalypse Watcher. As of March 25, 2005, the Apocalyptic Index sat at 50, with ten of the twenty signs (as revealed in the book of Revelation) readily apparent.
But what new developments have occurred in the past year? In the past months? Are we really that much closer to our final reward? Let's look, shall we?
Signs from the seven seals of the apocalypse
5. Persecution of God's chosen people
See, that's a tricky one, because it's never been established with any sort of finality exactly which people God has chosen. Plenty of groups claim to have been chosen, but which one actually has the big, holy seal of approval? God wouldn't choose several peoples, would he? That's just silly.
Regardless: The Jews were referred to as "God's chosen people" pretty much throughout the entire Old Testament, and it's pretty obvious that they've 'ad an 'ell of a time. Even outside of the Holocaust, they're forced to devote a good deal of their time to not getting blown off the map entirely. Hezbollah. Hamas. Egypt. Syria. Mel Gibson. This People can't buy a break.
But the Jewish people don't have a monopoly on persecution. The people of Lebanon, for instance, are taking quite the beating for the actions of Hezbollah right now. For that matter, the people of Iraq are taking a beating for the actions of Sunni and Shiite militants. The people of Afghanistan are persecuting each other. Every Muslim in existence is getting persecuted by Ann Coulter. Whether or not Muslims are really God's people, they've definitely got an argument for persecution.
Christians! Man, Christians'll tell you that everything is persecution. The existence of gays. The Spring Bunny. The Vagina Monologues. The IRS. Brokeback Mountain. Jesus said, "You will be persecuted because of My name," and by gum, they're going to find that persecution if they have to make it up themselves.
Women. Gays. Buddhists. Wiccans. People who do yoga. Whether or not you even claim to be Chosen By God, chances are you've been persecuted, and that makes it easy to declare this apocalyptic portent officially fulfilled.
8. Moon turning red
It's called a Harvest Moon. This one was taken in Albany, Missouri, but we had ours in Birmingham about two weeks ago. Big, fat, red, right next to the horizon, totally portentious.
Destruction of the earth
14. One-third of the sun, moon, and stars will go dark.
This one is hard to call. This year, we've got one full solar and several partial solar or lunar eclipses planned this year, as well as the Transit of Mercury, which may well blot out some of the stars (although whether it blots out a full third of them, we don't know). I'm calling this one too close to call, but it's definitely something we'll want to keep an eye on.
16. One-third of mankind will be killed.
We're working on it.
18. The Beast will emerge from the Abyss.
Heh heh heh.
So, all told, it looks like we've moved up two steps from 10 apocalyptic omens to 12 out of 20. That brings us up to an Apocalyptic Index of 60, putting us ten points closer to the Rapture, when all of the Talibangelicals will get pulled up to heaven and the rest of us will have our pick of their cars.
Today's Apocalyptic Index: 60