Saturday, November 13, 2010
How to Spot The Antichrist
PBS.org has a wonderful website about The Apocalypse. It is chockful of useful tips to explain what to look for when things start really going south. My favorite is the section of primary source material, which contains ancient and medieval documents about all things Road Warriorish.
An 11th century Benedectine abbess Hildegard allegedly received visions of the devil as a disgusting, monstrous worm "covered in ulcers and pustules." She recorded them in a document called the Scivias. A depiction of the visions coming into her head is pictured above (What the hell are those tentacle-things, anyway? Is that heavenly light, or something that might tunnel out of John Hurt's stomach?) But you can read an excerpt, and see the picture of the ugly, worm-like devil here.
But it's the Antichrist who is the star of the show. He's like the Where's Waldo of theology, hidden somewhere in the crowd, but easily seen if you know what to look for. A thousand years ago, a monk named Adso provided rattled off a list of identifying marks. Here are some of them, along with some helpful tips from me:
Adso: Still, he will be conceived wholly in sin... will be generated in sin, and will be born in sin. At the very beginning of his conception the devil will enter his mother's womb at the same moment.... [W]ith the devil's cooperation she will conceive through a man and what will be born from her will be totally wicked, totally evil, totally lost.
Bibeau: This will probably happen on an episode of Jersey Shore.
Adso: Just as Our Lord and Redeemer foresaw Bethlehem for himself as the place to assume humanity and to be born for us, so too the devil knew a place fit for that lost man who is called Antichrist, a place from which the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) ought to come, namely, the city of Babylon.
Bibeau: ...or possibly Vegas.
Adso: The Antichrist will have magicians, enchanters, diviners, and wizards who at the devil's bidding will rear him and instruct him in every evil, error, and wicked art. Evil spirits will be his leaders, his constant associates, and inseparable companions.
Bibeau: Yes. Definitely Vegas.
Adso: Then he will come to Jerusalem and with various tortures will slay all the Christians he cannot convert to his cause.
Bibeau: Those holy land travel packages are usually not refundable. There's usually a whole torture n' conversion clause right in the contract.
Adso: He will circumcise himself and will pretend that he is the son of Almighty God.
Bibeau: Saw a guy do that in shop class once.
Adso: He will attack the places where the Lord Christ walked and will destroy what the Lord made famous.
Bibeau: Not Amy Grant!
Adso: He will make the elements change into differing forms, divert the order and flow of bodies of water, disturb the air with winds and all sorts of commotions, and perform countless other wondrous acts.
Bibeau: A weatherman. From Vegas. Conceived on a reality show. You heard it here first.