Tag Archives: religion

When He said that no man knew the day or the hour, I hadn’t done the math yet.

Every so often, a church leader speaks up and predicts with certainty the date of Christ’s return. It’s almost always in the near future. I, like everyone else, laugh at them, so imagine my surprise when I snapped awake early in the morning picturing an equation based on Biblical prophecy. Needless to say, I wrote it down immediately and later calculated that the Second Coming occurred at three o’clock this morning. (And how often do the predictors show their work?) I, however, am sufficiently confident that I know whether this is true that I’m writing it out for everyone to see.

It starts with Jesus’ statement in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The obvious meaning here is that the temple is His earthly body, which was dead for three days between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. But it’s common for Biblical prophecies to refer to multiple fulfillments. In the secondary interpretation of John 2:19, the three days refers to the length of time not between Jesus’ death and resurrection but between His First and Second Comings. Of course a day doesn’t need to be a literal twenty-four hour period, especially when dealing with prophecy. The question is what length we ought to use, and the answer is obvious. The Number of the Beast, 666. This number is famously important in End Times theology, and is in fact specifically stated as being intended for use in calculations (Revelation 13:18).

Three days, where each metaphorical day is six hundred and sixty-six years, results in a period of one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight years.
But we reached that result by multiplying by three. That is, we combined a time and times. Readers familiar with Biblical prophecy will notice that there’s a missing half a time. (Daniel 7:25, 12:5-7, Rev. 12:14…it’s a thing, OK?)
But what length do we divide in half? Not the same six hundred and sixty-six year period. Even in its original context, the three uses of “time” were not meant to have consistent units. Following the Biblical principle of “whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him” (Mark 4:25, in a parable specifically about Jesus’ Second Coming), the “time” that is halved should be some shorter length than the others. The obvious candidate, since we’re calculating the time until Jesus returns to Earth, is the length of his first life on Earth.

Jesus died on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, at 3:00 in the afternoon. This was calculated by historical and not numerological methods, but when you see the string of theologically significant threes you can’t doubt that it’s correct. The beginning of His life on Earth is of course by definition the beginning of the Anno Domini era. Therefore, the “half a time” that needs to be added to the time and the two times is half of thirty-three years and ninety-three days. This gives us sixteen years and six months, plus forty-six and a half days.

Now we have enough information to calculate the exact date. 3:00 April 3 + 3*666 years + 16 years + six months + 46.5 days = November 19, 2014, 3:00 a.m. As I write this, it has been less than twelve hours since the world ended. Did I expect that result? No, but it was almost exactly twenty-four hours after I scribbled down the equation in the middle of the night. Coincidence? How can there be any such thing?

But the revelation doesn’t stop there. We started this with a metaphor from Jesus about the destruction of a temple. The literal Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C. We add to that number the four hundred years that God’s people were to spend in captivity (Genesis 15:13). Incidentally, there was a prophecy about God judging people at the end of that time, extremely reminiscent of the Second-to-Last Judgement that we all slept through. The number 400 also symbolizes the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, the boundary between the two most important eras so far. Since the destruction of the world by fire this morning marked the beginning of the next dispensation, the applicability is obvious.

2 Peter 3:8 states that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. Remember that Jesus promised to reinstate His kingdom three “days” after the Temple was destroyed (586 B.C.). Taking the four hundred into account, we find the following:
3000-586-400=2014
This morning’s apocalypse is a much more literal interpretation of 2 Peter than anyone expected. And since it happened at three in the morning, it satisfies the statement that the Lord’s return would come, like a thief, in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

As every scholar of the Left Behind book series knows, the Rapture occurs seven years before the Second Coming. We now know this means 19 November 2007. It was on this date that the Lord took unto himself both people whose theology was exactly correct. Needless to say, the world at large completely missed it, and we only know about it now because it was seven years to the day before angels declared the return of the King in earthshakingly loud voices.

I admit that I still don’t fully understand all the recently fulfilled prophecies. The seven-headed beast from the sea, for instance, ruled the world for 42 months until the Battle of Armageddon this morning. As for who he was, there aren’t any obvious candidates. VISA credit cards and Monster energy drinks both have the major disadvantage of not even being people.

The exact interpretation of that prophecy, along with the remainder of the Book of Revelation, is left as an exercise for the reader.

How to run indefinitely and breathe underwater in three easy steps

Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor a professional theologian, and all information is from Wikipedia. I’m not even Catholic.

Let’s assume you’re a distance runner or some other kind of endurance athlete, and also the Pope. Since low oxygen is the limiting factor on how long you can keep running—even if you’re Pope—increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood when it gets low will increase your endurance.

Here’s how.

Step zero: Become Pope.
Several people have accomplished this throughout history. It is therefore doable.

Step one: Water to wine.
As Pope, you get to abuse your power. One of the better-known possible miracles is turning water into wine. Nowhere in Catholic theology does it say that the Pope can do miracles at will, but come on. Just look at that hat.

As it happens, slightly under half your blood usefully carries oxygen. The rest is water. That’s what you’re going to turn into wine.

Warning: This will kill you. You’ll wind up with a BAC of five. Not 0.05. 5. It’ll depend on the wine, but we’re somewhere in the territory of “legally intoxicated, and multiply that by sixty.” Some lucky people have been known to survive a BAC of 1, but you’re way past that. So you’d better do the next step quickly.

Step two: Transubstantiate.

To do this, it is necessary and sufficient to say “this is my body, this is my blood.” The alcohol poisoning would kill you, of course, but it probably won’t kill you instantly. So you can squeak out a couple words and the wine goes away. This is where the good part happens.

The blood of Jesus is often described as “scarlet” or “crimson.” Those are both bright red colors, and bright red means highly oxygenated. Neither of those is applied to the relevant blood by the Bible, but scarlet is the official color according to the Catholic Church. So if it’s the Pope doing it, then by golly the blood is going to be oxygenated.

According to the best source in the world, if you run until you’re exhausted your blood may contain as little as 15% of its maximum oxygen. You just transubstantiated a bunch of fully oxygenated arterial blood already in your body. Adding more arterial blood won’t change the saturation of oxygen in your arteries much (that stays above 95% anyway), but it will in your veins. So, for purposes of numbers, all oxygen percentages from here on out refer to its saturation in venous blood. (To clarify, the percentage is relative to how much oxygen the blood can hold. It’s not saying that scarlet blood is literally made of 99% oxygen.)

The blood in your veins isn’t normally that oxygenated. Having just come from dropping the oxygen off where it needs to be, it’s typically down to 75% at rest. In your case, half your venous blood is even lower than that and the other half, which normally contains none because it’s water, is instead at 98-99% because it’s the scarlet blood of Christ.

Your venous blood is at 55% oxygen saturation, which isn’t great but it’s far better than before you did the miracle. Unfortunately, that’s still dangerously low over the long term. Luckily, there are still some tricks up your sleeve.

What you’re doing is called blood doping and is banned from most sporting events. Of course, usually people do this by giving themselves transfusions of their own blood so they can hold more oxygen on game day. Simply creating the blood has not yet been banned. Technically.

Doing this has some obvious problems. Your blood is half water for a reason, and if you’re turning that half into regular blood, and the quarter that’s still watery into blood, and the remaining eighth and so on, then you will 1) eventually run out, and not have any water left in your bloodstream to turn into oxygen-bearing blood, and 2) die. It’ll get thick and unwatery enough that your heart won’t be able to pump it. The trick we need is a miracle to turn blood back into water.

Surprisingly, this is never explicitly done by any Biblical prophet or, as far as I know, Catholic saint. But we can sort of infer that Moses did it: In Exodus 4, God gives him the at-will abilities (for purposes of proving he’s a prophet) to turn his staff into a snake and back, his hand leprous and back, and water into blood. There’s no “and back” stated, but, you know, parallelism. Therefore you the Pope, as Keeper of God’s Authority on Earth and Wearer of the Really Cool Hat, ought to be able to turn blood into water.

(You may ask why, if Moses could do the transformation both ways, we’re bothering with the wine step at all. The answer is that he had to pour it out to turn it to blood and you’re not in a position to pour out the water you want to transmogrify. Also I didn’t think of him in time. MOVING ON.)

Step three: Blood to water.

Use this on two thirds of the blood in your body. After you’ve done the transubstantiation thing once, your blood is ¾ water where it’s supposed to be ½. This just resets it to normal thickness, but it doesn’t change the fact that you tripled the concentration of useful oxygen in your veins. You have now completed a cycle.

In order:

Regular blood: 50% water, 75% of venous oxygen capacity.
After running as long as you can: 50% water, ≥15% oxygen.
Water to wine: 50% wine, 15% oxygen.
Wine to blood (remember, blood is half water and half useful stuff): 25% water, 55% oxygen.
Blood to water: 50% water, 55% oxygen.

The other problem is that this amount of oxygen, while high enough that you’re not about to collapse, is low enough that over the long term you’d need medical intervention.

So you do another cycle: 50% wine, 55% oxygen saturation.
Wine to blood: 25% water, .5*55+.5*98.5=76.75% oxygen.
Two thirds of the blood to water: 50% water, about 75% oxygen.

That means if you run until a marathon runner would drop and then you do two cycles of this, you’ve got as much oxygen going to your muscles and organs and things as you would while sitting in an armchair. And there’s no reason you have to wait that long. You’ll get less extra oxygen per cycle if you do it more often, but you don’t exactly have a limit on how many times you can do it.

Let’s go to the extreme. If you do this continuously, you can replace breathing.

A given blood cell, if it’s going all the way down to your toes, can take 20 seconds to leave the heart and lungs and come back. Let’s give you ten, since most blood doesn’t have that far to go. If you completely replenish the oxygen every ten seconds, it will be every bit as effective as the usual situation with lungs and everything.

The only one of these that takes actual time is the transubstantiation step. You need to say “this is my body” and “this is my blood,” but the Church has placed no limit on how long you need to take to do that. Or in what language: If you’re underwater and don’t want to have to exhale, you could use any of various sign languages.

That would allow you to stay alive and active, without breathing, as long as you want to. Of course, there has to be a catch. The catch is blood type. You’re turning the wine in your bloodstream into blood, but it’s Jesus’ blood. According to the Catholic Church, Jesus’ blood type was AB. (Seriously! They have an opinion!) So if you have a different type, this will kill you.

Of course, you’d need the ability to perform miracles in the first place. And if you’re Pope, you’re probably surrounded by devout and vigilant people who would frown on the idea of using it to give yourself superpowers. You’d have to get away from the spotlight before going out to fight crime as Aquaman, and has anyone seen Benedict?

Cleanliness is next to COOKIE!

A Facebook friend of mine posted a question about whether, under the Levitical law, Cookie Monster would be considered a clean or unclean animal. This is a surprisingly arguable question.

Both sides agree that it is highly unlikely that there is a specific exception for Cookie Monster one way or the other. Aside from the exceptions, the general rule in Leviticus 11:3 is that an animal is usually clean if it both chews the cud and has cloven hooves.

Start with the part about the divided hooves. This is a difficult question due to the fact that Cookie Monster is in fact a puppet. The most common portrayals of the mythical beast have no legs at all, so we may have to make a guess about the biology of the animal itself.

Since Sesame Street doesn’t answer this important theological question, there are other options. Consider another creature from the same source:

See those hooves? They can’t get more divided than that. And if the great and powerful wizard Frank created such a being once, it’s reasonable to suppose that the same applies to Cookie Monster. Not certain, but at least reasonable.

Here the opposing side may interject that that’s not a fair assumption. This is serious business, and we don’t want to hazard an answer based on a guess. Besides, simply from looking at any of the Cookie Monster toys that have been sold it is obvious that at least some people think the species has feet, not divided hooves. But those toys are apocryphal, and their canonicity is disputed. The short answer is that we don’t know whether Cookie Monster has hooves, but there is a factual answer even if we don’t know it. It could reasonably go either way.

The other requirement refers to how a creature chews its food. Whether Cookie Monster’s method of eating cookies counts as chewing a cud is a subject of intense debate among theologians. The phrase used in most contemporary English translations of Leviticus is “chews the cud,” which is far too specific. While Cookie Monster’s method of eating does not fit the strict definition as used by modern biologists, we don’t really care about the current definition.

In fact, mentioning a cud at all is a bit of a mistranslation. Cud-chewing is what ruminants do, where they swallow their food, regurgitate it back into their mouths, chew some more, and swallow it again into their nuclear-powered adamantium extra stomach. That is not what cookie monsters do. But it’s not what rabbits do either, and Leviticus 11:6 clearly states that rabbits count.

According to the people who argue about this kind of thing, one of the Hebrew words in question is “ma‘alat,” meaning “chew.” In the Hebrew, it’s a participle form of the word ” ‘alah,” an extremely broadly used word meaning “to bring up.” (Allegedly, anyway, I don’t know Hebrew and this is coming from people with a vested interest in Cookie Monster being considered clean under this verse.) Supposedly ” ‘alah” is used in pretty much any context: Raise a sword, raise a child, flood a river, even carry a box horizontally.

The other word is “gerah,” meaning something along the lines of a thing that has been chewed.  Literally it means something that scrapes the throat, which clearly does happen when Cookie Monster eats a cookie. This word never appears in any other context, so there isn’t a lot of information on it. But it’s clear that a cow chewing and swallowing, then unswallowing and chewing some more would definitely fit this description, hence the cud translation.

The standard argument is that rabbits count as cud-chewers for the purposes of the book of Leviticus because they engage in a disgusting-to-humans process most politely referred to as—pardon my Greek—caecotrophy. Eating the same matter twice is apparently enough to satisfy the requirement of “bringing up the thing that has been chewed.”

And if that’s a small enough stretch to be reasonable, then Cookie Monster definitely counts as well. The proof is seen in this documentary footage of a wild cookie monster’s mastication process. Almost every crumb of what gets chewed gets brought up, thereby ending any debate.

See? Absolute proof.