Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What does "Armageddon" mean to you?

I often refer to a classic passage from Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
The passage speaks about bad news, and how nothing travels faster. To quote the late genius himself:

"One of the problems has to do with the speed of light and the difficulties involved in trying to exceed it. You can't. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. 
The Hingefreel people of Arkintoofle Minor did try to build spaceships that were powered by bad news but they didn't work particularly well and were so extremely unwelcome whenever they arrived anywhere that there wasn't really any point in being there...."
The late, great Douglas Adams, contemplating... :)

In any case, this does not tie into the post title at all. What I am trying to do is show just how correct his views on bad news were :)
People just love bad news. This much is true.
What's more, people just love to indulge in their own special conspiracy theories about the world in general.

One of the biggies at the moment (and for the past few decades, and possibly well before that too), is the theory of Armageddon - The End of the World - The Apocalypse - The End of Days - 2012... you get the idea.
Humans are in love with this concept. Each person has their own unique take on how we are all going to die when the Earth eventually gives it all up, in what should be a rather impressive show of fire and brimstone :)

The word "Armageddon" as far as my knowledge goes, comes from the Revelation according to John in the Bible - it was referred to as the place where the final battle between good and evil is (was?) to occur.
A little-known fact is that "Armageddon" translates to "Mountain of Megiddo" - Megiddo is a real place in modern Israel, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance.

Another commonly used theme from Revelation is the number "666" - the number or mark of the Beast, as John calls it.
Nowadays this number is seen as a mark of evil, and a lot of people believe that it is somehow related to an "Antichrist" figure and a pending Apocalypse, as supposedly outlined in the Book of Revelation.
Some religious sects like to concoct outrageous and far-fetched mathematical calculations around the number, in an attempt to try and prove that their Antichrist theories /apocalyptic prophecies are in fact true.

Another little-known fact creeps in here - the number "666", as used in the Hebrew Numerology of gematria, represents the name "Caesar Nero". At the time of writing, the Emperor Nero was known to have been responsible for especially vicious attacks on Christians in Rome.
Also, although Nero had at the time already committed suicide, it was not yet widely known and many people would have assumed that he was still alive.
John, being one of the many persecuted Christians of the time, would reasonably have had a bone to pick with the Roman Empire, and specifically with the Emperor Nero himself. He would therefore also reasonably need a way to communicate his message in a way that the Romans could not understand - hence the Hebrew Numerology of gematria.

So would it be totally unreasonable to conclude that John was in fact referring to a literal place "Armageddon" i.e. the Mountain of Megiddo, where a decisive battle was to take place between good and evil (Roman Empire (evil) vs. the Angels of Heaven (good))?
Further, would it be unreasonable to conclude that the "666" referred to in Revelations was in fact a direct reference to the Roman Emperor Nero, and those who carried the "mark" of the Empire?

From a historical perspective (at least to me), this theory seems to hold a lot more water than does some dreamt-up mish-mash about an alleged Antichrist, an alleged Apocalypse, and other such apocalyptic theories that are flying around the internet nowadays... :)

SHEEWEEEE... what a mouthful :)

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