There are 774,746 words in the King James Version of the Bible, 593,493 in the Old Testament, and 181,253 in the New Testament. These words are separated into 31,103 verses organized into 1,189 chapters, which in are arranged into 66 books. Of these Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel are considered to be the testimonies of the major prophets. But no canonical entry has had the influence of the Bible’s perfectly positioned end piece, The Book of Revelations, a.k.a. The Apocalypse. Often claimed to have been written by the Apostle John in the late-first century A.D. while living on Patmos, a Roman Empire prison island in the Aegean Sea, Revelations, with its soul-shaking imagery of suns black as sackcloth, scorpion-tailed locusts, and Death upon a Pale Horse, ranks as unforgettable literature by any measure. Yet, once accepted, consciously or not, as a credible vision of the near future, it becomes an undeniable part of each waking morning. No other piece of writing has had as large an effect of the current conspiratorial mind-set.
One reason (of many) this is so can be traced to the difference between a politician and a prophet. A prophet, someone like John of Patmos, talks to God and brings back the word that he is duty-bound to disseminate to the general populace. Nowadays, of course, such prophecy is frowned on by the powers that be. If someone talks to God or hears voices, he’s put in the hospital, before, it is hoped, he shoots up the mall. This leaves us to politicians and phony preachers who are clearly making it up as they go along. Their slippery, ephemeral truth can never be The Truth. So we search for the real thing. Revelation is rife with symbols and clues that must be interpreted amid the deliberately planted cognitive dissonance that surrounds us. We must see through the scrim, as John of Patmos did, never look away no matter how gory the ultimate reality becomes. We long to be players in the awesome final narrative, to make an imprint on the cathartic showdown between good and evil. Threats must be sussed out, if only to protect the Lamb within ourselves. This is a massive, touching, existential process. If interpreting the signs leads some to believe that a fractious race of gray aliens had a hand in the assassination of John Kennedy or thinking Barack Obama is a black anti-Christ, so be it.