Saturday, March 31, 2012

 Have you checked your Facebook page today? Chances are you’ve been “Timelined.”  The space for that cute little profile picture has now been expanded to a huge headline-sized swath of your Facebook home page profile.  In newspaper terms, it’s almost half of what’s “above the fold.”  What might seem a mild inconvenience to some technophobes (many dragged kicking and screaming into using Facebook in the first place) may be, according to some prophecy experts, the first step in the not-so-long march toward the Apocalypse.

For generations, the Biblical study of the Last Days has been inextricably bound up with technology.  Hal Lindsey’s 1972 best seller The Late Great Planet Earth wouldn’t have sold enough copies to match your typical Xulon Press title if its author had not been able to place 1st-century apocalyptic prophecy into into a 20th century technological framework (his discussion of Black Hawk helicopters alone was a work of exegetical genius); who cares if, forty years down the road, none of it panned out?  Amazingly, Lindsey is still considered credible in some Bible prophecy circles.  But his would-be prophetic successors have taken his game up a notch, even as computer technology has changed the nature of social interaction to a level no one could have dreamed of when Hal Lindsay was still working as a riverboat captain. 

Simple Math 
Irvin Baxter, Jr.

Host of Politics and Religion, a daily podcast which is still broadcast the old fashioned way on dozens of terrestrial radio stations across the United States, Baxter took his End Times watch to the airwaves in 2005, when be began hosting the End of the Age on the Trinity Broadcast Network.  The former Oneness Pentecostal pastor from Richmond, Indiana is no troglodyte: he even has his own Facebook page.   But the social network site’s transition to more “face-space” has the 63-year-old prophecy expert concerned.  

Not all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could fit in pre-
Timeline Facebook profile pics, as demonstrated by the
red rectangular insert provided by Irvin Baxter, Jr. (right)

“Long-time listeners to my program are gonna think I sound like a broken record for saying this, but the Book of Daniel holds the key to uncovering the prophetic signficance of Facebook’s new Timeline feature.  Daniel 7:25 says, “'He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.’”

Baxter claims the math couldn’t be simpler.  “’Time, times, and half of time.’ Now, I’m no math major, but that’s three-and-a-half times—if you add it up.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The new Facebook Timeline takes up precisely three-and-a-half times the length of the previous profile picture.  I think Daniel is trying to tell us something about Facebook, and we had better listen.”

More, Simpler Math
William Tapley
The man who calls himself the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and co-prophet of the End Times (no one knows who the other co-prophet is, and Irvin Baxter says it’s not him) says the connection between the new Timeline and the End Times is as simple as the two words themselves.

“The words ‘EndTime’ and ‘Timeline’ have four of their seven letters in common,” he says (not taking into account that “EndTime” is not really a word). “That’s 57%.  As you will recall from the 2008 presidential campaign, 57 is the number of states then-candidate Barack Obama claimed to have visited.  That was no mistake, my friends.  Obama, who we have long suspected to be the End Time president, will preside over the addition of seven new U.S. states in his second term: Puerto Rico, Guam, the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Alabama, and Delaware.  The confirmation of these events will demonstrate conclusively that Obama is the anti-Christ and that the Apocalypse will soon be ushered in.  

Cartoonist Jack Chick has jumped into the Timeline
fray with the hastily-published tract Timeline of Death
“However, there is still time to change the road we’re on.  God has revealed, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, that if we get enough people to take to the Egyptian deserts with our rosaries—under the protection of St. Anthony—Facebook will experience massive service interruptions, and, through the power of intercessory prayer, it will return to its former, Church-age profile picture,” says Tapley, a Roman Catholic and retired furniture engineer.

Simple Cartoons
Jack Chick

Eighty-seven-year-old Jack Chick can be called a lot of things, but Roman Catholic isn’t one of them.  The virulently anti-Catholic cartoonist is a little late to the Timeline prophecy party, but he has crashed it with abandon.  Rushed into production in just 4 days, his latest tract, Timeline of Death, was published on Thursday of this week, capitalizing on the build-up to today’s launch date of the mandatory Timeline feature.

In Chick’s Timeline tract, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is revealed to be a secret Jesuit novice, whose social network invention was funded by the Vatican and whose real purpose behind Facebook is a one-world government, ONEFace, which is staffed by characters who appear to have been drawn by the eccentric California cartoonist, whose tracts have infuriated Catholics, Jews, users of less-than-400-year-old Bible translations, and restaurant servers for more than half a century.

Among our trio of end-times prophets, none of the three men is short on prophetic interpretations.  What they all lack, however, is a unified theory of how, precisely, the expanded size of the Timeline will bring about a one-world government and all the other sundry Doomsday accoutrements.  

For that we needed to go overseas. Hans von Fremdungseffekt of Baader-Meinhof University in Düsseldorf, Germany, has been studying the interface between social network sites and Western religious belief and practice since the mid-1990s. The 44-year-old professor of technology, who also holds a Master’s degree in Theology from Tübingen (where one of his teaching assistants was John Piper), has developed a working hypothesis to explain the link between Facebook’s Timeline and the End of Time. “I think the general rationale is that the Timeline, being bigger as it is, will entice Facebook users to deposit more personal information about themselves, and that—knowledge being power—so much personal information is being centralized in one place that enormous leverage will accrue to social network sites such as Facebook, with which, it seems, they will then take over the world, with or without help from Jesuits and the Vatican,” said the European academic, who wrote his thesis on Jack Chick and the technology of the tract. 

Prof. Hans von Fremdungseffekt and his little
daughter Helga,  in a Facebook profile photo
that just won’t cut it with Timeline.
"Additionally you have the notion of a global entity, based on emerging technology, excercising a hegemonic influence over huge swaths of humanity.  That combination is like, how do you say, 'catnip' to the practitioners of overrealized eschatolgy in North American Christian circles."

When asked if his research would soon be available in published form (perhaps another Chick tract?), Prof. von F., who spoke to us via Skype™, demurred. “Look, this is the best I’ve got.  Now check out my new Timeline photo—here is my wife and me at St. Peter’s Square!”


  1. WOW! I knew I hated that new timeline for a reason. lol. great piece.

  2. Thanks -- it's nice to know someone's reading us during hiatus!