Introduction1:1 Good evening, you join me on a humid night on the Isle of Patmos to cover what promises to be a fascinating match between the forces of goodness and light, led by the holiest Sunday lunch imaginable - the Lamb of God himself - and the army of darkness, with their fearsome captain the Dragon, great beast that is called Satan. There is a lot of history between these two sides, and no love lost believe you me - and with all to play for (quite literally!) hopes are high for an entertaining apocalypse!
1:2 I'll start by attempting to describe the scene in front of me: I can see what look to be seven golden lampstands, very much so, yes - which seems quite unusual to me. Perhaps I shouldn't have had that mushroom pizza for dinner? Anyway, among these lampstands seems to be someone like a son of Man, dressed in a black shirt and shorts reaching down to his knees and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair are white like wool, and his eyes are like blazing fire. His voice is like the sound of rushing waters, and out of his mouth comes - oh my - a sharp double-edged sword. His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Yes, it seems likely no-one will mess with the referee in this encounter! Oh, he's giving an interview to our pitch-side reporter, so let's see what he has to say.
|“||I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death||”|
Sounds like he's not the type to be messed with, which is going to be crucial in what could be a bad-tempered encounter.
1:3 I shall now attempt to write the things which I have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. Which should probably just about cover everything. Let's just hope that this one lives up to the hype!
Descriptions of the Seven Asian Players2:1 There does seem to be an increasing number of Asian players in the game these days - which is obviously a good thing for the global popularity of the sport. I'll just run you through a few details about the seven playing in this game. First, there's defensive midfielder Ephesus - not a very Asian-sounding name that, is it? Anyway, he's very good at labour and patience - he's a bit of a tactician, this one. And I also hear that he cannot bear those who are evil, which should be interesting, given some of the others involved in this match - could get a little spicy out there, if you follow my meaning!
2:2 Then there's arguably the star attraction - and doesn't he know it? - Smyrna. He does tribulation, mostly, and he also comes from a background of extreme poverty - his father was a fish-gutter in the desert, and always short of work – but he has made the most of his commercial opportunities, and is most definitely rich. He's also a wizard with a dead-ball.
2:3 Pergamon is next up, a mobile little full-back. And the interesting thing about him is where he lives - which, I have to tell you, is where Satan's throne is. That shows itself in a vicious side to his game, so the referee should keep a close eye on him!
2:4 As if to balance out Pergamon, though, we have Thyatira. He's got a reputation for love, service, faith, and patience - basically a bit of a hippy, really, although some experts believe he needs to add a little more aggression to his game if he's to become a top-level player.
2:5 Then there's Sardis, who has - it says here - a name that he is alive, but he is dead. Some conflicting reports about him, basically, and it'll be fascinating to see if he plays or is cremated. He's followed by Philadelphia, whose career is at a bit of an important juncture - basically, set before him is an open door, and no one can shut it. He says it's a tough decision, but the smart money is on him joining Manchester City in the transfer window.
2:6 Last, and by quite a few means least, we have Laodicea who is neither cold nor hot, if you get my meaning. Something of a bits-and-pieces player, to tell you the truth, and because he's lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew him out of my mouth. A bit harsh, perhaps, but there you go. And having given these seven guys such a huge build-up, I will now not mention them for the rest of this broadcast, rendering the last few minutes entirely pointless. Anyway, the referee has signalled we're ready for kick-off, so here we go!
The Throne of God3:1 And straight away the early action is with John - yes, John is coming before the throne of God, which seems rather dirty play so early in the game. He's got good vision this boy - he can see twenty-four elders and four "living creatures" praising God, which leaves him plenty of options open should he choose to pass. But when he does, it seems that only the Lamb is found worthy - that's a nice pass, and the creatures in the stands give praise for it. Actually, there's quite a crowd in today; anyone would think the very future of the Earth, yea and the creatures and peoples thereof, were riding on it or something.
3:2 The Lamb is on a bit of a run here, opening up the opposition like seals on a judgement scroll from God. My apologies - that judgement scroll is exactly what he's opening up, and it looks like he's run into the opposition defence while he's at it. He's encountered four riders on various horses who will look familiar to any followers of heavy metal. Yes, it's the feared four centre-backs of the apocalypse! These boys give very little away, and it'll be interesting to see how he plans to break them down - it looks like it might take an earthquake or something - and knowing him, I wouldn't put that past him!
3:3 And now it sounds like the supporters' band has started playing - great travelling support these guys have - because I can hear what sounds like seven trumpets, and my word they seem to be having an effect on proceedings! Even as they play, they're destroying trees and grass, oceans, rivers and springs, darkening the skies, calling forth a plague of locusts, and even - oh, this seems a little harsh - bringing forth an army of 200 million to kill a third of the Earth's population. Well, I don't know about you, but I've seen supporters thrown out of the stadium for less than that. This kind of violence has no place in a modern apocalypse, if you ask me.
3:4 And now it looks like - oh I do apologise, the cameraman's cut away from the action to show a woman clothed with the sun, the moon, and the stars, I think we got him from Sky TV, more interested in looking at totty in the stands than watching the action. I can't understand it myself. Particularly when it looks like the forces of Darkness are about to make a big move - and oh my word isn't it just? Satan himself has been cast down to Earth, and is entering the fray - that's right, the influential evil playmaker has been unleashed on proceedings, and with the Dragon persecuting the people of God, and the beast from the sea making war with the people of God, it looks like one-way traffic down there at the moment. Surely the forces of good need to make some kind of break to take the pressure off their defence?3:5 And still the dark machine presses forwards - the beast from the land is now forcing people to worship the beast from the sea - he's really tying them in knots out there, that's lovely play, and if you were a betting man you'd have your money on the forces of darkness right now. Actually, as betting is a vice, and sinful, if you were a betting man you'd be part of the forces of darkness, and I think there are rules against betting on your own side, so let's forget I said that and just concentrate on the action, because it's looking good for the forces of evil right now. Or bad for them, however they prefer it, if you see what I mean, and I'm not sure that you do - only I know what I'm on about half the time.
3:6 However, there may yet be a glimmer of hope for the good guys: in the distance I can make out 144,000 - yes, that's quite a precise number, I'm good at guesstimating - having the Father's name written on their foreheads with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Perhaps they're tactical reinforcements for the second half? And my, how they're going to need them, because as we go to the break, Satan and his boys are comfortably on top, and it's hard to see a way back for the God-botherers from here.
The Angels Pour Out Their Bowls on the Earth
4:1 Half time, then. But what's this? It looks like the divine host are taking the opportunity to even things up a little! Instead of half-time oranges, they're serving up to the dark hordes golden bowls containing of the wrath of God. Is that allowed? There's nothing in the rules against it, I'm told, but I must say it seems a little unsporting for such a supposedly divine entity. Still, all's fair in love, war and armageddon, so we'll see how the likes of foul and loathsome sores, the sun scorching the earth with an intense heat and total darkness and great pain in the Antichrist's kingdom affect the preparations for the final battle between the forces of good and evil. Otherwise known as the second half - which is coming next!
Babylon the Great5:1 As the second half gets under way, three things are noticeable. One: there's a renewed determination among the host of the holy, they really seem buoyed by their half time team talk. Two: They have also decided on a change in tactics, focussing on taking down the great harlot who sits on many waters - Babylon the Great. Three: my nuts really itch. That last point may not be noticeable to you, but I'm struggling here, let me tell you, and it's one of those itches that doesn't go away when you scratch it, it just dies down for a while and then comes back even itchier. I may be unintelligible at periods during this second half, which of course is just my usual patter; the rest of the time, I'll be scratching my bollocks, for which I can only apologise.
5:2 However, that important issue can wait, because the renewed pressure from the Vanguard of Virtue has paid off: Babylon has fallen! Yes, a massive amount of Holy boot has been applied to evil arse, and this could be a real game-changing moment. The people of the earth may be mourning Babylon's destruction, but that marks a significant shift in the balance of this fascinating match, and may well be a moment the hordes of darkness and oblivion look back on with regret later. Babylon hasn't just fallen - it's been destroyed, flattened, absolutely annihilated. As my twelve-year-old nephew would have it, it has been "pwned" - I just wish I knew what that meant.
6:1 Well, this has been a rapid turnaround, to say the least - now both the beast and the false prophet have been cast into the lake of fire, and that seems sure to curtail their involvement in this enthralling tussle. You have to say the balance of power looks to have shifted, but can the divine hosts press home their advantage?
6:2 Well, that answers my question: yes, it appears they can. The opposition captain and star player Satan is actually being imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years - it looks as if they're effecting an effective strategy which will severely limit his effectiveness, in effect, as the second half progresses. Actually, I'm not sure how exactly he's going to be imprisoned there - is he in some sort of permanent free-fall, or just chained to the wall somewhere? The details are a little unclear, but the important thing is his undoubted threat has largely been taken out of the game, and that is a real blow for the previously rampaging hordes of despicable evil. They're going to have to come up with something special now just to keep them in this fascinating encounter.
6:3 So, how will the forces of the righteous look to press home their undoubted advantage? Oh, I say, it looks like the resurrected martyrs and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image are only going to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years! That's a move I'm sure no-one saw coming, and it proves a few things, particularly that Christ has a lot of spare rooms in his house for them all to live in!
6:4 Oh, I say - could there be a late fightback on the cards? Somehow, it seems that Satan has escaped the attention of his markers and is causing some serious damage again, waging a one-supernatural-entity war against humanity, and making quite a good fist of it, from where I'm sitting. However, without sufficient support from his team mates, it's really little more than token defiance at this stage, and he's quickly shackled again, and this time they're casting him into the lake of fire to make really sure he can't bother them again.
6:5 And that's it - it really is all over now, to coin a phrase: the armies of the unjust are being taught a real lesson now. The big guns have been wheeled out - it's only The Last Judgement! And yes, they're really sticking it to them now: the wicked, along with death and Hades are being cast into the lake of fire. Looks like they've finally given up on that whole "forgiveness" thing, and they're going with "wipe them off the face of the Earth for all eternity instead - a bit of a shift in strategy, but one which is likely to be more effective for them, if you don't mind me saying. Anyway, it's now all over bar the shouting, the wailing, the lamenting, and the screaming in eternal torment, so all that remains is to bestow upon the victors the spoils!
The New Heaven and Earth
7:1 Well, that's pretty much it for this broadcast - as a new heaven and new earth replaces the old, and there is to be no more suffering, I'm being forced into retirement. I'm told that listening to my endless stream of clichés, monotonous voice and state-the-bleedin'-obvious commentary style is suffering, and that's not allowed in the New Jerusalem, where God himself will be dwelling with humanity. So as the river and tree of life appear for the healing of the nations, I'm leaving your screens forever. The curse is ended.
- ↑ Don't ask me how I know that.