Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Comical Rise of The Antichrist

The rise of the Antichrist is a serious subject, but is treated in humorous ways in The Substitute. Biblical requirements for being the Antichrist can be obscure, so it’s best to begin with an example to show how the subject can be comical. I especially enjoyed: he (the beast) must appear to survive a fatal injury [Rev. 13:3]. The first excerpt below addresses that requirement.

 The excerpt takes place at a point in the story where Miss Havana has overthrown Lucifer as ruler of the underworld during the twenty-one years he trained their daughter, Lilith, on “the surface.” With great ambition, Lilith strives to become the Antichrist, but runs into harsh gender discrimination—the Antichrist must be male. She arranges for her death, goes to hell, overthrows her mother, and plans to return to the surface as a male, but finds she can’t trust her father or mother to run the underworld without supervision. Therefore, she reluctantly assigns the Antichrist job to Lucifer, and sends her mother to watch his every move, not revealing the identity of the body Miss Havana’s spirit inhabits. The excerpt is from Lucifer’s POV.

            Indeed, I could enjoy this assignment a lot and am already looking forward to becoming intimately acquainted with all the temple virgins, regardless of how much time that might take and even if they really aren’t, when an extremely negative thought occurs to me. What if Miss Havana is one of them?

            Would Lilith be that conniving? Would she act to take away my pleasure by placing her mother in the position of prostitute? As I think it through, I rule it out, although her mother would be well qualified for that job. Whoever will be watching would have to be close to me most of the time, like one of the secretaries or the gargoyle that watches over the church budget.

            Before I can sort out who my antagonist might be, Lilith casually flicks her hand and I find myself overtaking the body of an obscure Saudi prince in an open courtyard. Apparently Lilith has reached an accommodation with the purgatory Proprietor because there is no delay. This time, I rather wish there had been because, the moment I am firmly entrenched in my new body, I see ten men in a semicircle, all with rifles pointed at my heart. A man in a red and white uniform off to the side shouts, “Fire!”

            The bullets hit me with astounding speed, but fortunately I’m able to divert each one through the tissues of my borrowed body into non-fatal areas. Without question, they sting as much as Croco’s branding irons. If the asshole in the uniform had just waited a few moments, until my powers fully materialized, I could have avoided this entire mess. But no, he just had to be hasty and you can be sure the moment I recover, I will smite that bastard!

            Before I can heal my wounds, two men in black terrorist-like uniforms rush to my side, throw a white sheet over me, douse it with refreshing cool water, and… Wait a minute. I smell a diesel-gasoline mix. Oh, crap, it’s a wick! Before I can scream, “Don’t you fucking dare!” the entire sheet erupts in flames.

            That pisses me off even more. I just got here, for crying out loud, and I haven’t experienced a single temple virgin! Enough! I stand defiantly with flames shooting up my sides and back and glare menacingly at the throng gathered to cheer my demise. No, that isn’t happening today.

Yes, even something as serious as a firing squad can be an opportunity for humor when dealing with the supernatural. Ah, but you say, “Hold it! How about the biblical reference that says the Antichrist ‘will have no regard for the desire of women?’ Doesn’t that make him homosexual?” That reference would be Daniel 11:37, but the King James Bible translation of that verse is a misinterpretation. The New International Version of the Bible is more accurate: “He will show no regard for…the god desired by women….” Lucifer is lustful throughout The Substitute, and during his charge to become as the Antichrist, he still prefers women.

In The Substitute, I considered the Antichrist not one person but two. During her time of training on the surface, Lilith grew evil to the core. She paved the way for Lucifer’s rise, meeting almost all requirements, including that he must come from among ten kings in the restored Roman Empire [Daniel 7:24; Rev 13:2 / Daniel 7:7].

To satisfy the requirement that the Antichrist’s name be related to the number 666—but not necessarily in an obvious fashion [Rev 13:17-18]—Lilith offered, “I have personally courted ten of the world’s richest men, extravagantly wealthy kings from the oil-rich areas around the Mediterranean Sea, to help defray the cost of my sanctuary. That cost has exceeded even the most generous estimates. Therefore, I have agreed to set aside rooms on the tenth floor for exclusive use by them. To their discredit, they have yet to realize that the sum of the first ten digits following the decimal point of pi raised to the tenth power equals 666—a little game I play.”

That was the tenth floor of the church she established in “Sin City”, Las Vegas, where she offered an endless bowl of tuna spread and a loaf of white bread that replenished itself, in part to satisfy the requirement that the Antichrist’s arrival on the world scene must be accompanied by miracles, signs and wonders [2 Thess 2:9] and in part to mock the distribution of fish and bread during Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. Still, Lilith believed there had to be more, as she stated before her carefully choreographed death:

As my power grows, I continue to review what must come to pass to achieve my ultimate status, but I’m both frustrated and impatient because of the rules I must follow. Why am I female? Why must I return below and re-emerge as male? Who made up such a heinous rule in the first place? Why can’t I simply proclaim myself the Antichrist now and be done with it? But, no, Mother assures me I must follow the rules like everyone else, lest everything be thrown into chaos, whatever that means. The only way I can complete my journey is to return as one of the ten kings in the restored Roman Empire. Lame indeed!

            I have, therefore, decided to establish one last church before I personally meet my mother for extended discussions on the next phase of my rise to power on earth. That church shall be located at 666 Rambon Way in Jerusalem, near the Old City, leaving only my return as a male king and the change of the calendar to mark my re-arrival.

In arranging for her own death, Lilith intended to place the blame entirely “on the other side”, and set the stage for a return in victory as the Antichrist. Unfortunately, on re-entering hell, she finds her mother and father at each other’s throats. She displaces them both, and reluctantly orders Lucifer to become the Antichrist—with Miss Havana to watch him—thus fulfilling the requirement that the Antichrist receive power from the devil [Rev. 13:2].

Yes, Lilith was careful to meet all expectations of prophesy, even in planning her own death and resurrection. The passage below gives insight into her view of this part of scripture:

            And so my newest and most ostentatious church hosted a conclave for as many of my followers as possible. They all came together that beautiful spring day in a large field near the Mount of Olives just East of Jerusalem’s Old City, an appropriate locale to end the existence of the only living member of Lucifer’s family. Not one soul expected to observe the most spectacular event in modern history.

            Knowing they would be my last words uttered in this world, I delivered an impassioned oratory, outlining how far my church has come in such a short time, ensuring international cameras captured both my words and my beauty on film, and laying out my concerns as well. I state unequivocally and without fear that my success has so riled and threatened the other side that I will personally be murdered by a violent act of nature, an act so wanton and so lacking in compassion it will reveal the true nature of our enemy and drive many converts to us.

            This is my moment, the moment of revelation. I explain in detail the events that will soon come to pass before unveiling a huge hourglass containing brilliant white sand. “When I am taken violently by the supernatural, this day, the ashes of my few remains will be added to the sands of time in this glass. I say to you, before the glass is turned one thousand times, I will rise again to lead my church, a king with my own realm, the one who will lead you to glory at my father’s feet! And you will all bear witness it is I when I return, for I will not only be a king you will know and recognize, but I will recover from a fatal wound to rise in glory against all odds!”

So, how does she accommodate her death? I don’t want to be a spoiler, but I can assure you it is dramatic and meets biblical requirements. You can also be certain Lilith was aware of the “downer” requirement, that the Antichrist wouldn’t be succeeded by another earthly ruler, but by Christ [Daniel 7:26-27]. She considered that requirement “boasting” by the other side, and didn’t take it seriously (to be forewarned is to be forearmed). Certainly she did not believe that her mother, Miss Havana, might inadvertently act as an agent for the other side.

The Substitute is a paranormal comedy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t biblically accurate, or that the end-time events depicted in it couldn’t happen. Biblical Antichrist requirements make an entertaining story that can be enjoyed by both believers and non-believers alike; however, for those who have studied Daniel and Revelations, The Substitute can be especially interesting if one tries to identify all the biblical requirements as they unfold.

Having said that, however, I offer a warning and a comment. Although everything in The Substitute is presented in a comical way, the book is probably “R-rated” because of language, violence and a couple of sexual encounters that occur but aren’t described in detail. I know, I know. The same thing could be said about the Old Testament, except for the language, but still, in today’s world, it’s better to be safe with a warning than to say nothing. Also please note that, while I have identified a few biblical verses above, none are given in The Substitute. It is possible to complete the entire book, and not know it follows the Bible in any way.

As always, thank you for reading.

James L. Hatch


Tina Donahue said...

Great books, James! Truly one of a kind.

James L. Hatch said...

Thanks, Tina. Every time I read any of the Miss Havana novels I tear up with laughter. I am surprised more copies have not been sold. Maybe it's just me with a warped sense of humor. I was truly sorry that the company that selected the book for a potential movie went broke. Such a film would have been like nothing else ever produced. Bummer.

Tina Donahue said...

That is sad, James. I think these books would make terrific movies.

jean hart stewart said...

your ideas are so original and interesting! would have loved to see a movie of one of them.....

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Jean. I agree! The thought of Miss Havana in the movies caught me by surprise. "The Substitute" was selected as a candidate out of 400 books reviewed. I am sorry the company considering the novel fell through--and for the people who won't see it. Times are so serious everyone needs a good laugh. Thank you for your comment.