It’s been about three years since I last fired up the Weekly Beastie machine and delved into the secret world of Jewish gematria to sniff out the Antichrist.
I held off partly out of respect for Gov. Rick Perry, who kindly agreed to be our devotional writer just as his political campaign launched. I sensed that his name carried some dark murmuring of the shadow dimension, but by dropping in the polls, he’s convinced me that he poses little threat.
No, the Beast will arise from another quadrant altogether.
Just today, I saw an article in the LA Times about the political ambitions of someone familiar to us all from the 2008 campaign, and reading it brought on a moment of disorientation and a clammy chill.
Joe the Plumber plans to run as a Republican candidate in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. (Mind you, this is in Cuyahoga County, another name with sinister, pagan implications).
Joe, an unlicensed plumber with unpaid back taxes, hit the national spotlight in the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign when he challenged then-Sen. Barack Obama at a campaign event about Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year.
Since then he’s written a book, traveled to Israel as a war correspondent, delivered motivational speeches and appeared in commercials reminding consumers about the conversion from analog TV to digital– all tell-tale signs of demonic activity.
His real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher, and that’s the name I entered into the Beastie’s keyboard. After cleaning off the dust and oiling the delicate mechanisms of the machine, the first attempt at a calculation blew all the fuses in my house. After much coaxing and cursing, the machine chugged back into action and spit out the result: 714, too high.
I sat down with my dull pencil and scratch pad to come up with another combination. But to no avail. “Joe the Plumber” went through Beastie like a Colorado canteloupe, and the display popped up the numerals 873 — completely in the wrong direction!
Later, just as a sparrow smacked against my kitchen window, leaving a small stain as it flew crazily off into the neighbor’s yard, it hit me.
So stupid! Sure enough, I entered “Samuel J. Plumber” into Beastie’s keypad and after a few minutes of gear-crunching, my trusty machine regurgitated the answer: 615, which is only one numeral away from 616, which some scholars insist is the true reading of the Greek in the Book of Revelation for the dreaded Number of the Beast!
Satisfied, I gave Beastie a treat, wrote down the offending demon-infested phrase, and went to bed, relieved but fearful that the coming Presidential campaign of 2012 would challenge Beastie and myself to our very core.