Secret History of Religion: Doomsday - Book of Revelation (2006)

TV Movie   |    |  Documentary, History

Documentary examining the biblical prophecies of Armageddon and comparing them to newly discovered scientific facts. Is the Apocalypse a poetic message of hope to persecuted 1st century Christians or a prophecy of impending doom?


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25 June 2015 | Mark_a_Wood
| A more balanced view than you might expect
This documentary aired on Channel 5 in the UK in May 2015 as part of a series of programmes entitled "Mysteries of The Bible" although in truth it seemed sufficiently different in style to the other episodes of that programme to feel as if it had been 'tacked' onto the end of that show. A little bit of digging and I was slightly surprised to discover that "Apocalypse Code: The Bible Prediction" was actually originally broadcast in the US under a different title back in 2006.

The programme seeks to analyse if The Bible, and in particular the book of revelations, predicts the end of the world or is there some other interpretation of its message. As is usual in a programme such as this various 'talking heads' ranging from historians and theologians to 'true believers' give their analysis and interpretation.

Early doors we get to hear the opinions of Jack Kinsella 'editor' of The Omega Letter who frankly comes across as sounding like a fully paid up member of the 'tin-foil hat' brigade. Jack kindly informs us that we are already witnessing 'The End of Days' and that every day he has a team of volunteers who trawl the worldwide news to gather and collate reports of disasters and signs that the end is nigh in order to update his 'Armageddon-o-meter'.

But don't let Jack put you off watching this programme as the rest of this documentary is actually both quite interesting and more balanced than you might expect. Various academics (only one of whom sounds like he is a faculty member of an online mail-order university) appear to explain that there is not a single mention of "The Rapture" anywhere in The Bible. That we are not entirely sure who wrote the book of revelations or when. That the anti-Christ may have been a Roman Emperor and that revelations is perhaps more likely to have been a poetic message of hope to Christians at a time of persecution.

The varied contributors from various academic disciplines give an, admittedly fairly general, summary of some of the interpretations of the book of revelations. The historicist - an interpretation of actual historical events (often in present of the interpreter), the preterist - the events of revelation have already happened during the upheaval of the apostolic era of the 1st century AD, the futurist - of things predicted to come and the idealist - an allegorical interpretation of the on-going battle between good and evil.

As seems often to be the case in these kinds of documentary the opinions of the various contributors is sometimes reflected by but more often interrupted by re-enactment scenes which are variable in quality and can get a bit repetitive - in particular the 'Anti-Christ' figure and his armies.

Overall though this makes for an interesting programme that is worth watching without being either too dryly academic or too nutty.

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