3The Holy Grail
The cup that Jesus drank out of during the Last Supper is the ultimate lost treasure, having become a slang term for anything long sought-after or world-changing. And while the Indiana Jones franchise seems to think drinking from the legendary cup will grant you eternal life and heal gunshot wounds, the exact kind of magic powers we can expect to obtain when we find it is a matter of dispute.
Also, there's the question of whether it's a cup, a bowl or, as Dan Brown speculated, a holy vagina.
We'd tap that.
The Only Problem Is ...
If you try to find the story of the magical cup in the Bible, you'll wind up flipping around confused, thinking you've got an abridged version or something. While the Bible does mention Jesus using a cup during the Last Supper, the cup itself is not treated any more importantly than anything else in the scene. It'd make just as much sense to say the table itself is holy, or the chairs, or the menu, or the leftovers, or the tip.
"I only see 11 dollars. Someone's holding out ... Judas, I'm looking in your direction ..."
Actually Came From:
The Holy Grail was first invoked just as a plot-driving device in the legend of King Arthur. Even then, the item that Arthur's army sought was not Jesus' cup at all -- it was a magic cauldron. Since cauldrons were used quite often at parties and Celtic sleepovers, having a magic cauldron would come off today like a plate of nachos that never ended or a bottomless beer keg.
If only this moment could be eternal...
It was the French poet Chretien de Troyes who reinterpreted the Arthurian legend as a quest for the Holy Grail. And even then, the Grail was not a cup, but rather something resembling a really nice serving dish.
No, it was another poet, Robert de Boron, who planted the Jesus-cup story in the world's consciousness. According to his (quite fictional) masterwork Joseph d'Arimathe, the cup was used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect Jesus' blood and sweat after his crucifixion.
Just look at the man's dorag -- you know he was into some freaky shit.
It was his possession of the Grail that granted him the Jesus-powers to survive his own death and burial, and then for some reason he delivered it to Britain. This provided not only the first description of the Grail as Jesus' cup, but also an explanation as to why the hell we're looking for a piece of Israeli tableware in goddamn England.
Yep. Definitely a vagina.
Type "Is Obama" into Google and one of the top three suggested searches will always be "the Antichrist?" If the Web had existed in Ronald Reagan's day, you'd have gotten the same result for him and (likewise for Mikhail Gorbachev).
Hot Antichrist-on-Antichrist action.
So clearly there is a huge chunk of the world waiting for someone to come along and fulfill the old biblical prophecy: A charismatic leader will fool the whole world, rise to power, institute a worldwide dictatorial regime and (finally) bring about the Apocalypse. There exist entire religious sects who keep a sharp eye out for the smooth talking sign of the End Times who will trigger the destruction of everything we know and love.
You skeptics can laugh, but know that many Americans who vote in 2012 will be doing it based on which of the two candidates is least likely to be the Antichrist.
This man is not basing his vote on sound fiscal policy.
The Only Problem Is ...
The Antichrist is mentioned only four times in the Bible, and each time he's described the same way:
"Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist." (2 John 1:7)
Yep: The Antichrist is anyone who doesn't believe in Christ. The "anti" is basically being used the same way it's used when we say someone is "anti-war." So anyone who wants to accuse Richard Dawkins of being the Antichrist is actually entirely correct, and what's more, he'll agree with you.
Man, antichrists get all the fine bitches.
Actually Came From:
There are characters in the Book of Revelation who will help usher in the End of Days: for instance, there is a False Prophet, who looks like a lamb and talks like a dragon (figuratively, we're assuming). And then we have "The Beast" from Revelation 13, which is described as "coming out of the sea" with 10 horns, seven heads, 10 crowns and other body parts that do not even resemble a human body accidentally.
The Beast we're talking about is the beast on the right.
The beast is who is associated with the number 666, by the way. It wasn't until the second century that some dude named Saint Irenaeus started calling it the Antichrist, borrowing the term from another part of the Bible that wasn't referring to it. But even that did very little to change the fact that The Beast would have a hell of a time getting elected to public office since it looked like ... well, a motherfucking beast.
If Napoleon Dynamite wrote a fan-version of Narnia.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that the Antichrist was portrayed as a guy rather than a huge multiheaded monster. Thus the Antichrist, as a figure in pop culture and cheap-shot accusation was born. Countless novels (like the worldwide bestselling Left Behind series) and movies have helped push the concept to where it is today.
So to summarize, millions are awaiting what they believe is the fulfillment of an ancient biblical prophecy that is in reality cobbled together from at least three different characters from the Bible, with a little bit of Rosemary's Baby for good measure.