Staff Sports and Religion Correspondent
Paul, the prophetic German octopus who has recently become famous for successfully predicting the outcome of World Cup soccer matches, has determined that the Rapture will occur on October 15th 2014. Stock prices dipped sharply on the news as cautious investors moved their money into gold and canned goods.
The octopus, known by his most ardent followers as "The Apostle Paul", has been under witness protection since he successfully predicted Germany's loss to Spain in the World Cup semifinals. Still, his most devoted followers remain convinced he has cracked the code to the end-times prophecies. "Repent! No prophet is accepted in his hometown!" shouted Hans Steinfelder outside a Frankfurt sports bar following Germany's predicted 10 July loss to Uruguay in the World Cup consolation game. Shortly thereafter, Steinfelder was pelted with calamari seized from a nearby seafood market by a drunk and agitated mob of German soccer fans.
The process of coming up with the Rapture's exact date was an arduous one, in which Paul chose from tasty morsels placed in boxes labeled "Before" and "After" particular dates. "It took months to narrow it down, and the World Cup certainly slowed the process," stated Helmut Schmidt, Associate Marine Biologist at Sea Life Park in Oberhausen. "Paul can only eat so much, and frankly, football simply took precedence over the Apocalypse."
The setting of a date just 4 years from now has placed even more demands on Paul's services. "There are just so many more questions that need answering," confessed Anna Geld of the newly established First Church of the Octopus in Berlin. "What can Paul tell us about the Great Tribulation? After all, if it hasn't started yet then I guess that rules out the post-tribbers, since we simply don't have 7 years to fit it in."
For Gelda Stern, one question remains paramount. "Who is the beast who comes out of the sea in Revelation 13, and has Paul ever met him? Ten horns and seven heads ... I just know he must be another octopus mutated by BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but the heathens at Sea Life Park refuse to let me ask the Apostle."
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"At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time ... No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father ... Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come ... So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:23-25, 36, 42, 44)