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Okay, so that’s not exactly what it says in the New York Times story about the Euphrates River drying up. But it’s not that far off.

The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.

The poor suffer more acutely, but all strata of society are feeling the effects: sheiks, diplomats and even members of Parliament who retreat to their farms after weeks in Baghdad.

The article itself is the standard, depressing reporting on the foolishness of man. But note the link to Revelation 16:12 on the Bible Gateway website (“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.”) It wasn’t me that put that in there—its in the original article on the website of the New York Times .

Have I missed this before? Does the Times regularly link to Bible verses, or was this added to help readers recognize the impending apocalypse? Maybe the web editors at the Times have been reading Tim Lahaye novels (or Rene? Girard essays ). Whatever it is I’ll assume it was a fluke.

But if I open their newspaper tomorrow to read an report about three evil spirits— that look like frogs—coming out of the mouth of a dragon and it includes a link to Revelation 16:13, I’m gonna start freaking out. My entire worldview will have been upended. Not because the apocalypse is upon us—as Girard says, it’s already here —but because it will mean that someone at the NYT has read more than one verse from the Bible .

My brain isn’t prepared to comprehend that possibility.

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