‘Prophet’: Rapture Would Devastate America

Dr. Ed Hindson, President of World Prophetic Ministry, went on the VCY radio show and explained why America isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible. The answer, he says, is that America will be all but destroyed when the rapture happens, so the tribulation would have to take place somewhere else.

“What would happen, I think, in the United States is the sudden Rapture of believers would leave this country totally secularist, totally atheist, totally in the hands of anti-Christian forces, and it would decimate the economy, the banking system, even the military, the police system,” he explained. “It would throw this country into chaos overnight. Now, it would throw any country into chaos, but the larger percentage of born-again believers, the larger percentage of the chaos.”

Pressed by the host to explain why there is no mention of the U.S. in the Book of Revelations, Hindson explained that the country would be “decimated” and that the seven years of Tribulation before Jesus returned to set up His earthly kingdom would probably occur elsewhere because, “the Bible makes it clear the Antichrist will rise out of the old Roman Empire in Europe.”

“Unless you try to view the Babylon of the End Times as America, there’s no indication that America’s there anywhere [in the Bible],” Hindson suggested. “So, is she totally destroyed? Possibly, but not likely. It’s more likely that she’s decimated by the impact of the Rapture, and the power then shifts to Europe, because I think the Bible makes it clear the Antichrist will rise out of the old Roman Empire in Europe.”

A country that is totally secularist? You know what that sounds like to me? Heaven. The rest of this is just comedy gold.

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  • Michael Heath

    Consider the delusion and idiocy required to take this yahoo and his organization seriously.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    I have this suspicion he’s claiming as Christian a bunch of people that in some other speech he’d claim weren’t real Christians.

  • raven

    Actually, if the Rapture happened, we would lose a few of the idiots who are just baggage being dragged along behind our society, doing more harm than good.

    And be better off.

    We would pray for it if it would do any good. And cheerfully wave bye bye to the fundies.

  • colnago80

    Of course, the real reason that the USA isn’t mentioned in the Book of Revelations is that nobody had the slightest inkling of the existence of a land mass in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Alverant

    Wait, Australia and Japan aren’t mentioned in the christian bible either. So does that mean those countries would also be enraptured?

  • whheydt

    Well, let’s see…

    Losing the cops that wear their religion on their sleeves? How is that bad? Likewise the same sorts in the military? Sounds good.

    Now as for the banking system, isn’t the usual complaint that the banks are all run by Jews?

    One tends to think about James Burke’s comments about the effects of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. Recovery from all that death caused an economic boom. Mere “decimation” (loss of 10%) is *less* extreme than the plague.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Don’t forget most of Europe, Russia, India, most of Africa, …

  • hexidecima

    so, if the US will be “decimated” by the Rapture, this would mean at least one of out 10 people vanish. But according to most TrueChristians, there aren’t that many TrueChristians in the US, unless they want claim that the US is a “Christian nation”. this would seem to mean that people that the TCs don’t want raptured are going. tsk

  • anubisprime

    @ OP

    It’s more likely that she’s decimated by the impact of the Rapture, and the power then shifts to Europe, because I think the Bible makes it clear the Antichrist will rise out of the old Roman Empire in Europe.”

    So the Rapture occurs…yet life goes on…cos apparently there is still a Europe to skiddadle off to!

    Jeebus sunbeams seem very skittish about the sequence of events of the ‘end-times’ they supposedly quote from the bible, depending on which particular dumbfuck gets asked they either gets all breathless about ‘pre-trib’, while others get all sweaty about’ post-trib’

    There is even a slightly less subscribed to theory of ‘mid-trib’

    In other words they are making up utter bullshite for xtian thrills and ‘send money quick’

    But these dumb fuckers walk and vote…that should be a very real concern to a rational society.

    But really how anyone can listen to such fatuous codswollop creeps me out, to actually believe the nonsense is beyond normal bounds of human behaviour , because it is knocking very insistently on the door of DSM 5 classified schizophrenia.

  • birgerjohansson

    The Rapture is a modern heresy that was invented as late as the mid-nineteenth century.

    .

    But I would be in favor of a secular rapture, like the post-death existence in “Riverworld” by Philip J. Farmer. Dump all the religious weirdos on Riverworld, naked and without foreskins to distinguish them from each other.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @3 — Actually, if the Rapture really happened, we’d lose none of those people.

    I’m thinking hypocrits, bigots, “prosperity gospel” adherents, and haters of all things “not me” aren’t high on the list of those who would be raptured.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Rapture Would Devastate America? I am sure it would. You know what else would? Ragnarok. Zombie apocalypse. Galactus devouring the planet. I am equally concerned about all of those. (Spoiler: my concern for each is quite small)

  • hackerguitar

    As post #8 indicates, ‘decimate’ is one in ten.

    10%, while still an impressive number (something like 31 million as of the current US population), is nowhere near what Hindson *implies*. He’s either ignorant (probable) or cynically and maliciously misusing the word ‘decimate’ to attempt to indicate that a large percentage of people (presumably his hypothetical >50% xtian morality) would disappear.

    I wouldn’t mind a mostly-secular society. it’d make life easier knowing that most of the people I interact with aren’t presumptively making judgments based on magic – or, at any rate, anything more magical than the usual Jungian archetypes run amok.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    If “No Christians = Chaos” and “Europe has less Christians than America” are both true, shouldn’t Europe already be chaos?

     

    And why does he care? Isn’t the perk of pre-Trib Rapture is that he won’t be here? Why so concerned about my RRSP?

     

    Michael Heath “Consider the delusion and idiocy required to take this yahoo and his organization seriously.”

    Man, that takes me back. I was a roadie for Yahoo & His Organization during the Seriously Tour. Good folks, aside from Yahoo. Slashed me with a broken beer bottle, he did. Still got the scar. It’s like my belly has a smile.

  • eric

    Love the contradiction. He’s arguing that so many people would be raptured that it would devastate the country, and that it would devastate the country because there are so few real christians here.

  • matty1

    Modusoperandi

    shouldn’t Europe already be chaos?

    Look up Eurovision Song Contest, there is your answer. Chaos indeed.

  • Chiroptera

    On the other hand, without all the obstructionists in Congress, it would be pretty easy to get things back in order again.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Re Modusoperandi #14,

    I’ll have what he’s having!

  • tubi

    Wouldn’t the “Rapture” leave every country in the hands of atheists and secularists?

    And Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc., I guess.

  • weatherwax

    #12 theschwa: “Rapture Would Devastate America? I am sure it would. You know what else would? Ragnarok. Zombie apocalypse. Galactus devouring the planet.”

    You forgot “The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief”

  • peterh

    Hindson’s stupidity goes beyond head-desk.

  • busterggi

    A Rapture caused by a discerning deity who appreciates honesty, equality of all ‘his’ children and respect for human rights would never take one of the prominent right-wing preachers.

  • johnhodges

    I once decided to study the ethical teachings of Jesus, and so collected everything Jesus is reported in the gospels to have said about what his followers should DO. It is quite a list, and Jesus makes clear that you have to do ALL of them to have any hope of being among the very few who will be taken into Heaven when the Earth is destroyed. For example, sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor, practice strict nonviolent pacifism, follow the entire Law of Moses except the dietary laws, abstain from all sin even in your thoughts. In my life, I have met exactly one Christian who was making serious effort to do all this. He was hitchhiking around the country preaching the gospel with the clothes on his back, a backpack and three books (an English Bible, a Spanish Bible, and an English-Spanish dictionary). He said he belonged to a church with a hundred-odd members who all did the same, and met together once a year. I think the Rapture may have already happened, those hundred-odd penniless drifters have vanished, and nobody has noticed.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    johnhodges,

    I once decided to study the ethical teachings of Jesus, and so collected everything Jesus is reported in the gospels to have said about what his followers should DO. It is quite a list, and Jesus makes clear that you have to do ALL of them to have any hope of being among the very few who will be taken into Heaven when the Earth is destroyed. For example, sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor, practice strict nonviolent pacifism, follow the entire Law of Moses except the dietary laws, abstain from all sin even in your thoughts.

    This is probably the single worst summary of the teachings of Jesus that I have ever read. Ever. And I’ve heard a million. It is of the “not even wrong” category. If you had to do all (or ALL, as you put it) these things to get into heaven, we wouldn’t call Jesus the savior or Messiah. We’d call him “the gee-thanks-alot-dude who did nothing more than tell us the impossible list of things we have to do to get into heaven.” And we wouldn’t call it the gospel (good news) but the worst news ever.

  • Michael Heath

    johnhodges @ 23,

    Not just effectively impossible, but theoretically as well. And for those literate in the Bible with even rudimentary reading comprehension skills that aren’t deluded by religion and politics, it’s particularly entertaining watching the mental gyrations of those who avoid or deny the obvious. Observations who argue contra your point typically provide an insightful illustration of cognitive dissonance reduction – usually animated with a healthy dose of hyperbole.

    A sincere effort to follow the NT’s edicts can be had researching Leo Tolstoy’s failed and misguided attempt.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #25

    Observations who argue contra your point typically provide an insightful illustration of cognitive dissonance reduction – usually animated with a healthy dose of hyperbole

    One need only look one comment above (#24) for an example of this from the blog’s resident physics professor and former math department chairman.

  • johnhodges

    Heddle @24:

    I wrote up all the quotes from Jesus that I found, organized by topic, and the “plain meaning of the text” ethical teachings I drew from them, here:

    http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-ethics-of-jesus

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    johnhodges #27,

    I appreciate your article. I disagree with many things you write but will not bother going into details. I will say one thing. In my opinion (and it is fair to say in the opinion of most who student the NT, even those who don’t actually believe it) your conclusion is partially true but what you are lacking is the the all-important “however” clause. That is, you are saying, in effect,

    You must be perfect/sinless to get into heaven

    That is true. But the NT adds the however:

    You must be perfect/sinless to get into heaven. However, Jesus has done that for you–because there is no way you could do it.

    You may find this to be utter nonsense, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is what the majority of NT readers, including atheist biblical critics, would agree that it teaches. I don’t know one–and I have read many, who would agree with you that the NT teaches you must be perfect/sinless to get to heaven–end of story. They would all acknowledge that the bible also teaches there is a way out of this problem–by accepting Christ you get to claim his perfect record. You are in effect saying the NT doesn’t really teach a gospel–which is demonstrably false.

    If you had to live a sinless life to get to heaven:

    1) There would be no need for forgiveness because there would be nothing to forgive, Yet clearly the bible speaks of God’s forgiveness of sin.

    2) There would be no need of atonement or redemption– Yet clearly the bible speaks of atonement and redemption.

  • birgerjohansson

    Heddle, I hear you, but the “however” clause means we can all live like Homer Simpson, who realised he could do whatever he wanted as long as he repented in the end…

    — — — —

    BTW is not the modern take on the book of Revelations that it must be taken in the context of similar texts from the same time period? That way, we get a political, polemic text wrapped in lots of exotic symbolism.

  • johnhodges

    My thesis is that the Jesus portrayed in the “synoptic” gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, taught an ethics of perfection, an apocalyptic ethics in response to the prospect of Judgement Day coming soon. He said, in essence, “Hey, folks, we’d better get serious about following what Moses taught, because final exams are coming up!” He advised drastic action to rack up as much credit as you could in the limited time remaining. He said in Matthew and in Luke that very few would be saved. (No wonder!)

    Matthew 28:19-20 King James Version (KJV)

    19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    Luke 17:10 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

    So, As I understand it, Jesus is saying, AFTER you do all that he commands, including “be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”, STILL you are not worthy of Heaven; THEN you hope that Yahveh will be gracious.

    I’m not at all surprised that this is an unpopular interpretation. Not only is it extremely hard to follow, but there is the awkward fact that the apocalypse did not come within the life of Jesus’ generation. So Jesus was a lunatic. That is why the gospel of John was written, to present a revised theology, with none of these difficult teachings, no looming apocalypse, no demons, no Hell. Just believe and take communion, and you’re IN. But seriously, I think that if there was a “historical” Jesus, he more likely resembled the one described in the Synoptic gospels.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    birgerjohansson ,

    Heddle, I hear you, but the “however” clause means we can all live like Homer Simpson, who realised he could do whatever he wanted as long as he repented in the end…

    That is a separate (good) question (the problem of antinomianism) that, for the moment, muddies the waters. Maybe there are many resultant logical flaws but that is subsequent to whether or not the “however” clause is what is taught–and it seems to me you agree that it is.

    johnhodges , #30

    As for Luke 17:10 we can paraphrase it (I think you agree–it fits your thesis) as “even if we obey the law we are unworthy of heaven”. In isolation your view is plausible–that this mean something like “you first obey the law and then I’ll consider you.” But (even in isolation) it does not demand that you first obey the law before you receive grace–it states nothing more (in my view) than its common interpretation: you cannot earn you way to heaven. So in isolation both interpretations are plausible, but in light of the rest of the gospels, the second view is more parsimonious, because one of the easy biblical themes to demonstrate is that everybody is going to sin abundantly, so everyone will fail to achieve what your view argues will just gets you a ticket to the dance.

    As for Matthew 28:20– indeed we are commanded to obey the law. (whatever that is–I don’t think it is what you think it is, I think it is Jesus’ law from the Sermon on the Mount, not Moses’ law, and the former is way harder to obey than the latter,–but that’s secondary). There is no doubt whatsoever we are commanded not to sin. And if that were the end of the story everyone would be lost. And worse (as you pointed out in with Luke 17:10) even if you managed to do this, which you won’t (Rom 3:23), you still won’t have earned heaven, you’ll only have done what you were commanded.

    I’m not at all surprised that this is an unpopular interpretation.

    But bear in mind it is also an unpopular (virtually unheard of) interpretation among atheist bible critics who have no stake in the common gospel interpretation that the offer of salvation is even for the worst of sinners, and it is not held in abeyance until you first obey the law. I have read semi-infinite scholarly criticisms that offer varied criticisms of the bible–but never that it does not actually teach the basic gospel–broadly speaking: if you accept Christ you are saved regardless of the sins you have committed–and that after you are saved you will continue to sin. If the text actually supported your view it would likely be the front and center biblical criticism.

    Not only is it extremely hard to follow, but there is the awkward fact that the apocalypse did not come within the life of Jesus’ generation.

    Pointing out “delayed parousia” (Jesus said he’d return but didn’t) is a very valid point (made by critics such as Bertrand Russell). That is a serious problem, and early in by Christian walk it pushed me to the partial preterist camp.

  • johnhodges

    Re. Heddle #31

    In 1906 Albert Schweitzer wrote a book THE QUEST OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS that (I have heard) gives basically the same interpretation that I have arrived at from my own reading.

    Anyone who found my reading of the gospels plausible would cease to be a Christian. Anyone determined to stay a Christian will necessarily find some other interpretation.

    In my experience, whenever I quote the words of Jesus to a Christian, always, without exception, they immediately reply “He didn’t mean THAT.” I get that even from those who take Genesis literally. There is tremendous resistance to the idea that salvation requires WORK and is rarely achieved. Everyone clings to the idea that salvation is a free gift, all you need DO is BELIEVE that you have received it. That’s from the gospel of John. It does not remotely resemble anything in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. In John, we are not saved by following Jesus’ teachings, we are saved by his blood. Jesus was born, lived, suffered, died, rose, sat. What he TAUGHT along the way is completely beside the point. In the Synoptic gospels, the ceremony of bread and wine is like Memorial Day, or Presidents Day, something to help you remember Jesus’ life and work. In John, Communion is MAGIC, drink that blood and live forever. The theology of the Synoptic gospels is AFAICT universally ignored by Protestants, Catholics have some monastic orders that attempt to follow large parts of it.

  • johnhodges

    Re. Heddle #31

    Atheist critics of the Bible, as you say, rarely if ever focus on the stark differences between Matthew, Mark, and Luke on the one hand, and John on the other. They have bigger fish to fry. In the Old Testament, the character of YHVH resembles a cartoon villain; bloodthirsty in the extreme, petty, vindictive, (JEALOUS!! Of WHOM?) Moses was a very bold swindler, and the line of “prophets” that followed in his footsteps were just as bad.

    I don’t have any emotional stake in the question of whether there was a historical Jesus or not, But I find it plausible that there was, and I have sympathy for the man. There is/was and expression in English, “turning over in their grave”, for when someone dead could not rest in peace because their life and work were being misrepresented and misused. Later this expression was intensified as “spinning in their grave”, turning over multiple times. In my humble opinion, by now Jesus must have spun enough to drill a hole to the center of the Earth.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    @johnhodges I’ve done grad level courses in Christian theology & Early Christian History so I’m pretty familiar with the material, and I thought that summary was great. Informative and well organized. Thank you for posting it and linking to it. I’m bookmarking it for future reference.

    I think it would also be interesting to compare what the epistles say to what synoptic Jesus says people ought to do.

    The only caveat (and it’s a small one) is the characterisation of John as a “forgery” or deliberate attempt to bury the embarrassing eschatological* expectations of the original Jesus. I think it’s more fair to see it as a result of infusion of ideas from Hellenistic mystery cults as the nature of the religion changed as it spread beyond Jerusalem & environs.** The result though is the same: more emphasis on communion with the deity, purification and Jesus as sacrificial lamb; less concern with giving all your possessions away and living as an itinerant preacher until the end of the world which is going to happen any day now.

    *eschatology=theory about/study of the end of the world; apocalypse on the other hand means revelation

    **one factor that may have contributed to the change in emphasis might be that many of the non-Jews who took up Christianity in the early days were slaves and women, the very people who had no possessions to give up and had no liberty to go around the countryside preaching; not to mention that once the Temple was destroyed and the Messiah hadn’t returned yet, the context of preaching an imminent eschaton would have completely changed. All in all, a fascinating field of historical enquiry.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    @heddle

    I don’t think you’re correct when you say “the majority of NT readers, including atheist biblical critics, would agree that it teaches”. You’re obviously conflating theologians with historians. Theologians look at all the canonical scriptures and try to formulate a consistent, cohesive theology from the whole and come up with your “however”. Historians, on the other hand, are parsing out different threads of early Christian belief. We don’t have to make them agree with each other somehow. We know they were all written down by different people living in different times and places and social contexts with their own individual beliefs and agendas. It’s pretty clear that the teaching of the Jesus presented by the synoptics was pretty much as johnhodges outlines, and I doubt very much if you’d get much opposition from secular historians on that point.

  • johnhodges

    Ibis3, thank you for your support. I appreciate it. I’ll keep your one-sentence summary of “what to do”, much more concise than mine.

  • dingojack

    Now we have all these big squishy (biblical) brains in one place — What would modern Christianity look like, do you think, if the Arians had won?

    Dingo

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Ibis3 #35,

    You are wrong. The synoptic gospels usher in the adult Jesus, via the other John, as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus states clearly that he comes to forgive sins (even being accused of blasphemy for doing so) and that he comes for sick, not the healthy and that he came for sinners, not the righteous. Jesus says to a sinful woman, (e.g.,Luke 7:42) not a woman who has kept the law, that your faith has saved you. Hid did not (nor could he, given her sin) say your extreme obedience to the commandments has put you in a place where I can now dispense grace to you. This story, in particular (though not alone), rebukes johnhodges’s theory–in that Jesus is using it to teach his followers and the pharisees–who are astounded that he would associate with hardcore commandment breakers– that she is saved in a way they do not understand–a works-righteousness-reward system that johnhodges, in error, is proposing as the actual message of the synoptics. He, like the teachers of the law that time to whom time and time again (including in the synoptic gospels) Jesus gives the smackdown, have it bass-ackwards.

    You can (and everyone has) argue that the command to obedience is real—but the basis for salvation is faith. You are confusing (and are in a minority in doing so) what Jesus teaches we should do (which in fact you can’t do) with what you must do. The only must is faith.

    The basic gospel is as clear in the synoptics as in John. Doctrinal weeds differ–John, for example, has more Calvinistic “proof” texts, but the basic gospel is found in both places.

  • Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    There would be no need for forgiveness because there would be nothing to forgive, Yet clearly the bible speaks of God’s forgiveness of sin.

    For some, but not all. The ones God decides not to forgive get to burn forever. This is after all, one evil motherfucker we’re referencing here, infinitely evil as described by the Bible.

    And some people celebrate the supposed existence and nature of this god. What does that make them?

  • Michael Heath

    johnhodges writes:

    In my experience, whenever I quote the words of Jesus to a Christian, always, without exception, they immediately reply “He didn’t mean THAT.” I get that even from those who take Genesis literally. There is tremendous resistance to the idea that salvation requires WORK and is rarely achieved. Everyone clings to the idea that salvation is a free gift, all you need DO is BELIEVE that you have received it.

    This is not true of non-Calvin evangelicals and fundamentalists as interpreted and argued by the laymen. They do argue that all one has to do is repent of one’s sins and submit to the Christian god to be “born again”, i.e., saved. But that your works after you’re saved demonstrate the authenticity of your being a born again Christian. That your being “filled with the Holy Ghost” will cause make it less likely you’ll sin and when you do, merely wash/rinse and repeat as needed. But works do play a role within these very large U.S. sects.

    I don’t observe hardly any of these Christians animated by works. So my above point is merely reporting an abstract argument within these sects. They go through some of the motions, often merely to proselytize others, also to lie to themselves and others they’re doing the works required of them by the Bible.

    But what really animates this group now is their conservative political ideology, as contrary as that is to the “works” edicts of the NT. The Fox News crowd is a descendant of the John Bircher crowd, but far larger and more influential. The political adherence partly solves the masculinity problem conservative Christian churches have long suffered from, in spite of its patriarchal culture, that by making it OK to publically hate women, gays, gay children, blacks, Muslims, secularists, you can increase the size of your male congregation.