Jeebus. Those Alterdestinarians get weird e-mail.
A number of years ago, I started working on a project about Christian prophecy writers and the war on terror. I shelved it for a variety of reasons, but the research was a hoot. Among the folks whose work I spent a decent bit of time reading, my favorite was probably Mark Hitchcock, who until last August was blogging the impending apocalypse. In a book called Is America In Bible Prophecy, Hitchcock concludes that the Bible actually has nothing specifically prophetic to say about the United States. He disagrees with prophecy writers who insist that the US is the new Babylon described in Revelation and that, as such, the moral wickedness of the country will eventually be destroyed in a fit of holy wrath. He also argues that other Biblical passages frequently cited by his colleagues — Isaiah 18 or Ezekial 38 — actually have nothing whatsoever to do with the United States.
In other words, Hitchcock insists that the United States is not mentioned in Biblical prophecy for the simple reason that the US will be long gone — reduced to an insignificant world power — by the time Antichrist actually shows up and the End Times commence. He hedges his bets as far as explaining the source of America’s impending (and necessary) collapse, but that’s to be expected; if the fate of the nation isn’t actually foretold in the Bible, he’s under no obligation to explain it in great detail. He suggests that “freedom and technology” might bring the country down, or that perhaps a nuclear attack of some kind might ruin us all. He also notes that the country’s lack of spiritual or moral authority — the gays, the abortions, the cats humping stuffed animals and whatnot — might be the eventual culprit.
In the end, though, Hitchcock surmises that the Rapture itself — what he calls “Great Snatch” — will elevate so many faithful Americans to Heaven that the country, suddenly entrusted to the spiritually incompetent, will be unable to survive for long. Hitchcock envisions a post-Rapture America in which
millions of mortgages would go unpaid, military personnel by the thousands would be permanently AWOL, factory workers will never again show up for work, college tuitions will become overdue, businesses will be left without workers and leaders, the Dow will crash, the NASDAQ will plummet, and the entire economy will be thrown into chaos.
And that’s entirely aside from the geopolitical consequences of the Rapture. As Hitchcock explains, under these circumstances — with the United States incapable of maintaining its commitments in the Middle East — Israel will have no choice but to accept the support of Antichrist. And we all know how painful that will be. But for Hitchcock, its all butter. The faithful will have long since split.
Meantime, aspiring academics will note that the Rapture will probably do nothing to alleviate the constrictions of the job market. In fact, it will probably make it worse; with so many of our students siphoned off into the ether, schools will probably have no choice but to cull their faculty. Tenure lines will evaporate as older professors retire; the adjunct pool will inflate, giving administrators even more incentive to casualize the work force; and non-unionized campuses can kiss tenure goodbye.
The good news is that Antichrist will probably be looking to hire.