From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Rapture Me!

September 20, 2004 3:33 PM

Bill Moyers is getting set for retirement, and he gave the speech of his life last week. Forgive me for quoting this huge passage:

One of the biggest changes in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. ... How do we explain the possibility that a close election in November could turn on several million good and decent citizens who believe in the Rapture Index?

That's what I said -- the Rapture Index; Google it and you will understand why the best-selling books in America today are the 12 volumes of the "Left Behind" series that have earned multi-millions of dollars for their co-authors, who, earlier this year, completed a triumphant tour of the Bible Belt whose buckle holds in place George W. Bush's armor of the Lord. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative millions of people believe to be literally true.

It's no coincidence that Bush's education initiative was called "No Child Left Behind."

According to this narrative, Jesus will return to earth only when certain conditions are met: when Israel has been established as a state; when Israel then occupies the rest of its "biblical lands;" when the third temple has been rebuilt on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosques; and, then, when legions of the Antichrist attack Israel. This will trigger a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon during which all the Jews who have not converted will be burned. Then the Messiah returns to earth. The Rapture occurs once the big battle begins. True believers "will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years of tribulation which follow."

I'm not making this up.

They are sincere, serious and polite as they tell you that they feel called to help bring the Rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why they have staged confrontations at the old temple site in Jerusalem. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the 9th chapter of the Book of Revelations where four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released "to slay the third part of men.' ... A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed; if there's a conflagration there, they come out winners on the far side of tribulation, inside the pearly gates, in celestial splendor, supping on ambrosia to the accompaniment of harps plucked by angels.

One estimate puts these people at about 15 percent of the electorate. Most are likely to vote Republican; they are part of the core of George W. Bush's base support. ... No wonder Karl Rove walks around the West Wing whistling "Onward Christian Soldiers." He knows how many votes he is likely to get from these pious folk who believe that the Rapture Index now stands at 144 -- just one point below the critical threshold at which point the prophecy is fulfilled, the whole thing blows, the sky is filled with floating naked bodies, and the true believers wind up at the right hand of God. With no regret for those left behind.

According to, the index is now 151. Fasten your seat belts.

More from the archive in Religion.

Rapture Me! (09.20.2004)

Next Entry: Dan Rather: "I'm sorry" (09.20.2004)
Previous Entry: More Wars != Less Government (09.19.2004)

Read the 5 comments.


um, for anyone who wants to send letters, i thought this was a good follow up. i can't believe this is serious. opps, i guess i'm gonna be hangin' out with the wrong crowd.

Tue Sep 21 2004 2:06 PM

Jim Gilliam:

A brilliant email collector for spam!

He must have a system that requires him to do something every friday, and if it doesn't hear from him, it will send emails to everyone left behind explaining why their loved one is missing.

Hope he doesn't get hit by a car or something.. a world panic might ensue!

Tue Sep 21 2004 2:23 PM


Jim, sorry I'm a bit late with my replies to this item but I went on holiday and am only getting through the backlog of reading material now!

Anyway thanks for pointing out this Rapture stuff. It's facinating. I can't believe how inaccurate these guys are about the EU. I was reading an article ( and the guy barely has a fact correct. He thinks the EU consists of 10 Nations, gets things routinely wrong, like saying the 10 new Nations joined in 2003 when they joined in 2004, claims the EU was against the War in Iraq, when Spain and Britain are EU members. I could go on but thinking about the stupidity is hurting my head.

Wed Sep 29 2004 9:23 AM

Secret Rapture:

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!


Tue Nov 15 2005 4:09 AM


I wish someone would publish the other side of the big Rapture Index controversy. Need some inspiration? Visit Google or Yahoo and type in "The Rapture Index (Mad Theology)." Rocky2

Wed Nov 22 2006 7:03 PM

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