Heaven’s Hoover

We don’t spend much time on the Eschatology Beat, so we’re not familiar with the Scriptural underpinnings of Saturday’s Endapalooza. But we’re not surprised to discover that, like many things, the Rapture isn’t mentioned as such in the Bible itself.

Instead, it’s an All-American creation of Increase and Cotton Mather, who got hung up on this passage:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

That would be 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the standard source for Rapturiana. It’s also a standard source for Biblical Zombies, since the “dead in Christ” are presumed to be bodies rising from their graves.

And who’s behind 1 Thessalonians? None other than our favorite Biblical fraud: Paul.

The same Paul who hallucinated a vision of Jesus, then convinced the Apostles it was real. The same Paul who, as God’s Bureaucrat, founded the Roman Catholic Church.

It was during Paul’s busybodying mission that he dashed off a number of letters, instructing various outposts to get their shit together. One of those letters went to the good people of Thessalonica, Greece, who, in their goodness, had seen fit to chase him out of town.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul goes about reminding them why they can’t stand him, by telling them to stop fucking like bunnies:

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.

By the way, “possessing your vessel” is indeed what the kids call it these days.

And it’s just ten verses later, after he’s done being an annoying scold, that Paul describes all the heavenly pleasures that await if you can just refrain from pleasuring yourself.

It’s not presented as prophecy. This ain’t Revelation we’re reading.

But the Bible is a buffet, and you’re free to grab passages out of context to your heart’s content. Even if that means you’ll be crushed to learn that you’re still alive Sunday.


I love you, darlin’ Did we go to the same church on Sunday mornings? Turns out that was when (it’s complicated!) my mother (her high-school sweetheart and deflowerer of her, then went off to college and the second world war, came home sound in wind and limb, to discover her mother of me and divorced from my father), they made love on Sunday mornings.

If you read further in your Bible (an activity I do not recommend) you’ll also see that The Pustule Paul, also known as Saul of Fuckwadus, went on to rant that
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)
and other such gems.

Ah yes, good ol Paulus. He also helpfully told people they shouldn’t even be fucking when married, and brought back some rules that The Man didn’t see fit to mention (the “wimmins in the kitchen” mentioned above, slaves should STFU and deal, hating teh gheyz, etc). Not really a shock that he’s a preferred source for the Talibangelicals; the direct Gospels are way too full of nasty socialism…

The rapture, not to be confused with Day of Judgement which is entirely different, is indeed based on that snippet. To learn more I heartily recommend the Left Behind series which is as funny as it is clueless. I think it was the publication of the Schofield Bible in the 20s that caused the idea to go viral. Now, of course, there is large and animated dispute about the timing of rapture and period of tribulation: before or after the chosen are taken up living to heaven (this is the point of it, you don’t have to die to meet Jebus, you go straight there personality and credit rating intact), aka pre- and post-trib. I take it that Camping is post -trib as we’ve seen no sign of any Tribulation, unless you count Dubya and Spiderman, teh Musical.

My thought for the day is: Camping for Christ.

@ManchuCandidate: only in the homes of the true believers. they won’t be there to shoot you with their duly registered and sanctified guns and their guard dogs won’t be there either:

Paul may have envisioned the Giant Hoover in the Sky action for the elect, but Jesus’s version is more Now You See Them, Now You Don’t:

That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. -Matthew 24:39-41

That’s actually the version of rapture in the Left Behind series, hence this super fun movie scene where Mike Seaver is on a plane with a bunch of seats suddenly filled with empty clothes.

Bonus: Jesus’s version is also the one that starts out “No one knows the day or the hour, not the angels, not the Son, but only the Father.” Oops, another passage conveniently overlooked by the Saturday doomsdayers!

@flippin eck: One of my favorite scenes. The pacemakers, hearing aids, and tooth fillings left behind on the seats.

But look, we can follow along right here.

@ManchuCandidate: Yes. I will be at my favorite vintage guitar store.

@Benedick HRH KFC: At one point, you can see a little cross necklace in someone’s heap of clothes. Because an open Bible or nun’s wimple would’ve been, you know, a little obvious.

This is also for you, Benedick (or rather, for your alter ego): A round-up of all the charming components of Iceland’s PR campaign, along with this little gem of a sentence: “The farther you fall down Iceland’s calculatedly modest PR rabbit hole, though, the more it feels like you’re being followed by a servant who will one day kill you in your sleep.”

Neither the Rapture nor any kind of Dispensationalism is supported by the bible.

That is all.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: So I have to pay for that late-’40’s Epiphone Emperor? Is that what you’re saying?

@lynnlightfoot: My Mom always dumped me off at Sunday School and hurried back home. That might explain why.

There’s a digression I didn’t use, but at the beginning of Edie, Plimpton (I think) describes the Sedgwick family plot in Massachusetts or some such. Everyone’s buried in a circle, feet-in, head-out.

The reason? When the Lord hoovers the dead, they rise head-first — and so the first thing the Zombie Sedgwicks see will be each other.

@nojo: The Sedgewick Pie in the cemetery in Lenox.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: I find the idea blasphemous and I’m not even a Christian, having recently converted to the worship of Thor – and his Hammer. Before which I prostrate myself whenever I can.

@flippin eck: There’s a blissfully funny sequence that introduces the hero, an intrepid investigative reporter who has been given the nickname Scoop (or Flash, I can’t remember) by his admiring colleagues. Which makes one wonder if the authors have ever met a reporter. Or even a human being.

Iceland’s PR is icky. And Kayak’s fares don’t include taxes or fees and are therefor wildly unrealistic. That being said I wish I were there right now. This is where I want to stay.

@nojo: the first thing the Zombie Sedgwicks see will be each other nekkid.


@flippin eck:

Heh – there’s an awesome track that features a preacher on this topic (he calls it “the Great Snatch”) combined with a funk beat:


(click on “Don’t Miss The Great Snatch”)

Highly recommended. :)

@Benedick HRH KFC: Ah.

I was highly influenced by that book. Unfortunately, so were a lot of hack writers, who thought “oral history” would save them the trouble of writing.

What they didn’t notice was that Plimpton edited the hell out of it. His craft made the result look easy.

ADD: Between Edie and My Dinner with Andre, my fate was sealed.

Hey, ‘concupiscence’ is one of my favorite King James English words! And I’m an uncircumcised Gentile to boot!

@Fearguth: Don’t forget to use vessel protection when you’re concupiscent.

@Dodgerblue: I wonder if Liberty University has a finance department. Maybe I could take a loan…

@Fearguth: it is in one of my favorite poems….

The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

– Wallace Stephens, 1922,

Either way, Seattle traffic will still be hell on Monday.

@¡Andrew!: And you still won’t be able to find parking in downtown Portland.

@nojo: Haha! I bought the hardback with my babysitting money when I was 16. Mom flipped and threw it away.

Best thing Paul did for the Jesus Movement (cuz that’s really all it was at the time): male Gentiles don’t need to be circumcised. I Corinthians 13 is kinda cool, too. Memorizing it for church recitation, not so cool for a shy kid.

I get to go back in time tomorrow and experience the Armageddon/rapture twice thanks to the miracle of crossing the International Date Line. Hopefully the Flying Spaghetti Monster won’t hoover up the jumbo jet prior to touchdown at LAX (where US customs and immigration staff are second only to those at JFK in terms of surliness).

@SanFranLefty: I hope you’ll post more details about your trip. It sounds heavenly (except for the whole 24 hours-stranded-with-only-a-Cliff-bar-part, which you’ll be able to laugh about later).

And can you even imagine being stuck at that nas-tee Burger King in LAX’s Terminal 3 when the Rapture hits? Oh the humiliation! If it suddenly becomes hayell-on-earth, you won’t notice the difference.

“I wanted to change the world, now I’ll just be happy to leave the room with my dignity intact.”

Well, it’s the 21st of May today. And no sign of rapture here on this side of the dateline.

But then again, I live in such a non-christian neighbourhood (Vietnamese, Thai, African, smug white gentrifiers) it would be hard to tell.

But still, no planes falling from the sky or such like.

But I’m told it’s US time that the rapture is running on. So when did God switch to US Central time?

Bloody numb-nuts freaks.

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