Hitchcock, Mark. The Late Great United States. Eugene, OR: Multonomah, 2008. The sad fact is that Hitchcock is actually a decent scholar when he wants to be, as evidenced in his debating against Hankadox. This isn’t one of those moments. Part of the book was shock-warfare on the coming peak oil crisis and economic collapse. That really didn’t pan out, though. Other chapters are actually pretty good, such as his chapter on sexual morality. He even cited Charles Hodge and R.C. Sproul! Other chapters were….well….you’ll see. Observations If some variant of futurism is true, or at least logically possible, then it is quite reasonable to suspect that America will play a prophetic role. Weaker claim: “America is clearly part of the general framework of prophecy” (Hitchcock 12). If it is reasonable to think America plays some role, then what is that role? Hitchcock explores several options: America = Babylon the Great. New York City would be the heart of it. Unfortunately, the only people who would hold this view are erstwhile literalists, which means that Babylon must be in Iraq (17). A much stronger argument against America = Babylon is the fact that Revelation mentions the Euphrates twice, suggesting a nearby location. While I disagree with his specifics, he does give a good prophecy timeline (38). Criticisms Hitchcock holds to the now exegetically-debunked line that Rosh = Russia (12, 36). Chapter 3 outlines the standard pretribulational view. It’s wrong but I am not going to spell it out here. I was somewhat surprised to see a throw-away concession to pre-wrath view: “Between the rapture and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation will fall a time period that could be days, weeks, months, or possibly even years” (37). Change “seven-year” to “3 ½” and we are in business. While he doesn’t make this specific argument, on his view Jesus can’t return at just any time. A number of things must take place: America’s role diminished. And even if the revived Roman Empire isn’t established until after the Rapture, the apparatus must first be in place. His chapter on Israel was just bad--and I say this as a pre-wrath premillennialist. Let’s work through it. I am going to skip over the bad exegesis of Genesis 12 and why we must support Israel. Let’s get to the section on Replacement Theology. Pretend for a moment that I don’t hold to Covenant Theology. His arguments fail aside from that. He writes, “Replacement theology has been the fuel within Christendom that energized medieval anti-Semitism” (129). This is a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. Terrible things happened to Jews in the Middle Ages, and we can blame most of it on Rome. According to Michael Vlach “The acceptance or rejection of supersessionism may also influence how one views the modern state of Israel” (quoted on p.129). On one sense this is true, full preterists hate the modern state of Israel and American dispensationalists will die for it. Aside from that the statement doesn’t say all that much. Since it uses the word “may” we can reword it: “Also, The acceptance or rejection of supersessionism may or may not influence how one views the modern state of Israel.” Thomas Ice writes, “Wherever replacement theology has flourished, the Jews have had to run for cover.” This is 100% false. Cromwell, no dispensationalist himself, invited the Jews back. The Westminster Confession and its Catechisms imply a future conversion of Israel, which implies among other things the survival of the Jews. This is just getting silly. For some reason Jews have always wanted to come to America, even with all of the replacement theologians in it. I am not saying we should abandon Israel. I think moderate cases can be made for supporting them. The Luciferians at the UN hate Israel, so supporting Israel would upset them. That’s good enough for me. There is also the Rosh = Russia = Gog/Magog issue. Because the Hebrew term Rosh sounds like the English word Russia, taken from the old Slavic ‘Rus from Prince Vladimir of Kiev, that means that Rosh of Ezekiel 38 = modern day Russia. You following me on this? Good. This is what is called the False Etymology fallacy. There are more substantial problems, though. The KJV, ESV, and others translate it as The chief prince of Meschech and Tubal. The NKJV and NASB translate it as the prince of Rosh, making it a place. Daniel Block gives a mediating, and probably correct translation, ““Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince, chief of Meshech and Tubal.” I’m actually undecided on the identity of Magog. I think it refers to some kind of evil cosmic North (which makes sense given the Hebrew view of tsaphon and Bashan/Hermon). Regardless, almost every Bible atlas today places Gog/Magog in Turkey, not Russia. So if Rush/Russia is the Antichrist, then that means he is in control of the modern-day nation of Turkey. Not likely.