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America in Bible Prophecy?|
Q. Do you think we can find America in Bible prophecy? I mean, it's easy to find Israel, Islamic countries and the Far East. So where is America?
Prediction or Pattern
This is an important point for Americans to understand. Maybe we're just not as important as we once thought. We've always been "America-centric" and assumed the world revolves around us. So it's quite a shock to learn we aren't central to biblical prophecy.
Nevertheless, we in the Western world tend to think of prophecy in terms of "prediction/fulfillment." In other words, something is predicted in the Bible which is later fulfilled.
But, Jewish scholars and many good Christian theologians tend to think of prophecy in terms of biblical "pattern." For instance, nations fall into patterns of behavior which results in God's judgment again and again. These are clearly outlined in Scripture.
Patterns of Behaviors
In terms of pattern there is no question that almost all nations including America fit into biblical prophecy. For example, Deuteronomy 28&29 lists the blessings of following God's law and the consequences of disobeying it. Hosea 4 and Ezekiel 7 are two books which also list patterns of disobedience and God's judgment. We might include Isaiah chapter 5 to feature consequences of disobedience, too. This one mentions large, beautiful houses sitting empty due to God's judgment.
Ouch, America! …Empty houses, indeed!
A Case of Pattern - American Upheavals
In Ezekiel chapter 7 we find a clear example of pattern by God punishing a nation for its wickedness and pride. Does this sound like America today?
- The economy is destroyed. Citizens are warned not to rejoice over "bargains" or sellers to grieve over losses, because all will fail (v. 12-13).
- Epidemics and diseases will kill and sicken many (v. 15).
- Citizens will be ashamed and mourn what has become of them (v. 18).
- The nation's currency is destroyed and not even gold or silver will save them (v. 19).
- Citizens will become sick of its wealth and they will be robbed of all their valuables (v. 20-22).
- Foreigners will swoop in to claim all the riches (v. 20-22).
- Ruthless immigrants will occupy citizen's homes and homes will be lost, mansions empty (v. 24-25). (see also Isaiah 5:9)
- There will be terrorism, disaster after disaster, and calamity after calamity (v. 25-26).
- People will seek out religious leaders&advice, but there is no word from God (v. 26b-27).
- It's payback time. What the evil citizens&rulers have done to others will be done to them (v. 27).
In fact, I think you could make a good case for America suffering this kind of judgment at God's Hands today. The pattern fits, doesn't it?
There are at least 15 nations which are mentioned specifically by name in prophetic passages. They are:
Jordan (Ammon, Moab, and Edom)
Europe (reunited Roman Empire)
Central Asia (Magog)
Saudi Arabia (Sheba and Dedan)
(Daniel 7-11, Ezek. 36-39, Rev. 9:14-16, Psalm 83)
(Hitchcock 2002, 19)
Where is America?
America is not mentioned by name or tribe of origin once. This is frightening to many modern prophecy scholars because it doesn't portend a great future for America. We can find the EU, China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and other nations clearly spelled-out in end times scenarios. But, where is America? Why aren't we clearly spelled-out in the prophetic Scriptures?
America the Babylon?
Finally, there are a number of prophecy scholars who believe they have found America in other texts which do not clearly specify the name "America." For example, they point out similarities in characteristics of a future Babylon mentioned in scripture and known facts about New York City. Babylon is described in Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 51. While some of these references are clearly "stretching it" some of these comparisons are, nevertheless, striking. You decide:
Babylon of Isaiah&Jeremiah
A future Babylon is where world leaders meet (like the U.N.) - Jeremiah 51:44.
This "Babylon" is the world's "policemen" (Jer. 50:23).
It is a land consisting of immigrants (Jer. 50:16).
It appears to be an "air" power (Isaiah 18:1).
It may be connected to outer space (Jeremiah 51:53).
It appears to possess stealth technology (Isa. 47:10-13).
New York City?
The Babylon in Revelation 17-18 trades at least 28 commodities (similar to New York City).
It is a deep-water port city and a noted seaport (Revelation 18:17-19).
It is a worldwide famous cultural city (Rev. 18:22).
It is a place that makes merchandise of occult interests&practices (Rev. 18:23).
It is a place with a large Jewish population (Rev. 18:4, Jeremiah 50:8&other references).
It is a place where in one hour it will be destroyed (nuclear hit?) - where the "light of a lamp will shine in you no more" (Statue of Liberty's lamp? Rev. 18:23).
Woman on the Beast
The Statue of Liberty may possibly share some characteristics with the Woman on the Beast mentioned in Revelation 17-18. Let's look at it:
Both are robed in scarlet or purple.
One wears robes - the other wears a crown of seven spikes, indicating royalty.
One represents Babylon the city - the other overlooks Babylon on Long Island.
One reigns over the kings of the earth - the other overlooks the UN building comprised of representative nations.
A Land the Rivers Divide
Isaiah 18 is thought by some to refer to a warning to America. This nation has the insignia of "wings," similar to America's eagle and is a nation of "ambassadors" by sea (Isa. 18:1-2, KJV).
It is a land beyond the sea from the nation of Israel. Because it designates a land "beyond Ethiopia," it does not refer to Europe, Asia or Africa. It must be further west which could possibly be the North American continent.
It is a land "scattered and peeled," probably meaning that it is stretched out and has a large landmass. We know that America is "measured" and "staked out" with our counties, cities, and states. The King James Version says it is a nation "meted out" (Isa. 18:23).
In Isaiah 18 this land is noted as one "whose land the rivers divide." Of course we know that America is divided east and west from Canada to Mexico by the Mississippi River. Furthermore, it is divided by the Columbia Rivers, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas Rivers. It is truly a land whose nation the rivers divide.
Merchants of Tarshish
Several scholars agree that the "merchants of Tarshish" mentioned in Ezekiel 38:13 could possibly refer to America. The merchants are traced back to Britain and Spain and are elsewhere referred to as "young lions" of Tarshish. America could certainly be an "offshoot" of Britain.
Also make a mental note that in Ezekiel 39:6 God sends fire upon those who dwell safely in the "coastlands." Further reading confirms that this "fire" is probably a nuclear hit upon complacent nations who observe Russia's invasion of Israel without much protest or aid to Israel. This is a future war which could occur at any time. Russia has allied itself with Iran - which seems to fit this prophecy. This, too, may include complacent America who will do nothing to protect Israel.
(Don't forget to check-out the nuclear clean-up crew, a "task force," described in Ezekiel 39:12-15. It's an eye-opener).
Is She or Isn't She?
To conclude, scholars are divided as to the exact meaning of Scriptures which may or may not apply to America. Many give logical reasons why America is not the Babylon mentioned in Revelation 18 or Jeremiah 51. Others give ample reason why America is Babylon.
Some feel America fits Isaiah 18 - a land the rivers divide. Others don't. Numerous scholars feel America fits the merchants of Tarshish and the area of the coastlands struck down in Ezekiel 38&39.
Many feel that America fits prophecy "pattern" as we observe what appears to be God's judgment upon our nation since 9/11.
Our opinion is that America does fit a pattern of prophetic judgment occurring in our land today. We also suspect that many scholars are too restrictive with their interpretations because they don't want to believe that America may not fit a pivotal role in future world history.
Layers upon Layers of Meanings
We believe this because Scripture has shown itself to have multiple layers upon layers of meaning in other instances. In this reference, for example, Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 51 may refer to a future rebuilt Babylon. Yet, it may also refer to America as well. There is nothing in bible prophecy to suggest there is only one meaning to any given bible passage.
This is God's Word after all. He is most certainly capable of creating miraculous written materials which no man can duplicate. In fact, I think He has!
The Late Great USA
In any event, sadly America does not figure into end times events in a significant way. In order for the nations to fulfill prophecy this is the way it had to be.
Rather, the EU, Russia, China, and the Middle East are those nations who are rising to power as we march toward Armageddon. Soon those who are left behind will see the rise of a charismatic figure who will appear to be a new Savior - the antichrist.
As for me, beam me up, Lord! Please evacuate me off this planet. Soon! I want to be with You before the Great Tribulation occurs. (1 Thess. 4:17)
Hitchcock, Mark. 2002. Is America in Bible prophecy? Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Koenig, William. 2004. Eye to eye: Facing the consequences of dividing Israel. Alexandrea, VA: About Him.
Reagan, David R. 2003. America the beautiful? The United States in Bible prophecy. McKinney, TX: Lamb&Lion Ministires.
Walvoord, John F. 1974 (reprinted in 2007). Armadgeddon, oil and terror. Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale. Reprinted: JFW Publishing Trust.
River Map Photo courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers website
Author Valorie Mays Emilio received an M.A. in history from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins and a V.O.M. Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
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