America the Beautiful? The United States in Bible Prophecy

by Dr. David R. Reagan

Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? It is a ques­tion I am asked wherever I go. It is only natural that we should wonder. Since the United States is not mentioned specifically by name in Bible prophecy, people have resort­ed to their ima­ginations to find our nation in the Scriptures.

A “tall and smooth people”?

Some have pointed to Isaiah 18 which speaks of a peo­ple “tall and smooth” who are “feared far and wide.” The passage further states that this is a “powerful nation whose land the rivers divide.” The chapter ends by stating that the people of this nation will bring “a gift of homage” to the Lord when He returns to reign from Mt. Zion.

Because these verses speak of a powerful nation whose land is divided by a great river, some have jumped to the conclusion that the nation is the United States since it is divided by the Mississippi River.

But the open­ing verses of this chapter indicate it is speak­ing of “Cush,” the ancient name of Ethiopia. At the time Isaiah wrote this passage, Ethiopia was a part of the Egyp­tian empire and the river referred to is undoubtedly the Nile.

A “village” of Tarshish?

Probably one of the most popular passages where peo­ple claim to have found the U.S. is in Ezekiel 38 where the pro­phet describes an invasion of Israel that will be launched in the end times by a nation “from the remote parts of the north.” The descriptive verses about the northern power make it clear that this nation is Russia. What is not so clear is where the U.S. fits into this invasion.

Those who find us in the passage point to Ezekiel 38:13 which says that “the merchants of Tarshish and all its villag­es” (or “young lions” depending on translation) will speak out against the invasion. The argument is that Tarshish is Britain and the “villages” or “young lions” are the English speaking nations like the U.S. and Australia that were foun­ded by British immigrants.

To say the least, this is a highly imaginative interpreta­tion. Its validity is seriously questioned by the fact that no one knows for certain the true identity of “Tarshish.” Fur­ther­more, recent archaeological develop­ments indicate that Tarshish was most likely Spain, not Brit­ain.

A “great eagle”?

Another favorite passage for applied imagination is Rev­ela­tion 12:13-17. These verses state that in the middle of the Tribulation God will provide a means of escape for the Jew­ish remnant in Israel. They will be carried into the wil­der­ness to a hiding place on the “wings of a great eagle.”

Some people have seized on this imagery to teach that the U.S., whose national symbol is the eagle, will supply the end time air lift that will save the Jewish remnant.

But the Bible is its own best interpreter. And when you look up the phrase, “wings of an eagle,” you will find that it is the same one that God used in Exodus 19:4 to describe how He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. God is the ea­gle, not the United States (see Deuteronomy 32:11).

“Babylon the great?”

This brings us to the final and most widely used pas­sage for identifying the U.S. in Bible prophecy. It is Revela­tion 18 where the destruction of “Babylon the great” is de­scribed.

There is no doubt that the United States shares many simi­larities with the corrupt commercial empire described in this chapter. But the U.S. is not a fulfillment of Revelation 18. That chapter is describing the last Gentile world empire that will dominate the earth at the time of the Lord’s Sec­ond Coming. It is the empire of the Antichrist.

A Conclusion

So, where is the United States in Bible prophecy? The an­swer is that we are not mentioned directly and specifical­ly. We are cov­ered by general prophecies that relate to all nations, but beyond that, our end time destiny must be a matter of spec­ulation.

General prophecies that apply to the U.S. include those that say all nations will be judged (Isaiah 34:2-3) and all na­tions will cease to exist except the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28).

A Speculation

I personally believe that the reason the U.S. is not men­tioned in end time prophecy is because we will suddenly cease to be a world power and will therefore play no signifi­cant role in end time events.

The destruction of American power is most likely to occur in two stages. The first could be an economic catastrophe that will result from our out of control debt situation. Our god is the dollar, and the Lord is going to destroy that god when the weight of our debt collapses our economy.

The second stage could occur when Russia launches its invasion of Israel (pro­phesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39). I believe it is very likely that they will launch a preemptive nuclear at­tack against our nation, since we are the only country in the world that might possi­bly come to Israel’s defense. This attack may be hinted at in Ezekiel 39:6 where it says that fire will fall on “those who inhabit the coastlands in safety.”

The Russian attack will prob­ably come from sub­marines deployed off our East and West coasts. Each Rus­sian sub carries more fire pow­er than all the bombs dropped in World War II. Such an attack would give us only seven minutes warn­ing, not even enou­gh time to launch a counter attack.

With the U.S. immobilized, the Russians will then attack Israel and, according to Ezekiel, their army will be wiped out su­pernaturally by God on the hills of Israel (Ezekiel 39:1­4). The greatest power vacuum in the history of mankind will be created almost overnight. The world will be gripped by panic.

Into that vacuum will step a dynamic, charismatic Euro­pean political personality who will be energized by Satan. He will begin to rally the world to his support through his brilliant proposals for world peace. The world will be mes­merized by him (Revelation 13:8).

An Objection

Some argue that since the collapse of the Soviet gov­ernment, Russia is now too weak to launch any attack against Israel or the Untied States. It is true that the econo­my of Russia is in shambles, but the military power is intact, including thousands of nuclear warheads!

In fact, Russia is far more dangerous to the world today than before the Soviet collapse. The increased danger is rooted in the instability of the government.

There is no hope for de­mocracy in Russia because the societal values that are es­sential for the working of a demo­cratic system do not exist. Nor is there any histori­cal expe­rience with democracy. Be­fore the Commissars were the Czars.

The current experiment with democracy will not last long. It will be overthrown, most likely by a coup that will produce a military dictatorship. That new tyranny will then most likely resort to one of the oldest techniques of govern­ment — namely, stirring up trouble abroad to divert people’s attention away from their domestic problems. That foreign trouble will be the invasion of Israel.

The Parallel of Habakkuk

I admit that I do not like this speculative scenario. But it seems the most likely chain of events to me. When it first occurred to me, I was particularly repelled by the idea of God using Russia to judge our nation. I asked, “How can a holy God punish those who are evil with those who are more evil?”

My quest for an answer to that ques­tion led me to the book of Habakkuk. I discovered that Habakkuk asked God the same question when God re­vealed to him that Judah would be judged by an invasion of the Chalde­ans.

God never answered Habakkuk’s question. He just called on Habakkuk to proceed in faith, believing that God knew best (Habakkuk 2:4). After a difficult spiritual struggle, Ha­bak­kuk stepped out in faith and said, “Lord, even if the Chaldeans complete­ly destroy us, I will continue to exalt Your name” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The Chaldeans came. They destroyed the nation of Judah and the Temple of God. But where are the Chalde­ans to­day? In the dust bin of history. Where are the Jews? Re­gathered to their land.

The point is that God has the wis­dom and power to or­chestrate the evil of Man to the tri­umph of His holy will in history. It is not for us to question His ways. Rather, it is for us to trust Him.

A Sobering Conclusion

But there is another point to consider. Are we really more righteous than the Russians? I think not.

In fact, I be­lieve we are far more dangerous to the world spiritually than the Russians have ever been, for we are the world’s moral polluter through the export of our sleazy television pro­grams, our filthy mov­ies, our satanic music, and our de­grading pornog­raphy.

We are a people who have turned our back on God. The day of judgment for us will be far more severe than for the Russians, for “to those to whom much is given, much is expected” (Luke 12:48).

Another Possibility

There is another possible fate for the United States. If the Rapture were to occur today, we would be devastated because our nation contains more born again Christians than any other nation in the world — more than all of Western Europe combined. Further, we have many born again Christians in high positions of commerce and government. The Rapture would reduce our nation to chaos, removing us from the international scene as the world’s dominant power.

We can hope and pray that this will be the destiny of our nation, because if it is not, we are headed toward outright destruction due to our rebellion against a gracious God who has blessed us more than any other nation that has ever existed.