America in Bible Prophecy
(Reading time: 5 minutes)
As an American, one of the first questions I have when considering end-times events is, “What role does America have in prophecy?” A study of the Bible doesn’t reveal any clear references to America, although scholars associate it with various images in scripture. Let’s examine some of those images.
One image in the Bible people associate with America is that of Babylon. Is the Babylon of the last days the ancient site in Iraq? Is it the apostate church? The world system? America?
There are similarities between America and the descriptions of Babylon in Jeremiah 50-51 and Revelation 18. It’s possible those passages will have multiple fulfillments, America being only one. If America is the Babylon of Jeremiah 50, a vicious attack from the north will destroy the country (50:3, 9, 41 and 51:48). The only countries north of America are Canada and Russia and the latter is the better candidate of the two for military aggression against us.
In Isaiah 18, there are two identical descriptions of an unidentified nation. In verse 2, it describes “a people tall and smooth-skinned, … a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers” (NIV). That is a fair description of today’s America. Verse 7 is a vague prophecy about that nation sending gifts to the Lord Almighty, to Mount Zion. Even if it does refer to America, it only means the nation sends gifts. It reveals nothing about the country’s condition; only that it’s aggressive and widely feared. This passage may not even pertain to the end times.
In Jeremiah 30:14, God says to Israel, “All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you.” Its context shows that the verse applies to the time of Jacob’s trouble, which most believe is the Great Tribulation. America has been Israel’s ally since 1948, but obviously won’t stand by Israel in the future.
Ezekiel 38 and 39, which describe the famous Magog invasion of Israel, include an interesting statement. “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezek. 39:6). “Coastlands” in Hebrew refers to coastal areas, islands and continents, which could include America. Our location on a separate continent has enabled us to “live in safety” through many military conflicts. This verse suggests either a cosmic or nuclear devastation that includes Magog and possibly America.
In Revelation 8:13 we read, “As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: ‘Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!'” “Midair” is a translation of a compound Greek word. The first part means mid or middle and the second part applies to anything above the earth, such as air, sky and heavens (including the location of God’s throne). This compound Greek word only appears three times in the New Testament, all in the book of Revelation. In addition to Revelation 8:13, it occurs in 14:6 (“angel flying in midair”) and 19:17 (“all the birds flying in midair”). So we can safely interpret “midair” as earth’s atmosphere or maybe the region just beyond, where satellites orbit. The national symbol of the United States happens to be an eagle. Could the “eagle that was flying in midair” and heard by many people be a description of a Christian satellite broadcast from America?
We often think of America as a Christian nation, so many believe it will continue to be strong until the Lord returns. This country’s founders wrote many Judeo-Christian principles into its law: justice, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, the equality of men, and more. Americans have supported more missionary and evangelistic efforts than any other people in history. There are churches in almost every community. We have “In God We Trust” on our money.
But America is not and never has been a Christian nation. Political processes run the government, not righteousness. Pleasure motivates the people, not righteousness. Legal precedent and clever lawyers determine justice, not righteousness. The heart of the people controls the heart of the nation and Americans focus on self, not God. America is a secular nation, based on some Judeo-Christian principles and containing Christian citizens. There will be Christians in America as long as Christians are in the world, but that doesn’t make America a Christian nation.
God always works with a remnant. He often chooses the few, the weak and the insignificant to reveal his own glory. Like Israel, America may have to experience devastation to purify the remnant. In fact, Israel believed its status as God’s chosen nation would protect it from hardship, and false prophets declared that God wouldn’t allow anything to happen to the nation. The people believed that right up to the moment their enemy conquered them. Similarly, many Americans believe God will protect our nation because of our Christian heritage, but that’s not the only factor to consider.
One clear principle in scripture is the spiritual Law of Accountability: to whom much is given, much is demanded (Luke 12:48). God has blessed America generously throughout our history but we are squandering much of his blessing on self-indulgence. As a nation, we have turned our back on him, made policies and laws that clearly violate his will, and embraced political correctness allegedly to avoid offending those having other beliefs. Unfortunately, the attitudes and lifestyles of many Christians in America are indistinguishable from those of non-Christians. We can’t expect God to continue blessing and protecting our nation unless Christian Americans radically turn back to God.
I don’t think America has a significant role in end-times Bible prophecy. Unless American Christians return to God, the nation’s present decline in world influence will continue.
People attribute several Bible images to America to speculate on the nation’s role in the end times. When we examine those images, we might conclude America doesn’t have a significant role in the biblical last days.