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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 09 2024

Does the United States appear in Bible prophecy?

Prophecies make up a fourth to a third of the Bible, but the scriptures that identify the United States and other English-speaking nations, and give knowledge about their future, are not widely taught or understood.

God's prophets accurately foretold the rise and fall of great empires and nations, and sometimes specific kings. Many of these prophecies, including those dealing with the United States and other major modern day English-speaking nations, were delivered thousands of years before their fulfillment. In the book of Genesis God made specific promises to Abram, whose name was changed to Abraham: "Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great…. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed'" (Genesis 12:1-3).

Two promises are contained within God's statement to Abram. The first is that God would cause his descendants to become "a great nation." Many think modern Jews fulfill this prophecy but, although significant, the Jewish people have constituted a relatively small nation in world history. Modern nation states such as the United States, China, India, Russia, Germany, Britain and others have far exceeded them in terms of national greatness. God's promises of national greatness to Abraham's descendants have been fulfilled among other great nations related to the Jewish people.

Most Christians generally acknowledge the second part of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12—that "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." This deals principally with the saving knowledge of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, and God's gift of eternal life through Him. However, God also intended Abraham's descendants to play other significant roles in the history of mankind.

God expanded His national promises to Abraham in Genesis 13:16: "I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered." Then, when Abraham was 99 years old, God visited him again, revealing not just a single nation, but multiple nations would descend from him: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you" (Genesis 17:6).

At first God told Abraham his descendants would possess and rule over the land of Canaan: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever" (Genesis 13:14-15). Then God, in a dream to Abraham's grandson, Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, extended this promise to include vast regions of the earth far beyond the Middle East: "Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south" (Genesis 28:14).

Later, God told Jacob his descendants would come "a nation and a company of nations" (Genesis 35:11), but this promise of national expansion beyond Canaan was never fulfilled in biblical times. After having reached the peak of their power during Solomon's reign, the tribes of Israel split into two competing kingdoms at his death. The ten tribes of the northern part of the land of Israel formed the kingdom or "house" of Israel. Two tribes of the south, Judah and Benjamin (along with most of the scattered priestly tribe of Levi), formed the smaller "house" of Judah.

Both of these small Middle Eastern states disappeared off the map in ancient times. First, Israel was taken into captivity through invasions by the Assyrian Empire, one in 733 B.C. and another in 722 B.C. Because of their many sins, as 2 Kings 17:23 tells us, "the Lord removed Israel out of His sight...So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria…." They became known to history as "the lost 10 tribes" of Israel.

The kingdom of Judah, repeating Israel's sins, was conquered and exiled by the Babylonian Empire in 586 B.C. Only a small group of exiles of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi (Nehemiah 11:3-36) returned from Babylon to set up the politically weak provinces where Jesus Christ's ministry took place. After two disastrous rebellions against Rome from A.D. 66-73 and 132-135, Jewish power was shattered. They were only reestablished as the modern state of Israel in 1948.

Jacob, or Israel, was the father of 12 sons who founded the 12 tribes of Israel. When he went to Egypt to be reunited with his son Joseph, God inspired specific prophecies of national greatness to Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, who would grow to become great powers on earth (Genesis 48:16). Just before he died, "Jacob called his sons and said, 'Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days'" (Genesis 49:1). : "Joseph is a fruitful bough...his branches run over the wall...The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob" (verses 22-24). "The Almighty...will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breast and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph" (verses 25-26).

Jacob revealed the descendants of Joseph would become two great peoples—brother nationalities. Those descended through his son Manasseh would become a great people, while those who would come through his other son, Ephraim, would become a group or multitude of nations (Genesis 48:19). These prophecies of Israel's global greatness have been fulfilled by two geopolitical powers on the world stage in the last two centuries.

Descended from Ephraim was the group of nations that formed out of the greatest empire the world has ever seen, the British Empire. It ruled over five times the territory of the Roman Empire, and four times the number of people. Its territory encompassed almost a quarter of the earth's population and surface. Out of this power came the British-descended countries of the Commonwealth of Nations—Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

From Manasseh came the great single nation. Its people dwelt with the Ephraimites in Great Britain until it was time for their separation through westward colonization and a war for independence — the American Revolution, and the resulting nation of the United States. The post World War II period saw America rise to replace the British Empire as the world's wealthiest and most dominant nation. Since World War II, up to half of the wealth of the world was owned by America. Militarily, as Britain dominated the 19th century, America dominated the 20th. These and other prophecies also show what is going to happen next to the United States—as well as all the British-descended nations, if they drifted away from God.