The United States in Bible Prophecy?
Is the United States of America mentioned in the Bible? Many prophecy teachers and scholars believe it is. I have heard many claims made that The United States is found in several places in the scriptures.
This chapter, Isaiah eighteen, is one of those places.
A United Trip to Ethiopia
I remember several years ago a well-known pastor went to Ethiopia with another pastor friend. They went to claim a fulfillment of prophecy; this particular prophecy found in Isaiah eighteen.
They went to Ethiopia because it is mentioned in this passage. A gift, or present, is also mentioned along with a raised banner, a powerful nation, and messengers crossing waters in swift boats.
A Powerful Nation
They interpreted the words, ‘powerful nation…whose land the rivers divide,’ to be a reference to the United States. The pastors brought a gift of money from the United States. It was a generous gift of money offered by Christians to the people of Israel. The pastors believed their efforts to bring the money to the foreign country fulfilled prophecy.
The money came from the United States and was sent to Ethiopia. From there a banner was raised and greetings were sent to a friend in Israel.
Phone a Friend
The pastors called a friend who had connections with Bibi Netanyahu, the leader of Israel. They asked to have a message sent to the Prime Minister that Bible prophecy was fulfilled because the gift, from the United States, was brought to Ethiopia. The gift was offered, thus, prophecy fulfilled. I don’t think they heard back from Bibi, but the gift was passed on to the Jewish Nation non-the-less.
I say, “Nice try.”
We can’t make prophecy happen by trying to fulfill the various components of a prophecy. God fulfills prophecy. People, nations, and yes gifts may be involved but God brings it all to completion in his timing. He does it His way, he doesn’t need us to go to Ethiopia with a pallet of cash to make it happen.
A Square Peg in a Round Hole
I bring this story up because of the many, many times people try to fit things into the Bible that just don’t belong. The whole square peg in a round hole scenario fits here. If it doesn’t fit, don’t keep trying.
The United States is not mentioned in this chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy. To squeeze it in somehow is a big stretch. Remember, “what’s the clear and simple reading of the text?” If it says Cush, or Ethiopia, depending on your translation, you should assume the text means that area of the world where Ethiopia is.
More than one powerful nation
Just because there is a mention of a powerful nation, that is not a good reason to think it is a reference to The United States.
If the text mentions a nation divided by rivers, one shouldn’t assume that means the ‘mighty Mississippi River’ that runs through The United States. There are plenty of rivers in Ethiopia. There’s actually an abundance of rivers that course their way through the country. Don’t stretch and pull the text to make it mean what you want it to.
Pastors are not perfect…some just think they are. 🙂
If your pastor makes a claim like this; you do have the right to question his interpretation. Always be respectful, but pastors do make mistakes. It’s true, they aren’t perfect. I am a pastor, and I can vouch for that fact. We ain’t perfect, just ask my wife. She’s happy to confirm that.
I wouldn’t even suggest you mention it to the pastor if you object to something like the story I just told. Do your own study, research, get into some good bible study tools and find a way to support your interpretation. Do the hard work that’s necessary while digging into the Word.
Effective study of the Bible
All of those who think of themselves as faithful students of God’s Word should learn to do their own effective study of the Bible.
We can’t just trust what’s coming from the pulpit or the television show, even if the pastor has a nice head of hair. 🙂 I’m joking of course but people are gullible and many assume the words coming from the pulpit are always inspired and full of truth.
We must learn to do our own study. Check it with scripture. Use good study tools. Get into a good Bible study group and check your ideas with other Christians who have good study habits.
If you or a friend get most of your biblical understanding from a YouTube preacher, you might need a little refresher on your study habits.
Here are a couple interesting quotes from experienced Bible commentators regarding this chapter.
“To us, this brief chapter is the most difficult one of all the sixty-six chapters of Isaiah.” (Bultema) “Although the prophecy is a short one, it probably ranks as the most obscure chapter in this entire section.” (Wolf) “This is one of the most obscure prophecies in the whole Book of Isaiah.” (Clarke)
What do you see in this chapter?
I’m going to do something a little different with this post. I’m going to leave you with the text below and let you consider the passage without any more comments from me.
Come to your own conclusions. Do you see the United States in the chapter? If so where and how did you come to that conclusion? Have you seen America in prophecy? I think there are a couple hints in other passages, but nothing definitive. What have you found in your own studies or who is a teacher you trust who believes they have found such a passage?
Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, which sends ambassadors by sea, even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying, “Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide.”
Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:
Shadowed with buzzing wings:
Which sends ambassadors by sea:
Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin:
All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. For so the LORD said to me, “I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey and for the beasts of the earth; the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
When he lifts up a banner…blows a trumpet:
He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut the branches:
they will be left together for the mountain birds of prey.
In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth of skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide; to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion.
A present will be brought to the Lord…to Mount Zion.
to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion.