The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5 NIV)
For most of my adult Christian life, I dismissed the notion America was in the Bible. I thought national pride was behind this claim, or worse, a belief Western European-based culture was divinely favored over all others.
A deeper look at prophecy changed my opinion. The key is the word “nations”. (Try and follow the line of reasoning.) I saw that “nations” (plural) appeared more than 500 times in the NIV translation. Most of those times “nations” was connected to future events. That caught my attention.
What does God mean by “nations”? Genesis gives the answer. As numbers increased and people scattered in Chapter 10, nations with physical boundaries were formed. The origin of people groups and languages (the human element of nations) is explained in Genesis 11:1-9.
In the Bible’s next chapter, we learn of Abram, “Father of a Great Nation” (sing.). The nation made up of Abraham’s offspring (i.e. Jacob or Israel) received divine revelation. With this knowledge of God, the Israelites to be a light to all other nations and peoples.
I began to view “nations” (sometimes Gentiles) as the contrast to the one “nation” the Lord formed from Jacob (Israel). Through God’s chosen people, all nations on earth will be blessed.
Regardless what you may have been taught, Bible prophecy is centered on the regathering of Israel, the people. Soon there will be one Kingdom, made up of many nations, under One King (Acts 1:6). “The Church” is not prophecy’s focus, as many claim. In his last words before leaving earthActs 1:8, Jesus told his disciples that the Church is the means to an end, not the end itself. The age ends when disciples are made in every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20).
In the last days, the Church of Jesus Christ will be searching for the scattered tribes of Israel who are living among the nations (James 1:1). When the Lord’s lost sheep are found, they will be gathered as sheaves at the harvest. Then it will be as it was during David’s reign; Judah and Israel will be restored to oneness (Hosea 1:10-11, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 37:15-28).
Back to our original question: Is America in prophecy? Yes!–that is if we determine that America represents the nations. (I elaborate on this in the first chapter of The People of God.) Ponder the Latin motto minted on U.S. coins and printed on its currency, “e pluribus unum” or “from many one”. Many what? From many “nations” they came and they continue to come. Nations are in America’s makeup. The U.S. is a “Melting Pot”. With the exception of the slave trade, people arrived on Western shores seeking a better life. America has been a type of Canaan or a Promised Land.
This brings us to what convinced me America is in the Bible: It is Rule #5 of The Five Major Rules of Bible Interpretation, “Look for the Near/Far in prophecy.” I discovered that reading Jeremiah and the other prophets was like following the day’s news. The prophets declared God’s judgment on Israel then Judah for their idolatry. This is the “near”. The “far” is that these warnings apply to the end of this age.
It is time for God’s judgment on wickedness. The Lord will avenge the nations’ for their mistreatment of his people (i.e. devout Christians and Jews). Jeremiah’s prophecy was directed at Judea, yet God appointed him a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:6). This can mean only one thing: Prophecy is for the saints scattered to the four winds.
God loves the nations and has a glorious plan for them. America and the West’s punishment is coming soon. When it happens, the stage will be set for the final scene of earth’s Act II.
A few lines sum it up. They are from a half century ago and credited to the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan: “America is the last, best hope of freedom. When the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere.”
The light is going out. Then the Man of Lawlessness will have his moment in the spotlight.