Before you read this, I need to explain that I am not American but an outsider about 13/14,000 km away, but for 60 years I have tried to study the USA and what happens there. Don’t be too hard on me!
American Christians are concerned about the morality cliff over which the nation is plunging, and seek to identify with something biblical to explain what they see around them. The decline in the United States is on all fronts – church attendances are declining; lawlessness is becoming unstoppable; the rise of anarchists and radicals is most alarming; there is a breakdown in co-operative government; financial problems are escalating; Hollywood produces social agenda garbage; the quality of education and the curriculum are in freefall; crime rates are increasing; people are beginning to lose faith in and respect for the judiciary.
How do the United States Christians identify with that? In fairness, those problems are not just confined to the United States these days, but are symptomatic of our times in all but authoritarian nations.
With recognition of what the country has become, there is fear as to where it is heading. People want answers. Christians want answers. They look to the Bible for these, and the desire to “find it in the Bible” is great. However, the danger is to write into the Bible what it never intended, and then from silence, to develop a systematic platform for resolving the place of America in the world of the Bible. That then gets hooked into a biblical prophetic distortion that must include the United States at all costs. How rational is all this when considered against the accepted and proper exegesis of scripture? Does the USA really feature in the prophecy of the Bible?
I will seek to answer all this, for I find it unacceptable that Christians would distort scripture to make the square peg fit the round hole. I was very surprised to find that some of those accepted views on the United States and prophecy are quite common. I did not think it was until I did Google searches, and there seems just so much. Why would this be?
To begin with, I want to say something that is going to brand me badly, I feel, but remember I am an outsider, an observer who has reacted with Americans for over 60 years in a lesser way, but sufficient to form some subjective opinions.
In my nation, many consider the average American to be quite parochial, that is, very much absorbed nationally with not too much knowledge of the outside world. In other words, the United States is everything, and all must conform to the United States standard. Not too much leeway is granted for the opinions and attitudes of those outside the United States. I cite franchises here that, when they operate in other nations, they must conform to the very inch how the buildings are constructed (McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, Wendy’s, etc.) and to the exact style and colors of uniforms, etc. That gives the message, “We know what is best for everyone else.”
I don’t want to be misunderstood here. I want to say that it can breed a subtle impression that “We are the best,” and “We are right.”
When you believe you are the world leader (probably justifiably so), then the next step is to think you are important enough for God to take note and include you in the prophecy of the Bible. If that is so, then why did God not do the same for the great Empire of Spain or Britain or France or China? What is so special about the United States that it must have specific prophecy relating just to it?
I must be honest here. Every one of these specific prophecies I have seen mentioned by people when they claim them for the United States has been taken out of context, and that makes a distorted exegesis and does harm to the Bible.
It is in the same boat as those who take Ezekiel chapter 1 and build into it a doctrine of alien visitation.
Why would God speak of the United States or put secret things in the Bible that the educated find and make a connection to the United States? It just makes no logical sense.
Prophecy must be logical and must be interconnected. That is why the entire body of prophetic writings is integrated into a network that is entire, WITH ISRAEL AT THE CENTER. What connection did China have with Israel in the days of the prophets? What connection did the United States have with Israel 2 and 3 thousand years ago?
The answer is obvious and is why all nations outside of the biblical references are not included in any specific prophecy. God is consistent about that. Many HOPE the United States is in prophecy because they think their country is too important not to be there. That, though, does not make it work.
I have covered two reasons why the United States is omitted from prophecy. In summary –
- All biblical prophecy that is specific and not general is related to the nations of the biblical times. That is why so much centers around the promises for Israel, the armies of the invaders, the future Tribulation and restoration of Israel, and the downfall of so many of the idolatrous nations surrounding Israel.
There are a few general prophecies also, the best ones being the ones related to “In the last days” as in Timothy, and the Rapture in 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thess 4. In none of these is any country mentioned or alluded to.
- Prophecy connected with the nations had a connection with Israel. Canada never did. Australia never did. Thailand never did. The United States never did, and that is why all those nations do not feature in any way with specific prophecies for them. Do not make it do so. It is wrong and dishonoring to do it.
There are very few instances where more widespread nations have the slightest mention. These are not actually named nations, but generalities. I will give a few (all NASB):
Psalm 97:1 “The LORD reigns. Let the earth rejoice. Let the many islands be glad.”
Isaiah 49:1 “Listen to Me, O islands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named Me.” (“Islands” – often distant countries)
Jeremiah 6:22 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, a people is coming from the north land, and a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth.” (Reference to Babylon).
Ezekiel 38:6 “Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops — many peoples with you.” (It really means the far remote places, way up north.)
Zechariah 12:3 “And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
Zechariah 14:2 “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured.”
Gentile nations are ONLY EVER mentioned if they had a connection with Israel in biblical times, either with war or blessing or destruction. The United States can only be included where I have underlined above.
So why do people desire for the United States to be included in specific prophecy?
Is it for a sense of fulfillment?
Is it for a sense of pride? Is it that God just possibly could not have overlooked the United States? I think that is a question that should be examined.
Khomeini called the United States the great Satan. Mao Zedong called it a paper tiger, but God has called it nothing. It does not make the Bible record. The United States is a nation that has done a lot of good in the world (promotion of Christian material, evangelists, saving Australia in WW2, protecting free nations of the world), and still does a lot of good, but also produced a lot of evil (Hollywood, the porn industry, greed).
It is a nation God has blessed, and I think will continue to bless while it supports Israel with the current president.
However, we all know that the great sadness is that it is decaying from within (or, if you like, “coming apart” like a mix of iron and clay), but so is almost every nation of the world. The United States is a member of the world community and shares its destiny with the nations of the world. It has no prophetic links to Israel. Christians are not bad people, and the misguided views of the United States that some of them have, in a certain way, are understandable. “We want to find our destiny. We hope we are there in the Bible.” Some Americans hope they are there. As nations, specifically, neither the whole of North and South America, nor Australia, nor sub-Equatorial Africa, nor SE Asia have specific prophecies attached to them.
Because the United States is or was so rich with trading and enterprises and in military hardware, then certain ones have looked on the United States as being Babylon, even Great Babylon, or Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18. Some want to relate the current move to apostasy in the United States to Babylon – a mixture of truth and utter confusion. It might be understandable that Americans would want to do this, but that again is problematic because of the introverted nature of the American psyche in a few, where SOME Christians think that their nation MUST be in scripture.
In the history of Babylon, we begin with Nimrod, who established Babel, a place of rebellion against God. He and his wife/mother Semiramis and son Tammuz (Read The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop) created a commercial and religious organization that infiltrated the whole known world. It confused the true worship of Jehovah (Babel means confusion).
Babel grew into Babylon that eventually became a world power (the first and the finest [head of gold]) that had an impact on Israel. The Pharaoh dynasties did not really impact Israel as a world power as did Babylon, Media Persia, Greece, and Rome. Babylon conquered Judah around 597 BC under Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews have never been a free and nationalized people since that time until 1947/48.
Of course, Babylon continues as Iraq generally today, though borders have come and gone. Assyria covered much of Syria and Iraq. However, I will distinguish between Babylon the nation, and Babylon the system. No more mention is made of Babylon as a nation in the Bible outside of the Old Testament, apart from passing references in Acts 7:43 and an improbable one in 1 Peter 5:13. It is not until Revelation that we read of Babylon, but what is the Babylon here?
In 312 AD Constantine the great had his great victory at the Milvian Bridge, which he attributed to a supernatural vision of a cross and words saying, “By this you shall conquer.” He renounced paganism and allegedly became a Christian. Then he made all his soldiers to be baptized, and they joined (flooded into) the church. The problem there was that, in the main, they were unconverted, and they consequently brought all their pagan practices into the church. In time, some of the old Babylonian elements became incorporated in Christian doctrine; and over the centuries, they became absolute doctrine in the Roman Catholic church.
I won’t try to give a comprehensive list of practices, but they include the adoration/worship of the Mother/Child deity, the doctrine of the Queen of Heaven, the wafer as a round symbol of the Sun god, and the wearing of vestments. The scholarly study of these, and a whole lot more, is found in The Two Babylons.
Now, what you have in the above is the functioning of the Babylonian system. This system has infiltrated all religions of the world and brought confusion and degeneracy of belief. The system is alive today.
What of the nation of present-day Iraq? There is no prophecy for that nation as a specific item, though no doubt it will become an adherent of the power base for the World Leader after the Rapture (the Antichrist, if you like). On the other hand, its system is energized and will form the basis of the Revelation Babylon.
Let us move to those Revelation references. There are 7 references: one in chapter 14 and the remainder in chapters 17 and 18. Chapter 17 is the destruction of religious Babylon, and chapter 18 is the downfall of commercial Babylon. The great question among scholars is what does Babylon represent here – an actual new construction of Babylon, or a site somewhere which assumes the name Babylon, or a religious and commercial system that follows the millennia confusion of this evil system? And – – – the United States?
The first question we ask is how and why would a new Babylon be built? There is no logical sense for this, for it would have to be absolutely huge. The timeframe is against it as this system operates through the Tribulation, and such a construction would take years. This notion was popularized by the Left Behind series of books. There is absolutely no reason for it except to satisfy a wrong understanding of Babylon in Revelation that some presume has to be a place or city. It makes no sense.
A site somewhere that assumes the name Babylon is likewise a silly notion. One can understand through a careful reading of Rev 18 that commercial Babylon is worldwide and totally comprehensive. That is way beyond the suggestion of a specific location.
The third option of it being a system is the one that has the only credibility.
Babylon is an octopus-strangling system that controls the whole world religion and commerce in the Tribulation.
The influence of Babylon is already in religion, but after the Rapture, its evil will be paramount. The study of Revelation shows clearly that the worship under the False Prophet will be a satanic, drug-induced, evil system. That is more in fitting with a Babylonian system than a particular city with that name. It means functionality and interactive trade made rich by the evil of the Antichrist and False Prophet and favoritism, until the Antichrist and False Prophet turn on Babylon at the end.
There is an interesting verse in Rev 17:9; “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.” We have here a twofold possibility. “Mountain” in prophecy means a kingdom/nation as in Isaiah 2:2; “Now it will come about that In the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it.” However, it has been noted since the time of the early Church fathers that Rome is the city of the seven hills – The seven hills are Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, Viminal Hill.
This has caused some commentators to say that Mystery Babylon of the Tribulation will be the Roman Catholic church as the Vatican is in Rome.
I reject that. I do think it is most likely the headquarters of the Tribulation apostate church. This Mother of Harlots will be in Rome, and the Vatican will play a part, as will the apostate elements of all of Christendom and all other world religions. The Roman Catholic church may be “babylonian” in some beliefs and practices, but it is not THE religious Babylon of Rev 17.
The fourth option some promote is that the United States now is the Babylon of the future post-Rapture. That is just wrong. The timeframe is wrong; the concept is wrong; why not make it China, as that nation is a match for the United States in commercialization, but more cunning and more apostate than the USA. To claim the United States as the great whore or the commercial Babylon of Rev 18 is just another parochial introspection to try to force the nation into biblical prophecy when it is not there. If the United States was a righteous and clean nation, then students would not be making the Babylon claims.
It is likely that commercial Babylon will have an operations base somewhere in the world, as does the UN with its headquarters in Brussels, but if that is the case, then I’d expect it to be in Europe (a lesser possibility is the Middle East), considering that will be the powerbase of the Revived Roman Empire.
What is the backbone of the United States at present? It is not its military might; it is not its innovation; it is not its Constitution; it is not its capitalistic enterprises… it is the Christians. The morality of Christians and God’s good hand on the nation is only because of its Christian confession. Once you remove that at the Rapture, then the nation sinks into the moral abyss that will be the feature of all the nations of the world post-Rapture. The world becomes a morality mess, out of which will rise a satanic worship system to be known as “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH,” in God’s eyes (Rev 17), and also “Babylon the great which has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev 18) as the world plies its trading.
There is an especially errant internet site that tries to defend America as Babylon. People who do this will go to great lengths to strain scripture through the eye of a needle, and that is what this site does. As proof that America is the great Babylon, it proposes these reasons, all developed from Revelation 17 and 18:
Proof #1: Deep Sea Water Port – Because of the mention of ships and the sea in Rev 18:17-19, then America qualifies.
Proof #2: Top Financial/Military Power Rev 17:9, 18 and 18:18; has to be America as it is the chief economic power of the world and the greatest importer and (infamously) consumer of goods and resources in the world per capita.
Proof #3: Babylon Must Have A Recognizable Mother Country. “Unlike all the other countries named” [by the site], America has a clearly recognizable mother country. Yes, Great Britain is the “Mother Babylon” of Jeremiah 50:12, which “Daughter Babylon” came from. Great Britain will watch as her closest and most powerful ally is destroyed in a single day, a single hour. (Putin boasted once that he could destroy America in half that time.)”
Then it goes on to talk about the eagle wings describing Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel and the American eagle. This is the type of distorted interpretation these advocates of America = Babylon contrive, attempting to prove a delusion unsupported by the Bible. I have just read an interesting article from a site called “Feed the Hunger” in Burlington, NC, and would like to add some quotes from it:
[Let’s look at some aspects of Babylon the Great that are mentioned in Revelation. It is easy to see how America has brought prosperity to the earth, yet has caused the world to get drunk on her adulteries (Rev. 18:3). It also has a vast shoreline that would put its destruction in plain view (verses 17-18). There are several other compelling similarities. However, our country has not yet come even remotely close to persecuting and killing Christians (17:6 & 18:24). Currently in America, there are only rare cases of persecution, and they pale in comparison to what millions of believers in other countries have endured and continue to endure on a daily basis.
Another problem I have with the “America-equals-Babylon” viewpoint is that I sense there are strong and deeply rooted hints of nationalistic pride in the hearts of some of those who believe our country is God’s best, yet also worst creation ever. God is not sitting on his throne draped in our flag and speaking English, but He does deeply care for every soul.
Lastly, my main hurdle with staking a vehement claim that America is now Babylon the Great is that it means you have to completely ignore the Middle Eastern context of the Bible. Yes, Revelation is perhaps the main book in God’s Word that speaks of what happens to the whole earth, and America could be Babylon. But, in my opinion, this cannot be proven until all of the events of Revelation have taken place.
My bottom line: At the very least, America has the spirit of Babylon the Great, and that is enough for me to have grave concern for our country’s future. What’s worse, the main cause of this spirit, in my mind, is the failure of the American Church. The Body of Christ has made the downward progression from being the driving force at our nation’s founding to being (spiritually) anemic and lazy pew sitters who don’t live different from the country’s non-believing population. We’ve turned a blind eye to sin and actually built our “faith” around self-indulgence, believing that God owes us whatever we ask.]
- The United States is not featured in biblical prophecy. It had no relationship to biblical events or lands or conflicts or prophetic promises that connect it with Israel. It has no more relevance to prophecy than has China, Japan, Mexico or Canada.
- The United States is not Babylon or the Great whore or Mystery Babylon. In one way, it is becoming “babylon” in the sense of confusion, the meaning of the word, but so is every other western country.