Sunday, April 13, 2014
America In Biblical Prophecy? Where Does It Say That?
Is The USA In Biblical End Times Prophecy?
By Rev. Paul J. Bern
By now you all know or have heard and read the various arguments about America's role in Biblical prophecy, both pro and con. There are those who say the US isn't the Bible and many others who insist that it is. These folks have included everyone from master theologians to televangelists on the Christian TV channels to some pretty wild conspiracy theories posted on You-tube and other websites. I see no point in debating this or in blogging about it based on what has already been disseminated. Instead, as I always do, I'm going straight to the Word of God as my reference point. This is not about dogma, denominational exclusivity, nor is it about any particular version of the Bible being more “correct” than any or all others. This is based on a lot of research, study, prayer and meditation based on the Word of God, which surpasses the religious dogma of mankind.
So what will our starting point be? How can we make sense out of end times prophesy considering all the angles and points of view being discussed both within and outside of the Church? One good starting point is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter ten, verses 1-4, as it is written: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain.”
Who is it that makes unjust laws? Was this intended for groups of people, or races, or entire nations? First of all, discriminatory laws are based on all of the above. Laws that discriminate against people due to their race, nationality, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation – and especially for class and financial status – have no place in any 21st century society. Here in the US, we have or have had institutionalized discrimination based on all of the above for as long as I can remember, and I was born in the 1950's. During WWII, America forcibly incarcerated several hundred thousand Japanese Americans based solely on their race and ancestry. Then there were the “Jim Crow” laws that openly oppressed all black Americans up until the 1950's. As you know, there are significant vestiges against our black brothers and sisters that continue to make themselves known even as I write this. And let's not forget the genocide of Native Americans that has been ongoing for the last two hundred years.
Another form of discrimination still in force in modern times has been the enormously wasteful war on drugs (if you smoke cannabis, even for medical reasons, you're considered a criminal, but if you overdose on pills that you purchased legally, it's usually ruled to be accidental and it gets swept under the rug). As of 2014, 54% of all incarcerated inmates at the state and federal levels are locked up for nonviolent drug offenses – mainly simple possession cases – with well over 75% of these hapless individuals being people of color. Now there's a classic case of discrimination based on race, ethnicity and class. Last but not least, is the ticking time bomb of economic inequality. When you have a situation where 99% of any given country's wealth (not just America – but anyone) is in the hands of 1% of the population, you have a recipe for class warfare and civil unrest throughout the country. All of these things are the result of unjust laws and oppressive decrees whose source is the US government. And it is for this reason, among a few others, that America has been judged by God and found to be wanting.
“What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?” What was Isaiah talking about? “Days of disaster” from “afar” sounds a lot like a nuclear first strike or the battle of Armageddon. This has nothing to do with domestic terrorism. This is worded to look like anything from terrorism outside the US directed inward to a full amphibious military assault on American soil by way of external invasion. Before moving on, allow me to share another quote from the prophet Isaiah: “Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is within it, the world, and all the nations that come out of it! The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood (Isaiah chapter 34, verses 1-3, NIV). How does this read to you? I see the total obliteration of all the armies of the world, and the US will not escape unharmed – not by a long shot. God is sick and tired of all the countless centuries of fighting amongst mankind. He has had more than enough of those who are murderers, robbers, kidnappers, extortionists and rapists within the civilian population (not counting the military). God is enraged with the world's armies who kill and pillage their neighbors and other counties due to extreme covetousness on the part of all the governments and multinational corporations who forcefully put their profit margins ahead of the people they claim to be serving. So, God is going to wipe out all the world's armed services in one swift stroke, and what a horrible day that will be! God wins, and everybody who stands against him will lose, beginning with those for whom fighting has become a way to make a living.
Now that I have shared some quotes from the Old Testament, I will move on to the New Testament. As I do this, let me mention some related facts with regard to Bible prophecy. There are numerous examples of prophecy throughout the Bible that have to do with the end times that we are currently living in. In the overwhelming majority of these instances, these prophecies have to do with the fate of the nation of Israel, God's holy land. Much has been said about the fact that the United States doesn't seem to fit into Biblical prophecy, and that it is barely mentioned at all. By and large this is very true. But there is one place in the Bible where America is not only mentioned, but her fate is spelled out in stark and frightening detail. For that, we need to go all the way to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, where we will focus the remainder of this commentary on chapter 18.
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth have committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries. Then I heard another voice from heaven say, 'Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as a queen, I am not a widow, and I will never mourn'. Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her : death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” (Revelation 18, verses 2-10, NIV)
What is Babylon the Great? Is this a person, a place or a thing? It has been taught in the past that this is a reference to the Babylonian Empire that conquered the nation of Israel and carried her into captivity around 880 BC. There is a famous quote from Iraq's now-deceased dictator Saddam Hussein that he was going to resurrect this ancient empire and make it into a world power as in days of old. As you all know, this didn't quite work out as Saddam Hussein had planned. So we can discount that possibility by process of elimination. Others have taught erroneously that this was symbolism for the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, or for the Roman Empire, Napoleon's France or Hitler's Germany. But when we compare these possibilities to the ancient prophets such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Zachariah, or Joel – to name a few – Babylon the Great as foretold in Revelation simply doesn't match up with those passages of Scripture. So we conclude that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, and that horrific future will become the present much sooner rather than later based on Scripture. Since Babylon the Great is a world power based on what we have just read, that leaves only one possibility. What global powerhouse, both financial and military, fits this description? None other than the USA.
Let's examine this more closely, starting with verse two. “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit ... For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Has the US become a home for demons and evil spirits? We only need to look at today's news for the answer. There are mass shootings (and stabbings such as what just occurred this past week) in our nation's schools, at military bases, and out in the streets. Mayhem is running rampant and it continues to get ever worse. America is descending into a battlefield populated by murderers, armed robbers, rapists and thieves. People of all ages are being kidnapped or they disappear every time you turn around or look up. Sometimes their bodies are found, and it gets chalked up as a murder. Other times, and especially concerning our children, people disappear never to be seen or heard from again. This is usually because they are either kidnapped and sold on the black market by human traffickers, or because they are being sacrificed in satanic rituals that are nothing short of revolting. So we can now see clearly that the phrase “home for demons” is very accurate indeed. What is “the maddening wine of her adulteries”? This is far more than mere substance abuse or addiction, although those things do play a part. I think this represents all the espionage, cloak-and-dagger black operations, and political and military maneuvering behind the scenes both at home and abroad. From the Kennedy assassinations to Rev. Dr. King's brutal murder, from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to incidents of domestic terrorism such as Waco Texas, Ruby Ridge Idaho, Oklahoma City and the 9/11 attacks, America's “leadership” has been behind them all to one extent or another (they're called “false flag operations”). So as we translate this into 21st century English, the US government has been fooling around behind the scenes for decades as they engage in espionage in nearly every country in the world, playing both sides of the fence, pitting one opponent against another, and most recently by drone warfare.
“Come out of her, O my people, so that you may not share in her sins, so that you will not receive her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” There are at least two different explanations I have read about for this verse. The benign explanation comes from the apostle John's first book (among other examples) that says we are to be “in the world but not of it”. I suppose my own life could be an example of sorts, or at least to a certain extent. I live in a high-crime area for economic reasons that would take too long to explain, but no one will ever see me out in the streets doing anything like that – ever! There are still others, some Christian and some not, who have taken this passage literally by obtaining a passport and leaving the US for countries where the cost of living is lower (which is nearly everywhere else). Once they have established themselves, they renounce their American citizenship. Also, the “crimes” mentioned in this passage are everything I described above, and I regret to inform you all that my country, the United States, is guilty of all the above, and there are times when I feel ashamed about America. Not its people – just those in charge.
“Mix her a double portion of her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.” Evidently the US will get all their bad karma thrown back in her face, meaning that things within US borders will become as bad or worse than the most corrupt 3rd world nation anyone can think of. Pandemonium will reign supreme across America's landscape, and only those who put their complete trust in God and his only Son will escape unharmed. “Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her … She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'” What does it mean when it mentions “her plagues”? Some say it will be epidemics of various kinds, and I believe this is at least partially true, but I also think there is more to it than that. It is a little-known fact that America has the world's largest stockpile of germ warfare weaponry. The ongoing civil war in Syria is just one example. By now nearly everyone has seen the international news broadcasts about the Syrian people who were killed by chemical weapons of mass destruction. If you believe everything you see on the news – and who does anymore – you were force-fed false information that it was the Syrian government who launched these weapons after their own people. It wasn't until days later that it was determined that opposition rebels were the ones who may have used those weapons against their own people. Where did these Syrian rebels get these weapons? They most definitely didn't have the resources to go out and buy such awful weapons. That leaves only one other possibility – none other than the United States. Our own country supplied the rebels for these WMD's, and they had the CIA's fingerprints all over them. Now that's what I mean by a false flag attack! But, it's the last verse of this passage of Scripture that sends chills up and down my back: “In one hour your doom has come!'” This is not a typo, people. When America falls, it will happen quite literally in one hour, like turning off an electric light. There is more to back this up further down in this same chapter of Revelation, so let's begin to conclude this Spiritual fact-finding mission by taking up where we left off at verse 11.
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon, spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and carriages; and the bodies and souls of men … Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'. Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who had been killed on the earth.'” (Rev. 8, verses 11-13, verses 17-24, NIV)
“The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore... “. I could end this commentary right about here and simply say that this is a prediction and a prophecy regarding America for the near future, but that's only part of the explanation. As I write this, the US still has the world's largest economy, but it will remain so only up to about 2016, which will be the year that Red China's economy will overtake and surpass that of the US. At that point, the US dollar will no longer be able to maintain its position as the world's reserve currency of choice, and the dollar will either have to be devalued or it will suffer a total crash – the likes of which no one has ever seen before (it will make the Great Depression of the 1930's look like child's play). This is the first two and the most palatable options for what will happen to the US economy in the next 2 to 3 years. But what if it's not just the US that goes belly up? That leads me to the second possible conclusion, which would be a total collapse of Capitalism as an economic system. This would make the above passage of Scripture from Revelation something to be taken symbolically rather than literally. “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all those who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, 'Was there ever a city like this great city?' They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.” “The great city” could very well be New York City or Washington, DC. Then again, this could be symbolism for an economic system and not just one country – a truly terrifying possibility. Either scenario would create unimaginable chaos across our land as well as the other Capitalist countries in Western Europe and Asia, and let's not forget Australia while we're at it. But check out what John wrote further down: “Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!” There it is again; the prediction that the US will not only fall, but that she will never rise again, and it will all be over with in just one hour. Of course, there will be some who dismiss this commentary straight out of hand, and they will say, “Who does Pastor Bern think he is? Why, he never even graduated from a seminary!” I will only respond that I have taken this straight out of the Scriptures. My word may be refutable to some, but the Word of God is irrefutable! Be careful that these dire predictions don't fall from out of the blue and hit you right in the head. There is no substitute for God's Word, so there can be no argument about that.
“Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'.” This implies that there will be religious persecution of Christians in America, something that has previously never happened up until now. This is not a drill, this is the real deal. There is one last prophecy that needs to be mentioned here, and it reads as follows: “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: 'With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” This can only be explained as a meteor or comet strike upon the earth. There is nothing else that fits this description. So, insofar as this is possible, it must be taken very seriously. Otherwise, like Babylon the Great, America will be obliterated. So there you have it: the United States is in Bible prophecy all right, but not in the way the majority of churches and denominations are anticipating – nowhere near, in point of fact. The time for all of us to get ready for these events – and they will occur, it's only a question of when – is today, while we still have time and while we still have a choice. So until next week at this same time, keep a close eye on current events globally, particularly in the US and Israel, keep on studying your Bible, and continue to look upward for any sign of our Lord's return. Shalom!