The USA in prophecy ?

When ever I have taught regarding the Last Days and the return of Christ, someone will ask if what we see occurring today in the Middle East is prophesied in the Bible. My response has always been that some things appear similar to things described in prophecy, but there is insufficient scriptural information to confirm these events as biblical prophecy.

For example, during Desert Storm many people read Scripture like it paralleled the daily news. Even though biblical scenes may sound like what is happening we need to be careful not to be carried away into thinking that the time is near.

Jesus described very specific signs to watch for regarding His return. It's these that we should use as signs of the time. Whenever people have said, "the time is near" they have been proven the False Prophet. Poor Hal Lindsey, he would love to be able to remove from all his books his theory about the “fig tree” and its connection to Israel as the sign of the Second Coming. Jesus warned us about those who would say, “the time is near.”

He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them (Luke 21:8).

Millions have ignored Christ's warning and followed these people, who say "the time is near."  They either don't know the Word of God or they don't believe it.

Jesus tells us what to watch for. If we study Scripture, we know what to watch for.

At this point you may be asking yourself, why is this article titled “The USA in Prophecy?” As I was reading Scripture, I came across some prophecy that sounded so much like the recent war between the USA and Iraq. But, before I mentioned this, you must understand that I do not believe this is an indication that “the time is near” even if it does describe the conflict.

The following is a commentary on Habakkuk. (Warning: this is speculative and not good exegesis – its just an example of how we could read this prophecy.)

Habakkuk 1:5 "Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

Would anyone have believed that the USA would totally abandon world opinion and the UN Security Counsel and declare war on a country who had not attacked the USA or anyone else in ten years?

Habakkuk 1:6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.

I guess you could call the USA, a ruthless and impetuous people for this action. We swept across the whole world to seize dwelling places not our own.

Habakkuk 1:7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.

As the only Super Power with a military second to none, we are a feared and dreaded people.  With this unilateral action we became a law unto ourselves, promoting our own honor.

Habakkuk 1:8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour; 9 they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.

This description seems like it rolled right out of the evening news as the war progressed. See the superior troops and technology sweeping through the desert, even depicting the desert sand storm that ensued.

Habakkuk 1:10 They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them. 11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on-- guilty men, whose own strength is their god."

This could reference the lack of consideration for world opinion as the US  military makes short work of fortifications.

Habakkuk 1:12 O Yahweh, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O Yahweh, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.

This could indicate that the war is part of God’s plan, that the USA would punish the Iraqi regime for its horrendous crimes.

Even though this commentary may sound plausible we need to remember there is no clear Word of God that connects this prophecy to these events.

Any attempt to do so would be isogesis. Isogesis is reading meaning into Scripture.  Exegesis on the other hand derives meaning from Scripture. Exegesis promotes good interpretation, but, isogesis results in erroneous interpretation.

Note: In this commentary the USA would be Babylon.

Richard H Perry