A common topic of discussion among Christians today is, What is the destiny of the United States in the end times?
Of course, when discussing this topic, it is important to approach it with respect and understanding for our fellow brothers and sisters who may hold different views. It is crucial that we find common ground and avoid division, especially when it comes to these kinds of prophetic matters.
That said, Christians hold two main views on the role of the United States in Bible prophecy. First, some believe that while the United States is not explicitly mentioned, it may be indirectly referred to in various prophetic verses. Second, others believe that the United States is not mentioned at all in Bible prophecy. Let us consider both perspectives.
View #1: The United States Is Indirectly Mentioned in Prophecy
The Nations. Prophetic Scripture often refers to the “peoples” and “nations” of the world, which may include the United States. For example:
• Events in Israel will become a stumbling block for “all the peoples” of the world (Zechariah 12:2-3).
• In the prophetic future, God will “shake all nations” (Haggai 2:6-7).
• God’s glory will be exalted among “all nations” (Isaiah 66:18-20).
General passages like these may include the United States, but they do not provide specific details about the role of the United States in the end times.
The Land Divided by Rivers. Some see a more specific prophecy in Isaiah 18:1-7, which refers to a land divided by rivers. The United States is divided by the Mississippi River. Isaiah also says that this nation is “mighty and conquering” (verse 7), which sounds similar to the United States. However, the context indicates that this nation is modern Sudan.
Tarshish. Others see the United States in the reference to Tarshish in Ezekiel 38:13. This verse informs us that when a large northern military coalition composed of Russia and various Muslim nations invades Israel in the future, a small group of nations will lamely protest the invasion, and Tarshish will be one of them. Bible scholars disagree on the identity of Tarshish. Some say it is modern-day Spain. Others say it is Great Britain. Still others say it refers to the colonies of Western Europe and the nations that arose from them-including North America and the United States. Still others say it could represent all the Western nations of the end times, including the United States. In my judgment, the association of Tarshish with the United States is far too speculative, with too little scriptural evidence to support it.
Babylon. Still others suggest that the Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18 is the United States. Babylon is described as immoral, excessively rich, and thinking itself invulnerable. These characteristics may sound like the United States. However, it can hardly be said of the United States, as it can be said of Babylon, that “in your streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people” (Revelation 18:24). Moreover, the United States does not represent a world religion, nor is it in any way a religious system (17:1-6). Nor is it located in a desert or wilderness (verse 3). One would have to ignore notable details in Revelation 17 and 18 to hold to this view.
View #2: The United States Is Not Mentioned in Prophecy
The United States is the world’s only remaining superpower, which also happens to be Israel’s most important ally. Therefore, one might expect at least a passing reference to the United States in prophecy. Yet many believe that the United States is not mentioned at all in prophetic Scripture. How could this be?
Many suspect, with good reason, that the United States may weaken in the end times. We know from Scripture that the balance of power in the end times will shift toward the revived Roman Empire, headed by the antichrist (Daniel 2, 7). This suggests a possible weakening of the United States. The question then becomes: How might this weakening occur?
How Might the United States Weaken in the End Times
Nuclear Attack. A viable scenario is that the United States could be weakened by a nuclear attack. While it seems unlikely that a nuclear attack could destroy the entire country, a weapon detonated in a single metropolitan area—such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas—would cripple the already fragile, debt-ridden US economy.
EMP Attack. Another plausible scenario is that the United States could be weakened by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. A single nuclear EMP weapon delivered by a missile to an altitude of a few hundred miles over the United States, where it would be detonated, would cause catastrophic damage to the nation. It would severely damage the electrical power systems, all appliances that run on electricity, and computer information systems—all of which Americans depend on every day. It could take years to fully recover.
Moral Implosion. It is possible that God may bring judgment on the United States because of its ever-increasing immorality. This would bring rapid decline. When a nation willfully rejects God and His Word—turns its back on His moral requirements—God eventually reveals His wrath against that nation (Job 12:23; Daniel 2:20-21; Romans 1:18-28). Those who doubt this possibility should consult the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 1:18-28.
Abandonment of Israel. God may also judge the United States if it turns its back on Israel. In Genesis 12:3, God promised Abraham and his descendants: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse.” Let us remember that God is a keeper of promises. A superpower that turns its back on Israel could face super-lethal consequences.
The Rapture. It is also possible that the United States will weaken after the rapture of the church. The United States will probably be more negatively affected by the rapture than most other countries because there is such a high concentration of Christians here. After the rapture, many people will not show up for work; bills, loans, and mortgages will go unpaid; the heads of many businesses will be gone; and many law enforcement officials will no longer be around to keep the peace. Chaos will ensue, and our country may plummet into post-rapture paralysis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the United States be in league with the antichrist in the end times?
I hate to say it, but it’s possible. The antichrist will eventually bring about a global government, and the United States will likely be subsumed into that global empire. Even today, our current government administration seems to be moving us away from American national sovereignty and is open to handling more and more problems globally.
It is sobering to consider Zechariah 12:3, which informs us that “all the nations of the earth” will one day gather against Israel during the tribulation period (compare with Zechariah 14:2). “All the nations” would certainly include the United States (Revelation 16:14).
It may be helpful to keep in mind that after the rapture of the church, there will be no Christians left on earth—including in the United States. This means that Christians who have long supported Israel will have simply disappeared and gone to be with the Lord in heaven. It is easy to see how a Christian-less United States could ally itself with the revived Roman Empire and then join the antichrist against Israel.
Is there a historical precedent for the fall of powerful nations?
There is. And in each case, the nation did not anticipate its impending demise. Those who lived in these nations believed that their nation was uniquely invincible and could never fall. The Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire were the superpowers of their time, and yet they all fell.
The United States could follow their fate. Given our nation’s high prevalence of pornography, premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexuality, widespread abortions, pervasive alcohol and drug use, divorce, the disintegration of the family unit, the mockery of the Word of God, the marginalization of Christians, and much more, America is in a dangerous place! Since (1) God is sovereign over the nations, and (2) He is a holy God of judgment, then (3) God may sovereignly judge America in the end times for turning away from Him. Job 12:23 informs us that God “makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (see also Isaiah 14:24; 46:10).
A Personal ReflectionMy study of earthly kingdoms moves me to ask, Am I living more like a citizen of earth or a citizen of heaven? Another way to put it is this: Am I more earthly minded or heavenly minded? Our heavenly citizenship should always supersede our earthly citizenship (Philippians 3:20). I suggest that we make a resolution: I resolve to live my life below (while I am here on earth) as a faithful citizen above (in heaven) (Colossians 3:1-2).