The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The United States in Prophecy - Part 1

There are three people groups mentioned in scripture: the unsaved Gentile nations of the world; Israel; and the Church. The United States falls into the category of a nation of the world. By looking at what the Bible says about nations we gain insight into our own nation in prophecy. What does the future hold for the United States of America?

Israel and the Nations

The separation of people into nations is something done by God (Deut. 32:8). The roots of all nations can be traced to the Table of Nations found in Genesis 10. From the fall of humanity in Eden God had a plan of redemption to save people from sin through a Messiah Deliverer (e.g. Gen. 3:15).

God’s plan involved calling a man named Abraham to be the father of the nation called Israel. God chose Abraham because he was a man who had a trusting faith relationship with God that made him just before God (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4). God’s plan was to rise up a descendant of Abraham to be the Savior of the world. This Savior’s name is Jesus Christ (Mat. 1:1; Jn. 8:54-58). Abraham and his descendants would be a source of great blessing to the Gentile world as they were living examples of how people could have a personal relationship with the Living God and that the ultimate fulfillment of this is found in Jesus Christ.

The nation of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). By their special relationship with God and their keeping of His Law, they were to be a “light to the gentiles” (Is. 42:6; 49:6). They were chosen by God not because they were stronger or better than the Gentile nations, but because God chose Israel as His “special treasure” to pour out His love on them (Deut. 7:6-8). They were commissioned by God to be used by Him to point the Gentiles to the “light of the world” Jesus (John 8:12).

God promised to exalt Israel above all other nations, if they kept His commandments and served His purposes (Deut. 28:1). We know from history that Israel as a nation did not keep the commandments of the LORD. God disciplined them for this by allowing the Gentile world empires of Assyria and Babylon to defeat and take them into captivity for 70 years (2 Chron. 36; Jer. 25). They were eventually restored to the land and once there Jesus Christ came and fulfilled God’s redemptive plan through His atoning death on the cross and resurrection from the dead (Mat. 26-28). Salvation from sin and eternal life are available to all by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (John. 3:16; Rom. 6:23; 10:9-13; Eph. 2:1-9).

The Destiny of Nations

What determines the destiny of nations? What determines their rise of fall? By answering these questions we will gain great insight into the destiny of the United States. The United States is a nation whose eternal destiny will be determined by how it measures up to what the Bible says about the nations. What does the Bible say about the destiny of nations?

First, God is sovereign over all nations. The Bible says:

• Job 12:23 - He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.

• Jeremiah 18:7-10 - The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

• Daniel 2:19-21a - Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; . . .

God is not the Author of evil. But He does permit the rise and fall of nations. This includes those nations who rise and fall in wickedness. All government authority is overseen by God (Rom. 13:1). God is sovereign over the affairs of nations.

Second, God has determined that righteous nations will be exalted and sinful nations will be brought low. This is made clear in the following verses:

• Leviticus 18:26-28 - 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

• Proverbs 14:34 - Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.
Righteousness is determined according to God and His Word, not human opinion or pagan gods.

Third, how a nation relates to God determines its blessing. How a nation relates to God determines their blessing. In His Word God states this clearly saying:

• Psalm 33:12 - Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Israel experienced great blessings from God because of their relationship with God. But any nation “whose God is the LORD” can expect to experience great blessing.

Fourth, the nation that does not depend on God is under the influence of Satan. This is made clear by God’s prophetic word through the prophet Isaiah who is inspired to write regarding Lucifer and the nations:

• Isaiah 14:12, 16 - “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 16“Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,

• 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

• Ephesians 2:1-3 - And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

To turn from God and depend on self or national resources results in being exposed to the influences of Satan and his hoards (cf. Eph. 6:12).

Fifth, God has chosen Israel to be His special instrument and how a nation relates to Israel determines whether it will be blessed or cursed. To Abraham and his descendants God said:

• Genesis 12:3 - I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Because of Israel’s role in God’s plan how a nation responds to Israel determines blessing and cursing from God on a nation (e.g. Gen. 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Deut. 30:7; Jer. 30:16; Acts 3:25-26; Rom. 4:11). For instance, God goes so far as to promise to bless those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). God intended to shed His light in the dark sinful Gentile world through the nation of Israel. If a Gentile nation rejects His light, they will be cursed. If they are open and responsive to His light and supportive of God’s people who bring that light, that nation will be blessed.

Sixth, God desires the Gentile nations to come to His light in Christ. The testimony of God in His word is that He has a deep desire for all the peoples of the world to be saved from their sin. In His Word He states:

• Isaiah 60:3 - The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

• Romans 15:8-13 - Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.” 10 And again he says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” 11 And again: “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!”12 And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

• Galatians 3:8 - And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”

God’s redemptive plan involves the salvation of the Gentile nations. But what if those nations reject and refuse God’s gospel light? That is what we will consider in Part 2 of The United States in Prophecy. Pray for our country. Don’t become overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

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