The USA: Does It Play a Role in Prophecy?

There is no question that the United States is not specifically mentioned in prophecy. But if the events of the end times were to begin next week, can we account for this most powerful of nations. Daniel 7 allows for some interesting possibilities.

People living in Nicaragua or Nigeria are probably not too interested in the answer to this question. It likely has not entered their minds.  However, believers living in America often wonder if our country does have a place in end time prophecy. It is hard for us to imagine that such a powerful nation would be totally absent from prophecy. Now, the quick answer to the above question is, of course, “no, the USA is not mentioned in biblical prophecy.”  But if we should be living in the days immediately preceding the Tribulation, then it is very likely that the United States does find a place in the scenario of events.

There have been recent attempts by some Bible teachers suggesting that “Babylon” of the Book of Revelation is really the United States of America.  The evidence presented for such a determination is not strong exegetically.  And, it seems to me, that there are numerous points found in Revelation 17 and 18 which do not align well with such an interpretation and, in fact, speak against it.  But if the USA is not “Babylon”, is it not part of end time prophecy?  We cannot declare with certainty that such is the case.  But there is a chapter in Daniel which could shed some light on the matter.

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts

THE SETTING.   Daniel received this vision fifty years after King Nebuchadnezzar had received his vision of the “great metallic statue” (in Daniel 2).  In that vision, God revealed that there would be four human empires which would be followed by the forever kingdom of God.  Those kingdoms would succeed one another and the final kingdom would be destroyed totally by God Himself, who would then establish the kingdom of the Stone (the kingdom of Messiah).  Daniel’s vision of the four beasts (chapter 7) reveals the same identical information that is found in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision (chapter 2), but does give some new, vital information on the fourth and final kingdom of man.

VISION SUMMARY.   Four strange looking beasts (empires of man) would emerge out of the sea (gentile nations), being energized by the winds of heaven (divine involvement and activity).  The first beast was a winged lion (Babylon) which was followed by a bear (Medo-Persia) and then by a four-headed leopard (Greece) and finally by an animal that simply did not look like any animal found in a zoo. That animal (Rome) was ugly and ferocious.  As in the vision of Nebuchadnezzar (chapter 2), the fourth kingdom (Rome) had two distinct parts to it.  Here the terrible, strong beast (part 1) grew eleven horns (part 2).  Ten of the horns emerged first, being followed by an eleventh horn designated as the “little horn.”  The “little horn” did not stay little for long, but soon grew larger than the other ten and dominated them. It must be remembered that “horns” stand for both kings and their kingdoms.

A LOOK AT THE “LITTLE HORN”.   Daniel was particularly interested in the fourth beast and its horns, and so, asked questions of the interpreting angel.  Here is a brief summary of what the text reveals about the “little horn”, who is none other than the Antichrist, the dominant human figure of the Tribulation period.

(1) He chronologically arises after the 10 other horns, indicating that he and his kingdom are a late arrival on the world scene, in comparison with the others.

(2) While initially he is not as great as the other 10, he soon becomes so. He will become larger than the others and will dominate them.

(3) He will forcibly defeat three of the 10, most likely by military means.  (This would take place in the early days of the Tribulation, if this is what is being described in Revelation 6:1-2). Furthermore, this shows that the Antichrist and the 10 kings are all existing in the world at the same time.  It would seem that the 7 who were not specifically conquered simply acquiesce and submit to the Antichrist (note where all 10 are seen as under his authority in Revelation 17:12-13). This would be the western confederacy of nations: 10 western nations (coming out of the old Roman empire, plus the nation of the Antichrist.)

(4) In the second half of the Tribulation, he will target believers in the Lord Jesus and will put many of them to death (7:21 with Rev. 13:7-8).

(5) His anti-God, anti-Christ activities will be accelerated during the second half of the Tribulation when he will become a world dictator and object of worship (7:25 with Rev. 13:4-6).

(6) After his short-lived successes, he will come to his end by the powerful judgment of God.  He, his followers and his evil world empire will be exterminated by a direct judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:11ff.).

SPECULATING ABOUT THE “LITTLE HORN”.  For years Bible students have talked about the ten nations and have speculated about the European Union as fulfilling this prophecy.  As the years go by, it seems as though this union is not nearly as powerful economically, politically and militarily as forecast. There are significant cracks appearing in this union as nationalism rises again and many of their economies are near bankruptcy.  Very little was said about the eleventh nation which historically arises later and becomes dominant over the ten.

Is it possible that this distinctive eleventh nation could be America?  At this point in history, the USA is still the dominant power in the west.  Now, fifty years from now, if Jesus does not return, that could change dramatically.  But if the rapture and Tribulation were (for sake of argument) one year away, then it is hard to imagine that this country would not be a significant player in the final days of man’s empires.  In other words, America would be part of the empire of the Antichrist.

Keep in mind that the “seventieth week of Daniel” (the Tribulation) begins only when the Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel.  When he makes that treaty, he is the ruler of just one nation, since the western confederacy of eleven nations is not formed until the first half of the Tribulation.  This means that the Antichrist comes from a very powerful nation who is able to actually defend Israel and come to her aid.  There are no nations that really fit that bill (Germany might be a candidate sometime in the future but not now).  And America, at its roots politically and culturally, is a western nation.

Another factor to keep in mind is the rapture of the Church.  When the rapture event removes all believers from the world, including America, then all nations will experience immediate, dramatic moral and spiritual changes.  Can you imagine what our nation will be like one week after the rapture when believers are removed?  We are witnessing a moral and spiritual decline right now which will accelerate immediately. The decline will be breathtaking.

So, while this country is not specifically mentioned in biblical prophecies of the end times, it could be possible that this nation is there as the unnamed eleventh empire.  This would seem to be a real possibility, IF the final events are soon to unfold.  Something to consider.

However, we might answer the question, “is the United States in prophecy”, we are to remember that we hold dual citizenship.  We may be citizens of the United States, but our primary allegiance is to our heavenly citizenship.  This means we are to represent King Jesus authentically are we live as “aliens” and “pilgrims” in this world (Hebrews 11).  Someday the question we have considered will be answered clearly, but until then I would hope that our focus on serving and worshipping our King will be greater and greater.