The Old Testament prophets mention nations such as Persia, Put, Cush, Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria. In a recent blog, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in Riverside, California says that these prophecies are referring to such present-day nations as Libya, Iran, Iraq Ethiopia, and even China and Russia. So he wonders why America, the only superpower today, is excluded from the prophets’ list of movers and shakers in the world, “Where is the United States? Why are we not in the last-days scenario?”
Laurie gives three possible reasons why: First, he believes that America “might be devastated by a nuclear war” in the last days. Second, it might be that America might cease to be a world power because of its sin. Or thirdly, the U. S. might witness a revival (although I don’t see the connection between a “revival” and losing superpower status.) Then he concludes, “The only hope for America is when we turn back to the true and living God,” implying that America is God’s people.
Pastor Laurie (and all his dispensationalist colleagues) badly needs to understand two things:
First, all Holy Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, is about one thing: the redemption of God’s people through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. It’s not about Israel, or Iran, or Russia, or China, or even America. He needs to read—and meditate—on the words of Jesus to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection, and Luke’s commentary in the Gospel of Luke:
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27 ESV).
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:44-47).
Second, the last days, or the “terminal generation,” did not begin in 1948 when present-day Israel was created, or in 1970 when Hal Lindsey anticipated the Rapture, or in 1991 when America invaded Iraq. The “last days” began 2,000 years ago when Christ lived, died and was raised from the dead in this world:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1-2).
[Peter addressed them:] “But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh’” (Acts 2:14, 16-17).
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God (1 Pet 1:20-21; see also 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1; 1 John 2:18; Jude 18).
In short, the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writers did not forget America. They were not even concerned about America. They were concerned only with the election, calling, justification and glorification of God’s people,
“a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev 7:9).