Spiritual Myth-Busters: America in Eschatology?

3 Reasons You Can Thank God that America is Not In Biblical Eschatology: 

When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree by the river of truth, and tell the whole world "No, You Move."              Steve Rogers- Captain America

I wonder who in our generation will be a hero and stand like a tree by the river of truth and tell the onslaught of the end time mob, "No, YOU Move!"?!

Some of you reading this are on the journey of discovery, and that is admirable. We all want to remain humbly teachable and it is heroic in itself to be willing to think for yourself! Unfortunately not everyone thinks being open minded is a good thing:

 (btw, not all AG churches are like that!)

(btw, not all AG churches are like that!)

Books, CD's and video's all attempt to wrestle two extreme theologies out of the Scriptures when it comes to eschatology. On the one side is the group that thinks America is hidden by God mysteriously and opaquely within the Hebrew writings. It erroneously finds New York and 911 and Obama in the Bible. This is a form of Gnosticism. It is secret knowledge that only the chosen few can understand. (Or as a Facebook friend quipped, "look it's right there... JerUSAlem!") 

Really? God isn't hiding anything from you.

The other says that the reason that America is not there is because it is clear evidence that America has to fall before the end. The implication being forced is that there is no real hope for America. There is nothing as un-American and un-patriotic as that teaching. Not to mention unbiblical! 

There may be few beliefs as destructive to the fabric of American life than the false teaching regarding America and the end of the world. That of course can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy because the church ceases to be salt and light. The very nature of it creates hopelessness instead of an invitation to dreamers to build a better world through the increasing kingdom of God.

Here are 3 reasons America is not included in biblical eschatology:  

1.  All Eschatology was about Israel not America. 

Acts 26:22 NASB, "So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating NOTHING but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place."

Did you know that everything that Paul preached originated in the Hebrew Scriptures? Nothing but! Jesus taught him the gospel, but it was all there. That means Paul's eschatology came from there, not from some new idea. Paul's eschatology was what Moses and the Prophets taught. 

In a message by Pastor David Curtis, he quotes futurist Dwight Pentecost, in his book, Things to Come, on page 137 who writes: "The concept must stand that this whole age [he's referring to the Church Age] with its program was not revealed in the Old Testament, but constitutes a new program and a new line of revelation in this present age."

This of course can't be true. Paul, said everything he taught came from the Hebrew scriptures. In fact, most people who teach eschatology believe that the Church is just a passing age before a return to Israel as the true people of God. Many in fact teach a restoration of the Law! Yet, Paul does nothing but quote Hebrew scriptures to prove the new covenant age was always prophesied in the scriptures. 

Many scriptures could be given but here are just a few. Notice how the "end times", "last days", etc has to do with THEIR (Israel's) last days not the end of the world: 

Genesis 49:1, 10,  "And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall YOU (nation of Israel)  in the LAST DAYS... The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, UNTIL Shiloh (Jesus) comes; And to Him shall be the obedience [all nations-Jew and Gentile] of the people." 

Genesis defines for us at the "beginning" what the "end" is about. All eschatology is about Israel's last days, not the world's.

Speaking of Israel-Judah, Deuteronomy 32:28, 29, “For THEY are a nation void of counsel, Nor is there any understanding in THEM. Oh, that THEY were wise, that THEY understood this, That THEY would consider THEIR LATTER END!

Daniel 12:1-9, “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of YOUR PEOPLE; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time...

And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; (3.5 YEARS, the same time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome from 66.5 AD to 70 AD) and when THE POWER OF THE HOLY PEOPLE has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished....And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the TIME OF THE END. (Not the end of time... there is a difference. It was the time of the end of the power of the holy people, YOUR people, ie natural Jerusalem as the center of God's covenant)

Isaiah 2:1, "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw CONCERNING JUDAH and JERUSALEM, Now it shall come to pass in the LATTER DAYS That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it."

In describing the mountain of the Lord's house that all the nations would flow to (the Jerusalem which is above) as Paul described in Galatians 4:26, Isaiah says the latter days was first about JUDAH and JERUSALEM.  This natural Jerusalem would be purged with fire (Isaiah 4:3-4). This was fulfilled in AD 70 when the city was burned by Rome and those who trusted Jesus a few years earlier fled the city (Matthew 24). 

The reason America isn't talked about in the Bible is that the last days were about Israel's last days as an old covenant nation. 

2. There is No "end of the world" Described in the Bible

As Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, surprise!" America isn't included in the descriptions of the end of the world because there isn't one. For more information on this see my blogs on The New Heavens and New Earth.

Ephesians 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, WORLD WITHOUT END. Amen.”

God intends the church to glorify him through the ages of an unending world.

Isaiah 9:7, “Of the INCREASE of His government and peace there will be NO END…”

If there was an end of the world, how would his government and peace continue to increase? Where is America found? It is found within the increasing kingdom in the earth. It is not the kingdom, but the kingdom is within it. Especially since the kingdom came with Jesus and was established in the lifetime of that generation (see Matthew 16:27-28)

Psalm 78:69, “And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the EARTH which He has established FOREVER.”

Psalm 148:4-6, “Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were CREATED. He also established them FOREVER AND EVER; He made a decree which shall NOT PASS AWAY.”

Ecclesiastes 1:4, “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the EARTH ABIDES FOREVER.”

When God speaks of the physical realm of the heavens and earth he says that they are decreed to be established forever.

God promised to never destroy every living thing, therefore a world-wide destruction of the earth by fire will never happen.

Genesis 8:21, “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; NOR WILL I AGAIN DESTROY EVERY LIVING THING as I have done.’”

This is God’s response after the Flood. It is the expression of his mercy, that even though there will still be evil in the world and in the hearts of people in the future, he promises he will not curse the entire earth, nor destroy every creature in it again. As David Curtis suggests, this isn’t a comparison between methods of destruction. What kind of promise of mercy sounds like this: “I will never flood the earth again, but fire, yes, I will burn you up instead because of my great mercy for you!”?

Do you see that the false idea that America must be destroyed so that the end of the world can take place is pure fantasy... even worse, a nightmare?! There is no end of the world!

Yes, but doesn't the Bible say that the "heaven's will be rolled up like a scroll and the stars fall from their place." Yes. This is imagery used to describe the destruction of a city-state through judgment, not a picture of the end of the world. For instance, Isaiah 13:10 describes the fall of Babylon in this figurative apocalyptic language: 

For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine.

Even if America somehow ceased to exist, as kingdoms rise and fall throughout history, it would mean that it is being displaced ultimately with the greater kingdom of God because "of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end."

3. The Book of Revelation was not about THE WORLD, but THEIR WORLD.

Aren't all those grand apocalyptic images in Revelation about the end of the world? No, they were about the end of THEIR world as they knew it being defined by the Old Covenant. For more information on this see the series called Interpreting Revelation which includes 7 Reasons Why Revelation is Not in Your Future. Here are just a couple evidences:

The word "ge" in Greek is often translated in our English versions as "world" or "earth" making us think of the whole earth, but it more accurately is defined as "land" as in "land of Israel". The whole planet, for the Apostle John, was usually the word kosmos, not ge.

For instance in Matthew 9:31 (written to a Jewish audience), "But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that COUNTRY."  Country is the word ge. 

Again in Acts 7:3 Stephen is describing God's call to Abraham into the promised land. He says, "and said to him, ‘Get out of your COUNTRY and from your relatives, and come to a LAND that I will show you." Again these are from ge. Revelation is not about the whole kosmos, but the whole land of Israel. It is written about the known world (a different Greek word) including the Roman Empire and to the churches that were being persecuted by the "Synagogues of Satan."

In fact, the Babylon, Sodom and Egypt  that the book of Revelation describes is none other than Jerusalem (1 Peter 5:13). By the rejection of Christ, and the murder of his apostles and saints, it had become the epitome of every wicked city in history in THAT generation (See Matthew 12:41-45). Notice Revelation 11:8,

"And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, WHERE ALSO OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED."

Conclusion:

I have good news for you! We get to "captain" America under the leadership of the advancing kingdom of God... unless we keep buying into our own demise and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. What kind of hero will you be?

 

 

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