The question of whether America is mentioned in end-times Bible prophecy has been the subject of much debate through the years. Some say yes, and others say no. Many theories on the issue have been speculative and far-fetched. Others have taken a more reasoned approach. I will consider two major viewpoints in the debate: (1) America is only indirectly mentioned in Bible prophecy, and (2) America is not mentioned in Bible prophecy at all. We will cover the second view in this article.
Not Mentioned in Bible Prophecy at All
A major viewpoint in this debate is that America is not mentioned in Bible prophecy at all. If this assessment is correct, a question arises: Why? Prophecy students have proposed a number of possible explanations.
Most Nations Are Not Mentioned in Bible Prophecy
Foundationally, most nations in the world are not mentioned in Bible prophecy. Therefore it may be insignificant that the United States is not mentioned. Still, some people reason that the United States is the world’s single remaining superpower and Israel’s principal ally. One therefore might naturally expect at least a passing reference to the United States in Bible prophecy.
No Significant Role
A second possibility is that America plays no significant role in the unfolding of God’s end-time plans. Again, however, one might naturally expect at least some reference, given America’s relationship with Israel and place in the world. So again, why is there no reference?
Possible Moral Implosion
Some suggest that America is not mentioned because it may eventually implode due to ever-escalating moral and spiritual degeneration.* This is a real possibility.
Another possibility is that the United States will be destroyed or greatly weakened by a nuclear attack, and will therefore play no significant role in the end times. This scenario may be hard for some Americans to swallow. However, there is certainly a good chance that the United States will be attacked with nuclear weapons at some point in the future. Government advisors are presently saying that a nuclear attack on US soil within the next ten years is more likely than not.
I personally think it’s a stretch to say the entire United States could be destroyed. However, if a major city—New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago for example—were destroyed, this would have a devastating and long-lasting effect on the US economy.
Yet another possibility is that the country may become incapacitated due to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. This realistic possibility is documented in a report issued in 2004 by a blue-ribbon commission created by Congress. In the report, titled “Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack,” some government officials lamented that the technology is now here to bring the American way of life to an end.
According to the report, a single nuclear weapon delivered by a missile to an altitude of a few hundred miles and detonated over the United States would yield catastrophic damage to the nation, knocking out virtually all electrical components for an indeterminate time.
The Muslim Threat: Jihad
Perhaps America is not mentioned in Bible prophecy because it will be victimized by Islamic jihad. Some Muslim leaders today teach that jihad is a foreign policy option that can help expand Islamic authority all over the world. Many Shiite Muslims believe that at the apocalyptic end of days, a great, armed jihad will result in the subjugation of the entire world to Islam.**
Many such Shiite Muslims have long believed in the eventual return of the Twelfth Imam, believed to be a direct (bloodline) descendant of Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali (whose family, it is believed, constitutes the only legitimate successors to Muhammad). The Twelfth Imam—who disappeared as a child in AD 941—will allegedly return in the future as the Mahdi (“the rightly guided One”). He will reportedly create a messianic era of global order and justice for Shiites in which Islam will be triumphant.
The appearance of the Twelfth Imam can supposedly be hastened through apocalyptic chaos and violence—that is, by unleashing an apocalyptic holy war against Christians and Jews. So some Muslim extremists believe they could influence the divine timetable and bring about the end of days.
Weakened by the Rapture
Still other Christians suggest that the United States is not mentioned in Bible prophecy because it will be decimated by the rapture. It seems fair to say that because of the large population of Christians in the United States, the negative effect of the rapture will be greater in America than in most other nations.
A Combination Scenario
Several of these scenarios could take place concurrently, and their combined effect could greatly weaken the United States.*** For example, America could morally implode, a nuclear weapon could detonate in an American city, and the rapture could happen. The combined effect may cause the United States to plummet.
Of course, as an American patriot, I want only the best for this country. However, the scenarios I have described above are entirely possible. They are consistent with what we know of Bible prophecy.
God Controls Nations
God is absolutely sovereign over human affairs, and He is certainly sovereign over the affairs of individual nations in the world. Scripture reveals that God “makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23). We are told that “he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26).
What does this mean for the United States? God is absolutely sovereign over the nations, and He is a holy God of judgment. God’s judgment on America for its moral and spiritual degeneracy in the end times could be just one more reason why global power will shift away from the United States of America to the United States of Europe in the end times.
For a more detailed analysis of this and other end-times Bible prophecy debates, check out The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy by Ron Rhodes.
*Excellent information on all this is available in Mark Hitchcock, The Late Great United States (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2009), p. 93.
**See Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Global Warning: Are We on the Brink of World War III? (Eugene: Harvest House, 2008), p. 19. See also Ron Rhodes, Northern Storm Rising (Eugene: Harvest House, 2008), chapters 1-3.
***John F. Walvoord and Mark Hitchcock, Armageddon, Oil, and Terror (Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007), p. 72.
Ron Rhodes, president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, is heard regularly on nationwide radio and is the author of The End Times in Chronological Order, Unmasking the Antichrist, 40 Days Through Revelation, and The Popular Dictionary of Bible Prophecy. He holds ThM and ThD degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and teaches there and at several other seminaries.