By Nathan Jones
Can the United States of America be found in Ezekiel 38-39?
Dr. David Reagan and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mark Hitchcock on the show Christ in Prophecy. Mark is a leading Bible prophecy expert, prolific author who has penned over 20 books on the end times, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church located in Oklahoma, and adjunct faculty member of the Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a much in demand speaker at Bible prophecy conferences all over the nation.
Dr. Hitchcock was invited to answer questions based on his book The Late Great United States. The subtitle of Mark's fascinating book — What Bible Prophecy Reveals About America's Last Days — states the purpose. The book digs deep into the Bible, mining for any textual nugget that might reveal some value as to the United States' future as an end time player.
The US in Ezekiel 38-39?
Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38 talks about the big Gog-Magog Battle when Russia and Turkey and Iran and some other nations like Libya are going to attack Israel. Verse 13 also lists nations that will sit out the battle, like Dedan and Sheba, which are the modern Arab nations.
Also, the merchants of Tarshish are also referred to. Some archeologists believe that Tarshish was the ancient name of Britain. "Tarshish" can also mean "beyond Gibraltar" depending on your translation. Tarshish and her villages or young lions — in other words Britain which then settled Canada and the United States and Australia — these nations of merchants will point out the reason for the Gog-Magog Battle, which is to plunder Israel.
Further on in the second Gog-Magog chapter of Ezekiel 39, verse six reveals that at the end of the Gog-Magog Battle after the invading armies are destroyed that God will send fire on the nations that invaded as well as on the nations who feel they lived in safety on the coastlands. Some put together the two references and conclude that the United States is an offshoot of Britain and one of those nations feeling secure that will have supernatural fire rained on them, and therefore the United States can be found right there in Bible prophecy.
Is the United States one of those merchants of Tarshish? Are we one of those nations that live in safety and so will have fire poured on our nation?
Dr. Hitchcock: Of all the different places where people try to find America in Bible prophecy, Ezekiel 38-39 would be the best one I think. You are right, in Gog-Magog all these nations like Russia and the Islamic nations are invading Israel, but it says that Sheba and Dedan and that Tarshish and the young lions there who are the merchants, they sit on the sidelines and give what I kind of call a lame protest to this invasion.
Dr. Reagan: Kind of sound likes the United Nations, or the present U.S. government, because they are asking, "Have you come to plunder?"
Dr. Hitchcock: That's right. Their statement shows a laissez faire attitude by asking "Have you come to capture spoil?" Well, it is obvious they have. As you know, the U.N. and others are always giving out condemnations for these things, but not doing anything about them.
Really, if you look at Sheba and Dedan being on the sidelines, that lines up with the moderate Arab states today often siding with the West.
The issue, though, comes down to where was Tarshish? Tarshish some people take was Spain because that was where Jonah was going. Tarshish was in the opposite direction of Nineveh. We also know the Phoenicians made it to Spain and Great Britain. The young lions would make sense as a reference to some kinds of nations that came out Spain or Britain. And so, if Tarshish is Britain then we could possibly see America as one of the young lions.
No one really knows that for sure, though. That is why I would say if you want to find America somewhere in the Bible, Ezekiel 38:13 is probably the best place. But, for me personally, the reference is too tenuous to say that this is America in Bible prophecy.
One of the points I like to make is even if Ezekiel 18:13 was a reference to America, or Isaiah 18 was a reference to America, the text doesn't really tell anyone anything about our country. All it tells us is that we exist.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I got tickled because I grew up with people teaching me that this was the United States in Bible prophecy. And then, when archeological discoveries in recent years seemed to point to Tarshish as Spain, the people who believe this was a reference to the U.S. said, "Oh, well, it is still the United States because who discovered America? Columbus, where did he come from? Spain. So, the United States is really one of the young lions of Spain and not one of the young lions of Britain."
Nathan Jones: Ezekiel 38 would then be talking about Argentina or some other South or Central American country, if that is the case. So, while there's a good chance that the United States is indirectly referred to in Ezekiel 38-39, in certainly isn't directly named.