16 May 2018

What’s America’s role in the End Times?

The bible, in entirety, was written before the middle east, Europe, Asia, and Africa knew the western hemisphere existed.

True, God knew it was there. But his apostles and prophets had no idea. And God didn’t see any point in informing them. It’s not like the Americas, nor any other yet-to-be-discovered islands in the world, were excluded from the scriptures’ blanket statements about humanity. The LORD is God, and Jesus is King, of the whole earth. Known and unknown lands alike.

So North and South America—the Indian nations then, and the current nations now—aren’t in the bible. At all. Neither suggested nor alluded to in it.

So even if you’re citizen of the United States, loyal and patriotic, or even just a big fan of all things American like so many of our resident aliens, I gotta break it to you: Other than the bits about “all the world,” we don’t figure into End Times predictions whatsoever.

But you’d be surprised how many American prognosticators simply can’t have that.

Blame American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is special, the greatest country in the world, the greatest country in history, and the related belief that Americans are smarter, more capable, more innovative, more talented, than the folks of any other nation. No offense guys; we just grew up under more freedom. If you had American-style freedom, maybe you’d do as well. But probably not. We’ve been freer longer, and we’re pretty sure that has something to do with it too.

We’ve been taught exceptionalism all our lives. It’s a huge part of American-style civic idolatry. So yeah, this is a lot of the reason why we Americans behave as if we’re special. We’ve always been told we are, and we believe it.

This attitude has trickled into our religion. Our End Times prognosticators figure the United States is special, doggone it, so we oughta fit in the End Times timeline somewhere. They’re not entirely sure where, but they shoehorn us pretty much anywhere they can get away with it.

Americacentric prognostication.

Sometimes at the detriment of common sense. Fr’instance John Hagee’s Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change, his 274-page book about how four lunar eclipses in 2014-15 were some kind of End Times sign. He didn’t specifically state what they signified, but he sure did hint a lot of things. And sold a bunch of books off the idea. Even made a movie.

Thing is, where were these lunar eclipses visible? North America. Nowhere else.

So… since most of the End Times events of Revelation appear to be centered on Rome and Jerusalem, shouldn’t these folks be able to see these world-redefining lunar eclipses? Well you’d think so. But Hagee didn’t. Idea simply never occurred to him.

Hagee’s from San Antonio, Texas. Seems so long that Texas can see the eclipses, that’s all that matters. God has a message to the world… and I guess Rome and Jerusalem can hear that message secondhand from their American friends.

I pick on Hagee, but he’s far from the only one to do this. Every End Times scenario Americans pitch, finds a way to squeeze us into it. In their movies and books, Americans make up most of the protagonists, and often the Beast is American too: He might have a European origin, yet somehow he manages to become our president, or gets financially backed by our billionaires and multinational corporations. (Certainly promoted by our entertainment industry.) On the “non-fiction” front, End Times proclaimers regularly imagine the American economy, technology, culture, and social standards as driving the Beast’s government.

So how do these American prognosticators explain why the United States—or any unknown but powerful new nation in the western hemisphere—never pops up in Revelation? Most of ’em deduce some sort of cataclysm is gonna knock us out of commission before any of the End Times stuff really gets started. Like a plague or economic collapse. Or we’ll elect some idiot who ruins us, or at the very least turns us isolationist and withdraws us from the world stage. Then after America is out of the picture, the End Times events can play out in Eurasia and Africa as described in the bible.

(Is that why so many conservative Evangelicals are trying to get the United States to withdraw from world events? Yes. Yes it is.)

But what if we’re the exception?

Frequently I pitch an alternate theory. One which, I totally admit, is based on wishful thinking on my part. I’d really like this to be true, same as all the folks who’d really like Jesus to rapture us out of here before the bad stuff happens. Like them, I have nothing solid to pin this belief on. Unlike them, I’m entirely willing to admit this.

Here’s the theory: There might be some form of great tribulation… but the United States gets to sit it out.

Roughly four out of five Americans figure we’re Christian. According to my theory, once the Beast shows up and starts leading the world astray, American Christians quickly identify the Beast for what he is, refuse to have anything to do with him, and stay aligned with Christ. We know what he’s up to, and we can stand alone against him if we have to. Somebody has to.

Thus we watch the rest of the world as the Beast plays merry hell with it. But not doing nothing: The United States remains an oasis for Christians, a haven for refugees from the Beast’s persecutions. And after Jesus returns and overthrows both the Beast’s government and ours, that’s that.

True, that’s probably not gonna happen. It’d be awesome though.

Considering how so many Evangelicals are willing to bend over and grab their ankles for politicians of the lowest character, solely because these guys are fellow members of their political party, it looks a lot to me like the “Christians” of the United States are predominantly Christianist. I hope I’m completely wrong about this. But most days I’m not feeling all that optimistic.

Still, Revelation’s description of the End is largely focused on the world superpower of John the Revelator’s day: The Roman Empire. If those events haven’t already played out centuries ago (as I believe they have), and they really do have yet to take place, they’ll have to be Mediterranean. Not American.

Which means the Americas could be the one part of the world where the bulk of the bad stuff doesn’t happen. Where God’s remnant dwells. Maybe even thrives. I don’t know, and the scriptures don’t say. I hope so, though.

Regardless: We’re not in there.

In any event any “End Times prophecy” about the United States—or Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, or even the present-day Dumpster fires of Venezuela and Columbia—is a false prophecy.

Unless the prophecy involves the people of the planet as a whole, there’s no basis for saying any such thing will specifically happen to any of the countries of the Americas. We aren’t in the bible. God gave us a pass.

I’m hoping it’s a passover. Regardless, we aren’t there, and your End Times prognosticator is all wet.

What your End Times guy is doing, is filling in the gaps of his knowledge with his own fears and politics. They all do. They regularly disguise their current-events punditry as End Times biblical commentary. That’s the real reason they spend so much time discussing the United States: They’re trying to influence our country, and get us to behave as they want. It’s nothing to do with God. ’Cause if it were, you’d see fruit of the Spirit, compassion and joy, help for the needy, love for one’s neighbor. Not all their dark Christian rubbish.

That, plus how their predictions always come to nothing, is how you know they’re false prophets. Don’t fret about them. Read your bibles. The bible is way more hopeful.