21 - The USA in Bible Prophecy
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Can it really be true—the United States in Bible prophecy? Absolutely! When you think about it, it makes sense that the most powerful and influential nation on earth will play a vital role in the final stunning events of the world’s closing history. But even more surprises await you as the Bible reveals how the leading nation of the world came to exist and why! Please read Revelation 13:11–18 before beginning this guide, because these eight verses give a prophetic picture of the United States in the days ahead.
1. Two world powers are symbolized in Revelation chapter 13. What is the first power?
Answer: The beast with seven heads (Revelation 13:1–10) is the Roman papacy. (See Study Guide 15 for a complete study on this topic.) Remember that beasts in Bible prophecy symbolize nations or world powers (Daniel 7:17, 23).
2. In what year was the papacy predicted to lose its world influence and power?
“He was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (Revelation 13:5).
Answer: The Bible predicted that the papacy would lose its world influence and power at the end of the 42 months. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1798, when Napoleon’s General Berthier took the pope captive and the papal power received its deadly wound. (For the full details, see Study Guide 15.)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
3. Which nation was predicted to arise around the time the papacy was receiving its deadly wound?
“I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).
Answer: The papal captivity mentioned in verse 10 took place in 1798, and the new power (verse 11) was seen emerging at that time. The United States declared its independence in 1776, voted the Constitution in 1787, adopted the Bill of Rights in 1791, and was clearly recognized as a world power by 1798. The timing obviously fits America. No other power could possibly qualify.
4. What is the significance of the beast “coming up out of the earth”?
Answer: This nation arises "out of the earth" instead of out of the water as did the other nations mentioned in Daniel and Revelation. We know from Revelation that water symbolizes areas of the world that have a large population. "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. Therefore, the earth represents the opposite. It means that this new nation would arise in an area of the world that had been virtually unpopulated before the late 1700s. It could not arise among the crowded and struggling nations of the Old World. It had to come up in a sparsely populated continent.
5. What is symbolized by its two lamb-like horns and absence of crowns?
These two principles have also been labeled “republicanism” (a government without a king) and “Protestantism” (a church without a pope). Other nations since ancient times had taxed people to support a state religion. Most had also oppressed religious dissidents. But the United States established something entirely new: freedom to worship without government interference. Absence of crowns signifies a republican form of government, rather than a monarchy. Lamb-like horns denote an innocent, young, non-oppressive, peace-loving, and spiritual nation. (Jesus is referred to as a lamb 28 times in Revelation.)
Special Note: How we wish we could stop right here in Jesus’ description of the United States—but we can’t, because He didn’t stop. What comes next might be jolting. The United States is a great country, with its freedom of conscience, press, speech, and enterprise; its opportunities; its sense of fair play; its sympathy for the underdog; and its Christian orientation. It is not perfect, but even still, a host of people from around the world seek to become its citizens every year. Sadly, this richly blessed country will change drastically.
6. What does Revelation 13:11 mean when it says the United States will speak “like a dragon”?
Answer: As you learned in Study Guide 20, the dragon is Satan, who works through various earthly powers to establish his own kingdom and to crush God’s church by persecuting and destroying God’s people. Satan’s aim always has been to usurp God’s throne and to force people to worship and obey him. (See Study Guide 2 for details.) So, speaking as a dragon means the United States (under the influence of Satan) will, in the end time, force people to worship contrary to conscience or be punished.
7. What specifically will the United States do that will cause it to speak as a dragon?
Answer: Notice these four crucial points:
A. “Exercises all the authority of the first beast” (Revelation 13:12) The United States will become a persecuting power that will force people to go against their conscience, as did papal Rome—which is portrayed in the first half of Revelation chapter 13.
B. “Causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12). The United States will lead the nations of the world in forcing allegiance to the papal antichrist. The issue is always worship. Who will you worship and obey? Will it be Christ, your Creator and Redeemer, or antichrist? Every soul on earth will finally worship one or the other. Satan’s approach will appear to be deeply spiritual, and incredible miracles will be seen (Revelation 13:13, 14)—which will deceive billions (Revelation 13:3). Those who refuse to join this movement will be considered divisive, stubborn, radical, and unpatriotic. Jesus labeled Protestant America of the end time a “false prophet” (Revelation 19:20; 20:10), because it will appear spiritual and trustworthy but instead will be satanic in its conduct. All this may seem impossible, but Jesus’ words are always reliable and true (Titus 1:2). He foretold the rise and fall of the four world empires and the antichrist (Daniel chapters 2 and 7) at a time when such predictions seemed outlandish and incredible. But all came to pass precisely as predicted. His warning to us today regarding prophecy is, “I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29).
C. “Telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Revelation 13:14). The United States will make an image to the beast by legislating religious practice. It will pass laws requiring worship and force people to either obey them or face death. This action is a copy—or “image”—of the church-state form of government the papacy ruled with at the height of her power during the Middle Ages, when millions were slain for their faith. The United States will combine civil government and apostate Protestantism in a “marriage” that will support the papacy. It will then influence all the nations of the world to follow her example. Thus, the papacy will gain worldwide support.
D. “And cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Revelation 13:15). The United States, as head of this international movement, will next influence the nations of the world to impose a death sentence upon all who refuse to worship the beast or his image. Another name for this worldwide coalition is “Babylon the Great.” (See Study Guide 22 for more information.) This worldwide alliance will, in the name of Christ, substitute the policeman’s power for the Holy Spirit’s gentle persuasion—and it will force worship.
8. Over what specific issues will force be utilized and the death sentence passed?
“He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:15–17).
Answer: The final points of contention will be worshiping and obeying the beast and receiving his mark—honoring Sunday as a false holy day versus worshiping and obeying Christ and receiving His mark by honoring the holy seventh-day Sabbath. (For details, see Study Guide 20.) When the issues become clear and people are forced to break the Sabbath or be killed, those who then choose Sunday will be, in essence, worshiping the beast. They will have chosen to obey the word of a creature, a man, instead of the word of their Creator, Jesus Christ. Here is the papacy’s own statement: “The church changed Sabbath to Sunday and all the world bows down and worships upon that day in silent obedience to the mandates of the Catholic Church” (Hartford Weekly Call, February 22, 1884).
9. Could a government really control buying and selling?
Answer: : During World War II, buying was controlled by requiring ration stamps for such items as sugar, tires, and fuel. Without these stamps, money was worthless. In this computerized age, a similar system would be easy to set up. For instance, unless you agreed to cooperate with the worldwide coalition, your Social Security Number could be entered into a database, showing that you are disqualified to make a purchase. No one knows precisely how all this will come about, but you can be positive it will happen—because in Revelation 13:16, 17, God says it will.
Two Emerging Powers Revelation chapter 13 is clear. Two superpowers will emerge in the end time: the United States of America and the papacy. The United States will support the papacy by leading a drive to force the people of the world to worship the beast power (papacy) and receive his mark or else face death. The next two questions will evaluate the strength of these two superpowers.
10. How strong and influential is the papacy today?
Answer: It is arguably the strongest religio-political power in the world. Virtually every leading country has an official ambassador or state representative at the Vatican. Notice the following facts:
A. Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in 2015 carried both pastoral and political implications. Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, “The more he tries to de-emphasize the prestige and the power of the papacy, the more people pay attention to him.” —CBS This Morning, September 22, 2015
B. The aim of the pope is to unify the Christian world. In January 2014, Francis presided over an ecumenical worship service at the Basilica of St. Paul with Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and other Christian representatives and emphasized the need for Christian unity. Francis said, “It is unacceptable to consider ‘divisions in the Church as something natural, inevitable,’ because ‘divisions wound Christ’s body [and] impair the witness that we are called to give to him before the world.’ ” —Catholic Herald, January 27, 2014
C. The worldwide response has been overwhelming as leaders turn to him for peace. Francis hosted a prayer summit at the Vatican with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Then, the pope, who as a Latin American had a lot of credibility in Havana, helped pave the way to the U.S.-Cuba thaw. —Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio, April 14, 2016
D. Francis’ 2015 visit to America elicited an unprecedented response from American officials: President Obama personally greeted Pope Francis as he arrived at a U.S. airbase, a decision the White House said was a symbol of the high level of respect Americans have for the Pontiff. Francis’ visit also included the first address by any pope to a joint session of the Congress in American history. —Irish Daily Mail, September 23, 2015
11. How strong and influential is the United States today?
Answer: The United States is regarded as the world’s most powerful military force and the world’s center of influence. Note the following:
A. “In the key categories of power, the U.S. will remain dominant for the foreseeable future.” —Ian Bremmer, Time magazine, May 28, 2015
B. “What ultimately makes the difference between war and peace ... is not good intentions, or strong words, or a grand coalition. It is the capability, credibility, and global reach of American hard power.” —Senator John McCain, November 15, 2014
C. “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.” —President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014
D. France’s then-foreign minister, Hubert Vérdine, told a Paris audience that he defined “the United States as a ‘hyperpower’ ... a country that is dominant or predominant in all categories.” —The New York Times, February 5, 1999
Though certainly facing challenges to its power from nations such as China and Russia, America’s overwhelming ability to stand down aggressors and rapidly deploy when needed continue to dominate the world. A future president of the United States might not hesitate to use the country’s influence to enforce new global standards, especially if promoted in the guise of world peace and stability after a difficult global event.
12. What other factors could help set the stage for a worldwide law to execute those who refuse to violate conscience?
Answer: We cannot name them with certainty, but a few looming possibilities include:
A. The activity of terrorists
B. Riots and escalating crime and evil
C. Drug wars
D. A major economic crash
F. Nuclear threats from radical nations
G. Political corruption
H. Gross miscarriage of justice by the courts
I. Social and political issues
J. Increasing taxes
K. Pornography and other immorality
L. Global disasters
M. Radical “special interest” groups
A backlash against terrorism, lawlessness, immorality, permissiveness, injustice, poverty, ineffective political leaders, and many similar woes could easily precipitate a demand for strong, specific laws to be rigidly enforced.
13. As world conditions worsen, what will Satan do to deceive the masses?
“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived” (Revelation 13:13, 14).
Answer: The United States will experience a counterfeit revival and will insist that religious laws be passed to force every person to participate (represented by “an image to the beast” in Revelation 13:14). People will be forced to disregard God’s holy seventh-day Sabbath and worship instead on the beast’s “holy” day—Sunday. Some will comply merely for social or economic reasons. World conditions will become so intolerable that a worldwide “back to God” movement, with all joining in worship and prayer on Sunday, will be presented as the only solution. Satan will deceive the world into believing that they must compromise Bible truth and keep Sunday holy. But in reality, obedience to and worship of the beast will indicate the refusal of most people to enter God’s kingdom. No wonder Jesus makes such an issue in Revelation over worshiping the beast and receiving his mark!
14. While interest in the counterfeit revival heightens, what will be happening to the genuine worldwide revival sponsored by God’s end-time people?
Answer: The Bible says the entire world will be “illuminated” with glory (Revelation 18:1). Every person on earth will be reached (Mark 16:15) with God’s end-time, three-point message of Revelation 14:6–14. God’s last-day church will grow with amazing speed as millions join God’s people and accept His offer of salvation by grace and faith in Jesus, which transforms them into His obedient servants. Many people and leaders from all countries of the world will refuse to worship the beast nor embrace his false teachings. Instead, they will worship and obey Jesus. They will then receive His holy Sabbath sign, or mark, in their foreheads (Revelation 7:2, 3), thus sealing them for eternity. (See Study Guide 20 for additional information on God’s seal.)
Spiraling Growth Infuriates the Counterfeit Movement This spiraling growth among God’s people will infuriate the counterfeit movement. Its leaders will become fully convinced that those who refuse to cooperate with the worldwide counterfeit revival are the cause of all the world’s woes (Daniel 11:44). They will disqualify them from buying and selling (Revelation 13:16, 17), but the Bible promises that food, water, and protection for God’s people will be sure (Isaiah 33:16; Psalm 34:7).
15. In desperation, the U.S.-led coalition will decide to impose the death sentence on its enemies (Revelation 13:15). What does Revelation 13:13, 14, say its leaders will do to convince people that God is with them?
Answer: They will work miracles—so convincing that everyone except God’s faithful end-time people will be persuaded (Matthew 24:24). Utilizing the spirits (fallen angels) of Satan (Revelation 16:13, 14), they will impersonate dead loved ones (Revelation 18:23) and probably even pose as Bible prophets and apostles. These lying (John 8:44) demonic spirits will doubtless claim that God has sent them to urge all to cooperate.
Satan Appears as Christ; His Angels Pose as Christian Ministers Satan’s angels will also appear as godly clergymen, and Satan will appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). As his crowning miracle, Satan will claim to be Jesus (Matthew 24:23, 24). While impersonating Christ, he could easily claim that he changed Sabbath to Sunday and urge his followers to proceed with their worldwide revival and uphold his “holy” day—Sunday.
Billions Are Deceived Billions, believing that Satan is Jesus, will bow at his feet and join the counterfeit movement. “All the world marveled and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:3). The deception will be overwhelmingly effective. But God’s people will not be deceived, because they test everything by the Bible (Isaiah 8:19, 20; 2 Timothy 2:15). The Bible says God’s law cannot be changed (Matthew 5:18). It also says that when Jesus returns, every eye will see Him (Revelation1:7) and that He will not touch the earth but will remain in the clouds and call His people to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
16. How can we be safe from powerful end-time deceptions?
B. Follow truth as Jesus reveals it. Jesus promised that those who genuinely want to obey Him will never end up in error (John 7:17).
C. Stay close to Jesus daily (John 15:5).
Reminder: This is the sixth Study Guide in our series of nine on the three angels’ messages. The next Study Guide will reveal how Christian churches and other religions worldwide will relate to the events of the end time.
17. Are you willing to worship and obey Jesus even if it means ridicule, persecution, and finally the death sentence?
1. It doesn’t seem fair that, in the final crisis, people who have never heard God’s truth will innocently choose a counterfeit and thus be lost.
No one will face the final crisis without first having heard (Mark 16:15) and understood (John 1:9) God’s vital three-point message for today (Revelation 14:6–12). People will choose to receive the mark of the beast only because they do not wish to pay the price for following Christ.
2. What is the battle of Armageddon spoken of in Revelation 16:12–16? When and where will it be fought?
The battle of Armageddon is the final battle between Christ and Satan. It will be fought on the earth and will begin just before the end of time. The battle will be interrupted by Jesus’ second coming. It will begin again after the 1,000 years, when the wicked surround the holy city with hopes of capturing it. The battle will close when fire rains down from heaven upon the wicked and destroys them (Revelation 20:9). (Study Guide 12 explains the 1,000 years in detail.)
What Does the Word “Armageddon” Mean? Armageddon is a name for the “battle of that great day of God Almighty” between Christ and Satan in which all the nations of the world will be involved (Revelation 16:12–16, 19). The “kings from the east” are God the Father and God the Son. “East” in the Bible symbolizes God’s heavenly kingdom (Revelation 7:2; Ezekiel 43:2; Matthew 24:27). In this final battle, virtually the entire world will unite (Revelation 16:14) to fight against Jesus, the Lamb, and His people (Revelation 17:14; 19:19). Their aim will be to wipe out all who refuse to worship the beast (Revelation 13:15–17).
Delusion Follows Rejection People who refuse to accept God’s message even though they know it is true will become strongly deluded so as to believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:10–12). They will begin to believe they are upholding God’s kingdom when they endeavor to destroy His people. They will perceive the saints to be hopelessly deceived fanatics who are dooming the entire world by their refusal to cooperate in the counterfeit revival.
Jesus’ Second Coming Halts the Battle The battle itself will be worldwide. Governments will try to destroy God’s people, but God will intervene. The symbolic river Euphrates will be dried up (Revelation 16:12). Water represents people (Revelation 17:15). The drying up of the river Euphrates means that the people who have been supporting the beast (Satan’s kingdom) will suddenly withdraw their support. The beast’s support will thus dry up. Its coalition of allies (Revelation 16:13, 14) will fall apart (Revelation 16:19). Jesus’ second coming will halt this battle and save His people (Revelation 6:14–17; 16:18–21; 19:11–20).
The Battle Resumes After 1,000 Years After the 1,000 years, Satan will come right out in the open as the leader of the forces against God and His people. He will resume the battle and try to capture the holy city. Then he and his followers will be destroyed by fire from heaven (see Study Guides 11 and 12). However, every follower of Jesus will be safe in His eternal kingdom.
3. The Bible says, “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2). Is it possible that this will be literally fulfilled in our time?
Yes. The end-time coalition of world governments and religions will finally lose all sympathy for God’s people, those who refuse to join the counterfeit revival or adopt Sunday worship. They will feel that the miracles accompanying their revival prove its validity—miracles such as the sick being healed or notorious God-haters, immoral celebrities, and well-known criminals being converted. The coalition will insist that no one be permitted to ruin this worldwide revival. Everyone will be urged to lay aside personal feelings and “fanatical teachings” (the Sabbath, for example) and join with the rest of the world in its revival for peace and brotherhood. Those who do not agree to cooperate will be considered disloyal, unpatriotic, anarchists and, finally, dangerous fanatics who must not be tolerated. In that day, those who kill God’s people will feel they are doing God a favor.
4. As we study the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, it seems apparent that the real enemy is always the devil. Is this true?
Absolutely! Satan is always the real enemy. Satan works through earth’s leaders and nations to hurt God’s people and thus bring heartache to Jesus and the Father. Satan is the one responsible for all evil. Let’s blame him and be careful how we judge people or organizations who hurt God’s people and church. They are sometimes totally unaware that they are harming anyone. But that is never true of Satan. He is always fully aware. He hurts God and His people intentionally.
5. How would the death of the pope or the election of a new president affect the prophecy of the United States in Revelation 13:11–18?
The prophecy will be fulfilled no matter who is pope or president. A new president or pope may temporarily speed up or slow down fulfillment, but the final outcome is assured by Bible prophecy.
6. Are the lamb-horned beast of Revelation 13:11–18 and the false prophet of Revelation 16:13 the same power?
Yes. In Revelation 19:20, where God mentions the destruction of the antichrist beast, He also refers to the destruction of the false prophet. In this passage, God identifies the false prophet as the power that “worked signs” before the beast and “deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” This is a clear reference to the activities of the lamb-horned beast, which are described in Revelation 13:11–18. In this Study Guide we have identified the lamb-horned beast as the United States of America. So the lamb-horned beast and the false prophet are indeed the same power.