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The United States in Bible Prophecy

Part 4

 by Steve Ashburn


In Part 3 of this series, we saw how the United States was described in Isaiah 13 as “sanctified ones. . . . even them that rejoice in my highness,” which was strongly suggestive of the US still being a Christian nation at the time of this prophecy. We saw God calling Congress into session (“exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles”) for a probable declaration of war against Iraq, and the US (“the high mountain”) as the leader of a third coalition of nations (“the kingdoms of nations gathered together”). We continue now in reading the scriptural account of this war, including the role of the US, and the complete obliteration of Iraq—one of Israel’s most inveterate enemies.

Isaiah 21 contains a parallel description of this coalition invasion of Iraq. Verse 1 begins: “The burden of the desert of the sea.” In context, this refers to Iraq (formerly ancient Babylon and its empire). In previous instances in Bible prophecy, when the word “burden” is used, it denotes a particularly severe judgment by God; for example:

Isaiah 19:1 describes “The burden of Egypt” (its end-times nuclear destruction); Isaiah 23:1 describes “The burden of Tyre” (referring to the end-times judgment of Lebanon); and Nahum 1:1 describes the historical overthrow of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire, which was accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar and his allies in 612 BC. The description of Iraq as “the desert of the sea” is consistent with its parallel description as “a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert” in Jeremiah 50:12, and in addition, is an accurate description of the geomorphology of present-day Iraq.

Verse 1 then continues, and provides an introduction to this invasion: “As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.” In the 1991 Gulf War, the US, in fact, launched a massive tank attack on Iraq from the northern desert of Saudi Arabia, sweeping eastward into Kuwait, and engaging Iraqi tanks in a wholesale slaughter of their armored forces. Our text passage indicates this strategy will be employed again, with a blitzkrieg attack (“whirlwinds”) on Iraq from the desert “in the south” (Saudi Arabia).

Finally, Scripture says this attack will come from “a terrible land.” This same descriptor is used in Isaiah 18 to refer to the United States (“a people terrible from their beginning hitherto”); in context, the word “terrible” means “highly respected,” and indeed the US has been highly respected for our military power, our staunch advocacy of freedom and justice, and for our worldwide missionary evangelism. We covered this previously in Parts 1-2 of this series.

Verse 2 then provides additional details of this invasion with respect to Iran: “A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.” Isaiah describes his vision at this point as “grievous.” This is explained in the same verse as “the treacherous dealer [traitor]” dealing “treacherously [betraying their erstwhile friend, Iraq]”; and then this traitor (“the spoiler”) is described as turning around and looting them (“spoileth”). Our text verse then identifies who this traitor and looter is: none other than Iran (“O Elam . . . O Media”), who then proceeds to “besiege” them.

What’s going on here? It appears that this verse describes good old-fashioned Mideast treachery, so common in the history of this area. Reading between the lines, it appears that Iran was expected to join the Arab invasion of Israel, which was instigated by Iraq (described as “the hammer of the whole earth” in Jeremiah 50:23; and it is strongly implicated as the “ambassador” which is “sent among the heathen” saying, “Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle,” in Obadiah 1:1). Instead, Iran joined the US-led coalition in invading their neighbor.

I describe the role of other Arab nations in detail in my book, End Times Dawning, but at this point in our narrative, we may assume Iraq to be the instigator of the end-times Arab attack on Israel, which results in widespread nuclear destruction of several countries in the Middle East. The subsequent coalition invasion of Iraq will probably be due to worldwide outrage at their complicity in this nuclear disaster. Other world powers will assume that Israel, after all, was only acting in self-defense, and this favorite Arab pastime of invading the homeland of the Jews must be brought to an end, most likely to avoid another nuclear war.

Our text passage, therefore, indicates that Iran will decide not to participate in the Arab invasion of Israel, but instead will join the US in the next coalition invasion of Iraq. This, of course, is consistent with the parallel passage in Isaiah 13 just covered: “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them.”

Interestingly, in the parallel passage of this war in Jeremiah 49, God says he will “break the bow of Elam…. And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come” (Jeremiah 49:35–36). But we just saw in Isaiah 21:2 how Elam (as part of modern-day Iran) would be part of the US-led third coalition invasion of Iraq. How can we reconcile these two Scripture passages? Apparently, the answer is that ancient Elam straddled the border between modern-day Iran and Iraq; therefore, part of their descendants will fight with Iran as a member of the US-led coalition, and the other part will be destroyed along with their native country of Iraq.

Then, God says, “I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes” (Jeremiah 49:38). This apparently refers to the international government, which will be set up to administer post-war Iraq and her resources (“my throne”) after the government of Iraq is obliterated (“destroy[ed] from thence”). Remember, it is God who—for his own purposes—establishes government, including that of the Antichrist. Finally, during the millennium, God will restore Elam as a nation (“I will bring again the captivity of Elam”; Jeremiah 49:39), inferring that some of their descendants (from both Iran and Iraq) will survive the tribulation and be counted as saints.

Finally, Isaiah 21:2 provides an explanation as to why Iraq is being destroyed: “all the sighing [groaning] thereof have I made to cease.” In context, this refers to the enormous pain and suffering of a nuclear war that Iraq instigated; not only are the victims of this war groaning, but also Western nations which realize the enormous economic loss that a war in the Middle East has caused to their trade and commerce.

Isaiah 23:1 (which describes the end-times war with Lebanon) provides more details of this: “Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste.” Here Western nations (“Tarshish”) are described as “howling,” which in context refers to the enormous economic loss they have suffered because of regional nuclear war in the Mideast. Our Scripture verse, therefore, describes other nations making an end to all the groaning (“sighing”) which Iraq has caused.

The prophet Isaiah then puts himself in the position of the Iraqis and describes what it feels like to have the military might of the United States and several other countries bearing down on him: “Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me” (Isaiah 21:3–4). The prophet suffered pain as a woman would in labor (for men, perhaps the closest analogy would be severe constipation); he was doubled over in pain; he was terrified at the sight of it; and he had tachycardia, panic attacks, and insomnia.

The parallel passage in Jeremiah 50:43 also describes the reaction of the leader of Iraq: “his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.” Thus, the leader of Iraq will be exactly as Isaiah described: weak, fearful, and full of pain.

Isaiah then urges the Iraqis to depart from their complacency, watch what is happening, and prepare for war: “Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth” (Isaiah 21:5–6). In context, it seems that the Iraqis will be a little relaxed at the outset of this invasion, eating and drinking as usual (“Prepare the table”) and will be somewhat overconfident and complacent.

The parallel passage in Jeremiah 51:38–39 also describes their bravado and feasting: “They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lion’s whelps. In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord.” This behavior seems pathognomic of antisocial personalities, who typically do not exhibit any empathy for others or any concern about the results of their harmful actions to themselves. Isaiah urges them to wake up, for they will soon find out, suddenly and tragically, what the consequences are of attacking Israel and instigating a regional nuclear war.

Isaiah then describes in verse 7 what the watchman (the witness of these events) sees: “And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed.” In context, chariots refer to military vehicles, or columns of these vehicles. Isaiah describes three different types of this equipment: “horsemen . . . asses, and . . . camels.” This probably refers to troops and mechanized equipment heading into Iraq from several different nations and directions.

Scripture indicates that Iran will invade from the east (“the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion”; Jeremiah 51:28), Turkey and Armenia from the north (“the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz”; Jeremiah 51:27), and the US from the south (“whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land”; Isaiah 21:1). Of course, the invasion will not be limited to these nations; the previous two coalition invasion forces (in 1991 and 2003) consisted of dozens of member nations. Consequently, Isaiah now urges the watchman to be extremely vigilant and fully alert: “he hearkened diligently with much heed.”

The watchman then cries with alarm at what he sees: “And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” (Isaiah 21:8–9).

Our witness sees “A lion,” which in context most likely represents the official presence of the US as leader of this (Anglo-American) coalition. In fact, Daniel 7:4 describes the world power that will be dominant during the beginning of the end times as “like a lion, and had eagle’s wings,” which in context refers to the US and Great Britain. The watchman then declares his truthfulness and accuracy in reporting these events (“I stand continually upon the watchtower”) and follows with an additional sighting of “a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen.”

Taken in the proper context of a military invasion, this last sighting probably represents ground troops and armored personnel carriers, which follow the mechanized equipment described previously in verse 7. The parallel passage in Jeremiah 51:14, in fact, records the use of many ground troops and tracked vehicles: “Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillars.” In this passage, Jeremiah explained the motion of these vehicles in terms that the readers of his time could understand, such as a caterpillar.

Finally, Isaiah summarizes the end result of this invasion: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.” This verse is important in establishing a timeline for this passage. Babylon is stated as having fallen twice (“is fallen, is fallen”); therefore, this account cannot refer to the Persian invasion of Babylon in 539 BC. In addition, the phrase, “and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” also ties into Jeremiah 50:2, which describes the third coalition invasion of Iraq: “Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.”

Our final text verse is congruent with the similar record in Revelation 14:8: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city.” In context, it seems the dual use of “is fallen, is fallen” refers to the forty-year end-times period, which is sandwiched between these two destructions of Babylon: Iraq in the beginning; and the capital city of the beast, and of one-world government at the end.

Our text passage also indicates that God will also destroy the religious underpinnings of Iraqi society (“all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground”), which provided the motivation to attack Israel to begin with. Isaiah 19 describes how God regards the radical beliefs of the Islamists in Egypt as a “perverse spirit,” and their false religious system as “idols.” These were destroyed with thunderous nuclear explosions: “the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it” (Isaiah 19:1). In a similar fashion, the false religious system of the Iraqis also will be destroyed by the military force of the coalition members.

Of course, the United States is more than just a powerful military adversary; it is also a place of safety for refugees worldwide. An intriguing example of this is found in Jeremiah 49:28–33, which describes the end-times destruction of Arabia (“the men of the east”). This Scripture passage notably follows those describing the end-times destruction of Edom (present-day Jordan) and Damascus (present-day Syria), clearly establishing the timeline as end-times.

Although Nebuchadnezzar precursively fulfilled this prophecy in the sixth century BC, the inhabitants of Kedar and Hazor (present-day Saudi Arabia) are advised to “Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the Lord, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone” (Jeremiah 49:31); in context, this almost certainly refers to Saudis fleeing to the United States for shelter after Israel attacks and destroys the Arab nations surrounding her. In this verse, the US is described as the “wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care . . . which dwell alone.” Indeed, the United States has been a refuge in times of war for many people worldwide; without a doubt wealthy Saudis would be welcome here.

Interestingly, this verse implies that at the beginning of the end times, the US will not have suffered a permanent economic disaster from a stock and bond market crash (“the wealthy nation”); will not suffer under martial law (“dwelleth without care”) nor by social unrest (“which have neither gates nor bars”) as some have predicted, and therefore will be a safe place to store both physical and electronic assets; in contrast to other nations which generally will suffer these things (“which dwell alone”).

This amazing passage of Scripture implies that the present economic (coronavirus) and social (BLM) problems which we are experiencing are only temporary, and most likely just scripted theater to divert attention from central banks, who plan a 1930’s-style economic decline, followed by a slow melt-up. Notably, this was terminated in 1940 by WWII, and probably will be this time around by the Psalm 83 war.

Therefore, my guess is that the next 10 years will be a time of prolonged economic depression as described in Psalm 82, where a few people with the vast majority of the world’s money, described as “gods,” repress their fellow citizens without mercy. This, of course, precedes the Psalm 83 nuclear war in the Middle East, in my opinion.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this series about the United States in Bible prophecy. I am amazed that the Bible speaks so eloquently of our country, like none other. I am proud and humbled to be an American and a member of such a great nation. As Isaiah 13 describes, I also have been sanctified by His Holy Spirit, and rejoice in His highness, and I hope you can say the same!

I provide more details of this and many other end-times prophecies in my recently published book, END TIMES DAWNING: Get Ready! (available from Please read it! Also, if you would, leave a book review on Amazon.

Yours in Christ,

Steve Ashburn


[This article was published on September 4, 2020]


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