What Role Does America Play in End-Time Events?/Program 1
|By: Dr. Mark Hitchcock; ©2010|
|If there is one product that could destroy America’s influence more than any other, it is oil. From our cars to delivery to food production to military might, oil provides the power that fuels our activity. Yet many of the nations exporting oil to the United States lie in the Middle East—important nations in the end times—and often hold much animosity toward America.|
Announcer: America is the reigning superpower in the world, the nation with the richest economy, the strongest military, and the acknowledged global leader. What Role Does America Play in End-Time Events? My guest today is bestselling author Dr. Mark Hitchcock.
- Dr. Mark Hitchcock: The conclusion that I’ve come to and really I think that most prophecy teachers have come to is that America is not mentioned in Bible prophecy, and of course then that raises the great question: Well, if America is not mentioned then why aren’t we mentioned?
Announcer: Why is the Bible silent about America, but it names other nations in end time events?
- Hitchcock: What I believe is that indicates that something is going to happen to America.
Announcer: What four crises do secular experts predict could bring America to its knees in the future? What is the one event the Bible states will take place in the future that could severely affect American prominence in the world? To hear the answers, join us for this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.
- John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program, I’m John Ankerberg. What do you think is the number one question that people ask about biblical prophecy? Here it is: what place, what role does America play in end time events? People want to know what’s going to happen up ahead; where do we find America in biblical prophecy? And my guest today is going to answer that question. He’s Dr. Mark Hitchcock, a former lawyer that God called into the ministry; got his Ph.D. at Dallas; and he’s an adjunct professor; plus he’s the pastor of a church; he’s a prophecy scholar that’s written 20 great best-selling books. And today, we’re really glad that you’re here, Mark.
- Mark Hitchcock: Thank you. Good to be back.
- Ankerberg: And we want to start right off with framing this whole issue. There are some people that are not familiar with biblical prophecy. They don’t know what it is; they don’t know where we’re coming from on this. So frame this for us. Give us the outline of prophetic events the Bible talks about.
- Hitchcock: Jesus and the prophets predicted many events are going take place in the end times. And, you know, it’s amazing when you look at our world today how events in our world strikingly foreshadow what they predicted thousands of years ago. And what we see happening today is really the stage is being set for these end time events that were predicted to take place. What’s fascinating is that the prophecies that Jesus gave and that the prophets gave, they’re not vague and general, like prophecies like Nostradamus or others; they’re very detailed and very specific. And when we put these together, we can see that they kind of unfold for us, in kind of a sequence of detailed events. And we can really put them together and kind of develop a timeline of how these events are going to unfold. And really, the key event that was predicted in scripture, is the coming of Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. People all believe that Jesus came and lived on the earth 2000 years ago, okay. But when you tell them that that Jesus also said that He’s coming back someday, they say, “Where did He say that? And what were the events that He said would happen?” And that’s what we’re going to be talking about. You’ve got this great event of Jesus Christ coming back. And we also believe that the Bible says that there are two phases or two2 parts to this coming back. What are they?
- Hitchcock: Well, the two phases of Jesus’ coming, by the way, Jesus mentioned His coming 20 times, His own coming. He told them Himself that He’s coming back and returning. But there’s two phases to His coming. There’s one that’s called the rapture, and that’s where Jesus comes for His people. He comes and catches those who’ve put their faith and trust in Him away to be with Him in heaven. But then at the Second Coming, at least seven years later, He’s going to come back with His people. And He’s going to come back then to this earth to judge this earth and to set up His kingdom. When He comes at the rapture to catch His people away, there’s going to be a period after that of at least seven years before His Second Coming. And He’s going to give people, during that time on the earth, a chance to turn to Him, a chance to repent. And the Bible says there’s going to be a series of judgments, of disasters, that God is going to bring upon the earth. The Antichrist, this final world ruler, is going to rise during that time. In fact, the last three and a half years of that period of time, he’s going to have a one world religion, a one world government, a one world economy. And of course, we can see today with globalism, how the world really is heading towards that. And it’s all going to culminate then, with the Battle of Armageddon, in the land of Israel, as the Antichrist gathers the troops of the world there. And then Jesus Christ will return in power and glory to defeat these enemies. And then He’s going to set up His kingdom that will be on the earth then for 1000 years. And of course, the question in all this, as we look at these kind of matrix of end time events is, where does America fit into this? Does America have a role in these great end time prophecies?
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And, I mean, right now, Mark, there are scholars that are looking at this question. You know, the first time we did a television program on biblical prophecy, was the first Gulf War. And I made an announcement that we were going to have it in Orlando, Florida, at the Peabody Hotel, in the Grand Ballroom. And within 10 days we had 5,000 reservations. And what that told me was that there’s a tremendous interest, people want to know. Every place I went, on airlines, and if you went to the store, people would say, “Hey, Ankerberg, doesn’t the Bible say something about the events that are happening in the world? Here, we’re in the Middle East and we’ve got this great war going on.” And at that time, we were going into Iraq and so on, and trying to free different countries. And the thing is, people wanted to know, where does the Bible say these events fit in?
- Alright, well, this has only increased as we have come along. And now we’re to this question of, what place does America play in end time events? And I think the reason that this has gotten everybody’s attention, and I think it’s only since 2008, actually, that this really started to come forth. And that is that, if you have the number one superpower in the world, namely America. If you’ve got the leading nation economically; if you’ve got all of the best things happening here in this country: the strongest military, the policemen of the world, okay, the one that’s guarding Iran; the one that is the friend of Israel; the one that’s kind of keeping the peace in different parts of the world, and feeding people and getting into crises, and helping at the times when earthquakes and tsunamis happen.
- Okay, when you come to the Bible, the Bible in end time events names 15 nations or people groups, specifically; like Egypt, and Iran, and Russia, and Israel and different countries that are specifically mentioned. It talks about this Mediterranean group of nations, the old Revived Roman Empire. And yet, nothing is said about the West. Nothing is said about a great superpower. And when you start to think about that question, it really grabs your attention. Well, if we are the superpower, and we’ve got these events that we think are coming close to us or are up ahead here, the fact is, why isn’t America there? Why is the Bible silent about it? What happened to America?
- Now, before we answer the question of the different scenarios of what could happen that the scholars are talking about, let’s talk about those folks that say they think that America is mentioned in biblical prophecy. Some say that America is the great Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18, what do you think about that?
- Hitchcock: That’s right. Well, everyone would agree that the words America or United States don’t appear explicitly in the Bible. So, America’s not mentioned anywhere explicitly. But a lot of people try to find America in different places. They’ll say, America’s the unnamed nation in Isaiah 18. Or some will even say that America’s the ten lost tribes of Israel. Or some will say that America’s Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18. Now, I’ve investigated all these different views in great detail. And I’ve come to the conclusion that none of those are a reference to the United States. So the conclusion I’ve come to is, America is not mentioned in the Bible. And I think that’s significant, that the greatest superpower in world history, that the Bible is silent about this great country.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Now, we jumped right to the fact of, why would America not be mentioned? Why would our nation, this superpower that’s connected to all of these places, not be mentioned, when these places are mentioned in end time events? And scholars have developed, or at least talked about, five or six different possible scenarios, and if we talk about them, and in fact, we are going to talk about these different scenarios, we can start to see why they have gravitated toward them. Right now I just want you to outline what those six are and we’re going to take one of them after the break. But, what are the six scenarios? Why is America not there?
- Hitchcock: Well, some people would say that America’s not mentioned, just like a lot of other nations aren’t mentioned. You know, many nations aren’t mentioned in the Bible, which is true. And they would say, America’s not mentioned ‘cause the Bible focuses on the countries right around the nation of Israel. But the Bible mentions Rosh, way north, Russia; it mentions the kings of the east; so if America were the great power in the end times, it could easily have referred to this great Western Nation. So, I think the fact the Bible doesn’t mention America is significant.
- There’s several other plausible scenarios. We see the oil crisis that’s developing in the world that could bring America to her knees. We see the economic great recession that took place in 2008 that the world is still feeling the ripple effects from today. America could go bankrupt as a nation, which could lead us from being the great leading nation in the world to a following nation. Terrorism: America is the great target for a worldwide biological, nuclear terror; it could come upon the world. And another one is the rapture. This event we referred to earlier when Jesus is going to come and catch away the Christians, the believers, to be with Himself. When that takes place, that could reduce America to a second-rate nation overnight. So, these are some of the plausible scenarios that we want to investigate together in the following programs.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break right now. And when we come back we’re going to take the first one, that even people that are not Christians are saying makes America really vulnerable. We could fall very quickly. And the vulnerability is oil. That’s our Achilles’ heel. And, folks, we’re going to take a break. When we come right back, I’m going to ask Mark, how vulnerable is America in terms of oil? How dependant are we? Where does our oil come from? What would happen if we didn’t get that oil? And we’ll talk about all this when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Dr. Mark Hitchcock. We’re talking about the number one question that people ask about biblical prophecy and that is, why is America not mentioned in end time events? If we’re the superpower of the world, then what happened? Why aren’t we talked about in scripture? Other nations are talked about and we’re talking about the possible scenarios of why America is not mentioned in end time events. And, Mark, one of them is this thing of oil. We are very vulnerable in terms of our dependence on oil. How vulnerable are we?
- Hitchcock: Well, we’re very vulnerable as a country. And I think we’ve discovered that, and found that out in the last few years. You know, back in 1973, when the Arab Oil Embargo took place, and a lot of people I’m sure still remember that. You know, it was as a result of America’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. These long lines people were waiting in to get gasoline. And back then America imported 35% of its oil. And there was a big outrage at the time, people saying, “Boy, we can’t be dependent on this foreign oil, and we’re putting ourselves at risk.” Well, today, America imports about 70% of its oil – twice as much. And we see that if there were some type of an embargo like that, or some type of terrorist act to hit the infrastructure in nations that we import our oil from; or some type of even a natural disaster, America’s economy could be brought to its knees.
- America uses 20 million barrels of oil a day. The world uses about 85 million barrels of oil a day, we use one fourth of that. We use 7.6 barrels of oil a year. We use more oil than the next 20 countries after us. And 80% of the people in America use cars and automobiles to get back and forth from work. And we just think if something were to happen in the world that drove up the price of gasoline suddenly to $8 a gallon, $10 a gallon, with our economy kind of already teetering on the precipice, what that would do, and with people that are unemployed. I mean, just imagine the day that some disaster takes place or some terrorist strike that the price gasoline doubles, or the price of gasoline triples, or it’s not even available. That’s going to be a day of reckoning for the United States.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I was just thinking, if it went up to $10, and you filled up with 20, you’d have $200 worth of gas, when you fill up. So, you think of people’s budgets and you just say, “Well, how could we do that?” And the answer is that many of us couldn’t.
- Hitchcock: That’s right. I mean, people are already, you know, almost 10% of the people are unemployed. You know, the people in our country are hurting already economically. If something like this were to take place,… And we don’t realize as well, sometimes, the ripple effect this has. If gasoline prices go up that high, most of the goods in America are brought to the local store that people go to, they’re brought there by trucks.
- Ankerberg: And what would happen then?
- Hitchcock: The price of gasoline goes up, the price of shipping these goods goes up, the price of food goes up, the price of clothing goes up, everything goes up dramatically in our country. And that’s if we can get the oil. But think about if oil were unavailable. Think about going to a gas station, not waiting in a long line, but seeing a handwritten “Closed” sign there at a gas station because it’s unavailable. That’s a real scenario that could take place in the modern world in which we live today that could cripple the United States.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I think that people need to realize that you’ve got, in Saudi Arabia, you’ve got these long pipelines that are stretched out. In Alaska, we’ve seen the pipelines that are stretched out, you know hundreds and hundreds of miles across the terrain. And if you had terrorist attack, and in Saudi Arabia there have been several attempts already to blow-up the pipelines there. We’ve had some attempts in Alaska, we’ve had some attempts in different parts. And the thing is, if we had a disruption of the oil flow, what would happen across the world?
- Hitchcock: Well, if there’s a disruption across the world and oil is unavailable, there’s going to be a mad scramble for that resource. You know, oil’s a finite resource, we’re already producing probably about 90% of what the world can produce.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, I think people….
- Hitchcock: And the world is using it.
- Ankerberg: I think people need to understand that we’re getting toward what the scholars talk about as the oil breakpoint.
- Hitchcock: That’s right.
- Ankerberg: What is the oil breakpoint?
- Hitchcock: Well, the oil breakpoint is when worldwide demand for oil exceeds the supply that’s available. And we’re rapidly approaching that. And right now, what we’ve kind of had in our, in the world, kind of a brief reprieve. There’s been about a two year reprieve because the economies in the world have had great difficulty. We’ve gone into this great recession. So the price of oil has dropped from $140 some or $150 a barrel down to now, where it’s hovering around in the $80’s. But when world economies begin to roar again, the price is going to go back there. And as countries like China and India, as their economies really begin to immerge, which is taking place…. People don’t realize, if you lined up all the people in the world, every other person would be either from China or from India.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And I think that what they need to also recognize is that there’s, let’s say there’s only 10 million cars in China, that they have over a billion and a half people. So, if they have another 10-20 million cars this next year, they’re going to need more gasoline. Now, you said that we’re at the 90% point in terms of being supplied oil from all of the sources. So, if you take Canada, and Mexico and Africa and the Middle East, everybody’s pumping to 90%. So that means there’s only a 10% surplus here, that if they were to go full blast, the fact is, we would have this amount of oil. Now, if India goes up with “X” amount of cars, if Europe goes up with “X” amount of cars, if America uses more oil, everybody is using more oil. We are fast approaching this point where, all of a sudden, there is no more oil that can be gotten.
- Hitchcock: That’s right.
- Ankerberg: Okay, and now, there gets to be a mad scramble, and who are the…which nations are in the power positions to get that oil?
- Hitchcock: Well, I think China and India, those nations are in the best position. They don’t have the debt that we have. We’re going to talk about the economy and how this affects the economy in America. We’re a debtor nation. Those nations there are the nations that are in the position, I think, to probably absorb much of this. Probably the world can produce somewhere around in the 90 million, maybe even up to as high as 100 million, barrels of oil of day. But it’s predicted within the next few years, with these economies, these emerging economies coming on line, that we’re going to need 120 million barrels of oil a day. And so there could even be oil wars that could break out in the world, energy wars, as people are scrambling to try to get these resources for their nations. And America could be brought to her knees overnight if something like this dramatic were to happen.
- You know, 20% of the world’s oil flows out of the little narrow Strait of Hormuz, that, on the left side, or the west side are these Gulf states, on the right side of that or the east side, is Iran. And Iran has said that if Israel strikes them, or there’s any attempts to thwart their nuclear ambitions, they’re going to immediately put mines there and cut off that Strait of Hormuz. Well, if 20% of the world’s oil gets cut off, even for a brief period of time, the whole entire world economy is going to be crippled, and especially, of course, that of the United States.
- Ankerberg: Where do we get most of our oil from?
- Hitchcock: Well, we get most of our oil from Canada, and from Mexico, and from Venezuela. We get about 5% of our oil, every day, from Venezuela, that is ruled by Hugo Chavez, who is certainly no friend of the United States….
- Ankerberg: Um-hum.
- Hitchcock: …and would like to do anything he could to try to cripple our economy. We get 45% of it though, from North Africa and the Middle East, places that are far away, that are in dangerous parts of the world, where’s there’s terrorism, where there could easily be attacks against their infrastructure that could disrupt the supply to our country.
- Ankerberg: So if America all of the sudden was cut-off, in terms of its oil needs, alright, or we couldn’t get, say 20%, what’s going to happen to our economy?
- Hitchcock: Well, it’s going to stop. I mean it’s going to end. You know, everything in our country is dependent upon these fossil fuels. And it affects our everyday lives of people getting back and forth to work. It affects the price of all the goods in our country. But it even affects the military, because obviously the airplanes, the tanks, the troop carriers, they all run on these fuels. And there would be, immediately, a priority of that going to defend our country, and there would just be a trickle down of what others can receive.
- Ankerberg: People say, well, give me a little hope here, okay. Because if that’s a real possible scenario here, in terms of bringing America to its knees, what hope is there, that the Bible offers for people that are saying, hey, you know, that’s really a scary situation?
- Hitchcock: Well, the Bible tells us that God is in control. And that’s the great truth of the Bible, that we have a God who’s a great sovereign God, who controls all things. And those who have their faith in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ, have no reason to worry about the future or about what these events may bring. We can have peace and rest amidst the worst circumstances, because we know ultimately that we have the hope of eternal life and a hope of heaven.
- Ankerberg: For a guy that says, “I don’t have that peace,” how do they get it?
- Hitchcock: Well, the person who doesn’t have that peace has reason to be afraid. They have reason to be fearful about what’s taking place in our world. And the way that they can find that peace is through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says when Jesus came to this earth He died on the cross and purchased the full pardon for us from all of our sins. And He offers that pardon to us as a free gift. And all we have to do is accept that free gift and take Jesus Christ to be our savior. And then we can have the hope of eternity and eternal life with Him.
- Ankerberg: For Christians that are looking for hope and say, “I know the Lord, but, you know, what other hope is there, or what should we be doing in terms of these crises that are coming on our country?”
- Hitchcock: Well, I think one of the things we need to be doing is calling upon our leaders to take rational action towards this and get us off of this foreign dependency. We’ve been talking about it for decades now, but no one is really doing anything. Most of the alternatives that are out there aren’t very good. But one of the really good ones is natural gas. We’re the Saudi Arabia of natural gas here in America.
- Ankerberg: Um-hum.
- Hitchcock: If we’d begin to change our vehicles over to that, we could be out of this problem. But there just seems…to get that moving with our leaders, for some reason, is a very difficult thing to take place.
- Ankerberg: Alright, next week, we’re going to look at another possibility that people are seriously looking at, and that is that America could go bankrupt. And what we’re going to do is, we’re going to ask you the question, how close are we to that happening, alright? Folks, it’s going to be absolutely interesting, I hope that you’ll join us then.