What Role Does America Play in End-Time Events?/Program 6
|By: Dr. Mark Hitchcock; ©2010|
|America, Israel, and Iran find themselves frequently mentioned together in today’s news, whether disputing over nuclear development or the protection of Israel. The Bible mentions the tensions between Israel and Iran, but what about America?|
Announcer: America is the reigning superpower in the world, the nation with the richest economy, the strongest military, and the acknowledged global eader. 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.
- Ankerberg: Hi, I’m John Ankerberg, Welcome to our program. I’m glad that you joined us today. We’re talking about the number one question that people have about biblical prophecy: What happened to America in end time events? What role does America play? If the Bible is silent about America, what happened to the number one superpower in the world, the greatest military, the greatest economic nation, the one that’s protecting Israel, the one that is defending against Iran and other enemies around the world?
- We have to answer those questions, and our guest today is going to help us with that. It’s Dr. Mark Hitchcock. He has got a Ph.D.; he’s an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary; he has written 20 books on prophecy; he’s a pastor of a church. And he has studied these things. He’s written about Iran. He’s talked about the apocalyptic visions that Ahmadinejad has had; the place of Israel with Iran and America. So he’s got a lot of fascinating things to tell us about today. And I want you to summarize for the folks that have missed the last few weeks, where have we been in terms of your investigation of where is America in end time events, and the scenarios that come out of the question, if America’s not mentioned, what happened?
- Hitchcock: Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground in these last few programs that we’ve been through. And we’ve been discussing this question, really the most asked question today, I think, in Bible prophecy, is where is America in Bible prophecy? As people study and read the Scriptures, some people try to find America, you know, located different places in the Bible. And I’ve looked at a lot of the different scenarios that people have come up with, a lot of the different identifications. And I’ve come to the conclusion that America certainly is not explicitly mentioned, but not even implicitly mentioned, anywhere in Scripture.
- Of course, some then would say, well America is not mentioned in Bible prophecy just like a lot of nations aren’t mentioned. But I think it’s significant that America isn’t mentioned. We’re the greatest economic, military, political power that’s ever existed. And God could have easily identified America somehow, some great western power that would exist, but there’s no mention of the United States in Bible prophecy. And so we have to consider the question then, well, if America’s not mentioned and if that is significant, then why is America not mentioned? What’s going to happen?
- And as we look out over kind of the landscape of our world today I think we can see some different scenarios that are very plausible for what could bring America down from this superpower status. One of them we talked about was this vulnerability and dependence on foreign oil. America presently imports about 70% of its oil, and this oil, a lot of it’s in nations that are far away in dangerous parts of the world. This exposes a great vulnerability to America that could bring America to her knees.
- Another issue we talked about is the mounting debt crisis in America. Really it’s not just here in America, it’s all over the world. I mean, there are nations all over the world: Greece has had a terrible crisis; Ireland was bailed out by the European Union, by the International Monetary Fund with $89 billion; many think that Spain and Portugal might be next. It’s kind of like maybe mountain climbers going up the side of a mountain, and one of them falls, and they’re all hooked together; and they take one another with them. But the greatest fall of all would be in America. And if America does not cure its addiction to debt, then America could be the next nation to fall under this heap of debt that’s piling up.
- Another scenario we considered is the terrorism. Obviously, we’ve had a, we’re a decade into the war on terror now. And there are enemies out there that think about nothing night and day other than how to get some biological or radioactive or even a nuclear weapon, and detonate that here on American soil.
- And then the final scenario we looked at, one that’s actually in the Bible, is the rapture of the Church, this event when Jesus is going to come and catch all the Christians away to heaven, how that could devastate America, as 30 million people, the salt and the light of this nation, are taken out suddenly,. We see how that could devastate America.
- So these are the different scenarios that could take place. And we see today in our world how those events could really come to pass. America could be removed from the scene, and that could be then this trigger for so many of these other end time events that the Bible predicts are going to unfold.
- Ankerberg: Some people do not take Ahmadinejad seriously in Iran, okay. You have studied him extensively. What have you concluded?
- Hitchcock: Well, Ahmadinejad is a religious zealot. He has an apocalyptic view of the world. He sees himself as a kind of John the Baptist, kind of a forerunner to this Mahdi that he believes will return. And he believes that for the Mahdi to return, that the world is going to be in a condition of warfare and bloodshed and chaos when that takes place. Now, that’s not the person that you want to have their trigger finger on a nuclear weapon, someone who believes that they need to create these conditions for this Mahdi, or this messiah-figure, to return.
- That’s the one thing that I think many people in the West don’t realize. We’re not dealing with someone who just wants power, or like, you know, the other dictators that we’ve seen throughout history. This is someone who has an apocalyptic agenda that’s driving what he believes. And that adds a different twist to this of seriousness that I think is unlike anything we’ve dealt with in the past.
- Ankerberg: Yea, because there’s nothing that you can really threaten him with, because if he dies trying to pull off his apocalyptic vision, okay, he, in his own theology, gets rewarded for that. That’s a good deal. And he gets his 70 virgins and he gets a whole bunch of other things that he thinks is just swell. So the fact is, if you annihilate him, he can go out trying with a smile on his face. And that’s different from, say, the leaders of Russia, where Reagan could actually sit down with them and, during the cold war, he could simply say, look, if there is mutual destruction and things start to happen, your family, you will not be here; you will not exist forever anymore, okay. And they listened to that. But you’ve got a different kind of personality with Ahmadinejad.
- Now you’ve got a book that talks about the place of Iran, Israel, America and the other nations. Let’s, again, place those nations in terms of biblical prophecy.
- Hitchcock: Well, America, not being mentioned, is not going to be a player. Now, we probably, my belief is America is just going to be folded in or absorbed into this reunited Roman Empire that’s going to exist, according to Scripture, in the end times. But as America is moved off the scene it appears, as this major power, that’s going to leave Israel vulnerable. And so Israel is going to look to this reunited Roman Empire for safety and for a guarantee of her security.
- But in Ezekiel 38:5 it mentions ancient Persia, which is modern Iran, with a coalition of other nations, Islamic nations, plus Russia, is coming into Israel while Israel is living under that treaty of security with this western power. And so that’s how we see these nations fitting together. And it’s fascinating that the Bible predicted the place of a reunited Roman Empire, with what we see in the EU today; predicted Israel would be right at the center of all of this, which it is. It also predicted specifically, about 2500 years ago, that Iran would be one of this coalition of nations that come against Israel in the end times. We see this all developing, really. It’s just strikingly foreshadowed by what we see in the world every day in the headlines.
- Ankerberg: I’ve got to come back to your book in terms of the economic consequences around the world for the political things that we’re talking about. Because the Bible talks about the economies of the nations and it talks and gives illustrations that during the time of the tribulation there’s going to be an inflation of the money. And the people in the middle class are going to have a hard time just putting food on the table. Talk about that.
- Hitchcock: That’s right. I mean, you know, people often wonder, how’s a person like an Antichrist going to come over and take over the world. How’s he going to have this world empire? Well, in Revelation 6, in this prophecy called the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the third of those riders, those horsemen, is a rider on a black horse. And it speaks of famine. But what it speaks of there is famine that comes about as a result of this hyperinflation that’s going to take place. It says in that passage it’s going to take all that a person can earn in one day just to get enough quality food to feed one person. Or they can buy enough cheap food to feed three persons. But that’s going to take everything they make. And it’s hyperinflation that’s reminiscent of Weimar, Germany, in the 1920s. Or more recently of …
- Ankerberg: Let me take the Weimar, Germany. That fact is, it used to be that the mark, the German mark, used to have five American dollars to one mark, alright. And the fact is, they had a steady economy; it was based on the gold standard. Then all of a sudden things started to happen, and inflation came in; until later on, you could have a billion marks to a dollar, and the fact is, it wasn’t even valued at anything. I remember the story of a person that took a wheelbarrow to go to the store. And he had a wheelbarrow of money, okay. He left the wheelbarrow outside, and he figured, well, you know, the money’s worthless; nobody’s going to take that. So when he,… he left it all there. When he came out of the store, the money was there, but somebody had taken the wheelbarrow. I’m saying, you’ve this inflation that we’re starting to see right now. They have put how much money into the economy here in America?
- Hitchcock: About $600 billion that they have printed just recently in an attempt to devalue the dollar; and really to create inflation. But, as they do that, it’s a tricky thing, because you start putting that money in, then inflation starts running away, then you’re going to have to try to come in and do things to stop that. Once these things get started, they’re very difficult to stop.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk about where the Bible says these events are headed. And when do you think these things will take place, and where things are going to end up according to the Bible.
- And one of the questions I want to ask Mark is, Hollywood talks about how everything is going to wrap up, what’s going to bring all of the nations into war. The Bible also says all of the nations of the world are going to come into the Middle East. And I want to know, what starts all of those events happening, according to the Bible. And we’ll talk about it in a moment. Stick with us; we’ll be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Dr. Mark Hitchcock. We’re talking about the most important question that people ask; and that is, they’re asking what happened to America in end time events. They look at their Bible and they don’t see anything implicitly or explicitly about America. And here we are, the superpower of the world, and the fact is, there’s no mention of us. Seems like Israel is all alone; her enemies are coming against her. Right now, America defends Israel. What happens?
- Now, Mark, one of the things that we know is that we’ve just sent a whole group of new political leaders to Washington to try to deal with our economic problems. We’re facing a mountain of debt. Where are we at? How does that fold in to world events and biblical prophecy and that which we’re facing across the world?
- Hitchcock: Well, we don’t know for sure where these things are headed. And that’s an important thing for us to point out is, we don’t know when these things are going to come down, when America’s going to fall. Our leaders could get their house in order and could begin to cut spending and take care of these things, and this could be put off. Now, it’s a steep mountain to climb. There is, as you pointed out in one of the previous programs, there’s $120 trillion of unfunded liabilities out there, with Medicare, the promises for Medicare and Social Security and these other kinds of things for the next generation. So it’s a steep mountain to climb. But we don’t know when these events are going to take place. And so I think it’s important for us not to give up on America, not to throw in the towel, but to continue to do what we can while we can.
- But I think we know that ultimately, according to Scripture, America not being mentioned, that something is going to take place. We don’t know what it is. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. We’ve talked about the oil crisis here in America, our dependence on foreign oil. One of the statistics I think is just staggering is, if oil is $140 a barrel, the oil in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the 400 billion barrels they have, is equal to the entire value of the United States of America. The United States of America is worth about $56 trillion. They have enough oil in Saudi Arabia and Iran, at $140 a barrel, to buy the United States of America. Now that, to me, exposes this vulnerability that we have economically on the issue of oil.
- But we don’t know when these things are going to take place. Now, I want to say that, because I think it’s important for us to continue to live our lives in such a way, to do what we can, to support the nation of Israel as the Scriptures call upon us to do, to do these things and to continue to pray for our country, and support our leaders, and call upon God to shower His hand of blessing upon this nation.
- Ankerberg: But there’s anti-Semitism that continues to rise in the world. And what’s that attached to?
- Hitchcock: Well, the anti-Semitism in the world really rises, I believe, ultimately from Satan. You know, Satan knows that the Jewish people, that they were the people that God selected through Abraham. And he knew that the Messiah was going to come through Abraham’s descendents. So Satan tried to wipe out the line of David, through whom the king was to come. Which, of course, he wasn’t successful. Jesus came as the Messiah, died and rose again. But after that time the Bible has promised that Jesus is going to come back some day and rule over the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Well, Satan is trying to wipe them out so that God cannot fulfill that promise.
- And we’ve seen throughout history that those nations that come against Israel are cursed by God, and those nations that support Israel are blessed by God. It goes all the way back to Genesis 12:3. God told Abraham, “Those who bless you I will bless; and the one who curses you I must curse.” We’ve seen that borne out throughout history. I always like to say that any time someone tries to wipe out the Jewish people, they get a holiday. Pharaoh tried to do it and they got Passover; Haman tried to do it, in the book of Esther, and they got the Feast of Purim;. Antiochus Epiphanes tried to do it during the time between the Old and New Testaments and they got the Feast of Lights, or Chanukah; and in more modern times, Adolph Hitler, through the holocaust, tried to eradicate the Jewish people and for that they got May 14, 1948, the birth of their modern State.
- So we see this anti-Semitism in the world, and this anti-Semitism, it’s age-long. And it’s there because Satan is trying to thwart, he’s trying to cut off the promises of God that Hhe wants to fulfill with these people; the promises He’s made.
- Ankerberg: And the Bible says that there’s going to be a world leader that Satan is going to use, alright. He’s going to come on the scene, and the fact is, he’s going to use him for the same purposes, to try to destroy the Jewish nation one more time, alright. So, people ask the question, where will he come from? Where will the Antichrist come from? Will he come from America? Will he come from some other nation? Where is he going to come from?
- Hitchcock: Well, that’s a great question that people ask a lot today. There’s been a lot of people asking if some particular American could be the Antichrist. You know, every American president since John F. Kennedy just about, somebody has identified as the Antichrist. There’s one passage of Scripture, though, that I think gives the nationality of the Antichrist. It’s Daniel 9:26. It says the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the temple in Jerusalem. Now, the people who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD were the Romans. And it says he’s going to come out of those people. Now, I don’t think it means necessarily he’s going to be an Italian. What I think it does mean is that he’s going to rise from a reunited, or reconstituted, Roman Empire, which would mean he’s going to come from somewhere in Europe, North Africa, or the western part of Asia; but probably in the heart of that old Roman Empire, which is Europe. That’s where I think the Antichrist will rise from. So I don’t think he’ll be an American or American president.
- Ankerberg: Alright, so what happens? What’s the spark that brings all the nations to the Middle East, to Israel?
- Hitchcock: Well, in the end times, there’s going to be the final great conflagration that the Bible calls Armageddon. And it seems to me from Scripture that the spark for that, again, is this anti-Semitism; that the Antichrist is going to gather the nations of the world together in one last assault on Israel and on the Jewish people, to wipe them off the face of the earth. I think, you know, Satan’s going to know that Christ is coming back soon. He’s going to know his time’s about up. And so he’s going to try to wipe out the Jewish people so that God cannot fulfill His promises that He’s made to the Jewish people. So that anti-Semitism, that age-long anti-Semitism, really, we’ve seen in the world that can only be explained really supernaturally, is going to come to a head finally there at the end. And, of course, Christ is going to come back and destroy Antichrist….
- Ankerberg: Will Jerusalem ever be destroyed?
- Hitchcock: Well, at the time of the second coming, they’re going to be coming against the city of Jerusalem. It says that all the nations of the earth are going to be gathered against Jerusalem. It says that the city is going to be taken in Zechariah 14. So there’s going to be warfare going on in this campaign of Armageddon that’s going to really extend throughout the whole nation of the land of Israel. But Christ is going to come back and rescue them before it’s finally and ultimately destroyed.
- Ankerberg: What do you want people to walk away from in listening to this series? What do they need to know about their relationship with Christ?
- Hitchcock: Well, that is… that’s the ultimate thing. Because the ultimate issue is not what’s going to happen in this life, because life is short; it goes quickly. What’s going to happen to us in the life to come? And the Bible tells us in Romans 10, “If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can be saved from your sins and delivered from your sins by simply confessing that Jesus is Lord, that He’s God, and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. That is the simple message of the Gospel, the Good News, of Jesus Christ. And that’s the ultimate desire we have for these programs, is that those who don’t know Christ will come to Him and trust in Him, and they’ll find peace in their heart and their life, and eternal life for the life to come.
- Ankerberg: Mark, thanks for being with us. And I appreciate all the study that you’ve put in and all of the books that you’ve written, and for the information that you’ve shared with all of us.
- Hitchcock: Thank you so much for having me.