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Oct 23 2012

Is the U.S. mentioned in Bible prophecy?

A reader asked about where to find the United States mentioned in Bible prophecy. I am aware that many expositors have included the U.S. in their interpretations of end-time prophecies, especially when explaining the Book of Revelation, but I haven’t found any specific mention of the U.S. in any end-time prophecies. From my studies, it seems that all end-time prophecies in both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) are centered only on the nation and people of Israel, and on events located in the land of Israel.

On the other hand, the continuance of the Great Commission says in Acts 1:7-9, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (KJV), expands the scope of the Bible’s message beyond Eretz Israel to the “uttermost part of the earth,” and that is the closest I have come to finding anything outside of the Holy Land mentioned in biblical prophecy. That means that the U.S. is included in biblical prophecy, but only collectively as part of the uttermost part of the earth.

As for the physical location of the uttermost part of the earth, I did find myself wondering about that several years ago. Specifically, I asked myself where the uttermost part of the earth from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem—the place where the Great Commission was given to the disciples by the resurrected Jesus—could be found. I first checked a gigantic globe at my local library, then did an Internet search, and it turns out that the farthest inhabited speck of land from Jerusalem is Pitcairn Island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. If that name “Pitcairn Island” sounds familiar, it should. The island is famous in history as the final home of the mutineers from “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that episode of British history, let me recap the story and show how it relates to the Great Commission and Bible prophecy.

The mutiny happened aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789. The mutiny was led by Master’s Mate and Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian against commanding officer Lieutenant William Bligh. According to most accounts, the sailors were attracted to the idyllic life on the Pacific island of Tahiti, where they had been collecting breadfruit for many months before heading back to transplant it in the West Indies for feeding slaves, and were further motivated by harsh and even cruel treatment from their captain as they headed homeward … The mutiny took place about 30 nautical miles from Tofua, where the mutineers ordered Bligh, the ship’s master, two midshipmen, the surgeon’s mate, the ship’s clerk, and 18 sailors into the Bounty’s launch and gave them some meagre provisions. Bligh and his crew landed on Tofua to augment their food and water supplies, then navigated the 23-foot open launch on a 47-day, 3618 nautical mile voyage to Timor in the Dutch East Indies. When word of the mutiny reached the British government, the HMS Pandora was dispatched to capture the mutineers. Pandora reached Tahiti on 23 March 1791 … In the meantime, the mutineers had passed through the Fiji and Cook Islands, but, knowing that the entire British navy in the Pacific would be looking for them, feared that they would be found there. Continuing their quest for a safe haven, on 15 January 1790 they rediscovered Pitcairn Island, which had been misplaced on the Royal Navy’s charts, and was thus as good as land unknown. After the decision was made to settle on Pitcairn, livestock, provisions, and any useful contents of the ship were removed from the Bounty. To prevent the ship’s detection from the sea, and anyone’s possible escape, the ship was burned on 23 January 1790 in what is now called Bounty Bay. The wreck is still visible underwater in the bay, discovered in 1957 by National Geographic explorer Luis Marden … Although the settlers survived by farming and fishing, the initial period of settlement was marked by serious tensions and lawlessness among them. Alcoholism, murder, disease and other ills quickly took the lives of most of the mutineers and all of the Tahitian men. Eventually, two of the remaining mutineers, John Adams and Ned Young, turned to the Scriptures using the ship’s Bible, which had been found in the bottom of a trunk that had been removed from the Bounty several years before, and used it as their guide for establishing a new and peaceful society on the island. In time, all of the Pitcairn islanders converted to Christianity. … adapted from the Wikipedia articles “Pitcairn Island” and “Mutiny on the Bounty”

And thus the Gospel reached and transformed the actual “uttermost part” of the earth from Jerusalem. Of course, I realize that the Great Commission has always had a larger scope than the simple geographical interpretation involving Pitcairn Island that is recounted above, but it cannot be disputed that that particular “uttermost part” and its story of receiving the Gospel comprise one dramatic instance of exact fulfillment of the prophecy about the Gospel being preached to every corner of the world as prophesied in Matthew 24:14, which says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (KJV).

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