Bible Prophecy and You: Where Are the United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy?

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Where Are the United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy?

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MP3 Audio (37.43 MB)


Bible Prophecy and You: Where Are the United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy?

MP3 Audio (37.43 MB)

Welcome to the ninth lesson in the “Bible Prophecy and You” series.

Much of Bible prophecy is about the end time—the period leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. And it actually has a lot to say about some of today’s most important nations. Yet the Bible doesn’t refer to these by their modern names. Thus if we are to understand many end-time prophecies, the major players must be identified.

Today, the world’s lone superpower is the United States of America. In the 19th century, the superpower was Great Britain, the largest empire in the history of the world. Are these nations ignored in the Bible? How could that be, when the Bible gives us so many other details about the end time? Actually, as you will see, end-time prophecies refer to these nations more than any others!

The birthright blessings of Israel were fulfilled in the rise of the British people and the United States. No wonder they’ve felt like brothers—they descended from brothers!

Today, many people are unaware of how Britain once dominated the world. At the height of its power, the British Empire included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It comprised nearly a quarter of the land mass of the earth and a quarter of its population! As a famous saying went, “the sun never set” on the British Empire!

There is not room here to describe just how powerful the influence of Britain and America on world history has been.

Highly significant is the fact that the British and American people—blessed with religious freedom—have been the primary instruments in spreading the Bible to most of the world. They brought about the King James Version of the Bible, many other English translations and thousands of translations in other languages. Plus they have generously supplied the financial resources and laborers to bring Bibles to all parts of the world.

So, where are the United States and Britain named in the Bible? The answer to this question is a major key to understanding Bible prophecies. It enables us to understand how many prophecies have already been fulfilled perfectly, and enables us to understand what to expect in the end time.

This is a big subject. For a more complete explanation and historical overview, we encourage you to read our in-depth study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. Here we can only cover the basics.

The story begins with God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

First, let’s consider the story of God’s amazing promises to Abraham and his descendants:

God called Abram (Abraham’s original name) to leave his homeland and to live a life based on faith in God and God’s promise of a glorious permanent city (Hebrews 11:8-10). (We learn in Revelation 21:2 that the city will be New Jerusalem.)

God’s initial promises to Abram, at age 75, are in Genesis 12:1-4. When God said, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” He meant two things. Through Jesus Christ, the preeminent descendant of Abram, all people would be blessed spiritually. And through many of Abram’s other descendants, people around the world would experience physical blessings of peace and prosperity.

As Abram showed faithfulness, God kept expanding His promises. He said Abram’s descendants would be so numerous they would be like the stars of the sky. Even though Abram’s wife Sarai (Sarah’s original name) was unable to conceive children, God promised Abram that his descendants “will come from your own body.” Abram believed God, “and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:4-6).

Then after waiting 11 years, at Sarai’s suggestion, Abram made a very bad decision to father a child by Sarai’s servant Hagar. So Hagar gave birth to Ishmael when Abram was 86 (Genesis 16:15-16).

Then when Abram was 99, God appeared and made a highly significant covenant with him and his descendants. At that time God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “father of multitudes” (of many nations), and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, meaning “princess” (Genesis 17:5, 15). The next year, Sarah at last gave birth to Abraham’s son Isaac when she was 90 and Abraham was 100 (Genesis 17:17; Genesis 21:1-5).

Many years later God severely tested Abraham’s faith by telling him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. When God saw that Abraham would have willingly obeyed, God further expanded His promises to him (Genesis 22:16-18).

God’s promises were passed along to Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 26:4), then to Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:3-4, 13-14), and then to Jacob's son Joseph and his sons (Genesis 48:15-16; Genesis 48:19-20). God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning “prevailer (or prince) with God” (Genesis 32:28, King James Version), so his descendants are known as Israelites.

This much of the story sets the stage for the rest of this lesson.

Jacob’s family grows into the nation of Israel

Often nations start out from a family that expands to become a tribe or clan, and then further grows into a nation. The “table of nations” in Genesis 10 shows us the many descendants of Noah who became the ancestors of tribes and nations. Later passages show how Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, and his 12 sons became the forefathers of all Israelites—“the twelve tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:28).

When Jacob (Israel) and his extended family migrated to Egypt, they numbered only about 70 (Exodus 1:5). Over time, “the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty” (Exodus 1:7). There they “became a nation, great, mighty, and populous” (Deuteronomy 26:5; compare Genesis 46:3)—the nation of Israel. And God miraculously brought this “nation from the midst of another nation [Egypt]” (Deuteronomy 4:34).

“A mixed multitude [of various other ethnicities] went up with them also” (Exodus 12:38). God welcomed foreigners into Israel as long as they agreed to honor Him and live by His laws (Exodus 12:48). Clearly God wanted His people to primarily identify themselves not so much by their ethnic connections as by their spiritual connection—being “the people of God” (Judges 20:2).

When God “chose” the Israelites, it was not favoritism, and it was not because they were righteous (Deuteronomy 9:6). They were chosen before they were born, via God’s promises to Abraham concerning his descendants.

God chose them to become “holy” to serve as a model nation to teach the rest of the world to live by God’s laws so these other nations would also receive His blessings (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; Deuteronomy 4:6-8). But for much of the Israelites’ history, they instead were a very bad example spiritually, and God has had to punish them time and again.

The Bible’s geographical focus is on Jerusalem and the surrounding Promised Land. That explains why nations in the vicinity of Jerusalem are the ones that are mentioned most prominently in the Bible.

Tracing the promised blessings of national greatness

Let’s now take note of some important prophecies and their fulfillments.

When God appeared to Jacob (Israel), what promise did He add to the previous promises?

“Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body’” (Genesis 35:9-11).

God said “a nation and a company of nations” would proceed from Jacob. In the last couple of centuries, what single nation and “company” or group of nations of common heritage have been the most powerful? The clear answer is the United States of America and the British Commonwealth. The short space in this lesson doesn’t allow for many proofs of that fact. For thorough proof of this fulfillment from the Bible and from history, we again encourage you to read our study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.

Did the birthright blessing go from Jacob to Joseph?

“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed [in having relations with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah], his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s” (1 Chronicles 5:1-2).

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it . . .

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob . . . by the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

“The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers” (Genesis 49:3-4; Genesis 49:22-26).

After Reuben was disqualified, Jacob pronounced the birthright blessing on his son Joseph. The blessing included major promises that the descendants of Joseph would be fruitful, prosperous and powerful. Jacob announced that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah,” a reference to the fact that God would establish a dynasty of kings descended from Judah—that of David—from which would ultimately come the Messiah (Genesis 49:10).

That dynasty ceased to rule in the Holy Land when the Babylonians invaded Judah in the sixth century B.C. But it never died out, having been transferred ultimately to the British Isles! Christ at His return will thus come to a throne that still exists. (For the amazing story, search at for our e-booklet The Throne of Britain: Its Biblical Origin and Future.)

Did the birthright blessing—plus the name “Israel”—then go to Joseph’s two sons?

“And he [Jacob] blessed Joseph, and said: ‘God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth . . .

“But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.’ So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you Israel will bless, saying, “May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!”’ And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh” (Genesis 48:15-16; Genesis 48:19-20).

Shortly before Jacob (Israel) died, he pronounced special birthright blessings on Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. He prophesied that Manasseh’s descendants would become a “great” nation and that Ephraim’s descendants would “become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19). In essence, Jacob was adopting his grandsons as his own sons (Genesis 48:5). He said, “Let my name [Israel] be named upon them” (Genesis 48:16).

Passing on the name Israel is highly significant. There are many end-time Bible prophecies about “Israel,” and this lets us know that they can refer to the descendants of Joseph and his two sons. In fact, only a few prophecies of “Israel” refer to the descendants of all of Jacob’s sons.

The blessings on Ephraim were fulfilled in the rise of the British Empire and Commonwealth (a “company” or “multitude” of nations). The blessings on Manasseh were fulfilled in the rise of the United States of America. No wonder the British and American people have felt like they are brothers—they descended from brothers!

In Moses’ blessing on the descendants of Jacob (Israel), what did he prophesy about Joseph?

“And of Joseph he said: ‘Blessed of the Lord is his land, with the precious things of heaven, with the dew, and the deep lying beneath, with the precious fruits of the sun, with the precious produce of the months, with the best things of the ancient mountains, with the precious things of the everlasting hills, with the precious things of the earth and its fullness, and the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.

“Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers [this quoting Jacob’s earlier prophecy].’ His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns like the horns of the wild ox; together with them He shall push the peoples to the ends of the earth; they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh’” (Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

The greatest material and geopolitical blessings were to go to the descendants of Joseph.

After Solomon’s death, did Israel split into two kingdoms?

“Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you . . .”’” (1 Kings 11:29-31).

“Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. And when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon” (1 Kings 12:20-21).

Just as God’s prophet Ahijah foretold, the northern 10 tribes seceded from Israel and kept the name Israel. They became the kingdom, or house, of Israel. The southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, along with part of Levi, became known as the kingdom, or house, of Judah. Those of the house of Judah became known as “Jews.” It might seem surprising, but the first time “Jews” are mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible, they are at war with Israel (2 Kings 16:5-6).

The Israelis of the modern nation of Israel are mostly Jews. When the Bible speaks of Judah in the end-time, it is referring to this present-day nation of Israel and other dispersed Jews.

Why did the house of Israel become known as the lost 10 tribes of Israel?

“Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed

His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them” (2 Kings 18:11-12).

When the northern 10 tribes continued to rebel against the dominant Assyrian empire, the Assyrians besieged their capital city Samaria (around 724-722 B.C.). After Samaria fell, the Assyrians deported most Israelites to far-off places where they eventually adopted the languages and cultures of their new environments.

Furthermore, since these 10 tribes had previously abandoned the keeping of God’s Sabbath and Holy Days, they no longer had those identifying signs (Exodus 31:13). Many of their descendants continued to migrate, mostly in a westerly direction toward what is now Europe. God was fulfilling His promise of sifting the Israelites through other nations but keeping them intact (Amos 9:9). But because they had lost their original identity, many historians have thought that they were completely assimilated into other peoples or died out.

In contrast, when those of the house of Judah were taken captive to Babylon more than a century later, they retained their language and beliefs, including Sabbath-keeping. And when later permitted, some of them returned to Judea (which the Romans much later renamed Palestine). Thus, a large part of the Jewish people never lost their identity.

What are some proofs that the Israelites did not cease to exist?

Jesus said He was sent “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Jesus told His disciples to go preach “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). Many years later, the apostle James addressed his letter “to the twelve tribes . . . scattered abroad” (James 1:1). Obviously, Jesus and James expected to reach descendants of all 12 tribes. While most historians haven’t actually tried to “find” the so-called “lost tribes,” even dismissing the notion out of hand, some historians who’ve made the effort have been able to trace the Israelites’ migrations.

Biblically speaking, one of the greatest proofs that the 10 tribes of northern Israel did not cease to exist is found in Ezekiel 37:15-28. There it mentions that when the Kingdom of God is set up on the earth, God will bring the descendants of the northern 10 tribes of Israel back to the Promised Land and will unite them to the two tribes that made up “Judah”—Judah and Benjamin.

If the northern 10 tribes were ultimately assimilated by other nations and disappeared, their descendants could not be brought back to the Promised Land at this time. But, as God promised in the book of Amos, He would not forget the northern 10 tribes of Israel, and neither would He allow them to be absorbed by other nations to the point of ceasing to be an identifiable people (again, see Amos 9:9). He has faithfully kept this promise!

When God spoke to Abraham, what did He mean by “in Isaac your seed shall be called”?

“But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called’” (Genesis 21:12).

It will come as quite a surprise to many that the descendants of Isaac, or Isaac’s sons, became known, among other things, as “Saxons” (search for “Linguistic Links: What’s in a Name?”  at Of course, the English-speaking British and American peoples are called Anglo-Saxons.

When did the descendants of the brothers Ephraim and Manasseh separate?

In colonial times, God inspired many descendants of Manasseh to relocate from Britain and other European countries to America. As a result of the American Revolution, the two brothers became separate politically—though they have worked together often since in ways that have been a blessing to the world. Sometimes you will hear the phrase

“13 tribes of Israel.” That is when the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh are being counted as two different tribes, with Manasseh as the 13th tribe. (It’s interesting to note that the number 13 was prominent in early American history, as there were 13 original colonies that became the first 13 states.)

The Bible’s many end-time prophecies of “Israel” are often referring to the United States, Britain and other related people. End-time prophecies of “Judah” refer to the modern state of Israel and other dispersed Jews. With this knowledge, you will be able to understand the many end-time prophecies concerning Israel and Judah. Sadly, many prophecies warn of God’s judgment and punishment to come on both Israel and Judah for their disobedience to His Word and His laws. But there are also many other prophecies of how Israel and Judah will later be restored to greatness and roles of leadership.

We hope this short lesson has whetted your appetite to read much more about the astounding evidence of the origins of the British and American peoples and the prophecies of events that lie ahead! Future lessons will identify other nations.

Apply Now

Read the amazing blessings pronounced by Jacob on the descendants of Joseph in Genesis 49:22-26. Then read the amazing blessings pronounced by Moses on the descendants of Joseph in Deuteronomy 33:13-17. Think about how significant and generous these promises are!

If you live in a country that has been a recipient of these blessings, give heartfelt thanks to God for His love, faithfulness and generosity in bestowing all those blessings! God’s faithfulness in these physical things is a reminder of His faithfulness in spiritual things. We can all be thankful for that!

And be sure to download or request our free study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy to learn a great deal more!

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