Every year the president of the United States gives what is known as the “State of the Union” address. Usually the State of the Union address spells out the president’s agenda and the budget priorities that flow from that—how the president thinks trillions of dollars of taxpayer money should be spent. It spells out what the president plans to accomplish and the legislation he wants to see enacted. It describes his vision of what the nation ought to be, what it ought to look like and how its citizens should act.
The recent presidential campaign highlighted two very different visions for America’s future, with half the nation supporting one and half supporting the opposite. As a result, a very divided nation will watch the next State of the Union address, half with joy and half with a mixture of anxiety and anger, if they tune in at all.
The State of the Union is strong?
For most of the last 40 years, the president has traditionally started the State of the Union address with the words, “The State of the Union is strong.” But the State of the Union is clearly not strong, and anyone with a sense of historical perspective clearly realizes this.
In the pages of Beyond Today we write a lot about current news and events in the light of Bible prophecy. We see our mission as one of making the news make sense to our readers. We can do this because of our understanding of the prophetic identity of the major English-speaking nations—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The amazing prophesied story of these nations and what will come of them in the end times is explained in our free study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.
Because so few understand these nations’ prophetic identity, most people are in the dark when it comes to comprehending where these nations are heading—and indeed, where they already are.
Understanding America’s identity in Bible prophecy
At Beyond Today we understand prophetically who the descendants of ancient Israel are. We know that the modern State of Israel in the Middle East is made up of people descended mainly from only two of the ancient 12 tribes of Israel—Judah and Benjamin. They are called “Jews” because they are mostly from the tribe of Judah. But the other 10 tribes of Israel were carried away into exile by the Assyrians in the 700s B.C. and disappeared from history, becoming known as “the lost 10 tribes.”
Yet a careful study of history and Bible prophecy shows what happened to those lost 10 tribes. After many centuries, their descendants migrated to northwestern Europe, with the most prominent tribes among them populating the British Isles and America and fulfilling the physical promises of tremendous material blessings and greatness that God had spoken to Abraham—promises that were not completely fulfilled in ancient times. (To learn more, search for “America in Prophecy” at our website, ucg.org.)
We also know that much of Bible prophecy is dual—that it had application for the time in which it was given, known as the initial or early fulfillment, but that it also often has a primary later fulfillment. (To learn more, download or request our free study guide You Can Understand Bible Prophecy.)
This is especially true of many of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. In fact, when God prophesied through Ezekiel, that prophet was already in captivity along with other exiles from Judah—long after the northern tribes of Israel had been taken captive. He wasn’t prophesying backward of what had already happened to Israel; he was prophesying forward of what would happen to the end-time descendants of Israel before the final coming of the Messiah.
God’s State of the Union message for America today
With this in mind, consider that God is the ultimate head of state (Daniel 4:17). If He were to address the nation today, what would He say?
Rather than starting with “The State of the Union is strong,” God would convey quite a different message, perhaps in such terms as “The State of the Union is one of great danger.”
Why would I say that? Because God has already given a State of the Union address to His people—to a people whom He had greatly blessed, to whom He had given His Word and told them to live by it to enjoy His continued blessings, and to a people whom He had warned repeatedly to obey Him or suffer the consequences of their sins.
Children who’ve rebelled against their Creator
God chose a prophet, Isaiah, to deliver His message to the nation. And beginning in Isaiah 1, God gives a blunt assessment that certainly fits our nation today:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘The children I raised and cared for have turned against me’” (Isaiah 1:2, New Living Translation 2015 throughout, emphasis added throughout). Just as ancient Israel’s existence came about miraculously through God’s divine favor and intervention, so did America’s. The nation began with a few poor colonies on the Atlantic coast, and through the promises made to Abraham, it grew into the greatest and most powerful single nation the world has ever seen.
But have we appreciated that? For many years the nation did. For most of the first 200 years of the nation’s history, prayer and reading and studying the Bible were a common part of everyday schooling at all levels.
In all 12 years of my primary education we started each school day with a prayer and Bible reading. Several times during my school years every student was given a small pocket-sized Bible. And even though the Supreme Court banned prayer and Bible reading in public schools in the 1960s, thousands of schools ignored those rulings.
The nation was vastly different then. Americans truly believed their nation was greatly blessed by God. But attitudes have changed dramatically, and not for the good. Like Britain and other nations before it, America is well on its way to becoming a secular, post-Christian society where God is no longer welcome. Indeed, as God says, “The children I raised and cared for have turned against me.”
Speaking through Isaiah, God then draws on an example to illustrate our rejection of Him: “Even the animals—the donkey and the ox—know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand” (verse 3).
His point is that even animals like cows and donkeys appreciate the care of their owners who provide shelter, food and water, but Americans today are not even as smart as cows or donkeys! The evidence of God’s blessing is all around, but the American people are willfully blind to that evidence staring us in the face.
America’s spiritual state
Regardless of their views on God, most Americans would like to think they are basically good people. But what does God think? He tells us in verse 4: “What a sinful nation they are! They are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil and corrupt children who have turned away from the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from his help.”
This is a sad commentary on the state of much of America today. In the Bible God shows us the answers to severe national problems. But because we have chosen to despise Him and His Word, we cut ourselves off from those solutions, and our problems grow worse and worse. It’s no wonder we have so many enormous challenges! We are sinful, evil and corrupt people who have despised God and in so doing have cut ourselves off from His help. (To learn more, be sure to read “Have You Really Turned Your Life Over to God?”.)
God continues in verse 5: “Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick.”
The first part of this verse reminds me of the oft-repeated definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results! Politicians continue to do what has brought only more problems, but then double down and do more of the same, thinking it somehow will be better this time.
Consider, for example, how many adults now favor socialist redistribution of wealth, which amounts to massive thievery—forcibly taking income from some people and giving it to others. But politicians know that promises of “free stuff” will get them more votes, so they overlook the damage government giveaways and wealth redistribution have wrought in places like formerly prosperous Venezuela, where people scavenge for food in gutters and have literally killed and eaten zoo animals to keep from starving.
As Isaiah puts it, it’s inviting punishment. Punishment comes because we rebel against God and His Word. We defy common sense and logic. We do what is innately self-destructive and then wonder why we can’t solve our problems.
When God says to us, “Your head is injured, and your heart is sick,” He is essentially saying, “What are you thinking?” Our actions make no sense. God also says our heart is sick—it’s corrupt because of sin and spiritual blindness.
Sick from head to toe
Is the state of the nation strong? Notice in verse 6 how God views it: “You are sick from head to foot—covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—without any ointments or bandages.”
God says it’s not just a few things that are wrong with the nation. He says America is sick from head to toe—beat up, bruised, injured, filled with infection and putrefying sores, but with nothing to help the nation heal. We are a sick and dying nation, and we have no idea why. How sobering and shockingly sad!
And it’s sad to God also. He doesn’t want to see this happen to any nation. As noted earlier, Ezekiel wrote after Israel had already gone into national captivity at the hand of the Assyrians. So what he wrote couldn’t apply then, but has to apply to a different time—our time.
Notice what God says in Ezekiel 33:11: “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?”
God is essentially pleading here: “It doesn’t have to be like this! You don’t have to suffer and die this way! Turn from your wicked ways so you can live!”
Consequences for disobeying God
What are the specific consequences for a nation turning its back on God? Deuteronomy 28 is a fascinating chapter in which God first lists all the great blessings that will come on a nation for obeying Him—wonderful blessings of peace and plenty, wonderful blessings that America enjoyed for roughly its first 200 years.
But then, in verses 15-18, God begins to explain what would happen when nations rejected God. He spells out the consequences: “If you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you: Your towns and your fields will be cursed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed. Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed.”
Does this curse describe America today? For decades the United States was a net exporter of food. But that changed as recently as 2005. Now it is a net importer of food, meaning America consumes more food than it produces and exports. The nation no longer produces enough food to feed itself. It should be able to—it did for well over two centuries—but it is not doing so any longer (a major factor in this is government driving the use of farmland to produce biofuels instead of food). The nation’s “fields”—its agricultural productivity—is being cursed.
In verses 19-20 God warns of further curses on the nation: “Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed. The Lord himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me.”
Are we seeing any curses, confusion and frustration in America today? In recent months we’ve seen cities burning and destroyed, unprecedented levels of attacks on police and chants like those recently shouted in my city, “No borders, no walls, no USA at all!”
America is being cursed with a spirit of confusion, chaos and destructive anarchy.
Such things make no sense in a rational world. And when you see things that make no sense on a physical level, you can be sure that something is happening behind the scenes on a spiritual level. And are we ever seeing that right now!
Health curses fulfilled
In verse 21 God pronounces curses on people’s health, that He “will afflict you with diseases . . .”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website lists these shocking statistics on the state of Americans’ health:
• Six in ten U.S. adults have a chronic disease.
• Four in ten U.S. adults have two or more chronic diseases.
• U.S. annual health care costs total $3.5 trillion—approximately $10,000 per person per year!
• Many of these plagues are self-inflicted, due to smoking, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol use.
Such curses on the nation’s health are clearly not normal!
Drought and weather curses
Next, in verses 22-24, God declares weather-related curses: “The Lord will strike you with . . . scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew . . . The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard as iron . . . The Lord will change the rain that falls on your land into powder, and dust will pour down from the sky until you are destroyed.”
This is obviously talking about severe drought. Try as we might, we can’t control the weather. But God can and does, and when He reaches the end of His patience and withdraws the blessings of rain in due season and good weather, this will be the result.
Remember the devastating and unprecedented wildfires this last summer and fall in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado and a freak storm in August that destroyed $7.5 billion worth of crops in the Midwest? These may be a taste of far worse to come.
Military defeat and disaster
In verse 25 God pronounces another kind of curse: “The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies. You will attack your enemies from one direction, but you will scatter from them in seven!”
Consider these sobering facts. The last war America truly won was World War II, and that was 75 years ago. Over the 75 years since, it has had to keep soldiers stationed around the world to keep the peace.
Korea followed next—a war America didn’t win, but which was settled by an armistice, forcing the nation to keep tens of thousands of troops there for more than 65 years to uphold the peace.
Then came Vietnam, a costly quagmire that America finally turned over to the imperiled South Vietnamese when U.S. forces went home, after which Vietnam and Cambodia became communist killing fields in which 1.5 million people were murdered.
This was followed by the first Iraq war after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but Saddam Hussein was left in power, leading to the second Iraq war, which led to U.S. troops fighting there for nearly a decade, with thousands of troops still stationed there and facing attacks for years afterward.
America has now been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years and hasn’t won, so we’re preparing to bring our troops home—after suffering more than 7,000 dead and 50,000 wounded here and in Iraq. The policy of nation-building in the Middle East has been an abysmal failure.
All these wars, which brought no conclusive victories in the last 75 years, cost trillions of dollars and more than 100,000 American lives.
God prophesied in Leviticus 26:19, “I will break the pride of your power”—this too because of our sins. America has had the world’s most powerful military for the last 75 years, but far lesser powers have slowly sapped its will and strength in wars of attrition until the nation has given up and gone home.
A plague of mental illness
In Deuteronomy 28:28 God foretold another kind of curse that is striking America today: “The Lord will strike you with madness, blindness, and panic.”
Consider some statistics about America’s mental state from the website Mental Health First Aid (February 2019):
• In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
• 5 percent of those 18 or older experience a mental illness in any one year.
• Of adults in the United States with any mental disorder in a one-year period, 14.4 percent have one disorder, 5.8 percent have two disorders and 6 percent have three or more.
• Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.
• In the United States, only 41 percent of the people who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services.
Again, for a nation to be cursed with this magnitude of mental problems is far from normal! This is clearly an extraordinary situation. And these figures don’t take into consideration the unsound thinking of millions who embrace and advocate causes (such as drug legalization) that ultimately lead to the ruin of the nation and themselves.
Financial curses and debt
In verses 43-44 God describes another curse afflicting America today: “The foreigners living among you will become stronger and stronger, while you become weaker and weaker. They will lend money to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail!”
During the Obama presidential administration, America added as much national debt in those eight years as it had in the entirety of the nation’s history since 1776—more than 200 years. During the Trump administration the nation added considerably more, largely as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. It is currently over $27 trillion—roughly $80,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.
For years America was the world’s leading lending nation, sending money to other nations. No longer. For years now America has been the world’s leading debtor nation. The last time the United States had a trade surplus was 1975—almost half a century ago! Since then America has imported more goods and services than it has exported. Sooner or later that enormous debt catches up, and unpaid bills become due. Financial collapse will be the inevitable result.
A time of reckoning
The blessings and curses chapter, Deuteronomy 28, has much more to say. It’s much like reading today’s headlines, as in the examples above. But much of it is sobering and gruesome reading—and it’s meant to be. It’s designed to get our attention, to shake us out of our spiritual stupor and wake us up.
Why are these curses coming on the nation? The descendants of Israel—primarily the United States and other major English-speaking nations today—have been blessed unlike any other nations in all of history. They’ve been blessed with great miracles time and time again. They’ve been given unparalleled wide access to God’s Word, the Bible, and even spread that Word throughout much of the world.
They were told they should have been “holy” nations and an example of God’s way of life to the rest of the world. But as we’re seeing before our eyes, we’re actually sinking lower in our corruption and rebellion against God than other nations.
America has made collective choices in recent years. It banned the Bible from schools and public life and told God we don’t want to listen to Him. It banned prayer from schools and public life and told God we don’t see a need to talk to Him.
It legalized abortion and told God that America views human life as worthless, then wonders why we see so much murder and mayhem, gang violence and teenage boys who pick up arms to gun down their classmates.
The nation trashed God’s instruction about marriage being between a man and a woman and legalized what God calls an abomination. Then it defied scientific fact and the biblical truth that God created us male or female in declaring to the contrary that some men are actually women and vice versa.
And over much of the last year governments shut down churches and told people they can’t meet to worship God, but stood by while thousands protested, rioted, looted and burned businesses while glorifying criminals—at times encouraged by political leaders who praised and even marched alongside them.
The fact is, God doesn’t have to curse the nation. Americans are cursing themselves by their own choices and sins. We’re seeing it happen before our very eyes. Today we are witnessing a once-great nation die by suicide.
Hope for those who choose to follow God
We began with God’s State of the Union address in Isaiah 1. So it seems appropriate that we end in the same chapter. Skipping down to verses 16-18, we see God’s plea to His people:
“Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows. ‘Come now, let us argue this out,’ says the Lord. ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.’”
God has not changed, as Malachi 3:6 tells us. He does not want to see people suffer and die from continuing in their sinful ways and rejection of Him. He doesn’t want our minds and values to be polluted with the corrupt values of this world and what is politically correct or “normal” in this society. He urges each of us to choose life rather than paths that lead to death and destruction.
May God give you eyes to see and ears to hear, and may you wake up to the reality of what is going on so you will not be caught asleep and unaware. Choose rightly—choose life!