In Leviticus 26 God told His chosen nation Israel, “…If you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength will be spent in vain” (verses 18-20).
How does this prophecy apply to the United States and Great Britain today? Regular readers of World News and Prophecy understand the promises made by covenant to Abraham have been fulfilled in modern times through these two nations. The terms of that covenant, both the curses and blessings, still apply to the modern descendants of the 10-tribe nation of Israel. The words of the prophets God sent to Israel and Judah to stir them to repentance speak to these nations today.
America and Great Britain in particular, as descendants of Joseph, have been materially blessed beyond all others. In spite of our disobedience to God’s laws, He has been faithful to His promise and extremely merciful. How long will this last? How long before He removes that blessing and allows the curses of Leviticus 26 to overwhelm the present power of the United States?
Shaping the world
At the close of World War II America stood alone as the strongest power on earth. No other nation held the ability or will to reshape the postwar world as did the United States. The United States helped not only Great Britain and other allies recover, but also helped the vanquished nations of Germany and Japan rebuild into thriving, democratic, free-market economies.
American military power provided an umbrella for Europe to rebuild itself from the ashes of war and shielded the continent from the threat of Soviet expansion. In Japan, Douglas MacArthur was an “American Caesar,” virtually rebuilding the country along liberal democratic lines.
Throughout the following decades America fought wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East. In each case America sought to contain communism and protect basic human freedoms. It has been said America has not won a war since 1945. It may be more accurate to say America has not won so decisively with the ability to shape a region or the world in the same way it did after World War II.
In the post-9/11 period America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq to bring about regime change and alter the regional balance of power. While Saddam Hussein was quickly overthrown, the progress since then has been slow and painful. Now into the fourth year, it is still hard to see where and how the war will end. Currently there is a democratically elected government in place but it has very little control over the insurgency that continues to commit violence against the citizenry. Both Iraqi and American lives are lost every week in bombings and suicide missions.
Far from achieving the American objective of reshaping the Middle East into a democratic oasis, the region is on the brink of sectarian civil war. Iran , for the moment, has extended its influence into Lebanon in support of Hezbollah in the recent war.
The war in Iraq has now divided America very much like the war in Vietnam did nearly a generation ago. Opinion polls (June 2006) put American support for the war at below 40 percent. The shame of Abu Ghraib and the allegations of atrocity in the city of Haditha have served to resurrect ghosts of past atrocities and heighten the calls for withdrawal from Iraq.
As the 2006 midterm elections heat up, we will hear more politicians question American policy in the Middle East in the attempt to wrest control of Congress. The rapid decline in the will to stay the course in Iraq is now being called the Iraq Syndrome.
In an article in the June 2, 2006, issue of the Wall Street Journal titled, “Iraq Syndrome Has Finally Arrived,” Daniel Henninger describes the Iraq Syndrome as a loss of confidence in America’s military engagement in Iraq and elsewhere. As violence and unrest dominate the daily news, the American public continues to lose confidence in the U.S. administration’s ability to bring peace to Iraq. The call to bring American troops home increases.
The disclosure of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and an alleged massacre of civilians at Haditha add credence to those who demand a pullout of troops. Along with a tendency to pull inward, these problems could be enough to break the will of the American people to support a war that seems distant and irrelevant.
The increasing sectarian violence in Iraq, which some call a “mini” civil war, could have a significant impact on the upcoming midterm elections in America. Calls for withdrawal of troops are getting stronger as confidence in the manner in which the war is being fought drains from elected leaders.
The Iranian factor
Add to this the manner in which Iran’s nuclear ambitions are being handled. Iran has made very clear its intent to develop a nuclear weapon. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made many incendiary remarks about Israel and the Jews prompting concern that he would use a nuclear weapon to achieve his ends.
President George W. Bush has stated in two State of the Union messages, and on other occasions, that he will not permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. His position is that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.
However, some feel a pathway to appeasement is beginning to open. Last June, while appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a retired officer and experienced statesman, answered a question about whether it was inevitable that Iran would get a nuclear bomb.
He answered, “I think so. I think they’re going nuclear five, 10 years from now. We’ll be confronted. And that’s not a good outcome. That argues that perhaps Saudi money and Egyptian technology gets an Arab Sunni bomb to confront the Persian Shia bomb. None of us want to see proliferation in the Gulf. This is a time for serious diplomatic interventions.”
It is the last statement, “serious diplomatic interventions,” that raises the thought of appeasement in the face of a serious threat. Iran feels it has a moment in history to exert itself in the Middle East and achieve its own political/religious ends. Fighting Israel by proxy through Hezbollah in Lebanon is a case in point.
When Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will become a means of exerting further influence over the West. Diplomacy has not deterred it from proceeding with plans for nuclear development. Rather, Iran uses diplomacy as a stalling tactic, a way to tie the hands of Europe, America and the United Nations with words, while it continues to develop the ultimate weapon.
While the American stand is adamantly against a nuclear Iran, U.S. ability to do something about it could be seriously hindered by world opinion, which currently runs strongly against American foreign policy.
Appeasement masked as diplomacy will only strengthen Iran’s hand. There are increasing signs that the West, including America, is aiding that effort. Is this a sign of losing the will, that pride of one’s power?
Leviticus 26 mentions many curses to come upon the nation because of sin and breaking the covenant. Famine (verse 26), attacks by enemies (verse 25), disease (verse 21) are but a few of the disasters stemming from Israel’s disobedience. All of these are common to nations and empires both small and great.
But the breaking of a nation’s pride of power is different. This involves a nation’s moral will to protect and maintain and cherish its unique qualities of nationhood that make it what it is. This pride or will or national character defines a people around a core set of values rooted in tradition, history or a spiritual destiny.
In recent decades the winds of postmodern multiculturalism have changed the character of both America and Great Britain. The acceptance of all racial, ethnic, religious and language groups into a nation, without holding to the unifying aspects of the host culture, is having a detrimental impact in America as well as other liberal Western democracies.
Immigration without assimilation into the accepted national culture creates a disunity that distorts national unity and purpose. The present debate in America over illegal immigration is a case in point. The problem highlights America’s inability to control its borders, essential for any country, not to mention the cultural changes it portends. That it has produced such hostility and debate is evidence of the divisive nature of this issue.
From its start America, and especially its founding leadership, had a sense that the Divine was behind this venture. No matter what their individual faith called this Providence—whether God, Nature or Destiny—there was a sense that some “higher element” was empowering the country. Many of the founding fathers firmly believed the God of the Bible was shaping the country’s destiny. No matter the modern arguments on this point, it is clear they felt strongly that America came into being at a unique moment and by more than a fluke of history.
Leviticus 26 shows that God expects more than lip service, good intentions or reasoned faith to maintain the special relationship He has with His people. He requires unyielding obedience to an agreement based on the eternal spiritual law embodied in the Ten Commandments. Nothing short of that will suffice, not even the traditions of men or well-intentioned religious faith that errs from the Bible.
Notice how God begins the section. “You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD ” (Leviticus 26:1-2 Leviticus 26:1-2 1 You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither raise you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down to it: for I am the LORD your God.
2 You shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×).
Two points of the law are pointed out, idolatry and the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Here are mentioned two critical points of the law upon which the whole course of the nation would hinge. When you look at the history of ancient Israel, you will see that indeed the people had trouble keeping these laws.
Among the most serious sins of the ancient house of Israel were idolatry and Sabbath breaking, by which Israel abandoned any regular pattern of hearing and learning more about God’s Word.
Notice what God said through the prophet Ezekiel after Israel fell into captivity: “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths… They despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols” (Ezekiel 20:12-13 Ezekiel 20:12-13 12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
American King James Version×, 16).
As a result they began to believe that one religious belief or practice was no better than another—that they could change the rules of life as they pleased. Because of these beliefs and their sins, God allowed them to go into captivity.
The same is true today. The words of the prophet Hosea are a chillingly accurate description of the United States and Britain: “Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn…
“ ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge… The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me…They set their heart on their iniquity…So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds’ ” (Hosea 4:1-3 Hosea 4:1-3 1 Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yes, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
American King James Version×, 6-9).
Just as God punished ancient Israel for its sins, He plans to punish its modern descendants for their persistent disobedience.
America and Britain today
These prophecies apply to America and Great Britain today. These two nations, blessed by the God of Abraham, have both had their time in the sun and will both experience serious decline unless a national repentance occurs. God will break the pride of U.S. and British power, in all its forms, and the result will usher in a major shift in global power and politics.
It is fashionable in many parts of the world today to hate America. As we showed in the first article, that hatred is sometimes justified because of the corrupt values and morals exported through its media. Yet, for all its sins, America has been a powerful force in the world, much of it for good. When it no longer holds the dominant economic, political and military power, things will change, and it will not be all good. America, loved and hated, will be missed.
The words of the prophet Ezekiel have particular relevance. “I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. My eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity; but I will repay your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst; then you shall know that I am the LORD!” (Ezekiel 7:3-4 Ezekiel 7:3-4 3 Now is the end come on you, and I will send my anger on you, and will judge you according to your ways, and will recompense on you all your abominations.
4 And my eye shall not spare you, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense your ways on you, and your abominations shall be in the middle of you: and you shall know that I am the LORD.
American King James Version×).
God used Ezekiel to deliver a powerful warning message to Judah and Israel to wake up from a spiritual slumber, repent and return to the sound and basic paths of righteousness based on His laws. The nations of Judah and Israel had long since abandoned the covenant. And though they had an outer semblance of the relationship, it was in name only.
God had pulled the plug on Israel, and now Judah was about to experience captivity. Jerusalem, the symbol of unity and focus of God’s love, was to fall. God’s presence would leave the people and only a hollow core would remain.
In Ezekiel 10 we see the presence of God leave the tabernacle in a stunning vision. Notice: “Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight” (verses 18-19).
Just as God’s presence—meaning His mercy, protection and favor—left the nations of Israel and Judah, so it will eventually leave the modern descendants of Joseph—America and Great Britain—in a final moment that will leave them vulnerable to powerful forces that will usher in a time of change unseen in modern times. When this happens, the stage will be set for major end-time prophecies to align.
God has yet to pull His hand of blessing off the United States. That is very clear from what we can see in today’s world. America is not broken. There are deep systemic problems creating decay within, but it still stands strong and powerful in many key areas. America stands astride today’s world as a colossus—a reluctant empire in every sense of the word. The United States is the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. Its power comes from the blessings of God, made to Abraham long ago in a covenant that still stands in our time.
But we can see the handwriting on the wall. The United States is vulnerable in many areas. Like the giant Goliath, it could be brought down very quickly. There is still time for you, the reader, to grasp the truth of these and other prophecies and heed the warning to repent and seek the true God who stands behind His Word. A famous poem dealing with these empires echoes a hope that God, the “judge of the nations” might “spare us yet.”
In the beginning of this series we quoted a speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair before the U.S. Congress. He concluded his remarks with a statement he learned from his own nation’s history. “All predominant power seems for a time invincible, but in fact, it is transient.” It is not too late for America, but time is running out. WNP