Jovial (6 Feb 2013)
"Is America in Prophecy? Part 3: Where the USA REALLY is in Prophecy"

There is one part of prophecy I think DOES refer to America in Isaiah / Yeshayahu 18:1.  It starts off ...

הוֹי אֶרֶץ, צִלְצַל כְּנָפָיִם, אֲשֶׁר מֵעֵבֶר, לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ.

Oy, land of the buzzing wings, which is beyond the rivers of Cush;

Since the eagle is a symbol of the USA, it could fit "buzzing wings". I haven't ruled out the possibility this is a reference to our shore line, but I'll avoid getting into that. 

Where is Cush? Some debate that issue. Some claim it is east of Babylon since Cush was the father of Nimrod who moved east to get to Babylon. But Cush is generally interpreted as the area south of Egypt, and two chapters later, in Isaiah 20, Egypt and Cush are mentioned together.

The Nile River runs from Egypt into "Cush"; Sudan and Ethiopia. So perhaps this is telling us it is not talking about Egypt and Cush, even though the description could be confused for that since it calls this land a land that is divided by rivers, and the Nile certainly does that. But in the next verse (Isaiah 18:2), it says...

הַשֹּׁלֵחַ בַּיָּם צִירִים, וּבִכְלֵי-גֹמֶא עַל-פְּנֵי-מַיִם, לְכוּ מַלְאָכִים קַלִּים אֶל-גּוֹי מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט, אֶל-עַם נוֹרָא מִן-הוּא וָהָלְאָה--גּוֹי קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה, אֲשֶׁר-בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ.

That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus upon the waters! Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation tall and of glossy skin, to a people terrible from their beginning onward; a nation that is sturdy and treadeth down, whose land the rivers divide! (JPS)

Egypt and Cush could send ambassadors by land. But is there a nation that cannot reach Israel by land, and is divided by a great river or rivers? Both the USA and Brazil fit that description. A river cuts through the USA from the top of Minnesota to New Orleans, called the "Mississippi River" after St Louis, but its name changes several times. The Amazon also splits Brazil. Neither can reach Israel by land and would have to send ambassadors by sea. In our modern times, we could fly, but who would have believed that one in Isaiah's day? So both the USA and Brazil fit this description, but let me examine more context to determine who fits it better.

This verse is translated many different ways by different people...

King James

...Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!


...Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.


Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, To a people feared far and wide, A powerful and oppressive nation Whose land the rivers divide.


Go, ye messengers, to the folk drawn up and rent; to a fearedful people, after which is none other; to the folk abiding and defouled, whose land the floods have ravished;


Go, ye light messengers, Unto a nation drawn out and peeled, Unto a people fearful from its beginning and onwards, A nation meeting out by line, and treading down, Whose land floods have spoiled.


Go, swift messengers, to a nation scattered and ravaged, to a people terrible from their existence and thenceforth; to a nation of continued waiting and of treading down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!


Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far,a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.


Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and polished, to a people terrible from their beginning [feared and dreaded near and far], a nation strong and victorious, whose land the rivers divide!

The word "בזא" can mean to divide or spoil, so I can see why a minority of translators came to the conclusion this is saying that the rivers have flooded, but I would disagree. the Hebrew text describes the nation as "מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט" which is translated

The first Hebrew word, "מְמֻשָּׁך", can mean pulled out, drug, lengthened or tall. It may be describing people who are tall. but it could also be saying the land in question is long geographically, stretching out many miles. Notice how some translators (NIV, NASB, etc) interpreted this as applying to the individuals. Wycliff and YLT interpreted this as applying to the land. And the KJV interpreted this as applying to the multitude, and how they spread out on the land.

The second word, "מוֹרָט", can refer to something that is smooth, polished, etc. It can refer to skin that is free from hair, and might therefore refer to the tendency of the men to shave their faces or possibly a genetic trait as well. Or it could refer to this being done to the land since many miles of pavement have been laid across the American landscape.

All translations agree that this nation is "feared", but differ on how between mostly two choices:

The term is "הוּא וָהָלְאָה" and would be most literally rendered "is and beyond". It is a matter of interpretation whether this is time, distance, or a merger of both.

There is a lot of disagreement on how to interpret "קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה"

I have no idea why the NIV translated this as "strange speech". The others have some interesting variances that are more interpretative than someone being wrong and the other right. One variance exists because "קו" can refer to a line or a measuring line (thus the "meted out" of the KJV / YLT) and "קוה" can refer to hoping, waiting , or anticipation, thus we get the Darby / Wycliff interpretation. The NASB / NRSV / Amplified may have interpreted the "line" as a "staff" or "rod", or a symbol of power, and thus rendered it more interpretatively as "powerful", "mighty" or "strong". Others render the second word more literally or interpretatively, although the KJV is the only version claiming this country has been "trodden down" instead of being the one to do the treading. The KJV interpretation does not fit the context because how could a nation be "feared" unless they are the treadors, not the treadees?

Now if the USA and Brazil were both put to this test, there's no doubt Brazil would be afraid to go to war with the USA, putting the USA in a position of better fitting this than Brazil. So while both are split by a large river, the USA fits the overall descriptions better.

Egypt is split by the Nile, but the opening seems to tell us not to get this nation confused with Egypt. This nation must send ambassadors by boat, whereas Egypt could send them by land. This nation is "feared", and Egypt was once, but is not so much anymore.

However, perhaps the USA is a modern Egypt. Under Joseph, Egypt grew into the most powerful nation on earth. It grew into the richest and most powerful military. The children of Israel went to Egypt because there was prosperity there, and they left when God called them out. And the Hebrew name for Egypt, "Mitsraim", refers to a land split by a river.

The USA is another land split by a great river, which became home to more Jews than even Israel prior until recently, and only in the last century have Jews begun migrating from the USA back to Israel. If America really is a modern Egypt, then perhaps what happened to Egypt when Israel left on the first Passover will also happen to the USA when Israel goes into the Desert in Revelation 12?

There are many parallels between modern day United States and ancient Egypt before the Exodus.

So instead of looking for the USA in prophetic references to Babylon, perhaps the best place is to study the pattern of Egypt before the Exodus and consider how that could apply. For example, will the American equivalent of “Pharoah” fall when the Exodus of Revelation 12 occurs? Time will tell.

Overall, Isaiah 18 doesn't say much about America.  In essence, it says that the most feared nation on earth....will come to fear the God of Israel.  That's about it.  Whatever Isaiah 18 is saying about whoever it is, it is not saying very much at all.

This is America's role ; to be the model of what is feared for two reasons.  One is to glorify G-d, by being mentioned as a nation that will ahve to bow to G-d since no man, no matter how powerful, gets out of that.  Prior to the Millenium, the "Beast" will use America to prove its power by bringing America into subjection to the Beast, which will amaze the world.

Another place where the USA could be referenced less explicitly is in Daniel 8:9, where it says the false messiah will “waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the TsaVI (צבי) [translated “pleasant land” in KJV].” (Dan 8:9, KJV) If the false messiah rises from Europe, then it explains why it only references two directions, East and South, since Europe is already in the North Western corner of the Eastern Hemisphere.

The King James translates TsaVI (צבי) as “pleasant land”, but other interpretations could exist. The word “land” is not really here and this does not have to refer to land, though the context suggests it is some geographical area. The word “צבי” can mean “pleasant” but could also mean “beautiful”, “glorious.” In other words, this may not refer to a particular direction, but just anything desirable. Most of the Western Hemisphere is called “America”, meaning “rich land”, and the name could be considered a match with this description.

Because the word “land” (singular, and never “lands”, or plural) is often inserted by many translators, many people have read this as referring to a specific land, and probably Israel. But it is not likely that this word would be chosen for only Israel, since there is a small area of Israel that went by this name and is referenced in places like Genesis 10:19,14:2,8, Deuteronomy 29:22, etc. And Babylon is called “צבי ממלכות” or “the glory of the kingdoms” in Isaiah 13:19, using the same word for “glory” in Isaiah 13:19 that is used in Daniel 8:9.

The word “land” is included in Daniel 11:16,41. And while this may refer to Israel, I do not rule out the possibility it could refer to the Americas. It may be that language was chosen so as to allude to both the Americas and Israel at the same time as a way of indicating the fact that they will be allies at the time it happens and desired for similar motivations and share some parallel fates.

The USA can be considered an “Egypt” relative to Israel of sorts. All of Israel lived in Egypt at one point, migrating back to the promised land under Moses. 2011 statistics state there are 5.7 million Jews living in Israel, 5.2 million in the USA, and 2.5 million in other parts of the world. Israel has grown considerably in the last century with some immigration from the USA and heavy immigration from the rest of the world. The USA was also the most popular destination for Jewish immigrants around the World War II time period in which the Jewish population in the USA grew from 1 million in 1910 to 4.6 million in 1937. The immigration to the Unites States was due to both the prosperity of the USA as well as their tolerance for religious freedom, factors that also existed when Joseph was viceroy in Egypt. We have not yet seen a mass immigration from the USA to Israel as was seen under Moses, but perhaps that is in store for the future.

Jerusalem is called a spiritual “Egypt” in Revelation 11:8, but that is because Jews will flee the city when the events in Revelation 11-12 occur and leave the city for the wilderness of Revelation 12. But perhaps the USA is alluded to with the language that is used in Isaiah 18 and Daniel 9 because it shares a similar to Israel in some respects as the primary destination of Jewish immigrants besides Israel, but also shares a fate with ancient Egypt as a place where Jews will leave when the end time events unfold.

Shalom, Joe