America is a Bible Land
by Rev. Bertrand L. Comparet, A.B., J.D.
All Christians know that the prophets foretold the future, and gave many prophecies which are being fulfilled in our time; but it may be news to many that the Bible even speaks of our own United States of America. Not under that name, 'of course; but the Bible describes a certain land in such terms as definitely identify it as the United States. However, part of this has been concealed from all---but the deepest students of the Bible by the unfortunate mistranslation of certain words in the commonly-used King James Version.
The Prophet Isaiah, one, of the most deeply inspired prophets in the Bible, foretells the future of a number of different nations. With one exception, these kingdoms which were then important nations, were competing with one another for mastery - over western Asia and the Mediterranean shores. In his thirteenth chapter, Isaiah names Babylon, and foretells its coming destruction- -even naming the Medes as the chief nation by whom Babylon would be overthrown (although Isaiah wrote this 176 years before the fall of Babylon); he also foretells that, after its destruction, the Arabs would never camp overnight at the site of the mined city--which is still true, even today. In his fourteenth chapter Isaiah concludes his prophecies against Babylon, and names another people doomed to be broken as a punishment for their evil ways--the Assyrians.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters, Isaiah prophesies the destruction of another nation, that of Moab. In his seventeenth chapter, Isaiah foretells the fall of Damascus. (Let us skip over the eighteenth chapter for the moment; but we will come back to it.) In the nineteenth and twentieth chapters, he foretells the destruction of another mighty nation--the great empire of Egypt; and in the twenty-third chapter, he foretells the doom of the powerful commercial seaport of Tyre.
All of these nations were pagan enemies of God's people, and God's patience with their wickedness was near its end; so these prophecies are all prophecies of destruction. Isaiah lists these nations all by name--for they then had names, and were the important nations of their day. But in the midst of this, in the short eighteenth chapter, Isaiah speaks of another nation which he does not name, but merely Ascribes it. Unfortunately the translators have sadly garbled this short chapter until its meaning is lost. Correctly translated from the Hebrew, its references to this un-named nation (found in verses one, two, three, and seven) read thus: Ho! to the land of buzzing wings, which lies beyond the rivers of Ethiopia; "That sends its ambassadors by sea, in water-drinking vessels upon the waters. Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and. smooth-shaven, to a people terrible from their beginning onward; a nation measured out by lines under foot, whose land the rivers divide.
"At that time shall a present be brought to the Lord of Hosts: A people tall and smooth-shaven, a nation measured out by lines under foot, whose land the rivers quarter, to the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts, Mount Zion.'
Now, let us examine this very unusual description, and see which nation it will fit. It is not named--and as we shall see, this is for the very good reason that, at the time when Isaiah wrote, it had no name, for it did not yet exist.
The first strange thing we note is that it is "the land of buzzing wings." Nearly all of you who listen to me can, at this moment, hear the drone of airplanes in the sky. No other nation in the world has its skies so filled with "buzzing wings," day and night, as our own United States.
Next, where is it located? Isaiah says it is "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." The rivers of Ethiopia are the tributaries which unite into the great River Nile and flow northward into the Mediterranean Sea due west of Jerusalem. Look straight west from Jerusalem, where the Prophet wrote these words, and your line of vision will cut across the mouths of the River Nile, across the north African shore, through Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco--none of which can possibly answer any part of the description of this nation. So we keep going on, due west, across the Atlantic Ocean, and we arrive at the shores of the United States on the coastline of Georgia and South Carolina.
Isaiah says that this nation "sends its ambassadors by sea, in water-drinking vessels upon the waters." The American ambassadors can go only to Mexico and Canada by land; more than almost any other nation, we must send our ambassadors by sea--until just the last few years, when we became able to send them on the "buzzing-wings." By sea, they have gone, for most of our history, in "waterdrinking vessels"--that is, steamships, which must "drink" great quantities of water for their boilers.
It is a nation "tall and smooth-shaven. "
You have noticed how few foreigners are of our height. In both World Wars,
the United States Army was the tallest army on record; and among them were
few moustaches, practically no beards. Today, except for the "beatniks,"
where can you find a beard among us?
"A nation measured out by lines under foot," says Isaiah. The United States Metes and Bounds Act, enacted by Congress about a century and a half ago, established the world's first system of surveying the whole nation into sections and townships, laid out by the compass--which, even today, most nations do not have -- truly "a nation measured out by lines on the ground, under foot."
It is a nation "whose land the rivers divide, or quarter." The Mississippi River cuts our land in half, from north to south; the Ohio River and its tributaries divide the eastern half in two; and the Columbia, the North Plate, and related streams, cut the western half in two. Where else do you find the like?
Isaiah says, "All you inhabitants of the world and you dwellers on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, look in fear; and attend when the bugle is blown." Truly, we are "a nation terrible from their beginning onward"; and when our battle-flags fly and the bugles call our armies to war, the whole world has learned that it had better pay very respectful attention.
There is no other nation in the world which will fit this entire description; but our nation does. But there is still one more point: verse seven says:
"At that time. shall a present be brought to the Lord of Hosts: a nation tall and smooth-shaven, a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation measured out by lines under foot, whose land the rivers quarter, to the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts, Mount Zion. " This is no pagan nation, like those of Asia and Africa; it is no atheist nation, like those of the Communist empire; it is a Christian nation, bringing its people, its strength, its hopes and ideals as a present to our God.
It has been proved to you that we are even today living in Bible times. But it is also true that you are living in a Bible land, one favorably mentioned in the Bible. The Bible is written about us, and written to us: IT IS OUR BOOK AND WE ARE ITS PEOPLE.
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