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“The Footsteps of Messiah Are Near”

July 4 is the day the United States of America celebrates its independence from Great Britain. American President and founding father John Adams may have foretold the future when he wrote the following about Independence Day:  “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”. Since I was a kid Independence Day was a big deal with family gatherings, fireworks at Coleman’s Park, and the like. But can we trace the United States through history before July 4th, 1776? Did God somehow intervene in our history? And what can this tell us about America’s future?

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you’” (Genesis 12:1). Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you: God declared Abram’s independence from his family and his former homeland. He promised Abram that “all the families on earth will be blessed through you,” and the man who would be Abraham simply yet boldly did what God instructed; (Genesis 12:3-4): “And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of HarAM’.” The key is that Abraham’s descendants would be so blessed and prosperous that not only they would benefit, but the rest of the world as well.

A few years later, we see Abraham’s grandson Israel blessing his own grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh. As Israel reached the end of his life, there’s an interesting prophecy about his grandchildren. Notice what Israel says in Genesis 48:19: “his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” ‘He [Manasseh, the firstborn brother] 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.’ Based on this verse, Ephraim may be the British Commonwealth (“a multitude of nations”) and Manasseh as the United States of America (a “great” people). I’m sure you can see many ways in which God has blessed the United States, and how America has in turn benefited the world. But what does the future hold for the modern descendants of Manasseh?

The prophet Micah spoke of Manasseh’s future in Micah 5:9: “Your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.” This mark of military success and preeminence is something the United States still currently enjoys. But I believe a BIG change is coming!  “And it shall be in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will cut off your horses from your midst and destroy your chariots. I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds’ (Micah 5:10-11).”

God will revoke the blessing of His protection from America, and the United States will suffer unprecedented defeat—maybe even captivity—at the hands of its enemies. “‘Thus I will destroy your cities’ (Micah 5:14).” “And I will pluck up your groves out of the middle of you: so will I destroy your cities. LISTEN! The security of a nation is a blessing that God grants for obedience (Leviticus 26:1-8).” “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. You shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.  If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.  And your threshing shall reach to the vintage, and the vintage shall reach to the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.  And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.  And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.  And five of you shall chase an hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.  Listen! When nations are sinful, God is against them and they endure defeat at their enemies’ hands.” (Leviticus 26:14-17) “But if you will not listen to me, and will not do all these commandments;  And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that you will not do all my commandments, but that you break my covenant:  I also will do this to you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and you shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and you shall flee when none pursues you.”

The problem is sin—and the solution to that problem is repentance. “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away (Acts 3:19).” “Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” If America as a nation repents and turns to God, He will remember His blessings for obedience and grant them further to the United States. However, I think this is very unlikely. Despite this possible disaster, there is a final promise to all people everywhere: the Kingdom of God. Although great trouble is prophesied to come before Jesus’ return (Matthew 24:21): The Church will be removed from the earth, and immediately after that, the judgement begins…..“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

However, He will bring Israel back to their land He originally intended for them to have. God will teach them His law and grant them His Spirit so they can better understand and live out this law. “You shall be My people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:24-28), For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

July 4th is a day of remembering this nation’s deliverance and that’s OK, but God’s Kingdom will bring greater, spiritual deliverance to all people. The people who received Christ as their Savior in this life will finally be dependent on God as He intended, and they will be free from the dark grasp of sin. We will inherit the earth after it is all made brand new. Imagine the wonderful celebrations that this future Independence Day will bring.  It’s coming brethren!