This post is the sixth one in a series on how biblical prophecy relates to the United States of America in 2021. The first post described how the election of a Democratic president and Congress in the United States will further the implementation of a radical Leftist agenda that is diametrically opposed to biblical Christianity. The second post provided a basic introduction to biblical prophecy, which is necessary due to the lack of teaching on biblical prophecy in churches today. The third post argued from biblical prophecy that we are currently living in the end times, i.e., close in time to the tribulation period, which makes it possible to identify many prophetic entities with entities in the contemporary world. The fourth post put forth the argument that the United States of America is the entity called “Babylon the Great” in the book of Revelation—a highly significant entity which shapes the world of the end times, to which more than two chapters of prophecy are devoted (Rev 17:1–19:5). The fifth post dealt with the most common objection to this identification, which is the imminence of the rapture—the idea that we cannot identify prophetic entities in our own time, because the rapture may not happen for thousands of years in the future.

The conclusions reached in this study—that Babylon the Great is the United States of America, and that the rapture will happen in the relatively near future, but not today, and not as a complete surprise—have enormous practical implications. This article will address these practical issues in four sections. The first section describes the future of the United States and how this will affect Christians both in the United States and around the world. The second section addresses the all-important question of what American Christians ought to do in light of biblical prophecy. The third section takes a longer view, describing some of the things that will happen as the rapture draws nearer, especially addressing the question of whether the rapture will happen at an unexpected moment. The fourth section briefly summarizes the conclusions of this study.

The future of the United States

For most American Christians, it would be a great shock if the United States government actually closed down Christian non-profit organizations, colleges, seminaries, and churches; this is not something they expect to happen. People understand that there are threats to religious liberty due to the LGBTQ agenda, but many Christians are currently (in September 2021) more concerned about pandemic-related restrictions and requirements. Christian organizations have 20-year or 40-year plans, with endowments and estate planning that assume they will continue to operate for decades or even centuries into the future. Churches encourage individuals to follow financial plans that assume they will retire in the United States decades from today, without losing access to the U.S. financial and legal system due to their religious beliefs. Most American Christians never even think about the possibility of their pastors being arrested and jailed. It would be almost unimaginably shocking to most if a situation occurred in which the U.S. government required every citizen to sign a pro-LGBTQ affirmation or face incarceration. Yet the book of Revelation reveals that what is coming in the United States is not mere legal problems or workplace restrictions for Bible-believing Christians, but is rather the mass murder of all biblically faithful Christians. Further, the United States government will not just kill Christians within its own borders, but will seek to kill Christians around the world (Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2).

There were many countries in the twentieth century that prohibited evangelical Christianity and persecuted evangelical Christians, and there still are in the twenty-first century. (I have specified “evangelical,” because most countries allow for a state-sanctioned “church” that replaces certain aspects of biblical theology with government ideology.) There were many countries in the twentieth century in which evangelical Christians once worshiped freely and had networks of churches, but when communists took power they destroyed all the church buildings and jailed and killed evangelical Christians. There have also been many countries in the recent past in which a political party or strongman has destroyed its political opponents—such revolutions are commonplace in history, even in democracies. With regard to the United States, however, there are two special problems. The first problem is that the United States has protected religious freedom for 250 years, and American Christians are so unprepared to lose this freedom, they do not want to even think about alternatives or contingency plans.

The second problem is that United States is more powerful than all the other countries that have persecuted Christians in the past. The United States and its cultural and economic forces (especially big tech) truly have power over the entire world in a way that no country ever has had before. The radical Leftist political movement in the United States is closely connected to politics in countries around the world, and the U.S. government and corporations strongly promote Leftist policies in other countries, with the result that the Left’s militant homosexual agenda and drug-legalization agenda is being imposed in countries around the world. To restate the problem, as the United States goes bad, it is taking the whole world down with it. When the Soviet Union banned Christianity and missions work, it could only do so in the countries under the control of its armed forces; the church actually expanded in Latin America and Africa due to the work of American missionaries. However, when the United States bans Christianity, both the U.S. government and American corporations will seek to impose this ban worldwide, with considerable success.

The United States is also different from Russia or China in that it has been the center of world Christianity for over a hundred years. Many churches, pastors, missionaries, and seminaries around the world depend on the United States for financial support and academic scholarship. When the church in the United States is shut down, many Christian institutions in other countries will collapse immediately due to a lack of funding, and many pastors, seminary professors, and missionaries will find themselves in desperate financial straits which may preclude them from continuing in ministry.

The United States is in deep trouble, spiritually and politically, and the rest of the world is in trouble with it. There is a real war against Christians, God, and the Bible in the United States, and the antichristian faction is determined to make biblical Christianity illegal throughout the whole world, replacing it with an antichristian value system. The bad news is that the United States will never get out of trouble; no politician can save it, and sin will run its course. The good news is that the world is ripening for the return of Jesus Christ, and the gates of hell will never prevail against Christ’s church.

What American Christians should do

Bible prophecy was given so that believers can know what will happen before it happens, and so they can plan and prepare accordingly. Thus, it is critical to ask and answer this question: What should American Christians do, in light of the realization that the United States of America is Babylon the Great?

An opportunity to survive the coming persecution

The book of Revelation reveals that the antichristian movement in the United States will culminate in a program of official persecution in which Christians will be killed in large numbers for their faith. Often in the Bible and throughout church history, Christians have fled from places where they are being persecuted to places where they can live and worship freely. In fact, many of the original colonists of the United States were Christians who left their home countries in Europe in search of religious freedom. In the book of Acts, the original group of Christian believers was concentrated in Jerusalem, until persecution came and forced many to disperse. Acts 8 shows that this dispersion resulted in the spread of the gospel to new regions, in fulfillment of the Great Commission. Early on, the Jerusalem church was comfortable and growing, but insular and non-missional; it took persecution to force Christians to leave in large numbers and proclaim the gospel of Christ to other nations. Within the book of Revelation, while some of the churches in Revelation 2–3 were called to endure persecution, the nation of Israel is called to flee from its land at the midpoint of the tribulation period to a place of refuge where it will be protected from the antichrist (Rev 12:6, 13-17; cf. Matt 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20-21).

Most people have an innate desire to protect their own lives and the lives of their family and friends, so if they were given a clear-cut ultimatum between being jailed and executed in their own country, or moving freely to another country, they would choose to move to another country. The main difficulties are: (1) most American Christians are hoping that a severe persecution will never come. (2) Christian leaders refuse to make contingency plans, even if they think it is likely that their churches or institutions will be closed by the government in the foreseeable future. (3) Most American Christians love the material comforts of their country, and do not want to give them up. (4) It is very disruptive to move to a different country where one does not already have friends, family, and community. Thus, until sizable groups of American Christian emigrants are established in other countries, it will be hard for the less adventurous to leave.

Aside from the motive of self-preservation (both physically and spiritually), strong humanitarian and evangelistic arguments can be made in favor of American Christians emigrating. The mass movement of American Christians to other countries around the world would help spread the gospel, especially if American Christians rediscover old methods of evangelism that resulted in large numbers of converts during an era when there was more cultural openness to the gospel. Even if American Christians do not regain a fervency for evangelism, they will do what they do well, which is to establish well-developed infrastructure—churches, schools, universities, seminaries, publishing houses, and other parachurch organizations, all with impressive physical campuses and comfortable homes nearby. While American Christians have the financial means to fund such infrastructure through donations, even more potential exists in the assets held by Christian organizations and churches in the United States. Since property values and salaries are many times higher in the United States than in less developed countries, a Christian organization that liquidated all of its assets in the United States could build much bigger and better overseas, with money left over for an endowment. On the other hand, to allow all of those assets to be confiscated by the government, rather than moving at least parts of the organizations and their assets overseas, seems like an unnecessary waste. In addition, while the courageous suffering and martyrdom of Christians is not without value, it would seem better for the global church to preserve as many lives of Christians as possible.

Revelation 18:4 – A warning to flee from evil

Revelation 18:4-5 gives a direct command to Christians who are living in Babylon the Great. Those verses read as follows: Then I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, My people, so that you will not participate in her sins, and so that you will not receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” These verses clearly command Christians who are living in Babylon the Great to leave, warning them that they risk both participation in her sins and sharing in her judgment if they do not. The key interpretive question is whether the command to come out of Babylon the Great is given only to Christians who are living in Babylon the Great during the tribulation period, or whether it is also directed to Christians who are living in Babylon the Great before the tribulation period.

Certainly it makes sense that Christians who are living in Babylon the Great during the tribulation period ought to flee for their lives as soon as possible, before their country is destroyed in judgment (cf. Gen 19:12-15). The gospel will be preached to the whole world during the first half of the tribulation period (Matt 24:14), resulting in an innumerable multitude of converts from every nation (Rev 7:9-17), which implies that there are converts from Babylon the Great. However, since the destruction of Babylon the Great apparently occurs as part of the first seal judgment (Rev 6:1-2), all believers who are in Babylon the Great during the tribulation period will be new converts who are saved immediately after the rapture, who must flee right after their conversion, as there are perhaps only a few weeks between the rapture of the church and the total annihilation of Babylon the Great by the antichrist (God’s instrument of judgment).

However, the reasons given in Revelation 18:4 as to why Christians should flee Babylon the Great are broader than an appeal to tribulation saints to seek to preserve their physical lives because of the imminent judgment of Babylon the Great. These reasons are “so that you will not participate in her sins, and so that you will not receive of her plagues.” The command to flee so as not to participate in the sins of Babylon the Great would seem odd if applied only to a context in which believers are saved a few days or weeks before the judgment falls; it must apply to a much longer time period prior to the rapture, and stands as a warning regarding the great pressure to apostatize that will be applied to those who attempt a “normal life” in Babylon the Great. Various other verses in the book of Revelation refer to the judgment of God on those who participate in Babylon the Great’s sins, even if they are not destroyed at the same time as she is (Rev 14:8; 17:2; 18:3). Participation in the sins of Babylon the Great therefore implies receiving of her plagues. Applying the warning to the current situation of Christians in the United States, there an increasingly grave danger in attempting to participate in the economic and cultural life of the United States as a Christian, due to way in which the whole American system is being set up to directly oppose the Word of God.

The fact that a command is given to leave Babylon the Great implies that there are a considerable number of Christians living in Babylon the Great, who need to be warned to leave. To the reader of the book of Revelation this may be surprising, given the fact that Babylon the Great is so thoroughly wicked and murders Christians (Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2). However, the command to leave would make more sense if there is a large population of Christians in Babylon the Great before the mass arrests and executions of Christians begin. In the context of the tribulation period, the rapture will be a powerful testimony to the truth of Christianity, and may lead to the salvation of a considerable number of new converts immediately afterward. Those who are saved within Babylon the Great right after the rapture certainly would need to be informed that their country is about to be destroyed, and that they should flee for their lives immediately.

Another implication of the command to leave Babylon the Great is that Christians have the ability to leave Babylon the Great. Once again, this implies a window of opportunity between the time that Christians should realize their country is Babylon the Great and the time when they can no longer leave because they are in jail or on death row.

An interesting aspect of the command to leave is that it is open-ended. Revelation 18:4 does not give a specific moment to leave, nor does the text specify where Christians who leave should go (contrast Matt 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20-21). In the context of imminent judgment early in the tribulation period, evangelists will likely warn new converts to leave immediately, and to go to some faraway place. However, with regard to the application of this command to believers living in Babylon the Great prior to the tribulation period, the indefiniteness of the command gives individual Christians some leeway as to when to leave and where to go. It is still a command which must not be put off in perpetuity, but different individuals have different circumstances which affect their ability to leave. That said, the day will come in which faithful Christians will be arrested and will not be allowed to leave the United States. Thus, it is not wise to plan to wait until the last possible moment to leave, especially since the complexity of international real estate and finance entails a long and complicated moving process for Americans who move overseas.

It is interesting that persecution is not mentioned in Revelation 18:4-5 as a reason to flee Babylon the Great. Persecution was also not mentioned as a major concern in the letter to the church at Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22). Larger than the threat of the loss of one’s life is the threat of the loss of one’s soul—the overwhelming pressure to conform to the sinful, materialistic system of morality promulgated by Babylon the Great. It is no secret that while the church has been growing in some less developed parts of the world, the evangelical church in the United States has been in a long decline. Large numbers of young people who grew up in Christian homes have renounced Christianity, large numbers of Bible colleges and seminaries have closed, and many of the young people who are still in the church have a very weak commitment to the Word of God. There are no longer large numbers of new converts, and the churches that remain are growing ever-weaker in doctrine and practice. However, while the spiritual threat is the main one, it is connected to the pressures of persecution, and there will come a day when it will be difficult or impossible for faithful American Christians to emigrate from their country. Thus, the command to leave Babylon the Great does imply that it should be obeyed before persecution closes the door to emigration. As for new converts after the persecution starts, most will probably be able to leave the United States if they do so immediately after their conversion and can join supportive communities of Christians elsewhere in the world—although these communities must beware of frauds who will seek to harm them.

Revelation 18:5 begins with the word “for” (Gk ὅτι, hoti), which gives an explanation as to why the sins and plagues of Babylon the Great mentioned in verse 4 are such a great danger. By the time this oracle is spoken, Babylon the Great’s accumulated “sins have piled up to heaven,” metaphorically speaking (cf. Gen 18:21; 2 Chr 28:9; Ezra 9:6; Jer 51:9; Jonah 1:2; also Gen 15:16; Rev 14:18), and because of this “God has remembered her iniquities.” When God “remembers” Babylon the Great’s iniquities, this means He brings into view all of the wicked things she has done in order to pour out just judgment on her (cf. Pss 109:14; 137:7; Jer 14:10; Hos 8:13; 9:9). This is something that happens very early in the tribulation period, when the physical destruction of Babylon the Great is imminent. However, it happens again at the end of the tribulation period, when God judges all the nations of the world for participation in Babylon the Great’s sins (Rev 16:19). Thus, the warning that judgment will fall on Babylon the Great in the future for her extreme sinfulness is a reason to flee Babylon the Great well before her destruction, in order to avoid the moral and spiritual corruption to which nearly all who live in such a thoroughly wicked place will succumb.

What Christians should not do

It is a great tragedy that many pastors and other Christian leaders today speak prolifically about current events without ever relating them, or relating them properly, to Bible prophecy. Many seek to ignore prophecy altogether. When evangelical Bible scholars and pastors do speak about prophecy, all too often it is only to plant a twisted (spiritualized) view of prophecy in the minds of their hearers, and to denounce those who read Bible prophecy literally. Nevertheless, it is widely recognized that the United States is in the process of eliminating religious freedom and freedom of speech by means of imposing a radical homosexual agenda which attempts to force all institutions and individuals to actively support homosexuality. Christian leaders are reacting to this trend in a variety of ways, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

The worst reaction to the new Leftism among evangelical Christians has been to show sympathy with the Leftist agenda, and to join with the Leftist cause. A sizable minority of evangelicals actually voted for Joe Biden and rejoiced when he became president. These evangelicals are likely to comply with government regulations that will require the admission of homosexual students, homosexual church members, homosexual seminary professors, and so forth. Behaving in a way that is so obviously and openly contrary to both the Word of God and other Christians raises questions about the salvation of those in this group.

Probably the most common evangelical reaction to the progress of the Leftism in the United States is denial—a refusal to accept the fact that the Leftism will continue to tighten its grip over U.S. culture and politics until it has eliminated its Christian opponents. This group of evangelicals responded to the 2020 election results by saying, “We are just going to keep on doing the things we have always been doing! We will have faith, not fear!” The Christian leaders in this camp are releasing master plans for the long-term future of their ministries; they are investing huge sums of money in permanent physical infrastructure, with new building campaigns; and they are encouraging their donors to leave estate gifts in order to impact future generations for Christ. However, this reaction refuses to accept the clear signs—and, more importantly, the biblical prophecies—that the U.S. government will not allow churches and Christian institutions to continue to operate according to biblical standards for much longer. In other words, it will not be possible to “keep doing what we have always been doing,” because the government will not allow this in the future. This attitude also assumes that there are no significant problems with what the church has been doing, and refuses to self-evaluate in order to identify and own up to failures—especially the failure to pay proper attention to biblical prophecy, which is a symptom of the failure to pay proper attention to the Word of God.

A related reaction is the call for political and social activism in order to “protect our liberties” and “turn America back to God.” Evangelicals of this sort are “battling for America’s soul” on social media, in law courts, in politics, in schools, and on television. They are telling people that America is at a critical point right now, but if Christians just pour enough money and effort into the cause of defending freedom, the country can still be turned around. This reaction of course ignores political and societal realities, but, more importantly, it is accompanied by a mistaken view of biblical prophecy. By far the prevailing view of eschatology among Bible scholars and pastors today is that the end could come suddenly at any moment, that no one knows when this will happen or what events will precede it, and that there are no specific references in biblical prophecy to anything that is happening in the world today—the point of view that I have called “eschatological agnosticism.” This is the view of most Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Baptists, regardless of whether they may be amillennial or premillennial. Thus, all of these Christian leaders are completely in the dark with regard to how God is working His plan in the world today, what will happen, and how Christians ought to respond. In fact, they are vehemently opposed to attempts to understand what the Bible prophesies about events in the world today. They assume that it is possible for Bible-believing Christian institutions to continue to function normally in the United States, either because the rapture could happen before the government shuts down churches, or because the United States could be turned around spiritually and politically. While there is nothing sinful about engaging in legal political activism in an effort to protect Christian freedoms, Christian leaders ought to recognize that these efforts will ultimately prove futile, and that severe persecution of Christians in the United States will inevitably come, in accordance with the prophecies concerning Babylon the Great. Pouring money into politics and lawsuits is not the best stewardship of resources. The best course of action, in accordance with Revelation 18:4, is to peacefully leave the United States and seek refuge in countries where Christianity has better legal protections. This is something that Christian leaders have refused to consider, though the trends are clear even without understanding that the United States is Babylon the Great.

Yet another common way in which Christian leaders in America are reacting to government threats is to say, “They are just going to have to shut us down and put us in jail!” This attitude presents an either/or choice between yielding to antichristian government demands or going to jail, while ignoring the fact that a third option exists—moving to a friendlier country. The end result of this attitude will be a huge number of American Christians being needlessly jailed and, eventually, executed. All the financial investments that American Christians have made in their country will be forfeited, as the government takes over Christian institutions. American Christians have the resources to move both themselves and their institutions overseas, and there are many Christian communities in less economically developed countries that would love to have American-style institutions. It seems that some American Christians have a view of patriotism that requires them to die fighting for the U.S. Constitution and other political ideals, rather than abandoning their earthly citizenship out of love for their heavenly citizenship. Others are so comfortable with life in America that they would not consider leaving. Yet if Christian institutions are being shut down and Christians are being jailed, there will be no physical comfort for Christians in the United States, unless they sacrifice their souls.

A major problem underlying all of these misguided reactions is that most Christians have never heard prophecy explained clearly and correctly, and so they are completely unaware of what the Bible says about the United States. A related problem is that no Christian leader has even suggested making contingency plans to move overseas if the government announces its intention to close Christian institutions, and most individual Christians are currently unwilling or unable to leave on their own, without following a leader. If this situation continues, there is likely to be a chaotic, panicky, and uncoordinated exodus of evangelical Christians from the United States whenever large numbers of Christians begin to be arrested for their faith.

Conclusion

American Christians need to let go of the American Dream. America is no longer the place where they, their children, and their grandchildren can pursue their dreams of “the good life” that rewards honest work with economic and social advancement. This is because faithful Christians and churches will come under increasing pressure until they are outlawed and exterminated. While I believe in respecting authorities and obeying the law insofar as it does not require me to sin, there is a danger in holding such a fondness for America that prevents one from even thinking about moving to another country or abandoning the mainstream American way of life, like the fondness that Lot and his wife held for life in Sodom. In truth, the American Dream has always been a dubious pursuit from a spiritual perspective; Christians ought instead to live a life of service and sacrifice for the Lord. We need to remember that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), and our call is to make disciples of Jesus throughout the whole world (Acts 1:8).

When should American Christians leave the United States, and where should they go? The answer to that question will be different for different people. But every American Christian should realize that he will not be able to continue to live freely in the United States for many decades to come. The exact date when the United States will begin to jail and execute large numbers of Christians is not in biblical prophecy, although it may coincide with the writing of a new constitution or the passage of the equal rights amendment, or with the loss of a key court case. For now, the persecution continues to build gradually. In any case, American Christians need to face the reality that their country is going to harm them sooner or later if they refuse to accept homosexuality. The prudent and biblical response is to make plans to move overseas. In the short term, there are still many countries in the world in which Christianity is fully legal, although Christians must be wary of the progress of the militant homosexual agenda in other countries as well. It is wise to prefer countries with conservative moral values over those with abundant wealth and physical comforts, and to be willing to live under a different political system than that of the United States. Also, there are some countries in which Christianity is not currently fully legal which may grant Christianity full legal protection in the future. Christians should be especially attentive to events in the Middle East, since that is where God’s program is focused at the end of the age.

There are many American Christians, both leaders and laymen, who believe they are in the process of losing their religious freedoms. They also realize that American culture is having a significant negative impact on the spiritual health of the church. The exodus of young people from the church has been well documented, as has the involvement of Christians in sin and the doctrinal weakening of the church due to cultural influences and pressures. The anti-Christian agenda of mainstream American institutions is also well known. In spite of all these things, nearly every Christian is planning to stay in the United States for the rest of his life. Virtually no one is making contingency plans to leave for a friendlier country or a better environment, and no leader or group is calling for an organized, coordinated exodus. Why not? It makes no sense. It is like a group of people standing on the beach waiting for a tsunami to come in. These people document in detail all the signs that the tsunami is coming, and they are filled with anxiety as they see it build, step by step. Yet people just keep discussing how bad it will be, and how much damage it may do. Some are frantically piling up stones to try to stop its advance. But no one is running to higher ground, which is the obvious solution.

Looking to the end of the age

The New Testament speaks repeatedly of the extreme difficulty believers will face in the end times, in the period leading up to the rapture of the church (2 Thess 2:3; 1 Tim 4:1-3; 2 Tim 3:1-9, 13; 4:3-4; 2 Pet 3:3-6; Jude 17-19; Rev 3:14-22). It calls this period “difficult times” (2 Tim 3:1)—strong language when considering all the persecutions and false teachings that have beset the church since its inception. The Bible expressly teaches that there will be a great, worldwide rebellion against God at the end of the present age (2 Thess 2:3), and that this rebellion will make inroads in the church as well as the world (2 Tim 4:3-4). The multitude of martyrs in Revelation 7:9-17 shows that the whole world is vehemently anti-Christian throughout the first half of the tribulation period, before the antichrist sets up his image in the temple. Surely the mass murder of Christians in the first half of the tribulation period does not come out of nowhere, but simply continues and strengthens a policy of severe persecution against Christians that was already in place throughout most of the world before the tribulation period (cf. Rev 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2). The world’s rebellion against God culminates in the second half of the tribulation period with open worship of the antichrist and the devil by the entire unsaved world, with the death penalty imposed on those who refuse to comply (Rev 13:4, 8, 15-18). Most of the unbelieving world will repudiate the gospel in spite of many astonishing signs from heaven and even the preaching of angels. For these things to happen during the tribulation period, the world must first become incredibly hardened and spiritually deluded in the era leading up to the tribulation period.

It should be noted that these prophecies of a great worldwide rebellion could not be fulfilled if the United States, as the world’s wealthiest, most powerful, and most influential country, were to experience a genuine spiritual awakening at the end of the age. If the world as a whole will rebel against God at the end of the age, this rebellion must be led by the country which acts, more than any other, as the leader of the world—the United States of America. In fact, the United States will become so irremediably wicked, and will accrue so much guilt for its actions, that God will destroy it utterly at the beginning of the tribulation period, as the firstfruits of His destruction of all the nations of the world at the end of the tribulation period.

While there are clear indications that we are now living in the end times, it is also clear that the world has not yet matured to the state in which it is found at the beginning of the tribulation period. The mass murder of Christians in the United States and around the world is an example that has already been cited. Some other examples include: (1) there will be a ten-nation confederation in Europe, with the antichrist rising to power within it (Dan 7:7-8, 24; Rev 17:12). (2) There will be a temple in Jerusalem (Dan 9:27; 2 Thess 2:4). (3) Israel will be at peace with its neighbors and disarmed (Ezek 38:8, 11). (4) The nations of Asia will be capable of equipping an army of 200 million men (Rev 9:13-21). It was argued earlier in this study that Daniel 9:27 proves that there is no gap between the rapture and the start of the tribulation period. That verse also proves that the rapture will not come as a surprise, for it shows that the beginning of the final seven years of God’s program for Israel in this age is simultaneous with the inception of the seven-year treaty between the antichrist and the state of Israel—a treaty that will surely be negotiated and publicized before it is formally ratified.

If the rapture were to occur without warning today, it would be a chaotic disaster. Cars, trucks, and buses driven by Christians would suddenly veer out of control and cause great injury and loss of life. Planes piloted by Christians would plummet from the sky, plunging passengers to their deaths. Children and babies would be left alone, abandoned by their parents. Is this truly the way a merciful and gracious God would act? I think not. The Bible clearly indicates that the rapture marks the dividing line between the Church Age and the tribulation period, and that the tribulation period begins with the ratification of a seven-year treaty between the antichrist and the state of Israel (Dan 9:27). The Bible gives enough information about the antichrist for Christians to be able to identify him before the rapture, and Christians will be able to follow the progress of the peace negotiations between the antichrist and the state of Israel. Likely a date will be set for a signing ceremony when the treaty will come into effect, and Christians can prepare for the rapture to happen at that specific date and time. Many other details will come into clearer focus as end-time events continue to unfold.

Summary – the United States of America is Babylon the Great

The United States of America is no insignificant entity. It is the prime player in today’s world, which is the world of the end times. It can hardly be imagined that the United States could be passed over in prophecies of the tribulation period. Even as a passive actor, simply suffering destruction, the fall of the United States would not be a minor event, or one with only a minor effect on the world economy and the balance of power in the world. The Bible has much to say about Gentile nations, especially if they have something to do with prophetic history. It can hardly overlook the United States, the most powerful and prosperous nation in all of human history, and the dominant force in the modern world. American Christians who have been looking only to the Middle East to find events of prophetic significance have overlooked their own country. The United States differs in its greatness and scope of action from the great powers of the past; its power and luxury are on a different order of magnitude, both in terms of their advanced stage of development, and in their truly global reach. Never before has one nation been able to stamp its own image upon the whole world. Only in America’s sin is there a close kinship to world kingdoms of the past, though even in this the United States has managed to plunge lower depths of depravity, since many of its sins are made possible or are made much worse by its technology. The activities of the United States in the world are universal, deep-seated and wide-ranging, and they are laden with profound eschatological import. With its tangled tentacles extending into every sphere of life in every corner of the globe, the United States is shaping the world of the end times—politically, economically, culturally, and spiritually.

There is a principle stated in Daniel 12:8-10 that the referents of certain eschatological prophecies cannot be understood before the stage begins to be set for the fulfillment of those prophecies. Thus, while the identification of Babylon the Great should be obvious at the present time, it would have been impossible to make this identification before the United States became the dominant power in the world. Today, the identification of Babylon the Great is clear, due to the way in which the United States of America is aligning with Revelation 17–18. The main reason why this interpretation has not yet gained wide acceptance in the church is due to a commitment to eschatological agnosticism on the part of most Bible scholars and pastors. It is hoped that the arguments made in this treatise will help refocus the church’s attention on the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy.

My hand now scoops up Babylon,
Her walls and all that city fair,
Her jewels, arms, and heart of stone
I toss into the careless air.

She ruled, bent nations to her ire,
Nor hosts of slain could slake her lust,
Until a Vengeful Hand of fire
Gripped hard, reduced her to this dust.

I turn, struck numb with fear and shame:
Is it mere fancy that a Hand
Throttles with fingertips of flame
The towers of my own proud land?

—John Ackerson

Both the previous two posts and this one are part of a chapter in a commentary on the book of Revelation that I am writing. That chapter can be downloaded here. Support for this work is appreciated; see the About page to make a donation.