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Why does England still follow an outdated monarchy in this modern world? According to Armstrong, it's because the queen of England sits on the throne of David. Her descendants will continue to do so until Jesus Christ returns.
The story becomes even more complicated. Joseph, the eleventh son of Israel, who, following a long and tangled path, led his brothers to safety in Egypt, was described as "fruitful vine" (Gen. 49:22). Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Manasseh was the older and should have received the blessing appropriate for the firstborn. So when Joseph brought the boys to his father, Israel, he placed Manasseh in Israel's right, to receive the "right hand" patriarchal blessing, as was his due. But Israel, before delivering the blessing, crossed his hands placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim. When Joseph objected, Israel prophesied that the younger son would, in effect, become the "first" nation.
Armstrong, stringing together many Old Testament texts traced Ephraim and Manasseh to England. He believed Manasseh's descendants became the founding fathers of the United States. Leaving England (the recipient of the "firstborn" blessing,) they went "over the wall," in Israel's words, to America. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled. England (Ephraim) became the "firstborn" nation. Manasseh (The United States) became the younger "son." Joseph indeed became a "fruitful vine," fulfilling Israel's prophecy:
To Armstrong, England and America, sprung from the loins of Joseph, beloved son of Israel and savior of the Jewish people, will continue to be world powers until the end of time.
Most modern nations, to say the least, do not share this biblically mandated view of history. To many influential editors of foreign newspapers, including those in England, America has gone off the deep end when it comes to following the Bible. George Monbiot, in an article for the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper, writes:
"To understand what is happening in the Middle East, you must first understand what is happening in Texas".
He goes on to say that (former) President George W. Bush, whose home in Texas, followed the lead of those who believe that the United States has a biblical mandate to side with Israel in the fight for Israel's "biblical lands."
The headline of Monbiot article spells it out:
Their beliefs are Bonkers, but They Are at the Heart of Power
Us Christian Fundamentalists Are Driving Bush's Middle East Policy
As Monbiot describes it, "The believers are convinced that they will soon be rewarded for their efforts. The antichrist is apparently walking among us, in the guise of Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Yasser Arafat or, more plausibly, Silvio Berlusconi. The Wal-Mart Corporation is also a candidate.... because it wants to radio tag it's stock, thereby exposing humankind to the Mark of the Beast."
Even if America is not specifically mentioned in prophetic tradition, it obviously plays an important role in world events. To those who believe that world history is approaching Armageddon, it follows that America will loom large as the drama unfolds. Hal Lindsey believes that America will be important, but not the leader, in those cataclysmic events. In the Late Great Planet Earth he writes :
Is this just another example of trying to fit current events into ago old prophecies? Can the old argument apply that prophets must be excused for their lack of specifics because they were viewing a future that that could not really be expected to understand?Apparently many people believe just that. In October 1998, police in Jerusalem reported that they were having difficulty with American Christian "religious zealots" who wanted to be in the Holy Land when the new millennium came to pass. Born again Christians were moving into houses and apartments and filling motel rooms near the Mount of Olives so they would have a front row seat for the Second Coming.
There is, however, another conservative religious view that suggests a different reason for America's failure to be mentioned specifically in the Bible. Could it be that America is conspicuous by it's absence because it is destined to fall into insignificance before Armageddon occurs? And since Armageddon seems to be just around the corner (as always), is America's downfall imminent?
This seems to be the position Edgar Cayce took. He predicted various dire events that would begin in the 1950's and culminate by the year 2000. An earthquake would destroy large positions of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Floods would inundate the southern coast of California and the area between Salt Lake City and Nebraska. Land would appear off the East Coast and new lands would rise in the Caribbean.
Obviously these things didn't happen, and the new millennium came in rather quietly,. But Cayce's followers remind us that calendars are, after all, human inventions. God man have a different date that doesn't correspond to the one we have arbitrarily selected. A few years here or there is not a big difference.
Only time will tell.
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