Isaiah’s Vision of the United States
There are those who don't know any better will cry out that America is not mentioned in the Bible, and therefore is of no consequence to the people of the Book. Well they just don't study to make themselves approved as the Scriptures say to do, or they would find that America is mentioned more than one hundred times in the Scriptures; although not by the name of America because the prophets did not know the name of the country or countries that Israel was to migrate to, which would be their land and would no more move. As related in Samuel 7:10, 1 Chronicles 17:9.
Whenever Yahweh has a place in His providence for a man or a nation we would expect Him to have a place in His prophecy. There is a short chapter in Isaiah which means nothing to any commentator, Judeo‑Christian preacher or layman on earth unless he has discovered that the Prophet Isaiah was given a vision of America as existing and playing a conspicuous part in the providence of God among the nations of the earth.
When we remember the origin of our country, its religious settlement, its free religion and its once superior education (but because of the integration of our schools the education has become a joke), its providential guidance, its mission among the people of the earth to spread liberty among the nations, its freeing of an oppressed race, we need not be surprised that things are all intimated by the Holy Spirit in clear prophecy concerning the nations of the world.
The text is in that part of Isaiah where the "burden" of the various nations is given or as the margin gives it: "The Oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amos did see," concerning Moab; concerning Egypt; concerning the wilderness of the sea, or those nations of northern Europe where they have to dike out the water in order to till the land; concerning the valley of vision which is Palestine; and Tyre.
A Land Without A Name
Right in the midst of these whose future is definitely prophesied, inclosed in a circle of the known nations, "a country is described and prophesied that had no name." It is in keeping with each of this circle of nations in the other sections, but these nations are all named. Here is a section about a people not named.
A blank space is left for the title. Whereas it is said of Egypt, "The burden of Egypt," and of Tyre "the burden of Tyre," there follows a description of a land that had no name because it had not yet been discovered and was unknown to the Prophets.
Would it surprise you to learn that the Book intended for all ages and all lands, as well adapted to the Twentieth First Century as to the First, as vocal for the needs of America and China as it was for Rome and Jerusalem, should single out America in its prophetic message? We would be more surprised if in the preview of world history these seers did not see America, than to make the discovery that our country is in Isaiah's vision. It is easier to account for the inclusion of the United States in prophetic vision than it would be for its omission.
"Ho, to the land shadowed with wings,
Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:
That sendeth ambassadors by the sea,
Even in water‑driven vessels upon the waters,
Saying, Go, ye swift messengers
Unto a nation tall and smooth,
To a people terrible from their beginning onward;
A nation that meteth out by line and tredeth down,
Whose land the rivers quarter.
All ye inhabitants of the world and
ye dwellers on the earth,
When an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye;
And when the trumpet is blown, hear ye.
In that time shall a present be brought unto Jehovah of hosts,
From a people tall and smooth,
Even from a people terrible from their beginning onward.
A nation that meteth out and tredeth down,
Whose land the rivers quarter,
To the place of the name Jehovah of hosts,
The mount Zion."
A word of caution here: this chapter is admittedly most difficult for the interpreter Bishop Louth wrote voluminously on Isaiah, but coming to the 18th chapter he said,
"this is one of the most obscure prophecies; the people to whom it is addressed, the person he sends, the ambassadors, the nations to whom they are all sent, are extremely doubtful."
No commentator has ever to my knowledge definitely stated to whom this chapter refers. George Adam Smith in his two volume commentary on Isaiah passes it by with brief and inane words showing that he had no idea of its meaning. He could not apply it to anything or anybody. Therefore, we would not be contradicting any accepted teaching should we find a meaning for it. No other land would be deprived of it should it be found to apply to the United States.
Where a passage is translated without the translator knowing its meaning, one may look for poor work in rendering both the words and the sense. So we suppose this passage represents the most inaccurate, awkward and indefinite translation to be found in the Old Testament.
The first word is wrong. The Hebrew word "hoi" with which the chapter opens is not an exclamation of woe, but a hailing for attention, "Ho." It is the same sense as in the 55th chapter of Isaiah, "Ho, everyone that thirsteth," and the whole tenor of the chapter shows that it should be translated in the same manner here. The nation described is not one that is "meted out and trodden down." Here the tense is wrong. It is better translated in the Revised Version, it is properly rendered, "That meteth out and tredeth down." It is not "scattered and pealed," but "spread out and polished" or furbished. Its land the rivers have not "spoiled," but "divided or quartered."
Let us give attention to the specific points of description and see if Isaiah does not clearly designate America and the government of the United States.
What Is The Symbol of America?
“Ho to the land shadowed with wings” or literally “with outstretched wings.” What are we to understand by that expression? We have consulted many commentators; they follow one another in applying this prophecy to Egypt. They do so because as they say, Egypt is the land that lies beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. To corroborate their view that the allusion is to Egypt, they cite as proof the fact that it is “a land shadowing with wings.” This is how they interpret the wings: they say they are the two strips of land and mountain on either side of the Nile, which practically form Egypt, which represent wings. We can see no such likeness anymore than we can see the man or woman in the moon.
It is claimed by one or two commentators that the expression may refer to the winged die which was the symbol of authority in the land of Egypt. You can see it carved upon the monuments and temples at the present time; it symbolized authority in days gone by. Hence the Douay Version, the Roman Catholic Bible, interprets wings as the winged disc but Egypt is not such a land as is spoken of here.
Egypt is (comparatively speaking) an insignificant country through these latter ages (due to miscegenation of the Egyptian people, with the blacks, who have never done anything except destroy great white nations). It does not send its ambassadors by the sea or over the great waters. Its list of ambassadors is very limited. It may be represented in the United States and in England and in some leading countries, but it certainly has no ambassadors all over the world, as one would be led to infer would be the case from the statement made here. The nations described must be a very important country to send ambassadors all over the world by the sea. Therefore, Egypt cannot fill the bill; too in significant.
Dr. George D. Watson, of California, once wrote:
“It is a singular fact that this term; ‘Ho to the land of outstretched wings,’ expressing shelter for the oppressed cannot be applied to any other country on the face of the earth. Since the world began there has never been any country that from its beginning offered a welcome and hospitality to all other people for the purpose of giving them religious and civil liberty except America.”
In the Prophet’s vision he saw a nation arise in the west, a wonderful power having a mission of service, but it had no name, so he had to describe it as the land of outstretched wings. It was by Divine providence that the eagle was selected as the emblem of the United States as a nation, and there is a deep truth hidden under this symbol that America should be, in the providence of God, a land that should serve as a refuge for all the Israel people of the earth.
Its emblem is the eagle with its outstretched wings like a mother bird gathering her brood under her wings. It was to have a government for the protection of all of God’s Israel people, a land of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, a land that would welcome to its shores the downtrodden and the suffering Israel people scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth.
When the leading French statesman made his address of welcome to President Wilson in the city of Paris, he spoke of Mr. Wilson as being the representative of “that nation that stretched its wings abroad for the protection of Europe;” and Clemenceau unwittingly used the very words of Isaiah twenty-six hundred years before, probably knowing nothing of Isaiah’s prophecy, but so accurate was the fulfillment of prophecy that in describing the conditions he had to use the very words of Isaiah’s inspired prediction.
What is or national emblem? The eagle with outstretched wings is our emblem. Look at your quarters of half dollars or silver dollars and see its spread wings. Everywhere you go in the United States you will see this symbol. The Hebrew is clear as light, “the land of outstretched wings” or “shadowing with wings” as in the Revised version.
While other countries have had the eagle in their national emblem, no other country has the eagle with outstretched wings. Mexico has an eagle with closed wings; Germany has an eagle with closed wings and a double head; Austria has an eagle, but there again it has closed wings. The United States has an eagle with spread wings; it is actually a “land shadowing with wings.”
“Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” “Beyond” in Hebrew means “west.” When we look at a map the top is north, the bottom south, the right is east and the left west. Not so with Jews or other orientals. They faced the sunrise. They looked eastward. “Before” meant East, “behind” or “beyond” meant west; his right hand points south and his left to the north, “Beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” meant over his shoulder; west. Let Isaiah stand in Jerusalem, face the sunrise and describe the land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia and it will run over northern Africa due west and you will see no country till you strike America, the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, “which are due west from Jerusalem!” This prophecy was not spoken of Egypt or of any part of Africa, but to a nation that was west of Africa; so that it could not be spoken of Asia or Europe. The words can apply to no other land on the earth but the United States of America.
“That sendeth ambassadors by the sea in water drinking vessels upon the great waters.” The word ambassadors means men who travel on business for the government, not those who travel for pleasure or business, but those sent by the government. All Our ambassadors go by water to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, even to Mexico, Central America and South America. They all go by the sea. Now comes one of the poorest pieces of translating:
“Even the vessels of bulrushes” or cattails, or as the Revised Version has it, “papyrus.” These are poor guessers. The translators of the King James Version in 1611 came to a Hebrew compound word “water drinking vessels.” They had no idea what it meant so they looked around for something that grew out of the water and guessed “bulrushes, cat-tails, flags, papyrus,” but these are plants, not vessels.
Dr. Cummings, a competent Hebrew scholar says, “a water drinking vessel is a steamboat.” The Prophet could not say steamship. There was no such thing in his day and no such word. But the word, “water drinking vessel upon the great waters” is a picture of the ocean liner on all the seven seas, pumping up water, distilling it, turning it into steam to propel its “water drinking vessel” with crew, passengers and cargo, unto all lands. If the word “steamboat” had been used, no human being would have known what they meant. There was no such word. Not knowing the meaning, how could you expect them to translate it? The best translation they could devise was “vessels of papyrus or bulrushes or cat-tails.” They drank water but they are not vessels, they are plants. The fact of the case is that Isaiah was looking down the ages and seeing the time when America was exercising a controlling power throughout the world by sending all its ambassadors and it soldiers and its sailors by water-drinking vessels, ocean liners, a vessel that drinks up water and makes steam to propel it, on all the waters of the world.
Here is a prophecy about America which had its striking fulfillment in 1917-1918 when America sent over two and a half million people across the ocean, even in water-drinking vessels upon the great waters, across the Atlantic on business for the government to defeat an ambitious tyrant, and to protect other nations.
It is true that all generations of people have traveled in ships, and nations have sent their soldiers and sailors across the sea, but never since the world was made has any nation sent two million men on government business to fight for the liberty and safety of others. THIS PROPHECY CANNOT BE APPLIED TO ANY OTHER RACE OR NATION ON EARTH EXCEPT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
A Description of Our People
“To a nation tall and smooth,” literally “tall and clean-shaven.” One version renders it “tall and Peeled” as a great land furbished like a sword ready for battle. The margin uses the word “peeled” instead of “clean-shaven.” It is evident that the Prophet had a vision of the men tall like trees with the bark peeled off; but the best translation available is “tall and clean-shaven.”
When Columbus came over here he found a people tall and smooth. The Indians were the tallest race on earth and all without beards. In the late war America raised and equipped an army of three million soldiers at home and abroad, and those solders averaged more feet and inches in height than any other similar army ever marshaled on earth.
This is the tallest army the world ever saw. Then a striking fact is, that of these three millions not a man wore a beard. Although many wore a mustache, there was not a full beard in the list. This item would not apply to any other army that ever marched. It does apply, however, to the native inhabitants of America as well as to our present people.
“To a people terrible from their beginning onward.” Did you ever hear of an infant getting up and threshing its mother in the process of being born? Wouldn’t you call that “terrible from its beginning?” That is what the United States did, whipped the mightiest nation of the known world in the process of being born. This historic statement cannot apply to any other nation on the globe. Other nations have gradually acquired great power and become terrible from many respects, no other nation was terrible from its beginning onward.
Look at our past, we have never been conquered (in war); but we have been conquered by Mystery Babylon) Isaiah stands in vision and sees an unconquerable people. We have fought with England, Mexico, with each other, with Spain and with Germany, always with the same result.
Here is an expression of prophecy which applies to no other nation in all of history. It is added by the prophet that this character of being terrible from its beginning is to continue down to the end time. The Revised Version says “terrible from their beginning ‘and onward,’ but the original signifies “on ward to the end.” Here we have an imitation that America will never be conquered from without down to the end of the ages. The only way we can be killed is by suicide and this is happening right this very moment with all of the race mixing that is going on. This may not prove the goodness of America; but it proves God’s plan concerning the nation; and these marvelous words of prophecy we may bank on. The one who told Isaiah knows.
The Metes and Bounds Act
“A nation that meteth out and treadeth down.” The literal translation would be the land measured out under the treading; that is, a land measured out by lines under the feet. Here is another startling prophecy that nobody on earth could foresee except the infinite mind of God.
About the time that Florida and Louisiana were taken into the Union, and Ohio taken in as a state, the government passed a law that all public lands should be surveyed by the North Star, and a base line run east and west and all this land cut up into mile square sections.
Our map is like a checkerboard. These sections are subdivided into quarter sections of half a mile square, which is the amount of land allotted to our soldiers and sailors for homesteads. No nation was or has ever been so meted out in blocks before.
This is a significant thing. All the countries of the earth as in the division of the land under Joshua surveyed and marked their land by local boundaries. If you buy a lot or acre in England today, your description will begin with a rock or tree, or corner of a barn or fence and the portions of land will be defined by these local marks.
For the first time in history, the American government found a new way of meting out land by a general survey by measurements according to ranges with the north star. All the land in America from the western edge of Pennsylvania to the Pacific Ocean and from Canada to Mexico has been surveyed by lines of measurement staked off in sections and quarter sections. The state of Florida, which came into the Union about 1845, after the law of general surveys had been passed, is thus surveyed into sections. In Texas, which also joined the union around 1845, is marked off in squares, and there are still some Star Houses around, which were sections of land that were given to the surveyors for their work, instead of money.
There are millions of Americans who do not know this fact. They have an idea how the government surveys and divides all its land in sections with lines pointed due north and south; east and west, but Somebody Who knew about the very habits of our nation showed this to the Prophet Isaiah twenty-six hundred years ago.
How did we get this land? We measured it off in sections and trod down the Indians and took it. Isaiah saw a land “that meteth out by line and tredeth down.” The story of our treading down a race is a sordid one, but a true one. Isaiah is not moralizing, but is defining and describing. We are a people that meteth out by line and treadeth down.
Quarter by Rivers
the poorest translation of all is here. The old version says, “Whose land the rivers have spoiled.” The margin says “despise.” The Revised Version comes closer, “Whose land the rivers divide.” But the Hebrew word is the term used in the ritual of sacrifice where an animal is hung up and divided into four quarters. The knife cuts right down from head to foot and then across dividing it into four parts. This word should have been rendered literally “quartered.”
Is there any land on the earth in Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand that is quartered by rivers? There is not an ancient map or a modern one of the world that will show such as the United States. The Mississippi river takes its rise near the Canadian border and cuts right down to the Gulf of Mexico dividing “our land” into halves. On the western coast is the Columbia River. Follow it upward to its junction with the Snake River; follow that upward into close proximity with the source of the Missouri which starts in Montana and meanders eastward into the Mississippi, diving “the West” into halves.
Follow the Ohio eastward to Pittsburgh and its junction with the Monongahela that runs by McKeesport; then follow eastward the Youghiogheny where at Glenco, Pa., it become the Castleman; go on upstream until Wills Creek branches off and takes its source where the Potomac begins and runs to the Bay and the Atlantic and you have the “Eastern half” of the nation divided into two. So the whole “land that is quartered by rivers.”
You cannot find any other land on earth divided in this way, into four sections: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest by rivers. This prophetic word can be applied to no other country than the United States.
Look Out For America
Now comes a prophetic word more startling than any yet, “All ye inhabitants of the world and ye dwellers on the earth, when an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye; and when the trumpet is blown, hear ye.”
Whenever this people displays its flag and sounds the bugle of war, take notice, world. A people that has never been overcome in battle and is so situated that the combined armies of the world could not give their horses a drink out of our Missouri, Mississippi, or Ohio rivers in the trial of a thousand years, is too beg not to have been seed by the Divine Seer, too important to be overlooked by Divine Providence, and too integral a part of Yahweh’s plan for the ages to be ignored in world councils.
This part of the prophecy had its partial fulfillment in 1918. The prophetic words have been quietly reposing in an unnoticed chapter of God’s inimitable Book for twenty-six long centuries, and not till our day were they brought out of their quiet resting place and fulfilled as a literal stupendous fact before the eyes of the whole world. “There is much light yet to break out of God’s Holy Book.”
I have a study of more than 100 footprints, fingerprints, which show even more startling prophecies that have been fulfilled in America the land of regathered Israel. If any of you are interested, let me know and I will up load them to you. They are too long to put in posts, as people would accuse me of spaming the various lists and their email.