How did the United States become such a prominent nation? What made America great? How can we trace her roots?
The United States has been the most materially blessed single nation in history. Though few have recognized it, America’s rise to superpower status started with one man’s faithfulness to God.
Some 4,000 years ago God called a man named Abram (whose name God later changed to Abraham). God told Abram to leave his present country and go where He would lead him. God promised Abram that if he obeyed, He would cause many nations and kings to come from his lineage (Genesis 17:1-6).
Abraham continued to be faithful to God, and when Abraham passed the supreme test of being willing to sacrifice his son, God made an unconditional promise that his descendants would be innumerable and have world dominance (Genesis 22:16-18). The blessings of Abraham were then passed down to his descendants.
Promise of national greatness passed down
This birthright promise was passed down to Abraham’s son Isaac, then to Isaac’s son Jacob, and then to Jacob’s son Joseph.
Joseph had two sons while he was in Egypt, Ephraim and Manasseh. Just before Jacob died, he adopted these two grandchildren and, being guided by God, made them inheritors of his birthright promise (Genesis 48:13-16).
Jacob was also inspired by God to give a prophecy about his two grandchildren. He said that Ephraim would become a multitude of nations and Manasseh would be a great single nation (Genesis 48:19). Jacob foretold that in the last days the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would spread (Genesis 49:1, 22). They would prevail in wars because God would be with them (verses 23-24). And they would also inherit great natural resources (verses 25-26)—all part of the blessings of Abraham.
Ancient Israel failed to receive the full birthright promise
God wanted to give ancient Israel national greatness. When He made the covenant with the 12 tribes of Israel in the wilderness, He told them they would become great if they obeyed Him.
We know that Israel did not obey God; and eventually 10 of the tribes, including Ephraim and Manasseh, went into captivity to Assyria in 721-718 B.C. From this point forward, they were scattered and seemed to disappear from the historical records.
What became of God’s promises to give the blessings of Abraham to his descendants? Many Christians understand that the promise of salvation through Abraham’s Seed was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). But what of the physical birthright promises? If we believe that God fulfills all His promises, we will look for a company of nations and a powerful single nation who have been blessed by God.
Where did the Israelites go?
Even though Israel was scattered, God said He would keep and preserve them (Amos 9:9). The Bible tells us in several passages, including Isaiah 49:12, that the Israelites migrated toward the northwest and to the “isles afar off” (Jeremiah 31:10). The British Isles are northwest of their previous homeland and the location of their captivity in Assyria.
Is it just a coincidence that the word British resembles two Hebrew words “beriyth-iysh,” which mean “covenant man”? The Bible repeatedly refers to the covenant (agreement) God made with Israel (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 4:13).
God’s people would also be known by Isaac’s name. Americans and Britons are known as Anglo-Saxons. “Saxons” is simply a derivation of “Isaac’s sons.”
The United States and Britain become world powers
Before 1800, both America and Britain were regional powers. But shortly after 1800, both suddenly received many blessings. First Britain then the United States became world-leading superpowers.
In 1803 the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase, which nearly doubled the size of the country. Britain’s empire suddenly spread around the globe, and the sun never set on her company of nations. At their peak, the United States and Britain came into possession of more than two-thirds of the world’s resources and wealth. God fulfilled the biblical promises to provide the blessings of Abraham to his physical descendants.
So what does it all mean?
There are many more biblical and historical clues that the United States and Britain (and the British “multitude of nations” including Australia, Canada and New Zealand) are indeed the descendants of ancient Israel. For more information about the United States’ roots in ancient Israel, read the related articles in “America in Prophecy.” To learn more about the promises to Abraham, read the articles “Promises to Abraham” and “God's Promise to Abraham.”