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On November 19, 1863—exactly 150 years ago to this day—U.S. President Abraham Lincoln gave his historic “Gettysburg Address,” known for its famous lines: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Despite his lofty words, Lincoln understood that this proposition—like the nation as a whole—was being tested. What about today?
Today, Americans stand nearly three times farther from the foundation of their nation than did Lincoln when he talked of the “four score and seven.” After 237 years, is the United States of America living up to Lincoln’s ideal? Although it remains a relatively young nation, compared to China, Britain and many others, it has nevertheless endured a history that has burned like a white-hot flame—all the brighter and more intense for its youth. But hot flames burn fast.
Certainly the nation has been tested by war, including the bloody Civil War during which Lincoln gave his famous address. The U.S. did emerge from that war unified, but at a terrible price in blood and life. War in the 20th century would also continue to test the nation. Many would point with pride to the tyrants overcome and the lives saved abroad, the liberties preserved—but what about conditions at home? How many lives have been snuffed out by the murderous practice of abortion? And how many lives have been wrecked by pornography, greed, ignorance and selfishness?
In reflecting on Lincoln’s words, 150 years later, we may wonder: Has America’s good outweighed the bad? Can Americans see Lincoln’s ideals in practice today? More importantly, can we see God’s ideals in practice in America? Do we see God’s reflection in the gleaming metal of the America its citizens have forged? Or has the history of the nation and its people, its decisions and its efforts, become a tarnished work in the main?
Long ago, God foretold long ago that He would bring forth nations (Genesis 12:2, 17:4; Genesis 35:11), and He tested the ancestors of those nations (Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 8:4–6). They were to be a “special” people and a treasure. They were the physical ancestors of the British, American and other Western peoples (Genesis 49), and the spiritual ancestors of every true Christian (Romans 2:28–29; see also John 4:22–24).
Lincoln spoke with reverence about America’s forefathers. They did bring forth a great nation. But what about the true Father of us all? It is, after all, He who rules in the affairs of mankind, and His hand guides the rise and fall of all nations (Daniel 4:17)—including America.
His hand raised America, as the Founding Fathers acknowledged, and Israel’s descendants will present God with their handiwork.
Students of Scripture understand that the Bible predicts many more troubles to come—both to subject America and its allies to their final tests, and to chasten them for disobedience to God’s laws. The Almighty’s work is not yet done. And He is working with a purpose. Nothing that happens on Earth escapes His notice or can ultimately prevent Him from carrying out His will (Romans 8:28).
When God brings forth a nation, He does so with purpose. A time is soon coming when the whole world—not just the U.S.—will finally know true liberty, and there will be true justice for all, under the merciful rule of the soon-coming King of the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ Himself. In that day, enemies past and present will walk the road to liberty, equality and true peace, side by side (Isaiah 19:22–24).
If you would like to know more about how God has worked His will through the history of the British-descended peoples and those of the U.S., please order the free booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy today. It will open your eyes to what God is doing with the nations today!
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