For Scripture Sunday”:
The Fourth of July in Prophecy
Okay, you may be asking, why is all this history important?
Would America be a collection of individual, sovereign states loosely tied together by a confederation or would the individual states be unified as a nation—bound together by a powerful national government that would allow it to act as a single nation? From Articles to Constitution.
The events celebrated on the Fourth of July were prophesied over 3,600 years ago. Let’s explore early American history in the light of Bible prophecy.
On July 4, the United States celebrated its 241st anniversary.
The Fourth of July holiday celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Though this was when the founders declared that they were fighting for independence from Britain—that independence would only be realized seven years, 1 month and 30 days later when the Treaty of Paris was signed. That treaty officially ended the American Revolution, with Great Britain recognizing the United States as free, sovereign and independent. Part of the reason the Americans were able to defeat the world’s most powerful army was because it had been recently weakened in the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War). But there were many reasons why the American victory over the British Army was miraculous and providential.
Victory did not settle America’s fate
But the United States of America as we know it was not created automatically when Britain signed the Peace of Paris or when the last British soldiers left New York in November 1783. The greatest challenge that faced America after defeating the most powerful military on earth was creating a functioning union between the former colonies (now called states) that would allow the United States to truly become one nation.
It is important to understand that the concept of the United States’ becoming one unified nation was not a given early in its history. One of the greatest controversies after the Treaty of Paris was this issue: Would America be a collection of individual, sovereign states loosely tied together by a confederation orwould the individual states be unified as a nation—bound together by a powerful national government that would allow it to act as a single nation?
That issue took years to settle. If it were not for a series of miracles and compromises, the United States could have easily ended up permanently being a confederation of completely sovereign states—or even fragmenting into separate nations dominating various regions of the American landmass.
The first attempt at a functioning union of the states was the Articles of Confederation. The United States operated under this document for eight years. It formed a very loose confederation between the states, led by a Continental Congress that had little power. Throughout its eight years, the Articles of Confederation proved to be unworkable.
A growing number of American thinkers began to promote a form of governance called federalism. This called for a stronger national government with an executive branch and a clear delineation of powers between states and the national government. Those who supported this stronger union were called Federalists, and those who opposed this idea were Anti-Federalists.
It wasn’t until 1787 that the controversy began to be settled. Because of the inefficiencies of the Articles of Confederation (made obvious by the infamous Shays’ Rebellion), the states agreed to send delegates to Philadelphia to discuss making improvements to the Articles of Confederation.
Eventually the delegates decided that the convention would become a constitutional convention, with the goal of designing an entirely new system of governance. The challenge was whether or not an agreement could be reached on a constitution that all states (large and small, north and south) would ratify. The stakes were high. Failure at the Philadelphia convention could have resulted in a regional fracturing of America—preventing one union from coming into existence.
Again, this outcome was not only possible, but was highly likely given the political atmosphere of early American history.
A new Constitution results in “one nation”
But, in about four months, the delegates were able to produce a new Constitution for the United States of America. It would bind the states into a strengthened union led by a national government with more powers. This was achieved through savvy politics, political compromise and not addressing some of the most divisive issues of the time (such as slavery).
But with the convention a success, the next order of business was convincing the individual states to ratify the proposed Constitution. The document itself stipulated that it needed to be ratified by at least nine states before it would go into effect. The challenge was getting large states like Virginia and New York to vote for ratification because, as large and powerful states, they had the most to lose in diverting more authority to a national government. Though the Constitution could have theoretically been passed without a state like Virginia, that would have ultimately left the land divided.
But all states eventually ratified the Constitution. The whole process was not completed (for the original 13 states) until Rhode Island finally joined the new union in 1790. With all 13 original colonies/states joining the union under the new Constitution, America was set on course to develop as one unified nation—eventually spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
That would occur through many more unlikely events and miracles!
Why it had to happen
Okay, you may be asking, why is all this history important?
It was a fulfillment of a prophecy made over 3,600 years ago. As we explain in our article on the “Blessings to Abraham,” certain physical blessings of national greatness were promised to Abraham. These blessings were passed down to his son Isaac, then to Isaac’s son Jacob and finally were given to Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Jacob, in a very specific prophecy, declared that Ephraim would become a “multitude of nations” and Manasseh would become a single great nation (Genesis 48:19). Genesis 49:1 reveals that these promises were to be ultimately fulfilled in “the last days”—in other words, the modern era (from our historical viewpoint).
The promise of a “multitude of nations” was fulfilled by the British people—who became an empire and later a commonwealth of nations. Today Ephraim’s promises are primarily fulfilled in the nations of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (as well as other smaller nations that are part of the Commonwealth).
Manasseh’s promise of being a single great nation was fulfilled in the United States of America.
As Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, they would do well to consider that the Declaration of Independence from Britain was necessary in order to fulfill the Genesis 48:19 promise. For the prophecy to be fulfilled, America had to be independent from Britain and had to unite into a unified single nation. The entire history of the development and ratification of the U.S. Constitution was essential for that prophecy to be fulfilled. This understanding helps us to see God’s providential hand in history (Isaiah 46:10).
Americans would do well to consider their true founding father—the patriarch Abraham—and recall his life of faithful obedience to God as described in chapters 12-25 of Genesis.”
To learn more about this important topic, read “Where Is America in Prophecy?””
The Reformation: A Return to the Bible?
“The Protestant reformers claimed they were restoring Christianity back to its biblical roots. But were there things they forgot to reform?
A copy of Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into the German language.
October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s reputed action of nailing his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg (where he was a professor of theology at Wittenberg University). This document criticized certain practices and doctrines of the Catholic Church and is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther claimed that the Roman church under the popes had moved away from the truth of the Bible.
To Luther’s credit, his 95 Theses highlighted many legitimate issues with the Catholic Church of his time. However, if the pope had heeded Luther’s critiques, would that have returned Catholicism to the Christianity of the Bible?
The truth is, Martin Luther and the Reformation he began continued to embrace many prominent nonbiblical doctrines that the church they were protesting had adopted hundreds of years earlier.
One of the most prominent unbiblical doctrines Protestants maintained was regarding Sunday as the Christian day of worship. To learn why the biblical Sabbath isn’t Sunday, read “Was the Sabbath Changed to Sunday?”
Since the Reformation, Catholics have criticized Protestants for the double standard of rejecting Catholic tradition by claiming they relied on “Sola Scriptura” (Latin for “Scripture alone”) while maintaining many doctrines based entirely on tradition, particularly the observance of Sunday.
Notice these quotes from Catholics:
- “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. … But the Protestant says: How can I receive the teachings of an apostate Church? How, we ask, have you managed to receive her teaching all your life, in direct opposition to your recognized teacher, the Bible, on the Sabbath question?” (The Christian Sabbath, fifth ed., published by The Catholic Mirror of Baltimore, 1893, pp. 29-30, emphasis in original).
- “Q. Is the observance of Sunday, as the day of rest, a matter clearly laid down in Scripture?
“A. It certainly is not; and yet all Protestants consider the observance of this particular day as essentially necessary to salvation. To say, we observe the Sunday, because Christ rose from the dead on that day, is to say we act without warrant of Scripture; and we might as well [incorrectly] say, that we should rest on Thursday because Christ ascended to heaven on that day” (Stephen Keenan, Controversial Catechism, 1846, p. 136, emphasis added).
- “If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church” (letter from Albert Smith, chancellor of the Baltimore Archdiocese, Feb. 10, 1920).
Restoring the true Sabbath
Both Protestants and Catholics ignore the seventh-day Sabbath, instead observing the unbiblical Sunday. Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers criticized some Catholic abuses and doctrines, while maintaining many others. Catholics and Protestants alike would benefit from going to the Bible and reading what it reveals about the Sabbath, instead of relying on their own unbiblical teachings.” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/blog/the-reformation-a-return-to-the-bible/
To learn about the seventh-day Sabbath and why it should be kept today, read “What Day Is the Sabbath?”
An Amazing Fact: “Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is the equivalent elevation gain of climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.
Completed in 1937, the Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia and follows the Appalachian Mountains over 2,180 miles through 14 states, ending in Maine. Benton Mackaye conceived of a trail connecting a series of farming camps along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, between the highest points in the north (Mt. Washington in New Hampshire) and south (Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina). He envisioned the trail as a refuge from industrialization, where people could commune with nature. Signs marking the Appalachian Trail today read, “For those who seek fellowship with the wilderness.”
Making time for such fellowship isn’t easy in our go-go-go culture. America was founded by people who strove for more than their birthplace offered. From the pilgrims that landed at Plimoth Plantation to the immigrants that arrive today, Americans want more. And we work hard to get it.
So most of us can identify with Martha (Luke 10:38–42). Busily preparing dinner for Jesus, Martha noticed her sister Mary lounging at Jesus’ feet. “Lord,” she demanded, “don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” But Jesus gently reminded Martha that work must be balanced with downtime.
Like us, Martha was a human “doing”—preferring to work for Jesus than just be with Him. We very easily become so consumed by what we’re doing that we neglect communion with Who we’re doing it for. Ellen White, a Christian author, put it this way: “We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God.” May you learn to be a human being, not a human doing.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: Luke 10:41 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42 “
This week was mostly caulking and getting things ready to paint the living room and bedroom in the mini-house. We are not going to install the wooden rosettes and trim that we made for around the windows until it is all painted. We did move the large shelf unit here which will have to be sanded and stained a lighter color, so Hans has been helping with that. He can only help for a short while in the mornings as they want him monitoring the pool fulltime now. Then we also moved the fridge out of the mini-house into the carport. It will be easier for me to sell it out there. I will be taking my bigger fridge to the mini-house when I finally get moved.
We have my other sofa stored in the mini-house and a piece of really big carpet which is rolled up and under the sofa. They are covered up, but really do need to be out of the way and sold, so we were getting things ready for them to be moved out to the carport, too. We had taken down the cedar skirting in the front of the mini-house so that we could install the plumbing, now the skirting is screwed back on. The sofa will be fine stored there where it is enclosed on three sides. I prefer to have things that are for sale outside in full view of everyone driving by, that way there aren’t people coming into my house. An old lady on her own has to think about things like that.
Roy wanted the 4th off so I went shopping in Conroe. Before we make the cabinet for the microwave and stainless steel toaster oven, I needed to have a microwave that matches the toaster oven. There was a reasonably priced stainless steel one at Walmart and they will look good side by side.
On Saturday, I went to see Jay in jail. He is there for Public Intoxication and bad mouthing a cop. We was so smashed that he doesn’t even remember it. I was hoping that I could give him some copies of literature from the church about recovery ( https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/overcoming-alcoholism/what-does-recovery-look-like) and how being a drunk is not cool. But I couldn’t give it to him through the glass window, so I hope he will not stop and buy beer on his way home on Wednesday when he gets out, before I can give the copies to him.
From there I went to the afternoon service at the Church of God on FM 830. On the second Sabbath of each month they have Bible Trivia, which is like Password, instead of the usual Bible Study, and that is always fun. That starts at 12.30, before the service. Another draw for that day was that the pastor’s cousin Oscar would be giving the Sermon, and I always like to listen to him. His Teaching was about how husbands should respect their wives and where the Bible says wives should ‘submit’, it is about sharing and not being overbearing to their wives. “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22) Of course, the wives have to do their part, too. Then to teach your children the way they should go, and if they have a good example in their parents, they should not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. See: Train Up a Child: What Does Proverbs 22:6 Mean? at https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/parenting/train-up-a-child/
I took a big crockpot of Ground Beef and Veggies, and there were plenty of other good food contributions, so everyone had a great meal and fellowship in their beautiful attached dining hall. This is a really attractive Austin stone building with a fairly large congregation, and growing all the time. This is large compared to the FM 1097 church where I usually go, but nowhere like a mega-church, so everyone hugs and knows each other. I met a really nice Messianic family, and hopefully we will see each other again. They had just converted to Messianic Judism, and as this church meets on Saturday, this is where they came. Their teen son did a special song and played his guitar.
One could tell that Summer has arrived, the car was like an oven when I left the church, even with the sunshades up and the windows down an inch. It was a hot, and very enjoyable day.