Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm not sure this is what he meant

From time to time I am asked about the fact that America is never mentioned in the Bible. After all, the logic goes, the Prophecies in the Bible clearly spell out just how everything comes to a screeching halt at the End Of All Time. And if the prophets knew so much, then why didn't they mention America?

To some, this is a curiosity. To others, it's an existential crisis. How could God's Nation not play some vital role in the End Times?

To me, it's a non-issue, since I don't tend to hold to a strict, literalistic, dispensationalist view on the future. The prophets didn't mention America because, well, mostly because America didn't exist a couple thousand years ago. And also because much of what today passes as True Prophetic Messages of the End Times might just as well have been metaphorical interpretations of the times in which the authors were living. And, again, America was non-existent at that time.

But now all that might have changed. It seems some people have discovered that America actually is mentioned in the Bible. Or, at least, an American Interstate is mentioned in the book of Isaiah.

Here's the text:
Isaiah 35:8 "And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it."

And see, here's the genius. Isaiah 35. Isaiah begins with an I. Thus, it's really talking about I-35, a freeway that runs from Larado, TX to Duluth, Minn.

And upon such a strange hermeneutic is founded the "Light the Highway" movement.

(If you'd rather not read through their whole web page, you can read a summary in the news article here.)

Let me state three somewhat disparate thoughts:
1) Seeking righteousness, proclaiming the Name of the Lord, praying for your city and country, fasting and evangelizing and interceding are all good things.
2) This method of Bible interpretation, that would lead one to believe that Isaiah's prophecy of Israel's redemption is in fact speaking of Interstate 35, is completely, utterly wrong.
3) I truly wish I understood where these people were coming from. When I worked in Portland I found myself among the same sort of people. People who regularly had Prophetic Revelations, revelations that sounded biblical, prophesies regarding Portland's revival, or Portland's condemnation. And the people behind these revelations were so sincere, so passionate, so fired-up for Jesus, but it seemed like one huge internal reaction with no external impact. The prophecies never came true; but the people just jumped off into the Next Big Prophetic Thing. It was like a runaway chain reaction that kept these people bouncing around, that had nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Instead of doing the things Christ commanded (feeding the poor, visiting the prisoners, standing up against injustice) they breathlessly forwarded emails about prophesies, they went to parks and sang worship songs, they hiked down highways praying for "demonic walls" to come down. It all seemed like so much wasted energy.

But, anyway, that's not really what all this was about. Instead, it was to let you all know that America is mentioned in the Bible, so we can lay that misperception to rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's just scary. And what about all the other highways? If Isaiah 35 is referring to I35, then wouldn't it follow that Isaiah 5 is talking about I5? And how 'bout I-84 - did Isaiah just miss the boat on that one? Or are there missing chapters out there somewhere corresponding to all the other freeways?
Talk about reaching! (Susan)