On July 20, 1969, Apollo XI's lunar module set down on the surface of the Moon, and millions of Americans, glued to their TVs, heard the historic words, "The Eagle has landed." Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin stepped out of the "Eagle," and Commander Armstrong uttered yet another well-renowned phrase, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
That crucial success by NASA not only fulfilled President Kennedy's stated desire to put a man on the moon by 1970, but it also marked a turning point in the Cold War, firmly underscoring America's dominance in the space race. While it was not until decades later that the Soviet Union was finally defeated, they never fully recovered once the U.S. had managed to leap-frog into aeronautic superiority.
The heroic astronauts of Apollo 11, and the various other successful missions, had scored a major victory for their country, and the whole of America swelled with great pride.
The Eagle had soared. The Eagle had landed and had finally accomplished what no other nation, before nor since, had been able to do: the Eagle had set his nest among the stars. The nest-like descent module remains on the Moon's surface, a testimony to the great achievement of the Cold War champion: and a witness to her pride.
While claims abound that NASA's entire lunar project was a hoax, Bible prophecy agrees with the official story.
(I must digress here for a moment. I occasionally hear Bible "scholars" tell how no prophecy is being fulfilled today, and how the United States is nowhere to be found in the pages of God's Holy Word. Nothing could be further from the truth. God not only had a general knowledge of the whole history of man from before the foundation of the world, but He also knew world history with precise specificity. In addition, He not only knew the succession of kingdoms from the beginning until the end, but He shared that knowledge with His people by His prophets, as He said, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).
There is absolutely no reason, apart from willful ignorance, to believe that God, in all of His infinite wisdom and knowledge, would fail to see what has been the most God-fearing Gentile nation in all of history, and continues to be the only remaining world super power in the days just before the return of His Son. If God could not foresee the "Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave," one might seriously question His power to see anything at all.
Of course, this is not the case. God did foresee the days in which we live, and spoke, albeit in the prophetic symbolism of types and shadows, of the prominent nations of our time. Nothing can sneak up on our Lord, and all things are following His divine plan. The U.S., Great Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, the U.N., and others all have their profiles in the pages of the Bible. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.)
I once saw a book that "charted" the scope of the prophets of the Old Testament. Some, like Isaiah, Daniel, and Zechariah were pictured as seeing all the way until the end, while others were shown only seeing events of their own day. One such "short-sighted" prophet, according to this book, was the prophet Obadiah.
The short book of Obadiah begins, "The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom . . ." While it is true that Edom was brought to naught, according to the words of the prophet of God, another biblical truth interjects itself into world events, " I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past" (Eccl. 3:14,15).
A new nation had risen up like unto Edom, and the words of the Lord have extended throughout the millennia and across the ocean to apply themselves to her as well.
As you read the words of Obadiah, you can readily see a portrait of America:
"We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him" (Oba. 1:1-7).
The word heathen simply means "nation." It is not difficult to see the United States as a type of Edom, and a fulfillment of the nation greatly despised among the other nations of the world. Likewise, nations that are at peace with America, often make war with her shortly after obtaining the best weapons and training from her. America feeds the world, from Asia to Africa to South America, but thankless nations curse her for her "lack of charity." As with Edom, they eat American bread, and turn again to rend her.
But it is verses 3 and 4 that most clearly point to the United States. "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, . . . that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?" It is America's pride that will be its undoing. Years ago, there was a television mini-series called "Amerika." In it, the U.S. was conquered by the Soviet Union, and made a republic of the U.S.S.R. A friend of mine at school said, "That could never happen here." Much time has past, and my friend seems to have been right. The communist threat appears to have been eliminated, and life in America seems to go on unchanged. Or does it?
Nevertheless, it is pride that God hates, and he will not allow a proud nation to long endure. With America's ascent into the heavens, no acknowledgment of God's providence was made as was done with other great inventions like the telephone. No. WE did this all by ourselves. Even as we have God's promise that righteousness exalts a nation (Pro. 14:34), so also do we have His promise here, "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord" (Oba. 1:4). Maybe we would all have been better off had we gone with Benjamin Franklin's suggestion to use the wild turkey as our national symbol.
But Obaiah's prophecy leaves us with hope and great expectation. Even as God brings down the modern Edom from its high pedestal, He shall also exalt a new righteous, yea, holy nation, as He said, "And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's" (Oba. 1:21). Amen.