America and the Bible .... Bob Moore

Although the United States of America is a relatively new country among the nations of the world and the continent upon which it sits remained unpublicized in medieval times, its land was not unknown to the ancient inhabitants of the Middle East. Recent evidence suggests that the Phoenicians visited America, naming it "The Great North Country."1 Solomon, who sent ships to Tarshish (2 Chronicles 9:21), a providence on the Atlantic coast of Spain, also brought tin from Cornwall in the British Isles with the help of the Phoenicians.2 Their knowledge of a land beyond the Atlantic could easily have been passed to the Hebrews. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah may have specifically referred to this land when they spoke of the "North Country" (Isaiah 49:12; Jeremiah 23:8; 31:8).

Regardless of whether the Hebrews knew of America, it was never unknown to God. Through the prophets He spoke of a land that was afar off (Isaiah 33:17) and at the end of the earth (Isaiah 5:26). He indicated that some would go over the sea (Isaiah 16:8), inhabit the islands (Jeremiah 31:10), and be pushed to the end of the earth (Deuteronomy 33:17). Predetermining the rise and reign of all nations, He not only foreknew the emergence of America, but specified its purpose.

Jacob gave the coasts of the continent and isles of the sea, an additional inheritance neither Abraham nor Isaac received, to his son Joseph (Genesis 49:26). These separate lands were given Joseph's seed because their father had been separated from his brethren. While Ephraim in Britain became the multitude of nations promised Jacob (Genesis 35:11), America became the great nation promised Manasseh. One evidence for this conclusion is the name it bears.

The Vikings explored the Atlantic coasts of New England long before Columbus sailed, naming their new found land "Markland." British fishermen, some from the port of Bristol, had also reached its shores before Columbus. During the 1470's Richard Ameryk, a Bristol merchant, began calling the land the fishermen talked about "Ameryka," naming it after himself. Popular history credits Amerigo Vespucci with lending his name to the newly discovered continent. Probability, Vespucci's association with the new land only cemented the name some were already calling it.

Jewish scholarship now shows that portions of the exiled tribes of Israel migrated to Northwestern Europe. While the most prominent segment settling England was from the tribe of Ephraim, portions of Manasseh also migrated there, concentrating in Wales. Richard Ameryk was of Welsh ancestry and his family name, which was "Ap Meryk," could be translated "Son of Marchir."3 Marchir was a son of Manasseh and the head of the clan of Manasseh that received an inheritance from Moses on the east side of the Jordan River. When Richard Ameryk named the new world after himself, he was actually naming it after Marchir. America literally means "land of Marchir." Interestingly, the Vikings, who called America "Markland," may have derived "Mark" from "Maruk," which is a form of "Marchir." Its name shows that America is the land of Marchir and belongs to the tribe of Manasseh.

Another evidence that America belongs to Manasseh is the common association both have with the number thirteen. Manasseh was the thirteenth tribe of Israel. Jacob had 12 sons, but when he blessed the two sons of Joseph, he adopted them as his own. This divided his offspring into 13 distinct groups. Since Jacob placed Ephraim ahead of Manasseh, Manasseh became the last, or thirteenth tribe.

Like Manasseh, America is associated with the number 13. Thirteen colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, fought the British to gain their freedom, and formed the United States of America. Our flag once had 13 stars and still has 13 stripes. The eagle on our official seal holds 13 arrows in its right claw and wears a shield of 13 bars. Above the eagle appears a cloud in which there are 13 stars. Our national motto, "E Pluribus Unum," which means "one out of many," has 13 letters. On the reverse side of the national seal is another motto containing 13 letters. It says, "Annuit Coeptis," meaning "He (the Lord) hath prospered our undertakings." The thirteen American colonies declared their independence 2496 years after Israel was exiled by Assyria. Two thousand four hundred ninety-six is a multiple of 13. America is not only linked with Manasseh in name, but it shares the number 13 with it, too.

Thirteen, a number shrouded in superstition, is associated in the Bible with rebellion, separation, defection and revolution. It first appeared in the verse which says, "Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled" (Genesis 14:4). Joseph, who was separated from his brethren, saw a dream in which there appeared 13 stars (Genesis 37:9). Ishmael was 13 when he was circumcised, which foreshadowed his separation from that covenant. Like him, many rebels to God's kingdom mentioned in the Bible have a gematria of multiples of 13.4 While King Solomon built the temple in seven years, he took 13 years to build his own house, which house caused him to defect from God in his old age. King Asa forsook the Lord in the 39th year of his reign and Uzziah did the same in his 52nd year. Both these numbers are multiples of 13. The northern kingdom, Israel, not only rebelled from the throne of David, but from the true worship of God. When God convicted them for their defection, he pronounced judgment to come on them in 65 years (Isaiah 7:8), a multiple of 13. Ezekiel bore their sins 390 days (Ezekiel 4:5). Three hundred ninety is a multiple of 13. America and Manasseh's association with the number 13 links them with rebellion, separation, defection and revolution.

When Israel was defeated by the Assyrian king, their capital was at Samaria, not Bethel where Jeroboam had established it. Omri obtained the throne after a revolution against the house of Jeroboam and then built Samaria. Samaria was in the land given to the half tribe of Manasseh on the west side of the Jordan, while Bethel was in the land given Ephraim. This separation from Bethel, meaning "house of God," to Samaria, meaning "watch-station, or guard-station," foreshadows the separation between Ephraim in Britain and Manasseh in America. America's connection with the number 13 predicts the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War fought to enforce it. Interestingly, Omri was captain of the Israelite Army and was elected to the leadership he assumed (1 Kings 16:16). George Washington was leader of the Continental Army and was elected first president of the United States.

The removal of the capital from Bethel, the house of God, symbolized the Israelites' abandonment of true religion after Jezebel introduced idolatry at Samaria. God had told the Hebrews that He would punish them seven times (Leviticus 26:18-28), or seven prophetic years, for their defection. Almost seven times, or 2520 years, after their exile America separated from the throne of England. The purpose of this later separation was not to serve false gods in foreign lands, but to make the land of Manasseh a guardian of religious liberty so that disciples of Christ could worship without interference from totalitarian leaders. No king was head of either state or church. People were free to worship according the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17). America's independence liberated those preferring Christ so they could perfect the Reformation and better seek the kingdom of God.

On July 4, 1776, a nation dedicated to God emerged. It is linked by name and number to a nation that once was free to worship God in truth and righteousness, but which used its freedom to forsake the true God. Through the cross God expanded His salvation to include any believer so that some of the sons of Jacob could be united with faithful Gentiles in His holy kingdom. America declared her independence with the hope of establishing that kingdom. After the delegates had signed the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams closed the meeting with these words, "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting sun may His kingdom come." May its citizens, like their forefathers, declare their independence from every power that seeks to oppress faithful followers of Christ and work to build up His kingdom in the land of the free.

1Yair Davidy, The Tribes, Russell-Davis Publishers, Hebron. Israel; p 369.

2Barbara Tuchman, Bible and Sword, Ballantine Books, NY, NY; p 6-7.

3Davidy, p 369.

4E. W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan; p 205-214