Question: The Young Lions of Tarshish

A Reader Writes:


Bro, I’m preparing a five part teaching on The United States in Prophecy. I’d like some input from you on something. What do you think about Ezek. 38:13 and the reference to the young lions of Tarshish (KJV)? Have you done a study on this as to whether or not it is a possible reference to the United States? Just wondering. God bless.

Jacob Responds:

There are those who speculate that this is a prophetic prediction of the British Isles. The evidence is nebulous but not impossible. However it would mean that there is a third Tarshish in addition to the ones existing, probably around the Rock of Gibralter as in the book of Jonah and also the Horn of East Africa as in the days of Solomon. There is simply no proof. No proof does not mean it cannot possibly be true but that it cannot be proven to be true.

They then draw the conclusion that since countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand came mainly from Britain that it applies to them. This is of course more speculation.

When Scripture speaks of nations in prophecy it defines them geographically, anthropologically, or both. (Greek: basilea = “kingdom” or ethnon = “race” with the Hebrew equivalents of Malchut and Goy respectively).

There is simply no documented nor archaeological evidence that a third Tarshish existed in the British Isles.

A further problem is that those most pressing this view are the British-Israelite cults (known as Armstrongists in the USA). On the basis of the evidence that exists I would never teach that the USA can be said to be the “young lions of Tarshish” (although it may be a possibility in some estimations). The most I would say is, “There are some who have speculated that…”. I would also say that the USA is never specifically mentioned in Scripture nor is Britain. Its existence was not even known (except by God) to people in Israel.

What may be a better case is Spain. One scriptural instance of Tarshish was almost certainly located on the opposite side of the Mediteranian near Gibralter (which the ancient Greek mariners knew as ‘The Pillars of Hercules”). Since one Tarshish was in Spain and since Spain is twice named in the New Testament (Paul wrote of his desire to visit Spain in Romans 15:24, 28), a stronger scriptural case could be made for Spain.

Furthermore, regarding this argument of this pertaining to nations coming from the British Isles, we must remember that geographically the USA was more Spanish than British or French or Dutch. Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and major areas of Oregan, Utah, and Nevada as well as Pueto Rico were all Spanish. Later France temporarily ceeded Louisiana to Spain before the Louisiana Purchase by Jefferson from Napoleon. Americans of Hispanic descent already outnumber those of British (English, Welsh, and Scottish descent); it is only when we add those of Irish descent that Americans decended from the British Isles are the largest ethnic group of Americans. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Albuquerque, San Diego, San Juan, and Las Vegas all have huge Hispanic-American populations and Spanish is the second language in the USA. But again, we cannot be dogmatic about these things or over-speculate concerning them. It is fine to consider the evidence, but the evidence is so inconclusive it should not be the object of focus in a major way.

What Scripture states about the Middle East and Europe in eschatological prophecy however, does not require any speculation. It is therefore the focus on which we should mainly concentrate.

That is about all I can tell you.

In Jesus,