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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News. This is Daniel Billington with you commenting on the anticipated referendum to decide whether or not Britain should exit from the EU, an increasingly hot topic especially in Britain! The last few weeks we have seen increasingly dramatic headlines on a British exit (i.e. Brexit).
Daily Telegraph (Dec 10, 2015) – David Cameron: Migrant crisis could force Brexit as voters say ‘get me out of here’
British voters increasingly want to “push Europe away” because of the migrant and Eurozone crises.
Daily Telegraph (Dec 14, 2015) – UK exit from European Union on a knife edge, as poll shows British public are now 50/50 over leaving
The Independent (Jan 5, 2016) – EU referendum: David Cameron gives Conservative ministers freedom to campaign for a ‘leave’ vote
Prime Minister announces move designed to limit the political damage caused by Tory splits on Europe
The BBC (Jan 14, 2016) – EU disastrous for UK, says cabinet minister Chris Grayling
Over the last two years opposition to Britain’s membership in the European Union has been steadily mounting. A once little known party, the UK Independence Party (or UKIP), which is campaigning for British exit from the EU and stricter immigration policy, experienced a surge in popularity of almost 10% receiving over 3.8 million votes in the 2015 General Election, surpassed only by the Liberals and ruling Conservatives. David Cameron’s Conservatives narrowly won the election after promising an in/out referendum on EU membership by 2017 and “the pressure is gradually ratcheting up” on Cameron to negotiate changes in the free movement of people across EU member states. Recent polls put voters for out at 38% and 41% versus for in at 44% and 42% (the rest don’t know what to do). As the headlines show the Syrian migrant and Eurozone economic crises have supported a vote for Brexit. So far Cameron has continued to return empty handed from the negotiating table. This last week Chris Grayling, the leader of the house of Commons, and member of David Cameron’s cabinet, has said that “remaining within the European Union under the UK’s current membership terms would be ‘disastrous’…” and that “the EU was heading towards closer integration – a path the UK ‘will not and should not follow.” Considering what the Bible has to say, we expect this trend will certainly continue!
The prophets describe two opposing alliances. On the one side we see Europe’s ten horn nations (as described in Daniel 7, and represented by the iron and clay feet of Daniel 2) aligned with Russia under the Roman Catholic influence of the mother harlot (Revelation 17; Ezekiel 38) at war with Israel and the Christ Lamb. On the other side we see the southern Arabian power allied with the “western” protestant trading nations, including Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States (i.e. “Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions” – Ezekiel 38:13). As Isaiah shows, “the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them,” (Isaiah 60:9) and therefore seem to be among the first to submit to the “Mighty One of Jacob” or the Messiah and bring their wealth for his use. So, we see Britain and Europe on different sides of both a political and a religious crisis. We do not have time in this program to explain the connection with Tyre, Tarshish and the young lions; however this subject is thoroughly explained in back issues available from www.biblemagazine.com including Vol. 26, Issue #4 and Vol. 20, Issue #3.
Although Britain is in a state of unbelief at the present time, it is still a fact that Britain’s roots are Protestant, so called because of those who protested against and separated from the Roman Church. In contrast Europe has ‘Christian roots’, both Roman and Byzantine. It was Pope John Paul II who said in his 1995 encyclical “the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome.” (Ut unum sint; That They May Be One).
In June of 2015 a policy paper was published by the Jacques Delors Institute under the title “The Vatican’s Outlook on Europe: from Firm Encouragement to Exacting Support.” The paper was written by Sébastien Maillard the correspondent in Rome for La Croix a daily French Roman Catholic newspaper. The policy paper provides a useful and enlightening reminder of the Vatican’s influence and interest in Europe noting that “Vatican diplomacy was…a loyal supporter of European construction. It backed the first treaties under Pius XII…” Under the heading A Vatican-oriented and federalist Europe, the paper notes with regard to the “formation of a European political authority”:
“These ambitions were also shared by the ‘Founding Fathers’ of European construction. There is indeed a close convergence of views between the Holy See and these politicians who, for the most part, are Christian domocrats, including devout Catholics such as Robert Schuman – who is currently being beatified…”
“Obtained in a less passionate but nevertheless far-reaching manner, an article of the Constitutional Treaty, later used in the Treaty of Lisbon, formalizes an ‘open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations’, as well as between these organisations and non-confessional organisations.* This dialogue, marked by an annual top-level meeting and rolled out at different levels, reprises a practice used by Jacques Delors when he was President of the European Commission. This tradition was already acknowledged in a declaration appended to the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997). It aims to ‘give Europe a soul’…” (* Article 17 paragraph 3 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, 2009.)
The conclusion of the paper comments on the prospects for a changing relationship between Europe and the Vatican under the new non-European pope and states:
“Attached to combining faith and reason, [the Vatican] intends to counter selfish, community or nationalistic isolation, heated attitudes which are potentially harmful to European integration. ‘Let us be bridge builders’, said the nuncio to the EU…on 13 November 2014. The Church’s social doctrine can also contribute to strengthening the principals of solidarity and subsidiarity, which the European project is founded upon.”
“The Holy See remains deeply in favour of the project for a united Europe deemed inseparable from the common good… Rome’s outlook with regard to Europe will only be appeased once it is completely assured that the work in progress is not conducted to the detriment of Christianity [i.e. Catholicism – DB] in its traditional breeding ground but that it contains, on the contrary, the seeds of something powerful.”
Therefore, Europe must be viewed in its “Christian” context – both Roman and Byzantine. The longer Britain chooses to remain under the influence of these “unclean spirits” (Rev. 16:13-14) the more painful and difficult her eventual exit will be.
Whether David Cameron will be able to negotiate a better deal with Europe before the referendum and whether or not Brexit will be successful at this time we are not able to predict; however, what we do know is that events are moving in a direction in line with what Christadelphians have expected for many years. The destiny God has laid out for Britain in the Scriptures leads us to conclude that Britain’s exit from a Catholic dominated Europe at some point before Russia’s invasion of Israel is inevitable!
One prophecy, already alluded to, that is relevant to this subject is Daniel 2:41-44,
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
So then, we are to look for a kingdom which proceeded from the Roman legs, and is divided or mixed. Note that although it is comprised of a mixture of iron and clay it is still referred to as a “kingdom” singular. Furthermore, it is to last until the Kingdom of God is established “in the days of these kings”. Therefore, we see a kingdom comprised of a federation of nations (kings) held together by the strength of the Roman iron mixed in with clay. This is exactly what we see in the united toe nations of democratic Europe today. A similar picture is described in Revelation 17 where we see a ten horned scarlet coloured beast ridden by Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots who sits on the seven hills of Rome.
In 1848 a Christadelphian writer, John Thomas, in his book Elpis Israel commented on Britain in relation to the European toe-kingdom of Daniel 2:42,43:
“That it [i.e. Russia] will over-run all the ten kingdoms, subdue Turkey, and incorporate Persia [i.e. Iran] into its empire; but that when it has reached its zenith, it will in turn be precipitated into the abyss… When I come to unfold these things, the reader will see why Britain is not included in the ten toes. She is reserved of God to antagonize Russia… The ten toes belong to the image as a united dominion; hence Britain cannot be included among them unless it is first conquered by the overshadowing power, which it will not be, as is clearly demonstrable from many parts of the divine testimony.” (Pages 337-338, Logos edition).
In 1981, after Britain’s entrance into the European Economic Community, another Christadelphian writer, Graham Pearce, indicated that prophecy demonstrated that this was not to be Britain’s future position:
“So though we do not know how it will happen, Britain will separate from Europe. The time will come when the European system will be bound together as the Fourth Beast of Daniel, to be destroyed by the saints, and its body given to the burning flame (Daniel 7); or in terms of the Revelation, the Beast and the False Prophet “were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20). On the other hand Britain, and probably later America, will receive enlightenment, respond to it, and carry on their sea-going spirit, bringing Israel’s son’s back to their land.” Milestones 1981, pages 18-19.
In 1990, two years before the Maastricht Treaty was ratified, the current editor of the Bible Magazine stated he believed that:
“Bible prophecy requires Britain’s ultimate separation from Catholic Europe. On that basis, he has no hesitation in saying that Britain’s eventual exit from Europe is a certainty. As to questions concerning how it will happen, and when, we do not know because it has not been revealed in Scripture. But when it does happen it will be yet another sign verifying the remarkable dependability of those prophecies revealed in the Bible.” Guardians of Israel & Arabia, page 24.
We can have this confidence as these conclusions are based on the sure word of prophecy. It is exciting to see these events happening, things that have been anticipated for so long. We believe it will not be long before the angels bring them to their expected climax. While there is opportunity we should also consider what Almighty God expects us to do with this understanding of events that He has laid down in His word? Surely He expects us to give warning and to share these things? The exhortation of Revelation 18:4, although primarily applicable to Israel, is most certainly appropriate to these times: “Come forth, my people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” It is our prayer that the people of Britain will make this choice while there is the opportunity.
Thanks for joining us, and come back again next week to bibleinthenews.com because we can be sure, that the Bible will again be in the News!