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Bible Magazine Spring 2017

Triggering Article 50

Bang! The trigger on the firing pistol has been pulled! Officially, Brexit is now underway! With the Royal assent having been given to The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on the 16th of March, following parliament’s approval the day before, the way was open for a letter to be passed to Brussels. It gave formal notice that Britain wished to trigger the provisions of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, that allows a member of the EU to leave that organisation. The letter is due to be handed over tomorrow, Wednesday the 29th March!

Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels, is to personally hand over a letter from the British government to the European Council president, Donald Tusk, to provide notification of Britain’s intention to leave the European Union.

Once the letter is received by the European Council, the clock will begin ticking on two years of talks regarding the terms of withdrawal allowed under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The Guardian 27-Mar-17

For Bible students, this is a thrilling time. We do not get involved in politics, as we leave the affairs of men in God’s Hands. He brings to power and prominence, men and women who will move His Purpose forward. Evil men like Hitler played their part in bringing about the establishment of State of Israel. Men like Donald Trump are raised up because of their natural way of thinking can be harnessed by the angels as they work tirelessly behind the scenes ensuring that the many pieces of the political jigsaw that need to be in the right place at the right time, are in place. It is far beyond our comprehension, but in faith we have seen in the pages of God’s Word that this is indeed the case. It is faith-enhancing to see things which we as a community have long anticipated, taking place before our eyes!

As my father wrote over 35 years ago:

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). Milestones 1981

He didn’t live to see that day, but we are privileged to see and wonder at the tortuous pathway, that under angelic control, has brought us to the start of this process. Who would have believed that there would be such divisions in Europe? And leaders who are prepared to stand up and declare their support for Israel. Leaders whom we would associate with the Merchants of Tarshish and her young lions!

Israel’s confidence to be shattered

Again, we must stress, that although we marvel at the prowess of Israel in defending herself against her enemies and growing her economy by trade around the world, yet this is not being done as a godly nation. They are far from God and will be, until their Messiah returns to his nation and opens their eyes to the hand of God in their affairs. The coming troubles bring them to humility, when they will cry out to their God to save them in their hour of need. As Daniel describes it:

… there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Dan. 12:1

A time will come when surrounded by overwhelming numbers of enemies, their sophisticated weaponry will prove to be of no use. Even their friends will be powerless to save them as they are over-run for one last time and scattered before their foes. But all will be in the control of God. Michael, one of the chief princes (Dan 10:13) among the angelic hosts has been overseeing matters. Together with Israel’s chief prince, the Lord Jesus, an even greater Michael (“Who is like God”—el = strength), there will be an innumerable multitude of immortal beings ready to come to Israel’s aid. We can see in general terms the preparation for the gathering of the nations against Israel.

Legs, Feet and Toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s Image

It needs the recreation of two legs to which feet and toes can be attached – using the language of Daniel ch 2 and the Image that was revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar. We see Roman legs reappearing on the world stage. As the Western nations celebrated the 60th birthday of the founding of what would be the EU, by visiting the Pope and updating their charter in the same room in Rome where the original documents were signed. Notably absent was the British Prime Minster, Theresa May, who was about to officially hand in Britain’s notice. Scripture guides us that Britain’s role is to be independent of that Western Roman leg; she has her own part to play which can only be achieved by her turning back to being the world merchant power that she formally was.

And what of the Eastern Roman foot? We see in a revitalised Russia’s growth as a military power, with the Russian Orthodox Church at her heart, the successor of the Eastern Roman Empire which was centred in Constantinople. It is no surprise to Bible students to see Russia seeking to retake her roots, to take control of Turkey and re-instate Christianity in this Moslem country. She desires to “avenge the calamity of the fall of Constantinople in 1453”. According to President Erdoğan’s spokesman, İbrahim Kalın, in a speech given 14-Jan-17, “Westerners never forgave Turks for conquest of Istanbul.”

… you can see many issues extending throughout the long history of Islam-West relations. The conquest of İstanbul is one of the issues that left deep traces, especially in the minds of Medieval and modern-age European philosophers. In this respect, the conquest of İstanbul was an unexpected incident for Europeans and the Byzantines. And they did not get over the shock of the conquest for years. Indeed, Westerners have never forgiven the Turks for the conquest of Byzantium.Turkishminute 14-Jan-17

Certainly, we have seen in recent weeks the rebuffal of Turkey by Catholic Europe, but Russia feels Constantinople’s loss more than Europe, and it has long been the dream of the Russian Tsars to reclaim the source of their Orthodox religion, Constantinople. As a blogger that goes under the name of O Mouggos who reports on things Turkish and religious matters and who commented on the above speech, wrote: 22-Jan-17

Russia saw itself as the cultural, political and religious successor of the Byzantine Empire. … many devout Russian Orthodox believers, in addition to the other Orthodox around the world, who would be very joyous to see Istanbul return to the control of Christendom. I suspect such people have not forgiven the Turks for what they did in 1453.

So, we have many things we could potentially look at. Brexit and Britain’s new role in the world; the reshaping of the EU; Russia surrounding Europe and especially Turkey with military bases; and the coming together of the Southern Arab nations with Israel, Britain and the other “young lions”.

Britain’s enslavement

The Roman conquest of Britain began around AD40 and by the end of the first century most of Britian had come under Rome’s control. Eventually, Rome’s troubles necessitated the withdrawal of Roman troops from the shores of Britain to cope with the troubles from the Germanic barbarian tribes on her northern borders, freeing Britain to plot her own course in the world. By the early 5th century, Britain’s subjugation to Rome had come to an end.

In recent times, following Britain’s decline and economic exhaustion in fighting two World Wars, Britain cast off her links with the Commonwealth and cast in her lot with the Europe, joining the EEC, as the EU was then known as, in 1973. Two earlier attempts to join had been rebuffed by General Charles de Gaulle, who said at the time of the first attempt in 1963:

‘England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.’

And, as Charles Moore, writing in the Spectator 30-Apr-16, pithily commented:

“The General understood what the European project was, and why Britain was not a natural part of it. More than 50 years on, is there much to add?”

Again, it was de Gaulle who said “NON” in 1967. How right he was. He knew that Britain’s interest was trade whereas the EEC aim was political union. And so it has proved. What is so cheering is that this new-born spirit of re-capturing her position as a world-wide merchant power has come to the fore at this time with the support of her leaders. She is looking to a time when the myriad of EU regulations can be abolished which are such a drag on her economy. According to The Express 26-Mar-17, British taxpayers have contributed £500bn to Brussels during her EU membership. In fairness, it is not a one-way flow, as a member Britain receives public service grants and a rebate—thanks to Margaret Thatcher— but even after taking these into account it is estimated that some £184,535 million has been Britain’s contribution, so far. There is much talk of Britain being presented with a £50bn leaving bill! So, Britain’s “divorce” from the EU promises to be messy, expensive and acrimonious. Having had a reasonably good economic year in 2016, the government has already put £60bn aside as an emergency fund to cover the “anticipated hurdles of Brexit”.

What happens now?

Much to Mrs May’s disappointment, the EU has refused to give an indication of what their likely negotiation tactics are going to be, insisting that nothing happens until the letter of intent to withdraw has been received. Even then it is not thought that they will formally meet to discuss their negotiating position for a couple of months. So, God Willing we have to await our next update when perhaps things will be clearer. The mood is to punish Britain and to deter any other countries (of which there are many), who might wish to follow Britain out of the EU.

The negotiations last for 2 years, according to the Lisbon Treaty, but as this is the first time in recent times that a country has asked to leave, it is all unknown territory. What Britain is hoping for is cooperation from her fellow members and a pathway which would allow her to continue to trade on advantageous terms with the EU without being under its control. It would involve British exports to continue to comply with EU regulations. Britain is hoping that because she imports considerably more from the EU than she exports there, that the EU will see the advantage of not penalising her. If the EU seeks to impose stiff tariffs on Britain, then the UK is likely to impose similar tariffs on the EU and their exports would suffer. It will be a matter of ideology, “how dare you wish to leave us”, moderated by practicality, “our economy is in a bad way, we don’t want to make it worse”.

Britain’s leaving will have a considerable impact on the EU budget; without Britain’s contributions—she is the EU’s second largest contributor (2nd to Germany). Where will they find the money to fill the financial hole? Only by making cut-backs on expenditure and remember this is the organisation whose accountancy is so poor, they have not been able to audit their accounts for years!

The other 27 members plan to meet in April and agree to a course of action which will then be put to the European Commission to prepare more detailed guidelines, which in turn would have to be agreed by the 27 members possibly in May. Only after the necessary mandate has been given, can negotiations commence. The aim is to arrive at a framework agreement by October 2018, in order to leave time for the ratification of any subsequent agreements by the European and national parliaments before the 2 years expires.

The problem Britain faces is that without an agreement, the electronic system that is now in force to ensure relatively trouble free access for all the goods crossing into Europe, would cease. Goods would be subject to border controls as in the past with their lengthy delays, as faced now by non-member countries.

In parallel with looking at how to separate off Britain, will run talks on putting into place future relationships. The whole arena is potentially a huge mine field. Mrs May has decided that the whole of the EU regulations will be absorbed into British Law temporarily while they sort out which of the 19,000 EU legislative acts they want to get rid of. This process is known as the Great Repeal Bill.

The Great Repeal Bill

This is due to be passed on 30-Mar-17.

Prime Minister Theresa May will launch her Great Repeal Bill later this week as Britain begins the process of quitting the EU.

But what is this legislation, and what will it mean? Open Europe policy director Stephen Booth has the answers.

What is the Great Repeal Bill expected to do?

It should really be titled the “Great Repatriation Bill”. In the first instance, the government is committed to using the Great Repeal Bill to give effect in UK law to all the EU rules and regulations that apply at the time of Brexit. At the same time, it will end the supremacy of EU law so that parliament will have the power to amend and repeal this legislation in the future, once Britain formally leaves the EU.

What are the advantages of this approach?

It helps to create certainty for business over the short-term because the existing rules are not going to change suddenly. Secondly, by incorporating EU laws into UK law, the government is making a strong argument to Brussels negotiators that the trade that relies on these rules should be able to continue. In areas, such as financial services, where market access could rely on whether the EU deems UK rules as “equivalent” to its own, this approach should help smooth the path to an agreement.

What is the timetable for this process?

Ultimately, the process has to be completed before Brexit. But the sooner the better, since this will give greater legal certainty to business and send an important signal as part of the UK-EU negotiations. Cityam 28-Mar-17

The 60th birthday of the EU

Saturday March 25 marked the 60th birthday of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which has now grown from six members to 28. The events of this day reinforce just how “Roman” the EU really is and although the final shape of the Western Roman leg may be quite different from the shape of the present EU, we can see now that its roots will be firmly in Rome.

The heads of 27 of the member states met to celebrate the occasion. Mrs. May chose not to attend. They met in the same room where the six founding fathers had assembled 60 years ago, to sign the Treaty of Rome. David Willey, the BBC Vatican correspondent, then a junior trainee reporter for Reuters, recalls the event “at Michelangelo’s great architectural masterpiece Palazzo dei Conservatori on Rome’s Capitoline hill”.

They were there to put their signatures to what was to become known as the Treaty of Rome. The document promised what they hoped would be “an ever-closer union”.

The symbolism was almost overpowering.

They were gathered at the very hub of the ancient world where, 2,500 years ago, six centuries before Christ, the foundations were laid of Rome’s first major temple, dedicated to Jupiter, king of the gods.

The fathers of the new Europe were overlooked by two enormous statues of 16th Century popes raised on plinths at either end, one in bronze, the other in marble. The colourful frescoes depict tales of the legendary heroes and founders of ancient Rome.

The English media had shown little interest in the story and that was the reason why I was sent along.

I recently checked the report in the following day’s Times. It got only a third of a column on page eight. “Historic Date” was the brief headline.

The Vatican newspaper of record L’Osservatore Romano was much more upbeat. It lyrically described the event as “the most illustrious and significant international political event in the modern history of Rome”.

Most of Europe’s leaders in the mid-50s were Catholics, so the following day the ministers all trooped off for a private audience across the river Tiber with Pope Pius XII, the wartime Pope still reigning at the Vatican. His strong attachment to Germany had been honed by long years spent as nuncio, or papal ambassador, in Berlin.

What we did not know on that day was that only the first and last pages of the Rome Treaty had actually reached the signatories. The bulky documents on the trestle tables were mostly composed of blank pages.

There had been a last-minute mix-up in sending the final text from the chateau in the Brussels suburbs where ministers had been closeted for months arguing and haggling endlessly about such arcane matters as the shape of bananas to be sold in West Germany. BBC News 25-Mar-17

Sixty years on the atmosphere was somber. They were attending a birthday party without one of the main guests. Brexit the following week going to become more than an academic matter. This cartoon in the 25-Mar-17 issue of The Economist, neatly summed up the mood. The Daily Telegraph 25-Mar-17 also observed:

On free movement and benefits, on competition policy, on how to heal the shortfall in the EU budget after Britain leaves and the future shape of the European Union, they are deeply divided.

You only need to look at the preparations for this weekend’s “Unity” summit to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – or the fiasco of the Bratislava summit last year – for live illustrations of the difficulties.

“If the EU 27 wishes to remain united, it will have to make compromises internally that will be to the UK’s benefit”

The Poles and Hungarians are seething about political heavy-handedness in Brussels, the Greeks are chafing about German-imposed austerity, the Italians want more help on immigration, the Germans want to avoid paying for everyone else, the rich northern states are no longer unequivocal supporters of Free Movement and the some in the core EU still cling to dreams of a united Europe that are rejected by half the continent.

If the UK side is clever, these divisions are waiting to be exploited as a deal takes shape that will affect the interests of all member states differently – if the EU 27 wishes to remain united, it will have to make compromises internally that will be to the UK’s benefit.

The article also revealed the deep skepticism among the other members that Britain will benefit from leaving the nest.

On the wall of the Brexit war room at the European Council in Brussels hangs a mocked-up Tintin book cover, entitled “Tintin and the Brexit Plan”.

It shows the Belgian cub-reporter seated in the stern of a lifeboat while Captain Haddock sits in the bow warming his hands on a fire.

It is an image that sums up a view commonly held among the upper echelons of the EU’s diplomatic corps: that Brexit is an act of suicidal self-harm and when the Good Ship UK starts to sink during the Article 50 negotiations, its occupants (urged on by a chastened British electorate) will beg to be rescued before it is too late.

No doubt Article 50 gives the EU control of the process, but this view of Britain’s position in the coming talks as supplicant in the face of an implacable EU adversary overlooks the potential for serious complications on the other side of the table. Daily Telegraph 25-Mar-17

Europe’s leaders paint a lacklustre picture of harmony

The 27 assembled party goers put their signatures to a new document entitled “The Rome Declaration”, that expressed their position 60 years on and where Europe should be aiming.

And squabbles have indeed been on display as Europe tried to agree on a 1,000-word text that represents the common denominator of EU ambition.

The leaders proclaimed a Union that was “undivided and indivisible”, but all the calls for unity belied the reality that on most of the fundamental issues – on immigration and the euro, on budgets and bailouts and indeed on the pace of future union itself – there is precious little agreement.

After a decade of austerity and upheaval in the Middle East, Europe finds itself gripped by a resurgence of nationalism and divided from east to west, from north to south in a manner that has forced Brussels to confront the limits of its ability to over-write the desires of the nation state.

The frescoes of feuding Roman families in Michelangelo’s magnificent Palazzo dei Conservatori on Rome’s Capitoline Hill therefore provided the perfect setting for the signing of a bloodless document that was made grey with the language of diplomacy and lacked a bold vision for the future.

Gone was talk of “ever-closer union”, and in its place a tortuously constructed promise to work at “different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction, as we have done in the past”. A sentence that makes one dizzy just reading it.

As a host of global challenges bring national identity back into focus, it is apparent that the disquiet with the EU is not a public relations problem, as many in Brussels seem to believe, but something much more fundamental. To restore public confidence, Europe needs to give up on some of its grander designs, return more power to nation states, accept national differences and focus on collaboration between capitals on issues such as trade, climate change, immigration, data-flows and border security where there is a clear mutual interest. Sunday Telegraph 26-Mar-17

The Rome Declaration

The UK MP, John Redwood, summed up the wording that they had agreed on.

Now we know what the EU wants without the UK. The Rome Declaration signed last weekend sets out the full scheme for the Union. It is as Eurosceptics described. It is certainly not the minimalist EU based around a single market of Mr. Blair and Mr. Brown’s imagining.

As the Declaration says, “We have built a unique Union with common institutions and strong values…. Unity is both a necessity and our free choice…. Our Union is undivided and indivisible.”  “We will make the European Union stronger and more resilient through ever greater unity and solidarity amongst us and the respect of common rules”

The document sets out four large areas where the Union is manifest and will now be strengthened.  The first is freedom of movement of people, combined with promises of new border arrangements and an EU wide policy towards external migrants. The second is the single currency which will be “stable and further strengthened”. There is no mention of countries opting out.  The third is a social Europe, with EU wide benefit and social policies. The fourth is “a stronger Europe in the global scene” “committed to strengthening its common security and defence” with a common defence supply industry.

This upbeat and centralising document looks forward to further increases in Union powers. It does acknowledge that “The EU is facing unprecedented challenges both global and domestic: regional conflicts, terrorism, growing migratory pressures, protectionism and social and economic inequalities”. All this points them in the direction of doing more in the Brussels to counter these unwelcome trends.

So there we have it. It was the creation of a large new state after all.  John Redwood Diary 26-Mar-17

We will now turn to Britain and her post-Brexit plans.

United States could become an ‘associate member’ of the Commonwealth

This was the quite startling headline in the Daily Telegraph 24-Feb-17. It was tagged exclusive, but it didn’t appear to be confined to this paper! The Commonwealth is bound together by the London-based Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). This Society acts as a forum to promote the Commonwealth. Its patron is Queen Elisabeth II, who has devoted her life to promote the Commonwealth.

It is now the centre of an international network of more than 10,000 members, spread across 100 countries and territories and linked by around 70 self-governing RCS branches and Commonwealth societies in 43 countries and territories. Wikipedia

The news was that the RCS was planning to open a branch in the US, “with a view to one day bringing America into the fold as an “associate member.””

The project, which is said to be backed by the Queen, has come about in part as a result of Donald Trump’s fondness for Britain and the Royal Family.

It comes amid efforts to develop the Commonwealth as a tool for building relationships on everything from foreign policy to trade, following Britain’s exit from the European Union.

“The UK rather left this treasure in the attic, and forgot about it because people were so glued to Brussels,” said Michael Lake, the director of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Opening a branch in the US, Mr Lake said, would further Britain’s ties with America, developing new connections between two countries who already share a common language.

Mr Lake said the plans had been hastened by the “opportunity of a new president, and the slightly dangerous but great fun opportunity that the ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ offered”.

In December, Mr Lake wrote a letter to Mr Trump, which was hand carried by Andrew Wigmore, a close aide to Nigel Farage, and then delivered by the former UKIP leader.

Mr Farage, who has emerged as a key ally of Mr Trump, promoted the idea with senior aides, reportedly presenting the letter to Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist.

He believes the Commonwealth alliance fits well with Mr Trump’s foreign policy outlook.

The Queen is our patron and I see her from time to time, and she makes it clear to me that the Commonwealth is a priority to her,” Mr Lake said.

The US fits all the criteria for being one of the young lions of Ezekiel 38:13. The Pilgrim Fathers emigrated from Britain to form new colonies in America. She speaks the same language (with variations!), largely respects the role of Britain and especially the Queen, and has come many times to the aid of Britain in time of war. Under most US presidents, Britain and America have enjoyed a very special relationship. This was shown with Mrs May being the first leader to visit Donald Trump on becoming president. Mr Trump has been invited to Britain later this year, and he hopes to visit the Queen while she is at Balmoral Castle, her main Scottish home where she spends the summers.

The US gained independence before the rise of the second, predominantly Victorian, phase of the British Empire, much earlier than the other Commonwealth members who were formerly under Britain’s rule. There are now many Commonwealth countries who were not part of the Empire, who see the advantage of being part of this growing market.

The 52 member states in the Commonwealth have a combined population of over 2.4bn people, 1bn of whom are under 25. This represents a huge market and a potential skills pool. At the moment, under EU regulations, job opportunities here are very limited. Visitors from the Commonwealth often face long delays at Passport control as they are non-EU citizens. This is one of the areas being looked at in a post-Brexit era.

Britain’s pro-Israel pivot

It did appear if Britain’s support for Israel was faltering when she supported the UN Resolution 2334 on 23-Dec-16, describing Israel’s settlements illegal and her occupation of Jerusalem likewise illegal. This was followed by Britain’s support in January of a French-hosted Middle East conference which was seen to be forcing a solution upon Israel regarding a settlement with the Palestinians.

But, it has emerged since that Britain’s December vote in the UN Security Council was not an accurate reflection of British policy toward Israel.

Since Resolution 2334, May’s government has made a concerted effort to demonstrate to Israel and the world that it will be adopting a more pro-Israel stance.

The latest example of this change was Britain’s stand against yet another slanted anti-Israel vote by members of the UN.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions critical of Israel. In response, the UK issued the following statement: “We are putting the Human Rights Council on notice. If things do not change, in the future we will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct in the Occupied Syrian and Palestinian Territories.”

Britain was voicing its displeasure with a particularly outrageous resolution, even according to the UN’s notoriously low standards. A 47-member council singled out Israel for human rights abuses in the “occupied Syrian Golan” while ignoring the Assad regime’s slaughter of civilians, including the dropping of barrel bombs and chlorine bombs on city centers and the egregious use of torture.

“Nowhere is the disproportionate focus on Israel starker and more absurd than in the case of today’s resolution on the occupation of Syria’s Golan,” the UK statement read.

“Syria’s regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis. But it is not Syria that is a permanent standing item on the Council’s agenda; it is Israel.

“We cannot accept the perverse message sent out by a Syrian Golan resolution that singles out Israel as Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian people,” it said.

The Brits’ pivot toward Israel might be partly the result of a realization that both countries face similar challenges – while Israel faces Palestinian terrorism, the British are coping with a growing Muslim population that includes many who reject western culture and values and even a small percentage that advocates violence and terrorism. It might also be connected to a perceived change in the US’s relations with Israel under the Trump administration. Jerusalem Post 27-Mar-17

This statement came two days after Britain faced her own terrorist threat when a lone terrorist ploughed a hired car into London holidaymakers before murdering an unarmed policeman guarding the Houses of Parliament. Mr Netanyahu phoned Mrs May to offer his condolences and to thank her for the support for Israel that Britain had shown that day in the UN.

America’s support for Israel

Although Donald Trump hasn’t rushed to implement his promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, plans are being made for this historic move according to the US Vice President, Mike Pence, who said 26-Mar-17 that Mr Trump was still “seriously considering the matter”. Mr Trump’s appointment of David Friedman as the US Ambassador to Israel was warmly welcomed by Israel. He supports Israel’s need for secure borders and doesn’t advocate Israel withdrawing from the West Bank or giving up Jerusalem.

Trump’s appointee as the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has also put the UN on notice that America will no longer give support to UN resolutions against Israel. Speaking at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference she spoke of the new administration’s determination:

“Never again do what we saw with resolution 2334 and make anyone question our support” for Israel, Haley said Monday, where she earned the warmest reception of any speaker with an extended standing ovation.

The Obama administration allowed through the anti-settlements resolutions in December as one of its last acts, triggering bitter recriminations from Israel’s government.

Haley described her determination to help steer the course of the United Nations and its agencies from anti-Israel bias, noting her intervention keeping Salam Fayyad, the former Palestinian prime minister, from becoming the body’s envoy to Libya, and in getting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to withdraw a UN affiliate’s report likening Israel to an apartheid state.

Haley was one of a number of speakers at AIPAC who drew a sharp contrast at the conference between President Donald Trump’s administration and his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“We had just done something that showed the United States at its weakest ever,” she said of the resolution. JTA 27-Mar-17

The Russian eagle swooping around Europe

The West characterises Russia as a bear, and I have used this symbol and bear paw prints to mark Russia’s progress in creating a military ring around Europe and Turkey. The Russian’s themselves use the symbol of the eagle and this links us back to Rome. Russia is the latter-day successor to the Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Empire. When Constantinople fell in 1453, the symbols of the Roman Empire were taken and absorbed into the Russian Empire. The Leaders named themselves Tsars, or Czars —Caesars, and adopted the Roman double headed eagle. We have in the past seen the many bases that Russia has set up to surround Europe in protest at the bases that NATO has set up on Russia’s borders. Since our last update, Russia has been granted 49-year leases with automatic 25-year renewals, free of charge, on the Humaymim Air Base and the Tartus Naval Base. The Tartus base is to be upgraded from a capacity for four ships to eleven.

 

Russian troops appear to have re-occupied an old Soviet base in Egypt, close the Libyan border. It is being used to transfer arms to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar leader of the Libyan National Army. who controls the NE section of Libya. His connections with Russia go back to Soviet days in the 1970’s. According to French sources, he is negotiating a $1.6bn arms deal with Russia, and has recently signed an oil deal with Russia. In return Russia is seeking the use of two of Libya’s ports under his control! Further round the African coast, Russia is seeking approval to use port facilities in Algeria and Morocco. This would complete Russia’s encirclement of Europe; as shown on this map.

There are many more aspects to these moves by Russia, and going in parallel are Russia’s efforts to bring into her orbit many of her former Soviet countries. A step we have been expecting as the two former Roman legs re-form, in preparation for the feet and toes to be attached.

It looks as if 2017 is going to prove to be another remarkable year as far as Bible prophecy is concerned. Seeing all these matters unfolding before our eyes strengthens our conviction that surely the Lord’s return really is close at hand. May this be the year of his coming.

Don Pearce

Words 5822

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