With the Withdrawal Agreement, still less than two years old, relations between the newly independent Britain and the EU are already showing signs of strain. As Bible believers, we expect from prophecy that the UK and EU will not have close relations at the time of the end.
Back in 2019 when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in the UK, he went to Brussels to rearrange the so-called “Backstop” protocol which his predecessor, Theresa May, had failed to get Parliament to agree to. What he came back with was in some ways worse than what had been arranged previously, particularly in the context of Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom. The new arrangement meant that trade within the United Kingdom would be subject to checks - and outright bans in some places such as chilled meats.
As of today, Britain has not put such checks in place, by unilaterally extending the grace period, putting off the evil day. The withdrawal agreement does not give the UK the right to extend the grace period without the EU agreeing to it, causing fury in Brussels, and dubbed by the media “the sausage wars”.
Continually extending the grace period is not a realistic long-term solution, and for the EU to back down on this would be politically difficult. Equally if the UK was to accept these trade barriers within it’s own borders, the outcry from Unionists in Northern Ireland and from members of the Conservative Party would be difficult to ignore.
In a few weeks negotiations will recommence between the EU and UK to try to find a solution. The UK is demanding major concessions and threatening to trigger Article 16 and use it to suspend the protocol that requires the trade rules to be put in place. The EU argues that the conditions for Article 16 are not met, and threaten to pursue legal action if the UK chooses to trigger it.
The UK government are rumoured to be demanding the European Court of Justice is replaced by an independent body for dispute resolution – something Brussels will be very hesitant to allow. The Irish Foreign Minister said that this was the creation of a new red line, something the EU could not move on from. In a tweet he said the real question was “does UKG actually want an agreed way forward or a further breakdown in relations?”
So what does this all mean, and how does it relate to Bible prophecy? Well, what we see is coming is a big dispute, perhaps even a court battle between the UK and the EU.
In Ezekiel 38:13 we read of Britain as the merchants of Tarshish accusing the European nations (among others) of making war to take a spoil, prey, and to get silver and gold.
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?”
This is not the language of nations with close relations, it signifies that there will be poor relations between Britain and these nations at the time leading up to Christ’s return.
For many years this was almost impossible to imagine, particularly while Britain was a member of the EU. Even after the 2016 referendum forced Britain’s departure from the Union, Theresa May, and all of Britain’s leaders called for a close and friendly partnership between the UK and EU – however according to Bible prophecy this was never to be.
In Ezekiel 38 the Tarshish power is only able to comment on what is happening, it is seen of have no influence over the actions of the continental powers, but is on the side-lines with its young lions. Only last month we saw Australia, the US and the UK together sign the so called “Aukus” agreement, tying the young lion nations together militarily – just as we’d expect from Bible prophecy.
So as we see the relations between the nations coming together, to the point we expect to see before Christ’s return, let us prepare ourselves for our calling which surely must be near.