The UK election has happened. The Conservative Party has got in with a majority vote and David Cameron is back as UK Prime Minister - but where does this leave the UK? This week we take a look at this election result through the lens of Bible prophecy and note the signs of the soon return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
God is in control of human affairs
The Bible has much to say about human rulership of the earth. In this there is a very important principle to consider, and that is that God is in control.
We read in Daniel: "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17).
This principle is picked up in Romans 13 where we read:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (or set up) of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2
So the political powers of men are in fact controlled by God. He sets them up, unbeknown to man. He allows them a certain level of temporal power to rule. For this reason all God fearing men and women should be "subject to principalities and powers” (Titus 3:1), or as we read in Peter "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake:” (1 Peter 2:13). Should these powers ask us to do something which is not in accordance with God’s principles though, as God is the higher authority in such matters, we would choose to follow Him after the examples of the apostles. In Acts 4:19, after being asked to act contrary to God’s ways, Peter and John say "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye".
So we believe God has been in control of this recent election in the UK and this must not be lost sight of.
Who gets your vote?
The other wider question here is on whom do we, as individuals, trust to solve societies problems. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” says Psalms 146:3-4. In our humanist, postmodern and democratic age we should be very weary of men who have excluded God from their minds. Having no confidence in man we must put our confidence in God. As the proverb says: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As “God”, or indeed a representative of God, is not on the election ballot, how could we vote for a man? If we knew which man God wished to put into power then this would be a different matter - but we do not. If we were to cast our vote, how would we know if we were, in fact, voting against God’s will? The whole human system is set up in a way a Bible believer must ultimately utterly reject. It is the way of the human herd, unmotivated by Gods word. We must be very careful not to be entangled with the “affairs of this life” but rather choose to be "strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13), looking for the coming Kingdom of the age to come.
The nations in the "Latter Days"
However there is more of the Bible in this weeks election news which we want to briefly consider. In Ezekiel chapter 38 we have a prophecy about "the latter days" (see verses 8 and 16). We are told when this time period is within the chapter itself in verses 8 and 12 - a time period when Gods people of Israel have returned to their land after a long period of being scattered. So this chapter then is very relevant to us living today seeing that the Jews have, in only recent times, returned to their homeland. Israel as a state has only existed from 1948.
The prophecy deals with two power blocks of nations. The first power block is a confederacy of nations led by a character called "Gog" who is from the territory of "Magog" and is the leader of the territories of "Rosh, Mesech and Tubal" (see v2 and v3). Allied with him is "Persia", "Ethiopia", "Libya", "Gomer" and "Togarmah". These are all ancient territories which correspond to modern day Russia, Europe, Northern Africa and Iran. The prophecy speaks of how this confederacy comes down from the north and attacks Israel. We often consider on Bible in the news how this northern power block is forming as the prophecy dictates it must.
The second 'power block' of nations is described in verse 13 and is depicted as challenging “Gog" and his allies:
"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?"
The ancient territories of Sheba and Dedan correspond with the modern day Arab states of the Gulf.
Allied with Sheba and Dedan is a trading, merchant, power called "Tarshish". Tarshish, it seems, has a base in the area of Israel and together with Sheba and Dedan they challenge the invading force of Gog asking "Art thou come to take a spoil"?
So which nation, which is alive and well in the latter days, does “Tarshish” correspond to?
When we look at our Bibles we find that Tarshish has the following characteristics:
• It is a trading maritime power: Isaiah 2:16, 23:1 Ezekiel 27:25
• It is a island or coastal power: Isaiah 60:9, 66:19, Genesis 10:4-5
• It is located to the far west of Israel: Jonah 1:3
• It is allied with Southern gulf states: Ezekiel 38:13, Psalm 72:10
• It will have descended from Japheth: Genesis 10:4
• It is a natural source of silver, iron, tin and lead: Ezekiel 27:12
• It trades in global markets: Ezekiel 27:25
• It has strong ties with Israel: Isaiah 60:9, Ezekiel 38:13
When the Tarshish clues are all pooled together we find that no other modern nation better qualifies than Great Britain. No other nation or area has all of the qualifying characteristics.
There is much archeological and historical evidence also available to conclude that Britain is indeed a place with which the ancients traded in Bible times through the Phoenician trade routes of old. Therefore when we read of Tarshish in our Bibles it is most likely speaking of the island of Great Britain.
The role of Britain
Why this is interesting is, of course, because here in Ezekiel 38 we have set out for us the role of Britain in the time period after the Jews have returned to their land. The key point is that Britain is not allied with the European powers of Gog. It is on it’s own, trading with the Gulf states.
On the 8th of March, a few weeks ago, the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker set out his plans to bolster the idea of having a European army. The Guardian reported on this in an article entitled "Jean-Claude Juncker calls for EU army”. The article continued: "The European Union needs its own army to help address the problem that it is not “taken entirely seriously” as an international force, the president of the European commission has said… However, his proposal was immediately rejected by the British government, which said that there was “no prospect” of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army.”
This is exactly what we would expect from Bible prophecy. Britain cannot be part of a EU army. The prophet Ezekiel, through God’s power has proclaimed this hundreds of year ago! What will Britain be doing? It will be trading with it’s allies in the Gulf. The article went on to say: "Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative MEP and a party spokesman on defence and security, said: “This relentless drive towards a European army must stop. For Eurocrats every crisis is seen as an opportunity to further the EU’s centralising objectives. “However the EU’s defence ambitions are detrimental to our national interest, to Nato, and to the close alliances that Britain has with many countries outside the EU – not least the United States, Gulf allies, and many Commonwealth countries.” (see here for full article)
These statements clearly show the role of Britain being prepared to detach itself from the EU project - to allow it some independence as Bible prophecy predicts.
Britain to have EU referendum
The hand of God therefore has indeed been at work. In recent times we have seen the rise of UKIP, the UK Independence Party. It’s charismatic leader, Nigel Farage has helped to set the agenda to get the EU discussed at all levels of society. Despite only winning one seat in parliament, with nearly 4 million votes, UKIP is now the third largest party in British politics in terms of vote share. In many constituencies they are now the opposition coming second in at least 110 seats. 12% of people in Britain voted UKIP, however due to the localised voting system this has not translated into seats. Having failed to win a seat in Parliament Nigel Farage has resigned as leader - his job that God had used him for might be done.
In past years the Conservatives have felt the pressure of UKIP & their popular call to leave the EU. This had caused them to promise an “in out referendum” of the EU by the end of 2017. It is interesting that in their manifesto they say "we want an end to our commitment to an ‘ever closer union,’ as enshrined in the Treaty to which every EU country has to sign up. Furthermore, we will continue to ensure that defence policy remains firmly under British national control, maintaining NATO and the transatlantic relationship as the cornerstones of our defence and security policy”.
The Conservatives have won the election with an outright majority. This means that, if they stick to their promise, there will be an in out referendum by the end of 2017. We will watch with interest then, these pledges that they have made about the EU to the British people. We watch as the nations form in accordance with Bible prophecy, heralding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to establish God’s Kingdom.
The coming Kingdom
It is this coming Kingdom which will sort out mans problems. For all true Bible believers, it is this Kingdom which is the sole hope and desire. To witness the glorification of God and the manifestation of His glory through the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah, through inspiration of God’s power speaks about this time. We read in Isaiah 2:2-3
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem".
This has been Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News, tune in next week God willing for more insight into current events in relation to the Bible.