This week the UK media has been full of Prime Minister David Cameron’s preliminary revelations on a new negotiated deal he is seeking to make with Europe. During this weeks Bible in the News we again review recent events relating to Britain and Europe in the light of Bible prophecy. This is Matt Davies joining you.
The draft deal released
On Tuesday this week, a draft agreement was released of David Cameron’s proposed reforms. The two key areas of the deal are around fresh EU immigrants claiming benefits as soon as they arrive in the UK and the UK having the right to use a “red card” to block unwanted EU laws.
David Cameron has stated he is "happy to be judged" on his EU reform deal and has publicly stated that he believes it will be enough to satisfy the concerns of the public and allow the UK to remain part of the EU. However the proposed reforms are not fully in place with David Cameron being set to meet key European Union figures over the next few weeks to seek them to back the deal aimed at keeping Britain in the EU. Once this is achieved, if indeed it is, the deal will then be put to the UK public to vote on whether to stay in the EU under the terms of the new deal or to leave it.
However the draft deal has not gone down too well both at home in the UK or among the European leaders.
Not a snowball's chance in Hades
This is how Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party responded in a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on February the 3rd:
"Well it wasn't supposed to be like this was it? Because Mr Cameron's renegotiation began with really big intentions, treaty change, he was going to control the free movement of people, he was going to achieve a fundamental change not just in Britain's relationship with the European Union but reform the EU itself.
And what we got was a letter from Mr Tusk in which there is no treaty change, no powers returned to the United Kingdom and no control over our borders at all. In fact it was hardly worth the wait, it is really rather pathetic.
But there is of course one more chance for the Prime Minister because he goes to the European Summit in a couple of weeks’ time and like Oliver Twist he will parade in front of the other leaders and say please can we have some more concessions. I find it rather humiliating that a British Prime Minister has to do this but I'm certain of one thing; he won't get another thing.
Because just look at the substance of this. We have an emergency brake on migrant benefits, wow. It was supposed to be a total ban on migrant benefits for up to four years so it is hardly an emergency brake, it is more of a hand brake turn. And the Prime Minister is saying we've got a red card, isn't that wonderful? Well what that means is if a majority of parliaments in the European Union can say to Mr Juncker they don't want one of his directives, is that a cause for celebration? I mean if 15 parliaments couldn't stop a piece of law we would be living in a communist dictatorship. And what I've gone through here are the good bits.
The most bizarre thing is that Mr Cameron said that with this deal he would now vote for Britain to join the European Union. Let's have a little think about that.
If the question in June was should we join the EU we'd have to tell the British people you must surrender the control and sovereignty of your parliament and have 75 percent of your laws made somewhere else.
Your supreme court will not be supreme; you will be overruled by a court of Luxembourg made up by people who aren't even judges.
You will have to give up your fishing grounds, including in some places 200 miles of the North Sea. And you must cut your links with the Common Wealth and the wider world because you are no longer fit to negotiate your own global trade deals.
Oh, and by the way for all of this you will be paying 55 million pounds a day as a membership fee.
Would the British people vote for that? Not a snowball's chance in Hades and all we have to do is recognise that while the politicians and the big banks and the big businesses will in this referendum defend their own vested self-interest, it’s people power that will win this referendum and after we've won this referendum I hope that many other countries will in Europe too."
Headline news - The Daily Mail Tuesday 2nd February.
The Daily Mail on Tuesday 2nd of February had the headline “Is that it then Dave?”. Quoting one Euros-sceptic the article stated “What the government is asking for from the EU is trivial - these proposals will not take back control from the EU. These gimmicks have been ignored by the EU before and will be ignored again as they will not be in the EU treaty". Online the Mail reported on Feb 4th that "Furious Tory MPs claim 'the thin gruel has been further watered down' as they blast the Prime Minister's draft deal with Brussels.” There certainly has been a lot of negative press about the new deal. In some parts of the UK it really has gone down like a lead ballon.
Not just in the UK though - it seems that when the draft treaty was revealed to the European Leaders themselves they were not that happy with it’s contents. The BBC reported on February the 4th that "None of David Cameron's fellow EU leaders are happy with his reform proposals as they stand, an EU source has told the BBC.” See full article.
The Telegraph ran an article on Friday 5th February entitled "'If the Brits want to leave, let them leave,' say EU leaders”. The article went on to state: "European Parliament president Martin Schulz says in London today: 'Many of my colleagues say behind closed doors: 'Don't stop a rolling stone. If the Brits want to leave, let them leave’"
"Ever close union" not for the UK
One thing which is very interesting is that whatever happens after the referendum it seems the UK is not going to form part of a close union with the EU in the future. The BBC reported on February the 4th in an article entitled "Cameron's EU changes: Will they work in practice?” the following:
"David Cameron secured a clear legal statement that the UK was not committed to further political integration and that the phrase "ever closer union" cannot be used to integrate the EU further. But it is not yet clear when or how this will be incorporated into the EU treaties…” Later in the article the following was stated: "Mr Cameron revealed on Wednesday that he is planning to announce a measure that will put the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament "beyond doubt”.”
We therefore watch and see how things might unfold in the coming weeks but one thing is for sure, Britain’s relationship with Europe is set to change. Britain is distancing itself from Europe exactly as we would expect from Bible prophecy.
Britain in Bible Prophecy
The subject of Britain in the Bible is not immediately evident. It is our belief though that the British power is referred to in scripture under it’s ancient name of Tarshish.
If someone were to study the characteristics of the Biblical Tarshish, then the following conclusions would be made about it’s characteristics and identity:
1. Its people are descended from Japheth & is an island or coastal power.
2. It was well known as a maritime power.
2 Chron 9:21 Psalm 48:7 Isaiah 2:16, 23:1, 60:9, Ezekiel 27:25
3. In ancient times, especially around 900-600BC it traded in global markets and particularly traded with India.
2 Chron 9:20-21
4. It is located to the far west of Israel.
5. At the time of Ezekiel (600BC) it was a source of silver, iron, tin and lead & traded with the ancient Phoenicians of Tyre.
6. After the Phoenician city of Tyre was destroyed (around 300BC) Tarshish was to replace Tyre as the worlds trading power.
7. It is a colonial power, having political offspring.
8. During the "latter days" (the time when the Jews had returned to their land post 1948) it would be a trading power operating in the region of Sheba & Dedan (the Gulf).
We would suggest that the only power to fit these characteristics is the British power. No other power fits the Tarshish clues.
Tarshish in the latter days
Why it is important to identify Tarshish is that it is a power which appears in many latter day prophecies. As mentioned in the final clue it is a power that is present on the world stage when the Lord Jesus returns (for example see Isa 60:9). It is a power that appears in the grand events of Ezekiel 38 which is a prophecy of the state of the nations leading up to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 we read of European powers, labelled using their ancient names of Magog and Gomer. These European powers are confederate along with the Russian territories of Meshech and Tubal, the African territories of Libya and Ethiopia and the far eastern territory of Iran or Persia. These confederate forces are described as an invading army who attack the "mountains of Israel" in "the latter days" and are headed up by a mysterious character called "Gog" v1.
This force is challenged by Sheba and Dedan (the territories of the modern Gulf states) and the merchants of Tarshish as we read in verse 13 of Ezekiel 38.
It is during this attack on Israel that God acts on behalf of His people Israel in verses 18 and 19. When this prophecy is aligned with other companion prophecies such as those in Zechariah 12 and 14, Joel 3 and Revelation 16 the Bible reader will realise that this prophecy is nothing more but an account of when Jesus Christ will reveal himself to the world. He will save God’s people Israel from this invasion and after this re-establish God’s Kingdom on the Earth.
What is fascinating though in regards to Tarshish is that this prophecy of Ezekiel 38 tells us is that the Tarshish power does not align itself with Europe but rather with the territories of the Gulf. This is why, as believers in the Bible, we expect Britain to be quite separate from Europe in regards to it’s military, trading and political power.
A sign of the times
Leaflets encouraging the UK leave the EU are being circulated throughout the UK.
Therefore everything that is happening in the news at the moment in regards to Britain’s relationship with the EU is a sure sign of the times. The nations are aligning slowly but surely into the picture that God has already painted, long ago, through the pen of His prophets. We know not exactly if and when Britain will leave the EU but one thing is for sure, whatever happens the breaks have been clamped on Britain moving into closer ties with Europe. As the European project screams on towards the "united nations of Europe” and the union it is destined to form with Russia as foretold by the Bible, Britain it seems will not be a part of the binding of these nations in the future. It is set to stand aside and carve it’s own trade policies. This is exactly what we would expect from Bible Prophecy.
We might ask ourselves why it is that God has left on record how the nations might be positioned before his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ returns? We believe the answer is to encourage those who love and study His word. As we see these amazing things come to pass before our eyes we cannot help but be motivated to hold fast to the gospel truth and to strive to overcome the temptations of sin and follow the example of Jesus Christ. That gospel which consists of “the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12). That precious gospel which, says the apostle Paul through inspiration: "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). How we indeed long for the time we have been told to pray for by Jesus himself when he taught us the Lord’s prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” (Luke 11:2). That time is not far away as the great movements in world politics clearly show.
So - as we await the return of the Master we hope you will join us again next week for another Bible in the News.