The Economist cover this week says, “Brexit, the mother of all messes”. The Economist's intoduction to the article is, "Solving the crisis will need time—and a second referendum”. A second referendum is what the ‘remain’ side in Britain has been advocating for ever since they lost the first one and it isn’t at all surprising that the Economist would also vouch for this idea. The Economist has much flawed reasoning in their synopsis, but one thing that the publication is right about, is that the British parliament is in a mess. One of the root causes of the chaos, is that the majority of the political elite never wanted Brexit in the first place — including members of parliament and the house of lords. The British people spoke in the referendum, but the politicians didn’t like the answer, they are more oriented toward the European Union. But, there is more to it than this and we find the answer in the Bible.
This week's Economist cover.
The European Union is based on and drawn together by ideology. This would be fairly easy to demonstrate in a number of ways. One is to spend a little time browsing the official Charlemagne Prize website. The website footer summarizes the Charlemagne Prize, "The International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen is the oldest and best-known prize awarded for work done in the service of European unification.” Pretty simple. A prize awarded to those influential people who strive for the unification of Europe. Of course in order to achieve European unity, it means giving up national power and sovereignty to the European central government. This creates a rather bizarre situation, where heads of state could be awarded for signing away the sovereign powers of their state. Last year Emmanuel Macron the French president won the prestigious Charlemagne Prize for offering a “vision of a new Europe”. In 2016 Pope Francis won the award for acting, "as a "voice of conscience" urging Europe to put people and values at the center of its politics.” (That would of course be Catholic values.) In 2008 German Chancellor Angela Merkel won for her work to unite Europe. John Paul II is the only person to be awarded an Extraordinary Charlemagne Prize. He was awarded this prize in 2004 for his work in uniting Europe. The founding fathers of the European Union have won the prize, two of which are on their way to sainthood in the Catholic Church — Schuman and Gasperi. The Union started on an Economic basis, but there was much more to it than this. The founders saw their proposal as a seed from which further political integration of Europe could grow. Working towards granting sainthood on these two politicians confirms the fact that the Catholic Church is at the center of the European idea. The official Charlemagne Prize website has this to say about the foundational document of the award:
"In the Proclamation of Christmas 1949—the prize’s foundational document—Aachen’s border location is interpreted as an obligation to mediate between peoples and to overcome “national narrow-mindedness.” By using the name of Charlemagne, the proclamation also included the idea of the Christian Occident—symbolically looking backward to the Carolingian Empire as inspiration for unity in administration, culture, religion, legislation and writing, while pointing the way toward the future with a model for the task ahead: the economic and political unification of Europe. The proclamation is thus also an artifact of its era, shaped by an anti-communist European image with strong Catholic tendencies.”
The European Union idea is about Catholic values, about unity in administration, culture, religion, legislation and writing. It is seen by its advocates as a way of bringing peace and solidarity to Europe. It seeks to erase national thinking and identity amongst the nations of Europe. It is not about trade and commerce at it’s core. Many of the British people don’t understand this view. When Britain looks at Europe they speak about trade. Britain wants to do trade and have business on continental Europe, meanwhile Europe wants to unite for ideological reasons. For Europe the ideology is of much greater importance than trade and commerce. Here lies the difficulty in the negotiations. Britain leaving the union strikes at the core of the European idea and to the proponents of the EU the European Union ideology must be preserved at all cost. If Britain leaves the union easily and prospers outside, it is extremely detrimental to the whole EU idea. It is therefore essential for the future of the European Union ideology that Britain suffers leaving, even if it means economic pain for Europe. To the EU the ideology is more important and trumps everything. The EU’s very existence is at stake and they will do everything to maintain their power and control. This is how they have approached negotiations: force the UK to pay a massive leave bill; threaten the UK union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; try and stop the UK from leaving and change their minds, and so on. The threat to the integrity of the UK and the possibility of violence in Ireland was brought out starkly today when a Londonderry car bomb caused a dramatic explosion, with a group called the New IRA being suspect. Thankfully no one was reported as wounded.
The UK on the other hand, mostly thinks about trade. They think the EU will negotiate with them in good faith for a trade agreement, because the EU would never want to lose access to the large UK market. This is where they are wrong. The EU first cares about ideology.
This is exactly how the Bible presents these two identities. First we will briefly look at Europe in the latter days as prophesied in the Bible — the symbols of the false prophet and the beast.
The False Prophet and the Beast
The false prophet symbol is introduced at the latter part of the book of Revelation and really only exists during the period of the sixth vial. This symbol is introduced to depict the Catholic Church after she lost her political and secular power through the judgments of the vials. After 1870 the pope lost this secular temporal power and so becomes symbolized by a mere false prophet. Not that the false prophet refrains from medalling in secular and political affairs, far from it, he thrives in these areas.
The beasts in Revelation are symbols of the Roman Empire in it’s various phases. In Daniel chapter 7, Daniel saw only one fourth beast that would make war with the saints and be destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation expands on the fourth Roman beast and presents the phases of the Roman empire; the first pagan Roman Empire under which John was imprisoned on Patmos, the subsequent Christian form of the empire of Constantine, the holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne and finally the confederation of nations of the European Union.
The beast and the false prophet are presented together in two important areas in the book of Revelation. First in Revelation 16 they are associated together in their teaching.
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
Both of them have the same frog like spirit or teaching proceeding from their mouths. From 1 John 4:1 we can understand that a spirit is a teaching. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
So, the beast and false prophet share a common teaching or ideology with identical results. Their unclean teachings gathers the nations together against the nation of Israel in the battle of Armageddon.
Secondly they are associated together in their destruction. They are destroyed together at the same time, by the same power — the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation 19 one sitting on a white horse is described for us, called “faithful and true”, making war in righteousness. This great king with many crowns is undoubtedly a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ subduing the nations in the great day of God Almighty. In verse 19 John sees the beast, the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together against the one on the white horse. The beast and the false prophet WITH him are cast into the lake of fire. So again, they are destroyed together, by the same power, at the same time. The time when the Lord Jesus Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron — Psalm 2.
Revelation 17 also describes this war of the beast with the Lamb. This is clear in verse 14, "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Going back to verse 12 we read, "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” Here we see the beast derives it’s power from 10 kings or nations, so we understand that it is a confederation. The beast derives its power from a group of nations with the same mind. This “one mind” or we could say, common ideology, is what brings these nations together. This is an important characteristic of these nations. They share a common ideology and this is what binds them together. The text elaborates in verse 17: "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” So these nations would willingly give up sovereignty to the central “empire” authority of the beast for a period of time.
The Tarshish Power
This giving up of sovereignty is one of the reasons for which the British people voted to leave the EU. To “take back control”. Enoch Powell wrote in 1989, “New authorities have been called into existence to supersede 6the Parliament of this Kingdom and to define and enforce new rights and liberties. What remains to be seen is whether “the people of this Kingdom” accept those authorities. If they do, they have lost their “true ancient and indubitable rights and liberties” and acquired none in exchange." (The Principality and Power of Europe, by Adrian Hilton quoting from "Enoch Powell on 1992", 1989.)
The Tarshish powers are not presented in scripture as being bound together by having one mind or giving up their sovereignty. But, rather as merchants and traders. The British Empire was not built on a common ideology between countries, it was an Empire of worldwide trade and commerce — a completly different idea in contrast to the European Union.
"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?” Ezekiel 38:13
Merchants and traders are brought together by trade. This is how the United Kingdom views it’s relationship with Europe. In the British trader mind, it is a trading opportunity. In this way, Britain misunderstands Europe. Europe does not see its coming together as a trade opportunity. Its union is an ideological one as we have seen.
Massive Consequences of Brexit
So there is much at stake as to what happens in regards to Brexit. The legitimacy of the ideology of the European Union is brought into question. The authority and place of the Roman Catholic Church at the spiritual center of the union. The future of Britain as a sovereign nation, the future of the Church of England over which the Queen is head. The unity of the United Kingdom has been brought into question. This is a battle that is one of the most important of our time with far reaching consequences. Consequences for us, as Britain staying free and not subject to Europe and the Papacy means more freedoms and especially religious freedom for many of us. Back in February 1996, US Republican Presidential contender, Pat Buchanan, put it like this:
“If I were an MP I’d be a Euro-sceptic too. How can you let a country with a great history, sovereign for 20 generations, disappear as a province of a bureaucratic Euro-state run by Helmut Kohl?”
- The European Union is based and centered around a common ideology. The nations in the union, sharing a common ideology have been willing to give up sovereignty to a central power. This is what the Bible said would happen. These nations would have "one mind" and give up their power to the Roman beast.
- The European Union ideolgoy is supported and shaped by the Roman Catholic Church, taking a role at the center of Europe. This is reflected in the symbols of the Beast and False prophet working together.
- The Europeans are willing to suffer Economically, because their goal is to demonstrate that leaving the EU is a bad idea. This has led to the EU dictating the terms for the UK leaving.
- The UK has a different mindset and thinks in terms of trade. This is encapsulated in the phrase in Ezekiel, "the merchants of Tarshish."
Today we see Bible Prophecy fulfilling in Europe. We do not know the twists and turns that Brexit may now take. But we do know that Britain has a role to play, outside the European Union. Thanks for listening, come back next week God willing, as we continue to consider the Bible in the News. This has been David Billington with you.