America the Young Lion
On the anniversary of the start of WWI we examine the role of America in Bible prophecy.
Monday, August 08, 2016
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Last week was the anniversary of the start of WWI. It was a war that seemed to unexpectedly start and with all of the military alliances of the central powers and the triple entente it quickly spread from the Balkans. Welcome to the Bible in News, this is John Billington with you this week.
It was July 28th, 1914 when Austria- Hungary declared war on Serbia, which in the end dragged in Germany, Russia, France and Great Britian and importantly the Ottoman Empire. When America finally joined it was dubbed the war to end all wars. When the war was over the map had completely changed. The most important development that came out of the war was the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Balfour Declaration.
What I want to consider this week is the Lion of Tarshish and her young Lions. In particular one specific young lion, The United States of America. Many people look at the prophecies and do not clearly see America, but at the time of WWI the relationship she had with Britain and the common Biblical leanings, their leaders had made the perfect climate to support the Jews and their aspirations for a state.
To begin I believe that we have to spend a moment to identify Britain. If you come to the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:11-13:
“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
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 translation of the New English Bible he is actually helpful, it translates the Merchants of Tarshish as “The traders of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof”
From the above we can conclude from the above that Tarshish would have an empire.
Far away from Israel: Isaiah 23:6,7; Jonah 1:3
Sea traders: Isaiah 23
Mined silver, iron, tin & lead: Ezekiel 27:12; Jeremiah 10:9
A maritime power in the latter days that assists the Jews in returning to their land: Isaiah 60:9
When you take the time and go through this list it points only to Great Britain. Some have tried to say it is Spain. On the fact that she was not a power that assisted the return of the Jews to Israel, I believe it is case closed. As this is Bible in the News and not a full Bible class, I am not going to spend longer going through the fact that Britain is Tarshish. I will just simply direct you to the Bible Magazine archives and to Vol 20 #3.
So the question we really want to get to is: does America belong to Tarshish and the young Lions?
First off, I think the main reason that some would suggest otherwise is due to the fact she is not counted as part of the commonwealth today. Although that may be true, the young lions that Ezekiel speaks clearly of gives us the picture of offspring, offspring with whom she trades with, her colonies.
It was in 1606 when King James I (It was King James I who commissioned the King James translation of the Bible) by royal charter established “The Virginia Company of London” which was an English joint stock company with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.
The following year in 1607 Jamestown (named after King James I) was established as James Fort. It was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas and became the capital of the Colony of Virginia. The American archaeologist who specializes in Virginia's colonial period, William Kelso, writes that Jamestown "is where the British Empire began ... this was the first colony in the British Empire."
To this day one of the best known nicknames for Virginia is “Old Dominion.” The seal and coat of arms of the colony in use from 1607 until 1624, when the Virginia Company of London directed the colonization of Virginia, included the words, "En Dat Virginia Quintam,” indicating that Virginia was the fifth of the realms, or domains, of the Crown. At that time, the kings and queens of England also claimed the thrones of Scotland, Ireland, and France.
After Virginia, Britain continued to colonize the Americas and grew to include the colony of Plymouth, the Province of Maine, the Province of New Hampshire, the Connecticut Colony, the Province of New York, the Province of New Jersey among others.
Today there is no escaping the colonial history of The United States, especially if you travel along the eastern sea board. Names such as the region of New England, States such as New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire, and cities such as Manchester and Cambridge. In Virginia you can still attend Old Dominion University and cheer for the football team The Old Dominion Monarchs. One of the larger freight companies in the Eastern States is Old Dominion Freight Lines.
America’s British roots are clear with Britain’s first colony on her shores but America was also the first cub to leave the family. A cartoon from the 1700’s depicted Britain’s loss of the thirteen colonies as it was at that time as Britannia losing her limbs. It certainly was a sad day for Britain. However those roots have proved to be the foundation of a very close relationship between the countries, as it still is today.
In the book “The Grandeur of England and the Atlantic Community” written by George E.G. Catlin he writes the following:
“The United States is no longer a new country but an old one; and it can regard, unlike others, its colonial past, not with adolescent resentment, but with historical pride. It is the land of a civilization ‘which from Magna Carter on has used the fabric of law for the fulfillment of liberty.’ The words are those of President Johnson. Historically, it is the greatest beyond all measure, of the British colonies as well as the undisputed leader of the English-speaking world. And although, like them, America is a mixture of all peoples (and without much discrimination, most rightly such), the British Isles are yet the land to which General George C. Marshall, then Secretary of State, speaking before the Pilgrims in London, referred as ‘the mother country.’ Mothers and daughters by no means always agree; but it is an indissoluble special relationship registered in the pages of the centuries.”
With Britain’s vote to leave the European Union I expect the relationship will now be open to thrive, especially in the area of trade. Although America is not part of the commonwealth she is Britain’s top export destination. This is quite important when we look at the New English Bible's translation of Ezekiel 38:13 as the “traders of Tarshish.” America is the world's largest importer of British goods to the tune of approximately 50 billion dollars last year - not bad for a colony!
We started out speaking of the perfect climate that existed within the leadership of Britain and America at the time of WWI for the support of the idea of a Jewish State. This really comes out of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:10 - “Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off (Strong’s says this is “dry land, a coast, an island”), and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” The word of God was going to go out to the isles or coast lands afar off, and carry the message that God would regather his people. Almost as soon as the Bible was translated into English, that message was picked up. Britain established colonies around the world and she took the Bible with her. This is the incredible story of the English Bible and you can look at this further in the Bible Magazine Vol 24 #1. I mention however that the first book printed in America was the book of Psalms, known as The Bay Psalms Book.
John Thomas writing in the 1800’s looked at the prophecies of Tyre and Tarshish and wrote the following:
"I know not whether the men, who at present contrive the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of assuming the sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of promoting its colonization by the Jews; their present intentions, however, are of no importance one way or the other, because they will be compelled, by events soon to happen, to do what, under existing circumstances, heaven and earth combined could not move them to attempt... The decree has long since gone forth which calls upon the Lion of Tarshish to protect the Jews.”
Amazing words when you look at history as it is exactly what happened. John Thomas’s expectation of Britain protecting the Jews was based on a number of prophecies. In Ezekiel 38 Tarshish is seen protesting the northern confederacy’s invasion into Israel. In Isaiah 60:9, Tarshish is assisting the return of the Jews to their land. And in Isaiah 18 he translated the beginning of verse 1 as “Ho to the land of shadowing wings” and foresaw that it pointed to Britain bringing back the people that were “scattered and peeled”, the Jews back to their land.
What is also very interesting is the role that the oldest of the young lions, America had to play in protecting the Jews. It is a characteristic that has been passed down to the young lions through the influence of the English Bible. Not all of the lions have protected the Jews all of the time, but it seems that there is always been at least one to do that job.
The effect and influence of the English Bible in Britain and America in relation to the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of Israel is examined in the book ‘God, Guns and Israel.’ The author Jill Hamilton shows the profound effect that the Bible had on the various leaders involved with the establishment of the state. In her prologue, Hamilton writes the following about the time of the Balfour Declaration:
“It is unlikely that the Jews would have been able to establish themselves in Palestine in the three decades after 1918 had it not been for the enthusiasm of the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, and members of his government. Nor would they have established their official footing there without equal support from President Woodrow Wilson and the government of the United States of America. With all the determination in the world the Jews would not have been in a position to expand their hold. Quite simply, Israel might never have existed.”
In time sadly Britain would turn against the Jews under the leadership of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain prior to WWII and Clement Attlee following WWII. After the war it was a man by the name of Ernest Bevin who was the Foreign Secretary and he was vehemently against supporting the Jews and their aspirations to return. When you look at the history this is certainly a low point for Britain. But it was Dave Billington who recently commented that had Britain continued in its support for a Jewish State in Palestine it would not have ceased to be a colony. Well on that idea, the following quote from the journalist Arthur Koestler who noted the irony shortly after the State of Israel was proclaimed that it was two British foreign secretaries who had helped bring about the rebirth of Israel, Balfour and Bevin. “The first gave the Jews their legal charter; the second, by refusing any compromise, forced them to fight it out and thus pass the test of nationhood.”
During WWII it seemed that the Jews had no friends at all, at least that had the power to change anything. In Britain many of those who had been a part of the government during WWI had now died including Balfour who died in 1930. However after the war it was not long and America started stepping up. In God, Guns and Israel Hamilton comments on this situation and says that Truman was about to take on their mantle. God had raised up another in a land even farther away from the the shores of Israel.
After the vote in the UN Britain set the date for the end of the Mandate to be midnight on Friday, May 14, 1948. At 4pm in the afternoon David Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of Independence so that it would not interfere with Shabbat (Sabbath). In the UN a movement was afoot to scuttle the plans of a state of Israel. Jill Hamilton writes that “If enough countries voted for a trusteeship under the United Nations, Ben-Gurion’s declaration would have been wasted time.”
The last British ship sailed out of then Palestinian waters. Hamilton continues - “Eleven minutes after the expiration of the British Mandate, Truman made his declaration in Washington. Soon afterwards, in the hall of the United Nations, the American representative, who had been urging the forming of a trusteeship, quietened the room. A message on ticker-tape had just been received from Truman: This government has been informed that a Jewish State has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the Provisional Government itself. The United States recognizes the Provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel. With those words, legitimacy was granted to the new state of Israel under international law. Ezekiel's prophecy was fulfilled. The wandering Jew had a home to return to. Israel’s land and people were again united. Arab armies would now be fighting against a recognized state. Truman’s rapid action and recognition of the state and its provisional government nullified the proposal to place Palestine under a temporary United Nations trusteeship.”
When we consider whether America is one of the young lions there is no doubt. As the first colony of Britain, she is influenced heavily by the Bible and does become the first to leave the nest, but lest there be any doubt, builds an extremely close relationship not only limited to trade with the Mother country, and in turns plays a huge role in protecting Israel.
Jill Hamilton recounts Harry Truman’s visit to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York when he was introduced as ‘the man who helped create the State of Israel’. Truman replied ‘What do you mean, helped create? I was Cyrus, I am Cyrus.’
We do not have time to look at the history since that time but we cannot exclude the assistance that America gave to Israel in the Yom Kippur war of 1973. Israel had been taken by a huge surprise when the Arabs attacked on their most holy day. Israel needed desperate help. “President Richard Nixon hit the roof when he learned that Henry Kissinger was delaying the airlift because of a concern that it would offend the Russians. Despite the opposition of his national security and foreign policy brain trust, Nixon ordered the airlift, saying, “We are going to get blamed just as much for three planes as for three hundred,” and later in exasperation at the slow start of US support, said “Use every [plane] we have—everything that will fly.”
Finally, after several days of internal politicking amongst the upper echelons of the Administration, Nixon got his airlift: “Operation Nickel Grass.” Over the course of the airlift 567 missions were flown, delivering over 22,000 tons of supplies, and an additional 90,000 tons were delivered to Israel by sea. Later in her life, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would admit that upon hearing of the airlift during a cabinet meeting, she began to cry.”
That’s more than we had time for! Come back next week for another edition of the Bible in the News.