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The Bible in the News
The "Special Relationship" Between America and Great Britain
This past year and certainly this past week have seen the UK and America brought back together, just as Bible students expected.
Sunday, January 29, 2017  Audio & Print versions

Obama - “I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done.  The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.”

Well that was so last year, as Obama tried to influence the Brexit referendum.  At the time Donald Trump was asked in an interview with Piers Morgan what his position would be and he responded. 

Trump - “I mean, I’m going to treat everybody fairly but it wouldn’t make any difference to me whether they were in the EU or not. You’d certainly not be at the back of the queue, that I can tell you.”

It must be said post election and post inauguration that Donald Trump has held true to his word, and not put Britain at the back of the line, as we call it in Canada.  In fact I don't know if Trump could do any more to put Britain at the front of the line!  His first meeting with a politician from another country after the election was with Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the man behind Brexit. 

As for Trump’s first week in office, there has been much discussed and written about what this week would look like.  There have been protests and executive orders signed and the first official visit from another country’s leader, and of course it is with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

We will discuss some of what was said during this visit but before we do I think it is worth reading the words of Graham Pearce that he wrote in Milestones of the Kingdom in 1980 the following under the heading "THE MERCHANTS OF TARSHISH AND ALL THE YOUNG LIONS THEREOF”:

“This brief phrase from Ezekiel chapter 38, indicating that the Merchants of Tarshish will be involved in challenging the northern invader of the land of Israel, is suggestive in a number of directions. It tells us: 

1. that Britain will not be part of the European confederacy; 

2. that we can look for close co-operation between Britain and America, the strongest of the young lions; 

3. that Britain has a part to play in the Middle East; 

4. that she will maintain her world trading position, expressed in the words 'merchants of Tarshish'; 

5. there is the hint that she may be closely involved in the prosperity of Israel at the time of the invasion.”

Graham Pearce later says “How and when Britain will be detached from Europe we do not know, but this will come.”  and further down in the chapter he says that “We expect to see close co-operation between America and Britain, and less between America and Europe… The 'special relationship' has been revived, and we can see Britain becoming more linked with the U.S. than with Europe.”

I bring your attention to these words of Graham as it gives us such confidence in the understanding of Britain as Tarshish and of the US as a young lion nation.  This has been mentioned on this program and written about in the Bible Magazine many times, but since the Brexit vote, the US election, and now with Trump’s first week in office behind us these words could be a commentary of today’s news.  We are seeing this situation take shape before our very eyes.

I would like to break down what Graham writes based on that phrase from Ezekiel 38, “The merchants of Tarshish and all the young lions thereof.  

First - Britain will not be part of the European confederacy of Ezekiel 38 and will in fact be “detached” from Europe.  This was Nigel Farage on the night of the referendum in Britain and words that Graham through the words of the holy prophets foresaw:

Nigel Farage speaking of the UK independence day

We will let Theresa May speak to that, this is from her Thursday’s speech at the Republican convention:

As Americans know, the United Kingdom is by instinct and history a great, global nation that recognizes its responsibilities to the world.

And as we end our membership of the European Union – as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year – we have the opportunity to reassert our belief in a confident, sovereign and Global Britain, ready to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike."

Secondly Graham looked for “close co-operation between Britain and
America, the strongest of the young lions.”  Really that is what Theresa May’s visit was all about this week.  It seems that both leaders are interested in having a relationship that would mirror the closeness of Reagan and Thatcher.  In fact before the two leaders even met Trump was reported to be referring to Prime Minister May as “my Maggie!”  Well it seems that they are both off to a good start; the following was again from May’s Thursday speech:

So as we rediscover our confidence together – as you renew your nation just as we renew ours – we have the opportunity – indeed the responsibility – to renew the Special Relationship for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.

Because the world is passing through a period of change – and in response to that change we can either be passive bystanders, or we can take the opportunity once more to lead. And to lead together.

I believe it is in our national interest to do so. Because the world is increasingly marked by instability and threats that risk undermining our way of life and the very things that we hold dear."

And this was from Friday’s press conference with both Theresa May and Donald Trump:

Trump - “Thank you very much. I am honored to have Prime Minister Theresa May here for our first official visit from a foreign leader. This is our first visit, so great honor. The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history for justice and for peace, and by the way, my mother was born in Scotland, Stornoway, which is serious Scotland. 

Today, the United States renews our deep bond with Britain, military, financial, cultural and political. We have one of the great bonds. We pledge our lasting support to this most special relationship. Together, America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law. That is why the United States respects the sovereignty of the British people and their right of self-determination.

A free and independent Britain is a blessing to the world and our relationship has never been stronger. Both America and Britain understand that governments must be responsive to everyday working people, that governments must represent their own citizens.

Madam Prime Minister, we look forward to working closely with you as we strengthen our mutual ties in commerce, business and foreign affairs. Great days lie ahead for our two peoples and our two countries. On behalf of our nation, I thank you for joining us here today. It's a really great honor. Thank you very much.”

May - “Thank you very much, Mr. President. And can I start by saying that I'm so pleased that I've been able to be here today, and thank you for inviting me so soon after your inauguration. And I'm delighted to be able to congratulate you on what was a stunning election victory.

And as you say, the invitation is an indication of the strength and importance of the special relationship that exists between our two countries, a relationship based on the bonds of history, of family, kinship and common interests. And in a further sign of the importance of that relationship, I have today been able to convey her Majesty, the Queen's hope that Trump President and the first lady would pay a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year, and I am delighted that the president has accepted that invitation.”

Thirdly - Graham looked for Britain to play a part in the Middle East.  It was in September when Prime Minister Theresa May gave an historic speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel.  Here are some of her opening remarks:

It is the first time that I have come here as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.

And it is a special time, for we are entering the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration.

On the 2nd of November 1917, the then foreign secretary – a Conservative foreign secretary – Arthur James Balfour wrote:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

It is one of the most important letters in history.

It demonstrates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people.

And it is an anniversary we will be marking with pride.”

It was only a few weeks ago and just before Trump was sworn in that both America under Obama’s leadership and Britain under May’s leadership both allowed a UN resolution to pass claiming “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law…”  This was a major setback for Israel. Whether they have internal divisions in the British government I don't know, but with Trump on the scene after the UN resolution May's government completely swung around to avoiding condemning the settlements.  

Earlier this month the Paris peace initiative was reported by Israel National News to have been “snubbed" by Britain as they sent only junior diplomats.  The AFP reported that the British Foreign Office issued a statement saying that the British government declined to send a high level delegation to the conference due to "particular reservations" with the nature and timing of the conference. The reservations given were the lack of representatives from Israel or the PA at the conference and it taking place "just days before the transition to a new American president.”

Further to that John Kerry's speech that condemned Israel was responded to by a spokesman for May saying “We do not ... believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex.”

To follow up on this May said in her Thursday’s speech to the Republican party that they would stand for Israel “And whether it is the security of Israel in the Middle East or the Baltic states in Eastern Europe, we must always stand up for our friends and allies in democratic countries that find themselves in tough neighborhoods too.”

This will of course be an interesting one to watch but we will have to leave that for another Bible in the News!!  But on a basic level Graham's words expecting Britain to play a part in the Middle East would seem to be completely in line with what is taking place today.

Fourthly - Graham expected Britain would “maintain her world trading position, expressed in
the words 'merchants of Tarshish.’"  On this point here is Theresa May speaking at the President’s side on Friday:

“And finally, the president and I have mentioned future economic cooperation and trade. Trade between our two countries is already worth over 150 billion pounds a year. The U.S. is the single biggest source of inward investment to the U.K., and together, we have around $1 trillion invested in each other's economies.

And the U.K.-U.S. defense relationship is the broadest, deepest and most advanced of any two countries, sharing military hardware and expertise. And I think the president and I are ambitious to build on this relationship in order to grow our respective economies, provide the high skilled, high paid jobs of the future for working people across America and across the U.K.

And so, we are discussing how we can establish a trade negotiation agreement, take forward immediate high-level talks, lay the groundwork for U.K.-U.S. trade agreement and identify the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily.

And I'm convinced that a trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K. is in the national interest of both countries and will cement the crucial relationship that exists between us, particularly as the U.K. leaves the European Union and reaches out to the world.

Today's talks I think are a significant moment for President Trump and I to build our relationship and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we deliver on the promises of freedom and prosperity for all the people of our respective countries.

Thank you.”

Lastly - Graham noted that “there is the hint” that Britain “may be closely involved in the prosperity of Israel at the time of the invasion.”  Here is Theresa May speaking again at the Conservative Friends of Israel conference:

"We meet at a moment of great change for our country. In the wake of the referendum, Britain is forging a new role for itself on the world stage – open, outward-looking, optimistic.

Israel will be crucial to us as we do that. Because I believe our two countries have a great deal in common.

As the Ambassador Mark Regev said, we have common values; we work together, on health, counter-terrorism, cyber security, technology; and we can help each other achieve our aims.

First, we both want to take maximum advantage of trade and investment opportunities, because we know enterprise is the key to our country's’ prosperity.

Our economic relationship is already strong.

The UK is Israel’s second-largest trading partner.

We are its number-one destination for investment in Europe, with more than 300 Israeli companies operating here.

And last year saw our countries’ biggest-ever business deal, worth over £1 billion, when Israeli airline El Al decided to use Rolls Royce engines in its new aircraft.

We should celebrate that, we should build on that – and we should condemn any attempt to undermine that through boycotts.

I couldn’t be clearer: the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement is wrong, it is unacceptable, and this party and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to it.

Our focus is the opposite – on taking our trading and investing relationship with Israel to the next level."

There is no doubt that as Britain exits the EU she is on the hunt for trading partners.  This is bringing her back to her old alliances and bringing about the situation that Graham Pearce and many Bible students looked for, based on God's inspired word.  We can literally look at every point that Graham lists and see it as either happening or at least being openly discussed and even planned for.

Will the political changes that we are seeing bring about peace in Israel and the proper line up of the nations that we see in Ezekiel 38?  It would seem that we are certainly witnessing this taking place, and if this is the case we need to take the exhortation to put oil in our lamps and to prepare to meet our God.  May you be strengthened by the fulfillment of the prophecies to get back to your Bible in this incredible Godless world that we all live in.  And if you have ever doubted these things may this serve to strengthen you.

This has been John Billington joining you this week.

Printed:  Sunday, January 29, 2017


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