bible prophecy and brexit
Dear Brother Chris,
Greetings in the Hope of Israel.
We are privileged to witness yet further steps in the development of the sure Word of prophecy (2Peter 1:19). Since the establishment of the State of Israel (1948) we have seen its miraculous preservation in the presence of many hostile neighbours. More recently under the leadership of President Putin, we have witnessed the resurgence of Russia and their presence in the Middle East near the borders of God’s land. Now, Britain’s has chosen a path to exit from European Union. This is perhaps the most significant progress in fulfilling of Bible prophecy since the 1967 Six Day War when Israel took control of the whole of Jerusalem.
Current events suggest a vindication of our long held understanding of Bible prophecy regarding the separation of Britain (Tarshish power/latter-day Tyre) from Europe (Latin Beast system). The prophet Isaiah (chapter 23) speaks of the judgments on Tyre, “it is laid waste” with the consequent “howl” from “the ships of Tarshish” (verse 1). Tyre obtained “her revenue” as “a mart of the nations” (verse 3). She was “situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant to many people for many isles” (Ezek.27:3).
The judgments of Yahweh (Ezek.26:3-21) would bring the destruction of the base for this commodities trading market. (Ezek.27:12-24). However the trading activities did not cease with the destruction of Tyre.
Trading activities of Tyre move on:
The needs of the nations for goods and services remained. Much to the consternation of the nations, the trading activities of Tyre were to move, they were to “pass over to Tarshish; howl ye inhabitants of the isle” (Isa.23:6). Therefore, Tyre was to be synonymous with Tharshish. The Prophet again states that the activities of this distinguished city were to take place elsewhere, “her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn” (Isa.23:7). A move to Chittim (Cyprus) was to be an interim move, “Pass over to Chittim; there also thou shalt have no rest.” (Isa.23:12)
The idea that a nation would cease to exist in her former glory and yet provide a prophetic legacy characterized by another nation is not unique to Tyre. The result of the Lord’s judgements on Babylon was that it ceased to exist (Isa.13:19-20). Yet Babylon is used to represent a system of false worship that was to be abhorrent to the Lord (Revelation chapters 17 and18). Edom was to be “a perpetual desolation” (Eze.35:7-9) and yet we find reference to Edom in latter day prophecy (Amos 9:12).
Tyre was to suffer a period of 70 years when it would be forgotten (Isa.23:14). The Lord was to bring a period of 70-years of judgements against the kingdom of Judah, when the land was to lay desolate. (Jer.25:11). “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Among the many nations listed are Tyre and Zidon (Jere.25:22). So a primary fulfillment of this prophecy against Tyre is to be found in the words of Jeremiah against Judah.
In a similar way the latter-day relocated Tyre was also to suffer a 70-year period when it would be forgotten. Note there is a qualification to how we should understand the duration of this 70-year period. It is, “according to the days of one king” (Isa.23:15). At the end of this period she would “sing as an harlot” (Isa.23:15). Tyre would then be forgotten amongst the nations with which she would, for an undisclosed period of time, commit fornication (Isa.23:16-17). At the end of this period of committing fornication with all the kingdoms of the world, this latter day Tyre would begin a period of preparing her merchandise (goods) and hire (services) in readiness for the time when she will present them to the LORD for the faithful that dwell before the LORD (Isa.23:18).
Identification of latter day Tyre
There are many characteristics of Old Testament Tyre “a mart of the nations” which concur with Great Britain in the days of Empire. Tyre was a crowning city, its merchants were princes, its traffickers, the honourable of the earth. Great Britain was responsible for establishing rulers and dynasties around the world. Her trade was in the hands of its princes and nobles (Isa.23:8). The city displayed great pride in its ability to generate revenue (Isa.23:3) and gloried in its achievements in generating wealth. The prophet Ezekiel (see, chapters 27-28) adds further characteristics of Tyre, a feared maritime power, wealthy, arrogant, proud and violent.
The power and influence of the British Empire was at its peak in the days of Queen Victoria. A global empire on which it has been said, the sun never set. The Lord used this global trading nation to distribute the Bible in virtually every language to every nation on earth. The British and Foreign Bible Society played a major role in bringing this to pass. (Jere.31:10).
The strength of the ships of Tharshish have been laid waste (Isa.23:14). Great Britain, latter-day Tyre has suffered a period of decline, “forgotten seventy years”. (Isa.23:15).
If Great Britain is performing a Divinely appointed role as a latter-day Tyre then the words of the prophet Isaiah are significant for us today. “And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.” (Isa 23:17). These words are quoted by our Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the nations that commit themselves to spiritual Babylon. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Rev 18:3). When Great Britain signed the Treaty of Accession she accepted EEC regulations, the terms of entry and the Treaty of Rome. Now she is in the process of extricating herself from this European system whose rulers have a commitment to Rome (Rev.17:1-2).
70 Years as the days of one King
On 22nd January 1972 Great Britain, the latter-day Tyre, signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels to become a member state of the European Union to sing as a harlot with the kingdoms of the earth (i.e. European Union). This treaty took effect from 1st January 1973.
If the 70 year period of desolation for Tyre ended when she began to “commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world…” (v.17) then we have a clue as to when the period of her 70-year desolation began. Seventy years from 1972 takes us back to the period immediately following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
However, the 70-year period is qualified and therefore needs to be understood as, “according to the days of one king” (v.15). The days of a monarch’s rule may be counted in at least one of two ways, either as regnal years, i.e. from the day of coronation of a ruler to the same time next year could count as the first year of a reign. Alternatively, some nations count the remaining portion of the coronation year as the year of accession. In this case the ruler’s reign is formally counted from the first day of the start of the next year. That year is the first whole year of the reign.
A Biblical example of this ‘accession year’ method of counting the duration of rulership occurs with the reign of king David. See, 2Sam.5:4, the record states David reigned for 40years. However, verse 5 tells us David reigned 7 years 6 months in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem, giving a total of 40.5 years. A possible reason for this statement is that the first six months of David’s reign in Hebron appear to have been counted as an accession year to the throne (i.e. year zero).
The problems encountered in reconciling reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah are set out in the book, Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Assyria, Babylon and Persia usually included an accession year, so reckoning of reigns began on the first day of the new year.
When we apply this qualification to counting 70 years, “according to the days of one king”, we find the following.
Queen Victoria died, 22nd January 1901. Britain signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on the very same day, 22nd January but 71 years later, in 1972! The inspired prophet’s qualification for the method of counting the time period was, “70 years according to the days of one king”, i.e. year zero accession year + 70 years (see, Chart 1). Following the death of Queen Victoria Great Britain began a period of gradual decline during which this latter-day Tyre, was forgotten. Over 100 colonies, dominions, protectorates and mandated territories gained their independence from the British Empire. In addition there were the deprivations of two world wars, accompanied by the erosion of maritime influence and naval power. This period of decline in the Empire may be tracked from the death of Queen Victoria. It was exactly 70 years to the day, ending when latter-day Tyre (Britain) signed up to, “sing as an harlot…” (Isa.23:17).
The Lord has a future work for this latter-day Tyre. Her merchandise (goods) and her hire (services) will be holiness for the Lord…(v.18). Therefore, if Great Britain is the latter-day Tyre, we would expect her eventually to become prosperous again and be among ”the kings of Tarshish and the isles” who bring presents to the Lord. (Psalm 72:10).