Britain’s decision to leave the European Union came as a shock, even for many proponents. Yet the outcome should not have been surprising.
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Husbands and wives get upset with each other. Sometimes disagreements become heated and words are exchanged that cut to the quick—words each party quickly regrets.
But there comes a point when, no matter how much one regrets what is said, it goes too far. Married couples can, without thinking, cross a personal Rubicon, as did Julius Caesar when he led his troops across that famed river on their march to the capital city of Rome, a wholly illegal and unprecedented action. Once it was crossed, there was no going back. There was no, “Oops, I made a mistake. Let me do it over.”
For marriages, that point of no return is mentioning the “D” word.
When a couple even flirts with the idea of divorce, when they seriously contemplate formally ending their relationship, the last brick of the foundation that held up and stabilized their marital bond is weakened. It becomes a matter of when, not if, the relationship will break apart.
Britain had been flirting with the idea of “divorcing” Europe for quite some time. Therefore, no one, especially citizens in the United Kingdom, should have been surprised.
What still remains to be seen, however, is how it will all play out. Will the divorce be amicable; a clean break up that allows both parties to remain friends? Or will it be a messy, petty, vindictive affair? Consider that immediately after the Brexit outcome was revealed, Germany said, in effect, “If you’re going to leave, make it quick.” (Translation: “If you really want a divorce, don’t waste time packing your bags and gathering your belongings—just leave!”)
As the UK’s government contemplates how to exit the EU, it is also fighting to retain London as Europe’s unofficial financial capital for banks and insurers—a lucrative position that cities such as Paris and Frankfurt are poised to assume.
Britain’s task to implement the Brexit divorce is daunting to say the least.
No team, committee, Fortune 500 company, government or political alliance—let alone any marriage—can achieve true success and prosperity without the unwavering cooperation of all parties involved. Sooner or later, constant arguing, bickering and disagreement will breed dissatisfaction and discontentment, creating irreparable cracks of disunity and disharmony. The facade of a seemingly perfect union will be permanently marred by blemishes and scars that never fade away. The relationship will fail.
This is what is occurring with the disintegrating marriage between the governments of Britain and the European Union.
Throughout the many months and weeks leading up to the June 23, 2016, referendum, polling data on how the average Briton would vote fluctuated wildly from day to day. Voices advocating that Britain should leave gained strong support—however, so did the voices crying that Britain should stay.
News media accurately claimed it would come down to the wire before anyone knew the final verdict of Britain’s historic decision to abandon its European Union membership and exit the EU (hence the term “Brexit”).
In 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron had promised that the United Kingdom would hold a referendum on European membership if he won the 2015 general election. Mr. Cameron went on to win and kept his word, making way for the public, for the first time since 1975, to decide whether Britain should stay or leave the EU.
In summary, there were two sides to the issue of Brexit: those who advocated leaving and those who demanded that Britain should stay.
“Stay” voters argued that when it came to trade, 50 percent of British exports went to EU countries, thus the United Kingdom had more buying power. Roughly three million jobs rely on Britain’s EU membership—jobs that might be lost if Britain opted out of the EU and trade declined. With 1.4 million Brits living abroad and others regularly traveling to EU states, remaining a member state in Europe would make it easier to get away “on holiday” or travel in general.
On the other hand, “leave” advocates pointed to the loss of British sovereignty, with unelected bureaucrats in the European Union imposing laws and regulations that overruled British lawmakers.
The issue of border control was also in question. Because the European Union promotes and maintains the philosophy of free movement between the borders of member states, national immigration laws were pointless. And leaving Europe meant not having to pay hefty EU registration fees.
Another consideration regarding the UK’s decision was that, in the future, it could face possible pressure from Europe to form a multinational EU military force. This would affect the British military’s ability to act independently and ensure Britain’s national interests.
When interviewed by Fox News, British Labour Member of Parliament Kate Hoey, an advocate for leaving Europe, explained what was driving the push for Brexit: “What this has been about for many years is some people within the rest of Europe wanting to get a closer union. They want a United States of Europe. Now, the United Kingdom, you know, is a country with a great history and a great past. We don’t want to be part of a United States of Europe. We want to trade with the EU. We want to cooperate on security matters as we work very, very closely with obviously the United States and, of course, NATO. We would still be members of NATO, and we’re part of a lot of international bodies—it’s a win-win really…”
Responding to the comment that exiting Europe would be a financial step backward for Britain, Ms. Hoey said, “We’re already trading as the United Kingdom far more outside the EU than inside the EU, and there’s absolutely no reason why that won’t continue and why we won’t be able to increase our trade.”
On the other hand, Prime Minister David Cameron reminded voters in a televised statement: “The choice is in your hands. But my recommendation is clear: I believe that Britain will be safer, stronger and better off in a reformed European Union.”
U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in by lending his support to Mr. Cameron. During an official visit to the United Kingdom, Mr. Obama urged the British public in a televised press conference to heed his advice that Britain should vote to remain in the EU. While some appreciated his candor, others viewed it as America meddling in British affairs.
Staunch “leave” supporter UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage encouraged the public to vote for Britain’s exit: “We have to win this campaign, make people understand that EU membership and uncontrolled immigration are synonymous with each other.”
With the decision to leave, it is only natural to ask: Will other countries in Europe decide to terminate their EU membership? Nations such as France, the Netherlands, and others have already floated the idea of holding their own referendums similar to Brexit. Rumor has it that Austria, Italy, Poland and Denmark may not be far behind.
Britain’s vote sent a message that carried shockwaves across the European continent and even the United States. In fact, citizens throughout the United Kingdom themselves said they were stunned that their fellow countrymen dared to vote for the unimaginable. Even those who voted to leave were pleasantly surprised to learn their side had won.
The vote to leave effectively subverts a European sentiment that had been in place since the end of World War II.
A few generations ago, survivors of a war-torn Europe arose from the rubble, debris and despair of WWII and decided, “Never—we must never again allow Europe to go to war with itself.” European countries entered into mutually beneficial agreements—a sort of economical and sociopolitical “marriage” of convenience, sowing the seeds for a united Europe.
Its “harvest” produced trade agreements between former enemies, military cooperation in which no one state dominated the other, and economic alliances that benefited all. Open borders between nations meant no passports, little or no work restrictions, and free access and movement to other markets within neighboring countries. Thus, what became the European Common Market eventually emerged as the European Union—which has long been on the road to becoming a multinational superstate: the United States of Europe.
Or so is the grand dream of European politicians and citizens alike.
Yet sometimes idyllic dreams can turn into unintentional nightmares…
Why, then, were so many, particularly in the news media, shocked that Britain voted to end its marriage to Europe? After all, the Brexit vote was featured in news headlines and televised to the general public for weeks, even months, in advance. Until the last few days leading to the vote, polls showed that the “remain” campaign was ahead of the “leave” voters. In fact, on the day of the vote, even the most ardent “leave” supporters were convinced their side would lose.
They were wrong. A 70 percent voter turnout throughout the United Kingdom revealed that roughly 52 percent of voters wanted out of the European Union. British citizens bucked against pressure from the U.S. president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the British prime minister to stay with the EU, declaring, “We want a divorce!”
Yet the universal reaction of “What? We actually won?” was palpable. The referendum outcome was akin to an estranged couple who bicker for months and years on end, but are suddenly surprised when they learn the divorce for which they had been calling was finally granted. They immediately feel the rush of jubilation, quickly followed by a new question: “What do we do now?”
Britain and its people are different from continental Europe. The British are, of course, European—yet they remain proudly and defiantly British in thinking.
The relatively tiny island nation was once the seat of a world-leading global empire. It spawned a long line of royal leaders, not to mention prime ministers, who helped influence and shape the policies of entire nations. Britain has long been viewed as holding on to an island nation mentality, as the country is physically separated from Europe. It tends to think in terms of its own interests above the concerns of all things European.
In addition, it has long been a major player in shaping and determining the direction of the European Union, its laws, regulations and trade policies. Yet, just as the United Kingdom is geographically disconnected from mainland Europe, it is also disconnected socially, economically, militarily and politically from Europe-at-large. The man- and woman-on-the-street in the UK is British, first and foremost, and then European (that is, if it is convenient, practical and does not interfere with being all things British).
A rift between Britain and Europe was inevitable.
Britain may have voted to leave the European Union, but it presently remains an EU member. To officially leave, the nation must invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty—something that no EU member state has ever done.
When the prime minister formally declares the nation’s intention to leave, it triggers a legal process of two years, a countdown during which Britain must come to an agreement with Europe in determining who gets what. If time runs out without mutual agreements having been met, Britain could walk away with nothing.
UK newspaper The Guardian listed the issues that must be worked out:
David Cameron resigned from his post as prime minister nearly immediately after the outcome of Brexit was made known, which means that it will be up to his successor to invoke Article 50. (The British Parliament may need to sign off on it as well.) In the meantime, many in the EU insist that Britain should begin the exit process as soon as possible.
If push comes to shove, the European Union could force Britain to leave by invoking Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty if it finds the nation in breach of the basic principles of freedom and democracy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, has cautioned against this procedure, saying, “There is no reason to be particularly nasty” (Financial Times).
While these steps are being initiated, Britain continues its EU membership and is still “able to exercise input power on other EU acts during this limbo period” (CNBC).
The news outlet also reported: “Article 50’s language is vague because the EU never envisioned anybody leaving, Chris Bickerton, a lecturer at Cambridge University told the Independent last week. It ‘was drafted with the idea that (Article 50) would not be used, and to make it pretty hard to exit in a smooth way,’ he told the London newspaper.”
Imagine Britain’s marriage to Europe like the scenario of a man and woman stranded on a desert island. They both realize their situation is desperate and, unless things change, their future is dim. They must work together; they have no other choice. Their very survival depends on it.
Now shift to the history of Britain and Europe. Two world wars left the European continent devastated. With Adolf Hitler dead, Nazi Germany smoldering in ruins, and the Soviet Union poised to emerge as a world superpower, the nations of Europe concluded that they must unite—or else.
Though the marriage seemed to work for a little while, their path into the future was fraught with roadblocks, bumps and chaotic turns that seemed to detour into uncertainty. Nonetheless, the partners knew the bed they had made for each other. For a little while, at least, they were prepared to weather any storm on the horizon.
But as with most rocky marriages, divorce was inevitable. Severing the marriage eventually appeared a better option than continuing on the path of the status quo. There were too many disagreements, too many misunderstandings. The proverb, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” became all too real when British voters became fed up with Europe’s liberal leaning toward mass immigration and its financial mismanagement when dealing with fiscally irresponsible countries like Greece. To Britain, Europe had all too often crossed a line that had been drawn in the sand.
It is now clear their marriage of convenience will never be the same; there is no going back.
The questions arise: Where did the marriage go wrong? Had Britain grown tired of European technocrats overruling British lawmakers and telling the UK what laws Europe would allow to go unchecked? Was it Europe’s insistence that the UK accept any and all immigrants into its fold, regardless of UK immigration laws or how it would affect Britain economically, socially, politically? Was it the European Union’s growing and unrelenting pressure for Britain to scrap the British pound in favor of the Euro? Was it the famed “isolated island nation” mindset that Britain has long been accused of holding onto, therefore keeping it separate socially, culturally and mentally from the rest of Europe?
Perhaps a better question might be: Why did such radically different and ultimately incompatible partners get married in the first place?
The island nation of the British peoples always had a mind of its own. After all, it ruled or directly influenced the better part of the Earth, giving rise to the once-popular saying, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” And for good reason: At its zenith, the British Empire stretched across the planet, including England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the original 13 colonies of America, Bermuda, Jamaica, South Africa, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, India, Iraq, Burma (today’s Myanmar), Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, to name a few.
Britain has grown used to ruling on its own and charting its own course into the future. Quite naturally, it bristles whenever bureaucrats approve EU restrictions over British laws.
The result of the Brexit vote further confirms this.
The entire world remains in blissful ignorance of the startling origins of the world’s greatest nations, Britain and the United States—why? Awe-inspiring prophecies regarding history’s great nations have yet to be fulfilled. Roughly one-third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance.
But even the most ardent Bible student is ignorant of what comes next. People in Britain and America, along with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other English-speaking nations, do not know what is set to occur for their peoples because they do not know how to identify their origins in Scripture.
No wonder God lamented in the book of Isaiah: “The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, My people do not consider” (1:3).
While this verse certainly can apply to Western nations, God was specifically addressing the modern descendants of Judah, known today as the Jewish people. Despite suffering great adversity throughout the centuries, taken captive by the Babylonian Empire and then released, and exiled and scattered abroad by the Roman Empire, the Jews never forgot their origins. This is largely because they have kept (for the most part) the seventh-day Sabbath, which identifies and sets apart the God who created it and the people with whom He has worked.
Consider the following excerpt from the book America and Britain in Prophecy, written by this magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief, David C. Pack: “Many have mistakenly thought, ‘The Jews are God’s chosen people.’ This is only partially true, and it denies the tremendous truth about why the United States and Britain rose to such unprecedented prominence and power.
“God’s Holy Word clearly reveals that His entire plan of salvation is inseparable from, and relates to, the nation of Israel. Notice: ‘Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises…’ (Rom. 9:4).
“The Jews never fulfilled the national greatness prophesied—and promised—to come on the modern descendants of ancient Israel. Have you wondered why?
“Now ask yourself: Why is it then that the English-speaking peoples most profess to believe in the Bible and the God it describes? Why is it that all peoples of the world professing worship of the God of the Bible, were at one time taught by these English-speaking, Anglo-Saxon people? Why is it that these same people have done more to preserve the Bible than any other? Is it not also strange that these nations, and not the Jews, have proliferated the Bible around the world far more than all other nations put together?
“The Jews were prophesied to become scattered, and were never foretold to achieve national greatness. It is a far different story for the United States and British Commonwealth! It has been said that ‘Never in history has any country or commonwealth been so blessed’ and that because of this blessing, ‘Never have so few produced so much to feed so many for so little.’ How true of these nations—but this has never been true of the Jews!
“Yet, this book in no way espouses the racist concept of British Israelism, which teaches that Britain is the kingdom of God on Earth. This is impossible, because Britain is declining not increasing. The Bible teaches no such silliness, but rather that the kingdom of God is vastly greater than the British Empire ever was. God’s promises of eternal salvation were never, and never will be, achieved through the horribly decadent and now shattered British Empire.”
Sadly, our modern age largely regards the Bible as antiquated—an archaic collection of “nice ideas” that bear little or no substance to the hectic, chaotic and dramatically changing lifestyles of the 21st century.
Nonetheless, the Bible is so much more than a collection of seemingly unrelated stories and enigmatic parables, listing “dos” and “don’ts” and traumatic, bone-chilling end-time prophecies. The Word of God is man’s Instruction Manual from his Creator, which has been recorded through the ages by divinely inspired servants. As the ultimate Instruction Manual, the Bible explains who and what we are, why we exist, what is life’s ultimate purpose—and how we can achieve it.
The Bible has much to say about the American and British peoples and their ultimate destiny. God’s Word identifies their forefathers, as well as those of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and certain other Western European nations.
If you would like to learn more about America and Britain’s biblical origins—and why they were such uniquely blessed and prosperous peoples—read the book America and Britain in Prophecy.
The future no longer needs to remain shrouded in mystery and uncertainty.