Since the referendum

Over two and half years ago, in June 2016, the people of Britain voted in a referendum to leave Europe (Brexit). This event has caused great excitement in the brotherhood because such a move has been expected to happen before Christ’s return and the battle of Armageddon. Bible Prophecies such as Ezekiel 38 show that Britain (Tarshish) is to be in opposition to Europe (Magog and Gomer) in supporting Russia’s invasion of Israel, when Christ returns.

Negotiations with the EU

Another important step in Brexit happened on 29 March 2017, when the British Government triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union to initiate the process of Britain leaving the European Union, with Britain leaving Europe on 29 March 2019.

Over the last two years, the British Government has been in consultation with the European Union (EU) to develop a plan for an orderly exit of Britain from the EU. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been personally leading the process of negotiating an agreement between Britain and the EU as to how Brexit should happen. The negotiations have been difficult, but in December last year, Theresa May presented a plan for Brexit which was agreed by the EU. However, many British MPs and many of the British people have been far from happy with this plan.

The Irish border

One of the key objections to the plan relates to the border between the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland) and Northern Ireland (a part of Britain). At present there is no barrier to the free movement of people and goods across the border between the two parts of Ireland because they are both part of the EU. When Britain leaves the EU and the Republic of Ireland stays in the EU, how will the border function? Neither part of Ireland wants a hard border, where there are Customs inspections of goods and passport controls for people crossing the border. In the Theresa May plan, Britain would remain aligned with the EU Customs Union for an indefinite time after 2020, hence the border between Northern Ireland (part of Britain) and the Irish Republic would allow free movement of goods and people.

However, the proposal has serious problems. Many British MPs are concerned that this would leave Britain bound by the EU Customs Union regulations for an indefinite time, but without any say in the making or modifying of EU regulations once Brexit has happened.

The January 15 vote

With the 29 March 2019 date rapidly approaching, the British Government decided to put the proposal agreed with the EU to the British Parliament. On 15 January 2019, the proposal was put to the Parliament and was defeated by 432 votes against and 202 votes in favour. Apparently, the magnitude of this defeat is larger than any defeat in the history of the British Parliament since 1930. The following day, Jeremy Corban, the leader of the British Labour Party, moved a motion of no confidence in Theresa May as Prime Minister, which was lost by a narrow margin of 325 votes to 306 votes.

On February 7, Theresa May again met with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, to try to renegotiate the Irish border issues but was unsuccessful.

Where to from here?

The defeat of the Theresa May plan has left Britain without a Brexit plan, just 2 months before Brexit is to happen. The British Government is in turmoil. There is now uncertainty about what can be done. Some in Britain are calling for a second referendum. However, as Theresa May has pointed out, there is not time to have another referendum before the 29 March Brexit date. Furthermore, she has pointed out how destructive a second referendum could be to the integrity of the British political system.

Others are calling for a general election. Again there is not sufficient time for an election to happen before the Brexit date.

Others are calling for deferring the Brexit date of 29 March by a few months. This has problems too. European Elections are due in May and the new European Parliament is due to be sworn-in in July. Having Britain as a member state beyond then could be legally tricky. Any British people that were elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) might only sit in the Parliament for a few weeks or months until Brexit is concluded. Apparently, this has legal issues that make it difficult, as well as the practical problems of convincing people to stand for being an MEP with the prospect of only being in the European Parliament for a few weeks or months.

Possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

What appears increasingly likely is that Britain will leave the EU on 29 March without an agreement with the EU — a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Many departments in the British Government are preparing contingency plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit so that disruptions to transport and trade with Europe are minimised.

In some ways, a ‘no deal’ Brexit might fit the Prophetic Word quite well. A ‘no deal’ Brexit could increase the antipathy that Europe has for Britain. For the Europeans, having spent many months negotiating a deal with Britain, to then see that all that work was pointless because Britain leaves without a deal, would likely cause them a level of unhappiness. The recent Tweet from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is indicative of such antipathy developing: “I have been wondering what that special place in Hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan to carry it (through) safely”.

Further, a ‘no deal’ Brexit might result in Europe not getting the £39 billion they want Britain to pay as an exit fee, which could increase their unhappiness with Britain. This appears to be in accord with the opposition of Tarshish to Magog and Gomer in Ezekiel 38.

Deals with Young Lions

While the British Parliament has been in turmoil over getting a Brexit deal with Europe, the British Government’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, has been busy working on international trade agreements for Britain post Brexit. There are some 36 trade agreements with other countries that he wants to establish. It is interesting that the first two deals signed are with Australia and New Zealand. Britain signed agreements with Australia on 20 January and with New Zealand on 21 January to give exporters the certainty of regulatory requirements whilst the full details of free trade deals are hammered out.

Is this evidence of Britain now moving to a closer relationship with the ‘young lion’ countries of the British Commonwealth? Again this appears in accord with Ezekiel 38:13 where Tarshish and the young lions of Tarshish speak out together to oppose the Gogian-led invasion of Israel.

By the time this is read, there may be greater clarity about Brexit. Whatever transpires, we have the comfort of knowing that Yahweh rules in the kingdoms of men and that at the appointed time our Lord will return and give eternal life and eternal happiness to those who have faithfully served and waited for him.