Events in the past two months on many fronts have shown that Yahweh is continuing to work amongst the nations, providing us the necessary reassurance that the day of the coming of the Lord is near. We have seen the increasing influence of former Army General, Alexander Lebed, as the new Russian head of National Security, setting the agenda for a return to strength of Russia, whilst Boris Yeltsin’s health falters; the new Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, order the closure of PLO offices in Jerusalem and declare that “the city of the great King” (Matt 5:35) is not for negotiation in continuing peace talks; a UN conference on the Global Environment Crisis hears that unchecked global pollution will cause wholesale bankruptcies of insurance firms, a collapse of the banking system and world-wide economic chaos; and a UN report which stated more than half the people on the planet have an income of less than $2 per day—more than 3 billion people. Clearly, man left to himself is unable to solve the complex issues which face the inhabitants of the earth.

This analysis concentrates on very important events unfolding in Europe. The political and military agendas of the European Union (EU) and former communist nations, especially as it relates to Britain, demonstrate the startling accuracy of Bible prophecy in terms of the alignment of the nations at the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Britain’s Support Leans to the US

 The pressure continues to mount on Britain to make a clear-cut decision on its future in the EU. As election day approaches, in both the Tory and Labour Parties opposition is growing to either slow the pace of integration with the nations on the Continent or to seriously consider breaking from the EU altogether.

Over the past month the European and British press have carried a number of articles, which show that the historical divisions between Britain and her European partners are becoming more and more evident.

The Times, July 13 reported: “The European Union has warned the United States that it could restrict American visas, freeze American assets and resort to other measures if it goes ahead with legislation aimed at penalising foreign investors in Cuba.” The legislation (known as the Helms- Burton Bill) aims to reinforce economic sanctions by the United States against Cuba by penalising non-US companies doing business in the US if they continue to trade with Cuba. The article stated that one of the critics of the United States was Britain.

Even stronger language appeared in the press some days later from the French: “There will certainly be a strong reaction said Herve de Charette, French Foreign Minister. But Washington continued to send signals on Monday that Mr Clinton will not waive the new sanctions” (International Herald Tribune, July 16). Noticeably the British seemed to be beginning to moderate the EU stand, when in the same article the British Foreign Minister, Mr Rifkind, said the dispute was a “rift and not a crisis”.

However by the end of the week, there was a clear line of demarcation between the EU position and the emerging British position. “The twenty commissioners yesterday discussed a draft EU blocking statute designed to shield European companies affected (by the Helms-Burton legislation) but deferred a final decision until next week, following a British threat to veto the proposal if it threatened to encroach on EU members’ sovereign rights. Britain has asked for several more days to study the draft statute. However, EU officials said that whatever the UK decided, its last minute intervention had only served to strengthen the commissioners’ determination to press ahead.” (Financial Times, July 25). Clearly, Britain is being distanced from the EU nations as it endeavours not to antagonise the US, but has been offered little room to move by the EU.

European Ban on British Beef Forces a Rethink.

 The Helms-Burton legislation is not the only sticking point over integration of Britain into the EU that was reported in the last month. Britain is still reeling from the precipitous and heavy handed action taken by the EU over its beef and the fears of contamination with Mad Cow Disease. Britain took the issue to the European Court to appeal the decision by the European Commission to ban the export of beef from Britain. The appeal was rejected and one report on the case stated that “John Major expressed surprise and disappointment at the ruling. Tory Euro-sceptics were last night urging the Government to restore the policy of non co-operation with the EU to counter the politically motivated decision” (The Times, July 13).

So not only does the embattled British Prime Minister have to contend with the continuing dire economic circumstances of bans on British beef, but within his own party there is growing disenchantment with the EU and what its benefits are for the British people.

The same report also stated that British beef products (such as tallow and gelatine) have been allowed back on the market, but Germany in violation of the EU decision, has maintained the ban. This seems to reinforce the British view that the ban was politically motivated rather than being in the interests of public health.

Margaret Thatcher ‘Helps’ John Major!

 This opposition is not confined to a handful of irrelevant backbenchers either. “A Conservative Minister resigned, telling Prime Minister John Major his European policy is not working. The Minister, Mr Heathcoat-Armoury, complained specifically about Mr Major’s policy of putting off a decision about joining in European plans for a single currency” (The Wall Street Journal Europe, July 23).

Also, none other than Margaret Thatcher, who still exercises great influence on the Tory Party has continued to propound her anti-EU views. In an article headlined, “Thatcher Dashes Tory Truce Hope” (The Sunday Telegraph, July 28), it was reported, “Lady Thatcher is to dash John Major’s hopes for party unity on Europe during the election by refusing to campaign for any Tory MP opposed by James Goldsmith’s Euro-sceptic Referendum Party. In a move that will embarrass her successor, who has been trying to steer a middle course on Europe, she has now told aides that she will only speak in constituencies where the candidates share her strong Euro-sceptic views.”

 And the opposition is not exclusive to the Tory Party, with a similar ground-swell in the Labour Party, which is expected to form the next British Government. In an article headlined, “Single Currency Disarray Grows” (Financial Times, July 24), it was reported: “Mr Tony Blair, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, was yesterday given a foretaste of his party’s divisions on European monetary union. Stepping up a campaign for a Labour government to rule out joining a single currency during a first term, the newly formed ‘people’s Europe’ group said that fiscal policy would be dictated by the European central bank.”

History is Against Political Integration.

 The opposition is not new. Britain has had a long and difficult path to get where it is today, and despite the intention of previous and present governments, there has never been a mandate from the people, and even elected members are rebelling against the policies of the parties that they belong to. In a commentary entitled, “Britain Must be Frank with Europe and Itself”(The Wall Street Journal Europe, July 24), the key issues were identified and concluded with an interesting quotation from the German Chancellor, Dr Kohl, “Britain joined the European Economic Community for trade, but finds itself caught up in a political club instead. Rather than tackling this issue head on, Labour and Conservative governments have for 25 years systematically denied and distorted the continuing political aims for European integration—knowing that they had no mandate for such a project from the British people—and pretended instead that they were somehow transforming Europe from within. The present government is no exception to this rule. Just as Sir Edward Heath’s white paper insisted in 1971 that ‘there is no question of any erosion of national sovereignty’ so John Major’s White Paper of 1996 quoted German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on decentralisation in support of the government’s bogus claims that it is winning the argument in favour of a Europe of nation-states. This is a severe distortion of reality. As Mr Kohl has always made clear, he thinks sovereign states are incapable of solving ‘existential problems’ of Europe in the 21st century. He has even said that they are a factor in promoting instability and war. This fundamental incompatibility between Britain’s stated reasons for being in the EU and the fact that fourteen other governments support political integration instead, has ruined Anglo-European relations for forty years.”

The Dragon and the Beast Are of One Mind.

 We as Christadelphians should find these events as wonderful comfort. It is very clear from a scriptural position that Britain has little in common with the influential members of the EU, who today hide behind the cloak of the EU to impose their political will on her. These European powers that constitute the EU find their origins in “the dragon, and… the beast” powers (Rev 16:13), that will exercise their collective power with “one mind” (Rev 17:13), and will shortly hand its power to the “the beast” (Rev 17:14). Britain as the bastion of Protestantism, whose sovereign is the Head of the Anglican Church, and who continues to differ on many issues, especially on policies of political integration and laws formulated by one of her “young lions” is not of the same mind.

Indeed, the entire religious fabric of the EU has been and is centred on Roman Catholicism. The “dragon” represents the eastern element of the Roman Empire based on ancient Constantinople, which greatly assisted the papacy in coming to power, especially the Emperor Flavius Petrus Sabgatius Justinianus (Justinian I) who declared that the Bishop of Rome was the “universal bishop” of the church (AD 534). The latter day “dragon” is Russian and her eastern confederates, who are independent of the “beast” power, but who co-operate at the highest levels with “the beast” and “the false prophet”. The “beast” represents the western element of the Roman Empire, which originally had as its capital Vienna, and points to the Catholic nations of Central Europe.

Britain is incompatible with a federation that is a political union based on the Roman Catholic system, and so we may expect that over time the United Kingdom will become more closely aligned with the US and move away from the political integration being demanded by the leading luminaries of the EU.

A hint of this direction can be observed in an article with the headline, “Allies Look Impotent Without US, NATO Says” (International Herald Tribune, July 30). The article states that, “Despite Western Europe’s avowed intent to build a robust, autonomous military capable of acting without massive US support, the gap between American armed forces and those across the Atlantic remains enormous and is widening in key areas.” As a consequence, General Naumann of Germany, the head of the Military Committee of NATO has been urging Europeans to invest in efforts to modernise their militaries by 2004–2005, so that they could achieve their stated goal of independence from the US.

This plea is from a German General and the fact that the arms manufacturers are making huge sales in military hardware to the former communist nations in eastern Europe, who now have access to advanced defence technology underscores Europe’s military ambitions. The Central European nations of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are reported to have expressed interest in buying as much as $8 billion in advanced fighters alone (International Herald Tribune, July 16).

It is clear from these moves that the political and military agenda of the “the dragon and… the beast” aided and abetted by “the false prophet” is on track for the climax when their former ally, Britain, will challenge, together “with all the young lions”, their military foray against the “mountains of Israel” prior to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ as the “El Gibbor” of Isaiah 9:6.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).