Britain is closer than ever to cutting ties with the European Union. What will Europe look like once the British are gone?
If the European Union wants to make British people angry, it’s doing a stellar job. In October, after revising how they calculate gross domestic product, EU officials determined that Britain was wealthier than they thought. They abruptly handed Britain an unexpected bill for $2.7 billion, including back payment, for the EU budget. Then other EU leaders publicly castigated London for noncompliance with the EU’s liberal immigration policies. And in November, Jean-Claude Juncker—a man who openly spurns democratic norms, saying, for example, in 2011, “I am for secret, dark debates”—was appointed president of the European Commission.
Britain’s simmering resentment of the EU boiled over.
Ever since Britain joined up with Europe in 1973, it has experienced rhetorical fights, political impasses and financial catastrophes. Rather than cohering and melding into Europe, its closeness with the Continent has only caused friction. Yet it has remained steadfastly part of the EU.
But signs are increasing that this relationship is at an impasse. These days, major problems with Europe seem to come every few months, each sparking a reaction more impassioned than the last. And in 2014, the British electorate sent a strong message that it is ready to end the status quo.
Britain is undergoing a huge political shift.
The shift is so dramatic that U.S. think tank Stratfor—an organization that rarely focuses on internal national politics—noted that ukip leader Nigel Farage’s “rapid rise in British politics has moved the entire British political spectrum toward more euroskeptical positions, and no major party is impervious to ukip’s influence. … Britain’s traditional party system dominated by the Tories [Conservatives] and Labor will undergo a tough test in 2015″ (Oct. 15, 2014).
As 2015 dawns on Britain’s relationship with the EU, one thing is clearer than ever. Britain has gone as far toward EU integration as it’s ever going to get. And the gap between the Isles and the Continent is widening fast.
Why is the UK always the fractious member, always wanting to do its own thing? Other EU member countries have issues with Brussels—but none is so keen on leaving as Britain.
What we are seeing is really a manifestation of a fundamental and historical difference between people of Britain and those on the European mainland. Understanding this difference can illuminate just how irreconcilable the differences that are visible between the two really are. And beyond that, it can help to show the direction we can expect Europe to take once—as we expect will happen—the UK is no longer in the picture.
The essential nature of this difference can be best understood by viewing today’s European unification project in its historical context.
The Dream of Rome
“There was once a dream that was Rome,” said Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the movie Gladiator. “You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter.” But this fictional version of Marcus Aurelius was wrong. That dream was not fragile. Instead, it has been one of the most enduring dreams in all of history.
The Britons “might be within the Roman Empire. But they were outside the charmed circle of Romanness,” writes historian David Starkey in his history of Britain, Crown and Country. “They were subjects and natives. They were not Romans.”
“Everything that was Roman about Britain,” he says, was “annihilated.”
“Quite why the Anglo-Saxons should have behaved so differently from their fellow Germanic tribesmen across the Channel it is hard to say,” he writes.
Romano Prodi, one of the EU’s elder statesmen, describes the effect of Britain’s flirtations with exiting. “France is ever more disoriented, and Britain is losing power by the day in Brussels after its decision to hold a referendum on EU membership,” he wrote in an article for the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero (Nov. 23, 2014).
The result of this retreat is a new power structure building around Germany.
“Germany is exercising an almost solitary power,” Prodi continued. “The new presidents of the Commission and the Council are men who rotate around Germany’s orbit, and above all there is a very strong (German) presence among the directors, heads of cabinet and their deputies. The bureaucracy is adapting to the new correlation of forces.”
The Telegraph’s international business editor, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, correctly identified what Prodi is describing: “a reconstituted Holy Roman Empire governed from Berlin.” As Britain turns to exit, Europe is once again resurrecting that dream of Rome.
The Missing Ingredient
His analysis only slightly misses the mark, and mirrors very closely what Herbert W. Armstrong, editor in chief of the Trumpet’s predecessor, the Plain Truth, wrote in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy: Europe’s “leaders talk continually of political union—which means, also, military. So far they have been unable to bring about full political union. This will be made possible by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, who alone can be the symbol of unity to which they can look.”
That situation continues to this day. As has now been well documented, top European leaders launched the euro, Europe’s common currency, in order to force the nations that use it to come together in a political union. That has not happened yet. As bad as it was, the euro crisis was an insufficient catalyst. The missing ingredient in the formula is the Vatican. And there are signs it won’t be missing for much longer.
Because of His promises to Abraham—and not for any special talents or virtues of the British—God gave Britain a world-ruling empire. To do this, He had to preserve them and separate them from the continent of Europe. At the same time, the repeatedly resurrected Roman Empire played a separate role in His plans. Neither group of people is better than the other. Both Britain and Europe are sinning peoples who live in a world that has rejected God. In the coming, God-ruled world, the descendants of Israel and Germany (Assyria) are listed, side by side, among the leading nations of the world (Isaiah 19:24-25).
But for today, God is allowing a revival of the Holy Roman Empire to emerge to punish modern Israel—mainly Britain, America and the Jews in the Middle East. These nations have a long history with God, as detailed in the Bible. They received a huge abundance of blessings from Him. Yet they have become deeply sinful nations—leading many other nations into a way of life that brings misery and hopelessness.
This is the ultimate reason why Britain and the EU cannot mix. Britain is descended from biblical Israel, God’s own nation, and the Holy Roman Empire is the system God will use to punish those descendants of Israel.
This understanding of this master key goes far beyond merely unlocking the history of a small island off the northeast coast of Europe and its place in the EU. “[A]n entire third of our Maker’s revelation to mankind [the Bible] is devoted to prophecy—writing the history of future events before they occur,” wrote Mr. Armstrong in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. “These foretold future events reveal the great purpose being finally worked out—being brought to its completion.”
Full article: What Happens When You Take the UK out of the EU? (The Trumpet)