Changing of the Guard!h.355,id.13948,,w.640

Caption: A cargo ship makes its way through the Miraflores locks as it crosses the Panama Canal. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


The decline of U.S.-British control over the world’s sea gates

You’re sitting inside a fenced courtyard where all the gates are locked. At each gate stands an armed guard who will not allow you to leave. You are where?

The correct answer is prison.

Now imagine those burly guards laying down their weapons and handing over their keys to the inmates. That’s essentially what the United States and Britain have done. Prior to World War ii, they controlled every major sea gate in the world. These “gates,” as they are called in the Bible, proved indispensable to Allied success during World War ii. Since that time, however, the U.S. and Britain have, without a fight, surrendered their control as gatekeepers.

The Birthright Promises

Herbert W. Armstrong listed a few of the most strategic passageways in the October 1954 Plain Truth: Gibraltar, Suez, Singapore and the Panama Canal. The United States and Britain gained control of these and many others after about a.d.  1800 because of the unconditional birthright promises God made to Abraham’s seed. One of the blessings promised modern-day Israel (U.S. and Britain primarily) was controlling the “gates” of their enemies (Genesis 22:17; 24:60). The fact that our peoples acquired these geographic gateways itself proves our biblical identity. “We must be modern Israel,” Mr. Armstrong wrote.

Further proof can be found in the fact that our peoples have since lost control of those passageways. This is what God said would happen. Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1980, “As the ‘pride of our power’ continues to be broken, as the British continue to lose their foreign sea gates and possessions around the Earth, as America signs away ownership of the Panama Canal—control over this vital sea gate … this focal prophecy alone represents giant proof as to where the modern ‘remnant’ of the peoples of Israel resides today!” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

The Suez Crisis

He was right. Britain never regained control of the Suez. He was also correct to say the clash was of “life-and-death” import for Britain’s empire. Ten years after the Suez crisis, on July 31, 1966, the British Colonial Office in London shut down. The British Empire was officially dead.


Britain had acquired this little island gateway linking the Indian Ocean to the Far East in an 1824 treaty. It had prospered under colonial rule, benefiting the British strategically, and thousands of Chinese and Malay immigrants who flocked there for higher wages. Aside from its vital importance during World War ii, the island enclave enabled the British to keep peace on the Malay Peninsula after the war. By 1960, the British had finally crushed repeated Communist attempts to conquer the island.

The Panama Canal

That all of these predictions have now happened is astonishing. The U.S. did pull out without a fight—in utter ignominy. Communists did fill many jobs vacated by Americans. As we reported in the Trumpet in 2000, a Hong Kong-based port-facilities company, with Communist connections in Beijing, gained control of the canal’s ports of entry and exit.

In our January 2000 issue, we reminded our readers about what we have said all along—about why the United States lost its most strategic sea gate: “God has ‘broken’ the pride in our power. That is why our people are not stirred by what is happening in Panama. Something is terribly wrong with us! We are afraid to use the power God gave us. … How long must God curse us before we awaken? That is the big question each one of us must answer.”


Concluding the article, the Trumpet stated, “The fact is that Britain has no objection in principle to handing Gibraltar over to Spain, providing this is acceptable to the majority of the Rock’s inhabitants. In other words—it is just a matter of time.”

Other Significant Losses

Besides the four major sea gates Mr. Armstrong said we would lose, many others have also been surrendered.

Chief among these is Hong Kong. Without a struggle, the British gifted this South China Sea prize to Communist rule in 1997. In Hong Kong, China not only inherited one of the world’s richest trade centers, it took over control of the $380 million naval base built by the British. “Never before has so much, used by so many, gone for so little,” declared a member of Britain’s Ministry of Defense. “With the end of British rule in Hong Kong,” the Trumpet wrote, “we see the final act performed in the closure of an empire—a God-given empire—and the hastening of the fulfillment of the prophesied curses upon a spoiled and ungrateful nation, the British people” (June 1997).

We could go on. But the point is this: During the last half of the 20th century, the United States and Britain have been stripped of almost every critical sea gate in the world. Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied of these strategic losses because he used the Bible as his guide to understand world events.

For that reason, we turn to him to see where this is all leading. The sun has already set on the British Empire, he wrote in the Plain Truth more than three decades ago. And because the U.S. came to power a little later than Britain, its setting sun is just behind Britain’s. But both nations have long since lost the pride they once had in their power. God said this would happen because of their rampant sin and rebellion against His law. For that reason, as Mr. Armstrong concluded in the September 1966 Plain Truth, “Midnight is fast approaching.”

Full article: Changing of the Guard (The Trumpet)

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