When the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU began hotting up this blog was blessed with contributions from readers and others. Neil Mackereth offered his helpful and succinct ‘executive summary’ with several flagged appendices on the real nature of the EU – see UK/EU in/out #2 – Stay or Leave?
I’m grateful to Neil for offering his latest observations for our consideration, as follows:
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH?
Recent failures in election polling predictions at home and abroad show a trend where the expected is trumped (no pun intended) by the unexpected. In pondering on the startling events of recent months I have been wondering whether we can draw any conclusions to help guide our prayers and actions.
A spiritual indifference has taken root in the world today. The rulers, leaders, decision makers and diplomats are trying to solve problems using the wisdom of this age – their own “wisdom”, world-view, self-interest, conceit and disdain (see 1 Corinthians 2:6, 14.).
In what follows, I look first at some broad spiritual aspects before focussing on secular Brexit matters and then considering the spiritual implications of Brexit.
A Spiritual Perspective
We have a God of surprises.
As always, God is in control and is working out His purposes. We need to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open in these turbulent times and seek to understand the Kingdom significance of events. We may not know what God is doing but we can still choose to go with Him in the fulfilment of His purposes, even though they are a mystery to us. Whatever happens, it is maintaining our relationship with Jesus that is paramount.
Everything that Jesus said, and everything written by the prophets, will be fulfilled. The test is whether we believe that God knows what He is doing; that everything that happens is not random but entirely in His ruling and judgement. Do we absolutely trust the wit and wisdom of God rather than relying on our own experience and ideas?
A Secular Perspective
Now let us look at some indicators on the political and economic fronts.
America is caught up in election fever and Europe is facing murderous security challenges and suffering Brexit aftershocks. There are burgeoning political, economic and security problems that could easily lead to the collapse of the EU.
Are EU leaders telling the truth?
A year or so ago, we were encouraged to believe that if Greece were to leave the EU it would be disastrous for the Union. However, now that the UK, a net contributor to the EU and an economy which, in GDP terms, is 15 times larger than Greece, we are told that our leaving is “manageable”
Similarly, there were special arrangements made to help Cyprus: it is also clear that Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain have grave economic problems. They are a severe drain on EU finances and have a negative effect on moving forward with the federal vision.
It is disingenuous to suggest that Brexit is not a serious, serious problem for the EU economy. Britain’s GDP is bigger than Austria’s, Belgium’s, Sweden’s, Netherlands’, Ireland’s, Finland’s and Greece’s combined. UK and Germany are the only net contributors to the EU budget.
Furthermore, London is the leading financial marketplace and has the most active foreign-exchange market, the largest international debt market, the biggest money markets and the highest level of derivatives trading. London ranks No1 on the Global Financial Centres Index.
The real question is not whether the UK will weather the storm but whether the EU will!
What impact will a continuing EU meltdown have on the global economy and are there any precedents to guide us?
Surprising as it may seem, the former Soviet Union (USSR) may provide some insight on a possible course of events.
The USSR was established on the basis of a centrally controlled economy. The EU model is not quite the same but there are various parallels.
In the early years the USSR economy grew reasonably well. However, there followed a period of stagnation, a developing era of economic and social discontent and a growing nationalistic fervour within the 15 states of the Union. The roots of this nationalism, the different languages, ethnic and tribal groupings, religious and cultural heritage, and other distinctions of custom and practice, were fed in part by the economic instability and eventually led to the collapse of the USSR.
Similar fault lines can be seen in the EU today. The comparisons are quite startling and can be researched in more detail on the internet. Suffice it to say, there has been growth followed by stagnation and, after the 2008 debt crises, rising unemployment and ensuing economic decline. Corruption and nepotism are on the increase, as is a growing resentment of centralised bureaucracy.
The PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) stumble from debt crisis to debt crisis.
These tensions have encouraged anti-EU sentiment and political activity particularly within member states like Hungary, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Greece. Separatist movements are gaining support in much the same way as they did in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan from 1986 onwards.
In both the USSR and the EU the central governments, initially credited with creating economic wellbeing, found that they could not cope with the growing economic challenges.
The flaw in the USSR model was an inflexible, all-encompassing central bureaucracy.
In the EU, it is an unwieldy central monetary policy which, in effect, imposes a single interest rate on all countries and leads to an unmanageable imbalance between strong and weak economies. Furthermore, those countries that have embraced the Euro have lost the ability to control their financial destinies: they can no longer act independently to manage their economic challenges in a way that is specific to their individual needs.
Brexit is a catalyst event that threatens to precipitate the break-up of the EU. It is propelling the various anti-EU political movements to renewed vigour. Hard-line Eurosceptic parties are making strong gains – what they thought improbable (leaving the EU) they now see as a distinct possibility.
Whatever people may say, Brexit is the most serious crisis the EU has ever faced.
Notwithstanding the clear vote for UK to leave, we are in an interregnum, a time between membership of the EU and our return to independent nationhood. We know where we are going but we are not there yet.
It is undoubtedly a time for earnest prayer.
What has happened? God has ensured (against expectations and the polls) that:
- The Conservative Party, having promised a referendum on EU membership, was elected to government with an overall majority.
- Mr Cameron honoured the referendum pledge.
- The Labour Party, which might have influenced the Remain vote, is in disarray.
- The people voted to leave the EU.
- Mr Cameron (having fulfilled his role in God’s plan) has been replaced (virtually unopposed) by Theresa May, a practicing/professing Christian.
- The doomsayers are repeatedly being proved wrong about stock market confidence and UK economic trends – the forecast recession has not materialised and seems less likely with each new set of results. [Regular updates at Why Leave the EU?]
- The UK successes in the Olympic Games have surpassed all expectations. [See Prophetic Words on GB as Sports-superpower.]
What are my conclusions from this? God has decreed that Britain is to be born again. God has heard the prayers of a British remnant crying in the wilderness: He is in the process of removing Great Britain from an unholy alliance and breaking the web of inappropriate soul ties that have been insidiously constructed over the last 40 years.
The signs of demonic influence in the EU are startlingly obvious, to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. The EU is on a course to disaster and God is rescuing the UK to be a tower of strength, a light in a dark place, in the time of need that is fast approaching.
We are not there yet. Fervent prayer is needed: “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). It is clear from Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 that even though we think we know the course we are on; it is still necessary to pray expectations into reality. We do not know why it should be so, but it is clear from Scripture, history and our experiences, that God wants us to be involved in His purposes.
The battle is raging in the heavenly realms. As in Daniel 10, princes are fighting to retain their territories and seek to thwart God’s plans. However, the angels of God are advancing; defeating delaying tactics and recovering lands: victory is assured.
We have so much to be thankful for, so much has been set in train by God’s design: now we most earnestly pray for God’ mercy and forgiveness, and for the fulfillment of the reestablishment of Great Britain as an independent nation under God.
- Brexit Briefing 1 – A Word for the Queen & On Praying for PM May and Britain
- Brexit Briefing 3 – Dr Clifford Hill: Is God Blessing Britain?
- See EU in God’s Face for articles and prophecies on the referendum.
- I first met Neil at his excellent extensive course on End-Times at Winchester Vineyard Church (and which will re-run this Autumn). The outcome is his conversational-style introduction to what the Bible teaches about the climax of history and the end of the world, as we know it. For more information and my recommendation see this post, or click image for fuller details and to purchase.