June 8 Letter from Chairman Rhodes
June 8, 2012
The year 2012 will long be remembered throughout Britain and the Commonwealth as the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years on the throne.
Diane and I were privileged to be in London for the highlights of the occasion—the River Pageant on the Thames, the special service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the procession ending with the Queen and members of the royal family appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The last (and only) Diamond Jubilee was in 1897 when Queen Victoria was on the throne. Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee has been described as “the climax of Empire.” The new century soon saw Britain in terminal decline, and the empire fall apart.
History often is simply fulfilled prophecy.
In 1897 when Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was being celebrated, Great Britain was at the height of its power, a direct fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis, chapter 48, when “he [the biblical patriarch Jacob] set Ephraim before Manasseh” (verse 20). Victoria was the Queen-Empress who ruled over the prophesied “multitude of nations” (verse 19), a quarter of the world’s people.
At the time of Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne 55 years later, that empire was still largely intact. It was soon to be dismantled, again fulfilling prophecy. The multitude of nations was Britain’s strength; it’s dismantling could only result in weakness. Britain is not the great power it once was. Manasseh replaced Ephraim as the global superpower and international policeman.
This is exactly as God said it would be.
Prior to visiting England, we were in South Africa, another part of the world that has seen prophecy fulfilled in recent years. We were invited down there to spend Pentecost weekend with most of the church members at a resort in Drakensville, where I spoke to the church on both the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Pentecost. Behind me when I spoke was one of the most magnificent backdrops ever seen in a church meeting hall—the Drakensburg Mountains. To everyone’s amusement the mountains were not there Sunday morning—obscured by a mist that hid them from our view!
The church in South Africa is growing, and I was able to talk with some of the new members there. Their stories of how they came into the United Church of God were very interesting and most encouraging.
Only 20 years ago, South Africa was ruled by people of Israelite descent. Prior to 1961 it was one of the “multitude of nations” with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. Then it went its own way. In 1994 the ruling Nationalist Party handed power over to the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela became President. Jacob Zuma is the third native African president. The country is a very western-oriented nation, with a great deal of prosperity.
But the change in 1994 was a fulfillment of prophecy—the end of Israelite domination. The blessings to Israel were prophesied to be withdrawn as the people turned away from God. Deuteronomy chapter 28 is a warning to the modern Israelites of the negative consequences of sin. The Israelites were told they would lose control of their nations to non-Israelites: “He shall be the head and you shall be the tail” (verse 44).
The fulfillment of prophecy is very real to Church members in South Africa. But fulfilled prophecy has not stopped with the end of the British Empire. Further developments are taking place that once again shows the hand of God in world affairs.
Although the news in Britain was dominated by the Jubilee, there was also news of Europe’s ongoing serious economic problems. England is going through a period of austerity and economic decline, with rising unemployment a major problem. But the 17-member eurozone is in deeper trouble. There is speculation that bankrupt Greece may pull out of the single currency. Spanish banks appear on the verge of collapse. Some even think that the euro as a currency is doomed.
What is clear is that the continuing financial crisis that began well over two years ago has had one significant prophetic result—Germany has emerged as European leader.
Historian Niall Ferguson predicted in an interview in the London Sunday Times on May 20 that only a federal super state could save Europe and the euro. “I am not a federalist,” he says, “But the costs of the single currency disintegrating are really so high and would impact so many people, that the only responsible thing for me to do is to argue urgently for the next step to a federal Europe. I see no alternative at the moment that isn’t a great deal worse.”
Germanforeignpolicy.com led with the following startling paragraph on May 21: “In the run-up to new elections in Greece, the German elite is discussing various scenarios involving the use of force to ensure control over Athens, including the establishment of a protectorate or the deployment of ‘protection forces’ in that southern European country.”
England may soon have a German-dominated European super state on its doorstep.
Please note I said “England” and not “Britain” or the “United Kingdom.” In two years, Scotland is set to vote on independence. A “yes” vote would result in an isolated England, surrounded by potentially hostile powers, weaker than it’s ever been since the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth over 400 years ago.
Hosea 5 reminds us that Ephraim, Manasseh and Judah will all fall at the same time, within a period of 30 days (a “New Moon”). ‘The pride of Israel testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them…They have dealt treacherously with the Lord. For they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage” (Hosea 5:5, 7).
Israel here most likely refers to the U.S., as it is the chief nation of modern Israel. Remember that Jacob (Israel) said: “Let my name be named upon them” (Genesis 48:16), referring to the two sons of Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh.
With a European super state about to rise, it’s not too difficult to see how England can fall. But what about the United States?
A read of postwar British history shows that the loss of empire was primarily due to the country’s financial problems. The U.S. is now going through exactly the same problems Britain faced in the aftermath of war—having to face the consequences of military overspending. The need to balance the budget will become more urgent, and military spending will inevitably be cut, curtailing global American power just as it did British power.
The scene is clearly set for the rise of a European super state and the collapse of American power. History in the making—prophecy fulfilled!
The good news is that this new superpower won’t last long and will be the final human-led government before the return of Jesus Christ to sit on David’s throne, the very throne that was the center of the world’s attention last weekend.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast…These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of Lords and King of kings” (Rev 17:12, 14).
It won’t be long before we can say that the Kingdom of God is prophecy fulfilled!
Melvin Rhodes—Chairman, United Church of God, an International Association