Has anybody on this side of the Pond (Atlantic) been able to figure out this United Kingdom brouhaha called Brexit? Since the mission of this Fourth Watch blog is to track the headlines in order to examine events or trends confirming time running out for our civilization, let’s see if the big story preoccupying Europe these days is an indicator of the diminishing times.
The European Union (EU) is a group of 28 countries that operates as a cohesive economic and political block, with nineteen of the countries using the euro as their official currency (www.investopedia.com/terms/e/europeanunion.asp). That much we know. For years the United Kingdom has been a card-carrying member of the EU. But three years ago, bemoaning the political, currency and economic bonds that EU membership required and nostalgic for the days when Britain stood alone as a nation empire, a majority of the British electorate voted to exit the EU (hence the moniker Brexit).
But trouble boiled over when the members of the British Parliament could not agree on just how that exit would best be accomplished. And the ensuing three years under Prime Minister Theresa May have been an unfolding saga of national deadlock.
A deadlock painfully evidenced this March in the repeated attempts of the Prime Minister to negotiate an orderly exit and the repeated rejections of Parliament to those efforts. But the onus now apparently is on the House of Commons which while rejecting the PM’s proposals has been unable to offer a majority-supported alternative. Deadlock.
And the clock is ticking down on April 12’s deadline for a decision. Google the story for the details—the bottom line is wincingly clear: confusion. Nobody in the UK, nobody in the EU, no government leader or political hack has been able to resolve the confusion and rather chaotic uncertainty (not in the press, the financial markets, or the electorate—nobody).
But speaking of the Fourth Watch (in the Roman reckoning, the darkest hour before night’s end), should followers of the soon-coming Christ be surprised? The ancient Babel narrative is a morality tale writ large for this civilization today: "But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other’" (Genesis 11:5-7).
The European Union arguably is a throwback to what some consider the halcyon days of the Holy Roman Empire, the Dark and Middle Ages union of European nations under the rulership of Rome. But the story of Babel and the towering image of Daniel 2 are biblical evidence of the divine "check" God has placed upon human/government unification. "Thus far and no further." The history of earth heretofore is one of the repeated attempts at global unification and repeated failures. "Thus far and no further."
The American writer Ellen White observed: "Henceforth in our day, the nations are to be in a very uncertain state. Kings and rulers [prime ministers and presidents] will be involved in greater perplexities than they ever thought possible." Sound familiar? Babel, Brexit. Chaos, confusion. Why? She goes on: ". . . this is because they are disobedient to the Word of the Lord and work entirely contrary to His principles" (Letter 12, 1897).
It is the lesson King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn, a lesson so few rulers over the millennia have ever learned: "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever" (Daniel 2:44).
As for Brexit and the EU, there is one power quietly waiting for the vacuum of leadership to become so strong that its offer to lead the nations once again will be heartily accepted. One day.
And thus we live—all of us—in "the fourth watch" of history. And we know how the story ends.