The events shaking the UK, with its legacy of Christian faith and birthing of modern democracy, are truly remarkable. The core issue is one of covenant.
God is treating unfaithful UK as a son by disciplining it, but there is mercy in judgement. It is time for the UK Church and the nation to renew its legacy of covenant – with the God of righteousness, as a United Kingdom, and with Israel.
British people barely voted on relationship with Europe. The nation slid gradually into the evolving European Economic Commission (EEC) and its hardly democratic and increasingly anti-Christian successor – the European Union (EU). Ex-prime minister David Cameron, therefore decided to offer the people a referendum on leaving. He himself thought it far better to remain, but being a democratically principled man let the people decide.
Cameron, who identifies as a Christian, in 2014 had previously offered the Scots a referendum on leaving the UK and was delighted that they chose to remain in covenant by 55% to 45%. At about the same time he introduced a gay marriage law, undermining the Biblical requirement of covenant exclusively between man and woman. Theresa May, a church-goer, was his Home Secretary overseeing this new same sex marriage legislation.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
To Cameron’s shock, the ‘Leave’ vote won by 52% to 48%. Fed up Britons chose Brexit and Cameron resigned. Theresa May, also a ‘remainer’, won the subsequent 2017 General Election, establishing herself as Prime Minister. Like Cameron, May chose to uphold the will of the people, informing the EU that the UK would leave after the required 3-year notice period – March 2019.
Issues of covenant are not new for Great Britain. In the 1917 Balfour Declaration, when evangelical Christians dominated parliament, the government promised a home land for the Jewish people in the Middle East. From 1923 to 1948 Britain, a world leader, governed the Holy Land, having every opportunity to keep their promise.
Genesis 12:3 clearly states concerning any nation’s relationship to Israel:
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.
However, Britain’s chose cursing by compromising its covenantal promises – even abstaining in the 1947 League of Nations (today the United Nations) vote on establishing Israel. In 1948, Israel gained independence while Britain lost the ‘jewel in the crown’ of its huge empire, India. Britain then continued to appease the Middle East’s massive Arab Muslim majority, sometimes at the expense of fragile Israel.
In the latter part of the 20th Century, Britain did little to prevent Israel being attacked by its Arab neighbours in recurring wars, or even the UN. Meanwhile, the UK suffered from extreme and sustained terrorism relating to the political status of Northern Ireland, until Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic voted to approve the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, ending domestic terrorism – but only until the rise of jihadic terrorism. Meanwhile, UK anti-Semitism has been growing and Scotland pushes to leave the UK.
Back to today, from 2016 May’s government negotiated with the EU concerning trade and other post-Brexit arrangements. However, the highly compromised agreement she won was recently voted against by parliament in the biggest parliamentary loss for a ruling party in British history. The next day she faced a vote of no confidence, and only survived as Prime Minister thanks to the 10 votes of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – the nearest thing to a UK Christian party. Now, if the UK cannot achieve a better agreement with the EU, the alternative default is the cliff edge of trading under unfavourable World Trade Organisation rules – a potential global economic earthquake. Otherwise Britain could remain in the EU at the cost of undermining democracy.
Let us intercede for the UK to understand and renew its covenants at this critical time – that our merciful God will make a way where there seems to be none, because of His covenant of love through the cross with those who fear Him!
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, February 3, 2019, and reposted with permission.