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The United States and the United Kingdom once dominated the world's seas. The Bible predicted the rise of these nations' sea power, and offers a sobering warning about their decline.
Vital sea gates—ocean passageways such as the Panama Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar—are changing hands as the 20th century draws to a close. Yet these changes, so critical to global commerce and regional defense, seldom rate front-page headlines.
For nearly two centuries, the United States and Britain (or friendly allies) have controlled nearly all of these important sites. In fact, the possession of these strategic sea gates was directly responsible for the emergence of America and Britain as world powers. Most politicians and Western secular media appear oblivious to the real significance of these changes, yet the Bible provides sobering insights as to why these transfers are occurring and where they will lead. You cannot afford to ignore what is taking place right before our eyes!
Just how did the United States and Britain come to possess such critical pieces of global real estate—Panama, Suez, Gibraltar, Singapore, and many other strategic locations around the world—at the particular time that they did? Was it merely a matter of chance, or was it part of a greater plan being worked out here on earth? Most journalists and historians don't have a clue. Yet the Bible reveals, through a series of specific promises and prophecies, how the Americans and British came to control these sea gates—and why they are losing that control.
Approximately 4,000 years ago, God began to work with a man named Abram (later Abraham). God prepared Abraham to become the father of a people—the Israelites—through whom God would show the world how to function according to His way of life. Abraham and his descendants were promised certain blessings if they would obey God's instructions (Genesis 12:1–3). God intended the Israelites to be a blessing to mankind as they learned to follow His instructions, but the Israelite nations have not always lived up to God's intended purpose.
God specifically promised Abraham "your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies" (Genesis 22:17). This promise was repeated to Rebekah (who became the bride of Isaac— Abraham's son). She was told "may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them" (Genesis 24:60). While some modern Bible versions translate the Hebrew word for gate as city or town, this totally overlooks or obscures the real intent of the word, and it misses the whole point of the prophetic promise. The Hebrew word for gate is sha'ar which means "an opening" like a door, a gate, a port or city (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #8179). The Hebrew language of the Bible uses completely different words for city and town (see Strong's, #5892, #7023, #7151). Modern reference books refer to locations such as the Strait of Gibraltar, the Bosporus and the Suez Canal as "the gateways to Europe" (see National Geographic Satellite Atlas of the World, 1998) in the same sense as the word used in the biblical promise.
Not only does the Bible state that the Israelite nations would gain possession of the gates of their enemies, it indicates that control would come at a particular point in time. In the book of Leviticus, the Israelites were warned that their promised blessings would be withheld seven times if they despised God's instructions (Leviticus 26:17–18). The "seven times" in this prophecy suggests both intensity and duration of time. It is interesting to note that Israel's Assyrian captivity began in 721BC and Judah's Babylonian captivity began in 604BC. Using the "day for a year" principle of Ezekiel 4:6, the seven times would equal 2,520 years (360 days x 7=2,520). Projecting ahead 2,520 years from the beginning of the captivities would bring us to the period from 1800AD to 1917—the very time period in which the British and Americans gained control of these vital sea gates! The probability of these many acquisitions occurring by chance is extremely small! (For more information on this vital topic, please request our free booklet entitled What's Ahead for America and Britain?).
These amazing prophecies do not end with the descendants of Abraham retaining possession of the gates of their enemies. Nearly 3,500 years ago, God told Moses to inform the Israelites that if they obeyed His instructions they would be blessed, but if they disobeyed and failed to observe His commandments they would be punished (Deuteronomy 28:1–2,15). In another specific prophecy, God stated that as punishment for disobedience the enemies of Israel would "besiege [vex, trouble, oppress] you at all your gates" (Deuteronomy 28:52, 55). Many prophecies indicate that the Israelite nations will be defeated suddenly and quickly by their enemies, and carried into captivity in foreign lands (Deuteronomy 28:20–25; Isaiah 29:5; 30:12–13; Jeremiah 15:1–8; 30:1–7,24). The Bible clearly predicts that the sea gates promised as a blessing to Abraham's descendants will be lost to their enemies when God begins to "break the pride of your power" as punishment for their disobedience (Leviticus 26:17–18). This process, which began in the mid-1900s, appears to be reaching a climax as we approach the end of the 20th century.
In 1956, Egypt took over the Suez Canal by force. The canal had been built by the French in the 1850s and operated by a joint British-French company for almost a century. During the period of British-French control the canal operated under a policy that guaranteed freedom passage for ships of all nations, without discrimination, in peace and in war (see Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 25, 1997). However, after Egypt nationalized the canal, it was closed to Israeli ships and to ships carrying Israeli goods. Then, after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Egypt closed the canal to all ships until 1975. As most Middle East oil reaches Europe and North America via the Suez Canal, we can see that a future conflict between Western powers and Egypt or its Arab neighbors could quickly jeopardize both the economy and the military deployments of Egypt's opponents who rely on the Suez Canal.
The Bosporus, a narrow waterway connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, is controlled by Turkey—a nation that is 98 percent Muslim and has had on-again, off-again relations with northwest Europe, Russia and other Middle Eastern nations. The Bosporus stands to gain increased importance as oil and gas from the Caspian Sea are shipped to other parts of the world. Depending on which way the political winds blow, this could also spell trouble in the future for non-Muslim Western nations.
The rock of Gibraltar guards the western entrance to the Mediterranean. Gibraltar is actually a Spanish peninsula, and was held by Spain from 1462 until 1704 when it was captured by the British. The British have controlled this valuable naval base for nearly 300 years, but Spain has been demanding that Gibraltar be returned to Spanish sovereignty. If Spain gains control as a member of the European Union, and Britain does not eventually link up with the EU, the movement of British and American traffic into and out of the Mediterranean could be curtailed. The United States and Britain would lose their ability to influence events in southern Europe and the Middle East.
Singapore, at the southeastern edge of the Eurasian landmass, is one of the busiest ports in the world. It stands adjacent to the Straits of Malacca— the preferred route between the Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Pacific Ocean—a strategic location "that for centuries has been coveted by regional and, especially, non-regional powers" (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 24, 1997). Founded by the British in 1819, it remained under their control for nearly 150 years until it became an independent nation in 1965. Singapore's population is more than 75 percent Chinese. Current news reports indicate that China desires control of the South China Sea— through which is transported most of the Middle East oil destined for Japan and the Philippines. China also wants to regain control of Taiwan, which dominates the northern entrance to the South China Sea. The Chinese have indicated that they could threaten cities on the west coast of North America if the United States were to come to Taiwan's defense should hostilities occur in that region (see The Coming Conflict with China, Bernstein and Ross, 1997). This critical area of the world will be worth watching—especially as the influence of America and Britain wanes in this region.
The Panama Canal is at America's very doorstep. It has been called one of the great crossroads of the world and the most vital strategic waterway in the world. The canal, first envisioned by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, was begun by the French and completed by the Americans in 1914. When it opened, the Panama Canal was considered "the greatest construction project the world had ever seen" (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 21, 1997). A real boon to international trade, the canal is traversed by as many as 50 ships each day, and between 12,000 to 15,000 vessels per year. The 50-mile trip through the canal saves approximately 7,000 miles that would be required to sail around the southern tip of South America. This important sea gate is not only vital to world trade, it has also played a key role in the movement of United States naval vessels during many military conflicts.
Despite the Panama Canal's importance, the United States will on December 31, 1999 give control of the canal to the nation of Panama. The United States will also relinquish control of military bases, deep water ports and airfields in Panama. The official United States government position is that "the canal has lost its importance and the country its strategic value—and that there is no need for continued military presence there" (Arizona Republic, May 1, 1999). Incredible as it may seem, a large Hong Kong-based firm with close ties to the Chinese will gain control over the key ports, Balboa and Cristobal, at each end of this strategic waterway. This corporation will also have long-term options on military installations vacated by the United States (National Security Center 1998 Briefing Report). Considering China's continuing military build-up and declared intent to limit United States influence in the world, the canal turnover could prove, in the not-too-distant future, to be a costly mistake. One analyst believes the next major war will be based on "strategic positioning, aerospace, and the ability to protect maritime assets" which are the focus of China's current policies (WorldNetDaily.com, 1999).
One of the key reasons that the United States and Britain rose to prominence was their gaining possession of strategic gateways around the globe. This occurred according to prophecies that have been recorded in the Bible for thousands of years, and happened in the prophesied time period between 1800 and 1917—approximately 2,520 years after the nations of Israel and Judah went into captivity. These fulfillments of prophecy are facts of history. But now these vital gateways are changing hands. Nations with interests and desires that clearly clash with America and Britain are taking control of these strategic locations. This should be a cause for concern for anyone thinking about the future.
Many foreign policy analysts have openly offered warnings. Samuel Huntington of Harvard University has described a growing trend that "virtually all major regional powers are increasingly asserting themselves to promote their own distinct interests, which often conflict with those of the United States" (The Lonely Superpower, >Foreign Affairs, March/April, p. 37, 1999). Huntington and others sense a move by nations around the world to limit and counterbalance the influence of the United States, which is increasingly viewed by other nations as "a menace to their integrity, autonomy, prosperity and freedom of action. They view the United States as intrusive, interventionist, exploitative, unilateralist, hegemonic, hypocritical, and applying double standards… engaging in financial imperialism and intellectual colonialism" (Ibid, p. 43). When America speaks for the international community it is primarily on behalf of her "Anglo- Saxon cousins (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)"—not the rest of the world (Ibid, p. 41). Huntington warns that other nations' reactions to the superpower United States could escalate from fear, resentment and envy to opposition and collective action (Ibid, p. 45). With the loss of strategic sea gates to nations opposing the influence of the United States and her Anglo-Saxon allies, the future is sobering to contemplate—and that future is just around the corner!
The peoples of the United States, Britain and other nations whose roots trace to northwest Europe have inherited the blessings God promised the descendants of Abraham. Those promises were based on the obedience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their families to the laws of Almighty God. God chose to work with Israel so it would become a light to the world and an example of God's way of life to mankind (Deuteronomy 4:1–8). As the Israelites learned to apply His commandments and statutes they would be a blessing to all who came into contact with them. To a degree this has happened. The Israelite nations have spread the benefits of civilization, culture, science and technology around the globe. But God repeatedly warned His chosen people not to depart from His way or disregard His commandments or follow other gods—lest they be punished (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15–28; 6:10–17; 28:15–28).
God told Moses that following his death "this people will play the harlot with the gods of foreigners… they will forsake me and break my covenant… then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them… and they shall be devoured" (Deuteronomy 31:16–17). Moses' last words to the elders of Israel were "I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands" (Deuteronomy 31:28–29). This is an apt description of Israelite nations today—affluent, amoral, addicted to crass, godless materialism and beset by troubles abroad. Professor Huntington has pointed out these same troubles occurred in both 5th century Rome and 19th century China. They were weakened by internal decay and by forces from outside. The United States and her Anglo- Saxon cousins are merely repeating the mistakes of the past.
Fortunately, those of you reading this article can avoid the consequences of disobedience to God and His commandments that are prophesied to come on our peoples. The Apostle Peter urged individuals to "save yourselves from this perverse [corrupt, misguided] generation" (Acts 2:40). He told them to repent, to begin changing their lives to conform with the laws of God, and make a commitment through baptism to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ—to begin to live as He lived—in harmony with God's commandments (see Acts 2:38–39; Matthew 19:16–22).
Do you see the connection between world events, Bible prophecy, and your own Christian commitment? God has a purpose for individuals who have come out of this world and have learned the lesson of history—that obedience to God and His commandments brings lasting rewards, and that disobedience doesn't pay. Indeed, those who follow Jesus Christ and obey God will be given an opportunity to rule on this earth with Jesus Christ when He returns to inaugurate the Millenium that we refer to as "Tomorrow's World." That government of God will fulfill the mission the Israelite nations never completed.
Until then, the Israelite peoples of the United States, Britain and other countries with origins in northwest Europe will face sobering times. The loss of sea gates around the world is a warning sign that God's judgment on the Israelite nations is about to begin, and that we should be watching carefully as these significant events unfold!