The invasion of Iraq produced shockwaves that both stunned and shattered the alliance of Western democracies. In a matter of weeks, allies of the United States and Britain became adversaries, as pleasantries evaporated and animosity erupted.
The invasion of Iraq produced shockwaves that both stunned and shattered the alliance of Western democracies. In a matter of weeks, allies of the United States and Britain became adversaries, as pleasantries evaporated and animosity erupted. Almost overnight, a deep chasm split the Atlantic Alliance—leaving America, the British descended-peoples and a few other countries on one side, and a large portion of "Old Europe" on the other. This was a split almost no one anticipated, wanted or needed. It has generated bad feeling, and a deep sense of betrayal. While analysts ponder why this happened and what lies ahead, the Bible explains what is driving these surprising developments. Ages ago, God predicted that this would happen. We are watching prophecy come alive!
The opening act of this drama began when Belgium, France and Germany moved to oppose the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and then blocked NATO military assistance to Turkey. This was followed by firm opposition, in the United Nations Security Council, to any resolutions authorizing the use of military force to disarm Iraq. Russia and China soon added their voices to the growing chorus against the U.S.-led endeavor. As the invasion began, without UN support and in spite of determined European resistance, opposing positions hardened. The crowning move came when Belgium, France and Germany announced a summit in Brussels to develop closer links between their armed forces as a counterbalance to the U.S. and Britain on the world stage. Britain was not invited to the summit.
The U.S. and several of its coalition allies sacrificed thousands of lives to liberate France and Belgium during World War II, gave considerable wartime economic military aid to the Soviet Union, and after the war donated countless millions of dollars to help rebuild Germany. These generous nations now find it incredible that Europeans would openly oppose and undermine their benefactors' effort to remove what even the United Nations acknowledged was a dangerous and oppressive regime.
Angry U.S. leaders feel betrayed by their allies who seem to have forgotten the help they received. To add insult to injury, Belgium, France and Germany are talking openly about a core of European nations moving ahead to develop a military capability to rival the U.S. and Britain—nations that protected Europe during 50 years of Cold War.
These sudden and dramatic changes in the Western Alliance have surprised and astonished many seasoned observers, yet the Bible predicted that this scenario would occur. The key to understanding end-time prophecy is to know who, today, are the modern Israelite peoples—the descendants of the biblical patriarch Jacob. Israelite nations include not only the nation of Israel, but also the United States, the other British-descended nations and several nations of northwest Europe—many of the very nations that liberated Europe in the past, and were part of the U.S.-led coalition against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Long ago, the prophet Jeremiah described a future period of terrible trials called "the time of Jacob's trouble," when "all your lovers have forgotten you" (Jeremiah 30:7, 14) and "your lovers will despise you; they will seek your life" (Jeremiah 4:30). Elsewhere, Jeremiah speaks of this coming time of national trial. "All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies" (Lamentations 1:2). The descendants of Jacob will cry: "I called for my lovers, but they deceived me" (v. 19). Ezekiel stresses the same theme: "You made payments to all your lovers… I will gather all your lovers against you" (Ezekiel 16:33, 37). Hosea pictures Israel as a woman who will "chase her lovers" and has "hired lovers… among the nations" (Hosea 2:5; 8:9-10)—an apt description of U.S. attempts to buy support with offers of foreign aid. Speaking to the nations of Israel, God states: "I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers… I will stir up your lovers against you" (Ezekiel 23:9, 22). These dire predictions all focus on events that will occur "in the latter days" (Jeremiah 30:24)—the time just before Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
In light of these prophecies, it is sobering to hear of the U.S. and Britain suddenly feeling betrayed by their allies, of Europeans planning to become political, economic and military rivals of America and Britain, and for a French newspaper to write that "two hundred years ago, France was America's greatest ally… but today France is virtually the enemy of the United States." Why is this happening? What is driving these events? Why have the U.S. and Britain's allies suddenly turned into their antagonists?
Perceptive secular analysts recognize that the crisis over Iraq was merely the spark that ignited long-standing resentments among European leaders, who chafed at being dependent upon U.S. power. French leaders have made no secret of their belief that France should play a leading role in Europe, and not be overshadowed by either Britain or the U.S. German leaders have sought on several occasions to impose Germany's will upon Europe. Many in the U.S. take for granted their religious-based feeling of a "moral mission to change the world," but this does not set well with secular minded Europeans, who feel that they have "matured" and outgrown such a narrow and naïve view of the world. From this perspective, we can understand how Iraq brought these smoldering feelings to a head, and provided European leaders with an opportunity to challenge the U.S. and Britain—nations that stand in their way of playing a bigger role on the world stage.
However, Bible prophecy indicates that there is more to the story! Jeremiah reveals that these events are taking place because God has a purpose (Jeremiah 4:28). The prophets warn that, because the nations of Israel "have forgotten the Lord their God" and have rebelled against Him they will reap the results of their ways (Jeremiah 3:21; 4:17–18). God explains through Jeremiah: "I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy… because your sins have increased, I have done these things unto you" (Jeremiah 30:14–15). Jeremiah laments for his nation "the Lord has afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions" (Lamentations 1:5). Ezekiel indicates that God will punish the modern Israelite nations because they trusted in human allies instead of trusting in God (Ezekiel 23:5, 12).
The catalogue of Israel's sins ranges from lying, killing, stealing and adultery, to idolatry and defiling God's Sabbaths (see Jeremiah 2; Ezekiel 20; Hosea 4). Repeatedly, God warns the nations of Israel that "because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).
The surprising developments we are seeing today—long-time allies of the U.S. and Britain suddenly turning against their former protectors and benefactors—were predicted long ago as God's punishment on His people who have turned their back on Him. We need to learn from these events and begin to obey God, knowing that there is more ahead, as prophecies are coming alive!