Great Britain now carries a national debt of more than £850 billion—a figure forecast to rise to £1.2 trillion in coming years as the nation borrows to keep the economy moving while hoping for a growth-led recovery.
"The Battle of France is over, the Battle of Britain is about to begin!"
Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, made this famous proclamation on June 18, 1940, just four days after Adolf Hitler's Nazi troops had entered Paris. Within a month, the bravery of hundreds of Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire and Hurricane pilots would be tested, as they rose from England's airfields to meet the swarming masses of Luftwaffe fighters. Losses on both sides were staggering, with an estimated 915 RAF fighters lost and 1,733 Luftwaffe aircraft downed between July 10 and October 31.
One week in particular—the week ending August 17—was the most disastrous for both sides. In that week alone, 131 RAF planes were shot down, and Germany lost nearly double that number at 261. After the conflict had passed, Churchill told Britain's House of Commons, "Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few."
During that summer of 1940, anxious Britons looked upward to see the criss-crossing of vapour trails in the sky. Schoolboys ran to see the wreckage of downed German planes in expansive wheat fields. Young soldiers' wives—British and German alike—cried alone upon hearing that their pilot husbands had died.
War is a ghastly affair. And was it all worth it, the terrible loss of life? Where are Britain and Germany 70 years on? The Treaty of Lisbon has bound these former enemies together in the European Union.
For the grandchildren of those who survived the Battle of Britain, Europe is a very different place. Their nations have known peace for 65 years, and their populations have no desire to see another world war rend their nations. But why has there been such calm in Europe?
Supporters of the European Union (EU) will tell you it is because economic harmony has achieved what neither war nor America's post-war NATO leadership could ever bring about—peace and a common interest within a union of 27 countries. Sceptics will tell you that it is a fragile détente, held together for the moment by mutual self-interest.
Britain has faced great uncertainty in the last 18 months, as it has struggled to recover from its worst recession since the Great Depression. The ruling Labour Party's efforts to shore up well-known banking names such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB left the country drowning in a sea of red ink, which no doubt contributed to the party's May 6 electoral defeat.
Meanwhile, as has occurred across the industrialized Western nations, Britain's industrial output continues to shrink. No major British-owned car manufacturer remains in the country. Prestigious Jaguar is now owned by Indian car giant Tata. The whole Rover factory in Birmingham was shipped, piece by piece, to China!
Great Britain now carries a national debt of more than £850 billion—a figure forecast to rise to £1.2 trillion in coming years as the nation borrows to keep the economy moving while hoping for a growth-led recovery. Additionally, Britain is maintaining the world's third-highest current account deficit. With $468 billion worth of exports chasing $654 billion of imports, there is an outstanding deficit of $186 billion. The nation's financial and economic over-extension cannot go on forever. In 2009, the Standard and Poor's rating agency downgraded Britain's credit rating to AAA-minus, with a revised rating on hold while they wait to see what the nation's new government will produce in cost-cuttings.
Despite Britain's malaise, the nation is fifth in the world in economic output—second, behind Germany, in Europe. Yet many in Europe would like to see London lose its status as the world's leading financial centre in favour of either Zurich or Frankfurt. Were this to happen, Britain's position would decline even further.
Seventy years on, the battle is no longer "of" Britain but "for" Britain. The whole country knows it is in trouble. Like the Greek economy that has just recently crashed, Britain's economy is a story of a nation living well beyond its means. Britain's "off-balance sheet" private finance initiative projects and unfunded pension provisions are huge liabilities; all in all, the nation's burgeoning social welfare expenses cannot be maintained for much longer. Crippling medical costs, and unemployment benefits enshrined in legislation, put the nation at a competitive disadvantage with lively Asian economies. Just as empires have risen and fallen in the past, Asian nations are rising to prominence, while the British nation, strangled by debt, is showing signs of imminent failure. Difficult times are ahead for Britain and its people.
Yet we know that the Almighty God is in charge of world events. What is happening must be happening for a divinely ordained reason. Indeed, as long-time Tomorrow's World readers understand, the key to understanding Britain's modern malaise is found in the pages of your Bible, where ancient prophecies shed light on current events. If you have not yet read our informative booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, please contact our Regional Office nearest you (listed on page 30) or go to www.tomorrowsworld.org to request your free copy or read it online.
What can the Bible tell us about the future of Britain? Anciently, God used the Assyrian nation militarily to punish a rebellious Israel, and He will use that nation again. History records that ancient Assyria took Israel into captivity in 721bc. Bible prophecy reveals that the modern descendants of ancient Assyria will once again enslave Israel. Bible students who recognize modern Germany as the descendant of ancient Assyria, and Britain as a descendant of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, can begin to understand how God will work His will through geopolitical events in the very near future. This scenario may scarcely be believable to secular observers watching world events just now, but your Bible makes it plain. To learn more about these shocking developments, please request our free reprint article, Resurgent Germany: A Fourth Reich?
The Old Testament prophet Hosea wrote of a time that is almost upon us. He understood that in the end times, the House of Israel would go to the Assyrians for help. Germany today is gaining pre-eminence in Europe (see "Growth of a Strongman" on page 16 of this issue) and flexing its economic muscle. The time is soon coming when a distressed Britain will look to Germany for help. Notice how the prophet words it: "When Ephraim saw his sickness… [he] went to Assyria… yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound" (Hosea 5:13).
Also: "Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger… I will send him against an ungodly nation (i.e. modern-day Ephraim, Great Britain, along with other modern descendants of ancient Israel) and against the people of My wrath" (Isaiah 10:5–6).
The previous Assyrian captivity was brutal and harsh for the Israelite captives. World War II reminded us of the great brutality of which modern Assyria is capable. Becoming economic, political and eventual physical captives of Assyria is no small matter for the once-great British nation. Some proud Britons may not like to hear of their prophesied future, but we at Tomorrow's World have a responsibility as "watchmen" to fulfil the commission God has given (Ezekiel 33:7; Matthew 24:42).
Thankfully, prophecy also reveals that the outlook is not all gloom. Right when it appears that things are at their worst in the midst of devastating end-time conflict, Jesus Christ will return to planet Earth to reign as King of kings in the glorious Kingdom of God. The world will enjoy unprecedented peace and prosperity as former enemies come together peacefully under Christ (Isaiah 19:24–25). God speed that day!