This is a very exciting month!
America will celebrate its 245th anniversary of their Declaration of Independence in 1776 and Canada will celebrate its 154th Birthday from the 1867 Confederation. Other than one or two skirmishes, these two nations have stuck together through thick or thin and are each others’ best friend. The Peace Arch Monument on the border between the State of Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia demonstrates the root reason for the friendship. On the American side are the words “Children of a Common Mother” and on the American side, we see these words, “Brethren dwelling together in unity”. Of course, at the time the Peace Arch was constructed in 1921, the two slogans were close to the facts, but today, the population makeup of the two countries makes this impossible to be all-inclusive. To true Israelites, this is sad, but almost equally sad is this! Within the arch, each side has an iron gate mounted on either side of the border with an inscription above each gate. The one on the east side reads “May these gates never be closed”, yet over the past months, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the border closed for all non-essential travel. This has had a deleterious affect on families, friendships, small enterprises and much more.
But “Children of a Common Mother” and “Brethren” suggests they are closely related, like brothers! Can this be so? Well, we know that early Americans immigrated from Britain. And our studies suggest that they were from the tribe of Manasseh, certainly the British lost their control at the time of the American revolution. Isn’t it interesting that Isaiah wrote in 49:20, in talking to the British or Isles as per Verse 1, “The children which thou shall have, after thou hath lost the other” (America), shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me, give place to me that I may dwell”. And so, the British Empire exploded with growth after the American Revolution, with nations like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and many others coming under their wings.
Indeed, Isaiah 49:20 depicts the fulfillment of prophecy. Of course, there will be those who poof poof it and say the Bible contains no prophetic utterances. But, let’s put just this one in proper context.
In doing so, let’s go back to another set of brothers, Esau and Jacob, the sons of the patriarch Isaac. Although twins, Esau was the first born and as such, was due to inherit the Birthright and the Blessings. Without going into detail at this time, Esau sold the birthright to Jacob and through trickery between Jacob and their mother Rebekah, Jacob also received the blessings meant for Esau. Jacob had twelve sons, known as the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph, the eleventh son, turned out to be Jacob’s favourite.
When Joseph was 17 years old Jacob gave him a special ornate robe of many colours, better known to us as the “Coat of Many Colours”. It upset his brothers because it put Joseph above them. So, the jealous brothers sold him into slavery, but Joseph rose to the second most powerful position in Egypt, next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office ultimately caused his family to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt.
Joseph also had two sons, the eldest was named Manasseh, the youngest Ephraim. Now, to get back to the very beginning of this story, Joseph took his two sons to their grandfather Jacob, for the purpose of receiving God’s Blessing through Jacob. Holding them by the hand, he placed them in front of Jacob in such a way that Jacob could place his right hand on Manasseh’s head, so Manasseh would obtain the greater blessing due the oldest son. Instead, Jacob reached out his right hand and placed it on Ephraim’s head, thus intending the greater blessing for Ephraim.
Now, poof poofers, here is one of the great prophecies in the Bible! When Joseph attempted to correct his father, Jacob refused, said he knew it and made these two prophecies. (Genesis 48:19)
First, that Manasseh would become a great nation and particularly since the end of World War 2, no one can doubt the greatness of America, whether militarily, economically, technology advances in all areas, and in one word – exceptionalism. Sadly, as other nations , particularly China and Russia, have made great strides since the turn of the century, America, on the other hand, has suffered the burden of mostly weak leadership, become debt-ridden and has grown far apart from what made them great in the first place, the Great God and His grand beneficence. So, like all empires of the past, it is beginning to face inevitable decline.
Second, that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh and would become a multitude of nations. Just think about this comment from Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “at its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913 the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23 per cent of the world population at the time, and by 1920 it covered 35,500,000 km (13,700,000 sq mi), 24 percent of the Earth’s total land area”. The devastation of two world wars, the loss of colonies and dominions, a population shift, a colossal error of entering the European Common Market, debt and again, growing far apart from what made them great in the first place, the Great God and His grand beneficence”.
Let’s not forget to mention our other nation of the month, Canada, who has had debt and leadership problems of their own. I suspect most who can remember leaders, might say Canada has not had a strong leader since Mackenzie King of Second World War fame, when the nation enjoyed high esteem, others point to Stephen Harper. Canada first joined the British Commonwealth as an independent state in 1931. The modern Commonwealth came into existence in 1949 with the London Declaration, and Canada has played an important role in its evolution. But, this section of Ephraim has also departed from what made them great in the first place, the Almighty God.
What in the world happened? It’s quite simple really. The French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville told us why. He came to America in 1831 to ascertain why America was so great. Apply this to Canada as well. After visiting everywhere, when he went into the churches and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness, he understood the secret of her genius and power. He said, America is great because America is good and if she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. Even when they are open, the pulpits in our churches do not flame with righteousness, primarily just soft-soap messages. Well, as we reach our birthdays, our nations are simply not good anymore. Go no further than the protests in our streets, the growing crime, the entry of non-Christians into our nations, political injustice and the closing of our churches, that at least gave some comfort.
You know, God gave us a stern message in Hosea 5:15. He said, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face ….” Well, the horizon does not look promising, the Covid 19 pandemic, with the resulting lockdowns etc., could well lead to economic distress, maybe war, but certainly an impact on our freedoms. In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the tribulation we shall face during these latter times. And again, in Hosea 5:15, He ends by saying, “in their affliction they will seek me early”.
When we consider what could happen in our world today and what is happening, then can the Return of Christ be far away?