King George III was the ruler of Great Britain from 1760-1820. He was a true hero to all those in Great Britain. To all those people in the colonies, he was not a hero, but an evil tyrant.
With Elizabeth I, we watched as this great English monarch led British Ephraim into the final period of punishment and out of the shadow of the other great European powers. And we witnessed the firm entrenchment of the Reformation after a short setback under Bloody Mary’s reign. Yet, as powerful and autocratic as Elizabeth I was, she did try to work in concert with parliament on many issues. On the other hand, her successor, King James I, although he was also autocratic, struggled with a stronger parliament, particularly for his money needs. Still, it was his reign that saw the partial fulfillment of the two sticks as Scotland and England became one nation (Ezekiel 37: 19-22). Of course, his reign also saw the introduction of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. Our next monarch of destiny, King George III, didn’t have the same freedom from parliamentary sanctions. He tried to pursue an autocratic style, but couldn’t and was burdened with a parliament that made some dramatic errors of judgment, errors that cast a dark shadow on his long reign. He reigned from 1760 to 1820.
“Listen, O Isles, unto me: and hearken ye people, from afar……..The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.” (Isaiah 49: 1,20)
I suppose, depending on one’s viewpoint, that George was regarded in quite opposite ways. To the Americans, he was and probably still is, looked upon as a greedy and overbearing monarch and is still hated by many to this very day. Yet, to his subjects of the day, he was popular and conscientious. He became heir to the throne on the death of his father, was the third monarch of the House of Hanover and the first to have been born in Britain and to use English as his first language. George devoted the required time to read all government papers and he took a strong interest in policy. His political influence proved most decisive on many occasions and he could be most determined when he felt the cause was just. For example, it was primarily his opposition to ending the war with the colonies that kept it going until 1783. Another example took place in 1801, when Prime Minister William Pitt (the younger), wanted to grant Catholics full civil rights. George III felt his coronation oath to uphold the rights of the Church of England was such that he forced Pitt’s resignation. Still, on the other hand, this was a monarch who fostered a progressive and cultured environment in England. Literature enjoyed a heyday as the writings of men like Scott, Burns, Shelley, Byron and Wordsworth flourished; great artists like Gainsborough and Reynolds created their masterpieces and the British Museum was established (65,000 of his books were later given to the Museum). George personally founded the Royal Academy of Arts. In science and invention, the progress was remarkable during George’s reign, as things like the steam engine; the first machinery, canal construction and spinning frames became realities. Yet, George was a staunch family man as well, devoted to his wife and fifteen children. Disappointed in his sons’ (and some of his brothers’) selection of wives, he pushed the Marriages Act of 1772 through parliament, which calls for the consent of the reigning sovereign for the marriage on any lineal descendant, with few exceptions.
So many other momentous events took place in the reign of George III. But perhaps this is an appropriate time to return to our opening Bible passage from Isaiah 49: 1, 20. God begins by saying, “Listen O Isles, the children which thou shalt have, after thou has lost the other….” God said, “after thou have lost the other.” Of course, this part of the passage refers to America Manasseh, the great nation of whom Jacob Israel spoke of in Genesis 48: 19, 20 thirty-five centuries earlier. So, significantly, it would not have mattered who sat on the Throne of David (England) at the time, Isaiah’s prophecy was going to happen, for God had measured the times. The Bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 5: 26, “And the God of Israel stirred up…..Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” History has shown this attack to have taken place in 745 BC, thus Manesseh’s seven times punishment began.
So, as prophesied, the “other” was lost. King George III is often blamed, yet the break was simply a plank in God’s Plan. In truth, George III wasn’t even the instrument that God employed as the stimulus for the break. It was an unwise Parliament that developed the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend duties of 1767 on tea, paper and other products, legislation that led to the War of Independence. It should be pointed out that George III became hated in America moreso because he linked himself with that Parliament.
George III was monarch at the time when Britain Ephraim came out from under their 2,520 years of punishment as well. The Bible tells us, “And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah……….that Shalmaneser, king of Assyria came up against Samaria (meaning the northern Kingdom or House of Israel) and besieged it……….And the King of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 18: 9-11). History tells us this invasion took place in 721 BC.
God is truly amazing. He established an intricate plan that has so many variables, yet it employs the frailties of His People to bring it about. Re-quoting Isaiah’s prophecy, “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.” So there were to be other children, in fact, there had to be, because Jacob had said of Ephraim (Genesis 48: 19,20), “his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” It was during King George III’s reign that the extension of English rule to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many other parts of the world took place, as the seeds of the Commonwealth of Nations were sown.
Amazingly, many other important events took place under the rule of George III. To name just a few, the passing of the East India bill, the great naval victories of Lord Nelson and the final defeat of Napoleon by the Duke of Wellington, are of great significance. Probably no monarchial reign from the time of Solomon was more significant in the history of the Israelites. Indeed, during George III’s reign, Britain had come of age; the seven times punishment was over and a glorious century lay ahead. Of course, there is more to Isaiah’s prophecy beyond Verse 20 but it relates to the time beyond George III and shall be left for a future study. Sadly, it is strongly suspected that King George III was inflicted with a little understood disease known as “porphria” and it created spells of madness, the last in 1810, which resulted in personal rule being handed over to his son, who later was to become George IV. George III died in 1820, deaf, blind and mad. It has often been said that those with the greatest gifts invariably have rough roads to tread. George was certainly a gifted man and it goes without saying that his journey was anything but smooth. Still, it was under George’s kingship that Great Britain emerged as the world’s greatest ever colonial power. Indeed, there is little doubt that George III was one of the great “Monarchs of Destiny.”