Can Britain's reigning House of Windsor fall?
Instead of Melvin Rhodes' usual column, The Journal publishes an article excerpted from his new magazine, Perspectives, which contains Bible-based views on current events. A sample copy is available from P.O. Box 153, Okemos, Mich. 48805. Mr. Rhodes wrote this article soon after the death of Princess Diana.
By Melvin Rhodes
LANSING, Mich."For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel" (Jeremiah 33:17).
Does the above verse mean that somebody will always be on the throne of David, the throne that today is occupied by Queen Elizabeth II? Or could the monarchy fall, even as a result of Princess Diana's death and disillusionment with the royal household?
First, let us notice that the verse above is talking about Israel, not Judah. Centuries before the time of Jeremiah, the two kingdoms had split. Israel had been taken into captivity long before Jeremiah came along; his prophecies were to Judah, which was still to be taken.
The kings of Judah were descended from King David, but this scripture shows that the throne would continue to rule over Israel.
British-Israelites and brethren within the Churches of God have realized for years that the throne was overturned three times, just as the prophet Ezekiel said it would be in Ezekiel 21.
After the fall of Jerusalem, King Zedekiah was taken captive to Babylon. His sons, all of them, were killed before his eyes, then his eyes were put out, and he was held prisoner for the rest of his life (Jeremiah 52).
Clearly, from the biblical account, no man was left to sit on David's throne.
However, there was a woman, Zedekiah's daughter, who was taken to Ireland, where she married an Irish prince. This was the first overturning of David's royal house. We can deduce from this that the prophecy in Jeremiah 33 can be fulfilled in a woman.
The throne was overturned again when it was moved from Ireland to Scotland in the latter part of the first millennium of the Christian era. Again, it was moved in 1603 when James VI of Scotland became James I of England. It was overturned three times exactly, as God said it would be:
"I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (Ezekiel 21:27).
The one "whose right it is" is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who will come and take over the throne. He should have been the king. Remember, the Israelites were corrected by God in 1 Samuel 8. He told them they did not need a king because they had Him, but they wanted a king like the other nations.
We find an interesting corollary to this in Genesis 49. Talking of the "last days" (verse 1), Jacob tells his sons what would happen to them at the time of the end. In verse 10 he says that "the scepter [the symbol of royal authority] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah] comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people."
This would suggest that the crown, the throne, would still be there until Christ's return. It will exist at the time of the end in the hands of the tribe of Judah, descendants of David.
But does this mean it will survive until the very end, until the return of the Messiah?
To answer that we need to look at both the history of ancient Judah and the history of fairly modern Britain.
We have already seen that King Zedekiah was taken captive and his sons killed before his eyes. At this point, with Zedekiah held prisoner in Babylon, nobody was sitting on the throne. There was a man available to sit on the throne (Zedekiah himself), but the throne did not exist at this time. Later, maybe while Zedekiah was still alive, his daughter remarried and the throne continued thousands of miles away, but for some time at least there was nobody on the throne.
Now move forward 2,000 years to the middle of the 17th century: to the reign of Charles I, the son of James I, the first Scottish king of England, the first monarch to follow the third and final overturning of the throne.
Charles I believed firmly in the divine right of kings, that he had absolute power and could do whatever he wanted with his kingdom.
Parliament had different ideas. The result was a civil war that ended with the defeat of the king and his beheading. For 11 years England was a republic. Nobody sat upon the throne.
The leader of the republic, Oliver Cromwell, the most powerful commoner in the history of the tribe of Joseph, died in 1658. Less than two years later, after a period of indecision and division, it was decided to ask the king's son, also called Charles, to return to England and be king.
He reigned as Charles II. Again, a man had been available to sit on the throne, but nobody sat upon the throne for 11 years.
Is it possible that the same thing could happen again?
Bible prophecy talks about a wicked prince (Ezekiel 21:25) whose crown will be removed (verse 26). This cannot be talking about King Zedekiah, who had already been removed by this time. Remember that Ezekiel was in exile when he prophesied. Could this be applicable today?
Of course, many of England's kings have been wicked, but none so publicly as in our media-saturated age. Prince Charles' sins, including the sin of adultery that indirectly led to the premature death of his wife, are widely known. At the time of this writing, less than four days after Diana's death but three days before the funeral, Prince Charles is coming under criticism for seemingly not caring for his wife.
The blame goes wider. The royal family is being accused of mistreating Princess Di and, therefore, of contributing to her death. Most Britons do not want Prince Charles to be their king, but they do want the throne to pass to Diana's son, Prince William.
Prince Charles may also be the first monarch in British history to renounce Christianity. Church and state have never been separated in England, and Charles is set to become "defender of the faith," the head of the Church of England, when he becomes king.
But this would mean that he cannot marry Camilla Parker-Bowles, his mistress. Even with Diana dead, there is still the problem that Camilla is a divorced woman.
This problem proved insurmountable for Queen Elizabeth's uncle, Edward VIII, who wanted to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson in 1936. He finally had to choose between her and the throne and chose her, spending the rest of his life in exile.
But Charles could solve the problem by separating church and state. He has already suggested this, in effect, by promoting the idea in an age of multiculturalism, that he become the "defender of all faiths," including Islam and Hinduism, which are more tolerant of divorce.
Already moving in this direction, Charles rarely attends church, a royal tradition for 1,000 years. A renunciation of Jesus Christ would particularly set him apart from previous monarchs.
The throne has been endangered many times. But this is more serious. Today we live in a democratic age. Most European nations are republics. The dominant nation of the English-speaking world, the United States, is a republic.
In 1649 the people wanted a republic, but their experience with one was terrible, so they compromised with a constitutional monarchy, dividing power between the crown and Parliament.
In 1714 Queen Anne died, leaving no heirs, another opportunity for a republic. Remembering the excesses during Cromwell's time, it was decided to scour Europe for a close relative of the Stuarts and bring him to England to be king. That king, George I, was a direct ancestor of the present Queen Elizabeth.
Since 1714 England and its dominions have enjoyed incredible, unrivaled stability with what has been recognized by many as the best form of government man has devised: constitutional monarchy.
It provides for strong government with effective checks and balances.
It has also united the "multitude of nations"-fully independent nations, members of the British Commonwealth - that have pledged common allegiance to the crown, their unifying symbol.
Genesis 48:19 describes the multitude of nations as the blessing, the strength, given to Ephraim.
Take away the multitude and you have taken away the blessing; take away the throne and you have destroyed the multitude. Nothing else would hold it together.
Understand this: It was this multitude of nations that preserved the freedoms of the Western world for 200 years. Only in recent times has the United States taken over that role, helped by the multitude of nations.
The multitude of nations is held together by the throne. Remove the throne, for whatever reason, and you have no multitude of nations. You would also undoubtedly have no United Kingdom, since the nations of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland are held together by a common allegiance to the throne, not to Westminster, the seat of government.
Remove the throne and you could also see political instability in many countries, key allies of the United States.
So what better way to hasten the fall of the tribe of Joseph than to bring about the downfall of the House of Windsor?
Some will say that this is exaggerated, that today the republican ideal is firmly rooted and will ensure continuance of our freedoms and desire to stand together to protect them.
I think not. Remove the House of Windsor and see it all unravel.
Ezekiel 21:27, after describing the three overturnings of the throne, adds: ". . . And it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is."
It shall be "no more"? Does this mean what it seems to say?
It could, of course, go either way. There is a great deal of goodwill toward Prince William, Diana's son, and a desire in the people to see him on the throne. But the present queen has to die first (she will not abdicate after the stigma of her uncle Edward's abdication in 1936).
She is 71. Her mother, at 97, still lives. Charles is 48. It's a long time until William can succeed. A lot can happen in the interim.
Even if the throne survives in England, it may not do so in the nations of the Commonwealth. That alone could destroy the unity of the member nations.
Whichever way you look at this and however you interpret the verses from the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, I hope this article has shown that the House of Windsor is not just an anachronistic institution to preserve the living standards of the rich and famous.
It has played an important role in preserving our freedoms and in ensuring the fulfillment of the birthright promises made to Ephraim thousands of years ago.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God