There is a great sense that the British are about to sail on the winds of change, and cast off the European shackles which have reduced trade and it's competitive edge. There is a reason why it's 'now', as it is spoken of in the Bible.
There is not much scripture dealing with Britain's role. There are many passages dealing with the nations of the Middle East. It is where Britain's role touches the Middle East that it appears. The Bible mentions the sons of Japheth expand to the isles (also coasts) which indicates sea borne travel, where they then vanish into outer darkness. Some later appear as the Merchants of Tarshish. We go into the detail here. In summary there are two places called Tarshish: Britain and India. In the time of Solomon it was most likely India, by the time of Ezekiel and Jonah it was Britain, as the merchants of Tarshish followed 'the salt'. They are the Merchants of Britain and India, not necessarily of those places, but traders of and with those places.
In the ancient world at the time of Isaiah and Ezekiel (27:12,25) the Merchants of Tarshish traded in Tyre one of the merchant cities of the Phonecians. Isaiah calls Tyre the 'Daughter of Tarshish' (23:8-10) and there is evidence including tin ingots that show the Phonecian traders of Tyre traded with Britain. The merchant traders of the city state of Tyre walk away after its predicted destruction.
Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? (Isaiah 23:6-8)
The merchants survive and pass over to new locations, We go into some detail regarding where the merchants of Tyre 'walk' here. From the rise of Britain from the 1600's to WW1 it was obvious that these Merchants were the merchant peoples of Britain and it's Commonwealth, including India. But at a point the merchants of Tarshish are “laid waste” for 70 years.
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste. And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou may be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. (Isaiah 23 15-17)
Instead of being chained to Europe, the merchants are predicted to trade with all the world, after 70 years of being forgotten.
The merchants also have another specific predicted role. A few of the prophets speak of all the nations coming to fight against Jerusalem (Isaiah 29:7, Zechariah 12). Ezekiel gives some detail of the invasion of the Mountains of Israel, which includes Jerusalem, and shows the nations that come to fight are not united but divided. One part is led by Gog, a prince of Rosh (Russia), the other led by Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish.
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee [Gog], “Are you come to take a spoil? Have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)
Though all nations as exemplified by the 'United Nations' will come against Jerusalem and the mountains of Israel (so called West bank), also with an army led by Russia and the European Union, with Persia (Iran) and Lybia in tow, prophecy indicates some specific nations are reserved by God to oppose them. These nations do not do it for the love of Israel, but for fear that trading gain is to be made by those who come to take Jerusalem! One of Sheba's major cities in ancient times was Eden, is now in Yemen. Dedan is Arabia, specifically the area around Medina (al Madinah) and Mecca. Sheba and Dedan is a region indicating the whole Arab peninsula. In the past this might seem impossible. Yet clearly Saudi Arabia is now emerging as regional leader with events in relationship to Iran and Syria. One can already see why Saudia Arabia would protest a UN -EU-Russia take over of Jerusalem and why the merchants, and all their young lions would also join them. The young lions have been understood to be the Commonwealth countries, with Britain as the old lion, for a long time.
From the beginning of British involvement in the common market of Europe from 1973, they have gone against the direction that prophecy indicated. The great faith of the servants of God is that they believe his word in regards the end state of matter, despite every appearance to the contrary in the present. Looking back now we can see it is for a reason, as it fulfils another prophecy, of the sea merchants being forgotten 70 years. God's glory is in his great statements. He had no compunction in allowing the slavery in Egypt to get worse and the opposition increase to the exodus, before suddenly and dramatically doing as he said he would. There was nothing less likely than a Jewish state named Israel in 1947. Now 40 years after Britain was swallowed up into Europe, all the famous predictions of doom and gloom on exit and the initial favourable polls for 'stay' are a sure sign that human prognostications are bound to be turned upside down.
Though Britain in some ways came out of Europe, she is not of it. The separation of the channel and the unruly nature of the people who left Europe, as opposed to those who stayed, shaped a more independent peoples. Their independence was made more so being the first to reform government under Oliver Cromwell and having deeper and longer lasting protestant reformation than occurred in Europe.
Then we see a final amazing transformation of the Merchants. Isaiah shows that “the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring [Israel's] sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them,” (Isaiah 60:9). They are among the first to submit to the “Mighty One of Jacob” or the Messiah and bring their wealth for his use. So, we see Britain and Europe on different sides of both a political and a religious crisis.
And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.(Isaiah 23:18)
Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off... they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. (Isaiah 66:20)
For more Isaiah and the 70 years