On Friday April 29 2011 nearly two billion people watched the fairy tale wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in the heart of London. From the shimmering gold vestments of the Dean of Westminster to the gold-encrusted liveried coach-and-four, from Prince William’s handsome scarlet Irish Guard’s jacket to Catherine’s ivory silk tulle veil and 1936 Cartier Halo tiara, the world sat transfixed with shining eyes as they beheld the pomp and glory of a British royal wedding. As one joyous Englishwoman pronounced on television, the British are the best at pomp, ceremony and majesty.
The Kings of the world in attendance
The 2,000 guests at the wedding included the crowned heads of the globe who walked the Abbey aisles – the Kings of Bulgaria, Norway, Romania, Swaziland and Tonga; the Queen of Denmark; the Crown Princes of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Greece, The Netherlands and Sweden; the Princes of Belgium, Lesotho, Monaco, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Yugoslavia; the Sultan of Brunei and the Emir of Qatar. Other notables included David Beckham, Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) and Elton John and his partner.
Glorious things of thee are spoken Zion
The ceremony was rich and meaningful, tying in nearly a thousand years of British history as the married couple signed the marriage register in the chapel of Edward the Confessor (1003-1066; the English king of Scandinavian origin). The ancient Welsh tune Cwm Rhondda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cwm_Rhondda) was sung to the English words “Guide me O Thou great Redeemer” (originally ‘great Jehovah’), recalling the Jewish nation’s wandering in the Sinai desert and their subsequent conquering of the Promised Land of Israel. This had also been the final hymn at Princess Diana’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey in 1997.
The Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine’s new title) walked the aisle to the anthem “I was glad” based on Psalm 122 and composed in 1902 by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. The psalm recalls the joy that Jewish pilgrims felt as their feet entered the gates of Jerusalem, and as they remembered God’s unshakeable covenant to establish the Jewish dynasty of David as sovereign over the entire globe.
Toward the close of the service, the traditional hymn “Jerusalem” was sung. Martin Chilton of The Telegraph waxed eloquently, “Jerusalem, a hymn which has been banned (and) been an official anthem of the England football team … was hailed as one of the triumphs of today’s royal wedding” (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/8483364/Royal-Wedding-Jerusalem-triumphant-at-Kate-and-Wills-wedding.html).
The words to “Jerusalem” were penned by William Blake (the equivalent of a New Ager in his day) in 1804. He based his hymn on an apocryphal legend that Yeshua visited Roman England in a post-resurrection appearance, walking through “England’s green and pleasant land.”
The Mormon community believes something similar – that Jesus appeared in America after His crucifixion, while some British Replacement theology streams which advocate British Israelite teaching look upon Britain as God’s new Jerusalem. Traces of this false teaching can be found in the legends surrounding the Stone of Scone, where its origins are supposedly found in Jacob’s Bethel pillow-stone (www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/Scotland-History/StoneofDestiny.htm), or the pedestal of the Ark of the Covenant in Solomon’s Temple. The Dean of Southwark Cathedral banned the hymn from his services in 2008, stating that the hymn “was not in the glory of God” being too nationalistic and having no praise of God in the words.
A dress rehearsal for the future
Many aspects of this glorious wedding capture our hearts and dreams. They also point to future events which will be even more breathtaking in their power, pomp, ceremony and majesty.
The Scriptures tells us that, though Britannia once ruled the waves, the God of the Bible has already made a promise that He intends to keep regarding the final and most glorious world empire. In Psalm 89 He declares (concerning the Jewish King David and his dynasty) that “his horn shall be exalted, and I will set his hand over the sea and his right hand over the rivers … I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth… My mercy I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with him; his seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of Heaven” (Psalm 89:24-29).
Psalm 102 prophesies that the kings of the world will gather in a Jewish Jerusalem, there to worship YHVH the God of Jacob: “To declare the name of YHVH in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to worship YHVH” (Psalm 102:21-22).
Isaiah 60 describes the restoration of the Jewish people back to the land from which they were scattered (see also Jeremiah 31:10-14): “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you. For in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, and their kings in procession. For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isaiah 60:10-12).
The crumbling of an Empire
The nation of England has been mightily used in history. Waves of world evangelization and the dissemination of the Scriptures came from the shores of Great Britain to nearly every country on the face of the globe. At one point the United Kingdom was the most powerful in the world. The sun never set on the British Empire, it was said (though the phrase has its origins with Xerxes and Spain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_empire_on_which_the_sun_never_sets).
Yet Britain’s perfidious treatment of the Jewish people during WWII, and its collusion with the Arab world to crush the nascent Jewish state (see The Secret War against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish people; http://www.amazon.com/Secret-War-Against-Jews-Espionage/dp/0312156480) led to its empire sudden crumbling and its gospel and imperial torches being passed to the United States of America.
Though many are not aware of this, modern Britain is one of the most ardent advocates of Replacement theology and Christian anti-Israel activism. The bitter and poisoned vines of these positions have wrapped themselves around the history, religion and theology of the British church.
As we note the wonderful biblical references in the Royal wedding hymns (the allusions to the Jewish people, their wilderness wanderings, divine guidance and provision; their divine mandate to conquer and settle the Promised Land as an eternal inheritance; the centrality of Jerusalem and the priority of the Jewish people’s calling), we also note Paul’s prophetic warning to all nations (including England) not to boast against or be prideful towards the Jewish people and their priority calling and gifts (Romans 11:18-29).
Windsor and David – football scrum or divine court order?
How could it possibly be that a nation like England which has seen itself as the international purveyor of the truths of God, simultaneously sing about the biblical promises given to the Jewish people while appropriating these covenant promises only for itself, for King Arthur and for Glastonbury? How can that nation at its high feasts and most joyous celebrations treat the promises of God to the sons of Jacob (the apple of His eye; see Deut. 32:8-10) as unimportant or no longer valid – an irrelevant and arcane theological quibble? (Jeremiah 30:16-17; 33:17-26; Gen. 12:3).
A spiteful but genteel jealousy has infiltrated much of the body of Christ in Britain. It has subtly but strategically cast its soiled shadow over even England’s happiest and brightest occasions of joy. Heaven forfend that the glories of the House of Windsor should ever compete with the House of David, whose throne shall be established forever (1 Chronicles 17:14).
As we pray for the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and his lovely bride Catherine), let us also beseech the God of the Hebrews for this once great nation –
- that fearless champions of God’s heart for His chosen people will arise, spiritual lions like Wilberforce, Lord Shaftesbury and Winston Churchill, and
- that YHVH would raise up in the nation and in the Royal Family advocates for Zion, who will bring the blessing of Abraham’s promise to England as they bless God’s irrevocable calling, gifts and restoration of Israel!
In Messiah Yeshua,
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