20/20 vision indicates excellent eyesight, so we may hope that 2020 will be a year of Vision for the UK having left the European Union.
My first 20 years
Roughly, the first 18 years of my life were spent in the UK outside the European Economic Community (EEC) and the remaining 47 years were spent (yes, it cost, as many further education students have discovered) inside the EEC and the EU. The remainder of my life will be outside the EU, watching the effect of the UK’s liberation from the undemocratic control of the EU and its institutions.
I was not old enough to vote when Britain joined the EEC on 1/1/1973, without a referendum and by Prime Minister Edward Heath’s sleight of hand. The belated 1975 Referendum cemented our early relationship with the EEC in my 20th year, and over the next 45 years I watched Britain become entangled in the tentacles of the transforming
vision nightmare of the Eurocrats, some of whom would have made good Nazi officials and commandants. My childhood 20/20 vision was literally declining, just as the original EEC vision was declining and changing shape before my eyes.
As a child I remember queuing for bread during a shortage. Possibly such post-war experiences spooked the UK into joining the European club. My parents were not political and sheltered me and my siblings from the vagaries of political debate. I was in the fifth decade of my life before my father mentioned in passing that his own father, who died when I was 10 years old, was the election agent for Walter Elliot, the Secretary of State for Scotland. Elliot introduced free milk for school children and appeared on the first edition of BBC Any Questions? in 1945, ten years before I was born. My father’s childhood home was filled with political debate, about which he never spoke to me. For me, a bread shortage and post-war inconveniences were simply the way things were. We never lacked for the necessities of life, having a secure domestic environment with oodles of a mother’s love.
By 1975 I had lived at 44 Woodend Drive, Jordanhill, Glasgow G13 1TQ for twelve years, with my three siblings, my two younger sisters knocking the corners off their older brother. I enjoyed many happy years learning about life there, where I was born again by the Spirit of God on 14 Oct 1973. As a young teenager I lay on my bed contemplating the irrationality of evolution contrasted with what I later discovered were called the immensity and immanence of God, Whom I did not yet know, upholding all things in being from moment to moment. The second law of thermodynamics pointed to the nonsense of the evolutionary hypothesis. The choice was between an eternal Universe or an eternal God. So towards the end of my teenage years, I investigated Christianity after a lackadaisal attitude towards it. At that stage I knew nothing about heaven nor hell, nor had I considered anything about life after death. I neither knew the way to heaven nor how to avoid hell, although I had been a regular attender of the Church of Scotland congregation where I was baptised on 3rd April 1955. A ten-minute sermon each week of my teenage years made such little impact upon me that I remember not one sentence from them. So I began devising methods to avoid going to church with my parents. Then I was introduced to real preaching of the Gospel through my brother’s intervention.
The Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel opened my eyes to the realities of life, death and eternity. He can do the same for you. My eyes were opened to the meaning of life and it gave me a global interest. It quickened my interest in religion, philosophy, history and even archaeology, which I would never have believed a few years earlier when I played football at school and hit a tennis ball over the net in our local tennis club till the declining light at 11 p.m. called a halt. A few years later the decision to open the tennis club on the Lord’s Day brought forth my first written protest and cessation of membership. From little acorns …
During the next 45 years of my life I watched the decline of Britain, its temporary recovery under Margaret Thatcher, who first interested me in politics when she told the 1980 Conservative Party Conference: “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” Several significant years later, during which I was ordained to preach the Gospel, was married to Elizabeth who began to bear and rear children, I remember reading about Thatcher’s Bruges Speech on 20 Sep 1988 and her subsequent unsuccessful attempts to reverse the trends towards Europe. I watched Britain slide further into the EU clutches as John Major, her unworthy successor as Prime Minister, applied the thumbscrews on his own Members of Parliament to pass the Maastricht Treaty through the House of Commons.
I watched Jack Goldsmith’s Referendum Party video, which first alerted me to the loss of habeus corpus through European interference. I noted UKIP emerge in 1993 under Nigel Farage who has single-handedly guided the UK towards the Brexit Door celebrated this year on 31st January 2020. I watched EU opinion interfere with hundreds of years of British Parliamentary opinion, resulting in the abolition of the traditional role of the Lord Chancellor, the “Keeper of the Queen’s conscience”. There had been plans to do so for many decades. On 11th December 1934 Lord Hewart, Lord Chief Justice of England, astonished the House of Lords with his assertion of a behind-the-scenes attempt to replace the Lord Chancellor with a Minister and Ministry of Justice “after the Continental fashion”. Anticipating by half a century the intrigues of “Sir Humphrey” in the BBC series Yes Minister, Hewart implicated “the permanent officials of the Lord Chancellor’s Department”. In the adjourned debate three days later Viscount Hailsham countermanded this by tracing the topic back to 1836, its reconsideration and dismissal in 1913 and asserted that “it is impossible to suppose that there is in existence this plot or plan or scheme … to get rid of the Lord Chancellor’s office and to substitute a Minister of Justice”. After a unique and tetchy debate, barely covered by the public press, Lord Hewart was reassured and concluded in evident relief: “It is perfectly clear that the notion of a Ministry of Justice in this country is dead and buried after the observations of the noble Viscount (Lord Hailsham).” Rather, it seems that it was mothballed and finally dusted down and implemented by Tony Blair’s government under the EU’s insistence on ‘the separation of powers’. More generally, we have all witnessed the civil war created by the EU’s oligarchs trying to prevent the UK’s rebellion against the authority of the ‘United States’ of Europe.
65 years old and drawing my pension
So, today I reached my 65th birthday and I join the growing list of pensioners. The SNP Government let me have a free bus pass at 60 years old, my State Pensionable age has been pushed further away to 66 years, but the NHS still retires its doctors at 65 years old and then rehires at some expense those it wishes to retain. Such is the state of our modern state. My brain is thankfully as active as ever although my skeletal frame is feeling the effects of dwelling so much on the mental and spiritual to the detriment of the physical.
Where to now?
Today is 22/2/2020 or 20200222 for computer alphanumeric sorting. It is also Thinking Day, rebranded as World Thinking Day in 1999, chosen in 1926 as the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell and his wife, founders of the worldwide Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements, from which arose the phrase “a penny for your thoughts”. You don’t need to pay even a penny for Donald’s Thoughts, which are freely available here. I have never charged money for my thoughts, any more than the Free Offer of the Gospel should cost money. Thinking and Vision go together. Possibly the next World Thinking Day theme, as yet unidentified, should be “Vision”. The world needs Christian Vision.
I am pleased that I have lived to see Brexit Britain, which not so long ago was nowhere on the horizon (a similar derivation to ‘vision’). Neither is it on the horizon of ungodly vision to see the Christian Millennium. This short-sightedness arises from spiritual blindness, but this can be cured by God’s Holy Spirit applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christian Millennium will itself see the cure of many illnesses Isa 65:20.
Whatever the future holds for Britain, I am thankful for my children and grandchildren that we are rid of the undemocratic and spiritually moribund European Union.
However, Christian hope informs us that there is a good future even for the countries of Europe, once they are rid of the shackles of false religion. The same applies to the other nations of the world Rev 11:15.
Bodily vision diminishes but intellectual vision grows. I experience the infirmities described in Ecc 12:1-6 but I see Christ’s Vision with greater and greater clarity and it is on target for the biblical Millennium, when ‘the nations will learn war no more’ Isa 2:4 and Mic 4:3 and global peace and prosperity will prevail. The energy, educational and evangelical needs of the whole of mankind will be in place.
A new heaven and a new Earth
The Bible says that this lengthy millennium will be as near as it is possible to have heaven on earth, to such an extent that the peace and blessedness of the biblical Millennium is itself symbolical of heaven itself. At a theological conference in 1998 I explained that the transformation in world affairs during the biblical Millennium will be comparable to “a new heaven and a new earth” Isa 65:17, Isa 66:22, 2Pe 3:13 and Rev 21:1. Failure to recognise this is why exegetes have so much difficulty explaining the last chapters 20-22 of the book of Revelation. There are features of these chapters that appear to speak of heaven, yet there are features, such as death, that cannot exist in heaven. The explanation is that the biblical Millennium, in which death will occur as usual, is illustrative of heaven.
The Lord Jesus Christ having accomplished the aim of Redemption, to deliver the nations from the superstitious darkness of false religion under the sway of Satan the arch deceiver, there is no need for the Bible to spend much time describing the Millennium because the world will simply experience it. Mankind sees the progress that is made each century in human wellbeing at the economic, educational and technological level. The sociological progress is slow, two steps forwards and one step backwards, but the Gospel is working like leaven through the nations of the world.
This optimistic Gospel needs to be preached now, and it will be preached during the lengthy Millennium of Gospel blessedness on the Earth. The Gospel will be well preached, well understood and well practised at that time. The church will be kept on its toes by the warnings of history, by the proper preaching of biblical warnings and by the host of other safeguards the Holy Spirit has put in place for the spiritual development of His people. The final apostasy at the end of this blessed period of time Rev 20:7-9 will be short because such ingratitude will signal and usher in the Day of Judgment at the Last Day, after which the eternal state will be fixed. The future is good for the Christian Gospel on the Earth and for those with Christ in heaven.
“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” 2Cor 9:15 – “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Rom 6:23.The apostle Paul
31 Mar 2019: Brexit’s failure to arrive.
12 Apr 2019: Brexit 2 came and went, but not without my protest.
31 Oct 2019: Brexit 3’s failure to arrive.
31 Dec 2019: 2020 has been nominated the Year of the Bible. However, the Bible is relevant every year. A survey shows that reading the Bible three times a week makes minimal impact upon readers, but four or more times a week is a step change. Scripture teaches us to read the Bible daily Jos 1:8-9. The blessed effects are in Ps 1:2-3ff and we are to teach them to our children daily Deu 6:2,7 and Ps 78:1,3-7, etc. It points to daily family worship. Christian families should have family worship morning and evening.
31 Jan 2020: finally Brexit arrived, thanks be unto God.
25 Aug 2022: another notable anniversarsy – a centenary no less.