ireland in prophecy
By Ron Fraser
The Philadelphia Trumpet, March 1996
©1996 Philadelphia Church of God. All rights reserved.
Seventeen months after declaring a “cease-fire” in the interest of pursuing peace on their own terms, the IRA blew the front out of one of Europe’s most prestigious business developments, Canary Wharf, on London’s old Thames dockside. The bomb attack on Canary Wharf was heralded by the IRA high command announcing that their former declaration of a “complete cessation of violence” was well and truly over.
“It’s war. Massive bomb signals end of IRA cease-fire,” screamed the headlines of the February 10, 1996 London’s Daily Express. “The IRA [Irish Republican Army] blew apart the peace last night when a bomb ripped through the heart of London’s Docklands,” the article continued. “The Provos detonated the Semtex bomb one hour and one minute after ending the 17-month cease-fire.”
This horrific explosion seemed to laugh in the face of all the well-intentioned efforts of those who had tirelessly worked to cobble together some form of agreement between Sinn Fein (the political ally of the IRA), and the Irish and British governments, with the support of U.S. President Bill Clinton. Barely a few months earlier, Ireland erupted in collective euphoria over the visit of President Clinton as he sought to add the weight of the U.S. presidency to forcing along the so-called “peace process” to a Bosnia-like compromise between all parties. “We must make sure that the tide runs strong here,” cried President Clinton with ringing passion about the tide of events running in favor of the “peace process” in Ireland late in 1995.
Mr. Clinton may not have been aware of the astute deduction made by Irish commentator, Conor Cruise O’Brien in September 1994. At that time, with the “peace process” barely begun, O’Brien observed, “For the IRA, the new cease-fire is a promising tactical innovation, within a strategy that remains altogether unchanged. The immediate objective remains the destabilization of Northern Island, with a view to its elimination as a political entity and its incorporation in a Catholic-dominated united Ireland.” He further declared that the Sinn Fein-IRA connections in Washington were but “the link between the Nationalist agenda for Northern Ireland and the American mid-term Congressional elections” (The Independent, February 1, 1994)
In an editorial on the day following the London explosion, the Daily Telegraph declared, “For all of the attempts of Sinn Fein to give the illusion of being a normal political party, their tradition of violence has proved too compulsive for at least some of their supporters.... The perpetrators of this act believe that legitimacy and power are secured by Semtex and the Armalite” (February 10, 1996).
Why is it the Irish, having contributed so much to the development of other nations, have been caught up in conflict with their British neighbors for over 300 years? What part has Ireland played in God’s prophecies for mankind? Is the so-called peace process recoverable? Or is the Canary Wharf episode a declaration of all-out war by Sinn Fein? What is the ultimate future of the Irish peoples?
Ireland is a parliamentary republic. Its constitution was composed by Eamon de Valera, adopted following a referendum in 1937. This small country boasts a scant population of 3.5 million souls. There are far more Irish people and those of direct Irish descent in America than in Ireland. Probably more Irish live in the United Kingdom than in the Irish Republic. Hordes of people of Irish extraction are threaded throughout the nations of Europe. “Over the centuries, right up to the present day, Ireland’s principal export has always been people. People in the tens of thousands, usually the young, the ambitious, the adventurous ones” (Europeople, Tony Gray, p. 274).
Those who wonder why the U.S. president appeared so anxious in his recent and relatively unsuccessful endeavors to establish Irish roots, under the Clinton family name, may be unaware that it is in the United States that the Irish have had the biggest impact. Students of American history know the Irishmen of the fighting 69th contributed to the Yankee victory in the American Civil War.
There have been twelve U.S. Presidents of Irish extraction, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan being among the most recent. The Irish emigrated in droves to build the railroads of America, populate the police force, particularly in Boston and New York, and have significant impact in education, religion and politics. Much of this emigration took place as a result of a potato famine occurring mid-century, simultaneous with a population explosion, which reduced the Irish population to near-starvation.
As a predominantly Catholic nation, Ireland boasts the highest birthrate in the European Union. Yet, due to the continuing high rate of emigration, it remains one of very few countries in the world with a negative growth rate: -0.11 percent.
Just who are the Irish? From whence did they come to inhabit the emerald isle in the Atlantic Ocean, from there to spread out globally as generation after generation fled their homeland for the beckoning shores of the New World?
“Most Irish people today would admit that they couldn’t possibly help being a mix of perhaps some Celtic, maybe some Viking, almost certainly some Norman, English and Scottish blood” (ibid.). But what are the true origins of these people?
Jesus Christ clearly stated, “thy word is truth” (John 17:17). So it is to the word of God that we must turn for revelation concerning the true origins of the Irish.
Around 1444 b.c., Joshua, under the inspiration of God, divided the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel. Having allotted Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben and Gad their portions, there remained seven tribes yet to receive their allotment. Joshua then proceeded to divide the land among these seven tribes. “And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions” (Josh. 18:10). One of these seven tribes was the tribe of Dan. This tribe was allotted a portion of land between the borders of Ephraim and Judah, extending from the Mediterranean coast eastward around twenty miles towards Jerusalem. However, the biblical account indicates, “And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father” (Josh. 19:47). Naming an area of land or a geographic feature after their tribal patriarch was a peculiar habit of the tribe of Dan, as prophesied by Jacob. “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward” (Gen. 49:17).
Prior to Israel being taken into captivity by the Assyrians, the Danites occupied both the coastal area of their initial expanded allotment and also a northern province, the capital city of which they renamed, from its original Laish, to the city of Dan, once again after their tribal father (Judges 18:29). They took the northern area by force (Judges 18:7-12).
A study of the Irish Chronicles sheds further light on the movement of the southern Danites, identified in the ancient annals as the “Tuatha de Danaan,” meaning “the tribe of Dan.”
“The Irish Chronicles tell us that the landing of the Danaan in Ireland was opposed by the people already there, and a battle followed in which the Danaan were victorious. The Danaan, however, discovered their opponents spoke a language similar to their own—the Phoenician language—and peace was made, by which it was agreed that the Danaan should occupy the northern part of the island, called Uladh, the modern Ulster, where they became the dominant race for several centuries” (Tracing our Ancestors, Frederick Haberman, p. 116).
Ancient Jewish rabbinical writings claim that those people who opposed the Danites upon their arrival on the shores of Ireland were of the tribe of Ephraim, who left Egypt prior to the Exodus, and fled, probably via Iberia (southern Spain), to Ireland. It is even thought that the Celtic, or Scottish, plaid (tartan) emanated from these people descended from Joseph, reflecting his coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3). “All the ancient Irish traditions, names and monuments corroborate each other and appear to indicate that Ireland’s earliest settlers, the Fororians, were men of Ephraim” (ibid., p. 116).
The southern coastal Danites were seafarers. “Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches” (Judges 5:17). Consequently, when the Assyrian hordes descended upon Israel in 604 b.c., while the landlocked northern province of Dan went into captivity, the coastal dwellers were able to put to sea and make their escape. Thus was fulfilled Moses’ prophecy, “Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan” (Deut. 33:22).
While the coastal, southern Danites made good their escape from the Assyrians by sea, those of the north were taken to the land of the Assyrians. Together with the remainder of the ten tribes, they continued to move northeast to the shores of the Black Sea. Here we still see their legacy in the names of the rivers which empty into the Black Sea via its northern and western shorelines—the Don, the Dnieper, the Dnister and the Danube. The “serpent’s trail” of Dan, as they continued to name topographical landmarks after the tribe’s father’s name, can then be followed through both ancient annals and even current geographical atlases. The trail leads westward, north to Denmark and across the North Sea to the British Isles.
Herbert Armstrong wrote in some detail of this historical movement of the Danites in his booklet, The United States and Britain in Prophecy (write for your free copy). Mr. Armstrong comments: “Long prior to 700 b.c. a strong colony called the ‘tuatha de Danaan’ (tribe of Dan) arrived in ships, drove out other tribes and settled there. Later, in the days of David, a colony of the line of Zarah arrived in Ireland from the Near East.” Zarah was one of the twin sons of Judah. Judah was recipient of the sceptre promise of the royal, ruling house within Israel (Gen. 49:10).
Here God promises that the house of Judah will never lack for a king until Christ returns to take over the royal throne of David. King David was of the royal house of Judah, of the Pharez branch. Though Pharez, the other twin son of Judah, was in fact born first, it was Zarah who first breached the womb: “And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah” (Gen. 38:27-30).
The name Pharez means breach. Mr. Armstrong poses the question, “Why should this strange occurrence be recorded in Bible history unless this breach was to be healed between the sons or their descendants at some future time? Yet it never occurred in their lifetime” (ibid., p. 32).
Mr. Armstrong continues this fascinating account of the ancient history of the royal house of Judah: “Since David’s line (Pharez) is to remain on the throne through all generations forever, it could only occur at an overturn of the throne by a marriage between a Pharez heir to the throne and one of the Zarah line, thus healing the breach.
“History shows the descendants of Zarah became wanderers, journeying to the north within the confines of the Scythian [Scota or Scottish] nations, their descendants later migrating to Ireland in the days of King David” (ibid., p. 32).
Through further study of the biblical account of the prophet Jeremiah’s travels, biblical prophecy and Irish history, Mr. Armstrong goes on to prove the fulfillment of an amazing prophecy concerning the house of Israel. This prophecy was fulfilled on the island of Ireland in 569 b.c. It was in that year that the annals tell of “an elderly, white-haired patriarch, sometimes referred to as a ‘saint,’” sailing ashore on the emerald isle. His entourage included a princess, identified as Tea-Tephi, daughter of King Zedekiah, of the Pharez line of Judaic royalty. Her husband, who also was attached to Jeremiah’s party, was the son of the king of Ireland. Being in Jerusalem at the time of the siege, he had married Tea-Tephi not long after the fall of the city around 585 b.c. They also had with them their young son. It is reported that Jeremiah brought with him to Ireland a harp, an ark and a peculiar stone, named “lia-fail,” the “stone of destiny.” This is the very stone which rests under the Coronation Chair in London’s Westminster Abbey. Numerous kings and queens have been crowned sitting over this mysterious stone. They include previous rulers of Ireland, Scotland and England.
Mr. Armstrong records, “The royal husband of the Hebrew princess Tea was given the title Herremon upon ascending the throne of his father.... The son of this later king Herremon and Hebrew princess continued on the throne of Ireland and this same dynasty has continued unbroken, through all the kings of Ireland; was overturned and transplanted again in Scotland; again overturned and moved to London, England, where this same dynasty continues today in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II!” (ibid., p. 46).
Thus we see the role this “greener than green” island has played in the fulfillment of one of the key biblical prophecies which identifies the current location of the ruling house of David, whose throne, God declared, would never want for a ruling monarch till the consummation of the end of this age. At Jesus Christ’s return, He will take over and rule all nations from this very throne. (Write for The Key of David for further details on this remarkable prophecy.)
The Tara Connection
About 45 miles northwest of Dublin, in the county of Meath, lies the hill of Tara. Tara is of particular significance when retracing Jeremiah’s and Tea-Tephi’s footsteps.
Irish tradition holds that Princess Tea-Tephi is buried on Tara Hill. For many centuries, the burial mound on this site has been regarded as sacred by the Irish people.
In tracing the significance of Tara, it is interesting to note that Jeremiah is known in the ancient traditions of Ireland as Ollamh Fodhla or Ollam Fola. According to Haberman, Ollam comes from the Hebrew indicating the possession of “hidden knowledge,” while Fola in Hebrew means wonderful, or the Celtic revealed. This is an obvious description of a Hebrew prophet.
Peter Beresford Ellis, in his historical dissertation, The Celtic Empire, indicates that Ollamh, to this day, remains as the Irish word for professor.
“In 714 b.c. it is recorded that Ollamh Fodhla...founded rule by legislature, giving the country a codified system of law.... When the Irish legal system was first codified in the early Christian era it was clear that it had evolved from centuries of careful oral preservation. The ancient laws of Ireland, name breitheamh—a judge—are the oldest-surviving law system in Europe.... Their roots are...not in Roman law, from which other European systems have derived” (The Celtic Empire, Beresford Ellis, p. 183).
This codified system of law which Jeremiah brought to Ireland comprised the law, the statues and the judgments God gave to ancient Israel, through Moses, 922 years prior to Jeremiah’s arrival in Ireland in 569 b.c. The Eternal had proclaimed through Jeremiah, “The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever” (Jer. 3:11-12).
Jeremiah was commanded by God to take and “proclaim these words” specifically to Israel, as distinct from Judah, in a place to the north.
Mr. Armstrong takes up the commentary at this point: “Israel is clearly distinguished from Judah. Of course Israel was north of Judah while still in Palestine—but when these words were written by Jeremiah, Israel had been removed from Palestine more than 130 years and had long since migrated, with the Assyrians, north (and west) of Assyria’s original location.
“And in these last days messengers are to go ‘toward the north’ (of Jerusalem) in order to locate lost Israel and proclaim this warning. So the location, we now find, is toward the north, also west, and in the sea.
“The 18th verse, same chapter, says, ‘In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel [margin, to the house of Israel], and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.’ At the future exodus, at Christ’s coming, they are to return to Palestine out of the land of the north!
“After saying, ‘How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?’ the Eternal, speaking through Hosea, says, ‘Then the children shall tremble from the WEST’ (Hos. 11:8, 10)” (United States and Britain in Prophecy, pp. 39-40).
In a very practical demonstration of just how to find the modern-day location of the house of Israel, Mr. Armstrong challenges us: “Take a map of Europe. Lay a line due northwest of Jerusalem, across the continent of Europe, until you come to the sea, and then to the islands in the seas! This line takes you directly to the BRITISH ISLES!” (ibid., p. 41).
So, we see that Jeremiah was inspired by God to journey from Palestine, with Princess Tea-Tephi and his faithful secretary, Baruch (Jer. 45:2-5), to settle in the island of Ireland, where he established God’s codified Ten Commandments, the statutes and judgments as the basis for the oldest surviving system of law in Europe. The special significance of Jeremiah’s role, being integral to the prophesied continuance of the royal throne of David, is underwritten in the fact that “He was one of the three men, only, who were sanctified before they were born. The other two were John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (see Jer. 1:5)” (ibid., p. 26).
It is worthy of note that, as Beresford Ellis indicates, the codified law of ancient Ireland was rooted in centuries of oral preservation. This is the very method God commanded the Israelites to use to perpetuate the teaching of His commandments through all generations. “But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut 5:31; 6:7).
Having gained from King Herremon a commitment to renounce serpent worship as it was then practiced in Ireland, under the tutelage of Jeremiah, the king accepted Mosaic law and the worship of God. The king permitted Jeremiah to then set up a college of learning to instruct in the knowledge of God. “At Cathair Crofin, the royal residence, Jeremiah established a school or college, known in Irish history as the Mur-Ollamain or ‘school of wisdom,’ and the name of Cathair Crofin was changed to Tara, which word is derived from the Hebrew-Phoenician Torah, meaning ‘the Law.’ In the succeeding centuries Tara became a famous seat of learning, not only for Ireland but also for western Europe” (Tracing our Ancestors, Haberman, p. 154).
A Harp and a Stone
“Irish Historians are unanimous that about 580 b.c. there arrived in Ulster a notable man, a patriarch or saint, accompanied by an Eastern princess, and a lesser person by the name of Simon Brach, or Barech. This party brought with them several remarkable things about which Ireland’s songs and legends cluster; those things were a harp (David’s harp), and a wonderful stone—the Stone of Destiny—the Lia Phail [or lia-fail]” (ibid., p. 153).
The only national emblem Ireland possessed for over 2,000 years was the harp of Tara and its angel guardian. It is still a symbol of Irish nationality.
As to the ancient stone, its history has been handed down from the time of Jeremiah, Tea-Tephi and Baruch orally, even to this generation in the British Isles.
Ian Hamilton Q.C., who in his youth stole the Stone of Destiny from its resting place in Westminster Abbey and transported it back to Scotland, tells of how his mother, uneducated in so-called higher learning, passed the history of this ancient stone on to him, as a boy. “I knew the background. I knew of the Wars of Independence. What I found difficult to understand was where London came in. She told me how the Stone has been taken to London during these wars and never returned. She told me the older stories of how it had been brought to Argyll before the time of Saint Columba, and how since then every King of Scotland had been crowned sitting on it, until it was carried south during Edward I’s invasion of 1296.... And before it was brought to Scotland, the story went on...the Celtic peoples thought so much of the Stone that they carried it with them as the symbol of their nationality wherever they went... She... obviously determined that I should know the whole story...told me that it was supposed to be Jacob’s pillow, on which he rested his head when he had the dream of the angels ascending and descending their heavenly ladder. And then she told me that ancient story from the Gaelic, in a rhyme which has remained ever with me” (The Taking of the Stone of Destiny, Ian Hamilton, p. 11).
Lia-fail, the mysterious stone which Jeremiah and his small party carried with them from Palestine to Ireland, is in fact, the very stone over which the royal rulers of the house of Israel in ancient times and their latter counterparts in Ireland, Scotland and England have been crowned for over 2,500 years! Any enlightened study of the royal history of Great Britain will reveal this. A detailed, objective analysis of Mr. Armstrong’s book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, will reveal it. Other sources from which we have quoted in this article will shed further light on this truth about lia-fail, the stone of destiny, as will such works as Milner’s, The Royal House of Britain. This stone now rests in a specially constructed section of the Coronation Chair, currently residing in Westminster Abbey, London. The chair once carried a metal plaque on its front, immediately below the stone, with the inscription, Jacob’s Pillar-stone. “Enlightened” British officials had the plaque removed some years ago. Why? “Because the nation of England has degenerated in its faith! The once great British Empire has lost the knowledge of its identity as Ephraim, one of the most important tribes of Israel.
“Why is this stone called the ‘stone of destiny’? No other nation in history has had a coronation stone like England. No other nation on earth can claim such a breathtaking, rich historical past for its throne” (The Key of David, p. 2).
The present royal family, of the house of Windsor, has endured many denigrating reports from a scandal-mongering press. A seeming plethora of gossip novels, all claiming to expose the sins of the royal house of Windsor, have flooded the bookstores of late. The failed marriages of the younger Windsors, in particular, are a sad commentary on the state of Britain’s modern royal house, notwithstanding the regal dedication of Queen Elizabeth to her royal duties. Yet, prophecy shows much more serious events are to unfold involving those closest to the throne of David in these end times.
“We know England is going to lose their king and queen. The royal family will be taken into captivity. Westminster Abbey could be destroyed. What will happen to that stone in the Tribulation?
“What if God worked out a way for the Philadelphia Church to obtain possession of that stone so we could take it to a place of safety? This is what He did in Jeremiah’s time. God never let the stone fall into the hands of the Gentiles in the time of Jeremiah.
“If God doesn’t preserve the stone that way, He will no doubt protect a member of the royal family. Perhaps God will do both.
“We don’t really know the final outcome of that stone and throne. But for over 25 centuries, the kings of Israel, Ireland, Scotland and England have been crowned on that stone. And yet nearly all of the people in Britain and the United States don’t know this precious history!” (ibid., p. 12).
Why would a simple block of stone be viewed by God as so important as to be preserved within Israel for over 3,750 years? “The stone represents God’s house, or God’s Church, and salvation for the entire world. Eventually the whole world will learn about this pillar stone and live by the covenant of God!” (ibid., p. 9).
You need to understand the spiritual meaning behind this seemingly simple block of ancient stone. Your future depends on it!
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. 28:16). God has given us vital knowledge. We hold fast to the knowledge of Jacob’s pillar stone because it represents the Work of Jesus Christ throughout many thousands of years. Those who believe the Bible history of England’s ‘stone of destiny’ ACT FROM FAITH, NOT FROM FEAR. God says we have a tried Stone; a sure foundation. Everything works out right for those who have the faith of Christ. We know who we are, where we are going, and the glorious outcome of the end-time events—all because of Jacob’s pillar stone. Britain’s stone truly is a ‘stone of destiny’” (ibid., p. 15).
Thus, it is in the prophet Jeremiah, a young Hebrew princess, Tea-Tephi, a loyal dedicated secretary, Baruch, a segment of ancient stone, a harp and the book of the law that the true history of the Ireland of modern-day conflict is rooted.
“Jeremiah became the chief figure in Irish history, life and religion. He became the patriarch of Ireland, and is the original ‘St. Patrick.’ The latter was, as is well known, not an Irishman at all, but an early missionary to Ireland, who was substituted by the Roman Church to take the place of the original saint-patriarch of Ireland, for reasons of their own. In Simon Barech who accompanied them we recognize Baruch the scribe, of Jeremiah 36” (Tracing our Ancestors, Haberman, p. 153).
Why Division and Conflict?
“Q. Have the Irish preserved the faith preached to them by St. Patrick? A. Yes; the Irish have ever been conspicuous for their devoted attachment to the faith from which not all the horrors of persecution nor the blandishments of proselytism have been able to separate them” (Catechism of Irish History, 1876).
Of the religion which inspires “mystical nationalism,” that drives the Catholic Church, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fien and the IRA to press for reunification, Conor Cruise O’Brien writes, “The nearer you get to mediaeval Christianity the nearer you get to the pagan world, and early twentieth-century Ireland was closer to mediaeval Christianity than most of Europe was (and it is still closer than it is consciously aware of)” (Ancestral Voices, p. 113).
The faith the Irish have preserved is not the faith that led Jeremiah to Ireland. It is, in fact, that faith which the emissary of Rome, Patrick, brought from the Vatican to the shores of Ireland. A faith, as Conor Cruise O’Brien hints, which emanated from the mediaeval “Christianity” which emerged out of the dark ages, following the persecution of the true Church and dispersion of the disciples of Christ after the first century a.d. This faith, traced to its ultimate source, is rooted in the old pagan religion of Babylon.
At the core of the current modern-day conflict between the British, incorporating Ulster, and Ireland, is the Irish Catholic-Nationalist ideology. The founder of the Fianna Fail political party and architect of the constitution of the Irish Republic, Eamon de Valera, emphasized that the two national aims of Fianna Fail were the restoration of the Irish language and the reunification of Ireland. History has shown the first aim to be unachievable. Thus the primary and singular aim of Fianna Fail has become reunification. “The objective of Irish political nationalism during most of the twentieth century—since 1922—has been what is called ‘the reunification of the national territory’ by which is meant the extinction of Northern Ireland as a distinct political entity, and the incorporation of its territory into a united Ireland” (ibid., p. 89).
The greater population of Northern Ireland is Protestant, the minority Catholic. The Ulster Protestants’ refusal to become part of a united Ireland is due to their perception that they would be reduced from being the bigger fish in a small pond, to being the small fry in the big pond. As they see it, as a Protestant minority, they would then become subservient politically, culturally and socially to a Catholic majority. Simply put, this is purely an old-fashioned religious conflict.
It is worthy to note that fundamental to the three regions of conflict that demand world attention in the northern hemisphere is—religion.
In the Middle East, we see Muslim pitched against Jews, in the Balkans, we see the seething mix of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Islam, all competing against each other for territory. In Ireland, the issues are fundamentally Roman Catholic and Protestant.
Since 1969, Northern Ireland has experienced its longest sustained period of civil disorder. In excess of 2,000 deaths have resulted from the violence perpetrated between Catholics and Protestants. Even in this temporary “peace pause,” which Ireland has enjoyed for over a year, IRA kneecapping, retribution assaults and killings by both IRA and Ulster loyalist paramilitaries still continue behind the scenes.
Religious conflict resulting from the Irish Catholic-Nationalist ideology may be sourced to the seventeenth century. From the time of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald, around the 1570s, the Irish, in rebellion against the monarchy, regardless of their motives for rebellion, traditionally sought support for their various causes from the Pope and Catholic Europe. Perceiving the danger across the Irish Sea, James I of England sought to plant loyal Protestant subjects in Ulster, the so-called “plantation of Ulster,” to balance the equation in the early seventeenth century. Although meeting with limited success, this initiative was paralleled by Scottish Protestants migrating to Ulster of their own free will to Antrim and Down. The linguistic, cultural and industrial differences between the supplanters and the supplanted were to the point of causing instant abrasiveness between the two groups which has lasted and compounded to this day.
“The relations between those two communities, from the early seventeenth century on, have a striking resemblance to those between Jews and Arabs today, from Jordan to the sea and thereabouts. Everywhere in Ireland, by the end of the seventeenth century, religious and political allegiance tended to coincide, and in Ulster they coincided almost absolutely” (ibid., p. 11).
As Conor Cruise O’Brien states, the Catholic Church, “discretely but sedulously,” exerts strong influence on the campaign for reunification. “The Catholic position is thought of as fixed, and it is the Protestants who must move in the directions the Catholics want” (ibid., p. 101).
Juxtaposed between the Catholic push for reunification, and the Protestant resistance is Sinn Fien. In a simple yet powerful statement of reality concerning this terrorist movement, O’Brien pithily comments, “In the political statements of Sinn Fien-IRA...it is only when you watch the funerals that you get the message.” This respected, objective and astute Irishman, in commenting on the Sinn Fien leadership’s definition of peace, declares that what they mean “by peace is what the IRA has always meant: the condition that will prevail after the British withdraw and the Protestants are beaten into submission.” O’Brien sees the Catholic Nationalist party, Sinn Fien, as being a mere political tool and voice for the illegal Irish Republican Army.
The “Peace” Process
A singular comparison can be drawn between the so-called “peace” process in Israel and that which is in faltering progress between the British government and the republic of Ireland. Both initiatives ride on the central thread of a policy of appeasement. “That is to say, you give the IRA a bit of what they want, in the hope that they will be so pleased with the bit that they will stop, without holding out for the whole. In other contexts such a policy has been known as appeasement. It does not have an impressive international track-record” (ibid., p. 136).
The most ignominious of appeasement policies in this century resulted in British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, returning from Germany in 1939, waving a useless bit of paper sporting Hitler’s signature and declaring, “Peace in our time.” Shortly thereafter, the Nazi war machine ground through the Balkans in the overture to World War II!
The Catholic Church is very much a part of the “peace” process in Ireland because of, in the words of Conor Cruise O’Brien, “its underlying but deniable anti-Protestant thrust.” The one-sided nature of this bogus peace effort is reflected in a statement issued on February 18, 1994, by the primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Daly. In a blatantly anti-Protestant comment, the Cardinal stated, “The continuing murderous campaign by loyalist gunmen against nationalist public representatives and against the nationalist and Catholic community in general is unspeakably evil and should be condemned by everyone, regardless of their political affiliation. There should be no attempt to lend spurious justification to this campaign as a response to political developments.”
O’Brien continues, “The primate did not, at any point in that quite lengthy statement, allude to any murderous campaign by Catholics and nationalists against Protestants and unionists, nor did he there characterize any form of Catholic or nationalist activity as unspeakably evil, or evil at all” (ibid., p. 188).
O’Brien sees the Cardinal’s blessing being of undoubted “service to the bogus peace process and therefore to the people of whom he appeals, Sinn Fien-IRA.”
It was that iron lady of British politics, Margaret Thatcher who declared, “Never negotiate with a terrorist.” Wise words for those who have ears to hear. Yet in both Ireland and Palestine, the “peace makers” kow-tow to renowned terrorists and in Bosnia sign peace accords with an alleged war criminal and a Nazi sympathizer! In Ireland, the lead voice of Sinn Fien-IRA is guilty of championing a cause which, as part of its justification for existence, approves of willful slaughter.
“They visited the war on Britain. The Cabinet was nearly annihilated in the Brighton bombing of 1983. They slaughtered cavalrymen trotting their mounts through Hyde Park. Bandsmen oompahing on a bandstand were blown to pieces. And when soldiers became increasingly difficult to kill in Northern Ireland, they widened the category of legitimate target to include anybody who sold vegetables to policemen” (The Spectator, Sept. 2, 1995).
Oh! The gross ignorance of those who are given rule in these times, where they cry “peace, peace,” when in reality their peace is but a sham papering-over, in appeasement, of the lusts of murderers of masses of human kind! “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.... Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it” (Jer. 6:14, 18-19).
In earlier years, Dublin-based governments specifically warned U.S. congressional representatives to refrain from considering aid or support to the Sinn Fein-IRA connection. Yet, now, the more “enlightened” view Sinn Fein as respectable and an integral part of the “peace” process. Thus the U.S. Clinton administration exerts pressure on the U.K. Major administration to “create conditions for peace,” by yielding on concessions to the Catholic Nationalist agenda.
Serious watchers of the Irish scene warn of the distinct possibility of Bosnia-like conditions prevailing in Northern Ireland if the British withdraw. The horrors of religiously based “ethnic cleansing,” in O’Brien’s view, are not in the least unlikely should the British cave in. With a perspective that the situation occurring in Ireland is “a kind of holy war,” this insightful Irishman, having viewed the Irish conflict from within and without over close to six decades, postulates that religion and nationalism “are now converging, in a blandly-camouflaged pincer movement, impudently labeled ‘peace process,’ or ‘quest for peace’ directed against the religious and political minority in the island of Ireland” (ibid., p.192).
The Final Word
In the book of Proverbs, God inspired the following words to be written and canonized in his Scripture: “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:1). The old King James English somewhat obscures the impact of this proverb. An analysis of this verse, going to the meaning and intent of the originally inspired Hebrew, could render the words in modern speech thus: “Man has his hopes and dreams, but God has the final word!” Again, in Proverbs we read, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). The final phrase of this verse could be more literally rendered from the Hebrew, “The final judgment on everything is of the Eternal.”
So it is that man has his hopes and dreams concerning peace on earth and how it can be brought about. Yet God says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 16:25). Simply put, all of man’s hopes and dreams of peace on earth are doomed to failure unless he humbly seeks God’s will in the “peace process.”
Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). There are those who are to create peace, God’s way, and they are literally going to be part of the God Family: children, offspring of the Father! Born of God! “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I John 3:9). Yet we know that “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and the penalty or “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). That law of the Spirit of life is the very nature of God. It is the purest definition of love—outgoing concern for others! God is love! (I John 4:8, 16). And just what is that love, that very nature of God? “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (I John 5:3).
The book of the law which Jeremiah took with him to Ireland, from which he taught at the school of knowledge in Tara, comprised this very law of God. God’s nature expressed in ten immutable, unchangeable commandments and their expression in further detail in the statutes and judgments (Exod. 20, 23; Lev. 11-27). As we have seen, even for centuries following the death of Jeremiah, Tara, the location of his college, was famous as a seat of learning for students in Ireland and across Western Europe. The codified systems of law in the western democracies of Europe though corrupted, and to varying extent Romanized, reflect at their roots the Hebrew-Phoenician Torah, which can be traced to the original, uncorrupted law of God given by His hand to Moses on Mt. Sinai around 1491 b.c. Yet most who learned the law lacked the Spirit to put it into effect! It is only where this eternal law of God is etched indelibly into the minds of deeply converted servants of God, a subject of constant meditation (Ps. 119:9), as a constant delight (Ps. 119:92), that one can have the right and godly perspective to, in truth, become a peacemaker.
Is this a description of those who are at the forefront of the so-called “peace process” in Ireland? Christ said that we would know godly men “by their fruits” (Matt. 7:20). What are the fruits of those involved in the current peace process? Are they of humble, yielded, godly attitudes, edifying and building up each other, not seeking self-gain, each prepared to sacrifice for the other to see the other advantaged at the expense of self? It would be ludicrous to think this could ever be the case, given the self-seeking factions that dominate this sad scene.
O’Brien puts it this way, when postulating the majority Irish view: “we have got most of it back and we are going to get the rest of it back. Any blood that is shed in the process is regrettable but is not our fault. It is their fault, for withholding what is rightfully ours. Very few people talk on anything like those lines, these days, or consciously think such thoughts. But that is how the choreography of religion and nationalism is working, through a variety of subtly intricate ritual-political dances in misleadingly modern dress” (ibid., p. 195).
Peace, real peace, will not come to Ireland by means of the current peace process! Of that we can be absolutely sure. That is guaranteed on the unbreakable Word of almighty God! (James 4:1-4).
The forces in this world that move men to war, to strife, to reprisal shooting, to “ethnic cleansing,” to holocaust are unseen! (Eph. 6:12).
Unless one has totally yielded to God (Rom. 12:1) and has dwelling within him that “law of the Spirit of life,” it is impossible to please God—to resist the powers of evil and create peace! Yet, peace in Ireland will come! Great peace, God’s prevailing peace, will come to all nations on this earth! It is Jesus Christ, the Word, Son of God, Prince of Peace, who alone can, together with those then born of God, bring peace to this earth (Isa. 9:6). “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The amazing thing is that when Christ finally comes to impose God’s peace on this earth, the nations of this world will array themselves against Him in a great, final, futile effort to thwart the greatest peacemaker and His army of spirit-empowered peacemakers in their efforts (Rev. 16:14, 16).
Jesus Christ and His army of angels and spirit beings will annihilate these rebellious hordes in great godly, yet loving, indignation at their rebellion. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.... And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:11, 14-16).
Then Jesus Christ will impose God-given peace on this whole world by implementing God’s Family government from the city of peace, Jerusalem, to spread out and encompass all nations. Those converted, loyal, dedicated servants, who through trial, testing and persecution took on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5) and held fast against all odds to God’s law of life (Rev. 3:11), will be there, born of God. They will rule with Christ, implementing His law, statutes and judgments, healing the masses, reconstituting the wounded environment of this earth, for 1000 years!
Do you want to be part of the greatest “peace process” that exists? Then turn to God! Turn back to Him if you’ve been guilty of backsliding. Repent! Steep your mind in His word! Prevail on Him in real heartfelt prayer and ask for His goodness to lead you to real repentance (Rom. 2:4). Join or rejoin the greatest peace effort of all! God reveals the way to do that, especially at the Passover season. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
This is the only way to peace. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Understanding of this whole godly peace plan and how to be part of it is gained through possession of one vital key—the Key of David. Write for your free copy now—it not only unlocks understanding about the ancient island of Ireland and about the future of the nations of Israel, it unlocks the whole universe!