85 Years of the Commonwealth: What Next?
The Commonwealth was formed 85 years ago this year. A lot has changed since its formation. What does the future hold for this group of nations?
It was the empire on which the sun never set.
For years, this was an accurate description of the British Empire. No empire in history had so many territorial possessions throughout the entire world. Even after 13 colonies revolted to become the United States of America in the late 18th century, the British Empire continued growing. The empire survived even after World War I, a conflict that ended the mighty Ottoman, German and Hungarian empires.
However, the British Empire would not survive the effects of the Second World War. By the war’s end, Britain had lost much of its financial, military and political power, and the United States and the Soviet Union began to replace it as the world’s predominant superpowers. Many of Britain’s colonial territories opted for independence.
Enter the Commonwealth
Even though the British Empire ceased to exist, Britain still continued to influence its former colonies. The British Commonwealth of Nations, formed on Dec. 11, 1931, changed to become the Commonwealth in 1949: an equal, voluntary alliance between Britain and its former colonies. The Commonwealth actually grew so much that eventually countries that had never been under British control, such as Rwanda and Mozambique, joined the organization. Membership currently stands at 52 independent and equal sovereign states, whose population amounts to 2.2 billion people.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the members “maintain ties of friendship and practical cooperation” and “acknowledge the British monarch as symbolic head of their association.”
According to some, such as Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who is Dominican by birth, this alliance of nations will grow stronger and its members will depend more on each other as a result of Brexit (the British decision to leave the European Union).
The future of the Commonwealth
It’s difficult to predict exactly what awaits the Commonwealth in its short-term future, but the Bible does reveal what will eventually happen to several of the Commonwealth nations and how this may have a direct impact on your life.
The Commonwealth has its roots in an ancient blessing given to the patriarch Joseph’s son Ephraim. Ephraim’s descendants were prophesied to become “a multitude of nations.” As we explain in our booklet The United States, Britain and the Commonwealth in Prophecy, the Commonwealth has its roots in an ancient blessing given to the patriarch Joseph’s son Ephraim. Ephraim’s descendants were prophesied to become “a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19). This never occurred in ancient times; it was a prophecy for modern times (Genesis 49:1).
God predicted through the prophet Jeremiah that, because those who spread the Bible to many nations have abandoned many biblical morals and ethics, there would be a time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). This is a time when the descendants of ancient Israel, especially the recipients of the birthright blessing, will be punished for their national sins.
A big question that arises from reading about the Commonwealth is this: So what? How does it affect you? Why should you be concerned with ancient prophecies in the Bible about geopolitical affairs?
That’s a fair question, and the answer is simple: Many of you who are reading this reside in one of those nations that will experience punishment in the future. Thankfully, God offers a way to “escape all these things that will come to pass” (Luke 21:36). You can learn more about how to escape this time in our article “The Place of Safety.”
We hope that you will spiritually prepare for these times. If you would like to learn more about Bible prophecy and the impact that it should have on your life, download The United States, Britain and the Commonwealth in Prophecy and The Book of Revelation: The Storm Before the Calm.