Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Is there a thread of truth to the traditions, legends, and stories behind Britain's coronation stone, the Stone of Destiny? And if true, what would it mean for today's world?
[Narrator] Join our presenters from the United Church of God as we bring you help for today and hope for tomorrow directly from your Bible here on Beyond Today.
[Darris McNeely] As the threatening clouds of World War II were gathering over England, the British government buried for safekeeping a 300 pound stone under the floor of Westminster Abbey in the City of London. The plans of where they put it with the exact location were sent for safekeeping to the prime minister of Canada. This stone was removed from the chair on which every king and queen of England was crowned since the 14th century. It had a wooden inscription marked there on the chair that said "Jacob's pillar stone." That too was removed. Some old photographs of the stone still carry that inscription that traditionally links the stone to the first Israelite in history whose name was Jacob, the grandson of the patriarch Abraham. He consecrated the stone with oil to commemorate with God his appearance to him in a vision while he rested on this pillar.
Now why would this stone called in history the Stone of Destiny, used in the crowning of British kings and queens, why would it be connected with an event in the Holy Land almost 4,000 years ago and some 2000 miles from the British Isles? And why the association between London, England and a place in ancient Israel called Bethel? In a previous program in this series, we showed the connection between the throne of David in ancient Israel and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We noted that some past British monarchs have purportedly traced their line back to King David, believing that they were sitting on the Davidic throne that will one day be claimed by Jesus Christ when He returns to reign from the city of Jerusalem. In the gospel of Luke in the New Testament, we're shown that Jesus Christ is the ultimate claimant to this throne. It says there that He, meaning Christ, will be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God will give Him the throne of his father, David.
Luke 1 of the New Testament through the prophecies that promised to David that he would always have a descendant on a throne, we have made the case in these programs that the throne of Great Britain can be understood to be that throne transferred in time to the British Isles and enduring to this day. The late Queen Elizabeth II and her son King Charles III are connected to this story. Now to a modern mind looking at this story in history, this seems rather preposterous and totally irrelevant but it's not, because Bible prophecy and history and scripture connect to help us understand something about the faithfulness of God beyond what most people can ever imagine.
But let's consider for a moment the idea of a stone, the biblical connection of this stone to the place where British monarchs are crowned and the words of the coronation ceremony itself. First, let's consider the very basic element of stone. It's a feature of our existence on this planet. You know, as far back in human history as we may go, we see the most basic importance of stone. People built shelters out of stone. They used flint to make tools to fashion stones, to build, to hunt, and even to wage battles. Precious stones, well they've been fashioned into jewelry to enhance beauty, to signify status, and even to confirm meaning in life. When we look into the Bible we see that stones were actually erected as altars of sacrifice to make covenants with God. When we look closely at the description of the high priest in the Bible, the clothing of that priest actually carried precious stones representing each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the vision in the book of Revelation of this New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven, we see that that city comes down and has light as a most precious stone and its 12 foundations to that city carry the names of the 12 apostles. In prophecy, the book of Daniel, we see a stone cut without hands destroying a great image that symbolizes the kingdoms of this world and then it grows to fill the whole earth according to the prophecy. That prophecy and that stone represents God's kingdom replacing all human kingdoms. And most important of all when it comes to stone is the designation of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the spiritual rock that led and nourished Israel in their years of wilderness wanderings.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the stone, which was rejected by the builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. In His name is salvation. And throughout the Bible, stone is used to teach the deepest of spiritual truths. Stone is a fundamental feature of human existence and of God's eternal purpose. And so it's not unusual to connect it to this fascinating story. Stone became connected with the crowning of kings in ancient Israel. We read about that in the Chronicles of the Kings. Indeed, throughout all human cultures that we can study, we see that the use of stone in king making in some way and in his rule is found and there's a connection. When we come to the British Isles, the custom of a king being crowned on a stone is found among the earliest Irish and Scottish traditions and for over 700 years. It is a fact that English and British kings and queens have been crowned over a block of sandstone that today is found in Edinburg Castle in Scotland, for many years before that, in Westminster Abbey in London. As I believe and I mentioned earlier, some believe that the story of this stone connects to the biblical story of Jacob and Jeremiah. Could that be? Think about that. Regardless of the truth of this stone, there is a larger truth that we will all consider as it applies to us at the end of this program.
Next, let's consider the place where British monarchs are crowned. This is Westminster Abbey in London. Westminster Abbey is very interesting. A visit there is very revealing. It's the only church on earth where kings and queens are still consecrated with sacred oil. When you go into the front doors of this of this abbey, you cannot fail but notice the large west window of stained glass identifying every 1 of the 12 sons of Jacob by name. Seen also in this is Moses holding a tablet with the 10 Commandments and Aaron his brother, the high priest, alongside the other Israelites. Now all of this is meant to impress on society, on people who watch it and view it, the importance of God's law. The law that was given at Mount Sinai, the law which is the foundation of all morality, and the need to maintain a spiritual dimension among a nation and among people.
How sad that modern Great Britain is virtually a post-Christian nation, which means Christianity is in the past, the laws of God forgotten. Great Britain today is a multicultural state that has forgotten the bonds of religion and culture and tradition of its past. The truth is that an increasing majority in Great Britain today want to forget the past and willingly embraces a future that's untethered to a biblical morality and story. That nation's ancient connections to the biblical story are considered by most to be the tortured and twisted delusions of another time.
Now let's examine something else. Let's turn now and look at some of the symbols that were used in the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II which will most likely be used in the crowning of her son now who is ascended to the throne, King Charles III. The coronation service of the king, and of any and all really, of the British monarchs, it contains many biblical elements. This is something that we haven't seen for quite a while and is not an everyday event, but the Bible is there. When they start, the Holy Bible is actually taken off of the church altar and presented to the monarch and it will be to the king. If the ceremony follows that of Elizabeth II, the Archbishop who presides will say these words. He will say, "Our gracious king, to keep your majesty ever mindful of the law, the gospel of God, as ruler for the whole life in government of Christian princes, we present you with this book, the most valuable thing that this world affords."
Listening to those words, it's very similar to the command that is given to the kings by God in the Book of Deuteronomy where it says there that a newly chosen king was instructed to read the words of God all the days of his life to learn to fear God and to keep the words of this law and all the statutes and judgments and the commandments to do them and to actually govern, to govern his people by the word of God. You find that back in Deuteronomy 17 and that's part of this amazing ceremony.
Next comes what they call the Spurs and the Sword. After the anointing of the king, there's a delivery of the regalia of spurs and swords. This is part of the insignia of his office and they're tokens that the King is to now take and be as a part of his sovereignty as the consecrated monarch. The touching of the spurs and the girding of the sword, they're both offered on the altar in the church and it signifies God's intent and the king's intent together to rule in justice, equity, and mercy to the poor, to the fatherless, and the widow. Something that also is found throughout scripture that a leader is supposed to look out for.
There's a royal robe of cloth and of gold that will then be placed upon the king and the archbishop who will make the following exhortation to the king. He will say, "Receive the imperial robe and the orb," which is seen here which is a round feature with a cross on top. And he says, "This will imbue you with the knowledge and with the wisdom and the majesty and the power from on high. The Lord embrace you," he goes on, "with His mercy on every side. The Lord clothe you with the robe of righteousness and with the garments of salvation. And when you see this orb thus set under the cross, remember that the whole world is subject to the power and to the empire of Christ Our Redeemer." Now commentators on this part of that ceremony point to the similarity of this exhortation to the book of Revelation 11 where it says there that, "The seventh angel sounded and there were loud voices in heaven saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.'"
The next part of the ceremony is something that involves a ring and scepters. It's called the Wedding Ring of Great Britain. The king, the monarch is actually in a symbolic way, he's married to the nation when he is coronated. The archbishop also hands to the King a scepter with the cross and a scepter with a dove, two different ones. The first one represents kingly power and justice and the second pictures equity and mercy. There's similar imagery found connecting that with the illusions to a scepter as a representative of regal authority and is a symbol of righteous administration. In the book of Hebrews, we have this statement about Jesus that says, "But to the son, he says, 'Your throne, oh God, is forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your Kingdom,'" what he holds in his hand.
The next feature is the crown shown here. At the climax of the coronation ceremony, the king then has that crown sat on his head. It's a Saint Edwards crown, is what it's called, and it is the actual crown of the monarch of England. Around the rim you will see that it's encircled with 12 large stones of different colors and each of those stones are surrounded by many diamonds. Interestingly again, as I mentioned earlier, the high priest of ancient Israel, well he wore a breastplate that was set with 12 precious stones as well to represent the unity of the 12 tribes of Israel. And also again, we read in the book of Revelation, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, it has 12 foundations each decorated with precious stones, again representing the unity and strength under God. The archbishop praises over this crown and he says, "Oh God, the crown of the faithful bless we beseech you and sanctify this, thy servant Charles our King and as you do this day set a crown of pure gold upon his head so enrich his royal heart with your abundant grace and crown him with all princely virtues through the King Eternal, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen." It's quite a ceremony. And that crown is then placed on the King's head as he sits on this coronation chair and at this point the people usually begin to shout, "God save the King."
All of this reminds us again of the deep biblical connection, spiritual significance, of this unique coronation service. It's very similar when we read it through and compare it to a coronation of King Solomon that we're told about back in the Old Testament. When this coronation comes to this point, the King is then taken to his throne, here shown. He's lifted onto it by the archbishop and the bishops and these words are said, "And the Lord God Almighty whose ministers we are and the stewards of his mysteries establish your throne in righteousness that it may stand steadfast forever like as the son before him and as the faithful witness in heaven. Amen." These words taken from scripture refer to the throne of David, the throne of the Lord over Israel where it says, "That as God said to David," and I quoted this in my earlier program, "Once I have sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David. His seed shall endure forever and his thrown as the sun before me. It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky," from Psalm 89.
And then when the coronation service has ended, all the people will shout, "God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the King live forever." Again echoing words from the Bible.
Let's take a step back though at this point. It's a wonderful ceremony to think about and to read through and to connect with Bible, but this ceremony wrapped in scripture, filled with historical symbolism is so out of place in modern Great Britain and the world. It is alien to the common person on the streets of England today. It's a lost history and tradition and story. Most people today do not have a framework to understand, much less to believe, what is happening, what they are hearing. Even the lifestyle of some of the royal family frankly makes a mockery of the heritage behind the monarchy and this coronation with all of its biblical symbolism. And the Church of England, well it's a far cry from a righteous body of leaders that could uphold both biblical and moral truth. Frankly, today Great Britain is full of empty idols. They stumble because of inequity. Good judgment cannot be found among their leaders. They are sick and no cure is imminent. The religious leadership in the Church of England has allied itself with false idolatry and the political class follows every wind of ideas, failing to lead with courage and wisdom rooted in biblical values.
Many commentators on the death of Queen Elizabeth II commented that her death marks the end of an era in that nation and I think there is a great deal of truth to that. Now they will go through the pomp and the ceremony of another coronation, but frankly the life of the nation is hollow and it's empty and it's living on life support. Only by the grace of the faithful God of Abraham does this nation still stand.
The coronation and the stone, they're both quite a story. We've looked at actual words of the enthronement ceremony of the King of Great Britain. We've examined a portion of the story that connects that stone on which he's crowned to the biblical story of Jacob from the Bible and his dream of a ladder to heaven. As we've seen the significance of stone as well, it's very important to understand the glory and the purposes of God. So what are we being told? Could this be a living witness to a modern world going through a moment of unprecedented crisis? Is there a thread of truth to the traditions, the legends, and the stories behind this Stone of Destiny? Is there a truth beyond it all that leads us to understand a covenant, a promise, and a prophecy of a coming kingdom foretold millennia ago? And if that is true, what would it mean for today's world? Is there a witness that we are seeing that, if heeded, could make a difference? What if a king crowned on a stone with an anointing before God would turn to the God of Abraham and in heart rendering prayer call for a national repentance? What might happen? Think about that. What if he turned to the true Christ, the stone rejected by the builders, and what if he asked for the wisdom of Solomon to rule so great a people? What could happen?
Well then, I think we would see global events change almost overnight and it would be for the better if only for a brief moment. You see, God does provide room in His purpose for repentance and for turning from sin. When King Solomon dedicated the temple, God did tell him that a people who could acknowledge their sin when they strayed from God and if they would return, or the biblical language is to repent. God said that, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land." He says, "My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayer made in this place," speaking of the temple, and He said, "As for you," speaking to Solomon, "if you walk before me as your father David walked and do according to all that I have commanded you, I will establish the throne of your kingdom as I've covenanted with David, your father saying, 'You shall not fail to have a man as a ruler in Israel.'"
Sadly, neither Great Britain nor the United States are likely to be led in such a prayer by any current leader, but we do read God's word and we do hope. We have to wonder at times if we have perhaps reached a point of no return and the judgment of God will yet roll over our nations in a tidal wave of calamity and trial. In future programs in this series, we're going to see what lies ahead for the English speaking nations of this world, but this is what we should consider, that we are called to be living stones before God. Scripture says that, "You are a living stone being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
What if you did this? What if we took this as a witness of God's faithfulness and the guidance of human affairs, a witness that history and the world events of such significance as we were talking about here are part of a divine purpose far beyond what legend, myth, and tradition contained? What if you took as ray of light in the dark glass of time and human events, this teaching and believe that God works in the affairs of man, that we are looking upon a link to the divine? Think about that.
What if you acted on this knowledge and turned to God seeking a new heart and a new spirit of worship and love and turn to God who guides history? What would happen? The study guide that we have prepared for this series of programs that we are doing on this topic is one that's going to be very helpful to anyone who takes the time to study and look into it. It's called "The United States and Britain and Bible Prophecy." It'll take you through that fascinating story that is from the Bible about how these two nations rose to the power that they have held for nearly three centuries. Never in all the history of humanity have two nations, America and Britain, held such power, such wealth, and influence among the nations. Would the Bible mentioned the ancient powers of Egypt, Greece, Babylon, and Rome, and neglect to tell us where the great nations at the end of the age, our present day, will be and what God has to say to them? Well the study guide tells that story, the biblical story of how God has fulfilled promises to the patriarch Abraham through his descendants and it provides a dimension to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God that helps make sense of history in this modern world. This understanding has been known for many years but it's been rejected by mainstream historians and theologians. But if you want to know what the Bible says about America and Great Britain and all the English speaking nations, I encourage you to study the topic for yourself with your Bible and prove it. This booklet takes you through the relevant passages to show why these two nations have played such a large role in our time. This little understood key is an understanding. We are living in a very important moment in history and prophecy and God has not left us without living witnesses to show us his purpose and his guiding hand in all of it.
So get your free booklet, study it with your Bible, then decide for yourself whether what we are talking about on this program is true. You can receive a free copy by calling the number on your screen or going online to beyondtoday.tv.
In our next program, we will be studying a series of prophecies connecting this throne to the events in our world today and what that means for your immediate future. Thanks for watching.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today's program, "The United States and Britain and Bible Prophecy." The truth about the identity of the United States of America and Britain is one of the most fascinating and inspiring stories in the Bible. There are biblical reasons behind the dramatic events playing out in our times. This crucial study aid shows straight from the Bible how God foretold the rise of these two nations. Order now. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. We'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. "Beyond Today" brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet "The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy" and your free one year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. Call 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.