Never before in the history of the world have so many felt so indebted to one man — Sir Winston Churchill. No funeral was ever attended by so many dignitaries. Many now realize the last of the World's truly great has passed into history. But few understand its prophetic significance for Britain's future.
"CHURCHILL IS DEAD!" The world bowed in silence as those three significant words echoed around the earth on Sunday, the 24th of January. Churchill, at ninety, had lived a long and full life. He was blessed by seeing his great-grandchildren. As of the patriarch Abraham, it could also be said Sir Winston "gave up the ghost and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people" (Gen. 25:8). Fifteen years ago, on Mr. Churchill's seventy-fifth birthday, he was asked if he had any fear of death. "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter," quipped Churchill. Shortly before Sir Winston's death, he sat gazing intently into a log fire. "I know what it's like to be a log: reluctant to be consumed, but yielding in the end to persuasion," he mused.
Some Wept Openly
After lying in a coma for nine long days, while a grieved world kept vigil, the ninety-year-old, lion-hearted warrior finally surrendered to his last enemy — death. The plucky old warrior, unconscious, had given up the struggle. Instantly all the turmoil and battle of his 90 years was over. Condolences poured into Britain. Presidents, prime ministers, kings, heads of state, religious dignitaries and countless others from 111 nations — all expressed their sincere regret at the loss which Britain had suffered. Here in Britain, the sense of bereavement was very evident. The usual mask — behind which so many Britons characteristically hide their emotions — fell away. Some wept openly. Flags were lowered to half-mast not only in Britain and the Commonwealth nations, but also in the United States. The Government arranged a State funeral for Sir Winston Churchill — an honor shared only by one or two commoners during the whole of Britain's proud history. On Wednesday, January 27, Sir Winston's body was taken to Westminster Hall where it lay in state until Saturday so that hundreds of thousands of Britons could pay their final tribute to the man who had inspired them to victory in World War II. At times people were queued up four abreast for over a mile. My wife and I, on behalf of Ambassador College, were privileged to pay our respects in memory of Sir Winston Churchill as he lay in
Two lines of mourners file past casket and catafalque in Westminster Hall, paying homage to Sir Winston Churchill as he lies in state. - Wide World Photo
West minster Hall. God commands us to show "honor to whom honor" is due (Rom. 13:7). "Honor all men.... Honor the king" (I Pet. 2:17). Churchill was greater than any king of his era. The final funeral services were held in London's jam-packed St. Paul's Cathedral. Nearly 400,000,000 people viewed the funeral services as they were relayed to the world via Telstar. An estimated half-million people stood shivering in the bitter east wind as the funeral cortege made its way from Westminster Hall to St. Paul's Cathedral, then on to Tower Pier. There the coffin was placed onto a motor launch and taken up the River Thames to the Waterloo train station. From there it was taken by train to the Oxfordshire village of Bladon where the final burial took place. Thus ended the final journey of the man who has been variously called "The greatest Englishman of all time," "the man of the century," "a man of destiny." But what made Churchill great? What prophetic significance does his death have for Britain — and the world?
Why Churchill Was Great
Britons honored Sir Winston Churchill by giving him a State burial. It was the first in which a ruling Sovereign ever attended the funeral of a commoner. What called forth this honor? Certainly one of the reasons was his tireless, outspoken defense of freedom against all tyrannies — especially Naziism and Communism. He put principle above politics. He saw despots as they were. Before others recognized the international threat to peace, he eloquently spoke out against such tyrants as Hitler and Mussolini. The Scripture says, "He that saith unto the wicked, thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, and nations shall abhor him" — these are the appeasers, of whom we have many today. "... but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them" (Prov. 24:24-25). This Scripture was actually fulfilled in the life of Sir Winston Churchill. He sounded the alarm against the wicked Hitler and Stalin. When the storm clouds of World War II began to loom black and ominous over Europe, Churchill trumpeted numerous warnings in the House of Commons. Nobody paid any attention to the "Blenheim Rat," as his enemies called him. At that time, there were men in influential positions both in Britain and on the Continent who didn't think Hitler and Mussolini were such bad fellows after all. Britain's pre-World War II Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had even been deluded by the scheming Hitler into signing the Munich Pact in 1938. Upon his return to Britain he waved this signed agreement explaining that it brought "Peace with honor... peace in our time." He had been politicking and, having disregarded principle, had sold out the Czechs to Hitler. But Churchill was bitterly outspoken. His was the only voice in the political wilderness of those days — crying out against the Munich Agreement of 1938. He shouted: "We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat... This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year, unless, by supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."
The royal family broke age-old tradition to honor Sir Winston Churchill by attending his funeral — the first time British royalty had attended the funeral of a commoner. Shown above, immediately after the funeral, in the forecourt of St. Paul's Cathedral are Queen Elizabeth with her husband Prince Philip and, behind them, The Queen Mother and Prince Charles.Then Princess Margaret and her husband the Earl of Snowdon. - Wide World Photo
Corporal Hitler — "A Maniac"
Churchill knew Corporal Hitler was a madman. He referred to him often as "a maniac of ferocious genius." When Hitler carried his murderous carnage throughout Europe, it soon became clear that Churchill had been right after all. Hitler was bent on hellish destruction — the conquest, if possible, of the whole world. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had been wrong. As the Nazi avalanche raced toward the English Channel and toward Britain, Parliament finally woke up and dismissed its Prime Minister of Appeasement, Chamberlain. King George VI, in May, 1940, asked Churchill to form a new Government.
"Walking with Destiny"
It was on the 10th May, 1940. Almost exactly the same time Germany launched her blitzkrieg invasion of France and the Low Countries. Mr. Churchill, now Prime Minister, rose to meet the crisis. He later wrote of that day: "Thus, on the night of the 10th May, I acquired the chief power in the State... I took it all as it came, but I cannot conceal... that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial... I was sure I should not fail." From the outset, Churchill bluntly announced the sailing would not be easy. He made this crystal clear in his maiden speech as Prime Minister in the House of Commons in May, 1940. "I would say to the House, as I have said to those who have joined this Government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.'... You ask: 'What is our policy?' I will say: 'It is to wage war by sea, land, and air with all our might, and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.' You ask: 'What is our aim?' I can answer in one word: 'Victory! Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be: FOR WITHOUT VICTORY THERE IS NO SURVIVAL.' " It was with such rousing speeches as these that Churchill fired the hearts of Britons and of free peoples throughout the whole world. There were many weak-kneed people in the world in those days. There are today. The world needed a lion-hearted leader to inspire them with confidence. Churchill was the man whom God had sent for the job.
The American passport which was presented to Sir Winston Churchill April 10, 1963, after U.S. Congress passed a bill making him an honorary citizen of the United States. Sir Winston called this an honor "without parallel." - Wide World Photo
Where is such a leader today? But what of the deadly perils which Britain faced when Churchill became Prime Minister in May, 1940? How did Sir Winston meet them?
France Lasts Less than a Week
Mr. Churchill was dumbfounded to see the avalanche of the Nazi armour score a signal victory against the British, French and Belgian forces on May 14 — just a few days after he became Prime Minister. At half past seven he was awakened by a telephone call from the new French Premier, Paul Reynaud, who excitedly told him: "We have been defeated! We are beaten!" Churchill refused to believe it! What! The great French army vanquished on the fifth day of the battle? Impossible! Churchill later wrote, "I did not comprehend the violence of the revolution effected since the last war by the incursion of a mass of fast-moving armour." The success of Hitler's blitzkrieg panzer divisions surprised even Hitler himself. His forces kept rolling through France, Belgium and Holland with such speed that the Belgians, the French troops and the British Expeditionary Force were in deadly peril of being trapped and utterly annihilated. The Allied armies in the north of France were, by the 24th May, compressed into a small triangle — with seemingly no hope of breaking out. It was at this juncture that the German armour, now within sight of Dunkirk and poised for the final kill, received a strange and — to the soldiers in the field — inexplicable order to halt their advance. Hitler had ordered General Von Rundstedt and General Guderian to halt their advance on Dunkirk. His orders: "Dunkirk is to be left to the Luftwaffe" — Germany's air force (Guderian, The Panzer Leader, p. 439). In utter consternation, the German Chiefs of Staff stood idle. Some in the German army wept. Here was complete victory within their grasp! They knew they had the power to annihilate every last Allied soldier. But still, the insane command of Der Fuehrer must be obeyed. Thus the powerful German army which had encircled Dunkirk was hand-tied — under strict orders from Hitler not to crush the Allied army as it departed from the beaches of Dunkirk for England. Churchill's prayers had been answered!
The "Sitting Ducks" Escape
Thus over 335,000 allied soldiers — a third of a million — were permitted to escape while the might and fury of the Nazi army was miraculously restrained. Mere "sitting ducks," sheep for the slaughter, totally incapable of saving themselves — GOD intervened to save them. God determined the outcome of World War II so that the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God could now be preached (Matt. 24:14) and published (Mark 13:10) in all the world — as a final witness. And then will come the close of this era of man's misgovernment in a nuclear holocaust. Not only did God cause Hitler to listen to the foolish advice of his Air Chief, Goering — so the Allied army would be saved — but He also sent just exactly the right weather needed to get this army safely back from Dunkirk to Churchill's England. At Dunkirk, "God withheld the wind." The English Channel became very calm. So calm in fact that even tiny little boats were able to make this journey safely. Then cloudy, foggy weather set in, a divine "smoke screen." Millions at the time, and since, have realized that there was something miraculous about the events at Dunkirk. When Churchill became Prime Minister, Britain was at the lowest point of her fortunes in her long and proud history. She had come to the crossroads of her national existence — to her darkest hour.
"We Shall Never Surrender"
In June, 1940, shortly after Dunkirk, the lion-hearted Churchill again roared words of defiance before the House of Commons. "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender." Churchill was dumbfounded when France surrendered in June, 1940. On the day France capitulated, Churchill again spoke before the House of Commons. "If we can stand up to him (Hitler), all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward onto broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and the Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say: 'This was their finest hour.' " Churchill assured the French Government that Britain would fight on, no matter what they did. The French Generals told their Prime Minister with his divided cabinet, "In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken." Churchill proudly responded, "Some chicken! Some neck!" For one year Britain stood alone, receiving the full brunt — the full fury — of Hitler's blitz. Day after day, night after night, Britons saw their valiant airmen roar into the skies and intercept the German fighters and bombers — even though outnumbered and often manning inferior planes, It was in deep gratitude to these gallant British airmen that Sir Winston Churchill expressed the sentiments of the whole nation when he said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
Nazi "Locusts" Attack Russia
Hitler launched his savage attack against Russia on June 22, 1941. In reference to this invasion Churchill, with prophetic insight, said: "I see the hideous onslaught of [the] Nazi war machine with its clanking, heel-clicking, dandified Prussian officers... I see also the dull, drilled, docile, brutish masses of the Hun soldiery plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts..." It is prophetic that Sir Winston Churchill compared the masses of the German soldiers to "a swarm of crawling locusts." And it is especially significant that Almighty God, in the Book of Revelation and in Nahum, speaks of a coming United States of Europe, dominated by Germany, in similar language! Through four more years Churchill toiled as Britain's leader. Victory was at hand. "Give... Thanks to Almighty God" On May 8, 1945, Churchill announced in the House of Commons: "The cease-fire began yesterday to be sounded all along the front. The German war is at an end. The evildoers are now prostrate before us. We may allow ourselves a brief period for rejoicing, but Japan remains unsubdued. Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of Freedom! God save the King!" After reading the formal cease-fire announcement, Churchill offered sincere thanks to the Members of Parliament who had assisted him in the struggle against Nazism. With deep emotion he made the resolution that the very same words which had been uttered in the House at the close of World War I should again be uttered in thanksgiving to God: "That this House do now... give humble and reverent thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from German domination." In their finest hour, Britain, under Sir Winston's guidance, gave God official thanks and the honor and glory for Allied victory. Churchill KNEW that it was Almighty GOD, who had saved the Allies at Dunkirk, and who had prevented the Germans from developing and using the H-bomb in the closing months of the war. He knew that it was God who gave the Allies the victory. What he did not know was the real purpose of that victory — to provide these few years that the gospel of the Kingdom of God might go to all nations as a final warning via The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast.
World dignitaries at Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. - Mourners wait outside Westminster Hall to pass by bier. American Stock Photo
Britain and the World Mourn Death of Churchill
With the death of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain and the world saw the passing of its last great leader, whose courage, strength of will, towered over the world. Today a moral and spiritual night lies over Britain.
God directly used Sir Winston Churchill to save Britain and America in World War II. That victory made possible this world's final chance to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God through The WORLD TOMORROW program. When this Work has completed its witness to the nations utter spiritual darkness will close in upon Earth's inhabitants just before the dawn of Tomorrow's New World.
It was Churchill's courage, determination and moving speeches which bolstered up British morale and spurred America to war. In his greatest fighting speech he challenged gutter - snipe Hitler:
"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end... we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.
"We shall never surrender."
Even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas... would carry on the struggle... until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the Old!"