A number of factors could impede or halt the process. It’s already been stated that it could take years. The political landscape could shift. A huge portion of Britain still wants to be in the EU, and EU leaders often just rerun elections until they get the result they want.
These and other factors could conceivably stall the exit process. It is not beyond possibility that Britain could end up in a kind of limbo for a while, with the EU treating them as a pariah while still extorting money and materiel from them and forcing them to follow EU regulations. Europe could keep Britain in a holding position while continuing its own further integration—with anticipation of Britain eventually leaving being used to say that it doesn’t have a say in European affairs even though it’s technically still in the EU.
Bible prophecy reveals that a final revival of the Roman Empire called the Beast will ultimately arise in Europe—perhaps emerging from the current European Union or a reformed version of it (see our publication The Final Superpower at ucg.org/booklets to learn more). Prophecy also reveals that this empire will play a major role in the destruction of the nations descended from ancient Israel, foremost among these being Britain and the United States (see our free study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy for more about this). While prophecies of Israel and Judah’s destruction had partial fulfillment in ancient times, they will have greater fulfillment later.
Many who are aware of what Scripture says will befall these nations think Britain must leave the European Union for the Beast power to rise and become an enemy to Britain—and they view Brexit as something that must happen to fulfill prophecy. But prophecy is not so clear here.
It could be that Britain would remain in the European Union—either trapped within it or tied to it in some way—until the Beast power is formed. It could be that the British would then make a last push at separation—at which point the Beast turns on them. The fact is, we do not know exactly how this will all shake out. We only know that Britain will eventually end up devastated.
Some argue that Britain has to be on the exterior of this coming superpower to be crushed by it. But consider the pattern of the former destructions of Israel and Judah. Ancient Israel was already ruled by and part of the Assyrian Empire when it was crushed. Judah was already ruled by Babylon before it was crushed. And Judea was already ruled by Rome when it was crushed.
Why must it be different in the end time? Of course, maybe it will be. Maybe Brexit will succeed well before the final emergence of the Beast power. We just don’t know. What is important is that we keep our eyes on events in Europe as we get ever closer to the crisis at the end of this age—with our expectations rooted in Scripture.