GUEST POST: Steven M. Collins
Big thanks to CATG’r Steve Collins for this special contribution to my mini-blog series on China. Steve lives here in Sioux Falls with his wife and family, has written five books on Israel, and is one of our life group leaders. Check out his website for more on his books and his blog.
PROPHECIES FOR THE “TWO CHINAS”
Increasingly, there are two different aspects to China. There is the old-line Communist Party leadership and all the parts of organized Chinese society which are dominated by the Communist Party. This includes the government, the military, industrial and commercial leaders, the banking industry and all parts of “official” China. There is also a new emerging part of China which is embracing Christianity and the western value systems which flow from Christian beliefs. Indeed, the Christian part of China is growing rapidly by all reports. What will the future hold for these two separate Chinas?
Let us consider the growing Chinese Christian church first. Its situation is very much like the status of the early Christian church which began after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We often forget that much of the early Apostolic Church took root within a dictatorial, autocratic system: the Roman Empire. Judea and Syria, where Christianity began, were under Roman control. So were all the Grecian churches to which Paul wrote many epistles (Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, etc.) So were the seven Anatolian churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3. Obviously, the epistle to the Romans was written to believers who lived at the very capital of the dictatorial Roman Empire. Readers are aware that the early Christian Church within the Roman Empire was a persecuted church. It seems to be that the spread of Christianity and the strength of individual Christians grows in the face of secular resistance and persecution. Look at the modern world. Christians throughout the western world take their ability to be Christians for granted and too often have a “soft” faith. Those who are persecuted for their faith hold their faith more dear. Since China is a modern dictatorship, it is comparable to the ancient Roman Empire in this respect. Christians in China are at the mercy of state authorities, just as Christians were in the Roman Empire. No wonder the Apostle Paul asked his readers to pray that Christians would find favor in the eyes of the various Roman authorities to practice their religion In “peace and quiet” (I Timothy 2:1-2). Christians in western nations can and should pray that our brethren in Chinese house churches (or wherever they assemble) be given favor in the eyes of their national and local authorities to practice their faith without official persecution.
Now let’s consider the official China: the Communist Party apparatus which commands the government, military, commerce, etc. of China. China is rising to superpower status and is becoming increasingly hostile to the USA and the western nations. China is now the foremost strategic ally of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which is now sounding as hostile to the West as in the days of the Cold War. Is this dominant portion of China mentioned in biblical prophecy? I believe it is.
Christians realize that all nations are descended from Noah’s family which emerged from the Ark after the Deluge. Genesis 9:25-27 record both blessings and cursings upon Noah’s progeny. The descendants of Japheth were to be “enlarged,” indicating that Japheth’s descendants would be the most numerous of Noah’s three sons. What nations are the most numerous on the face of the earth? That’s easy. It is the nations of Asia, and it is in Asia that we should look for Japheth’s descendants. Ezekiel 38 prophesies that a very large Alliance will emerge in the latter days which will attack the nations of the latter-day house of Israel. [Those wishing to see evidence on the locations of the tribes of Israel in the modern era are urged to sign up for a Church at the Gate Life Group which examines history of the ten tribes.] Much of Christendom correctly identifies Russia as the modern descendants of “Magog, Meshech and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2) which will lead this end-time, militaristic axis of nations. It is easy to identify Iran as “Persia” (Ezekiel 38:5), another latter-day ally of Russia. The King James Version word translated “Ethiopia” in Ezekiel 38:5 actually identifies “Cush,” the nation descended from Ham’s oldest son (Genesis 10:6). That name is placed today on the region of Pakistan and Afghanistan as they share the “Hindu Kush” mountains. Afghanistan hosted the Al Queda training camps and is the home of the anti-western Taliban. Pakistan is sliding into radical Islamic status and parts of Pakistan are ungoverned by the central government and are already in alliance with the Taliban or Al Queda. God has fulfilled his prophecies in aligning these nations together in an anti-western alliance in the “latter days” in which we live.
What about China? China is the most populous nation in Asia and it is now the foremost strategic ally of Russia. It is militarizing itself much like Nazi Germany did just prior to World War II. It is inconceivable that the Bible would overlook such a modern nation in Ezekiel 38′s prophecy. I believe China, Mongolia and Siberia are mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6. Genesis 10 prophesied Japheth’s descendants would be the most numerous of Noah’s children, and China is the largest nation of all. I believe China is referred to as “Gomer and all his bands,” and that the Mongolians and Asiatic Siberians are referred to “Togarmah of the north quarters.” China has many “bands” or differing tribal units within its borders and the Mongolians and Asiatic Siberians do, indeed, live in the “northern” portions of Asia. These people are all allied to (or are a part of) Russia. All the nations allied to Russia will attack the nations and allies of the latter-day house of Israel at the end of our age, starting a terrible World War III. This war will be ended when God’s “presence” comes to the earth (Ezekiel 38:20) as God divinely slaughters 5/6ths of the Russian-led alliance (Ezekiel 38:20-39:8). Christians see the “divine presence” coming to the earth in Ezekiel 38:20 as the return of Jesus Christ, so this prophecy is parallel to Matthew 24:21-27′s warning that a great tribulation will befall the earth and that “no flesh” would survive it unless Jesus Christ returned. The fact that the nations prophesied to constitute the end-time military alliance in Ezekiel 38 are now allied together indicates that we are nearing the end of our age.
Ezekiel 38 prophesies that the official “Godless” China led by the Communist Party will not survive the end of this age. The Communist Party and all its governmental and military power will cease to exist when Christ returns. However, Christ also says “he knows his sheep” and his sheep know him (John 10:2-4). Jesus Christ will protect his flock regardless of the nation in which they reside. The Good Shepherd is just as able to protect believers in China as he is able to protect believers in western nations. Indeed, since Matthew 24:20-21 warn that “all flesh” is in danger of perishing when Jesus Christ intervenes in world affairs, it may not be any safer in western nations at the end of our age than in China or other “enemy” nations. Jesus Christ’s return will rescue all the nations of the earth from perishing.
Finally, believers in the Western nations should never regard our Christian brethren as “enemies” regardless of the direction in which China’s Communist government leads the rest of that nation in the future. As our brethren, the Chinese Christians need and deserve our support and prayers. Not all of us are able to give direct support to Chinese Christians, but we can all give them our prayer support.