Jan 24, 2011
Rise of the Great Red Dragon
In recent years, China has rapidly become a major player on the world stage. Its expanding influence is powered by an economy that is growing by 10 percent each year.
In terms of absolute size, China's economy is rapidly catching up with the U.S. According to figures compiled by the University of Pennsylvania, it may even have overtaken Uncle Sam at some point during the previous year. If all the goods and services in China were priced in U.S. dollars, they would have a greater value than us.
China has grabbed many of the top-ranked titles previously held by America:
- Its auto market is now the biggest.
It has more internet users than the entire U.S. population.
It's the biggest producer and consumer of steel.
Beijing has been using its wealth to expand its influence around the globe. It has made more loans to developing countries over the past two years than even the World Bank, according to the Financial Times. The Chinese have even talked about helping out Europe by buying some of the debt of struggling nations.
The last time Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Washington, back in 2006, he was given a White House working lunch. The understanding was that he represented a third-world communist dictatorship that oppressed people like the Tibetans, and didn't deserve anything better.
In contrast, the welcome laid out by the Obama administration could not have been more extravagant: President Hu was met at the airport by Vice President Biden and was honored with a private White House dinner--a full state banquet with entertainment by Barbra Streisand. He received a twenty-one gun salute with all the pomp and circumstance. At each stop, Hu was greeted by the who's who of corporate America.
Money was the key reason Obama rolled out the red carpet for President Hu. China is our biggest foreign creditor, with roughly $900 billion in Treasury holdings--or over $1 trillion with Hong Kong's holdings included. It could do severe damage to U.S. debt markets if it suddenly started selling large amounts.
The U.S. has clearly lost much of its ability to apply pressure on China. Charles Freeman, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said, "There's no mood in China to be particularly concessionary to the United States."
Going forward, we are probably going to find China being more dominant in world affairs. As Constantine Menges wrote in "China: The Gathering Threat," "In the traditional Chinese view, the world needs a hegemon-or dominant state-to prevent disorder. The communist Chinese regime believes China should be that hegemon." The Chinese communists have followed the guidance of the late Deng Xiaoping to "keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead-but aim to do something big."
In early 2010, cool heads and low profiles gave way to a senior People's Liberation Army officer openly calling for "China to abandon modesty about its global goals and sprint to become world No. 1," adding that "China's big goal in the 21st century is to become world No. 1, the top power."
There is no indication that China will use its new status to make the world a better place. China is one of five permanent U.N. Security Council members with veto power. Beforehand, it was reluctant to become involved in global affairs. Now it has joined Russia in resisting western pressure to sanction Iran over its nuclear program. Beijing has also positioned itself as a disruptive force by refusing to leverage its role as a supplier of food and fuel to North Korea to force Pyongyang to stop provocative behavior.
The most amazing prophecy related to China is the prediction that an army of 200 million soldiers would someday come out of the east. It wasn’t until the last few decades that prophecy scholars could finally see that it was possible for one nation to amass a force of this size. When John wrote down this prophecy, there weren’t 200 million people on the earth. Of course, now China has more than 1.4 billion citizens. What is really interesting is that China has now developed into an economic superpower that would allow it to outfit an army of such vast size.
"Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates . And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand [200 million]: and I heard the number of them" (Revelation 9:14-16).
Scanning a Fearful Future: Conclusion
My disagreement with Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey regarding their statements that they believe America is about to suffer economic, thus societal, collapse is only one of degree. There is absolutely no doubt that collapse is coming. It is how that implosion will eventuate and who will be caught in the carnage that are at the heart of my disagreement.
My divergence from Dr. Lindsey’s fears about the immediate future for America and Christians is of the very mildest sort. I look to God using him in a mighty way during the past decades as validation of his mission being God-ordained. Thus confutation is entered with all due respect. That stated, I must give the reasons I believe Beck and Lindsey’s fears for the immediate future are somewhat off the mark, as far as Bible prophecy is concerned.
Every signal across the geopolitical, socioeconomic, and religious spectrum–even signals involving the geophysical and astrophysical— scream through the sirens of forewarning. We are at the very end of the Church Age–on the brink of the Tribulation. Yet most in America–including most believers in Jesus Christ—are going about business as usual. Except for the relatively few voices forewarning of the impending cataclysm, there is no recognition of or interest in the end-times storm warnings.
Jesus, as we have seen, said human activity will be like it is at present when He next breaks into earth’s history like a thief in the night. Again, we look at the Lord’s words in the book of Matthew:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Matt 24:36-42)
As we have examined, this break-in upon mankind’s history cannot be describing the Second Advent. It will not be business as usual at that time, when the planet is decimated by wars and God’s judgment and wrath. Jesus is here speaking of the Rapture--His imminent, catastrophic break-in upon earth’s history.
So, we come to our present hour. America is the apex nation of the world. That is, it is the most materially blessed nation and one of the most spiritually blessed nations ever to exist. This, despite the fact that it has degenerated in many ways to become perhaps the most wicked in human history. The United States is so blessed with material wealth that every nation on earth is inextricably linked to its economy in one way or another.
It is true that its dominance is under threat and is eroding quickly. The economic meltdown and unavoidable implosion of America’s monetary hegemony is imminent. But everything of global financial significance still hinges on the health and fate of the American dollar. This is to the great consternation of the people Glenn Beck rails against as wanting to bring the dollar down so that a new monetary regime can be brought to bear on the hapless citizens of what they envision as a Babel-like, one-world order.
Despite incessant assaults, the American economy hasn’t collapsed. It should have by now, but it hasn’t. It is, despite ominous signs ahead, business as usual--just as Jesus said it would be at the end of the age. If America’s economy crashes–as Beck says it will very shortly— the entire world will collapse to rubble. The business-as-usual element of Christ’s prophecy about it being like the days of Noah and Lot would be out the proverbial window.
If the U.S. economy collapsed, taking the world’s buying and selling capability into the darkest times in history, it would take years--if ever--for everything to recover so that things would again come into business-as-usual configuration. Yet the devastating, world-rending collapse is coming. It cannot be stopped. I completely agree with Glenn Beck and Hal Lindsey in seeing that coming economic catastrophe in the immediate future. However, I disagree that the folly of man or the deliberate manipulations of human diabolists will bring the fearful disaster. And the disaster will not happen until God’s prophetic timing allows. It will continue to be business as usual despite increasing harbingers of economic calamity. Perhaps conditions will even look like they are improving. But if so, it will be smoke and mirrors–a sham “recovery.” The damage is done. Recovery is impossible.
This all means that Jesus Christ is poised to do exactly what He foretold. The prophetic signals and conditions prevalent in America and the world should have the attention of every believer. Jesus is about to fulfill His glorious promise as recorded in John 14:1-3.
The Rapture, I believe Jesus is telling us, will be the sword of judgment that pierces the building, festering boil of humanistic rebellion. When the Church is taken to heaven, the minds of those left behind who want to control will no longer have restraint on their thoughts and ambitions. There will cease to be a governor on man’s conscience, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, because the Holy Spirit will allow the evil within mankind to do its dastardly work.
This will be the time–during the chaos of the days immediately after the Rapture—that all of Mr. Beck’s fears will come to fruition. Neither patriots nor anyone else will be able to save America and the world.
Now to try to answer my emailer concerning whether Christians in America will suffer severe, even deadly, persecution, as I infer Hal Lindsey believes. Christians of America in this pre-Rapture time certainly are not immune from persecution–even from the persecution like that suffered by the Christian martyrs of history. However, it would take a horrendous catastrophe--such as the one Beck predicts—for American society to totally turn its back on Christianity, thus to begin physically attacking Christians in the way Lindsey fears might happen.
The Church, with the Restrainer resident within each believer, will continue to be salt and light--to exert influence over America’s societal and cultural conditions. That influence, although observably becoming less and less effective, will be sufficient to prevent all-out, Nazi-like persecution against Christians in this nation.
When the Church-Age saints go to Christ upon His call to them (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 4:1-2), America and the world will be devoid of the Church’s buffering influence. Those who accept Christ during the Tribulation will undergo the most horrific persecution of human history.
Again, if a calamity like the one Beck forecasts were to befall this nation before Christ’s foretold intervention into earth’s history, such a collapse would take the U.S. and the world out of the time of business as usual Jesus said will be in place when He pays the earth that surprise visit.
Jesus was telling us in Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42 specifically about His coming for the Church, and the general time-frame of that event. With all that is in alignment precisely as Jesus and the prophets described, I am convicted in my spirit that now is that time.
Those who haven’t become part of God’s family–believing in Jesus Christ for their personal salvation—face a fearful future indeed. They will be left behind in an instantly changed world gone mad with chaos infinitely worse than even Glenn Beck predicts.
There is still opportunity in this Church Age for the person who hasn’t accepted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior to do so. But time is fleeting. The Rapture could take place at any moment.
Here is what God’s Holy Word, the Bible, has to say to you, if you want to escape from this world that is soon to suffer God’s righteous judgment. Truly follow these instructions from the heart of the God who loves you and wants you to be safe with Him forever. You will then be assured not of a fearful future, but of a future that is fabulous beyond description.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10: 9-10).