All generalities are false, including this one.
~ Alexander Chase, American journalist and editor of the Tipton, Nebraska Courier
I suppose it is meet to mention the other power center of the endtimes, the kings of the East. We bandy about the King of the North and the King of the South a lot, after all, and it is understandable that these figures in prophecy will have a more immediate consequence upon the nations of the world, but that does not mean the rest of Asia will be sleeping the entire time, either.
This all came sharply in focus recently when I read something about how China and “all of Southeast Asia” viewed Japan negatively and more or less shunned them. This came to a surprise to me! I’ve visited Southeast Asia, after all, and I’ve never noticed such enmity. In fact, at least as of 2008, the most ethical way to land a well-paying job in Thailand was to be trained in a technical area, such as software development, and become trilingual. Even if you weren’t trained in a technical area, Japanese companies are often willing to pay top baht (the Thai currency) for an employee that can communicate in Thai, English and Japanese.
Wikipedia has a lot of information about Japan and her foreign relationships. In “Foreign relations of Japan”, they open the article with:
Since the surrender after World War II and the Treaty of San Francisco, Japanese diplomatic policy has been based on close partnership with the United States and the emphasis on the international cooperation such as the United Nations. In the Cold War, Japan took a part in the Western world’s confrontation of the Soviet Union in East Asia. In the rapid economic developments in the 1960s and 1970s, Japan recovered its influences and became regarded as one of the major powers in the world. However, Japanese influences are regarded as negative by two particular countries: China and South Korea.
Notice that Southeast Asia isn’t even mentioned in the “negative” context!
Notice that Thailand in particular has no issue with Japan, according to “Foreign relations of Thailand” under the subject of “Japan“:
Japan has become a key trading partner and foreign investor for Thailand. Japan is Thailand’s largest supplier, followed by the United States….
Consider the import of that statement! It used to be that Thais sought out American goods and were willing to pay more for them. My wife’s brother wanted a pair of Nikes because they were “good” and American. My wife had to inform him that most of them were made right there in Thailand!
OK, but perhaps Thailand is an exception? After all, Thailand was the only country that was not completely dominated by the Japanese during World War II. Could it be then that this affords them better relations with Japan? No! Even Vietnam’s relationship with Japan can be characterized by:
Japan is the single biggest country donor to Vietnam. It has pledged $US890 million in aid for the country this year, or 6.5 percent higher than the 2006 level of $US835.6 million.
Finally, consider yet another Wikipedia article on “Japanese foreign policy on Southeast Asia“:
Japanese foreign policy toward Southeast Asia, this diverse region, stretching from South Asia to the islands in the South Pacific Ocean, was in part defined by Japan’s rapid rise in the 1980s as the dominant economic power in Asia. The decline in East-West and Sino-Soviet [“Sinology” comes up later, BTW] tensions during the 1980s suggested that economic rather than military power would determine regional leadership. During the decade, Japan displaced the United States as the largest provider of new business investment and economic aid in the region, although the United States market remained a major source of Asia-Pacific dynamism. Especially following the rise in value of the yen relative to the US dollar in the late-1980s (after the Plaza Accord), Japan’s role as a capital and technology exporter and as an increasingly significant importer of Asian manufactured goods made it the core economy of the Asia-Pacific region.
What Is “Asia”?
The concept of “Asia” has always been and continues to be a rather vague concept. Our concept of 7 continents is based upon the classical Greek geography, which divided the known world into 3 continents: Africa, Europe and Asia. However, even then the concept was rather murky, for maps weren’t nearly as accurate today, they were drawn up primarily by westerners without consent of others, and the difficulty of traveling and surveying were a little ambitious. When you consider that most westerners today add in political constructs such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Asia Minor, etc., then it is should be clear that politics more than landmarks have to do with the arbitrary drawing up of maps.
In fact, I would like to relate my surprise as a kid when my father mentioned that much of the Soviet Union leadership as being “oriental” in nature. I had not previously connected the Soviets in any way with Asia, and he directed me to look it up on the map. In school, the emphasis always seemed to be upon Eastern Europe or the European portion of Russia when speaking of the Soviet Union. However, a map revealed that a great deal of it was actually in Asia.
In ancient times, Rome had a province named Asia, situated more or less in central-eastern Turkey, and also an Asia Minor situated where Iraq is today.
I want to stress this concept of Asia including Iraq for a particular reason. If Iraq is indeed considered a nation of the east, then Iran would be even more so.
With this in mind, I’m going to lean heavily upon Bible.org‘s article “Chapter XII The Kings Of The East: The Oriental Confederacy” to point out most of the biblical references to the kings of the East, mostly in order to save time. There may well be more references, however.
The most famous of the “kings of the East” reference has to be the magi that visited Jesus as a child to present gifts to Him.
2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
~ Mt 2:1-2
I cannot find the article now, and perhaps it was an externally published one, but I have written before about how some believe the magi would have been royal astrologers from Persia (modern day Iran).
As per Bible.org‘s article reference above:
It has been commonly held from the times of the early church fathers that these strange visitors came from the area east of the Euphrates and probably from ancient Persia. The Persian origin of the Magi was suggested by such men as Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus of Tarsus, Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria. Somehow the Messianic hope had been transmitted in some form even to this distant land….
Indeed, it would make sense if it were Persia, for Medo-Persia was one of the ancient world empires that controlled the Middle East at one time. Queen Esther was of that empire, and her and Mordecai were influential figures in their day. Therefore, where did the Persians learn of a prophecy of a king? From the Jews living there!
Modern Iran is considered part of the Middle East, but notice how far east they are from Israel. They also are very determined to be the #1 influence in the area, a determination that we underestimate far too much in their drive to become a nuclear power. How willing will they be to submit to a powerful confederacy consisting of mostly Sunnis? Iran is unique in the region, for it is 92% Shia.
- Saudi Arabia is primarily made up of Salafi Muslims, a rather puritanical branch of Sunnis. It was this puritanical streak from which Al-Qaeda originated. Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia are often discriminated against in regards to employment and public displays of worship.
- Jordan is 95% Sunni.
- Egypt has a Sunni majority, and has a lot of refugees from Syria, causing an explosive situation. In 2013, four Shi’ites were dragged through the streets and lynched.
- Pakistan is only about 15 – 20% Shia.
- Yemen, another underestimated nation in the region (particularly in the area of terrorism), is 53% Sunni and 45% Shia. This mix has caused a lot of strife and violence in (and from) the region, and it would make it difficult for it to become united behind either a Sunni or Shi’ite leader.
This does not necessarily mean that Iran will become part of the collection of the kings of the East, however. Religion is still a major cohesive force, or at least when it is not a major divisive force. Sunni Islam is still Islam, and it is closer to their beliefs than Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist or atheist.
I do not believe that “Iran is the King of the South” by any means. That would ignore several things, even if you excuse the bad grammar, including the fact that the northern power will consist of a confederation of 10 kingdoms. Therefore, the southern power will also likely be a confederation. However, the influence of Iran cannot be ruled out completely, either. In addition, just like the Beast power to the north will be “part of potters’ clay, and part of iron”, the southern alliance will also be united yet fractured.
As far as Iran itself goes, I have to believe that something drastic would have to change to cause them to stay separate from the rest of the Middle East and align themselves with China and other nations yet east of the Middle East. It is the wild card of the region, and like a wild card, you think you know what you want to do with it, but a sudden change in hand can drastically alter what follows.
China in Prophecy?
On a much more speculative note, the Bible.org article cites Isaiah 49:12 as a reference to China.
12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
I freely admit that I was initially skeptical of this one. I honestly was ready to totally disregard it, but then I stumbled upon the fact that “sinology” is the study of China and Chinese related topics. Digging further, it appears that Bible.org aren’t the only ones who believe Sinim means China. In Wikipedia artlcle “Sinim“, we read:
Some scholars have claimed that Sinim is a variant name for not-so-distant Phoenicia and others as a reference to Syene or to the desert of Sinai. Some have even associated Sin with China, the root word of Sinim, Sinae resembling the Latinization of Qin, after the Qin (state), founded 778 BC and Qin dynasty, founded in 221 BC by Qin Shi Huang-Di. At the time of the prophecy there was no one China, but many small states.
Well, I’m a bit confused on what Phoenicia has to do with anything. The contrast of north and west against Sinim suggests heavily that it lies south and/or east of Israel. Phoenicia is definitely north and somewhat west of Israel. At least China would be almost dead east of Jerusalem.
Map showing Phoenicia in relation to Israel
As posted on About Us Israelis
Customer distribution map of MultiQTL, Ltd, based in Israel
Notice China is almost due east of Israel
Having said all of that, my first thought would have been the wilderness of Sin. Then, I realized that ships don’t travel in a wilderness. Since that region is heavily associated with Mount Sinai, it also stands that ships don’t traverse mountains.
Even Strong’s H5515 states:
a people living at the extremity of the known world; may be identified with the inhabitants of southern China
One “Bible codes” site tries to claim that Sinim is Australia, and it tries to tie Australia as “Land of the South” to the above verse in Isaiah. Since the directions north and west are already given, then the directions of east and south are certainly still open. However, all this hoopla over “Bible codes” instead of real phonetic, historical or cultural research leads me to discount it without further comment.
Since Sinim is contrasted with north and west, it stands to reason to contrast it with south and east, and many, including Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible believe it refers to the extreme south and/or east of the known world. The implication is that it would have been from far away, but it would not have been a totally unknown region either. For the record, Australia is much less likely to have been known, even in the abstract, than China.
One more theory, put forward by the NIV (it seems they have a habit of changing things), is that it refers to the “region of Aswan”. I’ll let the Far Eastern Bible College rebut this in “NIV Turns ‘Land of Sinim’ Into ‘Region of Aswan’ by a Twist of the Ball-Pen!” (Note: I cannot get the Hebrew letters to display correctly on this site, but the gist of the article still makes sense).
So, it seems to me that China really is a possibility. If there were any doubt left in my mind, then The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia says of “Sinim“:
China has always been a power that has wanted to lead the entire region, if not the world. They are not unique in that respect, but they have proven to have a long range view of things rather than the American short-sighted view of business and politics. They are thorough and meticulous.
Japan has always had imperialistic visions as well, but they have proven to be more reckless (Pearl Harbor is a good example). Japan is smaller, which allows them to adapt quicker. They have a notion of continuous improvement, which has allowed their manufacturing in the past to surpass that of the US. However, they have had serious problems as well, and so it is unlikely for them to gain the upper hand in Asia in relationship to the might of China.
Having said that, in spite of its size, it has also been a continual thorn in the side for China, which is why China is so wary of it. These two powers will apparently continue to rival one another until such a time as it is necessary to unite long enough to engage in the last world war at Christ’s return.
The smaller nations of Asia outside of the Middle East will probably continue to be caught between these two powerhouses. There is another sleepy giant, India, which is also not likely going to be willing to give up any sovereignty, as it has had to win its freedom and has its own issues to deal with.
I’m not aware of any prophecies involving India directly, but a lot of that has to do more with genealogies and the politics behind the modern nation of India than anything else. It is mentioned in the Bible, however.
1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
9 Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.
It should be noted that India is a melting pot of sorts. It originally was different tribes and smaller nations that were consolidated under British rule. Their cultures and even their languages are very diverse. Most of them learn English in school, and that is their business language, for they could not even otherwise understand one another! This should point out one of the biggest weaknesses of diversity: confusion.
Therefore, there are tribes and families that have migrated to what we now know as India from various ancestors. They seem to primarily come from the line of Cush, which is sometimes interposed with Ethiopia. However, careful Bible study reveals that there are actually more than one line of “Ethiopians”, and some ancient historians knew of “Asiatic Ethiopians” who settled what we now know as India. Likewise, Josephus recognized a western and an eastern Cush. Of course, one cannot rule out intermarriage with other tribes and families of the earth.
The point is that India is not a cohesive nation. It is large enough to resist some of the influences of China and Japan, but it is not united enough to be a threat either. That makes it, at least for the time being, a counterweight between the other two.
That could change, however, given its frequent squabbles with Pakistan. With two nuclear powers so near each other, all is not wellness and peace in the region at all times, if ever.
I cannot leave the subject of India without remarking that Brahman is the Supreme Self. It is more of a power than a being. Brahma, however, is the creator god of Hinduism. The first is a neuter noun, and the second is masculine. The Brahmin, however, is the highest caste. They consist of the religious order, in which come the priests who perform temple rituals. They study the vedas, which are among the oldest religious texts in existence.
The vedas are believed to be written down 1500 – 1000 BC. I am struck by the similarity of these nouns and the name “Abraham”, who was born sometime between 1900 – 2000 BC, and whose descendants probably left Egypt and arrived at the Promised Land around 1400 BC.
Speculative? Quite a lot. Interesting, still, as “the further origin of brh is unclear“.
What could tie these disparate forces together? Apparently, a lot of it is due to fear of what the King of the North is going to be up to just prior to their invasion.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
The question is why and how does the King of the South push at the King of the North? It doesn’t say, but I have a theory that the King of the North invades Jerusalem, breaking the peace treaty, stops the sacrifices and declares himself to be “god”, and that becomes just too much for the southern predominantly Muslim-based power to stomach. Muslims are, if not anything, very adverse to idolatry. They will probably realize they have been deceived by what they thought was the Mahdi, the Islamic equivalent of the Messiah. If you want to make someone very angry, make him or her lose face in a spectacular manner.
Will the kings of the East believe they too have been deceived? Most likely. They will also see the destruction of the power based south of Jerusalem and fear that the King of the North will take control of the world by force instead of economic and religious cooperation.
The “one world government” and the “one world religion” will begin to unravel quickly.
Invasion of Revelation 9
Another look at this invasion by the kings of the East is seen in Revelation 9.
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15 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.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
The Euphrates River is east of Israel, and it runs through Iraq and Syria.
The size of the army indicates that there must be Chinese involvement, for only the Chinese have the military might and manpower to send an army that size. Others will certainly be involved, but the sheer size of the army demands the Chinese be the main portion of the offensive.
We hear more about this army in Revelation 16, where they combine forces with other armies of the world to fight Jesus Christ Himself!
So far, I’ve barely mentioned Russia. I have a feeling that Russia participates but holds back, at least just enough, during this phase of the invasion by the kings of the East.
In UCG’s Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 38-39, we read:
“Gog, of the land of Magog,” is called the “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (verses 2-3; 39:1). He is allied with “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya” (verse 5)-or, as Ezekiel actually wrote, “Peras, Cush and Put” (Living Bible)-as well as “Gomer and…the house of Togarmah” (verse 6).
Most of these names can be found in the Table of Nations of Genesis 10, which lists the families of humanity descended from Noah. Notice: “Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood. The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah…. The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan….” (verses 1-2, 6 emphasis added).
Notice that Gog is not mentioned here. That may be because the name Magog actually means “land of Gog”-so that perhaps the actual son of Japheth was named Gog and the nation he founded became known as Magog. The name Gog could in a later context designate anyone who was from the land of Gog (i.e., from Magog).
The first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote: “Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who by the Greeks were called Scythians” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, chap. 6, sec. 2). The name Scythians denoted a wide array of peoples who ranged across the Russian Steppes all the way into China. (The Western Scythians were heavily Israelite and Germanic in nationality.)
One researcher writes of the Eastern-ranging Scythians: “The Assyrians called them Mat Gugi (Ma-Gog) which means ‘the country of Gog’…. Let Milner, famous for his writings on the Japhetic races, add further to our understanding: ‘Magog, as a geographical term used by Hebrews of old and Arabs today (Majaj), denoted that vast stretch of country to the north of the Black Sea, Caucasus, Caspian Sea, Hindu Kush, and Altai, known to the Greek geographers as Skythia’….
“The term Mongol, sometimes written as Mongoul, appears to be directly derived from Magog. In India, for example, Mongol becomes Moghul and a large part of China was known as Mangi when Europeans first visited it. The Arabs called the Scythian tribes of Tartary Yajuj and Majuj which is Gog and Magog and the Great Wall of China as the ‘wall of al Magog’….
“Where is Magog located today? They migrated via southern Russia to their current homeland, leaving behind such place-names as: Mogliev city, Mogiolistan, Mugojar Mountains, Mogol-Tau Mountains. Among the people of Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, central and much of northern and southern China…and even some Japanese are also descended from Magog. Here are the hundreds of millions of China today. No wonder the name of ancestor Japhet means ‘expansion,’ implying a large or expanding race. Other peoples descended from Magog [as well]” (Craig White, In Search of…The Origin of Nations, 2003, pp. 189-190, available at www.originofnations.org).
We are once again referring to an Asiatic invasion, but this time it is identified with names like “Rosh”, “Meshech” and “Magog”, which can be the roots of “Russian”, “Moscow” and “Mongol”. It is vague, I believe, in order to not rule out other alliances, but the main thrust of this invasion comes from Russia, whereas the power behind the prior offensive was from China.
As the commentary goes on to say, “rosh” or “rash” can also mean “blonde”, which certainly is not a Chinese characteristic. The last great ruler of the ancient Armenians was Rusa II.
Gomer is probably Southeast Asia, and are descendants of Japheth’s son Gomer. Variations on the word “kmer” come up often among these peoples. The Cambodians originally were called “Khmer”. There are some of this group in Burma/Myanmar, which has a region called Khemarata. Sumatra originally was called Kamara. There is a region in Thailand known as Kemarat. The Philippines have a Gimaras island. All of these are likely to be derived from “Gomer”.
The commentary lists several other etymological facts, including what I stated earlier that Cush (and they also list Put) as having a western and an eastern division, and the eastern side makes up part of India.
So, Russia will not act alone, but it seems to be the main portion of this latter invasion.
The commentary also points out that the context makes this particular invasion not fit well with Revelation 20. So, does Russia hold back some of its forces for some reason and decides to attack later? How much time elapses from Christ’s return until this attack? It seems to me that there cannot be a huge amount of time, for it seems to immediately precede the calling of all Israelites to the Holy Land.
The world is an unfriendly place at times. I suppose I don’t really have to tell you that, but it seems that no group of people can survive together very long. Even God’s Church has had its turbulent times from the very beginning. The endtime coalitions that form to oppose Christ when He returns will fare no better than all of the other political coalitions that have been made in human history.
However, we need to watch those generalities, don’t we? More importantly, the overuse of exaggeration tends to take away from a person’s argument after a time rather than add to it. To say that “all” of Southeast Asia is anti-Japanese is only one small example of this, although this particular example is egregious simply for being 100% incorrect.
We need to be agents of truth in a world filled with deception.