China Is Steering the World Toward War

Chinese dredging boats create an artificial island on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands chain.
csis asia maritime transparency initiative / digitalglobe

China Is Steering the World Toward War

Satellite imagery shows China taking over the South China Sea, as it is with other trade routes globally. Both history and biblical prophecy show why this is extremely dangerous.

The following is our cover article from the July 2016 Trumpet issue. In light of recent news from China, including President Xi Jinping’s abolition of term limits, new photographic evidence of China’s militarization of the South China Sea, and the great leaps forward made by its military, this analysis is more relevant than ever.

Tensions are rising between China and America.

Ever since Xi Jinping took over as general secretary of the Communist Party of China, his administration has been militarizing the South China Sea and working to push the United States out of East Asia. In two island chains, the Paracels and the Spratlys, China is building a series of man-made islands, 800 miles from China’s shore. These islands are being installed with antiaircraft batteries and fighter jets are stationed on them.

The Spratly Islands are claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. China is ignoring these nations’ territorial claims. China is being aggressive and provocative.

These militarized islands now function as forward bases for Beijing to challenge seven decades of American naval dominance in the Pacific Rim. This should alarm the world!

Each year, $5.3 trillion of trade passes through the South China Sea. That is roughly one third of the world’s maritime commerce! Since Japan’s defeat in World War ii, America has protected this vital trade route and brought peace to this part of the world. Now the American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. This is going to dramatically affect trade around the world, and U.S. trade especially.

A trade war often precedes a shooting war. That is what happened just before World War ii—especially so in Asia.

Since before the Korean War, China has had a strategy to establish a security buffer extending far from its coast and engulfing the entire South China Sea. Its current military buildup in the Paracels and the Spratlys is bringing China closer to realizing this strategy.

“China wants a bathtub,” said Marc Lanteigne, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. “China wants waters that are theirs, that they can operate military and police vessels in, without having to worry about the presence of the U.S. or the Philippines or Vietnamese or Indian naval forces.”

China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. It is forcing these countries to do what it wants.

Everything is headed in the direction of war.

Seizing Sea Gates

What is happening today is very much like what happened in Southeast Asia in the 1940s under Imperial Japan. Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo tried to draw the nations of Southeast Asia into a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere so they could force Western influence out of Asia.

Between 1930 and 1941, Japan established a shadow empire of economic alliances and intelligence networks across Southeast Asia. This shadow empire was to be the foundation of Tokyo’s planned Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japan’s next move was the establishment of an actual Asian empire—using military force!

Once World War ii started, the Japanese empire claimed the entire South China Sea and built military bases in some of the very same archipelagos China is militarizing today. A Japanese submarine base on the isle of Itu Aba, in the Spratly Islands, served as a staging base for Japanese invasions of the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Malaya (now part of Malaysia). This base was instrumental in Japan’s strategy to cut off Allied shipping in the region.

The Allied victory over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War ii was greatly aided by the fact that they controlled the world’s most strategic sea gates, like Panama, Gibraltar and Singapore. In the decades since, however, China and the European Union have come to possess most of the world’s sea gates.

Time will prove that this is a deadly dangerous change!

Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the only thing standing between Japan and complete domination of Southeast Asia was the United Kingdom. The British completed building the massive Sembawang Naval Base in Singapore in 1939. This base was meant to serve as a staging ground for the defense of India and the strategic Strait of Malacca in the event of a Japanese invasion.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called Singapore the “Gibraltar of the East.” It was supposed to be an impregnable fortress used to keep the peace in East Asia.

Two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were able to conquer Singapore.

This marked the start of a period of near-apocalyptic violence in Southeast Asia. Many historians consider the fall of Singapore as the beginning of the end of the British Empire. The Japanese empire was eventually defeated by the United States, but Britain’s influence in the region was greatly diminished. America gradually assumed the mantle of the British Empire by taking control of the vital trade routes passing through Southeast Asia.

In 1965 when Singapore withdrew from the British-backed Malaysian Federation to declare independence, Britain voluntarily gave up the Sembawang naval base for good. Now China is reaching out to Singapore, trying to cement control of the strait.

Britain actually gave the South China Sea prize of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. Now that U.S. military presence in the area has been drastically reduced, China is claiming the entire South China Sea as its own!

By building artificial islands atop coral reefs in the Spratlys, and installing surface-to-air missile batteries in the Paracels, China is building a new strategic sea gate. After passing through the Strait of Malacca, oil tankers and other ships pass between the Spratly and Paracel Islands on the way through the South China Sea.

Whoever controls these vital sea gates controls one third of the world’s maritime commerce.

What Prophecy Foretells

To really understand the significance of what is happening, you must understand the prophecies of the Bible.

God delivered a sobering warning to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 28. If the people disobeyed Him and turned to sin, He would give the strategic sea gates of the world over to their enemies. These enemies would use these sea gates to besiege and enslave biblical Israel: “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (verse 52).

This warning is not just for an ancient nation. It is a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel! Two nations in particular represent Israel in this end time: America and Britain. Don’t believe me—you need to prove this truth for yourself. We will be happy to send you a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which contains abundant proof.

These nations are full of terrible sins today, and God is going to correct them for that! This prophecy and several others show that He will send foreign enemies to punish America and Britain!

You can already see this prophecy moving toward its fulfillment: The European Union is moving into South America, making trade agreements that are taking business away from the United States. Russia and China are militarizing the most important trade routes traversing the Asian continent.

This prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes! America’s enemies are securing shipping lanes and creating economic alliances that will very soon enable them to choke off America’s supply lines. Soon America will find it impossible to import oil and other necessities.

Britain and the Jews in the Mideast will suffer a similar fate.

Start of Great Tribulation

Bible prophecy describes a time of “great tribulation”—an end-time period of suffering on a scale never experienced in human history (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1). Many other scriptures show that the nations devastated the most will be America, Britain and the Jewish state of Israel.

In the past, we believed this Tribulation would begin when these three nations were attacked militarily. Ezekiel 4, however, describes the Tribulation as beginning with an economic siege against these nations.

Notice the specifics: “Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray [or engrave] upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 4:1-3).

The “house of Israel” primarily refers not to the Jews, but to the modern descendants of Israel, specifically the United States and Britain. Here is pictured a siege against the house of Israel. It is a prophecy that one third of these nations will be destroyed economically and socially by a siege! Other prophecies show that this siege will cause an economic cataclysm that will develop into race wars and fighting for food and survival!

A ‘Mart of Nations’

Isaiah 23 discusses a powerful “mart of nations” that includes both European and Asian nations, including Russia, China and Japan (sidebar: “The Great ‘Mart of Nations’”).

Events are moving toward the fulfillment of this prophecy. In recent years, the European Union’s economic powerhouse overtook the U.S. and Japan to become China’s biggest trading partner. China and Europe have undertaken many joint ventures in recent years, including a 2015 landmark deal between Germany’s largest exchange and China’s Foreign Exchange Trade System, which is significantly strengthening financial links between the two sides.

A top German banker, Folker Hellmeyer, chief economist at Bremer Landesbank, predicts that the Moscow-Beijing economic axis will prevail against the United States. He also warns that economic damage for Germany and the European Union will be significant if they continue to follow U.S. policy in opposition to the brics alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Germany has already joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Financial analysts like Jim Willie are warning that Germany may already be planning to ditch the dollar and join the brics nations!

The relationship we see developing between the “king of the north” and the “kings of the east” is exactly what Isaiah prophesied over 2,700 years ago!

Think about the role that this alliance will likely play in the economic besiegement of America.

Herbert W. Armstrong long prophesied that the alliance between Europe and South America will grow extremely strong. The most significant factors that will cement this connection are religion and language: Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of Latin America; and after Chinese and English, Spanish is the next-most spoken language in the world. But it will not be a union of equals: The Latin American countries will become vassal states of Europe!

With a German-led Europe (referred to in prophecy as “the king of the north”) possessing great maritime power, North America will be flanked on the east by Europe and on the south by Latin America.

The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America. This is where China and the other giants of Asia enter the picture. Considering that China now possesses most of the world’s strategic sea gates (at one time held by Britain and America), the German-led Holy Roman Empire will need to form a brief alliance with the Asian powers identified in Isaiah 23 (Russia, China, Japan—the “kings of the east”).

If Europe finds a way to take advantage of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan—even for a short period—then it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations.

This is why China’s moves to militarize the South China Sea should be so concerning.

The United States and Britain are going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Asia, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce. These nations of Israel are going to be literally besiegedeconomically frozen out of world trade!

This is all building toward the Great Tribulation siege that Ezekiel prophesied. It will usher in the crisis of crisesthe worst ever on Earth! (Please request my book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet. I am just finishing a significant update of this book that includes the information in this article. It contains a lot more never-before-printed material about the prophecies you are reading here.)

God thunders to Britain and America, “I am against you” (Ezekiel 13:8). These are the most terrifying words a nation could hear!

Time is extremely short. Do we dare scoff at the living God?

God promises to correct these nations for their disobedience—because they have given Him no alternative. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

Will we repent of our sins so America and Britain won’t die? Or is it already too late? (Request a free copy of my booklet Lamentations: The Point of No Return for more on this subject.) We have been proclaiming this warning message for over 70 years!

A Way of Escape

In the lead-up to World War ii, it was easy for America to dismiss Germany’s domination over Europe and Japan’s domination over Asia as faraway problems that didn’t concern them. Yet when war broke out, the whole world was plunged into the worst period of violence it had ever experienced up to that time.

Yet according to biblical prophecy, World War ii was only a dress rehearsal for the Great Tribulation!

This really is heavy prophecy, and it is not an easy message to deliver. Mankind refuses to listen to God, choosing instead to do things its own way. The end result is famine, pestilence and war. It is the responsibility of God’s watchman, with the help of a group of supporters, to deliver this message!

Ezekiel writes that one third of the people in end-time Israel will die in the siege and another third in the military invasion. What will happen to the last third? They will be taken as slaves to a foreign land! The time just ahead of us truly will be one of terrors too horrific to even imagine!

Yet, Ezekiel also writes about a small group of people who will be protected.

“Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts” (Ezekiel 5:3). Here is a little group of people that is bound “in thy skirts,” where God protects them in a place of safety from the siege, the attack and the scattering mentioned in verse 2. This is the Church of God that delivered this prophecy and did His work. Only God can protect His people from all that horror! And you can stake your life on the fact that He will do it!

God says three times in Ezekiel 2:6, Be not afraid! Don’t be afraid! Be not afraid! The people of America, Britain and Judah should be very afraid if they refuse to repent. But God tells those who are doing His work that they must not give in to fear. There are reasons why people fear to deliver that message, but God commands us to do it! He promises to give us all the power we need—and to reward us for obeying Him no matter what happens!

Ezekiel had a difficult job, but he wasn’t depressed. He had a work to do and was happy God gave him—a mere slave—that job.

All this prophesied destruction is what it will take for God to reach this world! After this, people will be ashamed—and they will get to know God! Ezekiel repeatedly talked about that inspiring conclusion (e.g. Ezekiel 6:7; 7:4; 11:10; 12:20; 13:9; 23:48-49, etc.). Yes, there is a lot of bad news when you consider what it takes to get people to the point of knowing God. But ultimately, the outcome is spectacularly good news!