Chapter 1: The Emerging Asian Superpower

From the booklet Russia and China in Prophecy

In the next few years, there will be a staggering turn in world events! A giant Asian superpower, with a modernized Russia and China at the helm, will dramatically affect the course of history. This emerging power bloc—a conglomerate of peoples which comprise over half of the world’s population—will be deeply involved in the tumultuous tide of events that will lead to the conclusion of mankind’s 6,000 years of self-rule!

How can we know this?

In Matthew 24 and Luke 21, Jesus Christ described the key events leading to His return. Many other passages add critical details. Russia, China and their Asian allies are prophesied to be heavily involved in these climactic end-time events.

Biblical Identity of Asian Nations

After the Flood, God told Noah and his family to go and replenish the Earth (Genesis 8:15-18). Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Each son was the beginning of a separate race. Shem was the father of the white race; Ham, the father of the black; and Japheth, the yellow race. Renowned educator Herbert W. Armstrong explained in Mystery of the Ages that Japheth evidently married a yellow woman, and Ham, a black.

Genesis 10:2-3 list the sons of Japheth: “… Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.”

In his book Compendium of World History, Dr. Herman Hoeh correctly identified Meshech and Tubal as fathers of those who comprise greater Russia today. Magog fathered the people of China and Mongolia. Gomer fathered the Japanese as well as the Cambodians, Thais, Burmese, Laos and Vietnamese. Togarmah also factored into the ancestry of Japan and some of these other nations.

Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the descendants of Noah’s grandson Cush split into two branches: a dark-skinned, curly-haired branch that migrated to Africa and a dark-skinned, straight-haired branch that migrated to India. This latter group later intermarried with Aryan settlers from Persia, producing the brown coloration of the Indian peoples today (Herman Hoeh, “The Truth About the Race Question,” Plain Truth, July 1957).

Mr. Armstrong concurred with Dr. Hoeh’s research. Referring to Ezekiel 38:2, he said, “There is general agreement among students of prophecy that ‘Gog’ in the land of ‘Magog’ is the vast regions of northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. ‘Meshech’ is Moscow, ‘Tubal’ is Tobolsk. The Bible margin says ‘Prince of Rosh,’ which is Russia” (Plain Truth, April 1981).

This passage in Ezekiel goes on to list “Ethiopia, and Libya … and many people” being allied with Russia and China (verses 5-6). Ethiopia and Libya should be translated “Cush” and “Phut.” Portions of the tribes of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, while the rest settled in areas of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than to the African peoples.

These identities are critical for us to understand where modern nations fit in biblical prophecy.

At the same time, understanding the history of these peoples will help us identify certain character traits that resurface even in modern times.

History of Russia and China

History between Russia and China reveals a relationship vacillating between cooperation and conflict.

Oriental influence in Russia came with the advance of the Tartar Mongol horsemen. Under Genghis Khan and his successors, the Mongols had, by a.d. 1250, established the Golden Horde Empire extending across China, much of Central Asia, and Russia.

By 1368, the empire had collapsed. Mongolia came under Chinese domination, ruled by the Ming Dynasty. It was not until 1480 that Ivan the Great finally ended Moscow’s subjection to the Mongols.

Following the Middle Ages, the first Russian settlers reached the sparsely populated areas north of the Amur River in what is now far eastern Russia. Although the Chinese empire claimed this territory, it never effectively controlled it. Three hundred years of border clashes between Russia and China ensued. Sporadic fighting continued until 1689, when the Treaty of Nerchinsk defined the border well north of the Amur River.

Conflict reignited in 1870, when an imperialistic Russia seized the Chinese border province of Ili. With China weakened by the various opium wars of the 19th century, Russia was able to force the Chinese to sign the Treaty of Aigun, ceding to Russia everything north of Amur plus a large slice of land east of the Ussuri. This established today’s frontiers.

After the Russian Civil War (1918–22), the Chinese were driven out of Outer Mongolia. The Mongolian People’s Republic was established in 1924, closely tied to the Soviet Union.

For some time after World War i, Marxism gained popularity in China, culminating in the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. With the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government under Mao Zedong modeled its political structures on those of the Soviet Union. This attracted Soviet loans and boosted growth in the Chinese economy.

After Mao signed a mutual defense treaty with the Kremlin in February 1950, he declared that the Chinese-Soviet friendship would be “everlasting, indestructible and inalienable.” Within 15 years, however, this friendship dissolved and tensions deepened.

Mao launched his disastrous Great Leap Forward in 1958. When it failed two years later, Russia openly criticized Mao and cut off military aid to China. By 1968, following the failed ideological initiative of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” China had descended into anarchy. The government, fearing a Soviet invasion, called in the army to restore order. By then China had drifted far from Soviet Russia, both philosophically and strategically.

Clashes erupted on China’s eastern border with Russia in 1969. Emergency talks between premiers Alexei Kosygin and Zhou Enlai in September that year curbed hostilities, and formal demarcation talks commenced.

In 1971, China gained membership in the United Nations, raising its status as a major world political power.

The histories of these two great powers show a record spotted with tension and battle. Strategically, Russia has needed to remove the possibility of war on two fronts: Europe and China. The Russians have seen in China a nation capable of amassing an army of unheard-of proportions.

China has also had much to fear in Russia. Though the Russians wouldn’t be able to field as many soldiers, they have a sizable stockpile of superior weapons. Many observers have speculated that the Russians would have long ago launched a preemptive strike, conventional or nuclear, against China to destroy its weapons-making capability if not for the United States and other Western powers threatening retaliation. So the Chinese have made great efforts to match the military might of the Russians.

Throughout the Cold War, Russia and China played their usual game of cat and mouse. At the same time, however, another factor existed that would have the opposite effect, drawing these two great nations together into cooperation.

This is where biblical prophecy enters the picture in a most intriguing way.

The Spread of Communism

For decades, both Russia and China have had their eyes fixed on conquering Middle Asia, Indochina and Southeast Asia. Their ultimate goal, said Mr. Armstrong, is not just frontier expansion, but global control.

Reality dictates that achieving such a goal is only possible if these two countries cooperate.

The December 1959 Plain Truth revealed some of their plans—including Russia and China’s goal to form a coalition: “Russia’s program is not to take Europe and to attack the United States, first. The Communist program, which our leaders should know, calls first for the seizure of Asia. Lenin wrote that the way to Paris, London and New York is via [Beijing] and Delhi! …

“[P]art of the Communist plan [is] to place India and Pakistan in a giant vice between Russia and China. …

“Red China insists it has a legal right not only to Tibet but to many parts of India and Southeast Asia. [The Mongols and Chinese people’s] constant dream for centuries has been ultimate world conquest! … China knows, however, that in this highly industrialized age she can accomplish this dream only as an ally of Russia.

“China is now ready to begin devouring the rest of Asia with Russia’s secret military backing” (emphasis added throughout).

Remember, that was written in 1959. It was the thick of the Cold War, and communism was thought to be the factor that would unite this Eastern bloc. History appears to have since largely left that political and economic theory behind. But the forecast of a Russia-China alliance that would come to envelop the rest of Asia remains as viable today as it was half a century ago! That’s because what informed those remarkable statements, in addition to the histories of these nations, were the biblical prophecies about Asia that we will examine in this booklet.

The Plain Truth did forecast some geopolitical changes that, at present, yet remain unfulfilled. But based on prophecy, it warned—even while the U.S. stood at the pinnacle of world power—of America’s impending international setbacks in Vietnam. Notice this from the November 1961 issue: “Having advanced virtually to the brink of another ‘Korea-type’ war over Laos, the United States would almost certainly have to fight a major battle in either Thailand or South Vietnam ….”

In May 1968—seven years before the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam to communism—the Plain Truth stated, “Bible prophecy reveals that not even America, with all of her nuclear muscle, can prevent Southeast Asia from eventually being overrun by communism”—or, more accurately, from being drawn into a Chinese-Russian-dominated geopolitical bloc.

China, with the ussr’s help, continued to push into Middle and Southeast Asia throughout the 1960s. In December 1962, the Plain Truth reported on the Chinese-Indian border conflict: “[The Soviets are] supplying the Chinese with technical know-how and letting China’s 600 million people gobble up the rest of Asia! … It is part of their propaganda that these areas once were under Chinese control.”

The article also said, “A cunning two-point Red thrust has again caught the West off guard. While Soviet Russia was secretly establishing a missile beachhead in Cuba, the Red Chinese were assembling immense supplies, 100,000 men and heavy armor for an attack on India.

“Red Chinese have already captured more than 50,000 square miles of Indian territory. …

“Almost no one, it seems, is aware that India is far more important to Communist leaders than is Cuba. Cuba is an extra prize which the Communists chanced upon. But the next big goal in Communist thinking is India. …

The petty jealousies between Moscow and [Beijing] are not deterring either from their joint goal: world conquest.

This is all part of the great Communist plan enunciated by Lenin 30 years ago.”

The Plain Truth continued to track the Sino-Russian affinity throughout the next several years. In July 1966, it made this startling prediction: “India knows Red China is completing massive troop buildups on the Indian border. India knows Red China has the atomic bomb, and possibly the hydrogen bomb. That means, in the most urgent considerations of national security, India must have the bomb! Purely as a defensive measure against Red China, of course.

“But then there’s Pakistan! [Pakistan is] born of violent hatreds between Hindu and Muslim. Should India build the bombs, Pakistanis would turn in desperation to the big powers—they would be forced to obtain nuclear weapons!”

By 1998, this forecast came to pass: Both India and Pakistan had tested nuclear bombs, abruptly pronouncing themselves members of the exclusive nuclear club.

In addition to pushing into Middle Asia, China would attempt to pull some of its island neighbors into its grip. On this issue, Western leaders have tried to appease China through various “peace talks,” generally to no avail. The very non-politically correct Plain Truth of the 1960s didn’t mince words regarding this problem. “The Asiatic mind is totally different from the occidental [Western] mind. It doesn’t reason in the same manner. Try though we may to delude ourselves into believing our dollars, trade missions, military advisers and arms shipments, our hospital ships, our missions, our food supplies are helping stem the tide of the advancing threat of communism in these Eastern nations—we are failing!” (November 1961).

The people of Asia, this article continued, “are impressed with strength, not talk. They feel a much closer kinship with other peoples of the Asian sphere than they do with the far-away ‘Yankees’ with customs, languages and religions so totally different from their own.”

Yes, eventually the forces pushing Russia and China apart would be overwhelmed by forces driving them into each other’s arms. It is rapidly happening now!

Just as the Plain Truth said it would happen—based on the prophecies of the Bible.

Improving Relationship

Following the Cold War, Russia and China found themselves isolated and in need of cooperation if they were to survive. Economic and political unions forming between the Americas, a newly united Europe and other such cooperative efforts necessitated that the Russians and Chinese forge a positive relationship.

Even before the collapse of the Soviet empire, in 1989 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev visited China to repair ties and revitalize dialogue on the demarcation disputes that were still mired in 17th-century detail. In 1991, Russia and China signed a border agreement, beginning a practical demarcation process. In April 1997, China and Russia—along with former Soviet republics Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan—signed an accord in Moscow on troop reduction and security-building measures along the 4,700-mile border between China and the former Soviet Union.

As a clear sign of surging cooperation between their two countries, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin signed a declaration in November 1997 ending disputes over the implementation of the 1991 accord. This seemed to confirm that Russia and China, long vacillating between a historic relationship as friend and foe, were entering a new era of cooperation in strategic partnership to counter the perceived dominance of Western military and economic power.

Sino-Russian relations further improved under the leadership of Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin. In July of 2001, Russia and China signed a “friendship cooperation” treaty.

August 2003 saw Russo-Chinese military cooperation leap to the next level when armed forces from both nations participated in joint antiterror exercises under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (sco). Since that time, they have held dozens of joint military, naval and antiterror drills, often including troops from other sco members such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Many view these exercises as evidence of an emerging military bloc that could eventually rival nato.

The first military strike of this rising Asian superpower came in August 2008, when Russia attacked the former Soviet republic of Georgia. This marked Putin’s first military step toward reviving Russia’s control over Central Asia.

On January 1, 2010, Putin further advanced his revival of the Soviet Union by building a Eurasian Economic Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Moscow has since been working to bring other former Soviet nations—like Ukraine and Tajikistan—into the union. Kyrgyzstan and Armenia joined in 2015. Putin has said his goal is to enlarge the union to include all post-Soviet states (excluding the three Baltic European Union member states).

Other key economic and military treaties have improved trust and cooperation. Russia and China are reaping the benefits, realizing their very existence depends on good relations with each other.

The Only Alternative

Sino-Russian relations have evolved out of common interests. On the same day that the Eurasian Economic Union was made official, Russia completed an oil pipeline and port complex that positions Moscow to become a more powerful oil exporter than Saudi Arabia. This pipeline, which runs from central Siberia to the Pacific coast, unlocks a gate through which Russia’s vast oil fields will gush into Asia’s energy-hungry economies. For over a century, Russia’s entire energy infrastructure has focused mainly on supplying Europe. Now Chinese, Korean, Indian and Japanese currency will flow into Russia, and the Kremlin will have the option of turning off Europe’s energy taps if the situation warrants it.

Both share common defense concerns, which include protecting against radical Islam in and around Central Asia, challenging Western power in nato, and taking advantage of a weakening U.S.

Trade between Russia and China blossomed in the early 1990s. In 2000, $8 billion in annual transactions took place between the two. By 2008, Russian-Chinese trade had leaped to an astounding $56.8 billion. Fourteen years later in 2022, the trade turnover was $147 billion. At the Winter Olympics in Beijing that year, Russia announced that trade would increase to $250 billion by 2024.

China has now been Russia’s largest trading partner for over a decade. In fact, because economic partnerships have proved mutually beneficial, the prospect of filling other needs is bringing Russia and China even closer together—especially over energy supplies. Of all nations, Russia is uniquely able and willing to provide the secure source of energy needed to power China’s rapid industrial and economic growth. Russia has the oil, natural gas, uranium and nuclear technology to provide power for the 1.4 billion inhabitants of Earth’s most populous country.

There appears to be no alternative for these great powers. Both share common philosophies economically, politically and militarily—and both have a common enemy in the West.

The way that China, for decades, counterbalanced Russia’s presence in Asia benefited the United States geopolitically. But that equation is changing as Russia and China march toward a military alliance.

The types of headlines that would have seemed strange 50 or 15 or even five years ago have now become commonplace: “Russia, China and the New Cold War” (Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2022), “Russia and China Unveil a Pact Against America and the West” (New Yorker, Feb. 7, 2022), “Russia and China, Together at Last” (Nation, March 14, 2022).

In May 2014, President Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping inked a gargantuan gas supply agreement worth $400 billion. Less than six months later, they did it again, signing another tentative deal worth a sum of similar immensity. These are the two largest business transactions in human history.

The late analyst Charles Krauthammer wrote at the time, “[Russia and China’s] enhanced partnership marks the first emergence of a global coalition against American hegemony since the fall of the Berlin Wall” (Washington Post, May 22, 2014).

Gerald Walpin, former inspector general for the United States Corporation for National and Community Service, wrote, “[A]ny fair [onlooker would] compare this axis to the Hitler-Japan Axis that came close to defeating democracies (including [the] U.S.) and resulted in 50 million deaths throughout the world. The only significant difference is that this new axis has nuclear weapons …” (Oct. 13, 2014).

Meanwhile, America’s relations with both Russia and China have notably deteriorated.

In fact, for some years now, several nations, including these two Asian giants, have shaped their foreign policy largely around a desire to contain American power. Russian strategic bombers have once again taken to the skies to challenge U.S. airspace, and Russian pilots taunt U.S. interceptors off the coast of Alaska. Russia’s navy has also extended its tentacles into waters generally considered America’s backyard. The nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great and the submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko conducted war games in the Caribbean with the Venezuelan Navy in 2008—Russia’s first venture into the Caribbean since the end of the Cold War. In August 2009, two Russian attack submarines were sighted off America’s East Coast, apparently the first such sighting for 15 years. In June 2014, Russian bombers were intercepted 50 miles off the coast of California, the closest they had gotten since the Cold War. On July 4, 2015, Russia flew nuclear-capable bombers just 40 miles from California. The date was not arbitrary. When intercepted by U.S. jets, the Russian pilots delivered the following message: “Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day.”

In the Pacific, conditions have been just as tense. In 2007, an undetected Chinese submarine surfaced inside a U.S. convoy formation and within easy torpedo range of the uss Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier that the convoy was protecting. Other incidents, including collisions between U.S. and Chinese naval vessels, have become increasingly common as China has adopted a more confrontational approach with its growing naval strength.

In 2001, after a couple of high-profile incidents that saw the U.S. expel Russian diplomats and the Chinese intercept an American spy plane, U.S. intelligence firm Stratfor noted, “This period will be remembered as the end of the post-Cold War period, and the beginning of a new era in international relations. … At stake is the international system’s composition” (April 10, 2001).

These are huge stakes—global stakes! It is about the composition of the international system that governs world business and communications, and economic, social, political and military interaction. And the deterioration of relations between the U.S. and both Beijing and Moscow has contributed to shaping a new set of global alliances.

It is evident that both Russian and Chinese officials are working to form a new alliance and counter American dominance of world affairs. Russian diplomats want to create a multipolar world, and they know that the most expedient way to do so is to cement relations with their closest neighbor to the southeast.