China – blessed or cursed in the end times?
Many interpretations of prophecy say that China will come against Israel someday. Is this reasonable to assume this? Will China be blessed or cursed by God in the end times?
I have read much speculation about China aligning with Russia to attack Israel in the end times, just because it is “east” of Israel, and has a large population, and some scriptures refer to kings from the east doing this. But, reviewing both ancient and recent histories, as well as modern events, I see no pattern of hostility between China and Israel that would be re-ignited in a future catastrophic war.
China, and many other countries, who have never had a conflict with the Israelis, just worry about their own needs and problems. They might be involved with weapons sales, agreements for Arab oil, or nuclear development. This is motivated by economics, and politics, not hatred for Israel.
It would be counter-productive financially for China to attack anyone unless there was a direct advantage to China. Involving millions of lost lives, loss of labor, expecting retaliation in return, and for what? Israel really has nothing that China is interested in.
What does the Bible say about China?
There is only one passage that has traditionally been assigned to China by name. This is from Isaiah 49. Look at the verses that surround the reference to China (Sinim) in this passage.
Isa 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
Isa 49:9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that [are] in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures [shall be] in all high places.
Isa 49:10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
Isa 49:11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
Isa 49:12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
Isa 49:13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
****NOTE Yes, the comfort is promised to Israel.
But in a larger context, we all can receive comfort, and I was extending this as possibility to other nations like China, who, if they would turn to the Lord, could also have comfort in the end times.
The main idea is that China does not seem to be one of the kings of the east who would attack Israel.
China represents 1/5 of the world population and is the third largest area on earth. It seems like a large population like this would be significant to God, and would not be left out of God’s plan for the world.
For millennia, China has called herself “the land of God.” It would appear that the Hand of Omnipotence was leading this ancient civilization. In the annals of Chinese history, we do not find a single instance of God’s anger being poured out upon a Chinese city or population.
The Chinese nation, earlier known as the “Middle Kingdom,” dates back to 2205 B.C. with its first dynasty, the Xia, established by King Yu. Even today in China, King Yu is still well-remembered as “the great Yu.” He was favored by Shangdi [the God of Heaven] who instructed him in the nine methods which enabled him to solve the problem of draining a huge flood that prevented further development and habitation of their land. King Yu was also renowned as a virtuous and exemplary ruler, providing a fitting pattern for later rulers to emulate.
During the later Zhou dynasty, the rulers of the eastern states fought one another for the control of all China. In 221 B.C., the Qin State defeated all its rivals and established China’s first empire controlled by a strong self-imposed emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. Thus China entered its fourth dynasty, the Qin, (221 – 206 B.C.).
To keep out invaders, Qin Shi Huangdi ordered the construction, repair and strengthening of the Great Wall, which, with its eventual completion, stretches about 4,000 miles.
The name of “China” in all foreign languages of the world finds its root in the Qin [Chin] Dynasty.
The Word Sinim
You may wonder what the word “Sinim” means. Where is this land of Sinim, mentioned by Isaiah before his service was terminated in 680 B.C.? According to Strong’s Concordance, “Sinim is a distant Oriental region.”
“‘Sino’ indicates Chinese; for example, Sinophile. [French, from Late Latin ‘Sinae;’ the Chinese, from Greek ‘Sinai;’ from Arabic ‘Sin;’ China, from Chinese (Mandarin) ‘Ch’in’ [Qin], dynastic name of the country.]”
Now it is clear that the Hebrew word “Sinim” means China, as can be seen, for example, in the word “sinology”—a study of things Chinese. As mentioned earlier, all Chinese roots meet in the Qin dynasty. However, the Hebrew alphabet does not have the equivalent of “ch” in English and “Q” in Chinese. Thus “Qin” has been phonetically translated as “Sinim.”
The Significance of Chin
In Isaiah’s day, the state of Qin was only one of hundreds of states under Zhou (770 – 256 B.C.). It was located in the present Gansu Province through which trade with the West was conducted.
Sinim and Today
Isaiah’s prophecy about China did not stop with the Qin dynasty, but rather it extended into the future. Over the 2,600 years since Isaiah, many countries have come and gone, but the land of Sinim (Qin) still stands firm as the land of China.
Isaiah’s foretelling of a final gathering of God’s faithful among those “in darkness” must indicate a multitude of peoples—even from China. Most of the people living in China, since Isaiah’s day, have been “in darkness” concerning the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Yet here is a specific prophesy and a promise to bring “prisoners of darkness” in the land of Sinim to the light of salvation, freedom and mercy.
Does the God of Israel know and care about the land of Sinim (China)?
Listen to what He says right after the prophecy of China in the book of Isaiah:
“Can a woman forget
her nursing child,
And not have compassion
on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you
on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.”
(Isaiah 49: 15 – 16).
The land of Sinim is still there. The massive Walls are still before the people of China and before the God of Israel. God has not forgotten the people of China, for He says, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”
Jesus died for the people of China, like all other peoples, who must now come out of darkness, and put God in the center of their lives.
History of religion in China
There have been several dynasties in China. The religions centered around Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
Taoism emphasizes propriety, compassion, moderation, and humility, and nature and ancestor spirits.
Buddhism is formulated through the Four Noble Truths which teach suffering and its cessation through the Eightfold Path.
The Four Noble Truths are a formulation of his understanding of the nature of “suffering”, the fundamental cause of all suffering, the escape from suffering, and what effort a person can go to so that they themselves can “attain happiness.”
The noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
The philosophy of Confucius emphasizes personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
Today, China’s government discourages religion, and is communistic.
From what I can see in the basic foundations of Chinese religious thought, there is nothing telling them to conquer other lands in the name of God, or to oppose another religion as being opposed to theirs. So, they do not have a history of religious jihad or crusades against other religious groups.
China’s relationships today
The Chinese are interacting more now with the world community, but with centuries of social and economic isolationism from the rest of the world, and continued current isolationism to some extent, I see no evidence that would indicate a need of theirs to march against Israel anytime in the near future.
If anything, the continued efforts to sponsor the 2008 Olympics is a positive step, and if China would have a reason to react negatively to any group, it would be to those that would try to destroy their Olympic program and hurt its citizens. It may also feel threatened by North Korea with its nuclear program. For the most part, China just wants to take care of itself.
It is my opinion that the kings of the east who are prophesied to march against Israel in the end times are those directly east of Israel. These are the same enemies in the middle east that have been marching against Israel every time Israel was present, and have always opposed Israel’s right to exist.
Salvation for China
China is important to God. This is because God created everyone, and He wants all His creation to call upon Him for salvation, protection, and help. He also wants China’s love, devotion, and faith in Him. This is to let China know this.
Whether the future hold blessings or curses for China in the future end times is up to China. For those who will trust God, and have faith in Him, giving Him their hearts, God will protect them from dangers, and provide for them in famine and other troubles. For those who reject God, there is no promise of any help, only judgment from God.
China is an ancient land with a history of peaceful religious thought. Will they see the strength in this, and go a step further, and find out who Jesus is and what He came and did for them? Will they find out more about the God of Jesus, and His salvation and deliverance from evil?
It is up to the Chinese people to reach out and make this decision. The choice of a blessing or a curse from God is up to them. The Holy Spirit of God is ready to minister to any person who seeks God. If they submit to His wisdom, they will experience the promise of eternal peace and salvation. Will they say “yes” to Him?
*** 5-14-08 I extend my sincere prayers and love to the Chinese at this time, during their terrible tragedy with the recent earthquake.