Light for the Last Days

China – the Kings of the East and the Mark of the Beast

Written in January 2018

Is the rise of China as a world political force a significant development from the point of view of Bible prophecy?  We find two scriptures which indicate a place in prophecy for a power from the east to arise and play a part in the events scheduled for the last conflict before the return of Jesus Christ:

‘Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.’  Revelation 16.12.

The Greek in this phrase speaks of the kings from the ‘rising sun’ indicating that a power will arise in the far east and play a part in the final battle of Armageddon. 

There is also a possible reference to this in Daniel 11 which speaks of the coming Antichrist who arises out of the revived Roman Empire (a western dictator) and magnifies himself ‘above every god’.  According to this prophecy at the time of the end he will seek to establish control over Israel and the Middle East:

‘Then he shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.  … He shall also enter the Glorious Land (i.e. Israel), and many countries shall be overthrown … But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain (Jerusalem); yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.’  Daniel 11.41-45.

So will China rise leading the ‘kings of the east’ in the last days? 

China and Christianity

Very little is said about China in the Bible.  Some have pointed to the prophecy of Isaiah 49.12 concerning the land of Sinim, as being a reference to China, along with Genesis 10.17.  One theory is the ‘Sinites’ migrated eastwards after the scattering of the Tower of Babel, taking with them some knowledge of the Creation, Fall and Flood accounts in the Bible.  Certain Chinese characters imply this.  One example of this is the Chinese word for boat which is made up of a vessel, the number eight and a person, which could relate to the eight people on Noah’s ark.  For more on this subject go to

Apart from this the great land of China and its millions of people has been cut off from the revelation of the Bible until recent times.  Along with the millions of peoples of the east it has been subject to a succession of false religions, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and combinations of all of them.  This has produced an idea of gods or spirits that contrasts with the God of the Bible and produces the pantheistic idea that ‘god is all and all is god’.  This idea goes along with the evolutionary idea of how the universe came into being and denies the concept of an all powerful, personal God who created all things. Associated with these pantheistic systems is the worship of spirits and idols.  Joseph Lam, a Chinese Christian, believes the national symbol of China, which is a dragon, is the true symbol of the god of China. In the book of Revelation our Lord called him a ‘liar and deceiver’.

In the 19th century Christianity began to make an impact on China as missions like the China Inland Mission brought many Chinese to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Battling fierce opposition from the religious and political powers in China the Chinese church grew and produced some remarkable saints of God who laid down their lives to spread His word amongst the Chinese people. 

Unfortunately contact with the West also brought political humiliation to China and imperialist exploitation of their land.  This was followed by a brutal occupation by the Japanese during the second world war and the Communist revolution in 1948, bringing Mao Ze Dong to power in 1948.  A cult of hero worship arose around Mao, who was known as ‘the great helmsman’.  His image was set up throughout China, his red book ‘The thoughts of Mao’ treated as a Bible, and songs and poems written about him, which were in effect praising him as if he were a god.  Although Communism is based on atheism, one can see some expression of the kind of religious spirits of ancient Chinese religions in the worship of Mao. 

In the years after the Communist Revolution it is estimated around 50 million people died as a result of purges, famines and the excesses of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the Cultural Revolution, which Mao instigated.  Dissenters were imprisoned and killed and Christians were severely persecuted.  However despite the antichrist nature of the Communist regime, the church survived and grew during these years.  The Maoist regime had close parallels with the rule of the Beast as described in Revelation 13: 

‘So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continuefor forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.’  Revelation 13.4-7

Mao died in 1976 leaving a poor economy and an oppressed people, but after his death in 1976 his successors Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao rebuilt the economy and began the process which has transformed China into the economic power house which it is today.  They combined Communism with Capitalism (contrary to Mao’s doctrine) and also stopped the severe persecution of Christianity, enabling the Chinese church to grow phenomenally.  

How many Christians are there in China today?  This is a much disputed figure, with estimates ranging from 18 million (official Communist estimate) to 200 million (estimate of some Chinese Christian agencies).   The Chinese Church today is divided between the official church or Three Self Movement, sanctioned by the Communist Party and the unofficial church (or house church movement).  The official church has to agree to abide by rules set by the Communist Party, which include not instructing young people in the faith, not engaging in evangelism outside the church meeting, not teaching on subjects which are said to be contrary to Communist ideology (one of which is teaching on the end times and the Second Coming of Christ). 

Many Christians believe (rightly) that abiding by these rules set by the antichristian Communist Party is a compromise with the faith and so they join unofficial churches.  It is these churches that are growing rapidly.  They are also increasingly facing persecution as the Party cracks down on their activities. China Aid President Bob Fu said Christians in China have been heavily targeted throughout the past couple of years by the ruling Communist Party due to their rapidly increasing numbers.  He said, ‘The top leadership is increasingly worried about the rapid growth of Christian faith and their public presence, and their social influence.  It is a political fear for the Communist Party, as the number of Christians in the country far outnumber the members of the party.’

The New Mao?

We are now seeing some developments in China which point to its destiny as an end time power with a strong antichrist ideology.  Its powerful President, Xi Jingping, is asserting himself in a manner that is reminiscent of Chairman Mao. Mark Almond observed the recent Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and wrote about it in the Daily Mail (25/10/17): 

‘On the final day of its Congress, the Communist Party elevated Xi to the same exalted status as the People’s Republic’s founding father, Chairman Mao, by writing his name and ideas into its constitution as ‘Xi Jinping Thought’.  The move bolsters Xi’s position yet further, making it all but impossible for rivals to challenge him and his policies.  The party has voted to write ‘Xi Jingping thought’ into its manifesto. The only other leader to have been given the honour was the country’s modern founder, Mao Zedong.   And central to his dogma is Xi’s ruthless determination to restore China to greatness, building on the work of his first five-year term by further strengthening the nation’s military and extending China’s influence on global affairs.’

‘Watching events unfold in Beijing yesterday and the widespread fawning over Xi, I was, indeed, reminded of the cult of hero worship surrounding the despotic Great Helmsman himself, Mao Zedong.  Xi is a master of political theatre, and yesterday he took centre stage — literally — standing alone under a glistening golden hammer-and-sickle symbol, senior party officials gathered deferentially to one side.  No one should mistake the symbolism of this.  Xi was indicating to Chinese and foreigners alike who is Number One at home — and, increasingly, abroad.’ 

At the time of Mao’s death in 1976 China was an economic irrelevance on the world scene.  Now it rivals America’s gross domestic product, its goods stock western supermarkets and storehouses and it has rocketed back to the heart of the world economy.  It is also setting the agendas internationally.  It is pushing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in the Pacific region which if successful will see it leading a regional trading block of 10 nations from India to Australia which would include no less than one-half of the world’s population.  It is investing massively in Africa, South America and the Middle East.

Xi is seeking to recreate Marco Polo’s Silk Road, the Medieval trading route from Europe to China across central Asia.   This would see a massive $1.4 trillion network of modern trading routes being built linking China’s factories to Western Europe via Putin’s Russia, making Moscow the willing junior partner of Beijing. It envisions new roads, high-speed rail, power plants, pipelines, ports and airports and telecommunications links that would boost commerce between China and 60 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Analysts suggest the project could shift the centre of global economy and challenge the U.S.-led world order.  The high speed railway China is planning will also link China to the Middle East via Teheran.  Could this be the highway for the Kings of the East to travel down?

Cashless society and the mark of the beast

Another significant development is taking place in China today.  China is on the road to becoming a cashless society. Though cash still exists, many Chinese today never touch paper bills or plastic debit or credit cards at all in their day to day life. Increasingly now, financial transactions in the Chinese economy are taking place through payment apps known as a QR code on smart phones.  

These can be used to pay a bus fare, buy a meal or food from a store, give money to a street beggar or donate to a charitable cause.  Many Chinese no longer use cash at all but use mobile payment for everything.  They are estimated to have spent $5.5 trillion through mobile payment platforms last year, at least 50 times what those in the US spent, and this is estimated to quadruple by 2021.

For those without smartphones, payment app profiles or bank accounts, conducting any financial transactions at all has become difficult.  There is a big danger to this system. Given that the Chinese government maintains control over both the Internet and bank accounts in China, as well as companies such as Alibaba and WeChat that provide the apps, Chinese citizens are surrendering every last vestige of privacy they once had.  Every financial transaction, no matter how minute or fleeting, is now tracked and logged. Every personal connection is recorded, and every account can be monitored in real time, or frozen, by the government.

Dissenting opinions can be quickly pinpointed and dissenters can be closed off from all buying and selling. 

So how could that happen?  Another significant development in China is the so called ‘Citizen loyalty score’ which the Chinese Government has set up.  This now exists on a voluntary basis but government officials have now released details about how the programme will operate in 2020 when it becomes compulsory for all Chinese citizens.  

The Citizen Score is a kind of credit score that encompasses every conceivable aspect of one’s life and is based on whether or not you toe the party line.  If you do something the government disapproves of like not paying your bills, or reading books the Party does not approve of or associating with certain religions your score will go down.  If you earn a degree or support the Party your score might rise. Improper use of the Internet or protesting about the government will lose you 100 points or more.  Associating with a person who has a low Citizen Score may cause your score to suffer.  Toe the party line, inform on your neighbours and you may see your score rise a few points. 

The Citizen Score is potentially a social control mechanism taken to levels that remind us of George Orwell’s ‘1984.’  Disagree with the party, push for greater freedom of speech, freedom to worship or a more open Internet, and your score will suffer. The interest rates you get offered on loans will rise and the jobs you want will suddenly become unavailable.   If the score drops low enough, you can be blocked from buying plane, train or bus tickets. Drop even lower and your bank accounts may be frozen, your social media accounts cut off and your email restricted.

Unable to rent a bike, hail a taxi, take a bus, or buy fuel for a car, you would be stranded. Unable to purchase food or other necessities at a store or restaurant, you would be starved into submission. In short, Chinese citizens, under the guise of convenience, are being forced into a system that surrenders total control to the state.  

When the Citizen Score becomes compulsory in 2020, there may be no escaping its hold or reach and no end in sight. If applied subtly enough, it can bend and shape every Chinese into an obedient servant of the State.  The penalties for ‘breaking trust’ may be small at first as they act as incentives to obey, but at their full application they can turn all of China into a prison for entire classes of people, as they cannot buy or sell without the mark of obedience to the state. 

Does this remind you of something? 

‘And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.’ Revelation 13.16-18

Tony Pearce

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