This past Saturday a deal was signed between China and Iran that will drastically and permanently change the dynamic of the Middle East. Despite the optimism spawned by the Abraham Accords between Israel and some of her Arab Gulf state neighbors, the neighborhood bully continues to cause trouble. Iran’s actions indicate that she has no intention of playing by the rules, regardless of what so called agreements she has signed. To make matters worse, she has chosen to ally herself with several other regional bad actors including China. Seeking relief from the Trump-imposed sanctions, she has looked to China to bail out her struggling economy and further her plans for greater influence through power in the region. China, however, is the one gaining the influence in the recently signed deal.
The Historical Background
Around 2,200 years ago, China established what is known as the Silk Road extending from China through Asia and into Europe. Initially, the purpose was to export its silk throughout the known world. Over time, the trans-continental connection allowed China to export not only other products, but to gain influence to become the world’s unmatched super-power. In 2013 China began the bold Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to do just that. The plan would modernize and expand the old Silk Road into a land, sea, air and pipeline network offering China physical and economic access to cities, regions, and nations in Asia, Africa, Russia, Europe and the Middle East.
China will use the network, not to spread a religion or an ideology, but to gain economic footholds, and thus, leverage in its quest for world economic dominance. This will allow them to gain military dominance by establishing military outposts at key world trade routes like the Persian Gulf and passageways to the Suez Canal.
Provisions of the Deal
It is reported that according to the mutually beneficial deal, China will invest the equivalent of $400 billion in Iranian banking, energy, and infrastructure over the next 25 years. In return, Iran would provide China with much needed oil and energy supplies at a very favorable price. As the deal was formally signed, it has been made known that China had already “purchased” an entire town on Iran’s west coast—a town strategically located where it can control passage into and out of the Persian Gulf. (With Biden systematically destroying America’s energy independence, we may revert back to being dependent on oil from the Persian Gulf, which China will control.)
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) reveals that China has far more aggressive and territorial expansion plans than Iran. With two untrustworthy and power-hungry nations like Iran and China linking arms, it’s hard to tell how long the honeymoon will last, but for the moment, both parties are getting what they want. China, however, is clearly in the driver’s seat.
The Stage is Set
The importance of all this is that it seems to provide even more evidence that the stage is being set for the fulfillment of biblical end-times prophecy. Over the years, many have wondered about the two-hundred-million-man army (Rev. 9:16) formed by the four angels who had been bound at the Great Euphrates River (Rev. 9:14). Is this massive army made up of actual men, demons, demon-possessed men, or some other supernatural creatures? A few chapters later in Revelation 16 we learn that the Euphrates (in modern day Iraq) will dry up, preparing the way for the armies of the kings of the east to invade Israel in the great battle of Armageddon.
Whoever actually makes up this massive army that comes against Israel, they will have to cross the Euphrates. My point is that China’s Belt and Road Initiative tied to the agreement with Iran seems to be moving us closer to the days we have read about but never expected to see in our day. Of course, if you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture (as I do), believers will have been taken out of here before these things take place. If the Rapture takes place in the middle of the Tribulation, believers will experience some exceedingly difficult times, but not God’s wrath.
Faithful to our Calling
In any case, unprecedented world events indicate that the last of the last days are upon us, so we had better prepare ourselves. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’m not seeing much preparation out there. It’s time to be about our Savior’s business. More than ever, we must be found faithful to our calling—to fervently love one another, to share the gospel with those around us, and disciple them to maturity. I find it telling that at my church, among the new “classes” to be offered was one on the book of Revelation and one on learning to share the gospel. Around 25 chose Revelation. Only two chose to learn how to better share the gospel. This is typical of the Church today. Prophecy always attracts more Christians than sharing our faith. I believe the Church in America is about to be shaken to its core. Are you ready?
Next week we will look at some of the details of the agreement between China and Iran. They prove how successful the US sanctions against Iran have been and how desperate Iran must be to have agreed to such a deal.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
One out of four people in this country is mentally unbalanced. Think of your three closest friends. If they seem OK, then you’re the one.
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