From London to Beijing the hand of God is very clear in the bombing of London’s Underground and Europe’s new found ally against the US in China. In this article some more personal lessons are drawn from the London bombing, even though it is clear that events such as these are in line with well known prophetic words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 21, cited in the heading above. We also examine the place of China in the unfolding of God’s plan. As a new and very influential player on the world stage, China’s military dominance of the region is being aided by the EU to the angst of the US, whilst at the same time the US grapples with the staggering success of China’s economy.

London Rocked By Bombs and Further Attempts

With over 100 000 Australians living at any one time in London, and our strong Anglo-Saxon heritage, the July 7 bomb attack on innocent and unsuspecting commuters was bound to mean a lot more to all Australians than terrorist attacks anywhere else in the world.

Not since the cessation of the random and indiscriminate IRA bombings in London have we seen similar images. Scenes of blood-covered and stunned people emerging from the horror beneath the streets said nothing of the carnage in the soot covered, vermin infested tunnels of the London Underground.

Struggling through the pitch black over smashed glass and around shards of twisted metal, stumbling into unseen wounded and dead, helping fellow commuters unable to escape by themselves, will be an experience that will remain with them for a long time.

It was altogether an experience that had become a distant, almost vague, memory of Londoners of the dreadful attacks by the IRA. Since the decline of the conflict in Northern Ireland, Londoners seemed to have nothing to fear—until July 7 2005. These recent events in London are a cameo of the sense of peace and safety that the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that would be a hallmark of the last days, “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thess 5:3)

Let the warning not be lost on us—these events signal the end of Gentile times is at hand. Soon the world will be under the rule of the Son of God and it will be his pleasure to use us as instruments in bringing about a time of peace and safety that will endure for ever—not just for a fleeting moment. Are we ready? Are we preparing to accept the great responsibilities of that day by fulfilling our responsibilities to our families and ecclesias today?

Investigations by the authorities have now confirmed that a small cohort of Islamic devotees had been lured to their own unexpected deaths by radical elements. Recruited by one or more operatives of al-Queda or one of its fanatical affiliates, even their own families appear not to have known about their new found convictions and deadly mission.

Once I heard it said that “the people least fit to bring up children are their parents”. How often do we fail to build strong and sustaining relationships with our children beyond doing the readings and supervising Sunday school homework? Too often we do little to listen to them and their concerns, leaving their social development and maturing to engagement in youth group and similar activities, or even their school environment. One brother wrote on this subject: “Parents who do not go absolutely all out to cultivate good relations with their teenage children are asking for trouble.” Another wisely wrote: “ ‘Let the children first be fed,’ said Christ….What is more grievous than to be told that certain brethren are flying hither and thither to preach the Word of Salvation, whilst their own little ones are neglected…?”

Whilst we deplore the wanton destruction that their resolve inflicted, we must also wonder at how young minds can be so easily manipulated to willingly accept such a dangerous role, assuming that they expected to escape unscathed. Yet no doubt they have looked to the role models of those who have gone before, detonating their lethal payloads across the globe. As if to enshrine the “rightness” of their cause, since the tragic events of July 7 further attempts on July 21 to inflict a repetition of the carnage have occurred in London, and the separate bombings of a bus (July 10) and a tourist resort (July 16 ) in Kusadasi, a coastal city of Turkey, near to the site of Ephesus, have been reported (International Herald Tribune July 18, 2005). These have been followed by a bombing in Egypt aimed at tourists on July 22, which seems to confirm that al-Queda is now targeting moderate Islamic countries which are highly dependent on western tourism.

We cannot underestimate the value of providing the right examples and balance in the moulding of the lives and personalities of our young, as well as those that are older in the ecclesia. We must ensure that we create an inclusive and understanding community, that is able to accept the differences in capabilities and perspectives. and is prepared to devote the time and energy to caring for all at an individual level. The dangers of a ‘one-size fits all’ approach results in the creation of outlooks not unlike the extremists of fundamental Islam, that shun or isolate others of the same faith because they fail to conform to the very precise model that the extremists hold as true and wholesome.

The call of God has been responded to by all in the ecclesias throughout the world, and except in circumstances of doctrinal error or behaviour unworthy of that call, our assignment in this life is to make every effort to encourage, build and strengthen—oftentimes to our own cost and the sacrifice of our own personal agendas. The day is soon to come when “every man’s work shall be made manifest” (1 Cor 3:13). “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself” (Rom 15:2). The nearness of the Master’s return should cause us to redouble our efforts in constructive and edifying work to the glory of the Father.

British-French Relations Sour After Bombing

Whilst international sympathy rallied for Britain, and condemnation of the bombing in London by world leaders sounded out across the globe, the International Herald Tribune (July 18, 2005) carried a report about how Chrisophe Chaboud, France’s Anti-Terrorism Coordinator released highly confidential details of the bombings. In addition to this breach of confidence, he added to his unprecedented outburst by stating that Europe was a more dangerous place because of war with Iraq—a thinly veiled reference to the unqualified British support for the war. So, in a single stroke the goodwill generated between Britain and France in the wake of the bombing was eliminated.

The British responded saying that this was a deliberate leak aimed at them, and the damage continued with the French Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, stating that the British had arrested the bombers previously, a fact denied by the British, before he hurriedly left the emergency meeting of EU justice and interior ministers half way through its deliberations.

This development is only one of many where the cross-Channel sarcasm and harsh words have been intensifying since the British won rights to stage the 2012 Olympics. Only recently the acid-tongued French President, Jacques Chirac, after trying to derail the UK Olympic bid asked how a people that create such bad food could win the Olympics. He followed this with another jibe in a recent meeting with the German Chancellor, Gerard Schroeder and the Russian President, Vladamir Putin, by saying that “the only thing the British have done for European Agriculture is mad cow.”

All of these developments demonstrate, along with scores of others, the rift which will see the emergence of the two power bases described in Ezekiel, immediately prior to Armageddon.

China—The New Economic Tiger Inflames Old Divisions

After years of semi-isolation from the West, a new vibrant economic power in the form of China has emerged on the global scene. Whilst the Scriptures are silent in the role and position of China in the plan and purpose of the Father, the new alliances that China is forming show the hand of Providence hard at work.

The modern nation of China emerged from the tyranny of the ancient emperors and the battle to overthrow the oppression of the Japanese occupiers. Following the withdrawal of the Japanese, the world saw the two opposing political parties embroil the nation in a civil war that resulted in the emergence of the enigmatic Mao Zedong as the ruler of mainland China for almost thirty years. These were years where China was closely aligned with other Communist powers around the world, and had little to do with the West. Mao’s political opponents fled to the island of Taiwan, which has now virtually become an independent nation, cowering in the shadow of the larger mainland China, which still claims sovereignty over the island.

Progressively, mainland Chinese leaders, that have been installed since Mao passed off the scene have slowly opened the doors to engagement with the West, with France being one of the first powers to recognise China. However, in more recent times China has become very closely aligned with the nations of Western and Central Europe, which has created sharp divisions with the US.

Consider these developments, which reveal a pattern which affirms that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Dan 4:17).

  • On 30 June, President Hu of China made a visit to Russia, in which specific agreements were signed with President Putin to limit the domination of the US in international affairs, in the light of the US orchestrating regime change in some of the former Soviet republics (International Herald Tribune Friday 1 July, 2005).
  • The US Congress began moves to pass legislation requiring China to revalue their currency so as to limit the impact of low cost imports on China’s western trading, or face stiff tariffs on goods China exports to the US (China Daily June 25–26, 2005). The Chinese have since made a small concession to allow their currency to float in a very narrow range, but this is unlikely to satisfy the hardline anti-Chinese lawmakers in the US.
  • A series of recent offers by mainland Chinese companies, which are still extensions of the Government through either whole or partial ownership structures, for US companies has stunned the US Government, and seen a return to xenophobia in some circles. The South China Morning Post (June 25 2005) reported: “A day after CNOCC [the national China oil company] made an unsolicited US$18.5billion bid for UNOCAL, a California oil and gas company with extensive fields in Asia, US officials and many lawmakers were almost tongue-tied about the implications.” The article also quoted one US lawmaker saying that “China’s competitive challenge makes Americans nervous from Wall Street to Main Street”, Main street being a reference to the average American family, and declared the need for a coherent policy that would see China as an emerging adversary.
  • The same issue of the South China Morning Post (June 25, 2005) reported the sale of an advanced missile-warning system to Taiwan by the US “in a move aimed at defusing the threat from the mainland”.This followed a statement buried in a report in the South China Morning Post (April 9, 2005) that the Chinese revalue of their currency was a serious concern: “China was using billions of dollars amassed through currency manipulation to buy advanced weaponry from Russia and other countries. The buying of these weapons comes at a time when China has escalated their threats against Taiwan to use force to stop them declaring full independence from China. The latest in a string of frightening threats, which implicated the US, came from a high ranking General in the People’s Liberation Army who stated that “his country should strike American cities if the US came to the aid of Taiwan in a war with the mainland” (Time July 25, 2005). It is interesting to note that when tensions flared over Taiwan previously, the then US President, Bill Clinton, deployed a carrier group from the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet to sail to the Taiwan Strait when the mainland Chinese ‘test-fired’ three missiles close to Taiwan in an apparent attempt to dissuade Taiwanese politicians from declaring independence.
  • In the meantime, pressure by the Chinese has been increasing on Europe to lift its embargo on arms sales. Whilst a report in the International Herald Tribune (April 19, 2005) states that the embargo will probably stay in place for the moment, China has gained access to the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system, which supports both civilian as well as military projects. The report states that participating in the development of the Galileo system will allow China to close the “information gap that now gives the US the advantage in the precise targeting of missiles and ‘smart weapons’. The system will also allow Chinese military leaders to greatly improve their command and control of forces in the field.”
  • And it seems that US alarm with Chinese military expansionism applies to its rapidly growing naval presence. A report in Newsweek (March 28, 2005) carried details of the investments being made in the establishment and upgrading of port facilities in Bangladesh and Pakistan by the Chinese Navy. The report says that the Chinese have plans to spend US$248 billion on facilities in Gwadar (Pakistan) and Chittagong (Bangladesh), as well as the development of a radio listening post on Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese claim that it is to protect their merchant vessels plying the Indian Ocean and nearby shipping lanes, especially those travelling from the Middle Eastern oil fields back to the mainland with their precious cargo. The US sees it as a threat to their domination of the Indian Ocean, where it currently has a significant naval presence.

Whilst there is no doubt from the prophetic Word that the centre of the developments that will precede the establishment of the Kingdom will be the nations covered by the footprint of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (See Elpis Israel, 14th Edition p327), the emergence of a military and economic superpower such as China cannot be ignored. Her current directions are clearly of great concern to the US, as she finds support amongst the nations of West and Eastern Europe. China’s economic, diplomatic and military links with these countries will only underscore the divide between the Gogian confederates and the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lion nations. The rapid growth of China and its hugely important place on the world stage can only be another installment as the final pages of the kingdoms of this world unfold, prior to them becoming the “kingdoms our Lord and of his Christ” forever (Rev 11:15).