The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. – Revelation 16:12The kings from the East. Or China.Years ago when End Times was a thing and the prophecies of the Bible were discussed Revelation 16:12 of course came up. Who were the kings from the East? These kings were widely regarded as China. But how would they get all the way to Israel and the battle of Armageddon? Somehow, someway a road or gateway would open allowing the transport of Chinese troops into the Middle East.For some reason I retained this detail into memory. Since then End Times and the rapture and prophecy more or less took a back seat in Christian circles. My church does not discuss the End Times and most of the available websites or anyone really talking about the imminent return of Christ comes across a bit fringe. But, take a deeper dive into the Bible and pretty much everything there proves a bit fringe, doesn’t it?Lately, I have asked God to reveal himself to me.Today it came in the form of a quasi-Mormon I work with. I joked that he was spending his afternoon watching YouTube videos. I suggested he just go home instead. He proceeded to confirm my suspicions and tell me about a video he just finished watching from Vox about China. As he began to describe what he heard that decade’s old memory returned to life. Before he finished or even reached the main point I thought, “I bet he’s going to mention some type of road China is building to the Middle East.”And he dropped the hammer. The Silk Road. China’s trillion dollar plan to dominate global trade through sea and land. It’s called the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI. China has received partnerships with more than 60 countries. I could regurgitate everything from the six minute video but I’ll post it here. If it doesn’t interest you perhaps China’s plan to establish a string of naval bases in the Indian Ocean will. China is well on their way to that end.
My how fast things seem to be unraveling.Oregon has long winters. And every winter residents long for spring after the tough dreary months of January and February. As March hits, the rains barely let up but the days get a bit warmer and the sun takes a peak through the clouds. But the early buds on the trees get residents most excited. These buds indicate spring is near.Every spring, the sudden burst from bud to bloom amazes me most. One day, small buds appear giving the weary residents hope, the next day, so it seems, you drive down a neighborhood street and the trees have exploded in colorful delight. How did this happen overnight?Well, it didn’t. The sudden boom from bud to bloom slowly occurred over the course of weeks until you finally took notice of what was happening all around you. If you had not gone to sleep like the rest and stayed sober unlike those who get drunk at night perhaps the unraveling of leaves would not have been such a surprise.Such is the day of the Lord.Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door – Matthew 24: 32-33