Shang Ti and Sinim

During my childhood years, my family lived in one of the three “Atomic Bomb Cities” in the United States during World War II. It was a lazy summer afternoon in one of those cities, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I was 5 or 6 years old, digging a hole in our back yard with a little shovel, as children often do. Mother saw me from the open kitchen window and said to me: “Billy, if you dig that hole deep enough, you’ll come out in China on the other side of the world.” Her words stuck in my mind and I’ve been fascinated by China ever since that day.

I’ve been reading and studying just about everything I could find about China since that warm summer afternoon of my childhood many years ago. I was even privileged to go to China twice in the past few years; in the first visit, my wife and I led a team of English As A Second Language (ESL) teachers there for a short while. That experience is a lengthy story in and of itself. Ask me to tell it to you some day.  The second occasion was when I returned to China with a Chinese friend (originally from China) to re-visit where my wife and taught a few years earlier.

Yep, I’m a walking encyclopaedia about China and its people. Don’t ever bring up China in a conversation while I’m around; I’ll “talk your ear off,” as the saying goes. Every week you’ll find me at my local public library to see if there are any new magazine articles about China. If there’s something on TV about China, I’m there, remote control in hand. And, since the coming of the “Information Age” and the internet, I’m in “China Heaven” with all the information to be found there.

Have you guessed it yet? This teaching is about China….

China can rightfully claim the distinction of having approximately 5,000 years of relatively unbroken civilization—the oldest in the world! Numerous people—even most Chinese themselves—don’t realize that the earliest Chinese were monotheists; they worshipped the one true God, the God of the Bible, whom they called “The Supreme Heavenly Emperor.” In fact, the early Chinese were among only a handful of people on this planet who worshipped the one true God, as did the ancient Israelites of the Old Testament. The Chinese did not become polytheistic (belief in more than one God) until sometime between the first to fifth centuries before Jesus.

Yes, China’s modern-day religious mixtures of ancestral veneration, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism originated many centuries after China’s original worship of the one true God. At first, the Chinese served one God, had no idols, and kept a strict moral code very similar to the Ten Commandments which God issued through Moses. Those early Chinese used an ancient name for God, Shang Ti.  Most Chinese people today don’t even know that information about their own early history—because their true history has been revised so much by the Chinese Communist government.

China In The Bible

For a few moments, however, let’s set aside our thoughts about ancient China and turn to the Old Testament Book of Isaiah in your Bible. The great prophet Isaiah lived and wrote about 2,700 years ago in that part of the world we now know as the nation of Israel. He lived about 700 years before Jesus of Nazareth was born to a young mother named Mary in the village of Bethlehem in the nation of of Judea.

Other biblical prophets came before and after Isaiah, but there were none greater than him, except Jesus. Isaiah’s visions and prophecies are the quintessence of visions and prophecies seen and uttered by all the other prophets. Isaiah’s prophecies and visions span the entire future of earth from his day forward until the end of time. Because Jesus was the “Coming One” whom Isaiah wrote about and foresaw, Jesus quoted more from the Book of Isaiah than from all the other Old Testament prophetic books. For example, to read just a little bit about Jesus in the Book of Isaiah, I urge you to turn to your own Bible and read Isaiah 9: 6 and 7; 40: 1; and 53: 4 – 6. Remember, those references were written approximately 700 years before Jesus was born!

 Let’s conduct a quick, basic overview of the Book of Isaiah. The book can be divided roughly into three parts: (1) Chapters 1 – 35 are about the revelation of God on his throne and his sovereign summons for all nations to turn to Him. (2) Chapters 36 – 39 are about contemporary events during the reign of Israel’s King Hezekiah; he and Isaiah lived about the same time. (3) Chapters 40 – 66 are about the comfort and salvation of God which He offers to all people through the Suffering Servant, Jesus. Okay, that’s a very rough outline of the Book of Isaiah.

 Now let’s narrow down the outline and look at one chapter in the third section of the outline—chapter 49. Right in the midst of the third section of the book—here in chapter 49—God reveals Himself as future Redeemer of all the nations of the world, including China. Now let’s divide chapter 49 into three sections. (1) In verses 1 – 13, Isaiah peers into future centuries and calls prophetically to some of the nations of the world—including Israel—to come to God as the ages of time draw to a close. (2) In verses 14 – 21, God calls specifically to the nation of Israel to return to Him. (3) In verses 22 – 26, God speaks to Israel about how He will judge her oppressors. Are you following me so far? Three sections to the entire book, three sections to chapter 49.

Ancient Prophet Isaiah “Sees” China

Now, please pay particular attention to verses 9 – 13 of chapter 49. C’mon, don’t just read what I’m writing; go get your own Bible and do some studying in it. Pay particular attention to verse 12. See the word Sinim? (At least that’s how it appears in most versions of the Bible.) In this first section of chapter 49 where God calls prophetically to some of the nations of the world to turn to Him when Jesus returns to earth, in verse 12 He singles out Sinim (China) and calls specifically to her!  Yes, Sinim is an old word for China. We see it today in such words as “sinology,” (the study of China), “Sino-Soviet relations,” etc. Yes, 2,700 years ago God singled out China and called her by name. God has long had China on his heart! That’s why the ancient Chinese worshipped the one true God they named Shang Ti. It wasn’t until a few hundred years after the time of Isaiah that the Chinese people ceased worshipping the one true God and began to worship many gods.

(NOTE: I have to be honest with you at this point. Not all Bible scholars agree that Sinim means China; some feel it means a locale in southern Egypt. I just happen to believe that most of the biblical and historical evidence points to Sinim being China.)

Pivotal Historical Event

Let’s take a few moments now at look at some biblical and secular history. An intriguing and pivotal event occurred in the life of the young Church as recorded in the biblical book of Acts, the 16th chapter. Paul and Silas, two of Jesus’ apostles, wanted to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ eastward into Asia, but Holy Spirit forbade them to go that direction; we don’t know why Holy Spirit forbade them at that time.  Instead, Holy Spirit directed them to carry the Good News about Jesus westward into Greece.

Most thinking readers know the history of Christianity from that point in time. The Gospel of Jesus was carried to Greece, to Rome, to Europe, and, in modern times, to Africa, North America, and South America. The history of the westward expansion of Christianity is actually a lot more detailed than that, but I’ve condensed a lot of history into just a few sentences.

Again, we don’t know why God forbade Paul and Silas to proclaim the Gospel eastward at that time and told them to go west, instead. Is it because God did not want Asians to hear about Jesus? No. We know that is not the case because we shall soon study about various Christians who carried the Gospel to Asia during the past 20 centuries, but the Gospel didn’t “take root” in Asia as it did in the western nations of the world. Yes, God certainly wants the Asians to hear about Jesus; it just seems that his main focus has been on the West the past 20 centuries. God doesn’t reckon time as we do and his goals and priorities are unlike ours. God has been saving the best for last!

Historical Overview of God in China

Ok, now for a brief historical overview of God’s work in China for the past 2,700 years. I want you to come to see as I do that since the dawn of historical time God has had China on his heart and mind, has never forgotten China and her people, and still has an amazing future in store for that great land and its billion+ people.

First, in the fifth and 6th centuries before Jesus (shortly after Isaiah lived and wrote his prophetic book), there is clear, historical evidence that God sent a number of Jewish “missionaries” to Sinim to encourage the Chinese people to continue worshipping the one true God, Shang Ti. There remain in China even today small enclaves of Chinese Jews scattered throughout various areas of China who claim to be direct descendants of those early Jews.

Next, there is clear evidence that Thomas, one of the first twelve disciples of Jesus, first carried the Christian Gospel to China in the first century. The historian, A. C. Moule, wrote: “In the Syriac manuscripts of the Malabar coast…we read very plainly that the faith was carried to the Sinae [Chinese] by Thomas and that several churches were founded in the Sinae kingdom.”

 A few centuries after Thomas was in China, a band of middle eastern followers of Jesus named the Nestorians carried the Good News about Jesus to China in 635 A.D. In fact, one of the early church buildings they erected in China can still be seen in a suburb of what is now the modern Chinese city of Xian.  A few years ago while I was in South Korea, in a museum in Seoul I saw a number of artifacts from the Nestorians—artifacts which Korean followers of Jesus had carried out of China and saved during the 1940’s and 1950’s, when they were beginning to flee from Communist persecution. from the 7th to the 13th centuries A.D., Nestorian Christianity held a varied and changing influence in China which ebbed and waned through those centuries.

 Incidentally, the Nestorians were sort of a “denomination” of Christianity much like we consider Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, etc., as denominations of Christianity.  After the Nestorian Christian presence had begun to wane in China, two significant ventures were made by other followers of Jesus in the 13th century. First, two Franciscan followers of Jesus (Franciscans are a “sub-denomination” of Roman Catholicism) traveled to China about 1250 A.D. Others followed soon after. Their journeys to carry the Good News about Jesus into China met with such success that early in the 14th century a chain of Christian “mission-stations” and churches stretched from Constantinople in western Europe to Peking, the capitol of China. The Franciscans remained in China, preaching and teaching until approximately the year 1362 A.D.

 Meanwhile, a family of Italian merchants seeking new trade opportunities first reached the Chinese capitol in 1265 or 1266, having left Venice in 1260. These were Nicolo and Matteo Polo, the uncle and father, respectively, of the famed Marco Polo. Nocolo and Matteo returned to Venice in 1269. They then embarked upon their second trip to China in 1271, reaching the Chinese capitol again in 1275.

On their second trip into China, Matteo and Nicolo were accompanied by seventeen-year old Marco Polo; the three men stayed in China for 17 years, finally returning to Venice in 1295. Most of what you have read in secular history about Marco Polo is true. However, it is only part of the truth! Marco was not merely a trader seeking new markets for Europe. Far from it. There is strong historical evidence that Marco Polo believed that the main reason for his going to China was to be a “missionary” for Jesus and for the Christian faith, a matter somehow “overlooked” by secular historians. Yes, Shang Ti continued his work and witness in China through the apostle Thomas, through the Nestorians, the Franciscans, and Marco Polo.

 As the 16th century dawned, a young European follower of Jesus named Francis Xavier founded a Christian “denomination” known as the Jesuits. Francis traveled to China in an attempt to share the Good News about Jesus once again with the millions of Chinese.  A few years after Francis Xavier’s death, he was followed into China by Mattteo Ricci, another Jesuit follower of Jesus. Ricci first went to China in 1582. He was the first foreign follower of Jesus to reach the Chinese capitol of Peking again after almost two centuries; he journeyed to Peking only after he had first spent nearly 20 years in one of the coastal cities of China, patiently studying the Chinese language and culture!

Ricci believed that Christianity would enrich Chinese culture and turn its people back to the worship of the one true God, Shang Ti. His Chinese converts, some of whom became eminent men in government, were convinced that becoming believers in Jesus helped them offer more dedicated and more qualified service to the Chinese government and its citizens.  Unfortunately, due to disputes over methods of evangelism between the Jesuits and other Christian groups, in the mid-1700’s the Emperor of China delivered an edict which forbade Christian evangelism.

Every non-Chinese follower of Jesus was expelled from China, and the Chinese church of Jesus shriveled. From then until the 19th century, there was not much Christian activity in China, but Shang Ti continued to love the Chinese, nevertheless. What are two centuries to God? A mere snap of the fingers on the lengthy timeline of Chinese history.

Modern Missions In China

On September 19, 1853, the great Jesus-believer missionary James Hudson Taylor sailed to China under the auspices of the Chinese Evangelization Society. From that time until approximately 1950, Christian workers from many other nations flourished in China, doing “good deeds” and planting churches, hospitals, and orphanages throughout that vast land. Once again, Shang Ti called to the Chinese to return to their ancient worship of Him and his Son, Jesus.

Since the mid-20th century the history of Christianity in China has been largely that of Chinese followers of Jesus reaching their own people. After the Communist takeover in 1949-1950 when non-Chinese followers of Jesus began to be expelled from China, some of the most explosive growth in 2,000 years of Christian history has occurred there. In 1950, there were approximately 2 – 5 million Jesus-believers in all of China. Now (early 21st century), there are from 60 to 100 million Jesus-believers in China!  Think of it. In only two generations, the Chinese themselves—with very little assistance from “outside Christians”—have introduced almost 100 million of their own friends, fellow workers, neighbors, and relatives to Jesus Christ! This very day—this very 24-hour period in which you’re reading these lines, 40,000+ Chinese people are becoming new believers and followers of Jesus!

Much of that fantastic and unprecedented growth stems from the work and writings of one, humble Chinese follower of Jesus who lived and taught during the first half of the 1900’s—a simple Chinese Jesus-believer named Watchman Nee. Watchman Nee was an itinerant Chinese preacher and teacher who taught that for the Chinese Church to really grow and thrive in China, most of the work, ministry, and witness of Jesus’ followers should be conducted in private homes and, occasionally, in rented meeting halls. He taught that the basic unit of the Church should be the home (not a church building) and most of the work of the church should occur in the home.

It was Watchman Nee’s teaching that not only helped the Chinese Church to survive from 1949 to the present, but to thrive—sometimes under the worst persecution imaginable. It is the “Church in the Home”—the “Underground Church”—which has emerged from the fires of government persecution strong, vibrant, healthy, and whole! It is in the underground church where the vast majority of Chinese followers of Jesus now meet for worship, work, and witness.

The Chinese Church will lead the entire world into a new era of Christian history during the next few generations. Chinese Jesus-believers—empowered by God’s Holy Spirit—now stand poised to be God’s mightiest force of all time in spreading the Good News about Jesus around the world in the 21st century!  Incidentally, as a point of interest, Watchman Nee was imprisoned in 1952 after having had his hands cut off and his tongue cut out so he could neither speak nor write. He languished in solitary confinement in a Chinese prison for 20 years before he finally died in 1972.

(Note: As a matter of personal interest, Watchman Nee, a disciple of Jesus, also had a number of disciples, just as Jesus had. One of his disciples was a man named Witness Lee who came to the United States in 1962. It’s a long story, but in the mid-1960’s I became a “disciple” of Witness Lee and was very much involved in a similar “House Church Movement” here in the United States for a few years. Witness Lee died in 1997, and as of this writing there are still about 30,000 people in the United States involved in the movement he began.)

It would be unfair of me at this point to not mention another “branch” of Christianity that has survived in China since 1949. That is the “above ground” Church, named the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). It has survived in China, too, but it has not thrived to near the extent the underground Church has.  As mentioned a few paragraphs above, for reasons not known to us, God decided 2,000 years ago that it wasn’t time for the Gospel to spread in full force to Asia. But through the intervening centuries God has continually reminded the Chinese people of his enduring love for them by sending his Jesus-believer “ambassadors” in almost every generation—serving as consistent reminders that the day would finally come when the Good News about Jesus would at last come to Asia in all its fulness.

That day has come! As the 21st century enters its third decade, God is now very quickly and decisively changing his focus back to Asia, back to China, after 2,000 years of focus on the western world.

 Picture the planet earth in your imagination—like those beautiful photos we see taken from space. Visualize the Near East and Israel where Jesus lived and ministered. Now picture the Good News about Jesus first spreading as a wave from there toward the west…to Europe…to Africa…to North America…to South America. That’s where we are today. The so-called western world has been “Christianized,” in a sense. God has reached the western world with the Good News about Jesus. Now, after all these centuries, God has already begun to shift his focus to the eastern world…to Asia…to the Chinese.

Coming Great “Move of God” Throughout Asia

 I’m not a prophet, but, nevertheless, I predict that the next great move of God will occur in Asia! Indeed, it has already begun. Look at how South Korea has received the Good News about Jesus; it is estimated by some researchers that in the early 1900’s perhaps 2 – 3 percent of Koreans were Jesus-believers. Now, some 50% of South Koreans are Jesus-believers. Look at Singapore. Look at China. It’s begun to happen in Japan. The spread of the Good News about Jesus will then proceed from the Far East over the next few years back through India, through the ancient lands of Persia (the Middle East) and back to Israel, perhaps even simultaneous with Jesus’ return to establish his worldwide Kingdom at the end of this particular epoch of time.

The spread of the Good News about Jesus began in Israel 2,000 years ago and spread westward around the globe. Now it’s spreading throughout the Far East, will spread back through the Middle East, and finally, back to Israel once again. And those who will play the greatest part in the spread of the Gospel during the next 50 – 100 years will be Chinese followers of Jesus, once they are permitted to break out from behind the Bamboo Curtain.  

Yes, dear readers and students, if you plan to be involved in some of God’s greatest evangelistic work of all time—accompanied by some of the greatest signs, wonders, and miracles of all time—then look to the Far East, because that is where the next great outpouring of the Spirit of God will occur. Do all you can to pray for, financially support, and assist in any way possible what God is doing in China.

There are two things you can do for China…right now—today—that will help the persecuted Jesus-believers in that great nation. First, pray for your Chinese brothers and sisters—that they will remain strong under persecution and grow and mature in Jesus. Second, you can financially support any agency that helps provide Bibles to China, agencies such as the International Bible Society and the like. As mentioned above, 40,000+ people become new Jesus-believers in China every day! Each of those new believers needs a Bible!

I must speak honestly with you. The traditional, institutional sector of the Church of Jesus in Europe and North America is now on a rapid decline—and has been since World War II. Some of God’s greatest work of all time—until now—is occurring in Africa and South America. Since all of God’s works in various regions of the world often overlap, we now see Him beginning to pour out his Spirit upon the Far East, especially upon China.

Look to China. It is there that we will see a pure, power-full, pristine Church emerge from the fires of persecution (which began in 1949) and stride onto the world’s stage more alive, more power-full, more evangelistic than any other Church in history except perhaps for the early Church of the first 100 years after Jesus.  Will you be among those whom God is calling to assist Chinese Jesus-believers in the next 50 years or so as He prepares China to proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the world during the middle years of the 21st century? Now’s your chance. There are many opportunities to assist China’s Jesus-believers.

Can you see with your “inner eyes” the bright, golden sun breaking forth as a new day dawns—a new day in the East? The winds of the Spirit of God are carrying the timeless Good News about Jesus across the Pacific Ocean to China’s teeming shores. From Isaiah 6: 8 hear Shang Ti call: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah’s reply was, “Here am I; send me.” What is your reply to God concerning China?  God came to this earth in person the first time as Jesus the Suffering Savior, the Lamb of God, slain before the world was formed, the God-Man who permanently took away for all time and eternity the sins of the entire human race.

The next time God comes to earth it will be as the Lion of God (not a Lamb), the true Lion King, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who will establish his Kingdom over all earth’s other kingdoms and governmental orders.  A short while ago I was privileged to view an incredible vision in which I “saw” the Lion King in all his glorious splendor returning to earth to rule and reign on this small planet which is God’s “seed plot” for the entire universe.

In gardening terms, a seed plot is a specially prepared plot of ground where the gardener first plants and grows the seeds which will later be transplanted to the larger garden when the small seedlings are mature enough to transplant.  God is the Gardener. Jesus is the Seed of David “planted” here in earth’s soil. When He arose from the grave, we arose “in” Him. Also “in” Him we became firstfruits whom God is preparing to be “transplanted” throughout the restored and renovated earth and universe when his coming Kingdom will begin to expand throughout all time and eternity.

The Dragon and the Lion King

China, with the oldest continuous civilization on earth, has long been symbolized by a Dragon. There will come a time when the Lion King will rule over the Dragon just as He will rule over the Bear, the Eagle, and all other nations which are symbolized by various animals. Just as in the animal world, the lion has long been considered to be “king of the jungle,” even so in the age to come Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lion King, will rule as King over all the earth. Let me tell you a little bit about Jesus’ coming and his Kingdom reign which will follow his return to earth.

But, first, please understand that for a short time China (and other Asian nations) will emerge as the leaders of the world in business, commerce, trade, and industry. Read your news magazines carefully, scan the nation’s major newspapers, and pay close attention to television. See how China is in the news more and more almost every day. Examine where many, many of the consumer items you regularly purchase are produced. Observe how more and more movies made for both theaters and television are about China.

[As a matter of note, please understand that I first wrote this teaching in the early 1990’s as sort of a “prophecy” about China!]

The 21st century will belong to China, South Korea, India, and Japan! I am not saying this is either good or bad! It is merely a fact. The sleeping Dragon, China, has awakened and is on the move, a billion+ people strong! Look around you here in North America and see—really see—how there are many, many more people of Chinese origin than there were even a brief decade ago. For example, fully 30% of the professional engineers practicing their profession in North America are of Chinese ancestry. More and more Chinese-Americans are entering local politics. More and more businesses and industries are owned by persons of Chinese origin. Look at the hundreds of new Chinese churches along our east and west coasts and in our major cities. And so it goes….

Here’s an interesting observation I received just today from a leading United States economist; I think he knows something other economists are not yet willing to admit:

          “The greatest economic convulsion in FIVE CENTURIES is taking place before our very eyes! For thousands of years, this time-honored economic cycle has struck with alarming regularity. Global economic dominance has shifted from the West to the East every 500 years. In the most recent cycle, Western Europe and later, the U.S. rose to become the dominant economic powers on Earth. But now, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction.

With the West burying itself under trillions of dollars in new debt every year and gutting the value of its currencies, the U.S. and Western Europe are, unfortunately, in the early stages of what looks for all the world as if it will be a very long-term decline.  Does this mean America will be destroyed? No. I’m convinced we will ultimately survive this sea change. But it does mean we are well on our way to relinquishing our status as the world’s dominant economic power. Meanwhile, China and most other Asian nations, and the countries that sell them the crucial natural resources to fuel their growth are on the rise; on their way to becoming the economic superpowers of the 21st Century.”

Roll On, O Ages of Time!

When the ages of time roll on—and end.. and begin—they never begin and end abruptly; the ends and beginnings of the ages always overlap with a period of transition. This is especially true about the ages of God’s dealings with humans. In 1 Peter 3 we read of an “age” or “world” that was; this “present world or age” (see Galatians 1: 4); and, finally, a “world or age that is to come.” Three ages. Past, present, future. That third age, the coming future age, will then blend into an age of “fulness”—the Age of the Ages—when Jesus the Son will hand over his Kingdom to God the Father and God will then be All in All, Everything to everyone!

Each of these ages overlaps and involves a time of transition. Jesus’ return to earth to establish his Kingdom will not be the distinct beginning of the end; rather, in a sense, it will be but the ending of the beginning. There are many ages of time yet to come on this earth where we will be involved as part of Jesus’ rule and reign over all the earth.  

China, the Dragon Kingdom, has existed almost continually during this present age. She has slumbered in her lair awaiting God’s call to awaken, which is now beginning to occur. Watch out, for when the Dragon has fully awakened, she will “conquer” the world—but not militarily. No, she will conquer the world with her business, her industry, her commerce, and her vast population. But that is part of God’s plans and purposes for China and the rest of the world, and He will permit that to occur for one reason and one reason only.

The reason is this: China’s striving to become a world power is merely so that God—working behind the scenes of world events as He has always done—can unleash multitudes of Chinese followers of Jesus upon the world in order that the Good News of the Kingdom of King Jesus will be proclaimed in all the world before the end of this present age. The Chinese government doesn’t know this; most of the Chinese people don’t yet know about God’s purposes for them, either. But they are God’s purposes—and they will be fulfilled!

It is not by chance that the fastest growing segment of the Church in the world today is the Chinese church. The “healthiest” portion of the Church in the world today is the Chinese Church—healthy and strong because they have been purified by the fires of intense persecution for almost two generations!

As noted earlier, I have long predicted (since the mid-1960’s!) that it will be the Chinese Church which will finally carry the Gospel of the Kingdom of God back to the Middle East and Israel where it was first proclaimed. Until recently, I have believed and taught that view only by faith; I have never seen it written (besides my own writings); I have never heard another person make such a statement.

Imagine my utter surprise and joy recently (mid-1990’s) when I read the following words in a Chinese news bulletin I receive periodically from Hong Kong. A follower of Jesus named “Sister Han” from Wuyang in Henan province had been imprisoned for her faith in Jesus. Incidentally, tens of thousands of Chinese have been converted by Jesus recently in that area where a tremendous outpouring of God’s Spirit is cascading across that region.

The Good News About Jesus Will Return to the Middle East

          After her release from prison, Sister Han proclaimed these words: “…[We] have a vision to reach the Middle Eastern countries and to take the Gospel back to Jerusalem from whence it first came.” Praise God! Finally. That’s the first time I’ve heard or read such words from a Chinese follower of Jesus. I’m excited!  As another update to this matter of the Chinese Jesus-believers taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Middle East and back to Jerusalem, I recently (August 2009) received this report from a Chinese believer who has recently been sharing the Gospel in the Middle East; she had worked with a Sudanese Christian Pastor there:  “Pastor X has undergone much persecution in his ministry. He said to me, ‘If one day I die, I will die in Christ.’ After the service in his home, we prayed together. He didn’t ask God to bless them or to remove all the hardships from their lives,…he prayed that God would use them to bless others and send out more missionaries from among them.”

Another Chinese missionary to the Middle East recently said, “If I am killed for Christ because I preach to the Muslims, then my body will pave the way for the next Chinese missionary to carry the Gospel farther!”  Soon, when China finally opens the gates of the deteriorating Bamboo Curtain to let her people out, hundreds of thousands of flaming Chinese evangelists will carry a refined, purified, and simplified Gospel to the remainder of the world, including the Middle East, Israel, and Jerusalem.

The Good News about the Kingdom of God will then have gone full circle, heralding the soon return of the conquering Lion King who will begin to take his rightful dominion over the Dragon, Bear, Eagle, and all other governmental and political entities of this world.  China’s rapid rise on the world scene will also presage her equally rapid “demise” when her leaders will humbly bow their knees to King Jesus upon His return to earth and willfully turn over the ancient and venerable Dragon Kingdom to Him.

Return of the Lion King

Jesus left here 2,000 years ago as the Risen Lamb. He will return as conquering Lion King of the tribe of Judah. All the kingdoms of this world—including the ancient Dragon Kingdom—will then be swallowed up by the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ!  Let me now share with you a pertinent portion of an awesome vision I was privileged to “view” a short while ago. It is about the glorious return of the Lion King, Jesus:

            “Planet earth hung suspended before me in space, a breathtakingly lovely orb, with its shining azure waters, its various multicolored lands, and immense banks of white cotton clouds drifting and whirling here and there above the surface as the earth rotated on its axis.  

          Earth was a bright, multicolored jewel suspended before a velvet background of black space and twinkling stars. Space was pulsating and alive with unseen, but very real, beings and activities of many sorts. The entirety of space somehow seemed more “real” than all the activities on planet earth.

           In a spectacle I shall always find extremely difficult to describe adequately in limited human language, all of a sudden the rotating earth shifted its position enough so that from where I was located the sun abruptly “rose” over the horizon, creating such a burst of brilliant light that all the darkness of night was instantly “shattered” and “dispersed.”

          With that explosion of light there erupted a song of celestial music such as I have never heard before; it seemed to fill the universe—and every cell of my being—with pulsating waves of overwhelming joy. Rich voices not of this world and musical instruments not fashioned by human hands blended in a majestic paean of praise.

          It seemed as if all the stars and planets in the universe erupted in praise and adoration as the Dawn of a New Day began to vanquish earth’s long night!

           Whether I was actually in my body or out of it I do not know….   I hasten to emphasize I did not “see” a daydream. I was sitting quietly with my eyes closed when instantly I found myself “transported” to a “location” in space “above” the earth. The rotating earth appeared to measure approximately twelve feet in diameter and was suspended directly in “front” of me in relation to my observation point in space. It filled almost my entire field of view.

           While observing the rotating earth as a whole, simultaneously I could “see” and “hear” enlarged scenes of individuals, groups of people, communities, nations, activities, and events merely by “focusing” my attention upon one or the other. I felt that to an extremely limited extent I was seeing the earth, including all people and events thereon, as God sees them.  As the bright, golden rays of the blazing sun streamed over earth’s horizon, from somewhere in space (from everywhere in space, actually) I heard a loud voice proclaim:

God’s Kingdom has come!  All earth’s kingdoms have become the Kingdom of God and of his Christ!  Jesus reigns!  All hail the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords!

          A long, solemn hush followed as all people on the planet turned their heads and faces to gaze upward. Then—virtually in unison—everyone: the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the famous and the ordinary, those of all races and colors—everyone—fell to their knees in a very quiet and humble manner, much as loyal subjects bow in the presence of a well-loved sovereign.

          They were bowing voluntarily in order to acknowledge the coming of the One who is dearly loved, and to pledge Him their fealty.  As the scene was occurring, the earth, the seas, and the oceans seemed to ripple with a mighty spasm as the bodies of innumerable multitudes of people who had previously died “in Christ” rose from their graves, drawn up and out as if a powerful, irresistible magnet had passed over the places where they had been “sleeping.”

           Upon arising, they, too, instantly knelt to acknowledge the presence of Him Who had finally returned from the heavenlies to awaken his sleeping ones as He had promised long before.  Simultaneously—in an atomic second—I saw Jesus (surrounded by innumerable shining beings) “appear” from out of another dimension which was not of our time or space as we presently experience them, and “descend” to earth touching down upon the Mount Olives in the city of Jerusalem.  J

Jesus and those who accompanied Him seemed to emerge from another “universe”—a “multiverse”—very far way from ours, yet very close. The earth seemed to shudder as He touched down.  This was the same Jesus who had ascended from the Mount of Olives many centuries before. I also knew I was witnessing a “compressed” scenario of the passing centuries of what many people have termed the 1,000 year Millennium or Kingdom Age.

           The Kingdom for which many millions of people (including myself) had prayed to “come,” had finally begun—because the King of the Kingdom—Jesus—had returned.

          The long, long night of earth’s bondage to sin and evil had begun to pass away, dispelled by the blazing rays of the Sun of Righteousness who had returned with healing for the besieged planet and its multitudes of peoples.  Somehow I also knew that there would no longer by any night (not physical night, but, rather, spiritual darkness, spiritual night) because the Lord God and the Lion-Lamb of God would now be the Light which dispels all darkness of sin and evil.

           I could see evil’s darkness literally cowering and then beginning to flee before the onslaught of the Light of God which enlightens all people. Light out-rayed and flowed from Jesus to the four corners of the earth much as hot, fiery lava spews forth from an erupting volcano and covers the land surrounding the volcano.  The earth was simply bathed in the rays of sin-eradicating Light flowing from Jesus like molten steel flows from a foundry’s furnace.  The bright glory of the Lord was beginning to blanket the earth, reaching into the darkest of human hearts and the most benighted centers of sinful activities. Earth’s Day of the Lord had finally begun!”

Well, that was only part of the vision I viewed a short while ago. You can either believe or disbelieve its reality. Perhaps you don’t believe that people still see visions as they did in the Bible; perhaps you do. That’s your decision. Before you arrive at a final conclusion, however, you may want to take another look at Acts 2: 17.  A person has to have his or her head in the sand not to realize how much God loves China and her people—not more nor less than he loves all of humankind—but there are over a billion of them to love! A billion+ who will be among those I “saw” in that vision who humbly bow before King Jesus and pledge their fealty to Him! China and her teeming multitudes cannot be ignored.

One thing I pray about regularly and consistently is that China will never again open its doors to traditional Christian missions activity from outside of China. Are you thinking,  “That’s a terrible thing to pray for; we should be praying for China to open its doors to missionaries, not keep the doors closed!”  No! The Chinese don’t need any outside Jesus-believers to come there as traditional missionaries. Rather, they need us to come and humbly serve and assist them as “tentmaker” followers of Jesus—as business persons, as consultants, as health care professionals, as teachers, as scientists, and agriculturalists….  

Chinese Jesus-believers don’t need outside Jesus-believers to come and tell them what to do and how to serve God. They’re doing that very well on their own, thank you!—growing and thriving through the fires of suffering and persecution. Frankly, I don’t think that many of us in the western world could survive under the conditions in which Chinese Jesus-believers are not only surviving, but thriving!

 My other most heartfelt prayer is that the hundreds of thousands of “overseas Chinese”—those who have settled all over the rest of the world—will hear the call of God for them to return to China to help and minister to Chinese Jesus-believers in their homeland.  Also, I am presently saddened that for at least two generations, most of the Chinese churches in North America have focused all their attention on themselves in North America. Most—not all—of them have had very little sense of missions about mainland China. The best people in the world to go to China and help the Chinese Jesus-believers there are overseas Chinese Jesus-believers in Chinese churches. Awaken from your slumber, those of you who are Chinese Pastors here—those of you in Chinese churches here: see the vast, white, ripened harvest fields calling to you from your homeland….

Modern Prophecy

I’ve already shared with you an ancient 2,700 year old prophecy about China from the Bible. The following is a modern prophecy only a few months old. As you should always do whenever you hear (or read) current prophecy, check it out! For guidance about how to do this, please read 1 Corinthians 14: 29 and 1 Thessalonians 5: 20 and 21. Don’t believe everything which purports to be prophecy: sometimes it’s wishful thinking, sometimes it’s proclaimed for self-aggrandizement, sometimes it’s deliberately deceptive, BUT sometimes it’s the genuine article. You decide. Here it is. I’ve paraphrased the prophecy to make it more readable, but I haven’t altered the gist of it:

                      “A major event will soon take place in the nation of mainland China, and there’s going to be a major revival and Holy Spirit sweep of that great nation.  You’ll know about it and hear about it and some of you will be a part of it. This is a time of great outpouring in that nation and this is what God wanted me to share with you.  Remember, there are many, many, many seeds of the Gospel which have been planted in China over the past 200 years and more. And those seeds will come up; it will be an abundant harvest.  Those seeds have been there all these years and there are many, many, many more Chinese who will call me by my Name than you would ever dream of, says God.  And I’m going to cause it to explode in a mighty sweeping revival in my beloved nation of China.  Pray and intercede and call the nation of China before Me, says God, for together we’re going to see a mighty work!”

I wasn’t involved in any way with that prophecy, so I haven’t a clue about any of its details; I merely wanted you to see that there is such a thing as modern-day prophecy.

Daily Prayer for China

 In addition to other matters I pray about China, here is my daily prayer for China and its people:

                       “I pray that the Lord of the Chinese church will continue to send Chinese laborers into China’s whitened harvest fields; I pray that the non-Chinese Jesus-believers outside of China will merely assist, support, and serve the Chinese church—not interfere nor impose. I pray that the Chinese Jesus-believers outside of China will have their eyes opened to see how they can help their brothers and sisters in China. I pray that one of the most momentous works of God in all of history which is occurring in China today will soon spill over in the power of Holy Spirit to the rest of this planet’s populace; I pray, Lord of the Harvest, that You will come quickly and establish your Kingdom over all the earth, including China!”

Shang Ti In The Chinese Language

Before I close, I want to show you another, very unique manner, in which Shang Ti has constantly reminded the Chinese people of Himself down through the centuries of time; it has to do with their written language. As you may know, the written Chinese language does not have letters as our language does; instead, they have pictorial characters that represent words and phrases. In many of the Chinese characters it seems that God has “imbedded” in those characters “pictures” of Himself down through the ages of time. Their “picture language” has 125 characters like those I’ll mention below.

For example, one of the most common names in Chinese is Wang (or Wong). The name means “King.” The pictorial character for that name is a cross connecting heaven and earth. It actually designates Jesus as King of Kings. Another example is the Chinese character for the word “come.” The character is a cross with three people on the cross, one in the middle and one on each side. God (Shang Ti) has been calling Chinese people to come to Him for centuries.

Another example is the 8-stroked Chinese character meaning “to create” or “originate.” One of the 8 “parts” means dust, another means breath of mouth, and another means life. What does it mean? Read Genesis 2: 7. Another 6-stroked character means “spirit.” The six strokes mean heaven, cover, water, rain, three persons, and magic worker. Look up the first 2 verses of Genesis 1. The Chinese character for “desire” is a woman and 2 trees. Look up Genesis 3: 6; think of two trees in that first garden.

One final example: The character for the Chinese word, chuan, means eight people in a ship or boat. Think Noah and the ark. Has Shang Ti imbedded some of his ancient truths about Himself and the Bible in the pictorial Chinese language? You decide.

In conclusion, the next century of human history and God’s “salvation history” will focus upon Asia’s billions, especially upon the Chinese. You can’t ignore them; there are just too many of them! As just one example, look around you and discover how many more Chinese (and Chinese restaurants!) you see each day than you did just a few years ago.

Please pray for China and her wonderful people. Pray for China’s leaders—that they’ll open up the Bamboo Curtain and let her people go. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for the Lion King to lovingly draw the Sleeping Dragon to Himself!

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
Revised and Updated February 2022

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