Russia and China Continue to Rise and Challenge the West
Russia and China have committed to growing an ever-closer relationship and are challenging the U.S. How do these rising powers fit into prophecy?
The continuing rise of China and Russia on the world stage is almost impossible to ignore. It seems not a week goes by without these powers being in the news.
Last year, I authored two blog posts about these nations: “Why Has Russia Invaded Ukraine?” and “Will China Invade Taiwan?” But since they were written, a lot has changed!
This post is meant to keep our readers up to date on the latest news about these two powerful countries.
Recent developments in China and Russia
In March 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for three days to strengthen their ties in an ever-closer friendship. Xi and Putin have called each other “dear friends” and described their friendship as having “no limits.”
Their visit came on the heels of the International Criminal Court’s issuing an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes in Ukraine. Despite this, Xi claims to maintain neutrality in the Ukraine conflict and even seeks to position China as a peacemaker.
Xi and Putin concluded their visit by issuing a vague and ominous statement that change “not seen in 100 years” is coming. Time will tell what that change is. Are big things about to happen that will shake the world?
What does Bible prophecy tell us about the future role of these nations?
America’s enemies becoming more bold
After America’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, its geopolitical enemies have become more emboldened, sensing weakness in the superpower. The United States spent 20 years in Afghanistan only to be driven out by the culturally backward Taliban. This was the same group the United States vowed to defeat when it entered Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
When it withdrew, the U.S. left behind military equipment worth billions of dollars and even piles of cash. The Spectator noted that America’s withdrawal “will reverberate globally and in a way that emboldens all the wrong people.”
Even worse, the United States failed to coordinate its retreat with its allies, leaving many stranded to evacuate their own personnel. It sent a signal that the United States lost the will to fight and was running away. Many nations are now asking, “How can we trust the U.S. after this?”
Since the retreat, Russia, China and Iran have grown bolder against the United States. In the South China Sea, China sent a stern warning to the United States after it sent a warship into waters China claims sovereignty over, saying China would take “all necessary measures” to ensure its security.
Meanwhile, a Russian fighter pilot took out a U.S. drone over the Black Sea and was met with a weak response from the United States. Iran attacked U.S. troops in Syria with a drone strike, causing serious injuries to American forces.
It’s become more clear that America’s enemies feel emboldened by American weakness.
Because of its disobedience, God warned ancient Israel, “Your strength shall be spent in vain” (Leviticus 26:20). And that seems to be the case for the U.S. today. America’s military technology and arsenal are becoming less and less of a deterrent to its enemies. (To explore the connection between America and ancient Israel, read “Who Are the United States and Britain in Prophecy?”)
The warning of Deuteronomy 28:25 is also descriptive of the current situation the U.S. finds itself in: “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth.”
The world vs. the U.S. economy
After the recent collapses of a number of American banks—notably Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank—a study showed that 186 banks are in danger of failing. To make matters worse, U.S. debt is out of control, and the politicians seem unable to come to an agreement on the tax increases and significant spending cuts that would be necessary just to begin to fix the problem. The world is nervous and losing faith in the U.S. economy and its dollar.
We see a world losing faith in the United States and looking for alternatives.The word credit comes from a French word meaning belief or faith. It describes the confidence a lender has that a borrower will repay a loan. We see a world losing faith in the United States and looking for alternatives.
In their recent meetings, the leaders of China and Russia were open about their goal to eliminate the U.S. dollar in their trade. If they are successful in challenging the U.S. dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, it will have drastic consequences for the U.S. economy and the strength of the dollar.
God also warned the ancient Israelites that their sins would result in their “high and fortified walls, in which you trust” coming down and that other nations would “besiege” them (Deuteronomy 28:52). The U.S. dollar’s dominance is one such wall, and we are now seeing the nations trying to tear it down.
Consider the following headlines:
- “Dollar’s Dominance at Risk, Says U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen” (April 17, 2023).
- “UMU: A New Global Digital Currency Launched at IMF Event” (April 18, 2023).
- “Is There a Worldwide Run on the Bank of the United States of America?” (April 15, 2023).
- “China’s Yuan Is Now the Most Traded Currency in Russia as Sanctions Knock the U.S. Dollar Out of the Top Spot” (April 3, 2023).
- “U.S. Dollar’s Dominance in Oil Markets May Face Challenge as Saudis Reportedly Eye Yuan-Based Sales Deal With China” (March 15, 2022).
The Bible also shows that the nations Israel believes to be its allies, known in the Bible as “lovers,” will also abandon it. It warns, “Your lovers will despise you” and “will seek your life” (Jeremiah 4:30).
In another recent trip, French President Emmanuel Macron, a longtime U.S. ally, visited President Xi in China. In a remarkable statement, he declared his aim for the European Union to pursue its own “strategic autonomy” by, among other ways, reducing “its dependence on the U.S. dollar.”
Macron went further to say that Europe should not get involved in Taiwan if China invades, saying Europe should not get “caught up in crises that are not ours.” Ironically, the United States is depleting its military stockpiles in the Ukraine crisis in Europe.
China’s global power play
In another interesting development, China is using its growing influence on the world stage to position itself as a peacemaker, a role historically played by the United States or another Western power.
China has launched the “global security initiative” to combat those who “endanger world peace.” It is undoubtedly another tool China will use to protect its interests and maintain dominance over other nations. Another Chinese initiative is a peace proposal for Ukraine (which is supported by Macron).
In another shock for the world, Saudi Arabia and Iran recently reopened diplomatic ties. The surprise was not only that these enemy nations were talking, but also the fact that China initiated the talks.
China is encroaching on the dominance of Western powers—not only on the political stage but also on the economic and military stage—by controlling critical strategic gateways. Headlines read:
China is using its growing influence on the world stage to position itself as a peacemaker, a role historically played by the United States.“Chinese Navy Vessel Arrives at Sri Lanka Port to Security Concerns From India” (Aug. 16, 2022).
- “The Deal That Shocked the World: Inside the China-Solomons Security Pact” (April 20, 2022).
- “Chinese Investment Near Panama Canal, Strait of Magellan Major Concern for U.S. Southern Command” (March 24, 2022).
- “China Prepares to Set Up First Military Base in the Atlantic” (Dec. 6, 2021).
- “Losing Strategic Control of the Panama Canal to the People’s Republic of China” (Nov. 2, 2021).
China is positioning itself against the United States and taking control of strategic gateways to dominate world trade. In the process, it’s building a military to match and surpass that of the United States.
God promised Abraham’s descendants that they would “possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:17), but in recent decades, possession of those strategic sea gates has been lost.
To learn more, read “God’s Promises to Abraham” and “How the Blessings of Abraham Came to the United States.”
The prophetic kings of the east
As a consequence of diminishing U.S. power, the world is fracturing from a unipolar world, with the United States as the sole superpower, to a multipolar world. Other nations, particularly China and Russia, are seeking to fill the void.
The Bible talks about various powers in the end times. One of those powers—identified as the “kings of the east”—describes a power bloc in the east that will unite for a time and raise an immense army of 200 million men (Revelation 9:14-16; 16:12).
The rearming of Europe will eventually have tragic consequences that will cause a domino effect, leading the world to the brink of self-annihilation.We may be witnessing the beginnings of this union.
Another end-time power is the king of the North, a resurrected Roman Empire centered in Europe. Russian aggression, particularly the invasion of Ukraine, is forcing Europe to rearm and accelerate integration.
The rearming of Europe will eventually have tragic consequences that will cause a domino effect, leading the world to the brink of self-annihilation (Matthew 24:22). This domino effect is described in Daniel 11:40-45.
The “king of the North” will be attacked by a power bloc known as the king of the South. As a result of this attack, the “king of the North” will retaliate with overwhelming force and enter Israel, which he will surround with his army (Luke 21:20). This will provoke a response from “the east and the north” (Daniel 11:44).
What is being described in these prophecies will likely be called World War III.
Notice that the United States of America is missing in these prophecies. At this time, the Israelite-descended nations will have already collapsed. (To learn more, read “The Decline and Rise of America.”)
Our world is in a terrible state and deteriorating fast. This can leave us with worry and anxiety, but the Bible encourages us to “not be terrified” (Luke 21:9). God promises protection to His faithful people during these coming times.
Keep watching and stay faithful!
Topics Covered: Prophecy, News and Trends