Jun
11

PAVING THE ROAD TO ARMAGEDDON?

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There’s a Chinese proverb that says of military conflict, “War doesn’t determine who is right, but who is left.”
What is silk?  Silk is a thin, but strong fibre that silkworms produce when they are making their cocoons. It can be woven into a very soft and smooth fabric. Silk fabric was invented in ancient China and played an important role in their culture and economy for thousands of years.  Legend has it that the process for making silk cloth was first invented by the wife of  the emperor five thousand years ago.  The idea for silk first came to her while she was having tea in the imperial gardens. A cocoon fell into her cup and unraveled. She noticed that the cocoon was actually made from a long thread that was both strong and soft.  The emperor’s wife then figured out how to combine the silk fibers into a thread. She also invented the silk loom that stitched the threads into a soft cloth. Soon she had a forest of mulberry trees for the silkworms to feed on and eventually taught the rest of China how to make silk. The ancient Chinese soon began to breed special moths to produce the quality silk they wanted.  It became extremely valuable in ancient China with the wearing of silk being an important status symbol.  At first, only members of the royal family were allowed to wear silk. Later, silk cloth-wearing was expanded to the noble class. But merchants and peasants were not allowed to wear silk. Silk was even used as money during the Ancient Chinese dynasties.  Silk would become a prized export for the Chinese. Nobles and kings of foreign lands desired it and would pay high prices for the garment. The emperors of China wanted to keep the process for making silk a secret, so anyone caught informing foreigners of silkworms was put to death.  The Chinese managed to keep the silk  secret for over 1000 years.  However, ultimately they built a travel-way (called the silk road) to facilitate the marketing and selling of the product. As a matter of fact, the Greek word for China means the land of silk. It was 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers) long and stretched from the Far East to Western Europe.  It officially opened during the Han Dynasty in 130 b.c. and remained so for some 1,600 years until the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the  1453 a.d.   It had a lasting impact on commerce and culture with its most famous traveler, Marco Polo, introducing the Western world to Eastern inventions like paper, gunpowder, glass, etc.

Today, the infamous silk road is being resurrected and brought back to life.  The Chinese government is spending almost $10,000,000,000 (ten trillion dollars) in investments and loans to sixty-eight nations (which  make up 65% of the world’s population and 1/3 of the world’s gross national product) to facilitate the rapid movement of people and goods between the East and the  West.  But this silk-way will be more rail than road.  You see, the Chinese are currently annually spending more on domestic infrastructure than the United State and Western Europe combined.  For example, ten years ago China had no high-speed trains, but today it has the world’s largest and fastest system.  In fact, it has more high-speed ones (12,000) miles than the rest of the world combined. And it is on target to have 24,000 miles of such by 2025. The electric trains, traveling up to speeds of 350 mph, feature stewardesses and many comfort services.  These trains, and new multi-billion-dollar highway systems are connecting China’s far-flung mega cities, many of which are springing up newly-formed in a matter of a few brief years.   The goal is to have five international railway hubs with trains operated autonomously by artificial intelligence.  To put it another way, what took Marco Polo six months to go from Italy to China would now take someone just 12 hours to complete.  What does this mean Bible-wise when it comes to prophecy?

The prophets write that at the end of time a king would suddenly arise in the West (Europe-led) who would rapidly make his way East as part of his plan to conquer the entire world.  In response, a king in the East (China-led) will quickly amass and deploy an army of 2,000,000 (two million) soldiers to counter the move.  The result will be a meeting of the two empires in the Middle East and a climatic battle that will conclude with Christ returning.   For the longest time, prophetic teachers wondered how so many personnel  from the East could be moved so quickly to the West.  Now they know, the new silk road.