China in Prophecy

China map 2

Q. Please comment on the antichrist. Is it true that Revelation has not mentioned China? The other 4 major powers have been mentioned as the 4 beasts. If China (continent of Asia) and Australia are not mentioned and although China had been visited by the fallen angels, will China escape the “tribulation”?

A. I’ll answer the second part of your question on China first, as the Antichrist is a rather broad subject. If the fact that China is not mentioned in Revelation means it will escape the Great Tribulation, then many other countries will escape too, since they aren’t mentioned either! The name “China” does not appear in the Bible, let alone Revelation. However, some commentators believe that there are several possible references to China in Scripture:

1. Kittim
The old English name for China is Cathay, from Khitan, which remains to be the modern name for China in many Slavic (e.g. Russian) and Turkic languages. Khitan is derived from Kittim:
Gen 10:2, 4 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
According to this view the peoples of north-eastern China and Manchuria are descendants of Kittim, grandson of Japheth, third son of Noah.

However, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia identified the descendants of Javan as the Greek-Latin races, and Josephus connects Kittim with the town of Kition in Cyprus:
Other commentators are just as convinced that the Chinese are descended from Shem or Ham! So by itself this thread of evidence is not conclusive. A second possibility is:

2. Sinim
Isa 49:12 “Behold, these will come from afar; And lo, these will come from the north and from the west, And these from the land of Sinim.” (NASB)

In context, this verse refers to the restoration of Israel, when the exiles will return from afar to their homeland, from the north, the west, and from Sinim. Now what is Sinim? According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, “the context requires that this must be a very remote country, to be sought for either in the eastern or southern extremities of the world.” Some take it to be the Far East i.e. China, as in sinology, the study of China. Others take it to be the south e.g.
Isa 49:12 See, my people will return from far away, from lands to the north and west, and from as far south as Egypt. (NLT)

So this could, but not necessarily, refer to China. A third possibility is:

3. Kings from the East
Rev 16:12 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. (NIV)

East is literally “rising of the sun”. Who are the kings of the East? Revelation did not specify, but some conjecture based on:
Rev 9:16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number. (NIV)
Twice 10,000 X 10,000 is 200 million. Who has an army of 200 million? Only China! But there are problems with this conclusion. First, Rev. 16:12 refers to the 6th bowl, while Rev. 9:16 refers to the 6th trumpet. Most scholars do not view the two to be the same. Secondly, from the description of the horses and riders in v 17-19, some believe that these mounted troops are not human at all, but demonic. So there is no need for a human army that fits 200 million.

Based on the above, the best we can say is that it may refer to China, but not definitely.

(To be continued)

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