The week of November 9 brought an interesting new geopolitical alliance: RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). The countries of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand signed an agreement with the ASEAN alliance countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Borneo, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. India recently opted out of ASEAN but could choose to join RCEP. So why from a Biblical perspective might this matter? From at least two perspectives: a Treaty with Many, and Kings of the East.
Treaty with Many
“He will confirm a covenant with many,,,,” (Dan 9:27)
This passage talks about the seven year treaty that, among other things, says that the signers guarantee the safety and protection of Israel. Its signing also kicks off the 7 year Tribulation. The coming antichrist is either among the original signers of the Treaty or he “inherits” this treaty and formally agrees to its terms. For decades, based on “people of the ruler to come” which refers to the Roman Empire (Dan 9:26), prophecy scholars have speculated that the “many” signers would be primarily European nations or organizations. But three months ago when Israel agreed to normalize relations with UAE (United Arab Emirates) there was a sudden tilt in thinking, Scholars puzzled, “Must they be European? Could ‘the many’ be pro-Israel Arab nations? Or perhaps the ‘many’ could be…”
The RCEP agreement points to an increasingly frequent occurrence – shifting and converging and strengthening of geopolitical alliances, pointing out the potential power they could wield. Both Daniel and Revelation (Dan 7:24; Rev 17:12) refer to an alliance of ten “kings” that hand over their power to the antichrist. These are not kings in the castle sense but in the control sense; they are the governing heads of something – a government or organization or an alliance that is extremely powerful.
There are several other regional alliances that have developed and/or strengthened in the past few years. There’s a European Union, the Arab Gulf Cooperative Council, Canada/US/Mexico have an alliance, USMCA. Each of these could strengthen to be a “king” in the near future. On several levels it makes sense to form communities around common interests. However, man tends to go to war through these alliances.
Kings of the East
“…and the ten horns that you saw are ten kings which have not yet received a kingdom but who receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast.” (Rev 9:15)
RCEP represents a huge geographical and economic bloc and can easily be seen as providing the framework for eventually representing one of scripture’s “ten kings”. In fact, in one of its public relations’ articles they say, “the framework is in place in case a situation leans toward an advantage.” In other words, when the time is right and the need arises we can quickly gather together and stand as one.
Their primary goals are stated as trade-related as well as setting the rules for data transmission. That’s interesting. Combined, the RCEP agreement countries have 30% of the global population and 30% of the global economy. They are able to reach 2.2 billion customers just among themselves. That’s a lot of tax revenue. That’s a lot of power.
There is strong military prowess among them also. China is still spending serious money to upgrade their military and has been for years. The Pentagon assessment of Chinese military power states, “it has outstripped the US in numbers of warships, land-based missiles and air defense systems.” Japan, after decades of having no military presence, has re-interpreted their 1947 constitution allowing them to re-build their army and navy. South Korea is militarily strong as are many of the other countries in this bloc. Should India join, a mighty army comes along with them.
The Bible tells us that the Kings of the East gather to make war on Israel (Rev 16:12) No reason is given; they are enticed to do so by Satan in the form of evil spirits. (Rev 16:13) This RCEP bloc is certainly in no position to initiated war against Israel today, but it has built the framework necessary to accomplish such an invasion, “in case the situation leans toward an advantage.”
Please, neither off-handedly accept nor reject what is said in this blog. Check it out. Look it up for yourself in the Bible. If you are a child of God, you are in good hands and there is the most wonderful eternity waiting for you. If you are not a Christ follower, now is a really good time to honestly explore the truth claims of the Bible.