JAPAN'S ROLE IN BIBLICAL PROPHECY
Steven M. Collins
May 23, 2007
Some readers might be surprised by this title. Where might Japan be mentioned in biblical prophecy? Obviously, it would not be called "Japan" in biblical prophecy as the nation would be designated by an ancient name (even as the USA is called "Manasseh," Great Britain is called "Ephraim," the Israelis are called "Judah," etc.). Let us first examine a biblical prophecy which points to Japan and other Asian nations. Afterwards, appropriate media articles will be cited which indicate Japan is precisely fulfilling the role prophesied for it. This article will focus mainly on Japan, but it will also touch on the roles of many other modern nations.
As visitors to this website know, Ezekiel 38-39 is a critically-important prophecy about the destinies of many nations in "the latter days" just prior to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of his Millennial government on earth (also called the "Messianic Age"). It describes a great world war between two global power blocs. The attacking alliance will be headed by Russia, China, Iran and will include such other nations as ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, radical Islamic states in Central Asia and northern Africa, etc, "Cushites" are named in Ezekiel 38 as being part of this attacking alliance and Cushites dwell in the Afghanistan/Pakistan Region which is a hotbed of Al Queda activity [the name of "Cush" is still present on the "Hindu Cush" Mountain range]. "Phut" is the Hebrew word translated "Libya" in many Bible versions, but it could include nations such as Algeria and others in addition to Libya. American foreign policy hopes that Libya and Pakistan will tilt to the West, but Pakistan's radical Islamic population (and its historic ties to China) argues that it will ultimately abandon the West.
The other large alliance is the power bloc that is attacked by Russia, China, Iran and its allies. Ezekiel 38-39 calls it "Israel" or "the house of Israel." This is a common biblical term for the ten tribes of Israel, who were prophesied in Hosea 1:10 to be vastly increased in population (and therefore, power) after they were exiled from the Promised Land circa 721 B.C. The Famous Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote that the ten tribes had very massive populations in Asia by the time he wrote in the 1st century AD (his account designated the empire of Parthia as their home), and Parthian Magi or "Wise Men" were Divinely led to the young Christ-child in Matthew 2. When Parthia's massive empire fell in the 3rd century A.D., the millions of Parthian refugees poured into Europe and were called "Caucasian" tribes as they migrated out of Parthia into Europe via the "Caucasus" Mountains. These Caucasian tribes were the Goths, Germans, Saxons, Vandals, etc., and they eventually inundated the Roman Empire and furnished the population base of modern European nations. Many of the migrating Caucasian tribes were the descendants of the very numerous ten tribes of Israel mentioned by Josephus.
The European tribes grew to form modern European and Scandinavian nations and colonized to include such nations as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well [abundant historical evidence is presented in the author's books and articles available elsewhere at this website]. Today they are allied or united in such groups as NATO, the EU, etc. They also have allies around the world who are part of the Western Alliance and the Western economic system. Such nations include the Israelis (the modern Israelite tribe of Judah), Eastern and Southern European nations, moderate Arab states, and others. Prominent in the Pacific region is Japan. It is a critically important nation in the Pacific region and the Bible does not neglect to mention it in Ezekiel 38-39's expansive prophecy about the world's nations at the end of our age.
After describing the surprise attack of the alliance led by Russia, China and Iran against the nations of the Western world (headed by the nations of the ten tribes of Israel), Ezekiel 38:13 mentions another bloc of nations which is not part of the attacking alliance. Indeed, they object to it when it occurs. Ezekiel 38:13 prophesies:
"Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young
lions thereof, shall say unto you [to Gog, the Russian-led alliance], Are
you come to take a spoil? Have you gathered your company to take a
prey? To carry away silver and gold, to take cattle and goods, to take
a great spoil?"
"Sheba and Dedan" are increasingly looking like the nation of modern India, as is discussed in my May 2, 2007 Prophecy Blog entry entitled "Will India and the USA Become Allies? India is a large democracy with an English-speaking history from its membership in the British Empire. It is increasingly being drawn toward the West via economic ties as well as mutual concerns about Islamic terrorism and the rapid militarization of China. Readers are referred to my blog entry for a discussion of India. Who then are the "merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof" who also have the same negative reaction to the Gog-led attack as did the people of Sheba and Dedan?
Genesis 10:4 identifies Tarshish as a people descended from Japheth, whose descendants are now mostly located in Asia. Tarshish was the son of "Javan" as well as the grandson of Japheth. Since it as one of the initial tribes of Japheth's descendants, it should also have grown into a large nation. A huge clue as to their modern identity is that Ezekiel 38:13 calls them "the merchants of Tarshish." Their entire nation is so closely linked to merchandising goods to others that they are called a nation of "merchants" in Ezekiel 38. Japan pioneered the export-driven model of mercantile sales to other nations as a national policy. This trait was so well-known that the nation was sometimes called "Japan, Inc." in media articles. Japan perfectly fits the prophecy about Tarshish in the latter days. Japan's culture and religion also is known for reverencing ancestors. The original ancestor (i.e. the father) of Tarshish was named "Javan," and the name is little changed in the national name of "Japan." The island of "Java" in Indonesia also preserves the name of Javan into the modern world. Tarshish was just one of five sons of Javan (Genesis 10:4) so there are other descendants of Javan who are not Japanese.
Ezekiel 38:13 also prophesied that there would be "young lions" that would be closely linked to the "merchants of Tarshish" in the latter days. This prophecy has been so precisely fulfilled in the modern world that it can only mean that there is a Creator God of the Bible who is actively guiding the destinies of nations to fulfill his prophecies (Isaiah 41:21-26 quotes God as challenging skeptics to look at his ability to fulfill prophecy as proof of his reality and authorship of the Bible). There are a number of smaller Asian nations on the Pacific Rim which have copied the mercantile, export-driven success of the Japanese nation. These nations are even called the "young tiger" nations or "young tiger" economies of Asia. Since there were only Asian lions, not tigers, in the region of the ancient Promised Land and Fertile Crescent (in which Ezekiel lived and wrote), the term "young lions" could as easily be translated "young tigers" in an Asian application. Is it not amazing how precisely the Bible foretold millennia ago the modern realities and traits of Japan and various Pacific Rim nations? The "young tiger" nations include such nations as South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, etc. These nations are all closely-integrated into the economies of the Western world, and it makes sense they would object to an attack upon their allies and best customers!
Now let us examine specific media reports to see that Japan is, indeed, becoming more closely allied to the USA and the Western Alliance. Japan is an island nation and it lives at the doorstep of two powerful nations: Russia and China. Japan has fought wars with both nations, and China bears a vengeful grudge against Japan as a result of World War II. Russia seized Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands after World War II and its retention of these formerly Japanese islands is a bone of contention between Russia and Japan. Japan cannot hope to make allies of these nations. Therefore, Japan must side with the USA and the West by default. However, Japan and the USA have grown to be genuine allies in the period after World War II. The USA was not a harsh conqueror of Japan. The USA (in Japan's post-World War period of reconstruction) preserved Japan's monarchy, treated the Japanese people and their culture with respect and laid the foundation for Japan's mercantile success by blending Western, democratic institutions with Japan's own unique culture Japan has become a trusted ally and friend and it becoming an ever-more important nation in the Western alliance.
An article entitled "Abe blows Japan's trumpet, cautiously," appeared in the May 5, 2007 issue of The Economist. It cited a January visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Europe to "emphasize that Japan was a staunch democratic partner on NATO's eastern flank." It also noted that "Japan is playing 'a huge great game' in which it must compete with a rising China and a newly-confident Russia for resources, power and prestige." The Europeans reportedly welcomed Mr. Abe's insistence that "Japan should play an ever more energetic role in the alliance." The article further noted that Japan still dwells under "America's nuclear umbrella," even as "two American-made anti-ballistic missile systems" will be deployed in Japan and that Japan may even be allowed to buy the USA's F-22 new raptor warplane for its own air force. Importantly, The Economist article also stated that Japan:
"seeks closer ties with democratic India and recently formalized
a security alliance of sorts, only Japan's second, with Australia
[and seeks] an 'arc of freedom and prosperity' from Japan,
swinging through India via moderate Middle Eastern states into Europe."
In its March 17, 2007 issue, The Economist wrote (in an article entitled "We're Just good friends, honest") that in addition to becoming an ally of Australia, Japan "sought a new partnership with India while building security ties with South east Asia," and that "the main catalyst for the security pact [is] the rise of China."
The South East Asian component of this "arc of freedom and prosperity" sounds a lot like Ezekiel 38:13's description of "Sheba and Dedan [India], Tarshish [Japan] and the young lions thereof [the "young tiger" nations of Asia]. Formalized security ties to both the USA and Australia also unite Japan in an alliance with the modern Israelite nation of Manasseh (the USA) and one of the modern Israelite nations of Ephraim (Australia). Since Manasseh and Ephraim lead the ten tribes of Israel and many other Israelite tribes are found among modern European nations, Japan is now an ally of the ten tribes of Israel (who will be the targets of the prophesied attack led by Russia, Chin and Iran at the end of this age).
The Wall Street Journal, in a September 1, 2006 article entitled "Japanese Agency Seeks More Funding for Missile Defense," wrote that; "Washington and Tokyo agreed…to expand cooperation on a joint ballistic-missile-defense shield, committing themselves to joint production of interceptor missiles." An editorial in the July 13, 2007 Wall Street Journal observed that "Japan has already greatly expanded joint military ties with the U.S..." The editorial also commented on the threat to Japan from North Korea [it did not cite the even greater threat from China] in stating that a "nuclear armed Japan is 'probably' inevitable," and in a further significant observation, estimated that Japan could become a nuclear power within "days or weeks."
Obviously, one does not design and build nuclear weaponry within "days or weeks." This observation sounds like an "officially approved leak" of strategic information, and much was conveyed between the lines of this observation. Japan's pacifistic Constitution is now a vestigial relic of World War II, and its provisions do not allow Japan to be a nuclear power. Efforts are underway to revise the Japanese Constitution to remove the such language which now hinders a fuller role for Japan in the Western alliance. In order to "go nuclear" within days or months, Japan must already have constructed all the components of nuclear weapons, so that all that is needed is mere "days or weeks" to assemble the components of nuclear weapons together once a new Japanese Constitution is in place permitting such weaponry. However, if a dire threat to its security emerged, I have no doubt Japan would do so anyway (with the likely support of other Western nations, I might add). Japan is, therefore, only "days or weeks" from becoming a major nuclear power whenever it wishes to do so.
The Washington Times National Weekly Edition of March 12, 2007 printed an article by David Axe entitled "US Air Force Jets deploy to Okinawa; Pacific buildup is 'contingency' plan." The article documented how closely Japan and the USA are integrating their military efforts in the Pacific region. It cited that new American F-22 jets were deployed to Kadena AFB in Okinawa and three squadrons of F-22's will be based in Pacific locations. It adds the Kadena AFB" is one of the biggest in the world," and that Okinawa is now home to many US and Japanese military forces. The Economist in an article in its February 24, 2007 issue ("Overpaid to move over here") stated that the Iwakuni Military Base near Hiroshima, Japan is "America's most important base in north-east Asia." Japan and the USA are very close allies in the Pacific region, and their long- and short-term interests are very convergent. That Japan has already made security agreements with the USA and Australia and is seeking closer ties with India illustrate that the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:13 is coming to pass before our eyes.
One could read Ezekiel 38:13 two ways. One way is that the bloc of Asian nations including Japan is an ally of the ten tribes of Israel. The other way is that the alliance including Japan ("Tarshish") is a neutral bloc between two warring alliances. I think the prophecy indicates that Japan will be a military ally of the USA in the final world war at the end of our age. Even if Japan, India and other Pacific Rim nations are not initially targeted when Russia, China and Iran attack the Western alliance, the USA would surely retaliate with forces based in Japan. Also, Japan, India, etc. would all surely realize that if the US and the West fell, Japan, India and the other nations would next be targeted for attack by Russia, China, Iran, etc. Matthew 24:21-22 calls this climactic world war at the end of our age (prophesied in Ezekiel 38) the "Great Tribulation," a time which would result in the death of "all flesh" if God were not to Divinely intervene to stop it. Ezekiel 38-39 prophesies that God will intervene in this final world war to fight on the side of the ten tribes of Israel and their allies. The nations who are on the side of Russia, China, Iran, etc. will suffer a death rate of 5/6ths of their populations, according to Ezekiel 39:1-6.
There is a Creator God who inspired and preserved the scriptures of the Bible so mankind would know what his will is and what is going to happen in world events. II Peter 1:19 says to mankind that the Bible has a "…sure word of prophecy, whereunto you do well to take heed." Ezekiel 38-39 contains a prophecy, written millennia ago, which accurately foretold the make-up of the modern world's alliances and it also tells us how the great world war at the end of our age will begin, unfold and end. You would do well "to take heed" to the prophecy, as the Apostle Peter noted (Peter was referring to Old Testament prophecies such as Ezekiel 38-39 in his epistle). It does not matter what you and I believe will occur and it matters not a whit what national leaders and planners attempt to do. What God has prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 will come to pass in the years ahead of us, no matter what the nations or people do or don't so. Nothing can stop it. If you want to be on "God's side," you would do well to help get the warning out to your friends, pastors, families, church members, etc. We do not know how many years we have left before this is fulfilled.