Trip To China
This week saw Pelosi visit Taiwan. In this post I give a trip report on my own trip to mainland China in 2003. I review key places and prophetic symbols and what I found talking to typical Chinese at the time. This is a bunch of foundational material to future blogs on China. Beware, this is the longest blog I have ever done. Take your time.
My 2003 Trip To China
In early 2003 I woke with a dream of a red map of China. I told Ryan that morning that because of the dream, I expected to travel to China. Through a very odd set of phone calls later that morning, by the end of the day, I had been invited on a trip to China.
A retired friend of mine was debating becoming an English teacher at a school in far western China. His church friends were very concerned about him traveling alone. He was looking for someone to ride along.
Because this had come in a prophetic dream I considered it a prophetic trip. My church friends at the time would consider it a missionary trip. I did attend a seminar about how to keep myself out of trouble should I start talking about Christianity, but it never really became a missions trip in any normal sense.
My friend was seriously considering a job as an English teacher in China. I went with him on his job survey trip, visiting the school and meeting the administrators of the school where he would be working.
We spent 2 weeks living in the staff housing space where he would live should he take the job. We were forbidden from even entering the student cafeteria, but otherwise had free access to the campus. We generally ate at restaurants along the main street in front of campus or else at restaurants in the center of the large town. We took a trip within the trip, even further west, to the edge of the desert in far western China. We also took a side trip to Xian, see below. In the end, I spent about 4 weeks in early 2003, in China.
Even on the first phone call I'd asked for an estimate on the cost. How much money would I need to raise? $1500 was the answer. I'd also just run out of money, and could not fund the trip myself with funds in the bank. I agreed to go based on faith, but had no idea how this would work out.
I had a very strong conviction not to ask anyone for money. No support letters, for example, which are the common way to raise funds for missionary work. This refusal to use normal means to raise funds was in part a fleece. If I am called to go, then the money should come too.
I was not afraid to share what I was planning to do, and I did tell people my plan to visit China. After maybe a month with no hint of funds for this trip, I was about to cancel. Then there was some insight into the problem of funding any sort of prophetic work.
I attended a meeting where a Christian refugee gave his testimony about when he had fled Pakistan. His Christian village had been attacked, everyone else killed. He had fled for his life with his wife and kids to the security zone inside the international airport. He was using airport security as his protection.
In the USA these days you cannot get through security without a ticket. In years past in the USA, as it was in Pakistan, anyone could go through security, but the checkpoint prevented any sort of weapon from getting through. That was his protection.
Once inside security he and his family were safe, but trapped. He also had no money. So he could not just go buy tickets and leave.
The group who had wiped out his village knew him well. He was certain they would track him down and kill him and his family too, should they leave the security of the airport. His only way out was to leave Pakistan by air.
As we were listing to his testimony of leaving Pakistan, he explained a prayer principle that I had never heard before. Pray for the need, not the means.
He did not need money to leave Pakistan. He needed tickets. After a couple days in prayer in the airport, praying this way, someone walked up to him. An international traveler who'd been in the country on business was seated waiting for his flight. While sitting there, that traveler had been given a prophetic word. Go buy this man and his family tickets out of the country.
That traveler walked up to the man. He explained what he'd just been told. Then he asked, Where would you like to go?
South Africa was his reply, because he felt he could get into South Africa with his family and without any visa planned ahead. Within a few hours he and his family were on their way out of Pakistan. Once safely in South Africa they eventually traveled to the USA and became permanent refugees here.
Pray For The Need
With this testimony I began to pray the same way. I didn't need money for China. I needed tickets to China.
Within a couple days the phone started to ring. Even before answering it, I knew this would be tickets.
Indeed it was, someone offered to turn in frequent flyer miles to get me to Beijing. They needed some personal identity stuff because if it would work I would be picking up tickets on the day of departure at the airport.
I agreed to let them try. It worked. Within an hour I had round trip tickets from Seattle to Beijing ready to pick up on our day of departure. I would still need $20 cash at the counter for the airport tax and another $880 for the rest of the trip.
Over the next 6 weeks or so all the rest of the money needed for trip was given to me, without asking anyone for support. A very strange testimony before I was even in the air.
Prophetic Tour of China
Through a series of links here in this blog post I want to take you on a prophetic tour of China. There are a few very important places in China, several of which I was able to visit on that trip.
These places become symbolic of China and end up in prophetic visions and dreams dealing with China. As we get closer to war with China, knowing these things will help readers here understand whatever else Joshua might be saying about China, or perhaps Chinese soldiers on North American soil.
Because of the severe timezone difference between the US West Coast and China, it is conventional to fly into China, usually Beijing, and spend a few days adjusting to the time difference. We did this before heading out by train to western China.
The Chinese language places a lot of meaning on the inflection at the ends of words. We do not have anything like it in English. For example, the word 'ma' in Chinese means the same as mother in English.
If you grew up anywhere in the USA with a heritage of Chinese immigration, you might even use ma as English slang for mother. This is where it comes from.
BUT, 'ma' with a different end of word inflection is the Chinese word for horse. If you don't say it just right, you might call your mother a horse. This is but 1 example. The language itself depends heavily on correct use of inflections.
So, most Chinese pick an English name as a nick name when speaking in English. It may have nothing to do with their actual Chinese name, or it might. In any case it prevents English speakers from making embarrassing gaffes when addressing their Chinese friends.
I had been to Europe when I was in high school. There are cultural differences between the USA and especially in places in southern Europe like Italy. I was expecting China to be different, but I was unprepared for the dramatic cultural differences in China.
My friend managed much of this problem. He would only use western style hotels, with western style toilets. No long train rides, and then only first class. First class, by the way, in the same neighborhood where we stayed in Beijing, here in the summer of 2022, is the same cost per night as most Super 8 grade motels in the USA. There remains a huge difference in purchasing power parity.
China, especially in the rural western cities, was not very clean. There were many days when it was impossible to see the sun due to air pollution. We watched college age volleyball teams playing outdoors next to a massive factory chimney that was belching out smoke. All the efforts the USA and Europe have been through to clean up the environment were basically done by moving pollution to China, not actually cleaning anything up.
There were serious differences in Chinese language dialects. One of the restaurants we frequented hired a new waitress from a nearby village. That new waitress could not even communicate well with the owner of the place, such was the differences in dialect.
Foreigners, and especially Americans, are very strange to the average Chinese in rural western China. Their typical greeting is simply the Chinese word for foreigner, not a normal greeting as we might see in other parts of the world. Though friendly enough, it seemed to be used more like the English word 'danger.' They invariably wanted to try and talk, or wave if there was some distance. They were usually very happy when we would wave back, say out a train window.
My friend knew enough Chinese to get along. He could handle Chinese language menus. He could handle getting directions in Chinese. He could buy tickets in Chinese.
I was especially unprepared for the crowd sizes at places like main train stations. Beijing, for example, has several main train stations. Each with multiple waiting rooms pushing the size of an American football field. Each filled with body odor from thousands of people. It was always a relief to get onto a train or out onto a street.
Arrival In Beijing
We arrived in Beijing at night. Like any major modern city, Beijing is lit up at night. But, there was a difference. Most of the major signage above the city was only illuminated in red neon lights.
Red, and the number 8, are signs of good luck in China. Traditional Political Science classes in the west assign the color red to China and communists and the political left generally. This is because they actually use red throughout their culture.
The assignment of red to socialists and the political left was changed by American TV news about 1980, when the Red Democrats were assigned Blue on election night TV results. This to hide the communist nature of the political left in the USA.
Even now, whenever I see anyone on TV calling the political left 'blue' or the political right 'red' all I can think is, You liars!
Esau, famous for asking for 'red red stew' (Genesis 25:30) likely traveled east and settled towards this part of Asia. The symbols from the text are still working together with facts on the ground. At least when our popular media isn't fooling everyone.
The general problem of fear of food scarcity which Esau was exhibiting in that same story is also a cultural issue in China, even now. The Gideon stories that inform war with the USA also include food scarcity. We can expect the same in the USA as war breaks out.
We often went out to eat with people we met in China. Eating with foreigners is very much a status symbol, especially in rural China. We ate with school officials. We were invited to dinner at the house (flat) of someone we were lead to believe was a local communist party official, though his particular job was lost in translation. We had good conversation with his 10th grade, English speaking, son.
In the USA people are fussy over type of food. In China the fussiness is over grade of food. This is why we were not allowed in the student cafeteria. Lower class Chinese eat stuff that most would not want to eat. Higher class meals involve more variety. At one such meal it was explained to us that eating rice, especially white rice, was considered a marker of famine.
So Chinese buffets in the USA are a reflection of very fancy meals in China, though these would usually be served at tables with large lazy susans. There are also high class Chinese delicacies, which we never see in Chinese restaurants in the USA, like deep fried duck embryos, but I digress.
Because of the timezone differences most travelers need to adjust sleep cycles and that takes a few days. We stayed in Beijing so we could adjust our sleep cycles before heading out into the country. We used that time to explore the city itself. 3 really important places are in and near Beijing, these are the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China.
Tiananmen Square was walking distance from our hotel, so we started our tourist time by walking over there.
Many Chinese students need to learn English. When they see someone who is from the USA, they very much want to practice their English on a native speaker. This happened many, many times while I was in China. Later, the staff at the school where we eventually stayed wanted very much for us to participate in this activity. It is a national objective for students to learn English.
There are many Christians in China. If they saw an American they would ask questions in English about possible Christian faith. If they found a Christian then they would want to talk about faith issues exclusively. This was also a game played at the college where we stayed. If someone in a large group figured this out about us, then they would give leading questions to allow us to talk about Christian topics to a large audience.
On our first couple days in Beijing we walked over to Tiananmen Square, more on that place below. We were walking through an underpass that connects the square to the rest of central Beijing. The square is built to accommodate 500,000 people during national assemblies. So the place is designed to handle crowds 10 times the size of major US sports stadiums.
As we were walking through an underpass to get to the square a student and his professor walked up to us. The student was about to take his finals in English and very much wanted to practice English. They even invited us to lunch so they could speak for a few hours with us.
We walked with them into an older part of Beijing south of the square and sat and talked in English. The student was finishing a degree in international law, and had interned in Chicago already. His professor taught law, but was also the student's advisor.
My friend spent lunch talking to the student. I spent lunch talking to the professor. Both of these men already had pretty good English.
The professor asked why I had come to China. I told him my dream, and then gave him my testimony about provision. In those days, of course, I would use the name Jesus, these days Joshua. It was a testimony to his provision and direction.
It turns out the $1500 in total trip cost was about the annual salary of the professor himself. This at a prestigious law school in Beijing. He was stunned. It became the basis for his own confession of faith. He knew of Jesus, but had never seen evidence that Jesus is real, and active in the world, or able to provide such funds for such things.
We had only been in China a few days and strange prophetic things were now happening around us. This was but a taste.
Tiananmen Square, where we met these men, is south of the Forbidden City, the ancient center of Beijing. Let me back up and start with the Forbidden City.
Linked here is Google Maps zoomed in on the Forbidden City. Use the layers function in the page to turn on Satellite imagery to see more details. The maps and images don't appear to align correctly, probably by request of the Chinese to Google to keep the city hidden to outsiders.
The Forbidden City was constructed starting in 1406 AD, when the capital of China was moved to Beijing. It was built as a fortress with a surrounding high wall and moat. The water of the moat is seen in the Google Maps view. The design follows the first symbol in the Chinese word for 'Middle Kingdom.' Their name for themselves.
The southern half of the area within the moat/wall was the public meeting places. The northern section of the forbidden city were homes for the various wives of the seated emperor. His harem if you will. See the Wikipedia article for a detailed interior map, use the satellite photos to understand more. The fortress had space for about 30 wives, each with their own house, servants and space to raise sons.
When an Emperor died, a son was selected from the sons of the harem to replace him. All competing sons, and their mothers, were executed and the entire process begun again. The new emperor selected wives from the broader community, filling the forbidden city with a new harem.
This term, 'Forbidden City' shows up prophetically in the story of Nixon's visit to China on a prophetic replay of Adam. This is the forbidden fruit, by name. We will return to this point in a future blog.
South from the southern entrance to that fortress is Tiananmen Square. In the late 1940s this central square was enlarged, especially to the south. Various state buildings surround the square.
One of the Beijing Olympics venues is west along the main road on the north side of Tiananmen Square. That main road on the north of the square is where they parade military armaments.
Zoom in carefully with Google Maps and in the center of that square you can see an obelisk. The Vatican is similarly marked with an obelisk. So is Washington DC. These monuments are usually a sign of the same secret religion as we see everywhere in the west.
An obelisk is symbolically the same as a pyramid less all the volume. So it is easier to build. It marks a branch of modern prophetic Egypt. So the communists brought this religious system into China when they took over in the late 1940s. Rumors of Western Bankers ultimately funding communist revolutions are likely true. They share the same iconography.
Tiananmen square also shows up as a prophetic venue on the timeline. I will deal with that in a future blog post.
If you zoom out on Maps over Beijing you can see the successive ring roads around the capital. It is home to about 22,000,000 people. The city is over 3,000 years old.
There is a rebuilt area of the wall north of Beijing which we visited. Typically tourists, as we did, buy a ticket and ride up in equipment built for ski areas. Then tourists either ride down or walk down once done. Several miles of wall with steep steps and guard towers await tourist at the top. Many trinket selling stalls line the exit near the bottom of the stairs down.
The wall runs across most of China. It is immense and in disrepair most of that distance. It was built across more than 2000 years, solving different defense problems at different times in different places.
Construction techniques also changed considerably across that time. The western ends are generally older and more commonly built using rammed earth. The newest sections are near Beijing itself, and built with relatively modern outer walls of fired brick and some cut stone. Guard shacks are placed every so often along the wall.
The structure itself is fundamentally unstable because it was built by slaves, who often died in the construction. Their bodies were buried in the fill material between the exterior retaining walls. Those bodies decayed and caused collapse, often within decades of construction. So many died it is thought to be a continuous tomb.
The western terminus of the wall is at what was once a camel watering station on the Silk Road. That ancient trade route begins in eastern Iran and ends at Xian. More on Xian below. Travel along that silk road goes back to the centuries soon after Noah's flood.
The wall was built to keep a racially distinct group of people who lived north of the wall from invading the central part of China. The video above portrays them as culturally distinct. True, but not complete. The wall was a conceptually interesting idea, but rivers cannot be walled and the guards at various gates were easily bribed, so it rarely actually kept invaders out.
The wall itself is frequently likened to being a Chinese serpent spread out along the mountain ridges of northern China. This is an ancient symbol for China and it appears to be used in the text as a symbol for China.
Prophetic dreams and visions of American intercessors will often see a dragon or serpent as the symbol for China. If you ever see a dragon or serpent in a dream most likely you are being shown something to do with China. I have also seen dinosaurs as prophetic symbols for China.
The dragon is a source of pride in China, not something to be looked down upon, as the article linked above explains. Chinese dragons of various types go back around 7000 years, or back to the time near Noah's flood.
China, more than any other place, has the best claim to be national descendants of Cain because of this ancient identifier. This empire may have been active before Noah's flood and might have been responsible for parts of Noah's war. If so, they are about to do so again.
When people I met later in China heard I had visited the wall, they invariably wanted me to know those invaders are now the ruling class in China. See the end of the documentary linked above for how that happened, though the documentary claims their rule ended in 1912. The form of rule ended at that time, not the ruling class. Look at pictures of the current ruler of China and think about his facial features to see if you agree with what I was told. Is he of traditional Chinese stock?
If you look east of the forbidden city on the regular map you will see a boulevard that runs north south. East of that, the next general north south street is a main shopping street lined with hotels.
We stayed in one of those hotels for several nights when we first arrived in China. At the north end of that shopping street is St. Joseph's Church. I've linked the Wikipedia article about that church here.
This Church has a plaque out front giving the history similarly retold in the Wikipedia article. The local version is more severe. Basically Christianity has gone in and out of favor with Chinese governments since at least the 1600s when a church was first built at this site.
I had never heard the story of Christianity in China. Especially not going back as far as this single church. So, when I returned home after this trip to China I started to dig deeper into the history of Christianity in China.
Popular American Christianity, and even some inside China, claim that Christianity is now only reaching China. This helps raise funds for missions work there, so it is a useful lie.
Never forget, Christianity in China is very old, older than Christianity in some parts of Europe. Importantly it is older than Christianity in Russia.
The problem is it was the Assyrian form of Christianity that wins the prize for first arrival in China. This fact was something that later Catholic missionaries would try and hide.
The modern Chinese city of Xian is at the eastern end of the Silk Road. This was the general point of Christian exposure inside China, with records going back to the 630s AD.
The link above is to the oldest known Chinese documentation for Christianity in China. The Xian Stele is a 9 foot tall carved stone found near Xian and currently housed in a massive museum near Xian. The stone is carved in Chinese and Syriac.
Note the use of Syriac. We use this as our basis for manuscript recovery, not Hebrew nor Greek nor Latin.
This stone was carved in 781 AD. It tells a rough story of 150 years of Christianity in China up to that time. Those early Christians were not from Rome, and have their own unique history.
I have read English translations of known Syriac histories of Chinese emperors funding mission trips back to Jerusalem. A Chinese monk once became bishop of Baghdad, while another traveled to Rome to visit the Pope.
The Pope at Rome had no idea of the existence of China, nor their distinct Christian theology. That monk had traveled the silk road, then traveled the middle east, then to Rome. He had to wait over a year before his theology was accepted and he was granted audience to see the Pope himself.
The key point here is the Silk Road was difficult, but passable, throughout most of history. Individuals did not risk travel on the silk road, but caravans could. It was Europe who forgot about what was down that road, not people living in the near east.
In the post-flood world, the silk road may have been traveled as early as the table of nations given in Genesis.
Xian, China, is about 2 hours by train from the town where we were staying. We took a day trip to Xian to see those now famous Terracotta Warriors. 2 hours by train, then a short city bus ride, then a couple hours at the dig location. We then reversed our path. A bus ride back to central Xian, with some time walking the central shopping district waiting for our train. Then 2 hours back by train to where we were staying, that last train ride in the dark.
This location houses a massive, buried, exact copy of an entire Chinese standing army. The BBC documentary above is a good introduction. The Chinese have a history of warring between themselves that is a rough analog to fighting in Europe. Both are generally working towards building bigger empires. We are in the last parts of an era where 1 empire wants to take over all the others on earth.
Most of that buried army is still underground in order to preserve them. There is a massive modern roof above the dig where some of the army is exposed to the air. Visitors are allowed into this climate controlled space to see this sight for themselves. Use those clay soldiers as a memory peg for modern China.
The highlight of that day for me was not that army, nor Xian. Though Xian is another impressive major Chinese city. Instead what I remember most about that day is sitting on the train for 2 hours that morning looking out the window at Chinese countryside. The region itself is relatively developed, with frequent villages along our route.
Every few minutes for those 2 hours we passed villages with large Christian churches. Their tall steeples were visible from the train windows. Those steeples stood above the normally 1 story farm houses and low profile villages.
This was not something taught in school. Europe has Christian history, of course, but not China. Europe has Churches like this, but not China. That train ride showed something very Christian happened in relatively recent Chinese history.
After the Syriac wave of Christianity had come to China, other forms followed. Some forms, in some places, were successful enough to build significant church infrastructure.
I asked Christian Chinese locals about this. I was told that historically speaking, the farther from the capital, the less interference there was in local affairs. Christianity could and did easily flourish in the distant Chinese country side.
I eventually met young people who wanted to practice their English and talk to me about my Christianity. Most had Christian grandparents. But, those grandparents were afraid to talk to family members about their faith. So these young people asked me, a foreigner, as many questions as they could in what little time we had. I was filling them in on their own lost cultural history.
The various cultural revolutions of the past 100 years in China are most likely attempts by Chinese leaders to wipe out Christianity. Same as in the Soviet Union. Same as we see in American media and politics now.
Besides running into students who wanted to speak English, there were adults from the wider community around the school who wanted to practice English too. Their English was more advanced. One man asked me to proof read a business plan written in English.
He was going to be traveling to Beijing to get a loan for his business from the IMF who would be visiting there. Remember, the IMF is based in Washington DC. He wanted me to make sure his English was acceptable. There was lots of money riding on getting that loan, and he did not want to mess it up.
I read the document from an English perspective. It was perfectly fine, his command of English was great. What this man did not know was I also have an MBA. What the document said was very strange to me. So I had to ask him a series of questions to ensure the document meant what it said in English.
I've never seen the subject in any western reporting of how the IMF works in China. I consider it an important prophetic insight gained from my time in China. Let me explain.
It turns out his firm was asking for a loan to roughly triple their farm based business. So far so good. They had an extensive set of analysis on the product volumes, capital costs and so on. Also, so far so good.
They especially needed expensive processing equipment for their processed food. All of this was very normal too. It was going to be a very useful, profitable, business. They did not have much market risk, and could expect the plan to work as described. I could confirm that given what I knew about the specifics of their food and what I'd seen doing local shopping.
But then there was the loan repayment schedule. The IMF was not going to require repayment of the principle, nor interest, on most of the loan, EVER. There was a repayment schedule, and interest due. But, not on the entire borrowed amount. I had never seen this anywhere before. In the USA this is the sort of game that will get someone tossed in jail.
So I asked, is this what you mean? Is this true? Or is this a mistake in the English translation of your business plan?
He assured me, as I asked the same question several different ways, that the IMF was giving his firm many millions of dollars. They would never ask for equity in his firm, nor would they ever want the money repaid. But, it would look within the IMF, and the IMF accounting systems, as a loan, and not a grant.
Such is the strange relationship with American(?) bankers and firms in China. Try that when asking for a loan for your farm in the USA. There are many strange reasons why China has developed so fast over the past 50 years. They have done it with the help of the west.
One last point I want to make here, that I learned speaking English with people in China.
Hatred over the Communist takeover in the late 1940s and the famous Cultural Revolution were very much still defining for some of these people. The Communists killed everyone in their path as they moved across China. Catch the last train out of town or die. This sounds a lot like the prophetic we have recently received for a future war with China in North America.
For some of the lucky few who escaped the cultural revolution, it was work on a farm as a peasant, or die.
These family histories have left simmering hatred of China's central government.
The link here is to a video of current affairs in China. The man in the video was born in South Africa and became a refugee. He lived in China for years with a Chinese wife. He is a relative expert on China. Things are no better now than they were 20 years ago, perhaps getting worse.