Natural resources often play powerful roles in global conflicts. In modern times, the most highly populated nations have often had the weakest economies, and thus have never been able to consume vast amounts of natural resources.
However, change is in the air as India and China, the world's two most heavily populated nations, also begin to develop stronger economies. Now, they have the money to buy what they need, and are beginning to do so. "In 2005, China alone used 26 percent of the world's steel, 32 percent of the rice, and 47 percent of the cement (World Watch Institute, Jan. 11, 2006)."
China has 8% of the world's fresh water and 22% of the world population. "India's use of oil has doubled since 1992, while China went from near self-sufficiency in the mid-1990s to the world's second largest oil importer in 2004." China and India "…both have just started to build what are slated to be two of the largest automobile industries in the world," the report continued.
India and China are on track to consume 100% of the world's annual natural resource yield, including food, by the year 2030 (Ibid).
In addition to the rising Chinese and Indian economies, there has been an explosion in the number of civilian nuclear power deals being brokered throughout the world, many involving both China and India. Currently, for example, we see deals being created between: France and Libya; the US, Australia and India; an attempted deal between the US and Pakistan; Russia and Iran; China and Bangladesh; and potentially China and Myanmar (Global Security Newswire, March 7, 2006).
Although many of these deals are in reaction to growing global concerns about fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal, the spread of nuclear technology will likely put additional economic pressure on the oil-producing nations of the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Additionally, although civilian nuclear technology is not "easily" converted into military technology, it does place nations who own it, one step closer to nuclear weaponry.
Jesus Christ prophesied nearly 2000 years ago that at the time of the end, time would need to be "cut short" or no flesh would be "saved alive" (Matthew 24:22). The current spread of nuclear power is one more potential tool that man can use to destroy himself.
History has shown that when resources are scarce, they go to the highest bidder and the one with the best long-term potential of consumption. China and India show tremendous potential to be among those nations doing the bidding. The Bible predicts a time when the highways of the Israelite-descended nations will be desolate (Leviticus 26:22), when they will be debtor nations (Deuteronomy 28:44), and their people will be hungry, thirsty, naked, and in need of everything (v. 48).
Additionally, near the end of the great tribulation predicted in the pages of the Bible, a 200 million-man army would approach Europe and Jerusalem from the East (Revelation 9:13-21). There are few nations that could field an army this size, but China is certainly one of them. And, it is currently developing the military and civil infrastructure along with the economy to drive such an effort.
As the sleeping Asian giants awake, we should be sobered, as we see yet another tool that God can and will use to humble the Israelite-descended nations.
For more information on the Israelite-descended western nations and their role in Bible prophecy, please request The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. For additional information on the possible role of China and other eastern nations in prophecy, request our booklet The Beast of Revelation or The Middle East in Prophecy.