"Rereading history books and the testimony of those who experienced the transition from the Taisho democracy of the 1920s to the militarism of the 1930s, I marvel at how quickly a society with give-and-take-politics, a strong labour movement, active and contentious writers and intellectuals, and an urban populace with a jazzy pop culture could be transformed into a nation in armour" (Frank Gibney, Reinventing Japan...Again, Foreign Policy, Summer 2000, p.80).
"It is hardly surprising that Japan's technophile population has created one of the world's most vibrant internet cultures and arguably its biggest blogosphere...
"What observers consider strange, however, is the muted response to a government proposal to scrutinise and regulate all internet content in the same way that it controls newspapers and television broadcasts...
"Kazuo Hizumi, a journalist-turned-lawyer who blogs on media issues, has been particularly scathing: "If you look at the fascist movement in prewar Japan, the dangers in the regulation of information by the Government are obvious"" (Justin Norrie, Japan does a bonsai on blogs, websites, smh.com.au, April 5, 2008).
Japan was one of the great economic success stories of the twentieth century.
"In the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese economy went through one of the greatest booms the world has ever known. From 1950 to 1970, the economy's output per person grew more than sevenfold. Japan, in just a few decades, remade itself from a war-torn country into one of the richest nations on earth" (David Leonhardt, Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All nytimes.com, April 16, 2008).
Japan transformed itself from national defeat in 1945 - its second great transformation of the last 150-odd years, the first being the Meji Restoration - into the second largest economy in the world. But this success story has not come without a price.
This article therefore looks at post-World War II Japan, its possible early history, soon-coming militarism - which will adversely affect the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations of the Pacific Ocean region - and its eventual peaceful and prosperous future from a Biblical perspective. (Hence Japan will experience two more great transformations).
A KEY TO SUCCESS
One major factor for the success of the Japanese, virtually unknown to them and the world at large, can be found in Genesis 9:27, which reads:
"God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem and Canaan shall be his servants" (AV).
Here we have a dual prophecy - a literal and a figurative fulfilment. The figurative interpretation, a subject of this article, where the "he" refers to Japheth, contains the future working relationship of nations. [In the primary interpretation "he" refers to God].
When Japheth figuratively "dwells" or "tabernacles" in the tents of Shem (which include modern-day 'western' nations such as Great Britain, The United States and Germany) they will have an environment in which to become prosperous.
The Japanese, a Japhetic people as we will see later, are known for their eagerness to learn, their capacity to adapt, their discipline and their frugality. These attributes, which are needed to succeed, will not necessarily guarantee success. Success also depends on a conducive environment for development and world trade.
Shoaib Raza Naqvi concurs:
"While most of the credit for Asian development rests squarely with Asians themselves, it is also irrefutable that no progress would have been possible without the intellectual framework and institutional infrastructure imported en masse from the West over the past century" (Asian Wall Street Journal, November 8, 1995).
Paul Kennedy observed that the Asians "benefited from an open international trading order, created and protected by the United States" (Preparing for the Twenty-first Century, London: Fontana Press, 1994, p.199).
"Japan's engineers ... are famous for redesigning American products and manufacturing them more efficiently" (The Economist, Japanese management, April 3, 2004, p.61).
"For half a century, the US has reigned supreme in technology. Its research institutions have been the best in the world, and the US capital-formation machine has turned their discoveries into one breakthrough after another in transistors, communication gear, computers and just about every other key high-tech field...
"Although the US is still the undisputed champion in technology overall, in a handful of areas it already appears to be falling behind its foreign competitors. The Nordic countries lead the world in designing and making mobile phones... Japan is beating the US in a number of crucial fields, including optical electronics, robotics and semiconductor-making equipment...
"Experts ... see evidence of the strength of the US in the telecommunications software and other high-tech gear sold by Chinese networking company Huawei, and the mobile phones sold by Nokia. "If you look at those examples, the technologies are built atop an architecture from the US," say Sun's Papadopoulos [chief technology office of hardware and software maker Sun Microsystems]" (Alex Salkever, BusinessWeek, @Australian Financial Review, April 8-12, 2004, pp.41-42).
"Dwelling" under the Shemitic umbrella Japan has had access to the technologies and inventions of the West. Japan has been able to utilise and build upon these inventions contributing to the overall good of the world economy. Yet the West still provides the overall direction in technology. Alvin Toffler earlier noted that:
"...the world's scientific-technological marathon is only starting, and Japan's general technological base still lags. Japan even now spends 3.3 times more money for royalties, patents, and licenses for foreign technology than it takes from the sale of its own. Sixty percent of that is paid to the United States... But in the most important power competition - the generation and diffusion of ideas, information, imagery, and knowledge - they still lag behind the United States" (Powershift, (New York: Bantam Books, 1990), pp.425,428.
Paul Kennedy also noted that "Japanese universities and colleges have hitherto not done well in creative research; as of 1987, Japanese had won only four Nobel prizes in science compared with 142 for the United States" (p.140).
But there is more to the Nobel story:
"By their own admission, the Japanese are better imitators than innovators, but they have shown themselves to be as creative as the best when working abroad. Four of the five Nobel prizes were won by Japanese scientists doing the research in the United States or Europe" (The Economist, Survey: Innovation, February 22, 1999, p.23).
We can, therefore, note that races and nations have certain strengths and weaknesses. From this we can draw the conclusion that certain roles are required for races and nations to "dwell" together in harmony. Just as husbands and wives have certain defined roles to make a marriage relationship work so have races and nations. The nuclear human family - father, mother and children - is the antitype of the family of races.
[The three races of mankind are the 'father-husband' race; the 'wife' race and the 'son' race. The 'father-husband', 'wife' and 'son' races are based on the roles of God and Christ].
We are all 'one' in God's sight (cp. Galatians 3:28), but we are not 'one' in role. God has determined certain roles for nations and races so that they can live side by side for the overall benefit and glory of mankind.
NEW WORLD ORDER
The world that we have known for the last 60 years basically reflects the conditions and institutions resulting from the Allied victory in World War II. The present political and economic framework has reached its use-by-date. A re-ordering of global society is required to take the world into the 21st century. Alan S Blinder concurs in the economic arena:
"The economic conflagrations that lit up the world throughout the last half decade sent a very clear message: There are fatal flaws in the global financial architecture. The Bretton Woods system  was designed for a very different world. The IMF, part schoolmarm and part firefighter no longer plays either role well. Too often, it ignores the real victims and makes crises worse. The system must be redrawn to stabilize markets and head off panics..." (Eight Steps to a New Financial Order, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1999, Essays).
We are nearly at the end of the economic cycle of this unique period in history. The present dysfunctional economic relationship between frugal Japan and profligate USA, (and now emerging China), which is keeping the world system afloat, is about to breakdown. Japan and the US are pursuing economic policies which are unsustainable. Both countries have enormous debt burdens. What is not generally known is that Japan is saddled with a massive debt burden as a result of the recklessness of the bubble economy of the 1980s. It is the debt burden of Japan, the USA and the rest of the world which will ultimately bring down the present world economic system.
The Bible contains basic laws for the proper management of an economy. Short-term debts were to be cancelled every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1-11) and long-term debt every 50 years (Leviticus 25:8-17). This was not to be a "boom and bust" economy. It appears that since these laws are not observed, man experiences major depressions every 50 or so years preceded by speculative 'bubbles'. When we look at probably the two most famous bubbles preceding depressions, England's South Sea Bubble in the 18th century and the US's real estate and stock market speculation of the 1920s, will the Japanese and American debt bubbles of the 1980s and 1990s/2000s respectively be any different? (Japan has only experienced the very mild first stage of its deflating bubble). It is the contention of Future Watch that despite man's best efforts to postpone, wittingly or unwittingly, the consequences of his own actions, the breaking of these debt laws will eventually take its toll. A major stock market correction in the US will usher in depressing economic times which will lead to a new world system.
"... But even as its military propaganda trumpeted themes of Asian greatness and a rejection of Western values, Japan, as Buruma slyly notes, was still cribbing from the West - though not from the liberal political traditions of England or the United States. Much of the "new Japanese order," he writes in 'Inventing Japan,' "was borrowed from European fascism and grafted onto more East Asian habits of thought."
"Modern Japan, like modern Germany (to which Buruma often compares it), has shown a depressing affinity for authoritarian politics..." (Christopher Benfey, 'Inventing Japan': The Emperor's New Clothes, nytimes.com, February 9, 2003).
Dwelling in the tents of Shem can have either good or bad results. Japan, who dwelt in the tents of Shemitic USA after WW2 will, after the coming economic problems, dwell in another. The Japanese, some of whom "still imagine themselves as a sort of Asian herrenvolk" (Ben Hills, Behind the lines, (Sydney: Hodder Headline, 1996), p.120), will be allied with the soon coming German-dominated-European superpower. Germany, the most militaristic Shemite nation in world history, in league with Japan is a recipe for disaster. [Future Watch believes that today's Germans are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians].
The 120 million people of that North-East Asian archipelago are know today as the Japanese. But the Bible does not refer to them by this name. The Bible employs are different form of designation - metonymy. J. Barton Payne explains:
"Metonymy identifies the interchange of one noun for another because of an inherent relationship between the two... A pervasive sort of prophetic metonymy occurs early in Scripture in the patriarchal blessings, in which these heroes of Genesis speak repeatedly of the later tribes and nations that will be descendant from them in terms of their individual children at the time: see 9:25-27..." (Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, (Grand Rapids: (Baker Books, 1973), p.19).
Barton Payne provided another example:
"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the 'last days'..." (Genesis 49:1).
Therefore the Bible refers to a people called Tarshish, that is the descendants of Tarshish, first mentioned in Genesis 10:4, playing a considerable role in 'end-time' events. Who are these people and what is their future?
Using Biblical history and prophecy - history being the basis for understanding the far-future fulfilment of telescopic prophecy - and relating it to modern geo-political history and its mostly likely future direction we will firstly, present 'AN' argument (a theory) that the Japanese are the 'eastern branch' of 'the end-time' descendants of Tarshish, the grandson of Japheth (Genesis 10:2 & 4), and secondly, based on the 'eastern branch' argument, we will look at Japan's chilling and yet noble future.
Why do we say that there is an 'eastern branch of Tarshish'? Firstly, it is most likely that Tarshish had a white grandfather (Japheth) and an oriental grandmother and as a result Japheth's descendants divided into branches consisting of caucasian-types and an oriental-types. [With Japheth and his brother Ham having an oriental and a black wife respectively God was able to preserved the primary races, through the flood, on Noah's ark; Shem, the other son of Noah on the ark, most likely had a white wife]; and Secondly, the Bible appears to indicate that there are two locations for Tarshish in the first millennium BC, and in the 'end-time'.
From Jonah 1:3 we find that:
"... Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship [Hebrew 'aniyah = any large merchant ship] going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord" (E. W. Bullinger Companion Bible, AV, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986).
Many secular and Biblical historians are of the opinion that Tarshish here refers to southern Spain. Secular history notes that there was a kingdom called Tartessus in Spain around the early and middle part of the first millennium BC. Tartessus was portrayed as a mineral emporium. During the period of Assyrian dominance the Phoenicians used the silver and gold from Tartessus to meet the increasing Assyrian demands for tribute (The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Vol.28, p.19).
But it appears that the Biblical references concerning the 'ships of Tarshish' point more to an eastern location for a place of gold and silver.
Looking at 1 Kings 10:22, 2 Chronicles 9:21, and 2 Chronicles 20:36 we can reasonably conclude that Solomon had a navy whose home port was Ezion-Geber on the north shore of the Gulf of Aqabah, which provided commercial access into the Red Sea, that his ships went to Tarshish, and that every three years this navy returned to Israel with "gold and silver, ivory and apes, and peacocks."
The Jewish general and historian Josephus confirms that Solomon had many ships that lay upon the Sea of Tarsus which carried all sorts of merchandise into the remotest nations, and that these goods were sold for gold, silver, ivory, Ethiopians, and apes; and that the returned journey took three years (Josephus, The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston, New Updated Version, (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1988), p.225).
There are a number of things to consider:
Firstly, it appears that 'Tarshish' refers to a geographical location and a type of ship (cp, Isaiah 2:16, the primary interpretation of the latter case); A nineteenth century example is the "East Indiaman... <a> ...large sailing vessel built for the trade between Europe and southern Asia" (Encyclopedia Britannica, CD '99, East Indiaman);
Secondly, Tarshish appears to be a place of gold and silver;
Thirdly, it would seem to be impractical and uneconomical to sail from Ezion-Geber, around Africa to a 'western' Tarshish close to the Mediterranean and return by the same route. It would be more expedient to make the around trip and dock in Tyre, if it indeed followed this route;
Fourthly, the Hebrew for 'apes' and 'peacocks' are foreign loan words. Bullinger noted that 'the Hebrew for these are Indian words (Tamil)' (Bullinger, p.466). It may have been more likely to obtain apes and peacocks from India than via Africa or Spain, though not necessarily;
Fifthly, if Tarshish was one of the 'remotest nations', and that the ships had to be specially commissioned for the journey, it would seem to imply that Tarshish was not necessarily on a regular sea/trade route. When Jonah departed for 'western' Tarshish it seems that he did not have too much difficulty in procuring a passage on a merchant vessel; and
Sixthly, it appears that the specific ships of and for Tarshish were large merchant vessels designed to carry ore and other types of cargo and capable of travelling very long distances.
TRADING-SHIPS IN HISTORY
It is known, from paintings and texts, that early Phoenician "vessels were built with a keel and had a fence-like structure along the deck, which some believe acted as a lee cloth, while others believe that it barricaded the cargo. A document from Ras Shamra, c. 1200 BC, refers to one of these merchantmen as having a cargo of 457,000 kg (450 tonnes) with no indication that it was all unusual. Such a vessel had to rely on sail power and could be rowed only for brief periods in an emergency" (C.J. Davey, Ships and Boats, New International Dictionary, Second edition, Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1985), p.1106).
Considering that these voyages possibly lasted three years, it would be safe to say, that these ships took around eighteen months at the maximum to go to the farthest place. To which 'remote' lands, then, could these ships have gone?
Marco Polo's travels provide a possible answer. Fourteenth century travellers confirmed many of Marco Polo's details. Ibn Batuta noted that certain of the Chinese ocean-going vessels had crews of a thousand men and a maximum of twelve sails. The oars, required fifteen men each and were pulled by ropes (Maurice Collis, Marco Polo, (London: Faber & Faber), p.178). The Chinese ships would most likely have had similar ranges and speeds as the Phoenician vessels.
In Marco Polo's return journey to Venice, the voyage from the port of Zayton in China to the Persian Gulf appears to have taken twenty-one months. Many writers believe that this is too long and that the Polo party spent five months on the island of Summatra. They draw this conclusion from an early reference to Summatra, which could be applied to either Marco's earlier journey to India or to the journey home. "[R]omantic literature pays little heed to correct chronology, and the players concerned are scattered willy-nilly in the adventurous texts" (so Laurence Gardner, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, (Brisbane: Element Books, 1996, p.145). It appears that they had disasters on their journey home as only a small number of the large party that had set out from China, made it to their destination. If this hypothesis is correct, the journey would have taken 16 months. This seems too long as well. Marco Polo had made an earlier reference that a journey of 1500 miles would take two months. When we look at the distance from the Persian Gulf to China twelve months would be more than adequate for the journey.
It would not be unreasonable to say, if we take into consideration the monsoons, pirates, variation in wind strengths, the extra distance involved, trading of goods, and the time frame, that a journey from Ezion-Geber to Japan and back was a possibility for the ships of Solomon.
JAPAN A LAND OF GOLD AND SILVER
Marco Polo gave an account of an island, named Zipangu (Cipango), off the coast of China, which was a land of gold and riches. Was there some truth in his report?
When the Spaniards encountered the Japanese some three hundred years later, Japan was experiencing "an age of gold and silver" (Japan, An Illustrated Encyclopedia, (Tokyo: Kodansha). The Cambridge History of Japan noted of this time:
"In sixteenth-century Japan, the production of gold and particularly silver grew so significantly that it left a mark on world economic history. Indeed, Japan may have accounted for as much as one-third of the world's silver output at the end of the sixteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth century" (Kozo Yamamura, editor, (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp.60-61); (cp. Jeremiah 10:9).
"The warlords of this period encouraged gold and silver mining as a source of funds, leading to the discovery and development of many more mines. Most of the daimyos held large stocks of gold and silver bullion and gold dust. Nobunaga, (1534-82, the 'Japanese Attila'), and Hideyoshi (1535-98, a brilliant commander and statesman), both had great reserves of bullion collected in their castles and used gold freely and ostentatiously to impress the world with their magnificence" (George Sansom, A History of Japan 1334-1615, (London: Wm Dawson & Son, 1978, pp.339-340).
W.S. Lasor pointed out that the Hebrew tarsis was 'possibly a t-formation word from a root rss meaning "melt", "refine" or "brightness" (Tarshish, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1988), Vol.4, p.734.) Spain and Japan in their secular histories have been places of smelting and refining.
SPAIN AND JAPAN BLOOD-BROTHERS?
The World Book Encyclopedia noted that "the Japanese call their country Nippon, which means source of the sun. The name Japan may come from zipangu, the Italian name given to the country by Marco Polo" (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol.11, p.32).
Japan is commonly referred to as "the land of the rising sun". It is interesting that the early Greeks referred to the Spanish peninsula as Hesperia - "land of the setting sun" (John A. Crow, The Root and the Flower, Revised edition, (New York:Harper & Row, 1975, p.7).
Is there some connection between Spain and Japan? The Jesuit and Spanish writer Colin, one of the pioneers in the Philippine missions, considered that:
"...the principle settler of these archipelagoes was Tharsis, son of Japheth together with his brothers, as were Ophir and Hevilath of India" ("Native races & their customs", E. H. Blair & J.A. Robertson editors, The Philippines 1493- 1898).
An interesting observation but cannot be proved. The 'typological' argument is more compelling.
The Spaniard Fray Gasper de San Agustin, who had spent forty years among the Filipinos, in a letter to a friend in Espana, who had asked him about the nature and characteristics of the Indian natives of the Philippine Islands, noted as an aside that "the Japanese (who are, as Gracian learnedly remarked, the Spaniards of Asia" (Gasper de San Agustin, "Letter on the Filipinos", E. H. Blair & J.A. Robertson editors, The Philippines 1493-1898).
The Japanese have a number of similarities, as well as dissimilarities with the Spanish. A brief look at some of their national characteristics point to an affinity of these curious people.
Japan and Spain are both characterised by their insularity. A contributing factor is that Japan is isolated from mainland Asia by water, while Spain is sealed off from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees. Both countries are mountainous, an environmental influence contributing to their tenacity and underlying hardness. Accompanying this type of disposition is the love of formalism, ritual and ceremony (B.S. Silberman editor, Japanese Character & Culture, A Book of Selected Readings, (Tuscon: The University of Arizona Press, 1962); Havelock Ellis, The Soul of Spain, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924), p.52).
Shintoism and Catholicism, in their own unique ways, are at the heart and core of these people (Jean Herbert, Shinto: At the fountain-head of Japan, (New York:Stein & Day, 1967), p.15; Stephen Clissold, Spain, (London: Thames & Hudson, 1969), p.12). The temples/shrines of the Japanese and the cathedrals/churches of the Spanish, along with the festivals and pilgrimages, of both, are notable features of their cultures.
Honour plays an important role. Both peoples are willing to face death before dishonour (for the Spanish see Bartolome Bennassar, The Spanish Character, (University of California Press, 1979), p.xi).
There is a prominent martial character to these peoples, which has revealed itself throughout their history. The 'samurai' of Japan and the 'military orders' of Spain, both institutions coming into existence in the 12th century, have played a privileged role in their histories.
The cruelty, brutality, lack of pity, willingness to go against the odds of the conquistadors in the early years of colonial Spain was a forerunner of colonial Japan in the 20th century.
Violence also characterises their own internal struggles. These periods of unrest have been marked by brutality and assassination.
JAPAN IN PROPHECY
The characteristics of ships, gold and silver distinguish Biblical Tarshish. The histories of Spain and Japan in secular sources show that they have been lands of gold and silver, and they have stood out as naval and colonial powers in the 16th and 20th century respectively. It is possible therefore to conclude that Spain and Japan are two locations for Tarshish.
Using the argument that Japan is the 'eastern' branch of Tarshish, we can now look briefly at the Scriptures referring to Japan in the 'end time'.
In Revelation 17 and 18 there is a prophetic word picture of a great and mysterious religious and mercantile system - "Babylon the Great" - existing in the 'end time'. A great religious and economic superpower will soon arise to dominate the world. The coming 'United States of Europe' is going to provide a fantastic environment for world trade. So much so that all the kings of the world, and by extension, the people in their kingdoms, will grow rich through her trading. Yet all her wealth will not protect her from swift destruction.
Revelation 18:9-19 describes the mourning, at Babylon's fall, of those who have committed fornication with her. This bewailing is modelled after Ezekiel's lamentation over the fall of Tyre (Ezekiel 27). The description of Babylon the Great of Revelation 17 and 18 is built on the Old Testaments prophecies concerning ancient Babylon and Tyre. There are the near-future typical and far-future anti-typical fulfilment to these Old Testament prophecies.
In Isaiah 23 we have the ships of Tarshish howling. [Isaiah 23 is a telescopic prophecy with a near-future and far-future fulfilments and we are alerted to the fact in that verses 16-18 have yet to be antitypically fulfilled]. Why are they wailing? Japan is lamenting over the economic collapse of modern-Tyre - the soon coming German-dominated European super-power. (This prophecy, most likely, does not apply to Spain as she will probably be a constituent of modern Babylon). Japan will be a great trading nation committing political and economic fornication with German-dominated-Europe. Japan will continue this relationship, through the Great Tribulation (cp. Matthew 24:21), right up until the time the Babylonian mercantile system is destroyed. The German and Japanese alliance of World War II will once again be resurrected.
The 'Great Tribulation' is a time of sore punishment on the modern-day nations of Israel. After a period of prosperity Europe, allied with Japan, will suddenly turn and invade the lands of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples - modern-day Jacob (Jeremiah 30:7).
Some would be of the opinion that Japan posses no future threat. It may be good to reflect on what Winston Churchill wrote in 1924, 'of the utter impossibility of war with Japan':
"I do not believe there is the slightest chance of it in our lifetime. The Japanese are our allies... She has no reason whatever to come into collision with us... war with Japan is not a possibility which any reasonable government need take into account" (quoted by Paul Johnson, Modern Times, (London:Orion Books, 1994), p.175).
Amos 7:17 reveals that Israel will be divided among the nations. Japan will, most likely, invade certain modern-day nations of Israel and take part of her people captive, especially Australia. [For Australia, it will probably be through an alliance with India and Indonesia; but Japan will most likely turn on India to make Australia a Japanese only controlled continent - at the same time Europe turns on Russia and the East?].
The state of moral decay in the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic regions of the Pacific will attract the shark-like instincts of Japan. Paul Johnson revealed:
"...there was another reason for [Japan] attacking China, which went to the roots of the Japanese dynamic impulse. 'They are peculiarly sensitive', wrote Kurt Singer, 'to the smell of decay, however well screened; and they will strike at the enemy whose core appears to betray a lack of firmness .... Their readiness, in the face of apparent odds, to attack wherever they can smell decomposition makes them appear as true successors of the Huns, Avars, Mongols and other "scourges of God".' This shark like instincts to savage the stricken had been proved sound in their assault upon Tsarist Russia. It was to be the source of their extraordinary gamble for Asian and Pacific paramountcy in 1941. Now, in the 1920s, it was to lead them irresistibly to China, where the stench of social and national gangrene was unmistakable" (Johnson, p.190).
THE FUTURE FROM HISTORY
"Whoever closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to the risks of new infection"
- (West) German President Richard Von Weizsacker in a historic speech to the Bundestag, 1985
(quoted by Hills, p.94).
Certain Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples, due to their continuing moral decline, will have the unfavourable experience of dwelling in the tents of Japheth. Japan's colonial experience of 'modern times', provides valuable insights into what it may be like.
Paul Johnson gives a succinct report of Japan's 'Rape of Nanking':
"For four weeks the streets of the city were given over to one of the largest-scale massacres in history. Men, women and children, said an eye-witness, 'were hunted like rabbits. Everyone seen to move was shot.' Some 20,000 male Chinese civilians of military age were marched out into the countryside and killed by bayoneting and machine-guns... The killings went on until 6 February 1938, and by then between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese were dead" (p.318).
One witness to the above "an American surgeon, described the slaughter as a "modern Dante's Inferno, written in huge letters with blood and rape"" (Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking, Book review in the SMH by Simon Caterson, November 7, 1998, Spectrum 10).
The Japanese also had their own version of the Nazi death camps. Journalist Ben Hills, in his article ASIA'S AUSCHWITZ: Inside Japan's Wartime Factory of Death, portrayed in graphic detail the horrors of one of these camps:
"For seven years, within the walls of what the Japanese high command innocuously named the No. 731 Water Purification Unit, the world's most immense experiment in biological warfare was carried out...
"Within those forbidding walls, more than 3,000 human guinea-pigs were put to death in the most frightful ways. Germs, distributed at random around the landscape, killed at least 250,000 more - a greater toll than Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together...
"Plague and cholera were the two most promising germs. But almost anything else that could kill was tried at one time or another - anthrax, typhoid, dysentery, tuberculosis, syphilis, salmonella, tetanus, gas gangrene (a horse disease), as well as electrocution, freezing to death, fugu fish poison, injections of air, phosgene gas and potassium cyanide.
"There were people who were sick, people with no arms, no legs. Everyone died within a month at the most...
"Unit 731 was, in fact, just one of 18 "death factories" throughout China, and in Thailand, Burma, Singapore, and possibly the Philippines and Indonesia" (Sydney Morning Herald of December 17, 1994).
Thankfully God has set limits on this time of trouble. At the end of this time of national punishment of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic and kindred peoples God will humble Japan and the nations and bring them to repentance:
"For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: ... and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of the man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:12, 16-17).
[In verse 16 "ships of Tarshish" refers primarily, which is the general sense, to magnificent merchant ships; and the "pleasant pictures", to complete the parallelism of the context, to a particular category of their cargo. F. Delitzsch opinions: "Possibly, however, there is a more especial reference to curiosities of art and nature, which were brought by the trading vessels from foreign lands" (C.F Keil & F. Delitsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, "Pentateuch", (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), Isaiah, p.81); see quote in 'extra notes'].
This may also be an indirect reference to the plundered wealth of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations. The Japanese allied with the Germans, based on deductive reasoning from the Bible and history would be the major alliance who is used by God to inflict national punishment on modern-day Jacob. Future Watch believe that the 1920s/1930s/1940s is a pattern for discerning the 1990s-2000s/2010s/2020s.
In a secondarily application of this verse, as an allusion, 'the ships of Tarshish' would then be considered a synecdoche, where the part is put for the whole, where they represent all merchant ships so that, in a specific sense, 'the ships of Tarshish' would then be Japanese merchant ships. See end-notes.
Tarshish will then be in the forefront in bringing the captives/remnant of modern-Jacob back to the land of Israel:
"Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, the silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee" (Isaiah 60:9).
"And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong" (Zechariah 8:13).
[The Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples will once again be the leading peoples of the world, never again to fall. The period of Pax Britannica and Pax Americana, for all its imperfections and faults is a type of the greater antitype in the World Tomorrow under God - where they will be a godly blessing to all of mankind - see the telescoping prophetic intent of Micah 5].
Japan and Spain will also learn to serve God:
"The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him" (Psalms 72:10-11).
Tarshish will have learnt this lesson so well that they will be shocked by Gog and Magog's intended folly so soon after "the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:19).
"Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, 'art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil" (Ezekiel 38:13).
Why will the Japanese, when they come to know God, serve Him so readily? Once again their national character provides the answer.
Firstly, religious activities, as previously mentioned, loom large in Japanese life. Fondness of "pilgrimages to traditional holy sites" (Chambers Encyclopaedia, New Revised Edition, (UK: Hazell Watson & Viney), Vol.8, p.34), will be a benefit in the future (cp. Zechariah 14:16).
Secondly, "Japan swings with astonishing promptness from enmity and self-assertion to friendship, conciliation, submissiveness, whenever she bites on granite" (Kurt Singer, Mirror, Sword and Jewel, (London: Croom Helm, 1973), p.40); (cp. Dan.2:33,44).
Thirdly, and more importantly, has been the Japanese "desire to adopt useful features of a higher civilization" (Chambers Encyclopaedia, Vol.8, p.41); (cp. Isaiah.2:2-3).
Japan/Tarshish is going to learn how 'useful' and beneficial it is, and ultimately for all mankind, to dwell peacefully in the tents of Shem. They will live in their own land under the figurative umbrella of the Shemitic nations.
(1) Ships of Tarshish
* Today the ships built by Tarshish/Japan comprise a major percentage of the world's fleet. Richard Walker in his book Japan, (1992), noted that:
"About half of all ships built throughout the world are made in Japan, which is now the world's biggest shipbuilding country. It has held this position for around 30 years... Recent years, however, have seen the rise of strong competition from other countries, especially South Korea."
Japan and South Korea now compete for the top spot where over the last decade they have each produced around 30% of world production.
* The Biblical portrayal of Israel and the Phoenicians as the builders of 'ships of Tarshish' does not necessarily contradict the far-future application of these shipbuilders.
* "These ships symbolized wealth and power. A vivid picture of the day of divine judgment was to portray the destruction of these large ships in that day (Psalm. 48:7; Isaiah. 2:16; 23:1,14). The fact that Isaiah 2:16 compares the ships of Tarshish with 'the pleasant places' (RSV 'beautiful craft') suggest whatever the original identification of Tarshish may have been, it became in literature and in the popular imagination a distant paradise from which all kinds of luxuries might be brought to such areas as Phoenicia and Israel" (J. A. Thomson, Tarshish, 'New Bible Dictionary', 2nd Edition, (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1985), p.1165). Today it is Japanese cars and electronic goods that are much sort after.
(2) General and specific interpretations of the Bible
"I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled" (Hosea 5:3).
The first part of this verse is a synonymous parallelism, [that is, where the phrases are parallel in thought], where Ephraim, the leading tribe of the northern house of Israel is used as a synecdoche for the whole northern nation. But the second part of the verse has a dual interpretation.
'Ephraim' in Hosea 5:3b may also be taken in a general sense to be in a synonymous parallelism with 'Israel' referring to the whole northern-nation. But it may also refer in a specific sense only to the tribe of Ephraim. This would then concur with Hosea 5:5 where Ephraim is distinguished from Israel, implying that they are the tribe most responsible for the idolatry of the nation as Lean J. Wood comments:
"Though Hosea often mentions Ephraim as representing all Israel ..., in this chapter the reference to those foremost in fornication is primarily to this tribe.The Bethel altar was in Ephraim, the centre of a religion not only corrupt ... but corrupting all Israel, also" (Hosea, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), Vol.7, p.190).
(3) Genesis 9:27 a key to understanding modern geo-politics?
* The leading peoples of continental Europe are the two Caucasian-type Japhethic peoples of Russia and France along with the Shemitic peoples of Germany. The geo-political interaction of these people with the British and Americans, as these nations have vied for world leader over the last two hundred years or so, has revolved around the prophecy of Genesis 9:25-27.
[The Dodanim, the descendants of Javan, a son of Japheth, appear to be the central French who comprise the majority stock and so Future Watch refers to the French as Japhethic; while Meshech, another son of Japheth, is the father of the Great Russians ].
God intended Israel - mainly through the British and Americans - to be the main-holder of the Shemitic umbrella over the nations of the world.
When the British put out their hand to hold that umbrella it was the Japhetic French that confronted them, not wanting to dwell peacefully in the tents of Shem. In the transition between Pax Britannica and Pax Americana the Germans tried to take hold of the umbrella. With the USA taking hold of it was the Japhetic Russians that challenged them.
In the near-future Germany in an alliance with France, and with them most likely having a non-aggression pact with Russia, will take hold of the umbrella of world dominance and destroy the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic and kindred peoples.
* It is interesting that the Shemitic-Germanic Franks were instrumental in laying the foundation of France and that it was most likely the Shemitic-Vikings did the same for Russia.
The Encyclopedia Britannica records that the Franks "established the most powerful Christian kingdom of early medieval western Europe. The name France (Francia) is derived from their name" (Britannia CD 99 Multimedia Edition, 19994-1999, Encyclopedia Britannica [EB], Inc, Frank).
The two ruling Frankish families were the Merovingian Dynasty followed by the Carolingian Dynasty. The Merovingian dynasty is "traditionally reckoned as the "first race" of the Kings of France" (EB, Merovingian Dynasty). The Merovingian Clovis I converted to Catholicism, encouraged by his wife Clotilda, the granddaughter of the king of Burgundy, and "ensured the triumph in Gaul of Roman Christianity over paganism and Arianism..." (EB, French History: Merovingian and Carolingian age).
Clovis established a "huge 'Merovingian' realm stretching from the Pyrenees to Bavaria... He died in his new capital Paris, after a reign of thirty years. Without knowing it, he had founded what Lavisse called 'not a nation, but a historical force' - a force which was destined to give rise both to France and to the German Empire" (Norman Davies, Europe: A History, (Oxford: OUP, 1996), p.234).
The Carolingian dynasty was named after Charles the Great who is also known as Charlemagne. His impact was such that "throughout medieval Europe, the person of Charles was considered the prototype of a Christian king and emperor" (EB, Charlemagne). The French claim him as an illustrious forebear. Friedrich Heer puts into perspective "the old claim of the French kings to be the true successors of Charles the Great". He says that "the 'true Franks' are not the 'German Franks' but the French. German princes became Franks <that is, Frenchmen> in virtue of their coronation in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), Charles' seat, or in Frankfort, Charles' city" (Friedrich Heer, The Holy Roman Empire, (London: Phoenix Giant, 1995), p.7).
Charlemagne's "empire disintegrated by the mid-9th century. In succeeding centuries the people of the west Frankish kingdom (France) continued to call themselves Franks, although the Frankish element merged with the older population" (EB, Frank).
* A similar pattern may be seen in Russian history. The Rus were "an ancient people who gave their name to the land of Russia. Their origin and identity are much in dispute. Traditional Western scholars believe them to be Scandinavian Vikings, an offshoot of the Varangians, who moved southward from the Baltic coast and founded the first consolidated state among the eastern Slavs, centred on Kiev" (EB, Ros).
The EB points out that Rurik was "the semilegendary founder of the Rurik dynasty of Kievan Rus". It records that "Rurik was a Viking, or Varangian prince. His story is told in the Russian Primary Chronicle (an account written in the 12th century and covering the period 852 to 110, (EB, Rus)) but is not accepted at face value by modern historians" (EB, Rurik). The EB also records: "Rurik dynasty, princes of Kievan Rus and, later, Muscovy who, according to tradition, were descendants of the Varangian prince Rurik, who had been invited by the people of Novgorod to rule that city (c. 862); the Rurik princes maintained their control over Kievan Rus and, later Muscovy until 1598" (EB, Rurik Dynasty).
Vladimir I (b.c.956 - d. July 15, 1015) of the Rurik dynasty "consolidated the provinces of Kiev and Novgorod in a single state" (EB, Vladmir I). Vladimir married Anne sister of the Byzantium Emperor and became a Christian. His Byzantium baptism "was followed by the acceptance of Christianity as the state religion" (EB, Russian Orthodox church).
Later "the Muscovites began to call their state by the Greek name for Rus', Rossiya (Russia), and to call themselves Russians. These Muscovite-Russians had never ruled over Kiev; but the disability did not prevent them from regarding Moscow as the sole legitimate heir of Kievan succession... Their tendentious version of history... persisted in confusing Muscovy-Russia with the whole of Rus'..." (Davies, p.392).
* It is also interesting that Shem means "name", probably of "renown". "In the OT...as in other ancient literature, the name of a person sometimes revealed his character, his personality, even his destiny" (GF. Hawthorne, Name, ISBE, Vol.3, p.483). The Shemitic peoples may then have a destiny in culture-creating:
"And they said, "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth"" (Genesis 11:4).
C.F. Kiel comments that to make a name: "denotes, here and everywhere else, to establish a name, or reputation, to set up a memorial (Isa 63:12,14; Jer 32:20, etc.). The real motive therefore was the desire for renown, and the object was to make a noted central point, which might serve to maintain their unity" (Keil & Delitzsch, p.109).
"Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth..." (Genesis 11:9).
"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great..." (Genesis 12:2).
John H. Sailmaker comments:
"...it is important to notice the position of the account of the building of Babylon... It is located between the two lines that are traced from Shem... that divide in the two sons of Eber (10:25)... Thus not only is the land divided in the confusion of languages (11:1), but, more fundamentally, two great lines of humanity diverge from the midst of the sons of Shem: those who seek to make a name (Shem) for themselves in the building of the city of Babylon (11:4) and those for whom God will make a name (Shem) in the call of Abraham (Gen 12:2)" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), Vol.2, pp.102-103).
(4) Dodanim/Genesis 10
* 'Dodanim' is a masucline plural noun, as indicated by the 'im' ending. The Dodanim are listed in the Table of Nations of Genesis 10. C.F. Kiel comments on the choice of designation for "the descendants of the different sons Noah":
"Some are brought down only to the second, others to the third or fourth generation, and some even further; and whilst in several instances the founder of a tribe is named, in others we have only the tribes themselves; and in some cases we are unable to determine whether the names given denote the founder or the tribe" (Keil & Delitzsch, p.102).
Copyright Future Watch Publications, 1997. Last update - 2010.