Prophecy Update: What Is the Overwhelming Scourge? :: By Gary Ritter

What if we’re wrong about the overwhelming scourge that will come against Israel? What if we’re looking in the wrong direction as to the nature of this source of trouble that will plague Israel in the latter days, and which the Antichrist will use as the means to effect or increase the seven-year covenant that initiates the Tribulation?

Now, in one sense, of course, from our perspective it doesn’t matter. We who love the Lord and trust in His goodness know that Jesus will take us out of here in the Rapture prior to these events. However, we who also love prophecy seek out answers and want to know more about the mysteries of God. This issue certainly lies within that scope.

Dave Hunt in A Woman Rides the Beast succinctly outlined the reason that the Catholic Church is undoubtedly the harlot who oversees the One-World Religion. With two billion Catholics and an extensive and successful ecumenical outreach, it’s hard to imagine any other religion overseeing this aspect of the Tribulation, especially Islam. There’s nothing ecumenical about that religion.

Bill Salus has taken this a step further in The Next Prophecies. He has proposed that in some measure Catholicism will morph into what it used to be. It will reach deep into its canons and laws and demand that the world after the Rapture follow its ways or suffer the consequences. The Catholic Church has a long, dark history of persecution against those who disagree with her. She could indeed resurrect that mindset as the lawlessness of a post-Rapture world coalesces.

The idea of an overflowing scourge comes from Isaiah 28:15-18 (ESV):

“Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter’; therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: Whoever believes will not be in haste. And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.’ Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.”

The idea is that Israel will make a covenant that results in a false security. Something is coming against Israel that causes great concern. The Antichrist steps in and brokers a new peace arrangement or increases one already in place. Israel is thrilled, thinking that for seven years she has escaped what has threatened to overwhelm her. But her hopes are dashed at the three-and-a-half-year mark when the Antichrist desecrates the temple and shows his true colors.

The question is: What is the overflowing scourge that the Antichrist in his deal with Israel prevents?

Is it the Catholic Church and her imposition of Catholicism upon the Jewish state? I’ve believed this for some time and, frankly, am not sure that my thesis outlined here is correct. However, as you’ll see, there are some factors at play which may argue for this idea.

A recent article in The Jerusalem Post titled: “Why is Israel outsourcing its national infrastructure to China?” illustrates why China could be the force behind the overflowing scourge. Israel has been awarding significant infrastructure projects to China. The one that came to light in recent months that causes much head scratching has to do with the Chinese company Shanghai International Port Group Co Ltd. (SIPG) that has a major contract to operate the new Haifa port once its construction has been completed. There are two problems with this:

One is that, like the many companies that are winning these major infrastructure contracts, SIPG is owned by the Chinese government. Quoting the article: “Israel is outsourcing its national infrastructure — ports, highways, tunnels, power plants, food companies — to one single entity: the People’s Republic of China.”

The second issue is that the Haifa port is where the U.S. docks the Navy’s Sixth Fleet. This has caused grave concern to our government given that China is an adversary. We have warned Israel that this arrangement causes “serious security concerns with respect to the leasing arrangement of the port of Haifa.”

Simply from a reasonable point of observation, why would Israel allow China to make such inroads into its infrastructure projects to the tune of more than $20 billion to date? Why would Israel risk straining her ties with the United States in such a manner? China is a communist country. It poses significant threats in more ways than one. Why would Israel make such deals with the devil?

Adding to these concerns, according to Haaretz-Premium, “China has committed to invest some $20 billion in the new capital [in Egypt] and has provided a $3 billion loan for building the city’s financial district.” Moreover, “Saudi Arabia, an ally of Washington, also has a full strategic alliance with China—a status equal to that of Iran, in which China invested some $27 billion between 2005 and 2018 and whose trade with Beijing reached a similar sum in 2017.”

It gets worse. Well-known financial analyst Jim Rickards has posited that there is a “New Axis of Gold” — China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. There is a theme that has caused significant concern for some years that the U.S dollar may lose its status as the world’s reserve currency. Based on how power structures have aligned, Rickards believes that these four nations may make a financial arrangement to completely sidestep the U.S. and the dollar in their trade dealings by basing their trade on a gold-backed crypto-currency standard — invitation only.

Now, doesn’t this become interesting? This new axis includes our old friends from Ezekiel 38 and China, which seems to play a major role in the Tribulation as the potential source of the armies crossing the Euphrates River from the east (Revelation 16:12).

Rickards outlines a sequence of escalating global hostilities. He says that history shows that currency wars escalate to trade wars, which inevitably lead to shooting wars. This occurred in the 1920s and 1930s as the world built toward World War II. The U.S. has been embroiled with China for some time in our concerns about its currency. Recently, trade disputes and tariffs have taken center stage. It’s probably a reasonable time to ask: When does the shooting begin?

None of us have any answers, but as observers of Bible prophecy, it’s not a bad idea for us to watch how this China situation plays out with Israel. Could this lead to the point in Ezekiel 38:13 where Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia), and the young lions, possibly the U.S among them, yawn at Israel’s distress?

China is a major player in global circles. It’s making dangerous deals with Israel and her neighbors that could come back to harm her. Is China the source of the overflowing scourge that eventually threatens Israel? It’s certainly a situation for us to watch and ponder.


Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church.  He is also a prolific author.  His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time.  All these books are also contained in the collected volume of the just-released Whirlwind Omnibus.  Gary has a standalone novel of supernatural suspense, The Tattooed Cat, and plans to release Alien Revelation – The Unveiling, the first novel in a new series The Sons of God Chronicles on September 4, 2019.  You can reach him via his website at or at his Facebook Author page at   You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube page – look for the fish symbol.