New Exodus Dialogues, Part 3 – The Israel of God

New Covenant Israel is made up of those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, regardless of their genetic background. The true “Israel of God” is therefore made up of both Jews and Gentiles united in “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). This was also taught by Jesus Himself in John 10:14-16:

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Jesus is clear that “sheep” outside of Israel will be brought into God’s flock, and Jesus Himself is the shepherd of this one new flock. Paul discusses this controversial issue at great length in the book of Galatians, doing his best to clarify that physical circumcision is no longer important in the New Covenant where the boundaries of God’s restored covenant people are no longer dictated by the Law of Moses, but by faith in Jesus. Paul ends his letter by referring to all those who believe in Jesus as “the Israel of God.”

This definition of the “Israel of God” is disputed by dispensationalists who teach that “Israel” always means the genetic descendants of Abraham, and therefore the “Israel of God” must mean genetic descendants of Abraham who also believe in Jesus. Yet as far back as John the Baptist, who warned the Pharisees that God could raise up stones as children of Abraham (Matt. 3:9 ), this narrow view of “Israel” was rejected for the coming Kingdom Age.

Here is how Bible scholar Alistair Donaldson deals with this particular issue in his short and concise book, The Last Days of Dispensationalism, pages 17-19:

——-

…in the Ryrie Study Bible notes for Galatians 6:16, [Charles] Ryrie explains the meaning of the phrase “the Israel of God” in this way:

the Israel of God. I.e., the Christian Jews, those who are both the physical and spiritual seed of Abraham.

Ryrie has in this explanation given the word Israel a meaning that betrays the demands of his literal principle of interpretation. He has in fact redefined the meaning of the word Israel by restricting its referents to only those who are both bloodline descendants of Abraham and are Christians. Non-Christian Israelites and Israelites not physically of Abrahamic descent are excluded. This is not the normal or plain everyday use of the word Israel. Not only has he violated his own interpretive principle and his claim to the consistent application of it, he also appears not to have considered how the immediate literary context clarifies for readers how Paul is using the term “the Israel of God” in this instance —a meaning quite different to what Ryrie suggests. When the context provides meaning in this way we are not at liberty to supply a different meaning. Context reveals that believing Jews have already been included in the words “all who follow this rule.” To follow Ryrie’s interpretation would have us read the verse [Gal. 6:16] as follows:

“Peace and mercy be upon Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles —that is, all who walk by this rule— and upon the Christian Jews.”

This makes no sense and in fact makes the phrase under discussion completely redundant. The sad irony here is that the passage containing this phrase is concerned to show that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (i.e. being Israelite are non-Israelite) is of any relevance. For Ryrie to impose such a distinction is counter to the purpose of the text in that it sets up a distinction whereas the text seeks to remove such a distinction.

It seems that Ryrie’s interpretation is concerned to maintain his commitment to the dispensational distinction between Israel and the church and yet to do so he has had to sacrifice his commitment to the basis of his belief system, that is, a consistently applied literal hermeneutic.  It appears out of the question for Ryrie to consider the possibility that “Israel” in this context could be a reference to all believers—a legitimate understanding whereby the phrase functions as a clarifying descriptor of the “all who walk by this rule”.  If Ryrie was to be faithful to the literal, normal, and everyday usage principle, he in fact should understand the word Israel as a reference to Israel the nation, but this would have the meaning of pronouncing blessing on Christian Israelites, Christian Gentiles, and upon “the Israelites”—yet “the Israelites” would include the Christian Israelites already mentioned.  Again the phrase “the Israel of God” becomes unnecessary.  Further, it would see Paul pronouncing blessing on the very people he has, in the context of the entire letter to the Galatians, excluded from blessing—that is, those who regarded circumcision as an identity marker of the people of God.  In effect Paul would be extending a blessing to as many as walk by this rule (of circumcision not counting for anything) and as many as don’t follow this rule (circumcision counts for something)—and would therefore be both nonsense and contrary to his entire line of reasoning.  The “normal usage” meaning is just not possible in this use of the word Israel.  Its intended meaning or referent must be found by other considerations.

——-

Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Davidic King, who today rules over the heavenly Jerusalem. You can’t be “in Him” and yet be “out” of Israel. Is this view properly called “replacement theology”? Not a chance! It’s not about Gentiles or “the Church” replacing Israel, rather it is all about Gentiles coming in and adding to Israel, expanding its borders so that God’s salvation may encompass all the nations of the world!

 

 

New Exodus Dialogues, Part 2 – Resurrection

In the Old Testament the hope of resurrection was a central component of the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL and the prophets looked to the resurrection as a one-time event at the end of the age. However, in the New Testament we find that Jesus was the first to fulfill the promise of resurrection for Israel as the first-fruits of the resurrection of the righteous (Acts 26:23, 1 Cor. 15:20). Jesus paved the way for the two-part resurrection of all who would put their faith in Him. Every believer first experiences a SPIRITUAL resurrection by being born again when they are inhabited by the Spirit of God (John 5:24, Romans 8:11), yet we also look forward to the total PHYSICAL resurrection that will yet take place at the very end of the age.

When we read the book of Acts we find that the Apostles recognized and preached that the end of the age had come! The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand and Jesus Christ the King reigned from the right hand of the Father in Heaven! The age of resurrection had come, and the prophesies of the Old Testament concerning Israel’s restoration were being fulfilled in their midst. The Kingdom had arrived, yet God’s people still looked forward to the coming of the Kingdom in its fullness. There was an overlap of the ages that was not explicitly predicted in the Old Testament, as the old world was passing away and submitting to the global takeover of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God was already, but not yet.

This simple concept of inaugurated, but not yet consummated, eschatology, is crucial to properly understanding the Kingdom of God. And of course we must understand the Kingdom because the coming of the Kingdom of God was the central message that Jesus was appointed to deliver. If we get the central message of Jesus wrong then we will completely misunderstand the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL.

Mark 1:14-15, “…Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'”

Luke 4:42-43, “I must preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God… for I was sent for this purpose.”

Now we will turn to a brief overview of a few Old Testament texts concerning the resurrection of Israel. Within these texts it is easy to pick out the events that were inaugurated by Jesus, and those which yet remain to be consummated at the very end of the age. This commentary comes from “The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan,” by Alan J. Thompson, Kindle edition, location 670-682:

——-

In Ezekiel 37 a day is anticipated when God’s people will have God’s Spirit (37:14), return from exile (37:21), be united again (37:22), experience cleansing from sin and enablement to keep God’s commands (37:23-24), and live under the reign of a new David (37:24-25). This is a time when God will fulfil the goal of his covenant promises to his people: he will dwell among them and be their God and they will be his people (37:23, 26-27). This ultimate restoration of God’s people and fulfilment of God’s promises is characterized as nothing less than a resurrection from the dead. The dry bones represent the people of Israel and the departure of their ‘hope’ (37:11). Corpses rise, new life is breathed in and God’s people will know that the Lord has spoken and that he has done it (37:13-14). As Schreiner observes, although there are complex issues in Ezekiel 37, it is clear that ‘resurrection signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises, the inauguration of the age to come — the restoration of exile and the return of Israel.

Likewise, Isaiah 26 anticipates a time when the proud city of those who do evil will be levelled to the ground in judgment (26:5); in fact this judgment will come to the whole earth (26:9, 21). In contrast to this, the city of salvation for those who trust in the Lord will be strong and characterized by peace (26:1-4, 12-15). The language of ‘your zeal for your people’ and ‘you have enlarged the nation’ (26:11, 15) indicates that God’s covenant promises are also in view here. Those who take part in this city of salvation, however, include the dead, as corpses will rise and shout for joy (26:19).

Similarly, Daniel 12 looks ahead to the time when some will rise to everlasting life and others to shame and everlasting contempt. There will be judgment for some; while others, like Daniel, ‘at the end of the days’, will rise to receive their allotted inheritance (Dan. 12:1-3, 13). Those who will be delivered are those whose names are in ‘the book'; that is, those who are in a covenant relationship with God (11:32, 12:1).

In each case, the resurrection is bodily, is clearly God’s doing, is reserved for the end of the age and is associated with the onset of the age to come, the culmination of the promises of blessings for God’s people. Israel will be reunited, restored, forgiven and blessed with God’s presence. There was not, of course, an expectation that there would be any overlap of the ages. It was expected that, with the resurrection at the end and the onset of blessings for God’s people, there will be judgment for the wicked and the end of ‘the old age.’ This, we could say, was ‘the hope of Israel’.

——-

There are many who teach that Ezekiel 37 predicted the restoration of Israel as a nation on May 14, 1948. Yet the Apostles and the early followers of Jesus saw this Scripture fulfilled at Pentecost. Many also view Isaiah 66:8 (“Can a nation be brought forth in a day?”) as applying to Israel’s Independence Day in 1948. Yet Isaiah is clearly speaking in spiritual terms and the spiritual “sons of Zion” referred to by Isaiah can only refer to the true followers of Jesus who are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem! The spiritual resurrection and rebirth of Israel did not occur in 1948, rather it occurred on the day of Pentecost in 33 AD!

The Apostle Peter was an eyewitness to this amazing event, when the Old Testament predictions given by Ezekiel, Isaiah and Joel, of the coming of the Spirit to Israel, marking the nation’s spiritual rebirth and spiritual resurrection, were fulfilled. Yes, indeed, a nation was born in a day! And here is how Peter described this new Spirit-filled nation:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

For the early followers of Jesus the New Exodus path of salvation was a journey with a future destination, and not a point that was already arrived at, as God’s people heeded the call to come out of Babylon, making their way through the spiritual wilderness of this dark world and heading for the final promised land of the New Jerusalem. That is why Peter goes on to describe the citizens of God’s chosen nation as “sojourners and exiles” in this world.

Just as Ezekiel 37:24 predicted, the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL is right now in progress because the Davidic King now reigns from the heavenly Zion that is the final destination of restored Israel’s New Exodus! The enthronement of the Davidic King (Jesus) is acknowledged throughout the New Testament, and is emphasized by James, quoting from Amos 9:11-12, in Acts 15:16-18.

The RESTORATION OF ISRAEL has begun, but it is not yet complete. The spiritual resurrection of God’s nation has taken place, but the total resurrection of God’s people is still in the future. Even as Abraham looked to a promised land that is not of this world (Hebrews 11:10-16), we too look ahead to a promised land in the New Heaven and New Earth, which is the fulfillment of what Isaiah had to say about the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL in Isaiah 66:22.

Restored Israel is much bigger than what many of us have been led to believe. Yes, God keeps His promises, but He reserves the right to far exceed our expectations!

 

New Exodus Dialogues, Part 1

If you were to read the Old Testament alone, what would you conclude about the end of the story?

Genesis begins with the fall of mankind, and then only a few chapters later Abraham is brought into the story as the key player in the redemption of the world. The story of Abraham quickly evolves into the story of Israel, which becomes a nation under the direction and guidance of Moses. Yet it would seem that even the plan to redeem the world through Israel goes wrong near the end of the Old Testament, because we hear Isaiah and Jeremiah both pronouncing God’s judgment upon the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.

Yet the Old Testament does give us a picture of what the final result will be, not only for Israel but for all the peoples of the world. I submit to you that from the Old Testament we find that the redemption of the entire world is something that is predicted to be accomplished within God’s plan for the restoration of Israel.

Yes, the Old Testament story of the fall of man, ending with mankind’s ultimate redemption, culminates with the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL which is accomplished on a global scale through the grace and mercy of God in response to Israel’s heartfelt repentance.

This final and ultimate RESTORATION OF ISRAEL is predicted first by Moses in Deuteronomy 30:1-6. It was Moses who predicted that after Israel was scattered to the nations because of disobedience, if they turned back to God in repentance, then God would forgive them, gather them back to their land, and circumcise their hearts. Here Moses was predicting a New Exodus, an exodus not just from one nation (Egypt), but this time a global exodus from all the nations of the world.

The final RESTORATION OF ISRAEL is also predicted by Isaiah, even as he pronounced judgment on Israel during his lifetime and witnessed the Assyrian captivity. Isaiah 60-62 speaks of this ultimate restoration as well as the final two chapters of his prophetic message in Isaiah 65-66. Isaiah was very clear that the end of the age would culminate with the restoration of Israel as the climactic event for the world.

The prophet Jeremiah also predicted the final RESTORATION OF ISRAEL. His ministry was focused on the southern kingdom of Judah and he witnessed the Babylonian captivity. His prediction of seventy years of exile in Babylon is very well known, but it must also be understood that his predictions for the ultimate end-time restoration of Israel go far beyond the return from exile that was undertaken by Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Joshua and Zerubbabel. Jeremiah had much more in mind when he predicted the regathering and restoration of Israel as the culminating end-time event (read Jer. 23 and Jer. 30-33), which would be accomplished in tandem with the catastrophic fall of Babylon described in Jeremiah 50-51.

Daniel and Ezekiel were prophets who ministered during the Babylonian exile. Daniel received a prophecy in 9:24-27 that speaks specifically of Jerusalem and God’s holy people that culminates with desolation and destruction (v.27). Daniel’s story concludes with a description of Jerusalem as the capital city of the Antichrist (11:45), which would involve the purging and refining of God’s people, culminating with the resurrection (12:2). Certainly Daniel viewed the climax of history as the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL.

Ezekiel’s predictions end the same way. The last ten chapters of Ezekiel, from 39:25 to 48:35, are all focused on God’s great end-time restoration of Israel where Ezekiel is given a glimpse of a great temple where all the nations of the world worship and where even Gentiles serve as priests. Another important point about Ezekiel is that he was shown a vision of the Shekinah Glory of the Lord leaving the Temple (Ezekiel 10, at a time prior to the Babylonian destruction of the Temple), yet he was also shown a vision of the Glory of God returning to the end-time Temple in Ezekiel 43. For Ezekiel we can be sure that the end of the story culminates with the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL.

The minor prophets of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Zechariah and Malachi, etc., also viewed the end of history as the glorious RESTORATION OF ISRAEL. Zechariah and Malachi both prophesied at a time after many of the exiles had returned from Babylon, yet they did not presume to say that the prophesies of Israel’s restoration had been fulfilled. No indeed! They still looked forward to this great move of God, and this attitude prevailed even to the time of Jesus. Yes, the seventy years of Babylonian captivity had been completed and the captives had been released, but so much more had not been accomplished, including the return of the Glory of God to the Temple and, more importantly, the heart-felt repentance of Israel that Moses had given as the crucial pre-condition for God’s restoration of Israel from the nations.

The final Old Testament writer was Malachi, and he yearned for the end-times restoration of Israel. Malachi was given a revelation that God would shortly begin the process of restoration, but with it Malachi was also given a WARNING! He wrote in expectation of the restoration of Israel (which is what all the people wanted), but he also warned the people that they needed to repent because when God appeared to begin the process He would also appear as a judge, and many of Israel’s sinners would perish as the process of restoration was put into motion:

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
(Malachi 3:1-4)

When we turn to the pages of the New Testament we see that the prophecies of Isaiah 40:1-4 and Malachi 3:1 were fulfilled in the preaching of John the Baptist. If we can truly recognize this then we can see that John the Baptist’s ministry, from beginning to end, was all about the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL. He was the one sent by God to prepare Israel for the appearance of the Lord who would enter into history to bring about Israel’s restoration.

This truth about John the Baptist, which is rather uncontroversial, leads directly into some very controversial questions about Jesus of Nazareth, the One pointed to by John the Baptist.

If all of the Old Testament prophets focused on the restoration of Israel, and if John the Baptist focused on the restoration of Israel, and if we know that all the Old Testament and John the Baptist pointed directly to Jesus of Nazareth, then how can we NOT conclude that the entire ministry of Jesus Christ is simply all about the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL, from beginning to end, and even NOW as He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven?

Just take a look at the two final chapters of the New Testament in Revelation 21-22. What do we see there? We see a beautiful and glorious picture of the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL, named as the New Jerusalem, with the gates of the city named after the twelve tribes of Israel and the foundation stones named after the twelve Apostles.

Yes, I think that both Old and New Testaments agree that the story of redemption culminates with the RESTORATION OF ISRAEL, which is a process that was begun about 2000 years ago by Jesus of Nazareth, and has been continuing uninterrupted ever since then.

The Second Coming of the Antichrist – free download

In the New Testament there are several characteristics given for the end-times Antichrist who is depicted as the Beast from the Abyss in the book of Revelation.

In Revelation 17 he is identified as one of seven kings who will appear again on the global stage as an eighth king. He “once was” and “now is not,” which means that he once existed in the past and will re-appear again in the future at the end of the age.

In Revelation 13 the Antichrist is first introduced as a dead head, which symbolically represents a dead king, after which this king is resurrected to life causing the entire unbelieving world to be astonished! Revelation 13:14 tells us that this king had been “slain by the sword” long ago prior to his end-times resurrection and rise to power. Revelation 17:8 tells us that the soul of the Antichrist is currently in the Abyss, out of which his soul will rise when he is resurrected.

According to the Apostle Paul in 2 Thess. 2 the coming of the Antichrist will involve a strong delusion and will be “by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing.” Paul goes on to predict that the career of this “man of lawlessness” will come to an end when the Lord Jesus kills him “with the breath of His mouth.” Yet Revelation 19:20 shows that the Antichrist, named as the Beast, will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire after Jesus returns? How can this apparent contradiction concerning the fate of the Antichrist be resolved?

My book, The Second Coming of the Antichrist, is based on three years of intense study of biblical texts, ancient history, religion, mythology and archaeology. The missing link in the many teachings concerning the Antichrist that are popular today is the shadowy Old Testament figure known as Asshur, who is a figure who appears first in Genesis, and then later on in the writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Micah. Isaiah 14:20 describes him as the “evil seed” and Isaiah 30:33 predicts that he will be destroyed by the “breath of the Lord” at the end of the age. Ezekiel 31 describes the original fall of Asshur, and Ezekiel 32 describes Asshur as an inhabitant of the Abyss who had been slain by the sword long ago (v.22). Furthermore, Hosea 13:7-8 describes Asshur as the end-times enemy of Israel attacking like a lion, leopard, bear and beast in an apparent fore-shadow of both Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. Lastly, Micah 5:5 describes Asshur as the enemy that must be defeated by the Messiah in order to rescue end-times Israel.

In short, if the historical identity of Asshur can be discovered, then we can know the identity of the Antichrist.

The book was published in the Summer of 2012 and, contrary to the wishes of Tom Horn the publisher, I held out for a very plain black and white cover, even though Tom warned that this would greatly cut into our commercial success. Tom Horn’s concerns have been validated and book sales have languished. The upside to all of this, however, is that Tom Horn has graciously agreed to allow me to offer the book for free in PDF format.

Go to here to download the free PDF or to order the paperback or kindle versions of the book.

And by all means, please forward this blog post to anybody that might be interested in this subject!

The book may never be a commercial success, but this means little to me because there are many more important ways by which to measure “success.”

In the meantime I will continue to study the great eschatological theme of the New Exodus, and continue to show how it is helping to fine-tune my view of the Antichrist and re-shape my understanding of the end-times purpose for the Church.

Peter Goodgame

Kailua, Hawaii

(In between hurricanes Iselle and Julio)

 

 

Defending the Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

I’ve just posted a review of John MacArthur’s anti-charismatic book, Strange Fire. The review is written by a pastor I met here in Honolulu a few years ago named Dennis Balcombe. I had first heard of Balcombe in the Darren Wilson film Finger of God that devoted a segment to document the move of the Holy Spirit in the underground church in China. While attending Balcombe’s meetings I was blown away by even more testimony of this man’s life, his commitment to the Gospel, and the amazing things that he has witnessed in China during his 45+ years of ministry from his church in Hong Kong. Since then I have also read his autobiography, One Journey, One Nation, which came out in 2011.

Balcombe pulls no punches and goes after MacArthur’s narrow-minded and anti-biblical cessationist views right from the start. To read what he has to say, and to hear a few stories of how he has seen the Holy Spirit move, go to his review which I have posted here:

http://www.redmoonrising.com/globalmovement.htm

After reading the article be sure to take time to watch the brief video biography of Dennis Balcombe that I have embedded at the bottom of the page, and then feel free to post any comments back here on the blog.

“…grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”     -Acts 4:29-30

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Peter Goodgame
www.redmoonrising.com

 

 

What is Faith?

Recently my friend Rick Cramer encouraged me to read a short book called “The Real Faith” written back in 1940 by a minister named Charles S. Price. This little book has blessed and inspired me greatly and I encourage everyone to take some time to read it.

A short biography of Charles Price can be found here.

Click here to read or download “The Real Faith” as a pdf file.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

Aloha,

Peter Goodgame
www.redmoonrising.com
Kailua, Hawaii

China and the Merchants of Babylon

Capitalism is the social system of Babylon the Great and her merchants are the world’s great men (Rev. 18:23) . Together the merchants (global corporations) and their puppet-kings (so-called “democratically elected” leaders) who rule Babylon preside over the world’s great end times Maximum Temptation Delivery System, a system in which the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) are all shamelessly promoted and given free reign. For more evidence of this reality that so many professing Christians are blind to go here: http://www.redmoonrising.com/capitalism.html

There are many voices today in the media crying about the imminent fall of the USA and the West  to the emerging power of China. This might make sense if you still view the world in terms of nationalism and look merely to “governments” as the source of power. But we live in a new world today, and as Revelation 18 predicted, there are many global power-brokers on the scene who exist above and apart from national governments. These are the great merchants of the earth, known to us as global corporations, who today wield extraordinary power around the globe. If we recognize these powers as existing alongside or above national governments, sometimes controlling them and often opposing them, then we can get a better idea of how things may work out in the future.

Here’s just the opening few paragraphs of a good article that looks at China’s future in the face of the Western corporate behemoth:. The rest of the article can be found here: http://newleftreview.org/II/87/sean-starrs-the-chimera-of-global-convergence

——

It has become a staple of conventional wisdom that global economic power is shifting inexorably towards the East and the South. Many insist that we are on the brink of a world-historic rebalancing that will result in the end of Western domination and the rise of a new hegemony. In particular, the emergence of China on the world stage—or re-emergence, if one has a longer time-scale in mind—is seen as heralding the dawn of an ‘Asian Century’. Yet this narrative of Western decline is misleading, above all because it greatly exaggerates the fading of the US as the world’s leading capitalist power. In fact, the contemporary rise of so-called ‘emerging markets’ poses even less of a challenge to US leadership than the revival of Western Europe and Japan in the post-war decades. There is already evidence to suggest that the growth rates of these markets may have peaked around 2011, without altering their basic dependence on commodity exports to Western economies (with the partial exception of China). The road towards convergence between the West and the Rest is a great deal rockier than most commentators believe, and there is no certainty about the outcome.

For the most part, debates on these questions lack a solid empirical foundation. Many of the scholars who conduct serious research in this area are hampered by a methodology that has become anachronistic in the age of global capitalism, one that equates national power with national accounts—GDP above all, but also balances of trade and payments, shares of world manufacturing and so on—as if we still lived in a world of nationally discrete political economies. Whether or not the equation ‘GDP = power’ was meaningful in the 1950s, the globalization of capital in recent decades has clearly rendered it problematic. When a substantial, often growing proportion of economic activity within a country’s borders is directed by foreign capitalists, we need to rethink the way that we measure national power—which does not mean that the concept itself is now irrelevant, as some have argued, since power is still nationally organized and concentrated.

It is useful in this respect to compare the past rise of Japan with the present rise of China. When Japanese electronics and automobiles began flooding Western markets in the 1960s and 70s, this was reflected both in a rising Japanese trade surplus and GDP and in the strengthening of Japan’s major corporations, many of which became household names. China, meanwhile, has seen its trade accounts and GDP soar in the age of globalization, and has become the world’s biggest exporter of electronics since 2004. Yet this growth has not been matched by the emergence of Chinese firms as world leaders in the field. Ninety per cent of what China Customs classifies as high-technology exports is actually produced by foreign-owned companies. [1] Thus, while an increasing share of global manufacturing takes place in the PRC, much of this production is controlled, directly or indirectly, by outside interests. The contrast with Japan’s earlier ascent is stark. Any survey of global economic power must therefore take account of this shift, which means focusing our attention on the world’s leading transnational corporations.

——