Will Humanity Perish in a New Nuclear Age?

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Will Humanity Perish in a New Nuclear Age?

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How dangerous is our world today? Global security, warned U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey in mid-2015, “is as uncertain as I’ve seen in 40 years.” Drawing from direct experience gained from the Vietnam War and on through two Gulf Wars, the general summed it up: 21st-century American military might has fallen to “the bottom edge of our manageable risk.”

The Bible—a remarkable collection of ancient and authoritative writings—reveals actionable knowledge that explains why we’re in this present position and how we got here.

Can we expect to survive under such global uncertainty in a world bristling with weapons of mass destruction? The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is a confident yes. But before we explore the underlying reason for this confidence, let us first see what we face.

A world under dire threats

The bewildering risks referred to by Gen. Dempsey include emerging Armageddon-style threats all over the planet. Here’s a short summary:

• A nuclear saber-rattling Russia today parks a new generation of mobile atomic battlefield weapons on Europe’s borders.

• China blasts American inaction as North Korea builds a fully functional nuclear arsenal and tests submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

• As Iran single-mindedly pursues nuclear-weapons technology and missiles to deliver such weaponry, a nervous Saudi Arabia threatens to weaponize its civil nuclear technology platform.

• Mistrust and paranoia govern nuclear policy in India and Pakistan—foes who have already fought several wars in recent decades.

• A Russian newscaster boasts that the former Soviet Rodina (or Motherland) is readily capable of pounding its long-time Yankee foe into “radioactive ash.”

Ominously, there’s more. State and non-state terrorists have come into thermonuclear play. Maddeningly, global officials are “unsure” as to the degree that Nuclear Material Unaccounted For (MUF) exists—including fissionable uranium and plutonium unaccounted for or outright lost. With more than 400 known incidents of theft or loss of nuclear material since 1993, some estimates claim that the world is literally awash in bomb-grade MUF available to terrorists for “small” weapon construction or “dirty bomb” contamination!

A devastating new Dark Age?

Experts solemnly warn that small-scale nuclear weapons detonated in the atmosphere high above unprepared American, Russian or European populations could trigger a new, fearsome and near-instantaneous Dark Age with a paralyzing nuclear-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Various scenarios include a surprise attack launched by small ships in commercial harbors or through illicit drug trade routes, or simply from an ordinary-looking freighter in international waters several miles off the coast. Such a devastating detonation could instantaneously knock out entire electrical power grids across vast areas for a year or more.

Except for some specially protected military and government equipment and installations, anything connected to the electrical grid might be internally “fried” by a high-energy pulse and become useless.

It could mean that virtually all trucks, trains, cars and planes would be instantly immobile and inoperable, severing critical food-supply chains. A disabled electrical system means that irreplaceable fresh water supplies would be cut to zero across whole regions. Anything run by or relying on computers would cease to function, including the Internet. Radios and televisions would be useless.

With electricity nonexistent and food supplies cut off, millions would quickly starve, and millions more would freeze with the onset of winter. Vulnerable elderly and those dependent on medications would die swiftly, cut off from critical aid. With the disappearance of medical supplies and modern sanitation and health care, diseases would make a deadly comeback.

One federal report darkly notes that a successful widespread EMP attack against the continental United States could result in more than 280 million deaths—90 percent of the present U.S. population—in just the first year. Ironically, there would be no direct blast damage. Society, bereft of modern and necessary support, would simply rip itself to pieces as survivors desperately tried to fend for themselves.

The upshot? “Nuclear terrorism is the most serious danger the world is facing,” states Mohamed El Baradei, former International Atomic Energy Agency director and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, adds: “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.”

Is it little wonder that South Korea, one of the most technologically advanced nations on earth, moved to a state of high alert in 2015, urging its citizens to “be ready to go to war tonight”?

All of this, plus other potential catastrophic global issues, led the editors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to reset the famous Doomsday Clock earlier this year to a symbolic “three minutes to midnight”—midnight symbolizing global catastrophe that could end civilization. 

Is there a way out?

Despite the hope-sapping reality of this nuclear age, we can have confidence that humanity will indeed survive its manmade atomic fate. Perhaps surprisingly, one ancient source has consistently warned of the cumulative march toward global destruction, with the first such account recorded more than 3,000 years ago.

And the same source delivers incredibly good news! Beyond that prophesied dark future comes a time of unparalleled peace, cutting short the insanity of a power-addicted mankind. Humanity is headed toward radioactive catastrophe for a reason, as we shall shortly see.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, sitting across the Kidron Valley from the Jerusalem temple, Jesus Christ had much to say to His disciples about our present time. Here on the Mount of Olives He gave His longest recorded prophecy, outlining the sequence of events that would lead up to a cataclysmic era, an amazing time wherein tumultuous, mind-razing upheaval would dissolve into the spectacular establishment of the long-awaited Kingdom of God.

This Kingdom, the ultimate hope of all mankind, will be ushered in with Jesus Christ’s open triumphal return to the very mountain from which He was then speaking.

But before that marvelous day, a deceived and nearly mad society would froth up to engulf the world in what Jesus described as a demonically driven “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout). The New International Version makes the level of prophesied devastation even plainer: This time is “never to be equaled again.”

The scale of this prophesied “great tribulation” defies the capacity of the human mind to comprehend. It transcends the expressive ability of human language, requiring biblical writers to use simple similes and metaphors of “like” and “as” to describe its staggering magnitude.

The apostle John may have found it a challenge as he attempted to faithfully record the prophesied sequence of this terrible time: “The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll …” (Revelation 6:12-14 Revelation 6:12-14 [12] And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; [13] And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. [14] And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

Even costly computer-generated special effects and movie digital animation cannot adequately express the prophesied devastation that awaits a deceived and rebellious world!

But here again is good news! These same prophecies promise astonishing deliverance and redemption. As Jesus related the sequence of end-time events on the Mount of Olives, He calmly assured His disciples: “If those days [of great tribulation] had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect [His spiritually called-out true disciples] those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

So we have the unbreakable promise of Jesus Christ Himself that humanity will not end in a nuclear holocaust. The simple earthly presence of the very children of God—those who’ve humbly accepted the calling to be heirs and recipients of God’s amazing promises—will prevent global human extinction. Through many authoritative statements, the Bible clearly shows that at the last moment, when a crazed humanity totters on the brink of gruesome annihilation, God will send Jesus as King of Kings to forcibly intervene. The human race will not be utterly vaporized in an atomic furnace.

Pulling the nuclear trigger

But prior to that intervention, the Bible employs powerful language and imagery that indicates that mankind will pull the nuclear trigger in what the Bible calls “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×

Ezekiel 6:6 Ezekiel 6:6In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
American King James Version×
warns the end-time nations of Israel, which includes the United States and Britain, “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste” (see our free study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy). Revelation 9:15 Revelation 9:15And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
American King James Version×
mentions a third of mankind being killed, and nuclear war seems a likely reason. And there could well be smaller nuclear strikes or terrorist incidents before this global conflagration.

As current news analysts presently debate, experts don’t fear that a nuclear exchange will commence with the United States and Russia first hurling unspeakable thermonuclear devastation at each other. Far more likely is for small terrorist groups or smaller nations—without the complex safeguards possessed by larger nations—to launch a volley of atomic death. As is well known, before his death al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden ordered his followers to secure a tactical nuclear weapon to use against the West.

So what do we have? Speaking before the assembled Congress of the United States on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thundered: “The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.” He further warned that current events could “spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet … And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.” 

This echoes critical biblical prophecies, where previously small and militarily inconsequential nations unexpectedly arm themselves with devastating power. The prophet Joel foretold this: “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10 Joel 3:10Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
American King James Version×

What would be the effect of a “small” exchange? As the nuclear disasters of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl and the recent Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in Japan eloquently demonstrate, the world remains woefully unprepared to deal with even a single nuclear catastrophe.

On the Internet you can find the heartrending film clips of the World War II atomic aftermaths—burned and suffering Japanese children and other civilians. The radioactive fallout from the melted Soviet reactor core at Chernobyl bloomed thousands of miles across Europe and Asia, boosting a plume of cesium-137, strontium- 90 and other radioactive particulates over multiple nations. Floating radioactive slag presently drifts across the Pacific from the Fukushima nuclear plant, destroyed by a tsunami caused by an earthquake.

The 1954 Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific soberly illustrated the long-range potential trauma from radioactive fallout, lethally contaminating a Japanese fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon (Daigo Fukuryu Maru), nearly 100 miles away from the test blast. The entire crew suffered from severe radiation sickness. Aikichi Kuboyama, the radio operator, died. The first to die from a hydrogen thermonuclear blast, he left these words: “I pray that I am the last victim of an atomic or hydrogen bomb.”

Yet the nuclear stage is expanding. National security agencies of many nations worry about unprotected ports. At any given moment thousands of ocean-going container ships crisscross the seas carrying hundreds of thousands of large freight containers, most large enough to carry a nuclear device. Various formal studies and scenarios point to upwards of $1 trillion in devastating economic impact and severe disruption from a single terrorist nuclear incident.

The roots of coming destruction

Of course, these facts leave us with some serious questions. How did humanity get to this point in the first place? Why does God allow such evil potential to even exist? And why would God, who is defined by love

(1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
), allow the mind-numbing deaths of multiple millions of people in the future?

An incinerating radioactive fireball is certainly not God’s desire for humanity eternal future!

So what does God intend?

The late Jonathan Schnell, a respected journalist and analyst, provided remarkable insight during the first Cold War in his then-highly popular book The Fate of the Earth. During the early 1980s, many feared that nuclear war between the Soviet Union and America was not only possible but probable. Schnell captured this important thought:

The possible “extinction by nuclear arms,” he wrote, “… would be the utterly meaningless and completely unjust destruction of mankind by men. To imagine that God is guiding our hand in this action would quite literally be the ultimate evasion of our responsibility as human beings—a responsibility that is ours because … we possess a free will that was implanted in us by God” (emphasis added).

That points up the root cause of the coming “great tribulation” that will be fueled in part by deranged nuclear conflict. It also carries the core of the solution. Let’s briefly take a look at this background.

The Bible—a remarkable collection of ancient and authoritative writings—reveals actionable knowledge that explains why we’re in this present position and how we got here. Thankfully, it shows the way out, a way to a marvelous and breathtaking future. These ancient writings authoritatively reveal an all-powerful God who acts deliberately.

According to His plan, nearly 6,000 years ago God presented His creation with a choice. As the book of Genesis records, God created human beings with the capacity for free will. He gave them then—as He continues to do today—the capacity to make decisions for themselves. Back then, again as He does today, He provides critical instruction and literal commands that lead directly to peace, prosperity and an abundant life.

As most are familiar, the first human beings Adam and Eve misused this capacity for freedom of choice. They made terrible decisions that have had far-reaching consequences. Consider this critical fact: The Bible reveals that while God is all-powerful, He also presently allows a powerful evil spirit being to influence global events. As John, an eyewitness of the life of Jesus Christ, solemnly warned at the close of the first century: “The whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

The statement means exactly what it states. As part of His incredible plan, God allows a great fallen archangel, now known as Satan, to exert a powerful influence over humanity. God allows people the free will to make a choice—to choose God’s way of abundant life or to choose a path of darkness that is alluring but full of broken promises. 

Human beings make and reaffirm that choice many times a day. Satan’s way of darkness is easy. It offers a slippery notion of moral relativism, giving people opportunity to make up their own standards of right and wrong apart from God’s revealed directives.  

That’s essentially what Adam and Eve did. As the biblical account records, they rejected God’s way of life through allowing themselves to be deceived and turning to disobedience. They exercised their free will and made a very bad choice. That bad choice reverberates down to us today.

The right way vs. destroying each other

So what represents the right choice, the right exercise of free will? The Bible explains how we are to conduct ourselves, how we should treat others and how we should have a direct relationship with God. That direct relationship, made possible by the astonishing sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is broadly laid out in the first four directives of the great moral law—what we commonly know today as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17 Exodus 20:1-17 [1] And God spoke all these words, saying, [2] I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. [3] You shall have no other gods before me. [4] You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. [7] You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. [8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [12] Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you. [13] You shall not kill. [14] You shall not commit adultery. [15] You shall not steal. [16] You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. [17] You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
American King James Version×
). And the remaining six commandments broadly—but firmly—outline how we should treat each other.

The Ten Commandments are summarized in what Jesus described as the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31 Mark 12:30-31 [30] And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

So what do these ancient laws have to do with hideous modern megatons of potential nuclear destruction? How could they have any bearing on the possible fearful atomic devastation described earlier?

Consider what James, the younger half-brother of Jesus Christ, wrote in the early part of the first century: “What causes fights and quarrels among you?”

Continuing, James laid out the answer: “You want something but you don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:1-2 James 4:1-2 [1] From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? [2] You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

As this deadly lust spirals up—breaking specifically the Eighth and Tenth Commandments—human beings collectively lay plans on larger and larger scales.

Have you ever heard of the Third Reich—a barbaric vision that was to “liberate” the German-speaking peoples and restore the German-based Holy Roman Empire? What about the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere that Japan aimed to conquer in the 1940s to “free” Asians and Oceania from Western influence? What about today’s Russian hegemony in Ukraine? There are, of course, many others.

These are all historical facts. And the blood of these collective covetous and lawless acts—made possible and promoted by unrestrained human free will—covers millennia of human history.

Lethal global deception

Note this critical fact: The lethal deceit that produces devastating diplomatic catastrophe and warfare is first spawned by harmful mental and spiritual influence. As the apostle Paul wrote some 2,000 years ago: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×
, NIV). 

The god of this world—whom the Bible reveals as Satan the devil—does everything in his power to prevent people from reaching their incredible human potential, a potential that involves God “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×
, NIV). That’s why the apostle Peter warns us to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
American King James Version×

When it was noted earlier that the vast majority of humanity is deceived, it wasn’t intended as an insult. As we saw, the Bible reveals that the entire world is controlled by the devil. Continuing the terrible cycle begun millennia ago, humanity in large measure continues to reject what James described as “the perfect law that gives freedom” (James 1:25 James 1:25But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

And consider that Jesus noted this principal trend of the time of the end: “Lawlessness will abound” (Matthew 24:12 Matthew 24:12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
American King James Version×
). People will declare the law of God to be done away and embrace tenets that try to justify what the Bible plainly defines as sin! It’s important to remember that the Bible further defines sin as lawlessness—the willful breaking of God’s commandments (1 John 4:3 1 John 4:3And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
American King James Version×
). And it states that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×

Clearly the attitude of covetousness that leads to lawlessness and death is not what God desires. He wants us to apply our free will in a different direction. Note what God says to us today through the prophet Ezekiel: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die … ?” (Ezekiel 33:11 Ezekiel 33:11Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Turning to God

How can God foretell the future? We must understand that much of prophecy and its often terrifying events simply reflect the collective and accumulated consequences of the breaking of God’s laws and commandments.

Ironically, humanity could bypass all of this prophesied destruction by turning to God. Ample biblical precedent exists (see Jeremiah 18:7-8 Jeremiah 18:7-8 [7] At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; [8] If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them.
American King James Version×
; Jonah 3:1-10 Jonah 3:1-10 [1] And the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, [2] Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching that I bid you. [3] So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. [4] And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. [5] So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. [6] For word came to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. [7] And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: [8] But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God: yes, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. [9] Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? [10] And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do to them; and he did it not.
American King James Version×
). God makes available a distinct choice to all nations, as He does to you and me. If you have read this far, it is likely that God is opening that choice to you. What is it?

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses … I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
American King James Version×
, NIV).

The promises of God’s Word are unbreakable. What’s the right choice to receive them? We must surrender our own free will, becoming like little children in adopting and embracing an attitude of teachable and grateful humility, to find God.

But time is advancing. As many biblical prophecies attest, unless we see a massive and widespread change in humanity’s present rejection of God, deceived governments and leaders will bring about global war and nuclear devastation.

On the day God presented the gift of the Holy Spirit to humanity, the apostle Peter delivered possibly the most important relevant advice for us today:

“Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40 Acts 2:40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
American King James Version×

No advice is more timely!

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