No Nuclear Armageddon!
SINCE the threat of a nuclear war is real, it is only logical that mankind’s prayer be that this threat may never be realized. Interestingly, Francis Cardinal Spellman at the beginning of the 1960’s called “for prayers to spare the world from ‘thermonuclear Armageddon.’”
The word “Armageddon” appears only once in the Bible, although many other scriptures speak of it in other terms. Do these scriptures show Armageddon possibly to be a nuclear holocaust, which, it is hoped, can be avoided? Is Armageddon a war man can start?
ARMAGEDDON IS GOD’S WAR
The Bible says: “Expressions inspired by demons . . . go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty . . . to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon [or, Armageddon].”—Revelation 16:14, 16.
However: How could a nuclear holocaust, brought about by human governments for the furtherance of political goals, rightfully be designated God’s war? Would not such a holocaust more correctly be man’s war?
ARMAGEDDON IS TO BE A RIGHTEOUS WAR
The Bible says: “I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness.”—Revelation 19:11.
“With righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. . . . With the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.”—Isaiah 11:4, 5.
However: What would be righteous or moral about a nuclear war that would kill indiscriminately both good and bad? In fact, a committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States recently said that they “judged immoral even the threat to use such [nuclear] weapons.” Now, if even the threat of a nuclear war is considered immoral, with what logic could we consider the real thing a righteous war?
AT ARMAGEDDON ALL NATIONS WILL BE ALLIES
The Bible says: “I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth [“with all the kings of the earth,” “The Jerusalem Bible”] and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army.”—Revelation 19:19.
However: Would not a nuclear holocaust be the consequence of a conflict between opposing nations, rather than nations united on the same side?
AT ARMAGEDDON ONLY THE WICKED WILL BE DESTROYED
The Bible says: “There is a controversy that Jehovah has with the nations. He must personally put himself in judgment with all flesh. As regards the wicked ones, he must give them to the sword.”—Jeremiah 25:31.
“For the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth . . . As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
However: Would only the guilty, “the wicked ones,” perish in a nuclear holocaust? What happened during the nuclear holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945? Among the tens of thousands of men, women and children who perished were a large number of Catholic nuns, many foreigners who had gone to Japan to study and had become trapped there by the war, thousands of Koreans brought to Japan to serve as forced laborers and even a handful of American prisoners of war. Were all of these the guilty ones, “the wicked ones”?
ARMAGEDDON SURVIVAL IS ASSURED FOR SOME
The Bible says: In “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah . . . it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”—Joel 2:31, 32.
However: From a human standpoint, would anyone survive a man-made nuclear war? Not likely. Only a small percentage of the people would have access to radiation-proof bunkers. And even their possibility of survival would be slim. Thirteen international experts were asked by the Swedish Royal Academy of Science to predict what would happen should 15,000 nuclear bombs be exploded in the northern hemisphere within the space of a few days. They answered: “No one would survive the inferno.”
ARMAGEDDON WILL NOT RUIN THE EARTH
The Bible says: “The nations became wrathful, and [God’s] own wrath came, and the appointed time . . . to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18.
However: From a human standpoint, there is little doubt that a nuclear holocaust could bring about the end of all human life. Jonathan Schell in his best-seller, The Fate of the Earth, warns: “It would be not merely a human but a planetary end—the death of the earth.”
What do we learn from the above scriptures? We learn that God’s war at Armageddon will be quite different from what a man-made nuclear holocaust would be. Armageddon is not designed to destroy the earth. It is designed to destroy those who are threatening to ruin the earth. To speak of a possible nuclear holocaust as being Armageddon, therefore, is a misapplication of the term. But regardless of what we call it, we still want to know: Will there be a nuclear holocaust or not? Once again we can turn to the Bible, confident that it will give us a reliable answer.
At Isaiah 45:18 we read: “For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” Since the “Former of the earth” has not created it “simply for nothing,” he will never permit a nuclear holocaust to turn it into a radioactive wasteland, uninhabitable by man or beast. This would be contrary to His purpose as expressed at Psalm 37:29: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”
‘But does not 2 Peter 3:7, 10 at least allude to a nuclear holocaust?’ someone may ask. There we read, according to the Authorized Version: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
Obviously, however, this is symbolic speech and does not refer to a literal nuclear holocaust, which, while destroying the earth and man upon it, could not cause the literal heavens to “pass away with a great noise.” Actually it is this wicked system of things, the “ungodly” human society and its governmental “heavens,” that will suffer complete destruction, as if by fire. The worldly factors, in all their elemental parts will be dissolved in the heat of God’s anger, along with the materialistic “works” of this human society, the symbolic “earth.” This will pave the way for “new heavens and a new earth” of which Peter next spoke—a new earthly society of redeemed mankind under the new governmental “heavens” of Christ’s Messianic Kingdom, in which righteousness will dwell. (2 Peter 3:13) Gone will be the Satanic influence that has led men away from God. A nuclear holocaust would not rid man of the Devil and his demons. Armageddon will open the way for Christ Jesus, at the direction of his Father, to do this.—See Revelation 20:1-3.
World events indicate that the expression of God’s judgment is due at any time. Thus the following prophecy must also shortly undergo fulfillment: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) While not ruling out conventional wars or even a possible limited atomic war, this scripture does rule out a nuclear holocaust. How so? Well, ask yourself: After a nuclear holocaust, who would be left to cry out “peace”? And if there were survivors, just how much reason would they have to cry out “security,” living as they would be upon a radioactive, polluted earth?
Now you may wonder of what benefit it is to be relieved of the fear of nuclear holocaust only to be faced with the new fear of “sudden destruction” at Armageddon? Let our next article explain.
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ARMAGEDDON WILL BE
—A righteous war
—A war to destroy only the wicked
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A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST WOULD BE
—A human war
—An unrighteous war
—A war that destroys both good and bad