The Last Days—A Unique Feature
“Oppenheimer [who helped design the atom bomb] was right in his basic perception that history changed its course in 1945. Never again can a major war be fought in the style of World War II.”—Weapons and Hope, by Freeman Dyson.
THE use of the atom bomb in 1945 changed the world. It marked another turning point in the history of war. That is how one of the bomb’s inventors, Robert Oppenheimer, saw the situation. When the test explosion took place in New Mexico, Oppenheimer quoted the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, saying, “I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.” Oppenheimer also stated, “The peoples of this world must unite, or they will perish.”
In 1949 an advisory committee of scientists to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, which included Oppenheimer, warned against developing the much more lethal hydrogen bomb. Their report stated: “This is a super weapon; it is in a totally different category from an atomic bomb.” This was because the hydrogen bomb’s destructive power could be multiplied by adding very inexpensive deuterium fuel. In a matter of four years, the atom bomb had become a mere toy.
Enrico Fermi and Isidor Rabi, also members of the advisory committee, gave an even stronger warning. “The fact that no limits exist to the destructiveness of this weapon makes its very existence and the knowledge of its construction a danger to humanity as a whole. It is necessarily an evil thing considered in any light.” (Italics ours.) They knew that man could now destroy himself. Their advice against developing the hydrogen bomb was ignored.
‘Prophecies of Doom With Scientific Basis’
The incredible power to destroy that man now has is exemplified in one fact quoted by Dr. Lown, copresident of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War: “A single modern submarine has approximately eight times the total firepower of World War II—sufficient to destroy every major city in the Northern Hemisphere.” Please note—that is the destructive potential of just one submarine! The great powers have dozens of submarines and surface ships carrying nuclear weapons. Adding to these the land and air weapons, it makes a total of over 50,000 nuclear warheads!
When before in history has man ever had such awesome and dreadful power in his hands? Dr. Lown admits that every historic period has had its unheeded prophets. What is the difference now? He explains: “Our era is the first in which prophecies of doom stem from objective scientific analyses.” If there should ever be a nuclear conflagration, he says, “it is sheer hubris [arrogance] to pretend that there would be human survival after such a man-made catastrophe.”
Increased “Anguish of Nations”
In 1945 man released the evil genie of nuclear warfare from his magic lamp of scientific knowledge and has no way of ever getting it back in again. He may destroy his nuclear weapons, but how will he annul the knowledge that can always lead back to them? Therefore, the actual events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki plus the development of super nuclear weapons have increased the potential for “fearful sights” and “great signs” from heaven, for “anguish of nations . . . not knowing the way out” since 1945.—Luke 21:11, 25.
Anguish of nations has also been multiplied by our ability to achieve instant communication. Only in this 20th century have modern systems of communication (radio, TV, computers, satellites) allowed all mankind to know instantly of wars and disasters, thus spreading fear and anguish of nations in a way that was never before possible. Not only does the world public know of them but by TV they can watch wars and bloodshed as they occur!
The Scars of War
In this year of 1988, there are millions of families all over the world that have experienced part of the proof that we are in the last days. How so? They have lost one or more loved ones in the two world wars or in one of the other major conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq-Iran, Lebanon, and so forth) that have decimated mankind. Perhaps your family is one of those that can remember a lost father, grandfather, uncle, or brother. Also, millions of mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts died in wars and in the European Holocaust.
In addition, during our generation, armies have raged back and forth across Europe and the Far East, raping and pillaging the civilian populations. Thus, the survivors, especially the women, carry the scars of their mistreatment with them to this day. Has man ever sunk so low on such a scale of degradation and stupidity?
The fiery-colored apocalyptic horse of war and slaughter and the pale horse of Death have surely trampled across the earth in an unprecedented way since 1914.—Revelation 6:4.
But what about the “black horse” of famine? (Revelation 6:5) Has it struck our generation?
[Blurb on page 8]
As things stand now, world war can occur only once more—as a nuclear war. Then there will be no nations or kingdoms. This one factor alone makes our times unique and adds strength to the description “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1
[Blurb on page 8]
“A single modern submarine has approximately eight times the total firepower of World War II—sufficient to destroy every major city in the Northern Hemisphere”