The World Lives in the ‘Shadow of Nuclear Catastrophe’

A general view of Kim Il-Sung Square and the Pyongyang city skyline
ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The World Lives in the ‘Shadow of Nuclear Catastrophe’

Some of the world’s most belligerent and revisionist nations are making major advances in their nuclear weapons programs in a trend that the head of the United Nations says shows that mankind is living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe.”

A survey of developments in recent months shows just how worrying the reality is.

North Korea’s New ‘Monster’

North Korea unveiled a new missile on October 10, whose size and apparent capability surprised even seasoned military experts. “This missile is a monster,” Melissa Hanham of the Open Nuclear Network said of the new intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea showcased the new “monster” being transported on an 11-axle vehicle during a parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Workers’ Party of Korea. The parade also featured the nation’s Hwasong-15 icbm, fighter jets, a new main battle tank and an a new array of advanced body armor. Experts believe the new missile not only has twice the thrust of the Hwasong-15 but is also designed to carry multiple massive warheads, letting it strike several targets simultaneously and making interception exponentially more difficult.

“It’s very worrisome,” Bruce Klingner, a former Korea deputy division chief for the Central Intelligence Agency, now with the Heritage Foundation, told Foreign Policy. He pointed out that North Korea has also demonstrated a capacity to build more and larger launchers for the new missiles. “[T]hat’s a worrisome development,” he said, “because it would enable North Korea to deploy more icbms, which would give it a larger first strike or second strike retaliatory nuclear force.”

Michael Elleman, head of Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, published estimates of the missile’s size and capacity on Twitter, and wrote: “If these estimates are close to reality,” the new missile could deliver a nuclear payload of “2,000 to 3,500 kilograms to any point” in the continental United States. He noted that this would mean the weapons are “more capable” than the Soviet Union’s R-16 or R-26 icbms.

Also notable is that the parade during which the missile was unveiled marked the first time North Korea’s long-range missiles have been exhibited since 2018 when Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un started meeting with heads of state, including U.S. President Donald Trump. Some pundits speculate that showcasing these weapons could portend a return to greater aggression.

Russia’s ‘Unstoppable’ Hypersonics

Not even a week before North Korea unveiled its new missile, the Russian Navy celebrated Vladimir Putin’s 68th birthday by test-launching the new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.

The astoundingly powerful Zircon was fired by the North Sea Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov on October 8, and hit a maritime target some 280 miles away in the Barents Sea, marking the first time it has been fired at a sea target. tass news agency reported that the weapon reached speeds of Mach 8—or eight times the speed of sound.

Back in 2019, Putin announced that the Zircon would have a range exceeding 600 miles and said that since the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with the U.S. had been dissolved, a portable, land-based version was also in development.

The reason why the Zircon and other hypersonic weapons are so significant is because they are literally unstoppable—even by the U.S.’s most advanced defense technology. The National Interest explains: “The impact of speed, extreme altitude changes, and maneuverability, especially during the final phase of flight, present both offensive opportunities and defensive obstacles. … America can’t stop them.”

Writing for the Diplomat last week, East Asian security analyst Steven Stashwick affirmed this assessment: “If the Zircon works as advertised, it would present a significant potential threat against any other navy’s surface fleet” because the “speed of maneuverable hypersonic weapons is so great that they are considered to be effectively impossible for targeted vessels to defend against.”

And of course, these unstoppable missiles are designed to deliver nuclear warheads to their targets. This fact is overwhelming to contemplate, but it is reality.

Meanwhile, Russia is also engineering nuclear-powered cruise missiles, nuclear-armed underwater drones, and other destabilizing weapons designed to rip through all American missile defenses. And on October 13, Moscow rejected the U.S.’s proposal to extend the last remaining bilateral nuclear arms-control agreement between the two nations.

China’s ‘Carrier Killer’

Russia’s landmark test came just weeks after China made the first known test launch of its DF-21D “carrier killer” ballistic missile at a target in the South China Sea. This two-stage, solid-fuel rocket can launch a nuclear warhead of up to 500 kilotons at targets as far as 2,500 miles away. It is the first known anti-ship ballistic missile (asbm) able to hit moving aircraft carrier strike groups from land-based, long-range launchers.

The August 27 test came just a day after China accused the U.S. of flying a U-2 spy plane through a no-fly zone near the Chinese coast.

Harry J. Kazianis, a Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Center for the National Interest, wrote that the DF-21D’s advanced capability means it “will make the lives of American and allied military planners more complicated.”

Complicating matters further still, the Pentagon released its annual report to Congress about China’s military power last month, saying China is in the process of doubling its nuclear arsenal. It is expected to soon have 400 weapons.

Germany and ‘Nuclear Sharing’

Meanwhile, Germany started its annual “Steadfast Noon” nuclear combat exercises on October 13, which include training German military personnel to mobilize and drop the nuclear bombs the United States has stocked in Germany. reported on the drills on October 14, writing:

The objective is to train what is known as “nuclear sharing.” This provides for German pilots in German fighters, when necessary, to deliver and drop U.S. nuclear bombs on the targets. For this, there are around 20 U.S. nuclear bombs stocked at the Büchel Air Base in the hills of the Eifel. In the “Steadfast Noon” context, the Bundeswehr regularly exercises bringing these bombs from their underground storage to the fighters and mounting them for transport.

Belgian, Dutch and Italian fighters are also taking part in this year’s iteration of “Steadfast Noon.” called attention to this aspect of the drills, stating: “The international participation is of interest, in as much as, according to specialist circles, there are 20 U.S. nuclear bombs stocked not only in Büchel, but also stockpiled at air bases in Belgium (Kleine Brogel), in the Netherlands (Volkel) and in Italy (Ghedi, Aviano).”

In 2014, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry discussed the dangers of America’s nuclear-sharing plan with Germany and other European nations, writing:

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey, the United States has about 150 to 200 thermonuclear bombs. … Nuclear weapons are a horrific menace. Just one can vaporize a city full of people. Two hundred of them are enough to destroy the whole world! Yet America has given those bombs to these five nations—two of which were our bitter enemies just 70 years ago!

The crucial question is, does the United States really have control over those bombs?

How naive is America to entrust this immense firepower to nations that so recently—and throughout history—have proved to be enemies of the free world! … We want to trust Germany, but history screams that we shouldn’t! … The sobering reality is that any one of the countries that have those bombs could take control of these weapons by force and use them against the U.S.

Iran’s Illegal Nuclear Pursuit

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not yet a nuclear power, but it is the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism and is on the fast track to joining the nuclear club.

Back in June, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) voiced “serious concern” over Iran’s repeated violations of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the nuclear deal, and the nation’s refusal to cooperate with probes into its undeclared nuclear material.

An iaea report from that month states:

The Agency notes with serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied access to the Agency … to two locations and, for almost a year, has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities in Iran.

David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said the iaea’s report was “telling the world that there is a huge problem here, and that it’s time for the world to get involved.”

Albright said, “Iran has accumulated so much low enriched uranium” that it now has “enough material” to “shorten the breakout times” to develop a nuclear bomb “quite dramatically.” He added that such breakout times may now be “as low as three months.”

‘In the Shadow of Nuclear Catastrophe’

Given these various nuclear developments from recent weeks and months, it should come as no surprise to hear that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned this month that the world is now living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe.”

At a summit commemorating the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Guterres said work toward ridding the world of nuclear bombs had “stalled” and was now “at risk of backsliding.”

The regression is fueled, Guterres said, by “growing distrust and tension between the states that possess nuclear weapons.” He added that nuclear nations’ push to “modernize” their arsenals means that even if the number of nuclear weapons is not increasing, “a qualitative nuclear arms race” is now underway. This race is “based not on numbers but faster, stealthier and more accurate weapons.”

A Lasting Solution

The effort to denuclearize the world that Guterres spoke of is a noble goal. But none of man’s various disarmament efforts, peace plans or treaties have been able to secure sure and lasting peace. In all such ideas, there is nothing to forcibly prevent unfathomably destructive weapons from being used. And there is no true cause for hope.

But there is hope in the Bible.

“Only God can solve our number one problem: that of human survival,” Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

Mr. Flurry’s booklet makes the Bible’s plan for a certain and hope-filled solution clear. But he shows that the Scriptures also contain some terrifying warnings, showing that the current tensions will continue to rise and that in the near future, nuclear war will erupt. Matthew 24:21-22 record Jesus Christ saying: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive” (New Living Translation).

This “time of calamity” could only be describing a global nuclear war with enough detonations to cause nuclear winter. And it will threaten to end every human life on the planet.

Amos 5:3 reveals that in some cities, only 10 percent of the population will live. Jeremiah 2:15 shows that other cities will be entirely scorched by nuclear devastation, without a single person left. These are chilling prophecies, and they confirm that the world is living “in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe.”

But the prophecies do not end with nuclear war destroying all human life. Continuing the passage in Matthew 24, just after Christ said that nuclear war at the end of this age would be so devastating that it could wipe out mankind, He added an absolutely crucial detail: “But it will be shortened” (nlt).

Nuclear World War iii will be cut short! Before the world powers detonate enough nuclear and other weapons to entirely obliterate mankind, Jesus Christ will interrupt the mayhem.

Mr. Flurry explains in his booklet: “The good news is God will shorten the time span and save us alive. But if He did not intervene, there wouldn’t be anyone alive on this planet. He will let it go a long way so that people learn they can’t rule themselves. Men don’t know the way of peace. God knows—and if you keep His law of love, it will bring great joy and peace into your life.”

Just after that time of unprecedentedly devastating war, Christ will usher in an age of unprecedentedly ubiquitous peace. Amos 9:14 says that those cities that will have been left with only 10 percent of their populations will be rebuilt. Jeremiah makes clear that as the people rebuild, each individual will come to know the true God and keep His law. As a result, the “great joy and peace” that Mr. Flurry mentioned will permeate the world.

Regarding this future time of worldwide peace and prosperity, Isaiah 2:4 says: “[N]ation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” War, nuclear and otherwise, will then be a relic of a bygone era.

“We are now at the edge of this nuclear abyss!” Mr. Flurry writes. “As all these horrible signs come to pass, we know Christ is about to return.”

To understand these crucial scriptures and to learn how to bring the “great joy and peace” that results from keeping God’s law into your life, order your free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’