‘Doomsday Clock’—Now Closer to Midnight Than Ever Before
The end of the world just drew nearer. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists pushed the minute hand of their symbolic “Doomsday Clock” forward by 10 seconds on January 24, bringing the time to just 90 seconds until “midnight”—the symbolic hour of worldwide nuclear destruction. This is the closest the countdown has ever been to “doomsday” since the clock was developed by Albert Einstein and associates 75 years ago.
This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.
—John Mecklin, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists editor in chief
Created in 1947, the Doomsday Clock is an emblematic indication of the likelihood that humanity will start nuclear war, with midnight representing the zero hour—global destruction. The farthest from midnight the clock was ever set came in 1991 when the Cold War era ended, and it was placed at 17 minutes to midnight. The nearest to zero hour it had ever been—before the current era of rising tensions—was in 1953 when the clock sat at two minutes to midnight after the announcement that the United States and the Soviet Union had tested thermonuclear weapons within a year of each other.
- In 2018, it was again pushed forward to two minutes to midnight as North Korea’s nuclear activity reached a crisis point, and as other powers grew more bellicose.
- The clock remained at the 11:58 mark throughout 2018 and 2019.
- From 2020 to 2022, it was pushed forward to 100 seconds to midnight.
But now the team behind the symbolic clock believes the threat is even more severe.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks. And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention or miscalculation—is a terrible risk.
Besides Russia’s war, the Bulletin also calls special attention to China’s major expansion of nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s provocative weapons advancements, Iran’s drive toward nuclear weapons, and India’s modernization of its nuclear arsenal.
Some of the Bulletin’s reasoning is ill founded. But the fact is, we do live in perilous times. In 2002, when the Doomsday Clock was pushed forward from nine to seven minutes to midnight, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about the significance of the move—and the shameful lack of press coverage it received. “The world should have jolted out of sleep at the news,” he wrote. “Headlines should have splashed across all the media. But no real alarm was sounded. The majority of the news media dismissed it. And many still slumber on as the world heads toward self-destruction.”
Mr. Flurry went on to say that the reason the symbolic move was so significant is because of what Bible prophecy tells us about a nuclear World War iii. “Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ prophesied about this global state of affairs,” he wrote. He then quoted Christ’s words recorded in Matthew 24:21-22, which in the New Living Translation state: “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.”
Mr. Flurry wrote:
Jesus Christ was talking about a time when the annihilation of all human life would be possible. This has everything to do with the Doomsday Clock. Yet how many theologians discuss these two verses?
Mr. Flurry explained that, though setting the Doomsday Clock forward pointed to stunningly destructive times in the near future, it also showed that the most hope-filled event in mankind’s history is remarkably close. In verse 22, just after Christ says that nuclear war at the end of this age will be so cataclysmic that it could wipe out all human life, He adds a key detail: “But it will be shortened …” (nlt).
The nuclear world war now looming larger than ever on the horizon will be interrupted. Before mankind detonates enough weapons to erase human life, the war will be divinely cut short. And just after that season of unprecedented death, an unprecedented season of peace and harmony between the nations will begin. Mr. Flurry continued:
[S]even minutes to nuclear annihilation really means seven minutes to the greatest possible news you could ever hear: It is all a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return to Earth—to stop mankind from destroying himself—and show the world how to have peace, happiness and joy.
Now, those seven minutes on the symbolic Doomsday Clock are down to just 90 seconds.
To understand more about how near humanity is to an unprecedentedly destructive nuclear war, and why the conflict will be interrupted before it extinguishes all human life, read Mr. Flurry’s free booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’