Beware Sudden Destruction

What present-day arms reductions really mean

Every week, the United States implodes one of its underground intercontinental missile silos that used to house nuclear warheads aimed at the Soviet Union. A lot has changed since the cold war ended. America’s strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia (start) has slashed its store of nuclear warheads by one third—from more than 10,000 to 6,750. By 2007, as outlined in start ii, the figure will drop below 3,500.

And since the Russians are following suit, most commentators are encouraged by this arms reduction pace. Journalist Rick Hampson, writing in the June 19 USA Today, even prefaced his article by quoting part of Isaiah 2:4: “He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks.” Hampson noted that the very land North Dakota farmers were forced to sell to the government during the cold war is now available to buy back. Converting silo-sites into wheat fields, he says, is a fulfillment of “swords into plowshares.”

Yet, as is often the case when the media quote prophetic scriptures, Hampson misunderstands the time sequence of end-time events.

Isaiah 2:4 is certainly prophetic. But it will not be fulfilled until the events of verses 2 and 3 take place: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” God’s house, or government, must first be established on Earth under the direction of Jesus Christ. It will be headquartered in Jerusalem where it says God’s law will go forth.

Then, to continue with verse 4, He—meaning Christ—will rule among the nations and rebuke, or correct, many people. He, it says in the last part of verse 4, which Mr. Hampson did not quote, will put an end to every form of war and all the suffering it has brought upon mankind. Mankind’s devastating weapons of mass destruction will be rendered useless. All weapons will be converted into farming equipment.

Isaiah 2:4 is a prophecy of what will happen on Earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ—also known as the Millennium.

What then is the prophetic significance of North Dakota farmers converting missile silos into wheat fields today? Just the opposite of what Mr. Hampson suggested in his USA Today article. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety,” the Apostle Paul wrote in i Thessalonians 5:3, “then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Bible prophecy says that when commentators begin to trumpet man’s successful peace initiatives, watch out! Sudden destruction is just around the corner. And it will get so bad that even ambassadors of peace will weep bitterly (Isa. 33:7).

The Bible repeatedly refers to this end-time sudden destruction—and to man’s inability to see that destruction on the horizon. Jesus compared the time period surrounding His return to the days before the Flood, when people zealously pursued material things right up until the floodwaters came and “destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). He also compared the latter days with the days of Lot. “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (v. 29).

Jesus referred to this end-time, worldwide destruction on numerous occasions. In Matthew 24:21-22, He said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Man has never experienced anything like what will occur during the Great Tribulation. And it is prophesied to come upon us suddenly—and unexpectedly!

In Luke 21:34-35, Jesus said it would be like a snare—catching us completely off guard. Isaiah compared it to the collapse of a high, swelling wall “whose breaking comes suddenly at an instant” (Isa. 30:13).

Sudden destruction—that’s what Christ associates with the events leading to His return. And it all unfolds at the very time most people least expect it.

Like now—when treaties are being signed, military spending slashed and weapons destroyed.

If anything, converting missile silos into farmland means we are closer, not further, to the cataclysmic events soon to wreak havoc on the entire world.

Rick Hampson would have been better off preceding his article by quoting from i Thessalonians 5:3, or something comparable. Then he could have ended his piece with Isaiah 2:4.