Seven Minutes to Midnight

Facing the imminent threat of nuclear war

The world should have jolted out of sleep at the news. 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.

In February, the Doomsday Clock—on which midnight marks the onset of widespread nuclear conflict—was moved ahead two minutes. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in Chicago, the world is now seven minutes to midnight.

Since 1947, the clock has been “the world’s most recognizable symbol of nuclear danger” (ctv Television, Feb. 28). In 1953, the clock reached two minutes till midnight when, during the Cold War, the U.S. successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. But since the end of the Cold War (when the clock went back to 17-till), the clock has only been reset three times. The second most recent was in 1998, when it changed from 14 to 9 till midnight—mainly due to tension between the nuclear powers of India and Pakistan. Then, since September 11, in light of efforts by terrorists to obtain ingredients for a crude nuclear bomb and, again, recent tension between India and Pakistan, the clock was reset once again.

At the end of World War ii, it was clear the world had changed dramatically. A new age had been introduced. Atomic bombs had been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The magnitude of their destructive power defied imagination.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ prophesied about this global state of affairs. Yet, with His warning, He gave us great hope. “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 [Moffatt: saved alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:21-22). 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?

Herbert W. Armstrong spoke on his radio program, The World Tomorrow, at the end of World War ii about the problem of human survival. “Before the end of the war in Europe we heard a lot of talk about this being the last war. … We might as well face the stark, ugly, horrifying truth, my friends—the world leaders know within themselves that there is no hope, so far as human effort and international agreement or organization is concerned, of preventing another war—and all know now that even this greatest of all wars will have been but child’s play by comparison. We have engines of destruction now which can annihilate humanity from this Earth—stamp out all human life! Too horrible to contemplate? Well, we must contemplate it! We must face it, for we are the generation destined to live into and through it!”

We are seven minutes to nuclear annihilation. Will we ignore these facts, or will we listen to Christ?

Mr. Armstrong continued, “You can’t cure any sickness without finding the cause and removing that. Let’s dare to boldly look, then, to the real cause. It has to do with the system that grips this world, holding it, in the modern complex structure of this machine age, bound so tightly we are unable to free ourselves” (Nov. 4, 1945).

What system grips us? The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the god of this world (ii Cor. 4:4) and that the world is in the grip of his deception (Rev. 12:9). We think we are working toward peace, but the clock is ticking rapidly toward nuclear annihilation, because something is dreadfully wrong with human nature.

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). This is the reason times are getting more intense. That is why this world is so full of hate. It is the system that grips the world. Humans are ruled by the devil. We need to understand that, and think afresh. We need, as Douglas MacArthur stated, a “spiritual recrudescence.”

Satan is full of wrath because he knows he has only a short time. A short time until what?Until Jesus Christcomes to Earth to rule it! That will be the end of Satan’s rule, and that is maddening to him. He knows how much time is left on the clock! And, since he has nothing to lose, he will do all the damage possible before Christ gets here. That is why we stare nuclear annihilation in the face. The scientists can see it. How can we ignore it?

Still, seven 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.

Whether we listen or not, God’s purpose will be worked out. In the meantime, those who heed God’s Word are promised protection from this nuclear holocaust (Dan. 12:1; Rev. 12:14).

Will that include you?