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Does the Bible Predict a Nuclear Holocaust?

atomic bomb

by Dennis Pollock

And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God"  (Revelation 14:18).


When the Enola Gay's bombardier Tom Ferebee sighted Hiroshima's Aioi Bridge, he knew the moment had arrived. Squeezing the trigger on his Norden bombsight he became the first man in history to drop a nuclear weapon upon a populated city. Tail gunner Bob Caron, after being temporarily blinded, described what he saw on the ground below: "It's like bubbling molasses down there ... the mushroom is spreading out .. fires are springing up everywhere ... it's like a peep into hell."

The people of Hiroshima within half a mile of the explosion were seared to bundles of smoking char in a fraction of a second. Thousands of these small black bundles could be seen stuck to streets, bridges, and sidewalks. Birds ignited in midair, and 70,000 build­ings were obliterated. Mankind had entered the atomic age, the end of which was too terrifying to contemplate.

Since the beginning of the atomic age, nuclear weapons and the term "Armageddon" have been frequently linked together. Billy Graham rose to prominence in the 1950's proclaiming that the nuclear "sword of Damoclese" was hanging over all the nations, and that only Christ was a sure foundation in such perilous days. Hal Lindsay's mega-best-seller, The Late, Great, Planet Earth made a strong case for a nuclear holocaust scenario in the days of tribulation predicted in the book of Revelation. Even secular sources took up the theme. The June 12, 1981 Toronto Globe and Mail noted that the decision to go ahead with the neutron bomb was the biggest step taken toward Armageddon since 1961.


Many Americans associate nuclear weapons with Armageddon, because, of all man's discoveries and inventions, they alone contain the capacity to wipe out all human life on the earth within a few short hours. Let us consider the awesome power in the first primitive atomic bombs.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Little Boy, was flown there in a B-29 bomber and aimed with a bombsight. It weighed nearly ten thousand pounds and had the explosive power of 12,500 tons of TNT. At ground zero, the point immediately beneath the weapon, the temperature reached above 3,000 degrees centigrade. Within seconds, what had been a thriving city became a wasteland. No part of the city was left untouched. Eighty thousand people died instantly, many burning into black bundles while in mid-step. A six hour firestorm began. A history professor described it thus:

I climbed Hikiyama Hill and looked down. I saw that Hiroshima had disappeared ... I was shocked by the sight ...I saw many dreadful scenes after that—but that experience, looking down and finding nothing left of Hiroshima was so shocking that I simply can't express what I felt ... Hiroshima didn't exist —that was mainly what I saw—Hiroshima just didn't exist.


After the end of World War II, Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Los Alamos project which had given birth to this terrible weapon, was asked whether there were any significant limitations in the future of nuclear weapons. He replied, "If you are asking, 'Can we make them more terrible?' the answer is yes. If you are asking, 'Can we makes lots more of them?' the answer is yes. If you are asking, 'Can we make them terribly more terrible?' the answer is, probably." Today, some fifty years later, that probably has turned into a certainty. We have made them terribly more terrible.

Considering the horrific devastation caused by those first bombs dropped upon Japan, it would be reasonable to suggest that if we merely tripled their destructive power we would have created a monster of mind-boggling dimensions. But we have not merely created weapons three or four times as deadly. While the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs were measured in kilotons, later bombs were often measured in megatons. A one megaton bomb contains the explosive power of eighty Hiroshimas. Bombs have been tested which are 4,000 times as powerful as those dropped upon Japan. The only thing merciful about these bombs is that you wouldn't have to worry so much about horrible injuries to survivors—there wouldn't be any survivors!


Nearly two thousand years ago, an elderly Christian was banished to an island as a punishment for sharing his faith in Christ. There, as he communed with the Lord on the island, he had a series of visions which described things which would take place in the last days. The man's name was John and the visions he saw were recorded and are now known as the book of Revelation. The church agreed that this book must be included in the cannon of Scripture, and this book has been the most puzzling, unique, and perhaps controversial book in the Bible.

Many have tried to defuse the book by turning it into a giant parable, in which nothing can be definitely known except that in the end Christ will triumph and all will be well. Bible prophecy scholars have never been satisfied with such an interpretation, which makes all the details of the visions meaningless. Some have dared to suggest that John's visions may have been more literal than most have supposed. This more literalistic interpretation just might make sense if John was seeing the terrible results of a nuclear holocaust just before Christ's coming to claim planet earth.

In the book There's A New World Coming Hal Lindsay writes:

Although it is possible for God to supernaturally pull off every miracle in the Book of Revelation and use totally unheard-of means to do it, I personally believe that all the enormous ecological catastrophes described in this chapter (Revelation 8) are the direct result of nuclear weapons. In actuality, man inflicts these judgments on himself. God simply steps back and removes His restraining influence from man, allowing him to do what comes naturally out of his sinful nature. In fact, if the Book of Revelation had never been written, we might well predict these very catastrophes within fifty years or less!


Amazingly, predictions by secular writings parallel the horrific visions of John in nearly every major detail. Contrast the words (in regular print) of secular writer Nicholas Wade, author of the book The Fate of the Earth, with what the Bible says (written in bold print) as he describes the consequences of a nuclear war:

Bearing in mind that the possible consequences of the detonations of thousands of megatons of nuclear explosives include ... the extinction of many ocean species, among them some at the base of the food chain (Rev 16:3: And every living creature in the sea died), the pollution of the whole ecosphere with oxides of nitrogen (Rev 8:12: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night), ... a significant decrease in photosynthesis in plants around the world; the scalding and killing of many crops (Rev 8:7: And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up), the increase in rates of cancer and mutation around the world (Rev 16:2: and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast), ... the attendant risk of global epidemics (Luke 21:11: And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences), the possible poisoning of all vertebrates by sharply increased levels of vitamin D in their skin as a result of increased ultraviolet light (Rev 16:8: the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat), and the outright slaughter on all targeted continents of most human beings and other living things by the initial nuclear radiation, the fireballs, the thermal pulses, the blast waves, the mass fires, and the fallout from the explosions (Rev 9:18: By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone)... Considering that these consequences will all interact with one another in unguessable ways and, furthermore, are in all likelihood an incomplete list ... one must conclude that a full-scale nuclear holocaust could lead to the extinction of mankind (Matthew 24:22: And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened).


The idea of escape has gotten a bad rap in some circles these days. Today's macho generation would like to think that they will always be able to stand up to any difficulties and calamities that will come their way.

The Scriptures reveal that there are times when escape is not only the best policy; it is the only policy. Paul told Timothy to "flee youthful lusts." In another place he warns believers to "flee fornication." John the Baptist asked the Pharisees who came out to his baptismal services, "Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Christians are spoken of as those who have fled to Christ for refuge (Hebrews 6:18). And our Lord Jesus Himself declared, "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). Those who will not flee from the wrath of God are doomed to experience its devastating effects full force.

The good news of the Scripture is that in times of terrible judgments, there has always been a place of refuge. In Noah's day it was an ark. In Lot's day safety was found by fleeing to the mountains. In the days when Israel was destroying Jericho, Rahab was spared by staying in the house with the scarlet cord in the window. In each case, while the bulk of the population experienced death and destruction, a minority had their lives preserved by following God's instructions to the letter.

There is no physical place of safety in the perilous days in which we live. No mountain, island, or submarine carries any guarantee of safety. God's prescribed place of refuge to our generation is in a person—the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us that "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). In Christ we find the forgiveness of our sins, in Him we receive the gift of righteousness and eternal life. His death on the cross took the wrath of God for us and enables us to stand before God blameless and with great joy. And His resurrection demonstrates that His sacrifice was acceptable in the sight of God. We can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

The Scriptures boldly proclaim that Christ will come for His church and receive them to Himself. Those who are in Christ are not appointed unto wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Jesus is called the One "who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10). For the believer, the wrath issue has been forever settled at the cross. We look forward not to destruction but to deliverance, not for the anti-christ but for Jesus Christ, not to judgment but "looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 21). If you have no assurance that your life has ever been transformed by the wonderful experience of the new birth, receive Christ today. Believe on Him with all your heart and the Holy Spirit shall come and take up residence within, and be the guarantee that you are one of those for whom Christ shall appear "a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly wait for Him" (Hebrews 9:28).


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