N EVERY MAJOR CRISIS of the world’s history, keen prophetic observers who loved the Lord’s appearance sought to find signs of the imminent approach of Jesus Christ from heaven. Truly, we are facing one of the greatest crises that has ever confronted the world. Man, by his discovery of atomic fission, now has the power within his grasp to destroy all physical life from the face of the globe. The atomic theory that the atom is one of the minute indivisible particles of which the whole universe is composed is a theory which dates from pre-Socratic times. The atom is the smallest particle of an element that can exist. The entire earth-rocks, minerals, plants, physical bodies, and so forth-is composed of atoms. The atomic bomb is a bomb that divides the atoms. A shaft of steel would dissolve before the power of the atomic bomb as easily as a sheet of paper dissolves before a flame of fire.
The fear-dilated eyes of the world have turned repeatedly to the proving grounds of the atomic bomb. The world has been startled by the report of the disappearance of an island in the South Pacific. From the land of the North Country there has come the rumor of the dissolving of a huge mountain by atomic fission. The great men of today will readily admit that their hearts are filled with fear. The report is that if we have another major war, and if atomic missiles are used, civilization, as we know it, will be destroyed. Huge cities, such as New York, Washington, Moscow, or London, could be wiped out at a single blow. In fact, bombs such as destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima are now obsolete, and weapons much more potent are ready for use.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his recent nationwide address electrified the world with his startling statistics concerning recent developments of the atomic bomb. The first atomic explosion occurred in 1945, and since that time there have been forty-two test explosions conducted by the United States. The bomb today is twenty-five times as powerful as the earlier bombs. He also mentioned the power of the hydrogen bomb. One hydrogen bomb is equivalent in power to millions of tons of T.N.T. The United States has a stockpile of weapons that exceeds the total equivalent of all the bombs that were used by all nations in World War II. The development of the size, and variety of these bombs has been remarkable. The United States Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps are all capable of putting these weapons to use. So our great Nation presents quite a formidable challenge to any would-be aggressor. But this weapon is not the exclusive property of the United States. Great Britain, Canada, and the Soviet Union are also in possession of it. So this new fear continues-the fear of the atom bomb.
The Bible tells us that an atomic explosion of gigantic proportions will occur in the Day of the Lord. 2 Peter 3: 10-12, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
Is the atom bomb the end? Has God written “Finis” to the works of His creation? Do all the prophecies of the mighty men of God culminate in the atom bomb? Does this diabolical destructive force delete the divine utterances of the Almighty? Shall scheming Satan alter the divine plan of the ages? No! “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven,” Psalm 119:89; “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” Isaiah 40:8. Let us heed the admonition of our Lord when He spoke in Matthew 24:4, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”
SATAN IN HIS VAIN egoism has always tried to fulfill the plans of God prematurely. He knows that the prophecies of the Bible will be fulfilled and he tries to capture the adulation of men by exalting himself above the throne of God. In this effort he is trying to fulfill prophecy before God’s time; ever since his expulsion from the presence of God he has tried to give the “lie” to God’s Word. At the temptation of Jesus, the Devil tried to get Jesus to be crowned as a king and receive the thrones of the world. He offered Jesus an easy way. Jesus is to be crowned as King of all the world; but in God’s economy Calvary had to come first. The sin question had to be settled before the righteousness of God could invade the earth. The temptation of Satan to Jesus was, “Bow before me and worship me, and You won’t have to suffer the shame and death of Calvary! Become my Man and I’ll make You King of Kings and Lord of Lords now.” Jesus perceived the wicked wiles of the Tempter and said, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord Thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” So Satan’s diabolical scheme was foiled, and Christ came forth victorious.
Another example of Satan’s methods today is his temptation of the Church. He offers an easy way to heaven. He presents a bloodless route, crying, “Away with old-fashioned repentance, and tears, and travail of the Spirit!” Satan offers a religion that is respectable but not holy, and many are deceived thereby.
The great delusion today is the belief that Bible prophecy is going to be fulfilled prematurely and by Satan’s methods. Yes, I concede the fact that there is power in the atomic bomb to destroy us all, but it cannot be until God gives permission. The world is going to be cleansed by atomic power, but not by a bomb dropped by some sinful man at the instigation of Satan.
The Bible plainly states when the judgment fire will burn and that the earth will be consumed. Until that time arrives, God is keeping the heavens and the earth reserved. No power on earth can change the verities of God’s eternal Word! Our God is greater than the atomic bomb! Our God is greater than any force that man can ever devise, and the Word of the Lord will come to pass, even as God says that it will. Not one jot or one tittle will be changed. 2 Peter 3:7, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
In Revelation we have a picture of the two judgments. Revelation 20:4 tells us of the judgment of the righteous: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:5 tells us when the wicked dead shall be judged, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Inasmuch as Christ defeated the Devil at the mount of temptation and spurned the crown that Satan offered Him, Satan is trying to see that the world is destroyed before the diadem of glory is placed upon the brow of the ever-living Lord, but the triumphant Church is going to know the blessedness of being at the coronation and assisting in the rule of the victorious King of Kings. Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
AT THE CLOSE OF the thousand-year reign of Christ upon the earth, there will come a day of judgment and perdition to ungodly men. We read about it in Revelation 20:11-15, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” It will be during this judgment of the unrighteous dead that Peter referred to as “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” that the earth will be cleansed by fire.
I do believe that this fearful discovery of atomic fission is a sign that we are living in the last days before the appearance of the King of Kings. The shadows of the coming Tribulation are darkening the horizon. The fearful flash and the destructive force of this awful bomb should cause the children of God to realize that the time is very short, and that we must be constantly on the watch for the coming of the Saviour! Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Where does the atomic bomb place us in prophecy? Luke 21: 25-28, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things .begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Oh, Church of the living God, lift up your heads! Even though islands and mountains may disappear in a great noise with a burst of smoke, lift up your heads! Cities like Nagasaki and Hiroshima may be destroyed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye -lift up your heads! The world is blown by the winds of confusion and the great men of today are confessing that their hearts are failing them for fear as they ponder the things that are coming upon the world-but lift up your heads! The prophets of doom may be crying that the world and the heavens above the world will be destroyed by atomic bombs, and that destruction is imminent-but lift up your heads! Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh! Yea, even though the stars of heaven shall fall unto the earth, and the heaven shall depart as a scroll, and every mountain and island shall move out of its place, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh! Lift up your heads, for Jesus is coming soon! Jesus loves His people and will protect them. In a moment and in the twinkling of an eye, unexpected, He is going to come out of the clouds of eternal Glory! Every precious saint, every Holy Ghost filled man and woman, who is not absorbed in this world, is going to fly through the air into the arms of Jesus. He will “shut the doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain,” Isaiah 26:20, 21.
He will shut us behind the pearly gates of an eternal city where an atomic bomb can never reach, where the guided missile and the rocket will never come, where angels will minister, the glory of God will watch over us, and we shall be hidden for a time, and times, and dividing of time. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord,” 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17.
This article originally appeared in the July 23, 1955 issue of Evangel