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26 | Three Bible passages that might warn of a nuclear war in the end times

26 | Three Bible passages that might warn of a nuclear war in the end times: A podcast by OpentheWord.org

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One question that has lurked at the back of my mind is this: Does the Bible warn of Nuclear war in the end times?

It’s not a topic that many of us want to talk about, but in my study of the Bible I have seen hints of it.

Hi my name is Dean Smith in this podcast I want to discuss three Bible passages that might be referring to nuclear devastation in the end times.

So what caused me to look into this? Well there were a couple of things.

First there was a report by Fox News that China had apparently developed a nuclear missile, the Dongfeng 41, that could travel to the US in 30 minutes. And the second involved a study recently released by Princeton University’s Science and Global Security program.

According to an article on Breaking Israel News entitled “Princeton Study confirms: Gog and Magog a realistic scenario,” the Princeton group reported on the potential fallout of a nuclear war between the US and Russia.

Princeton decided to review such a scenario because of the recent breakdown in nuclear agreements between Russia and the US.

Based on their simulation, Princeton estimated that such a devastating conflict would result in the deaths or injury of 90 million people in a matter of a few hours.

Their scenario starts with a border conflict between NATO and Russian troops and escalates to Russia launching 300 nuclear warheads and NATO responding with 180 warheads and 600 US warheads.

Nuclear test on Bikini Atoll Credit: United States Department of Energy/Wikipedia/Public Domain

According to Breaking Israel News, a similar simulation conducted by the U.S. Pentagon during the heart of the cold war calculated that a nuclear war between US, Russia and China would result in the deaths of 335 million Chinese and Russians and upwards of 88 million Americans – essentially killing about a third of the population of these countries at the time.

So does the Bible warn of a potential nuclear war?

The Bible is a very prophetic book, where large sections speak of events that will take place centuries in the future.

When it comes to a study of Bible prophecy there are two major issues that we need to deal with:

  • The first involves timing. When did the prophet believe this event would take place?
  • The second problem is interpretation, which is arguably the bigger issue.

Many of the Old Testament and New Testament prophets were seers, meaning that they were seeing visions of events that would be taking place in some instances thousands of years in the future.

As the prophets saw these events unfolding, they had to find words in their vocabulary to describe what they were seeing.

How would they describe a nuclear war, when the most advanced weapons of their day were bows and swords?

How would a prophet describe the after effects of a nuclear blast?

Basically, these prophets had to describe what they were seeing based on the non-technological vocabulary of their day.

So we need to understand these passages with that limitation looking for other clues, that they might be providing.

The first passage describing nuclear devastation is put forward by Breaking Israel News, and they looked at the similarities with an end times battle between Israel and nations referred to as Gog and Magog. We know little about these nations other than they were located in the north.

Breaking Israel News suggest the prophet’s description of the battle fits nuclear devastation.

First, the battle will be over in a matter of hours:

At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us. And the lot of those who pillage us.

Isaiah 17:14 NASV

Some translations describe it as “sudden terror” and by morning the armies are gone, no more.

Secondly the prophet Isaiah describes people fleeing the fortified cities and hiding in terror in caves.

This is a bit unusual since attacks on cities during the time these prophecies were given usually took months, sometime years, before the invading armies broke through the walls or starved out the residents. It was also not unusual for invading armies to just give up and go home so people tended to flee to walled cities for refuge.

But in this instance, Isaiah saw something completely different happening. The sudden devastation will cause people to actually flee the cities and head underground:

Men will go into caves of the rocks
and into holes of the ground
before the terror of the Lord.

Isaiah 2:19 NASV

So what was Isaiah seeing?

Notice how he says the people will not only be hiding in caves but as well in holes underneath the ground.

Well hiding underground does fall in line with government’s response to threats of nuclear war.

During the Cold War, governments around the world built massive underground bunkers to protect government leaders from nuclear attack, many of these are still in use today.

Cheyenne mountain located in Colorado is just such a complex. Created in the 1950s, this elaborate underground structure was built as a hiding place for government leaders in the event of a possible nuclear strike.

Cheyenne still serves as the headquarters for NORAD today.

Is this what Isaiah was seeing?

Thirdly Breaking Israel News then points to a verse describing the aftermath of the battle and this is interesting:

For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;The sun will be dark when it rises
And the moon will not shed its light.

Isaiah 13:10 NASV

Basically, it describes what today is referred to as a nuclear winter when the smoke and sulfur from the devastation caused by multiple nuclear strikes would block the sun’s rays from hitting the earth, resulting in a world-wide cooling.

It is curious that Isaiah saw this happening in conjunction with the great Gog and Magog battle.

Now there is a second possible mention of a nuclear attack found in the book of Zechariah, that in some ways resembles the fallout from a nuclear battle. It is probable Zechariah was also describing the Gog and Magog attack on Israel:

12 Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.

Zechariah 14:12 NASV

Zechariah says in this verse that people’s flesh, eyes and tongues will rot, literally fall off while people are still standing.

It will happen so quickly that people will not even have a chance to fall to the ground.

What could cause this to happen? Certainly a nuclear blast has the potential to do this and much more.

The prophet Zechariah adds that as a result of this battle two-thirds of Israel’s population will be killed (Zechariah 13:8-9) and it is interesting to note that as a result of this devastation the one third who survived will turn to God, and this may be what the Apostle Paul was referring to in Romans 11:26 when he talks of the Jews turning to Christ.

The third description of a possible nuclear battle is mentioned in the Book of Revelation which was a written record of a vision the Apostle John received of the end times around 90 AD while he was banished on the Island of Patmos.

Throughout the Book of Revelation, John describes what appear to be several asteroids hitting the earth causing massive devastation. He describes one being the size of a flaming mountain crashing into the sea causing massive destruction and probably several tsunamis that results in hundreds, even thousands of ships being destroyed.

But there is one passage that could be a reference to an asteroid, but John does something very unusual he gives it gives is the ominous name of wormwood:

10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

Revelation 8:10-11 NASV

Wormwood is a species of plant common to the middle east that produced a bitter oil that was used for medicinal purposes.

As we take a closer look at this passage, John saw a star falling from heaven that would cause the waters to become bitter and people drinking it would die.

Now it could be an asteroid, like I mentioned earlier, but since John named it Wormwood, it suggests this one was different from all other ones he saw in his vision of the end times.

So how would a prophet who lived two thousand years ago describe the Russian made RT 2 PM2 Topol-M Inter Continental Ballistic Missile that actually leaves the earth’s atmosphere before re-entering closer to its target where it can unleash several thermonuclear warheads?

Well, John described Wormwood as having an elongated shape, like a burning torch. This description fits an inter-ballistic missile re-entering the atmosphere before unleashing its nuclear devastation.

Notice also how John says the water will become like this flaming torch — Wormwood. Is this a description of a nuclear bomb contaminating the water with nuclear radiation?

But John’s focus on water is curious as well. On April 26, 1986, a nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, now modern Ukraine, resulted in a nuclear chain reaction that caused a massive fire that spewed out radiation contaminating much of the surrounding area.

One of the biggest concerns about Chernobyl was the impact it had on the water supply. In fact, Wikipedia has dedicated an entire separate section entitled, “Chernobyl groundwater contamination”, to describe impact that this disaster had on the water supply.

Wikipedia states:

“Substantial groundwater contamination is one of the gravest environmental impacts caused by the Chernobyl disaster. As a part of overall freshwater damage, it relates to so-called “secondary” contamination, caused by the delivery of radioactive materials through unconfined aquifers to the groundwater network.”


Is it just a coincidence that John saw Wormwood having a similar effect on rivers and streams?

I am not adamant that these passages are referring to a nuclear attack, but there are similarities. You will have to take a closer look and decide for yourself if it’s possible.

In closing, I would like to address one final issue. If these passages are referring to nuclear devastation, we also see that it is God who is unleashing this judgement.

What does this mean?

I believe until now, God has restrained governments from engaging in a full nuclear conflict, but at some future point that will change and God will allow humanity to essentially judge itself.


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