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THINGS AS THEY ARE, WERE ARE TO COME
Armageddon In the Atomic Age
ANTHONY E. LARSON
Today’s believers. in general. as unlikely as it may seem to the average Christian – including Mormons – the atom bomb even changed our view of the scriptures and prophecy. In reality. thanks largely to the advent of the atomic age. WERE � ARE TO COME Armageddon in the Atomic Age Copyright © 2002 Anthony E. nothing since Newton’s laws of gravity or Copernicus’ heliocentrism has so profoundly effected our views of the universe. Ezekiel. have a radically different view of scriptural prophecy than their predecessors. nuclear capable countries became overnight “superpowers. prophesied destructions of the last days such as those uttered by Isaiah. Amos. were seen by Christians in centuries past as the forces of nature responding to the commands of their creator. Historically. however.THINGS AS THEY ARE. Larson Mankind in the modern age has come to believe that the world will end in the mushroom cloud of nuclear war.” It changed science. It certainly changed warfare. it’s hard to find some aspect of our lives that hasn’t changed in one way or another due to the advent of the atomic age. A clearer understanding of the matter. In fact. Joel. even populations far from any battle could be held hostage to annihilation. John in his Revelation and even Jesus himself were viewed as the acts of an all-powerful God. has God using the same natural mechanisms of destruction in the future that he used in ancient times. T ry to name all of the changes that the atom bomb and technology brought to our world in the middle of the last century. It changed politics and diplomacy. The pronounced tumult and cataclysm in the heavens and on the earth. All that changed the day the first A-bomb was detonated in July . the apocalypse predicted to occur prior to the Savior’s second coming.
What’s more. Armstrong’s “World Tomorrow” radio ministry of the 1950s to Hal Lindsay’s book and movie. nuclear weapons being the cornerstone of their exegesis.” He wasn’t the only one to see mankind in a new. From that point on. It’s easy to see why. From Herbert W. the Bhagavad-Gita: “I am become death: the destroyer of worlds.” and a multitude of other high-tech weapons such as missiles and lasers whose effects seem similar to the extravagant imagery of the prophetic apocalypse. its shockwave became the “blast from heaven. missiles and rockets.” and the effects of nuclear radiation exposure from fallout to the “sores. most people were silent. Great Planet Earth. the space age took man and his technologically advanced weapons into the very heavens themselves.” Christian ministers began to interpret the fantastic imagery from prophecy as immensely powerful super-weapons. The bomb’s mushroom cloud looked like the “pillars of fire and smoke” envisioned in prophecy. “A few people laughed. world-destroying light. Technology brought us jet airplanes and missiles that “roar upon the tops of the mountains. Once the sole venue of God’s prophesied vengeance. and the long. boils and blights” of prophecy. Robert Oppenheimer. The awe-inspiring power of that blast reminded Oppenheimer of a line from the Hindu sacred book.Armageddon in the Atomic Age 3 1945. “The Late.” recalled J. modern warfare expanded into an entirely new realm: the skies above us. Man could now wield god-like power both on earth and in the heavens. Christians began to see the atom bomb as the embodiment of God’s prophesied wrath. a few people cried.” Given its remarkable similarity to apocalyptic “fire and brimstone. as in prophecy. who witnessed the first such detonation in the New Mexico desert.” tanks and aircraft with a “sting like scorpions tails. Then. the heavens were now mankind’s domain as well. deafening roar and rumble it produced became the “sound of many waters. . the A-bomb was seen as the tailor-made fulfillment of prophecy. Thanks to the development of airplanes. the 20th century brought with it the development of extremely sophisticated machinery that completely replaced the crude weapons of yesteryear. father of the A-bomb.” the soot and ash from its fallout darkened the sky.
the destroyer. Clearly. ashen skies that turned the moon red and darkened the sun. not man. Religionists now proclaim that man with his super-weapons. Mankind now had the power to single-handedly fulfill all prophecy of the last days and bring about Armageddon all on his own. In fine.Armageddon in the Atomic Age 4 All these developments brought about a revolutionary reversal in biblical interpretation. God could sit on the sidelines. no Christian in his or her right mind would suggest that the fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was really an atomic bomb. And what about the fire from heaven that consumed Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. a quaking earth ruptured by super-powerful atomic bombs and the roaring of flying machines. Carmel or that destroyed the Assyrian army of Sennacherib . Early man had neither the technology nor the knowledge to produce such a weapon. For example. the egotism and myopia of modern man has overtaken the proper view of prophecy. a “scorched earth” warfare that would leave a vast wasteland in the wake of advancing armies with super weapons. It was destruction from God. This kind of myopic. Nothing could be further from the truth. eyewitness reports of God’s dealings with his children. But it is a badly flawed view that should be corrected. Mankind would now provide all the elements of the apocalypse: pillars of fire devastating vast expanses and destroying whole populations. A whole new breed of millennialists appeared who saw the fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy in the technological advancements of mankind. These astounding technological advances and super-weapons had a profound effect on the thinking of the Christian clergy as they read and interpreted prophecy. death from virile plagues and toxic poisons unleashed on a hapless world populace. while we would bring about the end of the world. will be Apollyon (Abaddon). Nearly every Christian now sees the fulfillment of prophecy in these same terms. not God. Deus ex machina. God was no longer necessary to the fulfillment of prophecy. a celestial spectator. egoistic interpretation is easily demolished when we look to scriptural accounts as accurate. Deus ex homonum! The problem is that this warped view of the apocalypse has been allowed to stand. as noted by John in his Revelation.
As a test. do we allow descriptions of similar calamities to come in the last days to suggest the cause is other than God-sent? The crux of this argument is the strikingly similar language used in the scriptures to describe both ancient catastrophes and those prophesied for the future. Perhaps it is time we took man. axiomatic to understanding the Bible and the fulfillment of prophecy that every Christian should internalize: The calamities of the last days. egocentric.” fought by man. “. rather than the distorted view induced by our myopic. will see a return of all the catastrophic types of destruction from the past. leaving that to the hand of man instead? Isn’t it logical to assume that the striking similarities between ancient destructions and those prophesied for our future are an indication that they will be of the same nature. the true agents of destruction will be the forces of nature.Armageddon in the Atomic Age 5 as he laid siege to Jerusalem in the days of Isaiah? Ancient man could not have done that. This logic is a vital key. why would God use the irresistible forces of nature to do his bidding in the past and not in the future. Perhaps it is time we returned to the proper perspective. then shall the sun be darkened. Perhaps this should also remind us of just how widespread. devastating and earthshaking the apocalypse of the last days will be – far . and the stars shall fall from heaven. enumerated in the scripture. but God could. bloody water. darkness.. modern perceptions. Was the Exodus’ pillar of fire and smoke. earthquakes or plagues due to some super weapon? Was this man’s or God’s doing? Were these not the forces of nature obeying the command of their creator? Why. then. kind and source? While it is true that “there will be wars and rumors of wars. Otherwise.. and the power of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…” We have fallen prey to delusions where the interpretation of prophecy is concerned because we failed to heed the teachings of the Bible. and the moon shall not give her light. his puny and fragile devices out of the equation – puny when compared to the forces of nature at God’s command – by recognizing that God alone will fulfill the promises made by the mouths of his holy prophets. prior to the Second Coming. compare the “miracles” of Exodus and Revelation for yourself.
newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: http://www.Armageddon in the Atomic Age 6 greater by many orders of magnitude than any man-made calamity – when it does come upon us.blogspot. For more essays from this series: http://mormonprophecy.com/ Your questions or comments are welcome: email@example.com .com/ For online classes. videos.mormonprophecy.
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