What Does the Bible Say About Nuclear War?

January 26, 2018 0 Comments

The raving lunatic dictator of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, keeps threatening the world, particularly the United States, with nuclear attacks. He seems bent on mounting a nuclear bomb onto one of his ICBM's that he constantly is testing. The threat of a nuclear attack is higher than ever before, and a "false alarm" last week in Hawaii sent people scurrying for cover in places like sewer manholes.
One of the questions I get, in respect to Bible prophecy, is whether there is any indication in Scripture of a future nuclear war. While we cannot answer this question dogmatically, we can say that there are at least 4 passages (if you insist on finding one) where nuclear warfare might be described.
The first is Rev. 6:7-8, which is the fourth "seal judgment" of the Tribulation period. Several Bible teachers interpret the "pale horse" to be a nuclear war, simply because one fourth of the entire world's population is wiped out in this devastating judgment. Numbers this large, they say, could only be the result of a major nuclear holocaust.
The second possible passage is Rev. 9:9-10, 18-19. This one is the fifth trumpet judgment, and is usually interpreted literally to be demonic locust-like creatures with stings in their tails like scorpions. But some of the language is worth noting: (1) the breastplates of iron, which might be the missile; (2) the sound of their "wings" which might be the roar of the rocket's engines; and (3) the fire that comes out of their tails, which might be the burning propulsion of fuel that powers rockets being launched. Personally, I think this is stretching the text. I still take the locusts that come out of the pit to be demonic creatures that God calls "locusts".
Third, there is the passage in Zech. 14 which reads: "And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths" (vs. 12). I must confess this description certainly fits perfectly when compared to the actual effects of a nuclear blast. My problem is this: the Bible teaches in Rev. 19 that Armageddon is fought by Christ with a two-edged sword that proceeds from His mouth, not by nuclear weapons.
And the fourth possible place to insert nuclear warfare in the Bible, if you are determined to do so, is II Pet. 3:10-12, where God describes the coming destruction of the heavens and the earth: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up . . .the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat." In my mind, this is probably the best place to insert an interpretation that incorporates nuclear weapons because atomic bombs operate on the basis of chemical reaction of ELEMENTS. The references to the elements is intriguing.
Now, just be careful you don't say that Pastor Seefried is teaching a coming nuclear war, on the basis of these, or any other Bible passages. I am only answering a hypothetical question with a hypothetical answer.

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.