Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Armageddon? or Armageddon!

Dear Friends,

Last week at a private fundraiser, President Biden warned a gathering of elite democrats about the very real possibility of a nuclear “Armageddon” as a result of the war between Russia and the Ukraine. Both his staff and the liberal media were caught off guard by his statement and other world leaders were immediately critical of his “imprudent” and “provocative remarks.” 

Our own Nation’s defense officials were quick to disagree with the president. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that, “We do not presently see indications about the imminent use of nuclear weapons.” And as it so often does after the president speaks his mind, his administration rushed to tamp down any fears resulting from what appeared to be Biden’s fund-raising hyperbole. The White House said that there is “no reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture” and that there was “no new intelligence that nuclear use by Russia is imminent.”

Russia has long-range “strategic” nuclear weapons that could  annihilate New York city and has much smaller “tactical” nuclear weapons that could take out, for example, a Ukrainian army training camp. Biden said at the fundraiser, “I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.” The implication was that if Putin targets the Ukraine with a small tactical weapon, the U.S., or another country would respond with a larger nuclear weapon which could lead to the nuclear holocaust that ends the world. People have told me that they are now fearful that a nuclear war will break out, and I remember all too well that fear.

This coming Sunday is the sixty year anniversary of the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was 13 years old and terrified of the near-certainty that my family would be killed. For years, a nuclear war with Russia had been on everyone's mind. The wealthy families built bomb shelters in their backyard during the fifties. Other families like mine were sure to die. We had weekly "Duck and Cover" drills in our schools and monthly Air-Raid Siren testing that were constant reminders that a nuclear warhead could be dropped on us at any moment. 

I remember my father talking at church with the other men about those being our "end times." But what I remember most of all was the fear that I was going to die soon. That's why I have such a negative reaction to those creating that same fear in our Nation today and within families and among children. And yet, for me personally, I have no "Armageddon" fears. This is why... 

Yes, we do have two unpredictable, aging world leaders threatening each other with nuclear annihilation but I’m not worried and I sleep well at night. Only a certifiably insane (Russian or American) president with a death-wish for the entire world would generate a nuclear holocaust that brings civilization to an end. (Remember, this is real life, not James Bond vs. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, scheming for world domination) Both Biden and Putin have the typical narcissistic egos of a politician but they are not clinically “insane.” 

And, it’s been said by some in Putin’s inner-circle that if Putin ordered a nuclear strike that could lead to World War III and the end of the world as we know it, his generals would refuse to do so and most likely assassinate him instead. If Biden were to overreact and recklessly order the world-ending nuclear holocaust, we trust that American generals would also refuse to do so. There is no “button” the president pushes to launch a nuclear weapon, he gives an order that travels down through a chain of command. 

While I’m not worried about nuclear warheads striking L.A., I really don’t like when politicians use Biblical words out of context for political purposes – especially to create fear among the American people for fund-raising purposes. Now let's look at our Bible:

“And the demonic spirits gathered
all the rulers and their armies
to a place with the Hebrew
name Armageddon.”
Revelation 16:16 NLT

Actually, no person knows exactly what “Armageddon” is, least of all the president. Bible scholars have two views of  “Armageddon.” 

1) It does not refer to a military conflict but to a spiritually decisive conflict between good and evil and uses apocalyptic language to describe the final overthrow of Satan by the power of God. 

2) Demonic spirits under the control of Satan work deceptive miracles and manipulate the rulers of the world, causing them to gather in a great show of military strength against Israel for “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” This battle will take place at a location called Armageddon which is possibly a biblical city called Megiddo. 

No matter how we interpret this mighty war, it is a battle of good over evil. But the world does end in the battle at Armageddon. Right? Who knows..

The book of Revelation, with its apocalyptic visions and metaphors, results in eight formal viewpoints of the End Times. How about this one? During the mighty battle over Israel, Jesus appears and slays all the evil people and takes the good Christians to heaven. Or all evil people are killed and only good Christians populate the earth. Or the earth is wiped clean of every living creature and God creates a new world filled only with good Christian people. Or Judgment Day takes place during Armageddon and Jesus will save the true believers, while non-believers left behind on the earth will face enormous suffering. 

Take your pick of what Biblical Armageddon means but it’s not as our president portrayed it – our world leaders launching nuclear warheads at each other! Whatever happens at the "end of the world" (as we know it) is spiritual and will be centered around the return of Jesus Christ. We’ve learned that Armageddon is a Hebrew word, meaning either a literal place or a metaphor. We can only guess at which one. 

But we know well the meaning of the Hebrew word, “Shalom.” Shalom is translated as “peace,” and the Hebrew word signifies not simply an absence of turmoil, but conveys complete wholeness, well-being and contentment. 

My prayer is that we replace any fears of Armageddon with God’s assurance of our own eternal life, and with the peace of Shalom, and then just trust and rest in the Lord.

“The Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Habakkuk 2:20

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