The Bible says the
“elements shall melt with fervent heat.“
Would this refer to nuclear devastation?
Let’s look at what the Bible says about this kind of firepower-and when such annihilation might occur. We read in 2 Peter 3:10 a clear description of the last days: “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.” God does not need man’s modern inventions to produce the mass devastation mentioned in this text.
Atoms have been here since God created heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1).
Only in our day has science learned to harness what has always existed. God could have brought the components together at any time to produce the effects predicted in this prophecy. This text pictures the renovation of the world.
Since God’s Word promises a final day of rest, there can be no complete renovation of the earth until Christ has reigned for one thousand years.
Therefore, this text refers to events to be fulfilled after the Millennium-the thousand-year reign of Christ. However, scores of other texts predict nuclear war for the Tribulation Hour.
Here’s the startling truth portrayed in this portion of scripture:
Humanity today has the potential to carry out that which prophecy has long predicted for the human race. Because science has harnessed this power, and because God’s predictions for the Tribulation Hour promise massive fiery devastation, the hour is most certainly at hand. God is able to carry out everything mentioned in Revelation 8:7 and Revelation 9:18.
He, the omnipotent One, needs no assistance from the world’s Atomic Energy Commissions or the Pentagon. These verses indicate that humans will use atoms during the Tribulation period and at the end of the Millennium.
Modem science tells us there are three primary effects of an A- or H-bomb blast.
First, there is the tremendous mushrooming effect as it ascends into the heavens upon detonation.
Second, as the blast begins its descent, it disintegrates, dissolves, and melts even steel. In fact, a five-hundred-foot steel tower melted into nothingness in the desert of New Mexico during past experiments.
Finally, the heat made the same desert a blazing inferno.
Now, observe the statement Peter made under the direction of the Holy Spirit nineteen centuries ago. First, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. Second, the elements shall melt with fervent heat. God said that the elements would melt.
Go to any library and make a study of atomic weaponry.
The materials will be classified under the letter E under the term elements-the very word God used. Think of it! Twentieth-century scientists continue to use the same language God employed nineteen hundred years ago.
Finally, Peter states, “The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The three major effects of nuclear detonations are identical to Peter’s prophecies and the catastrophic bombardments of earth predicted for the coming Tribulation Hour. In numerous other scriptural texts, undoubtedly, World War HI will be one of incineration.
Revelation 9:18 states, “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.”
I have stood in Japan, near Hiroshima, and remembered with sadness the reports of mayhem and destruction that emanated from the two Japanese cities struck by the atomic bomb during World War II.
My mind was troubled. Then I thought about the Tribulation Hour. Zechariah 14:12 pictures an atomic devastation beyond comprehension. The prophet said, “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.“
This is the precise effect of humankind’s newest weapon-the neutron bomb that destroys people but not property! All of this could take place in the near future. Then, after the millennial reign of Christ, the final atomic renovation of 2 Peter 3:10 will occur.
While believers will not endure the horror of the Tribulation, we must know the times so as to be faithful witnesses. That is why we must study and take the time to understand the prophecies in this startling chapter. They are vivid reminders that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is near. At a time when the world mocks His return, reveling in its atomic weaponry and false sense of security, and during an era when the sixth day is about to expire, Christ could return momentarily. The clock is ticking away its last fateful seconds. Little time remains. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and have not accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you, too, will be left behind with those who refuse to believe. All laughter will end when the fire begins to fall (Genesis 19:14, 24, 25; Luke 17:28-30). It will then be eternally too late. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
In Conclusion …
I have an important question for you.
In Matthew 24:3, Christ’s disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [literally, age]?“
The Savior proceeded to provide a list of cataclysmic world events, which would both usher in His return and culminate in the Day of the Lord.
He added in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass [or begin to occur simultaneously], then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.“
Concerning this great day, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.“
Never in the pages of world history have we witnessed such a proliferation of the signs Jesus predicted would be in place immediately before His return. No longer are the days of simultaneous war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and cultic activity limited to the pages of the Bible.
All we need to do today is glance at the morning headlines or listen for five minutes to CNN (or watch the tawdry afternoon television “peep shows“) to realize that these signs of Christ’s return are in evidence worldwide and increasing both in frequency and intensity. Is it any wonder that the scientists who control the famed “doomsday clock” are moving its hands ever closer to midnight?
is History Written in Advance.
The questions I have tried my best to answer in the preceding newsletters have dealt with the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the stream of end-time events that will usher in the Tribulation-a period of unparalleled terror.
I remind you, Christians will not be a part of this horrendous time (Revelation 3:10). In answer to your many questions, I have endeavored to deal with most of the major New Testament prophecies that relate to the return of our Lord in the light of current international events.
Remember that prophecy is simply history written in advance.
It is God’s declaration and description of future events. As such, prophecy cannot, has not, and will never fail in even the smallest detail until all has been fulfilled. The day of that ultimate fulfillment is upon us. My personal prayer is that, upon completing this book, you will renew your vow of love, service, and allegiance to the Savior. If you do not yet know the Lord of lords and King of kings, it is my earnest prayer that you will open your heart and your life to Jesus today.
Do not be left behind. Do not say, “I wish I had taken the words of prophecy more seriously.“
Will it be easy for us in the years before the Tribulation?
I think not.
We will still be compelled to deal with runaway crime, abortions, drug abuse, plagues, pestilence, AIDS, wars, and rumors of wars, and an unprecedented hostility toward the gospel.
The question is,
• Will you be strong in your love for Christ, or will you sell your birthright for a few thrills during the challenging times that are sure to lie ahead?
• Will you be an end-time hero for the faith?
• Alternatively, will you be found wanting?
The apostle John, thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, survived the painful ordeal but was disfigured for life and banned to the isle of Patmos. The beloved apostle Paul was beheaded. Two of the New Testament writers, Jude and Peter, were crucified. Another Gospel writer, James, was battered to death with a fuller’s club.
Now let us look at the larger picture:
Soon the great hour will have arrived, and all God’s children will be present as the investigation begins. What will you say as you stand with such an array of heroes-believers who gave their all and who proved their first love for Christ during an entire lifetime and even unto death?
Only you know the answer. Christ’s return may be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will break through the blue to call us home. However, we do know that it is near, even at the doors.
Therefore, my closing questions to you are:
Are you ready for Christ’s imminent return?
• Could you bear the investigative judgment if it were to take place tomorrow?
• Is your present disobedience worth such heartache?
• Would tears of sorrow flow from your eyes for an entire millennial age?
• Would you be ashamed, embarrassed, red-faced, even brokenhearted?
• Would you not rather serve God with all your heart and hear Him say with a loud voice: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)?
It is not too late to make a change, to reverse your lifestyle, and put Christ first in your life.
If you do not know the Savior, I urge you to obey John 1:12 and Romans 10:13. If you are away from the Lord, I plead with you to act upon 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“
Make the right decision.
Then live the remainder of your days for Him, short as those days might be. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Maranatha! The King is coming!
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
January 6, 2014