KENTUCKY (11/25/12) – This is a special edition of “Bearing the Cross” that I am writing in response to a column that was featured on our site involving what the Bible says about nuclear war which was written by Dr. Jack Van Impe. My position is that the Bible doesn’t say anything about nuclear war. Let me explain why.
Mr. Impe made the statement that the Bible talks about humans using atomic bombs during the “tribulation period.” Let us first establish that Revelation is not talking about a tribulation period, like so many believe, but it is talking about judgment coming upon the entire world and that those who follow Christ will not be conquered by that judgment. Impe uses Revelation 8:7 and 9:18 to support this view that atomic warfare will be used in the last days. These verses do not say anything about atomic bombs unless you read your own theology into it. This speaks of fire. And this book is about judgment, not a tribulation period. Take out your theology about this being about the future and you will have no case for this being about a tribulation period.
Impe goes on to quote 2 Peter 3:10 in saying that it is referring to nuclear war destroying the earth. I have to disagree here too. This is talking about the day of the Lord which is when Jesus returns. This is referring to the consummation of the world as Christ redeems it through his holiness and takes it back to the state of Genesis 1.
Impe then states that Zechariah 14:12 is talking about atomic warfare because of the description of what happens to people as their bodies are destroyed. But once again, Zechariah is talking about the coming of Jesus and the judgment that will come with it. Jesus will conquer all who follow Satan instead of God.
Impe speaks of Christians not going through this “tribulation period.” He is referring to the idea of the rapture of the church, but he quotes Revelation 3:10. This passage is, first of all, written to Christians at the church of Philadelphia, not to us. Secondly, Jesus is not telling this church that they will be raptured from the world. It’s been 2000 years. The people in this church are dead. He is telling them that when judgment comes on the world, they will survive it because they follow Jesus. They will conquer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).
Impe is doing what people have done throughout all of history. They apply Biblical prophecy to their time period. All of those people have been wrong. What makes this any different? Sure, there will be a time when Jesus does come again, but it is as folly to try to predict it as it is for someone to believe the Mayan 2012 end of the world prediction.
While it is a noble effort to get people to come to Christ, trying to scare people to salvation through end of the world predictions is not going to lead people to genuine conversion. They must encounter Jesus themselves and be transformed by him. All we know about the end of the world is that Jesus is coming and judgment comes with him.
Bearing the Cross
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