Of Pride and Man
By Hal Lindsey
The nations are in upheaval. As bad as the Middle East was ten years ago, it’s far worse today. Saudi Arabia recently shot down a missile headed for Riyadh. The missile was launched from Yemen, but the Saudis claim that the launch was an act of war committed by Lebanon. Sound confusing? It gets worse. The missile itself was Iranian. This is just one of many events that has placed that region on a short fuse. I can cite similar situations the world over.
Upheaval of nations is not new, but this time there are important distinctions. From a biblical perspective, the presence of the modern state of Israel changes the context in which we see all otherworld events. It is the mega-sign of the end times.
Today’s upheaval is also accompanied by a technological revolution of staggering proportions. Technological advances are having the effect of throwing gasoline on history’s already smoldering embers. Non-nation groups like the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon have sophisticated missile technology. And then there’s North Korea. Even though it’s one of the world’s poorest nations, it has a large nuclear weapons arsenal, as well as newly developed ICBMs.
All these developments happened at blinding speed. Change today is deeper and coming faster than ever before.
One of the ironies of our time is that the Cold War never fully ended. And when Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, it roared back to life in a big way. He recently warned that any military action against North Korea would lead to a “global catastrophe.” That’s a veiled threat of Russian involvement. Everyone knows that military action on the Korean Peninsula carries a huge risk. But it would be a regional risk. The obvious way it would turn into a “global catastrophe” is if Russia got involved.
Putin has a history of reminding the West that Russia remains a nuclear superpower. While being interviewed by director Oliver Stone for a Showtime documentary, he told the largely Western audience that in a war between the U.S. and Russia, “nobody would survive.”
Putin rattles the nuclear sabre with some regularity. But his obvious desire for self-preservation is comforting. Attacking the U.S. means utter destruction for Russia. He knows that. He wants to avoid it at almost all costs.
Kim Jong-un of North Korea is a different story. He seems to have great ambitions, and that implies a desire to survive. But his people worship him as a god. It’s easy for a young man to start believing the propaganda from his own cult of personality. His “pride of life” seems to have reached dangerous levels. Like many potentates of the past, he might be willing to destroy himself, his people, and millions more just for the sake of his pride.
There are many today who would prefer to die and kill as many others as possible, rather than experience humiliation. Some of them lead nations. Others live seemingly ordinary lives. But they are highly dangerous. Many are killers who kill for the love of killing. That includes radical Islamic terrorists. In most cases, jihad is just an excuse for killers to kill. If the terrorist who drove a truck down a bike and running path in New York City could have done something worse, he would have. If he could have planted a nuclear bomb at the new World Trade Center, believe me, he would have.
It’s the same with the Las Vegas shooter and the shooter at Sutherland Springs. These men acted in demon-rage, driven by bloodlust. They wanted to create a pandemonium of death, pain, and destruction—the more, the better. How long before such a person (or group) gets his hands on a weapon of mass destruction? I’m not talking about semi-automatic guns. I’m talking about the kind of weapon that could take out half of Manhattan, or make it an uninhabitable waste.
Technology follows a pattern. It becomes less expensive and more widely available every day. As innovative as humans can be in peaceful endeavors, they have always been most creative in the area of destruction.
This isn’t just a nuclear problem. Chemical, biological, and digital weapons have similar destructive potential. Like biological weapons, digital ones are self-replicating. That means they generate more of themselves. Digital weapons will soon be joined by other man-made, potentially self-replicating weapons, such as nanoweapons.
In the introduction to his novel Prey, the late Michael Crichton wrote, “Nanotechnology… is the quest to build manmade machinery of extremely small size, on the order of 100 nanometers, or a hundred-billionths of a meter. Such machines would be about a thousand times smaller than the diameter of the human hair. Pundits predict these tiny machines will provide everything from miniaturized computer components, to new cancer treatments, to new weapons of war.”
We’re not there yet, but existing weapons, and those in our immediate future, are scary enough. Crichton also said, “Sometime in the twenty-first century, our self-deluded recklessness will collide with our growing technological power.”
That collision is happening right now. Recently, I have found myself quoting I Timothy 3:1 quite often. “In the last days, perilous times will come.” (NKJV)
I’ve been quoting it because it fits. These are those times. I don’t say that to scare anyone, but to point you toward the world’s one hope—Jesus. He’s also your one hope. It’s fine to have a good job and a healthy retirement plan, but don’t put your trust there. Those things can disappear in a heartbeat. But Jesus is the “Friend” of Proverbs 18:24—the One “who sticks closer than a brother.”
If you haven’t turned to Him, now is the time.