Summary: On January 26, 2017 the Atomic Scientists moved the “Doomsday Clock” 30 seconds closer to midnight – EXTINCTION!
The clock has already been set for us. On January 26, 2017, the board members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the “Doomsday Clock” ahead 30 seconds to two and a half minutes to midnight. For these scientists, who’ve kept watch on the probability of humanity’s extinction since the United States unleashed the atomic bomb in 1945, doomsday represents a man-made apocalypse.
The closest the world got to “midnight” was in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis, when thermonuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union seemed imminent. I was three years old at the time, and my mother was pregnant with my baby brother. She has told us many times that she questioned whether to finish knitting socks for a baby that might never be born. The fate of the planet hung in the balance, and the Doomsday Clock was set at two minutes to midnight.
Since then, the clock has moved several times—even back as much as 15 minutes, but most recently it had held steady at 11:57 . . . until now. Tensions between the United States and Russia, cyber warfare, lack of progress on climate change, a strident rise in nationalism, and deteriorating global security are among the reasons Bulletin scientists gave for readjusting the metaphorical clock.
“The probability of global catastrophe is very high,” warned the Science and Security Board, “and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” And the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that “in 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms.”
It begs the question: if it’s two and a half minutes to doomsday scientifically, what time is it prophetically? Indeed, many of the global conditions that spell disaster among the scientific establishment today were predicted two millennia ago by a Carpenter who claimed to be the Messiah. His “bulletin” was given in answer to a question about His second coming and the end.
On climate change He said, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
On rising nationalism and deteriorating global security He said that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (verse 10), and, “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6).
The Teacher went on to say that “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (verse 12). It doesn’t require a scientist or a prophet to see the reality of these words fulfilled as scenes of terrorist attacks, babies burned by chemical weapons, and unrelenting gun violence in our streets parade across our array of screens as “breaking news” every minute of every day.
Social media is oversaturated with posts, tweets, videos, and memes proving the validity of Paul’s prophecy to Timothy that in the last days “people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals” (2 Timothy 3:2–5, The Message).*
Scientifically, politically, socially, biologically, technologically, economically, and spiritually, the clock is ticking . . . but is anyone really listening? And for those who are, what can you do about it? How do you set your personal life clock for the end time?
As I write these words, I’m thinking about my own adult children. They are millennials living in this world that is nearing its end. They believe in God, country, an afterlife, the Second Coming, social engagement, family, fun, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I thought about them and wondered what advice I could share with them on this topic that would be real, practical, and not preachy. I figured if I came across as real and helpful to them, I might come across that way to you too.
If it’s nearly “midnight,” stop living as if it’s only 9:30 P.M.
Simply put, get in sync with the times. On March 12 of this year, most states “sprang forward” into Daylight Saving Time. I hate Daylight Saving Time. I’d much rather let nature take its course and lengthen the days naturally, the way God intended.
However, if, in my disdain for the artificial time tampering, I kept my clocks set to Standard Time, I’d be an hour late to all my appointments. I’d be living out of sync with the reality around me, with dire consequences when it came to weddings, catching trains or planes, or doctors’ appointments.
We do the same thing when it comes to Jesus’ second coming. The Bible is clear that these are the “end times.” It’s nearly midnight. Yet, many, including believers, live in their own version of “standard time” (as if it’s only 9:30). Standard time is preoccupied with standard things—eating, drinking, career, raising a family, entertainment, retirement planning, and so on (see Luke 17:26–30). There’s nothing wrong with any of these activities in themselves. It’s all about the timing. There were a lot of social activities aboard the Titanic too! (The band kept playing as the ship went down!) But when you’ve struck an iceberg, it’s time to get into the lifeboats, not time for another round of shuffleboard (or Candy Crush Saga).