The shock waves felt at Mururoa Atoll as a result of the recent French nuclear test were not the only waves felt. Right around the globe there were waves of protest against France, some violent, as people expressed their outrage. It was ironical that the nuclear test followed only days after the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, and in particular the end of the war in the Pacific. On the one hand the nations celebrated the remembrance of the end of a world war, whilst on the other hand the French were testing a bomb in preparation for the next.

France, of course, is not the only nation that has nuclear weapons. The U.S.A. and Russia would have far more, but the testing of an atomic device brought home to people world-wide the stark reality of the possibilities of war once again.

The reaction of people illustrates how fearful they are of another great war. Whilst the major powers have a respect of sorts for each other’s position of strength on the world’s stage, they are nevertheless distrustful of each other. People generally are fearful as to where this distrust could lead.

Towards the end of World War II, the noted author and historian H.G. Wells, in considering the carnage wrought by that war, expressed his views about the future. He stated, “there is no way out, or round, or through the impasse—it is the end”. Fifty years have gone by and the world is still very anxious about the future. Little did H.G. Wells realise when he expressed his views, that he was describing a society predicted by the Lord Jesus Christ 1900 years previously.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25, 26).

The word “perplexity” literally means “no way of escape”, and many people are concerned that there is no way of escape—no way out, or round, or through the impasse.

If the nations are agitated by the French nuclear test, how much more will they be agitated when the nations rush headlong towards Armageddon? Today we are living in the days when the nations like France are preparing for war (Joel 3:9), and soon all the men of war will draw near to the great day of God Almighty.

The Lord, in Luke 21, spoke of “distress of nations, … men’s hearts failing them for fear”. Noah’s times were noted for violence, and today, prior to the coming of the Lord, we see history repeating itself. The inability of world powers to prevent war has been graphically illustrated in recent times by the terrible suffering and atrocities committed in the Bosnian war. The warring factions from both the Orthodox and Muslim sides have been responsible for some terrible crimes against each other in their quest for territorial gains. The phrase “ethnic cleansing” has been used to describe the uprooting of people from their homes and the slaughter of innocent citizens.

Bosnia has not been the only place where barbaric forces have been unleashed. In recent times the world has witnessed the slaughter of innocent people in civil wars that have raged in Cambodia, Rwanda and other States on the African continent. The genocide perpetrated in these places reminds us of the madness of the Nazi regime in its attempt to ethnically cleanse the world of Jewry, in its “final solution”.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy “that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim 3:1), and we are certainly living in these last days. The word “perilous” can also be rendered from the Greek as “fierce” and in Matthew 8:28 the same Greek word is in fact translated as “exceeding fierce”. How accurate was the Apostle when he wrote of the last days. The rest of his description, in verses 2 to 7, is unquestionably our world of today.

But though we live in a world of violence and fear, when the fierceness of man estranged from his God is evident on every side, we as children of God can take comfort in the fact that things will not continue as they are indefinitely.

The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, when the heavens and earth of today’s corrupt society will be replaced by a new heavens and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:10, 12,13). In the meantime, “seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).