Could Putin Cause a Nuclear War, Even World War III?

Could Putin Cause a Nuclear War, Even World War III? October 1, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to ramp up his rhetoric about his war of aggression in invadingRussia’s immediate neighbor Ukraine. Just in the past week, Putin has called up 300,000 additional troops as reservists or conscripts to send rather untrained to the war’s front line. As a result, tens of thousands of Russian men have been leaving their families and possessions and fleeing across Russian borders to avoid this call-up. They could face imprisonment of up to 15 years if stopped by border guards and arrested.

But this is not only Putin’s war. He spoke to the Russian parliament yesterday, delivering a very disturbing speech for western powers, and parliament accepted it. Some of it was new, and some of it was not. Recently, Putin has been saying publicly that his “special military operation” in Ukraine is really against the West. He said yesterday that, more than Ukraine, “Western elites” are the real “enemy” of Russia.

Also in this speech, Putin stepped up his rhetoric by saying, strangely, that the U.S.–which is the largest supplier of war equipment to Ukraine–is guilty of “Satanism.” Putin has been using religious language in characterizing his aggression as good versus evil. He has some backing of this war from the Russian Orthodox Church. And he against blasted the West for destroying “gender identity” by its approval of homosexuality and transexual identity. Yesterday, he called it a “denial of man.”

Ever since Putin started this war, he has repeatedly reiterated Russia’s doctrine on the use of its nuclear weapons against a foe. The main point is that if Russian territory is attacked by another nation, then Russia will consider using nuclear weapons against it.

This week, Putin held sham referendums in the four territories in Eastern Ukraine that Russian troops presently control. He announced the results and declared these regions as now part of Russia. Putin also said in his speech yesterday that these Ukrainians are now Russia’s citizens “forever.”

U.S. President Joe Biden promptly declared it “illegal” and against international law. Biden also said that the U.S. will not allow Russia to do this. He further said, “the United States will always honor Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.”

Since this war began, Putin also has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in this war. Now that he has declared the four territories of Eastern Ukraine as the territory of Russia, he likely will declare next that he now has the right to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian sovereignty over this former Ukraine land. What a sham! Experts says the weapons he would use are tactical nuclear weapons, which are short-range. If he does this, it seems that the U.S. and NATO would have to respond very forcefully, whether with nuclear weapons or not. If that happened, the world could be headed for world war III.

For the past forty-five years, I have believed the world likely will someday suffer nuclear war, whether an actual world war or not. The reason I believe this is largely due to an end times prophecy which is very prominent in the Bible, Ezekiel 38–39, though it is not the only one. I have blogged about this multiple times.

In this Ezekiel 38–39 text, God predicts that an individual titled “Gog” will lead the nations’ armies in assaulting Israel. I believe “Gog” is a title for the final Antichrist, as indicated in Eze 38.17 (“Are you he of whom I spoke in former days?” NRSV). And the time of this invasion is the end of the age as indicated in Eze 39.8 (“This is the day of which I have spoken”).

The most notable feature of this Ezekiel 38–39 prophecy is that the troops mentioned will use primitive weapons: e.g., bows and arrows, swords, spears, and war clubs. And many of them will ride on horses. It is an error to interpret these weapons non-literally, which is a subject I don’t have space to defend here in a small blog post. I have two chapters about this in a forthcoming book.

The prophet Joel indicates likewise about primitive weapons being used at the end of the age. For he prophecies of that time and war predicted in Ezekiel 38–39, “Proclaim among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the warriors. Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’  Come quickly all you nations all around, gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD. Let the nations arouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat” (Joel 3.9-12). This reference is to the Kidron Valley located in Israel between the Temple Mount and Mount of Olives. Again, it is an error to interpret these farm utensils and primitive weapons non-literally.

Therefore, these two biblical prophecies, which are about the nations assaulting Israel in the last days of this age, indicate that the world will have disarmed itself of not only all nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but all modern weapons as well. Such total world disarmament of advanced weapons, of course, would be a huge undertaking that likely would take some time to accomplish and require high-tech methods of detection in a worldwide security regime. But why will the nations do this? I doubt they will without the impetus of suffering a horrible war or wars, thus perhaps a world war using nuclear weapons or possibly some other weapons not invented yet and later developed which will be even worse than nuclear weapons.

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