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Restraint and the Nuclear Demon

I had just turned twenty years old a couple of months earlier when I watched and heard John F. Kennedy say live on TV something like: “The United States shall consider any missile launched from Cuba to be a direct attack by the Soviet Union upon this nation, which will bring a full retaliatory response by the United States upon the Soviet Union.”

The president’s famous smile had been wiped away and a grim expression had taken its place. Even at only twenty, I knew there had never been such a critical moment in human history, so far as potential for war was concerned. The missile crisis of October 1962 had brought mankind to the brink of all-out nuclear war.

Many years later, it was learned that only the refusal of one Soviet submariner to agree to launching a missile prevented initiating a conflagration. The sub’s command was under the mistaken impression that Soviet military assets had been attacked with nuclear warheads.

The Soviet naval officer was the third vote required to send the nuclear missiles toward their targets. Two of his fellow officers, one of them being the sub’s commander, voted yes. He voted no, so the missiles weren’t launched. It was the right decision, and, after days of tense standoffs and negotiations directly between Kennedy and Soviet Premiere Nikita Khrushchev, the most dangerous nuclear confrontation in history dissolved back into less-threatening cold-war status.

Both Kennedy and Khrushchev–particularly Khrushchev—have been credited with and lauded for showing great restraint in preventing all-out atomic war. This, because the Soviet dictator started dismantling the nuclear missiles on the Cuban island.

I knew little about the details of Bible prophecy at that age, although I had been taught prophecy from the pre-Trib viewpoint since I was very young. I can remember vividly, as a six-year-old, hearing Pastor Harris in the Seventh Street Tabernacle in Pekin, Illinois, preaching on the Rapture of the Church. The belief that the Lord knows the end from the beginning was never a point to question in my thinking. But when the Cuban missile crisis was in full bloom, I admit I didn’t think about all that. I was very worried–as was most every American who kept up with the unfolding events.

My naïve understanding was that these geopolitical leaders had indeed been responsible for applying the restraint of common sense in preventing the world from being blown up. I even found a modicum of appreciation for Khrushchev, who had, a year or two earlier, boasted that he would bury us.
And now, in 2022, some are saying we are facing the greatest threat to world peace and of nuclear annihilation since the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

These six decades later, I have no fear whatsoever of nuclear world annihilation. Thus, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has just said something to the effect that if anyone tries to interfere with his going into Ukraine, they will experience something that they have never faced in all of history. By this, the diplomats of the world began thinking Putin meant he would unleash nuclear attacks against the US if American forces tried to intervene.

At this moment of writing, it seems there is no restraint whatsoever from the Russian side. And many, including yours truly, believe that America’s current leadership either doesn’t know how to restrain the nuclear demon, or is using the attack on Ukraine in a wag-the-dog move to distract from all this presidential administration’s failures at every level.

Despite the seemingly out-of-control movement toward possible nuclear conflict, like I say, I have no fear of the world ending through atomic warfare.

I’ve learned much since I was that naïve youth of 1962. I have learned to trust, without reservation, our God’s ability to restrain even the most horrific of man’s proclivity for self-destruction.

I now know the end from the beginning, because my Father in Heaven has told those who believe His prophetic Word that there will be “wars and rumors of wars,” and He has said that we should look for them. But He has also foretold that “the end is not yet” when we hear of those wars and rumors of war.
Our Heavenly Father has also told us that particular developments must take place as the end of human history plays out. That process does not include all-out nuclear destruction prior to the Rapture of the Church.

Following that great event, the red horse of war will indeed ride. As much as three-fourths of humanity will be killed by the judgments; most of the destruction almost certainly will come from nuclear weapons being unleashed. The black horse of famine and the chloros horse of death and Hell will quickly ride upon a planet of rebels deserving of God’s wrath.

Since the atomic bombs fell in 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear demon has been restrained. Not one such weapon has been allowed to be released in warfare, only in testing. This, in itself, is a miracle of God.

It won’t be any human leader or other human agency that will restrain the nuclear demon. The demon about which physicist Dr. Robert Oppenheimer remarked upon witnessing the first atomic explosion at the site called Trinity might be referenced obliquely in his following statement: The explosion brought to Oppenheimer’s mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
I believe that it is God’s mighty hand that will continue to restrain the nuclear demon–and all other wickedness—until the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit who indwells believers in Christ—is removed when we are called into the clouds to be with Jesus for eternity.


  1. Ruth L says:

    I agree there will not be all-out nuclear war at this point, but I do think that there could be limited nuclear strikes before the Tribulation.

  2. Ed Wood says:

    I was nine years old when I watched President Kennedy’s telecast. Already having an interest in science and well acquainted with the “duck and cover” drills in grammar school, I knew we were on the brink of something really bad. At that age, I already believed in God but my interest in Bible prophecy was still years away so the specter of nuclear annihilation was, I imagine, always there for adults and kids alike.

    I agree that we will not nuclear-sterilize Earth, but that a limited exchange is not only possible, but likely. In fact, I believe Revelation 8:10-12 actually describes the deployment of a nuclear weapon. A hydrogen bomb produces energy by hydrogen fusion, exactly the way a main sequence star like our sun does, so I think the term “star” in the account was deliberately chosen for that reason. Furthermore, Terry James told me that the Ukrainian word for “wormwood” is “chornobyl,” by the way so I don;t think this specific reference in the Bible is at random, either. The description also pretty much parallels what would happen with the detonation and after effects of such a weapon.

    The Bible clearly indicates that though the human population will be devastated during the Tribulation, there will be survivors who will enter the Millennium.

    Of course, without Jesus’ direct intervention, I have no doubt that humanity would certainly go the route of the dinosaurs, only, in our case, it would be a self-inflicted fate.

  3. ianpomeroy says:

    Thank you Terry, it most certainly seems that the Tribulation is ready to begin therefore we shall soon be out of here. Until then we shall speak out the Gospel and urge people to be ready by repentance for there will soon be no time left to hesitate. Look up for He is our only hope.

  4. Wade Peeples says:

    Everyone talks about Ezekiel 38; but there is a little aside in Ezekiel 39:6 that has always intrigued me: “I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” No one ever mentions that verse. Could it be America’s epitaph?

  5. A Clark says:

    Good insights Terry. I agree nuclear exchange at this time does not seem to align with bigger picture prophecy. The problem with limited or tactical nukes is that the progression from that to strategic nuclear strikes would happen pretty fast. I think this war is not so much about nuclear war as it is about several other things that seem to be aligned with prophecy:
    1. The EU is becoming more galvanized as a single entity. They are becoming more dominant in this crisis than the US.
    2. The US is becoming more diminished in international leadership. We complain about Putin’s actions, wag our finger and say how bad a guy he is, send over a few F-35s that will never see combat. All bark, no bite. Weak and indecisive.
    3. The call for Ukrainian Jews to return to Israel – on going prophetic fulfillment of the return of the Hebrew people to their land as decreed by the God of Heaven.
    4. Energy! Europe will need another supplier of heating since the flow of gas from Russia is largely cut off. European reserves of gas are very low and there is more cold weather ahead. Who would be an alternate supplier of gas to Europe? Israel! But think Putin will stand back and allow that to happen? Set up for the great war against Israel? Something to watch.
    5. Famine. Russian grain supplies about a third of the world market. Russian fertilizer also is vital to agriculture around the world. Sanctions have cut these commodities out of the market. That which the world does to Russia, is also done to the rest of the world. Nations have little access to fertilizer they need for adequate yields. This is already crisis in Africa, India, and South America. Fertilizer prices have exploded as have wheat prices. Widespread famine, particularly for poor nations is a distinct possibility. Famine will trigger more conflict.

    Just saying these second order effects from the war against Ukrainian people are perhaps the things to watch through the lens of biblical prophecy.

    • Ed Wood says:

      I think you are absolutely right in all your excellent observations.

      That huge gas field just of Israel’s coast is a real temptation for any energy-starved country or region. Wouldn’t surprise me if Russia also views it with envious eyes.

      We see much of the world sympathetic to Ukraine, but based on the behavior of most of the U.N.s members, they wouldn’t be similarly disposed toward Israel if Russia tried to move in there as well. Putin has already seen that no one has the guts to stop him militarily, so he might figure, “Why not?”

      History is unfolding exactly the way the Bible said it would. It’s unfortunate that most people, even nominal Christians, remain clueless to that fact.

  6. Thanks, Terry, for once again bringing the truth of the Scripture to the forefront of world events! A wonderful reminder of the sovereignty of our God. I, too, was instructed in the end times while still very young. I ‘cut my teeth’ as it were, on the Mark of the Beast and the rest of the Revelation teachings. I was just 20 years old (seems like a hundred years ago!) and I was temporarily living in a suburb of St. Louis MO. We were a part of a “remnant underground” church, we couldn’t meet in regular churches because we, and our teachers, were considered “blacklisted” by the church! This was back in 1979-1980 and look at us now! We are STILL blacklisted by the “woke” churches. This is proof that the churches back then were woke as well. So, anyway, I digress. Thank you for shedding light on the truth…again!! God bless you, Terry.

  7. Linda Eden says:

    Your truth is soothing to my soul, thank you. I was 15 in High School when Kruschev & President Kennedy were facing toe-to-toe @ the “Cuban Missle crisis” and it scared me to death. But I was 14 when I was baptized and God’s Spirit helped me not to fear men but to fear God. Here I am now 60 years past being that teen-ager and though it’s “scary” I’m excited about the Rapture Rapping at the Door, knowing it is well with my soul and am always looking up – I do pray for all the people that we need to repent and be saved.

  8. Christy Benoist says:

    Super comforting.. & reassures & reminds His followers of the truth we know to be true. Thank you for putting this situation in the proper perspective for true believers, Terry. We needed this. 😉 Bless your heart. Maranatha. In Jesus,Christy

  9. Keith Johnson says:

    The 21st chapter of the gospel of St. Luke describes troubles, trials, famines, wars and all kinds of misery that will come upon the earth’s population just prior to the event commonly referred to as the “Rapture”. That word is not found in Scripture but that event is described in a number of places. And, yes I fully believe that event will take place before the situations and conditions described and referred to in St. Luke chapter 21 take place on earth. The main reason I believe that is what Jesus told his disciples as recorded in verse 36 of that chapter ” Watch ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” I believe Jesus Himself will desend through the clouds into earth’s atmosphere and those of us who are “accounted worthy” born again” Christian believers will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the atmosphere and from there transported into a heavenly place where we will “stand before the Son of Man” just as He told His disciples on that day face to face in Luke 21: 36.
    I believe what we are witnessing in Ukraine today could very quickly develop into the conditions of Luke 21.

  10. Frau Brau says:

    Thank you so much for this, Terry! I am seeing way too many Bible teachers on You Tube sounding the alarm or talking about a nuclear bomb coming down as we get Raptured (based on people’s claims of dreams/visions from the Lord.) I wish people would stick to Scripture when making such prophetic pronouncements.

  11. […] author Terry James, in his article, ”Restraint and the Nuclear Demon,” wrote about the growing fears of Nuclear war with […]

  12. […] author Terry James, in his article, ”Restraint and the Nuclear Demon,” wrote about the growing fears of Nuclear war with […]

  13. […] author Terry James, in his article, ”Restraint and the Nuclear Demon,” wrote about the growing fears of Nuclear war with […]

  14. […] author Terry James, in his article, ”Restraint and the Nuclear Demon,” wrote about the growing fears of Nuclear war with […]

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