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 Will the Torch of Liberty Fall?

As we find ourselves a nation in defense against those who would seek to destroy us, will our liberties remain high, or will we sacrifice them in order to provide ourselves with greater security?

— Foretold as much as 100 Years Ago

“Since 1945, it began to be technologically feasible to end life on this planet.”—Michael Grosso, “Analyzing the Future,” in Isaac Asimov, ed., Living in the Future (1985), p. 18.

Why did we seek to uncover that last, that deepest, secret? But now it is done and we stand aghast at what crazed men can now do to the rest of us.

“Man has survived, thitherto, through ignorance. Can he continue to survive now that the useful degree of ignorance is lost?”—Bertrand Russell, Has Man a Future? historian and philosopher (1961), p. 69.

Then came the 43-year nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. For decades, there was a massive bipolar face-off between the Soviet Union and America; and the rest of the world quietly sat back and nervously watched.

But then, when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1989, everything changed again. Over a dozen smaller nations began preparing for war against one another—or against us.

In the 1990s, nations once again were arming,—but this time it is different. We have now entered upon a situation that has steadily grown almost unmanageable.

Now there are too many actors in the drama, too many loose nukes, too many individual terrorists. It is too easy to buy nuclear bombs, too easy to make chemical and biological ones.

The leading scientists and intelligence experts of America tell us they long for the days of the cold war, when things were peaceful!

“In comparison to the present, in some ways it seems like the Cold War was a piece of cake.”—National Security Seminar, late 1990s, held at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Make no mistake: The 1990s and beyond have hurled us into an increasingly dangerous world. The entire world is becoming increasingly militarized, and many of the belligerents are fanatics.

We now live on the edge of a sudden military attack which could destroy major cities,—an attack which need not come from the skies. It can be brought in on trucks. Yet there are a number of other, equally dangerous problems. This is the story of what we are facing. Why it will come. And what you need to do to prepare for it.

Nuclear attack: All the terrorists and rogue nations need is the raw material—the uranium or plutonium. Once they have that, they can build the bombs. The underpaid workers at Russian storage sites are glad to secretly sell quantities of it. Bribery and black market selling have been standard market procedures in Russia for decades.

Writing in a 1997 intelligence digest, a nuclear weapons expert, Graham Allison, described the situation: Once fissionable material is obtainable, it can easily be made into weapons. Transportation of the material is not difficult. A simple bomb design can be made with less than 20 pounds of plutonium.

It would be easy to sneak such a bomb into America or another Western nation. Many rogue groups want the nuclear material and are willing to pay a lot to get it (Graham T. Allison, “The Number One Threat of Nuclear Proliferation Today: Loose Nukes from Russia,” The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Winter/Spring 1997, p. 65).

Rarely mentioned by officials, but a very serious “weapon,” would be the small airplanes parked at thousands of private airports in America. It would be easy to load explosives into a small plane, fill it with fuel, and fly it into government buildings. The combination of explosives and aviation fuel would be terrible. Jetliners are also not adequately protected. America is not guarding its airplanes!

The worst scenario, next to nuclear bombs, includes chemical and biological weapons:

Chemical weapons: The raw materials are relatively easy to get, and the finished products do not have to be kept alive. But, unlike germs, the chemicals cannot reproduce. So they can affect only a small area—unless a crop-dusting plane is used, which could cover a large city.

Only a large terrorist syndicate could make tons of chemical weapons. But it is known that Iraq has stockpiles of them. The 1995 Tokyo subway attack used a chemical weapon (sarin gas). Because an extremely small amount was used, few people died.

Biological weapons: Most feared are anthrax (a bacterium) and smallpox (a virus). Both are highly lethal. Inhalant anthrax kills nearly 90% of its victims; but anthrax is not communicable.

Smallpox kills about 30%, but can be transmitted with horrifying ease. Experts believe smallpox is the worst of the two.

Anthrax is turned into a weapon merely by releasing airborne spores for people to breathe. A plane flying over New York City could easily do it. Within a few days cold-like symptoms develop. By the time the symptoms are noted, treatment is too late. Death follows within a week.

Bubonic plague is the third major “weapons-grade” disease. Russian defectors have declared that, before its collapse, the Soviet Union was developing new super plagues (primarily strains of anthrax and smallpox which were more lethal), against which there would be no known antidotes. Following that collapse, it became far easier for foreign agents to bribe guards to sell them quantities of it.

Today 17 nations are believed to have biological weapons programs, many of which involve anthrax.


The ABOVE STATEMENT was written prior to September 11, 2001. If anything, the situation is now even more dangerous. We are hurtling toward oblivion. Only God can help us; yet, by our immoralities, we are declaring that we do not want His help.

We join the rest of America and the world in deep sorrow over the recent tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., which took the lives of thousands of innocent people. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the many who have suffered loss in these tragedies as well as in the ongoing battle against worldwide terrorism.

We are stunned as we consider that a terrible climax is now developing before our eyes, events leading to the destruction of this world. Yet, according to Bible prophecy, God is permitting this to happen. He often allows developments to work toward a climax, just as they have in the past. He did it in Noah’s day, when He sent a flood of waters that buried the wicked. He did it in the days of Abraham, when He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. When wickedness reaches a certain point, God steps in.

Christ predicted that, when conditions in the entire world became as evil as they were in the time of Noah and Sodom—the end would come!

Have we reached that point? Are the worldwide calamities a sign that we have reached the end?

Almost one hundred years ago the primary author of this book, E.G. White, was shown in vision what was to happen to the great cities of this world. Here are a few examples:

“Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.”—EGW, Great Controversy, 590.

“On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven . . The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: ‘They are perfectly safe.’ But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.”—EGW, 9 Testimonies, 12-13 (1909).

“In the night I was, I thought, in a room but not in my own house. I was in a city, where I knew not, and I heard explosion after explosion. I rose up quickly in bed, and saw from my window large balls of fire. Jetting out were sparks, in the form of arrows, and buildings were being consumed, and in a very few minutes the entire block of buildings was falling and the screeching and mournful groans came distinctly to my ears. I cried out, in my raised position, to learn what was happening: Where am I? And where are our family circle? Then I awoke.” —EGW, Manuscript 126 (1906).

“During a vision of the night, I stood on an eminence, from which I could see houses shaken like a reed in the wind. Buildings, great and small, were falling to the ground. Pleasure resorts, theaters, hotels, and the homes of the wealthy were shaken and shattered. Many lives were blotted out of existence, and the air was filled with the shrieks of the injured and the terrified . . One touch, and buildings, so thoroughly constructed that men regarded them as secure against every danger, quickly became heaps of rubbish. There was no assurance of safety in any place.”—EGW, 9 Testimonies, 92-93 (1909).

“The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling one against another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure lovers are still crowding to theaters, horse races, gambling hells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy forever shut.”—EGW, Southern Watchman, Oct. 3, 1905.