“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:10-11)
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced last Tuesday that their official doomsday clock stands at three minutes to midnight. The clock, updated every year, is a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe. It has stood at 11:57 pm since January 2015, when it was pushed two minutes closer to the apocalypse.
The Bulletin was founded in 1945 by a group of researchers, some of whom had participated in the Manhattan Project producing the first nuclear bomb. Cognizant of the destructive power of the weapons they helped create, the scientists set up the Bulletin as a means of reminding the public about the consequences of using them. In 1947, the Doomsday Clock was created to graphically illustrate the global threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.
The clock has only been pushed this close to midnight three times before. It was first advanced to 11:57 in 1949 after the Russians tested a nuclear weapon, beginning the arms race, and again in 1984 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. It advanced to its most extreme point, 11:58, in 1953, when the US and the Soviets both tested thermonuclear devices, sparking concerns of an actual confrontation.
The furthest it has ever been from midnight was in 1991, when The United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the Soviet Union dissolved, signalling the end of the Cold War and pushing the clock back to 11:43.
The setting of the clock is the result of a complex evaluation of many factors. The Bulletin noted that the agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran over its nuclear program would ostensibly lower the threat level, but only if Iran adhered to it.
The nuclear deal could lead to proliferation of nuclear programs in the region, a potential threat if the programs become linked to weapons programs or if they are usurped by terror organizations. Non-weaponized nuclear programs can address environmental concerns, desalination in the arid region, and advancing new industry in countries that have, until now, relied on income from oil production.
The recent global warming pact signed in Paris last year was figured a theoretical success by the Bulletin, but one which had no real impact on the clock. It will only be considered a positive influence when the countries actively institute the changes to which they agreed.
North Korea’s nuclear test earlier this month ticked off several seconds, bringing midnight closer.
“Three minutes (to midnight) is too close. Far too close,” the Bulletin said in a statement. “That decision is not good news, but an expression of dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change.”
Breaking Israel News spoke to Rabbi Yitzchak Batsri, a noted Kabbalist from Jerusalem, who was unconcerned about the global threats used to determine the doomsday clock. “While the world exists, it is through God’s mercy and not because of our merit. Therefore, until God’s mercy ends, the world cannot end, no matter what men do. Men simply do not have the power to destroy God’s creation against His will,” he said.
Rabbi Batsri described the concept of doomsday as it appears in Jewish sources. “The Rambam writes that the world will never be destroyed. But the Talmud says in Tractate Sanhedrin that the world will exist 6,000 years, and in the 7,000th year it will be destroyed, as prophesied in Isaiah 2:11, ‘And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day’.”
Rabbi Batsri explained this seeming contradiction. “The Rambam explains that in the 7,000th year, there will be only a partial destruction of the world, that evil will be destroyed and only good will remain. Other sages understand this to mean that there will be a complete destruction. According to all opinions, until the year 7,000 by the Hebrew calendar, there can be no total destruction, only in certain countries or regions.”
“And even when the world ends, the souls of those who follow God will remain here, flying above the earth, as it is written in Isaiah 40:31, ‘But they that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles’,” Rabbi Batsri said. “So even when this world is destroyed, there will be a place above the earth, a different kind of existence.”