While reading through the Bible this year, I recently came upon this passage in Zechariah fourteen – a passage that brings to mind images that are horrific – but that also calls to mind a modern weapon that can actually cause the very thing that God speaks of in this passage.
The weapon of which we speak is called the “neutron bomb.” Neutron bombs act on the part of an atom called the neutron. A neutron is a basic component of every atom. In general, for every atom to be a stable element it must have a proton (a positively charged particle) an electron (a negatively charged particle) and a neutron (a neutrally charged element – with no electrical charge whatsoever). Neutrons are a critical building block of every material thing in our entire universe. When these neutrons are clinging to protons in the nucleus of an atom, they are vital to the existence of matter itself. When they are freed from this relationship with a proton, they cause a very deadly form of radiation – in fact it is lethal.
The first atomic bombs involved the splitting apart of “heavy atomic nuclei.” When this happens there is a tremendous release of power – thus the massive mushroom-clouded type of explosion results. This was the type of bomb released on Japan at the close of the second world war. The second generation of nuclear bomb is called the “thermonuclear bomb.” This involves a process where hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form even heavier atoms – which when split release almost unbelievable amounts of energy. That is why we are very careful and loathe to release one of these bombs today. The explosion and effect of a thermonuclear bomb makes the first generation of nuclear bombs look like a mere firecracker. When we consider the massive destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a firecracker, we tremble at the destruction one of these second generation bombs could cause.
The Neutron bomb is a third generation nuclear device. This bomb is similar to the thermonuclear bomb except that a blanket of heavy U-238 isotopes is removed from it. What this does to the bomb is make it release only a massive number of neutrons combined with gamma radiation at its detonation. When this bomb blows the release of the neutrons are lethal to humans and any other animal life around it. If you are within the radius of a neutron bomb you will be killed almost instantly. If you are within the blast radius what will happen to you is eerily similar to what Zechariah describes in chapter 14 of his prophecy. Any kind of flesh is destroyed by a kind of melting process as all the atoms are destroyed within it. Thus Zechariah’s description of something that rots flesh, eyes, and the tongue are often compared to what happens at the detonation of a neutron bomb.
The reason the military would choose one of these bombs is because they are considered to be much “cleaner” than conventional nuclear bombs. A neutron bomb blast will only kill living things. This will leave all the weapons and buildings in the area pretty much intact. If a nation were attacked by a huge army – as Israel will be attacked in the last days – the bomb will kill all the troops, but will leave all their armor and weaponry undamaged. The other important difference is that a neutron bomb will leave no radioactive fallout behind after its detonation. Unlike the first two generations of nuclear weapons, a person is safe walking in the area of the bomb blast immediately after the explosion. Even soldiers who are dug in many feet below the earth will not escape the results of a neutron bomb blast.
What is fascinating is that currently only the United States, Israel, and possibly China have this kind of weaponry. That is interesting to the student of prophecy because if attacked by a huge army, Israel may choose to release such a weapon. It would effectively destroy their enemies without causing a massive ecological event that would poison the region for decades.
The question though for us is whether God is going to use something like this in the Gog-Magog invasion that is coming – or whether the deliverance in this scenario is simply going to be a plague that comes from the hand of God. To be honest with you I do not have a clue which it will be, since God has worked in both ways in the past testimony of Scripture. At times His judgment and wrath fall through an army that is divinely empowered for victory. At other times He acts apart from any human involvement and brings His power to bear directly on those who oppose Him.
What I get from all this is that it is foolish to stand against the apple of God’s eye – the nation of Israel. Scripture very clearly indicates that the nation of Israel will be a major focus in the last days. It also indicates that in the end, all nations will turn against Him and against His people. Yet God will use even this to accomplish His ultimate purposes and plans. Those plans have nothing to do with world domination – and everything to do with bringing salvation to the people of His own choosing. They may have rejected their Messiah at His first coming – but eventually God is going to bring Israel to Himself with the events of these last days. As I read Zechariah fourteen and realized that for the first time in history a human weapon has the capability of doing what is said here – I had another sense that we are indeed living in the last days. May such a realization cause me – and saints, cause all of us to look up, for indeed our redemption is drawing near!