Taking into consideration the fact that all of the Bible prophecies were written before the invention of gunpowder, and there was no language to describe man-made explosions, there seems to be some remarkable evidence that there will be a huge war, probably nuclear, at the end of time.
First of all, prophecy definitely predicts a war in the “latter days”. Daniel chapters 11 and 12 describe a war between the King of the North and the King of the South that continues from the time of the ancient Persian Empire until the Second Coming of Christ. Naturally there are a number of shifts in the protagonists involved; for details, see appendix 3: Kings of the North and South in The Book.
The passage of interest here is Dan. 11:40: “At the time of the end the King of the South shall attack him (the King of the North) and the King of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen and with many ships, and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through”. The next verses show that the battlefield will be in the Middle East, the King of the North will be defeated and the war will be followed by “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1). The very next event is the Second Coming, the deliverance of God’s People, the resurrection of the dead and the eternal kingdom (vs. 1-4).
This war begins with an attack by the King of the South on the King of the North. A comparison of history with the outline of events that is prophesied in Daniel 11 shows that the King of the South at the end of time is radical Islam, and the King of the North is an alliance of European and American powers (see Appendix 3).
A careful comparison of the war between the Kings of the North and South and the Locust Army war in the book of Joel shows that they describe the same war at the end of time (called in Joel “the Day of the Lord”). Comparing the Locust Army war in Joel with the Locust Army war (the fifth trumpet) in Revelation 9 reveals that they also are the same. Thus the final war is described in three places: Daniel chapters 11, 12, Joel chapters 1, 2 and Revelation chapters 8, 9. See chapter 9 of The Book for details and scriptural support.
From Daniel 11 we see that the war involves an attack (by the King of the South) and a massive counterattack (by the King of the North). In the war described in the Trumpets of Revelation the attack that begins the war would correspond with the first four Trumpets (Revelation 8:7-13). John saw “hail and fire, mingled with blood… thrown to the earth,… something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood… and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch… and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter… and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened… and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke” (Revelation 8:7-9:2).
It would be hard to devise a better description of a series of nuclear strikes using the language that John had available.
John, in his description of the war uses simile extensively: “something like a great mountain burning with fire… the shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle… On their heads were crowns of something like gold… the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle”.
This is in contrast to the very symbolic sections of Revelation where John uses metaphors and symbols. For example, he saw beasts with horns and crowns, a pure woman clothed with the sun and a harlot with a golden cup, etc. The obvious symbols indicate a symbolic meaning. In contrast, the use of simile suggests that John was trying to describe literal things that he had never seen before by comparing them with things he was familiar with.
This would mean that the Seven Trumpets, rather than being highly symbolic as they are often interpreted, are a fairly literal description of the most fearsome war of all time. John said that the “sting” of the “locusts” (which some commentators have correlated with attack helicopters) does not kill people, but causes so much pain (for five months!) that “men will seek death, and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them” (Revelation 9:6). This could be a description of radiation sickness or biological weapons. He said that an army of 200 million will “kill a third of mankind” (Revelation 9:15,16). With the world population as it is now, this would be more than 2 billion people!
Perhaps the most fearsome aspect of this war is that it is only the beginning! Both the book of Daniel and Revelation seem to portray the Time of Trouble in two phases. In Daniel 11 there is the great war with the initial attack by the King of the South and the massive counterattack by the King of the North. This is followed by “a time of trouble, such as never was” (Daniel 12:1).
The two phases are also predicted in Revelation. The first phase (the Trumpet war) is called “silence in heaven” (Revelation 8:1). During this phase God allows Satan to carry out his destructive agenda. The second phase is the Seven Last Plagues in which God intervenes to save His people who are being attacked by Babylon. In both Daniel and Revelation the Time of Trouble ends with the Second Coming of Christ.
This overview is just of an outline of the momentous events that will take place during the Time of Trouble. For details and scriptural support see chapters 8, 9 and Appendix 3 in The Book.