Prophetic Signs of the Second Coming
(Chapter 15 from Armageddon - Appointment With Destiny)
by Grant Jeffrey
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, andwith the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remainshall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:1618)
During the early centuries following the ascension of Jesus into heaven, Christians often greeted one another by saying, "Maranatha," which means "the Lord cometh." Despite constant persecution from both the pagans and the officials of the Roman government, the early Christians rejoiced in the certain knowledge that Jesus had prophesied that He would someday return to establish His Kingdom on earth. These believers knew that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion - as He had foretold during His ministry. Jesus Christ was seen by many people during the forty days following His resurrection. Thirty years after Jesus ascended to heaven in the sight of His followers, the apostle Paul wrote, "After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6). The truth of His death and resurrection was widely known and taught by the early Church, encouraging a widespread expectation of His glorious return to destroy evil and establish His righteous government on earth forever.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the greatest single theme in Scripture. While there are approximately three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that foretold the first coming of Christ, there are more than eight times as many verses describing the Second Coming. In total, some 2400 verses throughout the Old and New Testaments reveal God's promises about the return of Jesus Christ. The enormous number of prophetic verses about the Second Coming underlines the vital importance of this event in God's plan for mankind. Consequently, we dare not ignore the prophetic signs pointing to the nearness of His return.
Significantly, the first prophecy in the Bible (Genesis 3:15), which God addressed to Satan after Adam and Eve's sin, predicted three major events in the redemptive plan of God, concluding with the Second Coming of Christ. The first event was the virgin birth of Jesus ("her seed"); the second event was Satan's apparent victory when Jesus was crucified ("thou shalt bruise his heel"); the third event will be fulfilled at the Battle of Armageddon when Jesus Christ will defeat Satan ("thy head") and his seed, the Antichrist ("it [her seed, Jesus] shall bruise thy head"). The New Testament book of Jude recalls that the righteous patriarch Enoch was raptured to heaven before the Flood. Jude revealed that Enoch prophesied about the Second Coming, when the Lord would return to earth with millions of His saints. "Enoch, also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying: 'Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all'" (Jude 1415).
The prophet John recorded our Lord's final prophecy in the final verses of the book of Revelation: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). Jesus Christ's final message to His Church concludes with these words: "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
Prophetic Signs of the Return of Christ
For thousands of years students of the Bible's ancient prophecies have pondered the question of whether they would live to witness the return of Christ to redeem the earth. Many Christians living in our generation naturally long for the return of Jesus Christ. Skeptics remind us that past generations of believers also longed for the Second Coming but died with the promise still unfulfilled. These skeptics naturally ask, "Why should we believe that our generation is the one that will witness the return of Christ when other generations were disappointed in their hopes?" After thirty years of careful Bible study, I am convinced that the overwhelming evidence concerning the fulfillment of these predictions in our generation points to the return of Jesus Christ in our lifetime. Jesus and the other prophets described a number of specific prophecies that would occur in the lifetime of those who would see Him return with their own eyes. Is ours the generation that will see Christ coming for His Church? The answer to this question has profound implications for our lives as Christians, our witnessing, and our life priorities.
In this chapter and the chapter following, we will examine a number of significant prophecies made more than two thousand years ago that are being fulfilled in our generation. Each individual prophecy is a unique and significant event that has not been totally fulfilled in any past generation. The unique nature of many of these predictions suggests strongly that these prophecies are unlikely to be fulfilled a second time in another future generation. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us to watch carefully for these prophetic signs: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Let's examine the most significant predictions that point to Christ's imminent return.
1. A Warning about the Rise of False Christs
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:45). It is significant that Christ's first specific prophetic warning involved the rise of false messiahs and false prophets in the last days. The first false messiah arose about a hundred years after Christ. It is fascinating to note that there are no historical references to any false messiahs appearing until the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jewish scholar C. G. Montefiore wrote, "Of false Messiahs, we know of none among the Jews until Bar Cochba in 131 C.E." The genuine article always precedes the appearance of counterfeit ones.
Simon Bar Cochba, a Jewish rebel commander led his conquered people in a furious revolt against their brutal Roman conquerors in a.d. 132. Many of the Jews joined the rebellion in the vain hope that Bar Cochba was their genuine messiah. The great Jewish rabbinical scholar Akiba announced that Simon Bar Cochba was the true messiah. This encouraged many Jews to join his desperate revolt. Despite the tremendous initial Jewish victories over the Romans during the first few years, six Roman legions of Emperor Hadrian invaded Israel and decisively defeated the Jewish army on the ninth day of Av (August) in a.d. 135 (the very same day the Babylonians and Romans destroyed the Temple centuries before). Hadrian's legions killed over one-half million Jewish soldiers in a desperate battle several miles southwest of Jerusalem. Tragically, as a result of the war, more than three million Jews were slaughtered throughout the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, and millions of Jews were sold into abject slavery. The Roman Senate passed a law prohibiting the Jews from approaching Jerusalem, their conquered capital. The defeat of the Jews, doomed rebellion by following a false Messiah led to their exile from the Promised Land for almost eighteen hundred years.
During the following centuries, false messiahs would arise from time to time, including Moses of Crete in the fifth century. He promised the Jews of Crete that he would miraculously part the waters, allowing his followers to march across the Mediterranean Sea to the Promised Land. In the seventeenth century a Jew living in Turkey named Shabbethai Zebi claimed he was the Messiah and attracted a vast following. Many influential rabbis throughout the Middle East and Europe acclaimed him as the true messiah. Finally the Turkish Sultan arrested him for sedition. The Sultan threatened to test Zebi's supernatural claims by having his archers shoot arrows at him to see if his claimed "miraculous" powers would ward off the deadly missiles. Realizing that he was doomed, Zebi converted to Islam to save his life and died in disgrace a few years later. In our generation, hundreds of thousands of Jewish followers of the deceased Rabbi Schneerson, who died in 1991, still believe that he was the promised messiah and that he will soon rise from the dead.
The truth is that no other person in history has ever fulfilled even a fraction of the forty-eight specific biblical prophecies about the coming Messiah except Jesus of Nazareth. As outlined in a previous chapter, the historical evidence is overwhelming that Jesus is the true Messiah. He is the only one who has fulfilled every one of the specific messianic prophecies. A respected Jewish rabbi named Abarbanel wrote extensively in the fifteenth century about the qualifications of the coming Messiah. Abarbanel noted that one of the qualifications of the true Messiah would be that the Gentiles will seek after him and acknowledge his claims (Micah 4:14). In fulfillment of this qualification of the Messiah, hundreds of millions of Gentiles throughout history in every nation on earth have devoted their lives to following Jesus Christ's teachings and worshiping Him as their Messiah and God.
Throughout history a false messiah has appeared approximately once every century since the days of Christ. Millions of people today are longing for a messiah who will lead them to a transcendent experience. Significantly, we are experiencing an explosion of false christs in our generation, exactly as Jesus prophesied two thousand years ago. A report from Los Angeles indicated that hundreds of individuals in California currently claim they are the messiah. In England someone who calls himself Lord Maitreya periodically publicizes claims that he is the Christ. Every few years Benjamin Creme issues full-page ads that appear in major newspapers around the world announcing the advent of the messiah in the person of the Lord Maitreya. These imposter messiahs in our generation include such figures as the deceased David Koresh, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Ron L. Hubbard, and many others. Recently a New Age cult called Heaven's Gate encouraged thirty-nine of its members to commit suicide following the leadership of Marshall Applewhite and his partner Bonnie Nettles, who took the names Do and Ti. He claimed to be the messiah and stated that his partner Bonnie was "God the Father." Never before has the world seen so many false messianic claims. As we approach the year 2000 we will see a virtual flood of false messianic figures and false prophets declaring that they are the only hope for mankind. The rising number of false messiahs in our generation is preparing our society for the spirit of Antichrist worship in the last days. We are witnessing the beginning of attitudes that will manifest themselves some day in the worship of the Antichrist in the Temple in Jerusalem.
2. Wars and Rumors of Wars
Jesus Christ said, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . ." (Matthew 24:67). Twenty-five centuries ago, the prophet Joel saw a divine vision concerning our generation and prophesied the following message: "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plow shares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong" (Joel 3:910).
Throughout history mankind has endured thirteen years of war for every single year of peace. However, since 1945 the number of wars has increased tremendously. As dozens of new nations demanded independence and old empires disintegrated, more than three hundred wars were fought since World War II. A military study, The War Atlas, concluded that the world has not known a single day since World War II without some nation waging a war or conflict somewhere on earth. Despite thousands of peace treaties, the last one hundred years has truly become "the century of war." As a result of the obvious dangers, most nations have joined worldwide military alliances in which only the stars are neutral.
Far more sobering than the increasing frequency of war is the fact that modern scientific discoveries and massive military budgets have combined to produce devastating new weapons of mass destruction that have the potential, for the first time in history, to destroy humanity. Despite the constant affirmations about the nations' desire for peace, weapons labs and armories are producing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, together with astronomical numbers of conventional weapons, in virtually every nation on earth. Consider some of the following facts and ask yourself where we are heading.
The standing armies of the world today contain hundreds of millions of soldiers. The major powers could mobilize hundreds of millions of troops if needed for war. According to the Reshaping International Order Report issued by the Club of Rome, almost 50 percent (some 500,000) of all scientists on earth are working on weapons research. Research indicates that almost 40 percent of all scientific research funding worldwide is focused on arms research. The international arms trade exceeds $1 trillion annually. If only a small fraction of this enormous investment was redirected "from swords into plowshares," we could permanently solve the Third World's food, sanitation, and health problems. The armament factories of Russia, China, and the Western nations are producing sophisticated weaponry at a truly awesome rate. China is the now the world's fifth largest arms supplier - after Russia, the United States, Britain, and France - selling some $2 billion annually. Many of the Chinese weapons are direct copies of Western or Russian arms, but they are much cheaper. China's arms salesmen are fuelling a massive arms race in the Middle East, with huge sales of sophisticated missiles and low-cost copies of Russian rifles, tanks, and planes. China has recently sold more tanks to Africa than have all western countries combined. A poor African nation can buy four Chinese t-59 tanks for the price of one m-1 tank from the United States. China is also selling intermediate-range missile systems to many Arab regimes that are preparing for war with Israel. Iraq, Iran, and Libya now possess long-range missiles with biological and chemical warheads capable of destroying Paris or London. For the first time since the Middle Ages, Europe faces a formidable military threat from the Muslim Arab nations who are absolutely committed to the destruction of both the Jews and Christians.
Despite years of peace negotiations between the PLO, the Arab states, and Israel, the continuing tensions in the Middle East are developing into a time bomb that could soon explode into a devastating war. This war may involve the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Although these nations have been discussing peace for decades, the twenty-one Arab nations surrounding Israel have accumulated more than three times the artillery and tanks possessed by the combined European armies of NATO. Despite America's support of Israel, the United States has sold staggering amounts of sophisticated Abram's m-1 tanks, advanced anti-tank missiles, communications gear, and the most effective f-16 fighter planes in the American arsenal to the Arab states dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. The Arab nations have no significant enemies other than Israel. Consider the implications. Over the last fifty years, NATO has built up a huge sophisticated military force to confront the massive armies of Russia, the fourteen nations of the C.I.S., and the nations of eastern Europe. However, the Arab nations confronting the tiny nation of Israel have amassed huge armies that exceed NATO's military forces by more than one-half million soldiers. There is no conceivable reason for the Arab states to devote such huge financial, technical, and manpower resources to their military forces unless they are absolutely committed to the annihilation of the Jews of Israel.
The Jewish state is confronted with a combined Arab military force far larger than the combined armies of North America and Europe, the countries that make up the forces of the NATO alliance. In light of the repeated Arab threats to destroy Israel, Israel cannot safely agree to surrender the military control of the West Bank. If the 80,000-man Palestinian army of the PLO controlled the high mountainous region of the West Bank of Israel in a future war, the combined Arab armies could easily attack across the remaining narrow band of land along the Mediterranean Sea connecting northern and southern Israel. At certain points this vital and strategic strip of coastal land connecting northern and southern Israel is only nine miles wide between the West Bank and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel's military control of the strategic depth of the West Bank is essential, according to all military studies, to absorb and withstand the assault of combined Arab tank and infantry forces. Numerous military studies by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that if Israel ever surrenders military control of the West Bank, the Arab armies would be able to cut Israel in two within a few hours using their overwhelming Arab armored tank forces. If Israel negotiates the surrender of the military control of the West Bank to Arafat and the PLO and allows the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel will not likely survive the coming war with the combined Arab armies. UN Security Resolution 242, the resolution that governs the continuing peace negotiations, guaranteed that Israel would retain "recognized and secure borders." Without the military control of the West Bank, Israel cannot win the next war. In addition, without the control of the West Bank and the Golan Heights in the north, Israel would be forced to use its nuclear weapons almost immediately following a powerful Arab attack.
Five of the ten major arms-importing nations in the world are in the Middle East. Even the poorest of the Third World countries borrow hundreds of millions of dollars annually to buy huge supplies of modern, sophisticated weapons. As soon as the western nations design a new version of a weapon, their arms salesmen sell the obsolete version of that weapon system to a Third World country. As a result of this cycle of arms build-up, there is now one military weapon and the equivalent of four thousand pounds of explosives for every man, woman, and child worldwide.
Consider the destructive power possessed by the thirty Trident submarines that represent only one-third of the present American nuclear arsenal. At a cost of $3 billion dollars apiece, each submarine can fire twenty-four missiles with up to fourteen individually targeted D5 warheads per missile. These advanced super-accurate missiles can deliver their lethal thermonuclear warheads from a submerged ocean location over ten thousand miles away to detonate within one hundred yards of their target. Each Trident D5 nuclear warhead is five times more powerful than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. Every one of these thirty submarines has the capability to destroy 408 separate enemy cities or military bases. As a result of modern weapons technology, we have progressed to the point that one single Trident submarine can deliver more devastation than all of the combined weapons used by both sides in five years of warfare during World War II. According to the Center for Defense Information, we know that the U.S. military has experienced ninety-six serious nuclear accidents, each one bringing us one step closer to nuclear Armageddon. The tragic history of thousands of years of warfare suggests that these nuclear weapons will ultimately be used someday in a future conflict.
For thousands of years mankind has engaged in deadly warfare. However, throughout the last fifty centuries, most battles involved only a few thousand participants. Nations previously lacked the means of totally destroying the enemy country. However, our century has perfected the art of mass warfare by which all nations unite to annihilate the opponent and obtain unconditional surrender. Global military spending now exceeds $1 trillion every year according to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. A trillion dollars is so large a number that it is hard to comprehend the true magnitude of the dollars mankind now invests in preparation for war. To put it in perspective, the cost of a single Exocet air-to-ship missile exceeds the combined annual income of more than ten thousand people in many Third World countries. Massive military spending has distorted our priorities. For example, western countries are spending less than one-half of 1 percent of their annual military budgets on foreign aid.
Over 200 million people have died as a result of warfare since 1900. Since 1945, ten nations, including Israel, have accumulated more than sixty thousand nuclear warheads in their growing arsenals. According to the book The Fate of the Earth, by Jonathan Schell, the Russians possess enough nuclear warheads to destroy every single American military target several times over. After that, they would still have eight thousand nuclear missiles left over. If the Russians then targeted every U.S. city and town, in order of decreasing population size, they would still have enough one-megaton nuclear warheads (eighty times the power of the Hiroshima bomb) to destroy every single town in America with a population of fifteen hundred people or more. It should be obvious from these calculations that in a future world war the Russians, the Chinese, and the American military would run out of meaningful military and civilian targets long before they ran out of nuclear warheads. Jesus Christ prophesied that the Antichrist's armies, represented by the red horseman of the Apocalypse, will ride forth to destroy many nations during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6:34). Surely, even now, we can hear the approaching hoof beats.
Jesus also warned, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24: 2122). When you consider the enormous problems facing mankind - disease, famine, ecological disasters, and tens of millions of homeless people - you recognize the terrible moral vacuum at the core of our modern civilization, which chooses to spend trillions of dollars on the tools of annihilation rather than begin to solve the massive problems facing humanity.
The words of President Eisenhower, as reported in the New York Times on April 17, 1953, still challenge us today:
A life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve the true abundance and happiness for the people of this earth. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8000 people . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity, hanging from a cross of iron.
The people of the world cry out for peace, but no rational nation can dare to unilaterally disarm before it's enemy does the same.
Jesus Christ described the final conflict facing mankind in these words: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; . . . men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21: 2526). Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia and America have engaged in a complex series of disarmament treaties, producing a wave of euphoria among millions of people worldwide who hope that true peace is at hand. According to the historical research of author Sidney Lens, since 1945 more than six thousand disarmament negotiating sessions have taken place. Despite these disarmament treaties, very few nuclear bombs were actually destroyed. Unfortunately, most treaties allowed the older nuclear warheads to be simply recycled into new, more accurate missiles.
The biblical prophecies predict clearly that the world will experience a devastating world war involving all nations in the last days. The second red horseman of the Apocalypse represents the terrible world war during the final years of the seven-year Tribulation period. "And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went our another horse that was red; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword" (Revelation 6: 34). The prophets Daniel and John predicted that the nations of the world would ultimately surrender their sovereignty to the Antichrist in the hope that he would provide security and true peace. Many politicians today believe that the only way to prevent such a devastating world war is for every nation to surrender its sovereignty to a future world government. However, the Scriptures warn that the earth will never know true peace until the Prince of Peace comes. Although men are desperately seeking peace, the Antichrist will only be able to produce a short period of false peace. The prophet John revealed that the first Horseman of the Apocalypse would be a rider on a white horse with a bow but no arrows. This symbol represents the Antichrist impersonating the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who will appear riding on a white horse during His triumphant return to earth (Revelation 19). John prophesied: "I looked, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." The Antichrist will use men's deep longing for peace "to conquer" the world's nations and force them to join his world government.
U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen warned, in his speech to a University of Georgia forum on terrorism, that the Internet is now providing a medium for terrorists to widely distribute instructions for building bombs as well as racist propaganda. He called for increased vigilance against terrorist use of unconventional chemical and biological weapons (including the deadly Ebola River Virus) that are now available to these terrorist groups. In addition, he warned ominously about the dangers presented by new electromagnetic weapons that might be used by terrorists or rogue Islamic nations to "punch holes in the ozone layer or trigger earthquakes or volcanoes" (Toronto Star, April 29, 1997).
Despite the fact that the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention unconditionally prohibited the developing, producing, and stockpiling of biological and chemical weapons, many Third World nations are now acquiring deadly chemical and biological weapons (CBW). Most of the world's nations, including Russia and the United States, have ratified this arms agreement. However, many nations are secretly developing deadly biological and chemical weapons that will devastate unprotected populations in a future conflict. Some future dictator may be tempted to use these deadly CBW weapons because of their low cost and their ability to be used secretly against an enemy. These chemical and biological weapons are a tempting alternative for a Third World nation, compared to the enormous cost of developing a huge conventional army or producing a sophisticated nuclear capability. Some researchers have described biological and chemical weapons as the "poor man's nuclear bomb."
Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Iran are rapidly developing advanced chemical weapons programs. Libya recently built two huge chemical and biological weapons plants located deep within the mountains at the edge of the southern Libyan desert. Over sixty German and Swiss companies have provided extensive chemical engineering services and the sophisticated laboratory equipment required to modify Libya's Russian-built SCUD missiles to carry chemical warheads. Many of these same European companies built Iraq's chemical-weapons facilities before and after the Gulf War and are still willing to sell their technological soul to the highest bidder. During the closing days of the Gulf War, the Prime Minister of Israel took the visiting German foreign minister to the ruins of an Israeli apartment building in Tel Aviv that had been destroyed by one of the thirty-nine Iraqi SCUD missiles that were targeted at the Jewish state. The prime minister showed him the German company's serial numbers on the modified SCUDs that Saddam Hussein launched against Israel. President Hussein of Iraq threatened to "burn half of Israel" with his advanced chemical weapons supplied by European countries. Despite his defeat in the war in the Gulf, and the continued UN sanctions, Saddam Hussein has now totally rebuilt his army. Over ten thousand Russian nuclear scientists and technicians continue to develop Iraq's secret nuclear arsenal, despite the presence of U.N. arms inspectors.
Chemical weapons were rarely employed in past wars, partly because of the universal repugnance against their use. Unfortunately, chemical weapons have proven to be both effective and deadly. In World War I chemical weapons killed almost one hundred thousand soldiers in Europe. In the Vietnam War, America unleashed hundreds of tons of chemical weapons, including herbicides such as Agent Orange, on Viet Cong areas in an attempt to defoliate the jungle cover. President Saddam Hussein repeatedly used massive amounts of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers in the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. In the late 1980s, Saddam launched chemical attacks against his Kurdish minority, killing at least 13,000 villagers in Iraq's northern provinces. When American soldiers occupied southern Iraq at the end of the Gulf War, they discovered over one hundred thousand Iraqi chemical artillery shells ready for use. Tragically, thousands of American troops were exposed to these chemical weapons when U.S. soldiers blew up Iraqi chemical weapons following the allied victory. Many reports from Afghanistan and Cambodia confirm that chemical and biological weapons were used under Russian control. Despite the 1925 Geneva Protocol against chemical and biological warfare, many countries have stockpiled huge quantities of these doomsday weapons in case they are needed in a future conflict. Every western country has developed a stockpile of these deadly munitions.
A recent report from Jane's Land Based Air Defence 19971998 revealed that Russia's military laboratories have developed a dangerous new variant of the deadly anthrax toxin that is impervious to antibiotics. Historically, anthrax has been a fatal disease affecting primarily sheep. However, if anthrax infects humans, they will die an agonizing death characterized by festering boils and severe pain. In addition, the report claims that Russian defectors admitted that three new nerve gases were recently developed that can be made easily from commonly available chemicals. The authoritative Jane's report declared: "It only needs this, or the new chemical nerve agents, to be independently discovered by an ostracized nation's scientists and then developed for missile delivery for an Armageddon situation to occur whereby the only reliable retribution may well be overwhelming nuclear response" (Toronto Star, April 4, 1997). All of these nations justify their chemical-weapons research based on the clause in the 1925 Geneva Protocol agreement that allows a country to conduct limited research for "defensive" purposes. However, it is obviously impossible