According to our President, the U.S. military is “locked and loaded.” Tensions are mounting here and around the world in regard to the threat posed by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, whom The New York Times referred to as “a moody young man with a nuclear arsenal.” They got that right. There is no doubt that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is patently illegal under prevailing international law.
Sanctions by the United Nations apparently aren’t enough to curb the North Korean dictator’s determination to show off his nuclear prowess. Several overt threats have been issued by Jong-un, including one against Guam. Could the North Korean leader really be crazy enough to fire missiles at a U.S. territory? Only the Lord knows. And what role does China actually play in this nearly global conflict? And Iran, despite the 2015 “nuclear deal”? Again, we can study and we can surmise, but only the Lord knows for sure. Apparently China would not oppose the U.S. were we to defend ourselves against a first strike by North Korea. Hopefully that theory will never be tested.
I think it’s safe to assume that North Korea’s desire is to possess a nuclear warhead that can strike the U.S. mainland. North Korea volunteered just this Tuesday that its missiles could hit New York City now. In fact Vice Admiral James Syring told the House Armed Services Committee that we “must assume that North Korea can reach us with a ballistic missile.” If I interpreted his testimony correctly, he also implied that the U.S. is not prepared for that kind of surprise scenario. In his own words, Secretary of Defense James Mattis described that kind of situation as “tragic on an unbelievable scale.”
I think it’s also safe to admit that we have very few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to countering Jong-un’s nuclear development. A scary world? Yes. But North Korea’s power and volatility are nothing new for South Korea and Japan. We have church members living in Seoul. On their last visit to Paducah I was able to hear about their regular nuclear attack drills, which they said tend to fade away as background noise against a threat which is so longstanding.
Let’s face it: there are no quick fixes or easy answers here. Under the earthly dominion of a cruel dictatorship are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in North Korea – despite the constant threat of persecution as real as the death penalty. Some estimates claim 10% of the population as underground followers of Christ. Not to mention over 25 million North Koreans who have no choice but to at least publicly support a tyrant. South of the border, South Korea’s capital city is home to ten million civilians. North Korea already has the power to utterly annihilate the 28,000 U.S. troops permanently stationed near the demilitarized zone. And Tokyo’s nine million are within easy reach of a madman.
Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea wrote nuclear weaponry into the nation’s constitution as a “guarantor” of their security. But, friends, you and I have a better Guarantor! Go back and read Romans 8:28-39. Then reread it. Human history will offer us more than a fair share of threats and assaults, but Christ will win. Indeed He already has won! No tribulation “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Also check out Hebrews 7:20-25. The ministry of Jesus for us far surpasses that of any human priest. Christ has taken a divine oath on our behalf. He is our surety. Because of who Christ is, we know that God will never break a promise to us. If you ever co-signed for a loan, you became the guarantor of that loan. You accepted the legal responsibility that the debt would be repaid in full, guaranteeing the specific terms of the transaction. So not only is Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant – the one who established it – but He is also the one who has assumed full responsibility to make good on everything that the New Covenant promises those of us who are in Christ.
Ephesians 1:13-14 says that – when you and I heard the gospel and believed in Christ – we “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” In Christ we are as safe as safe can be!
It kind of puts the whole nuclear-arsenal-thing in its proper perspective.