90 Seconds to Midnight: Doomsday Clock Predicts Fast-Approaching Apocalypse

By Milo Jones | Posted January 30, 2023

It’s been ticking since 1947. But it’s not a clock that keeps literal time.

After developing the atomic bomb in World War II, a group of scientists from the University of Chicago—the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—created the Doomsday Clock. Their intention was to warn humanity about the closeness of a nuclear apocalypse. They set their new timepiece to “7 minutes to midnight.” When the Clock strikes 12, it’s doomsday for planet Earth.

Midnight is now only 90 seconds away, according to members of today’s Bulletin. On January 24, at a news conference in Washington, D.C., five of them removed a black cloth from the Clock to reveal the new position of its long hand. The sentence at the bottom of the exhibit now reads, "It is 90 seconds to midnight."

The Closest We’ve Ever Been

Every January the Doomsday Clock is updated. Its hands may move forward, backward, or stay the same. The first movement came two years after the Clock’s creation when, in 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, bringing the world from “7” to “3 minutes to midnight.” In the following decades, the Clock continued its forward and backward movements until reaching its longest distance from midnight when, in 1991, the Soviet Union and the United States signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. But that “17 minutes to midnight” would last for only a few years. Since then, excepting a one-minute reversal in 2010, the Clock has continued ticking forward, bringing midnight ever closer.

Before the January 2023 update, the last time the hands moved was in January 2020—due to “an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” said Rachel Bronson, Bulletin president and CEO. The time changed from “2 minutes to midnight” to “100 seconds to midnight.”

For the next two cycles, time would stand still, even while Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine: “In January 2022 … the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [kept] the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight. … For many years, we and others have warned that the most likely way nuclear weapons might be used is through an unwanted or unintended escalation from a conventional conflict. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought this nightmare scenario to life. … This is what 100 seconds to midnight looks like.”

Now, as we begin 2023, 90 seconds brings us the closest we’ve ever been to the end of the world. According to the Bulletin, the decision to set the Doomsday Clock 10 seconds forward was “due largely but not exclusively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation.”

Other Doomsday Harbingers

For the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “nuclear risk” is not the only threat. Other doomsday harbingers have included “climate change” since 2007 and “disruptive technologies” since the Trump presidency. As expected, these additions have not escaped criticism from the press.

“One of the difficulties with representing climate change and nuclear war in the same graphic,” wrote Matt Reynolds, a senior writer for Wired, “is that the two risks play out on totally different timescales. A ticking clock does a good job of representing how close we are to catastrophe right now, but each extra kilogram of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere is setting the stage for a disaster at some undefined point in the future.”

Not as amiable was Tom Rogan’s editorial in the Washington Examiner. Blasting the Bulletin’s focus on “cyber-enabled information warfare” in 2020, he wrote, “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has turned itself into a joke. … Forgive me, but I’m not aware of any serious argument as to how fake news is going to end the world.” [6]


 Despite the resistance, Bronson believes we are “living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. 90 seconds to midnight is … a decision our experts do not take lightly.” 

The Bible’s Doomsday Clock

The Bible has a doomsday clock, and its predictions are more trustworthy than any metaphorical flare a group of scientists can light.

When Jesus tells His disciples that Jerusalem’s temple will be destroyed—a prediction that would come true in AD 70—they think He’s talking about the end of the world (Matthew 24:1–3). In response, Jesus talks about both events, combining two prophecies. To us living at the edge of time, verse 7 certainly applies: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”

Critics of the Bible’s clock will say these things have happened for thousands of years—so how can they be accurate harbingers of the world’s doom? The answer is in verse 8: “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” In the Greek, “sorrows” means “birth pangs.” Just as a mother’s birth pangs progress in frequency and severity until she gives birth, so do Earth’s calamities (Romans 8:22).

So when we “see all these things” that Jesus listed in Matthew 24, we can know that His coming is close, “even at the doors” (v. 33 KJV).

And when Jesus comes, “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10). Such destruction will result not from a combination of fake news, carbon emissions, and nuclear weapons, but from the King’s “flaming” presence (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

But to every person covered by His righteousness (Philippians 3:9), not dreadful but delightful will be the day of His coming. And it’s only 90 seconds away!

To learn more about the Bible’s doomsday clock, check out Pastor Doug’s article Seven Signs of Jesus’ Soon Return.

Milo Jones
Milo Jones is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and lives in College Place, WA.

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