You know, I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if—if we're the generation that's going to see that come about. I don't know if you've noted any of those prophecies lately, but believe me, they certainly describe the times we're going through. (President Ronald Reagan, in a phone conversation with Tom Dine of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group on Capitol Hill, before the bombing attack on U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut.)
As American resolve was being tested by Syrian and Soviet responses to the Marine deployment in Beirut, the leader of the free world used a public telephone call to unburden himself of some dire apprehensions (as reported by Wolf Blitzer in The Jerusalem Post, October 28, 1983). If any other person had referred to prophetic scripture as the grounding for an apocalyptic scenario, we could dismiss such foreboding as a symptom of melancholy brought on by the cruel realities of our time—perhaps mitigated by the "consoling" expectation that much of this sinful world will soon meet its deserved destruction.