December 7th, 1941 – The Month Before Infamy

Most everyone remembers that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941, but few people knew that this was in the works long before December 7th. In fact, the order itself to bomb Pearl Harbor came on November 3rd.

Trouble in the Pacific

The order is given: Bomb Pearl Harbor. It was on November 3rd, 1941, when the Japanese Fleet received Top-Secret Order No. 1 which read: “In 34 days time, Pearl Harbor is to be bombed, along with Mayala, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines.” Prior to this, relations between the United States and Japan had been deteriorating, and tensions between the two nations had been escalating. Part of the reason was Japan’s empirical philosophy…invade and occupy. By 1941, the Japanese had already invaded and occupied much of Indochina, and the Japanese looked intent on invading the Philippines which was currently under American protection. When the Japanese occupied the Cam Ranh naval base, which is only eight miles from Manila, the American’s retaliated by seizing all of the Japanese assets in the U.S. To further escalate the tensions, the Americans closed of the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping. Then, in September 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a statement, which was drafted by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and that statement said there is a very real and present danger of a war between the United States and Japan. He warned that if the Japanese encroach any further on territory in Southeast Asia or the South Pacific, it would result in the United States declaring war against Japan.

Business as Usual

There had been several issues between the U.S. and Japan long before World War Two. Japan had long since been buying all the metal scrap that they could find, mainly from the U.S., but unknown to most of the world, they were building an enormous naval fleet…one that had no equal, save that of the United States, but the Japanese were catching up and about to pass the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. The Japanese were relentless in their building program, and the warnings about an impending war from President Roosevelt fell mostly on deaf ears. It was still being called “Roosevelt’s War,” but it really wasn’t his war at all. The President had been trying to warn congress and the nation about the threats from the Nazi regime and the Japanese Imperial Navy, but no one would listen. Just like few will listen today to Jesus Christ, Who spoke about the last days, saying, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” (Matt 24:6). Just as it was in Noah’s day, people will be caught off guard at the coming judgment of God. Jesus said, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:37-39). People are carrying on in life as if nothing will ever change…people are getting married, having families, and as usual, “eat, drink, and be merry,” but notice a similarity between Noah’s day and our day. In Genesis 6 it says, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5), so all they ever thought of was doing evil…continuously. It was as if they were trying to think up something even more evil, so just as in Noah’s day, and just as they are today, and again, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:11-12).

Underwater Currents

The Japanese military had long dominated Japanese foreign affairs in the nation’s history, and that historical pattern is repeating itself among the major powers on earth today. Even though official negotiations between the U.S. secretary of state and his Japanese counterpart to ease tensions were ongoing, the minister of war, Hideki Tojo, would soon be prime minister, and he certainly had no intention of withdrawing from the territories that the Japanese had already captured, and today, national pride often interferes with diplomatic solutions. Back in the 1940’s, Japan’s prime minister construed the American “threat” of war as an ultimatum to Japan and used that for an excuse to build up Japan’s military. He almost singlehandedly prepared Japan for the first blow in a Japanese-American confrontation: that would be the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When Tokyo finally delivered the order to all pertinent fleet commanders that not only the United States and its protectorate the Philippines would be declared an enemy of Japan, but British and Dutch colonies in the Pacific were to be attacked as well. Any people that were not Japanese were the enemy. Very soon, the United States was going to be compelled into declaring war with Japan. It wasn’t going to be “Roosevelt’s War” any more.


Today there are things happening that are unseen by the world…there is an enemy at work, and his evil scheme is already at work in the children of disobedience. The secular world view is, “Mankind is evolving into something better,” but the Bible teaches that none of us are good outside of Christ, not even one of us (Rom 3:10-12), and all of us fall infinitely short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), so it will not be getting better, but rather, worse. There is no human utopia coming…but an escalation of violence and evil, only coming to an end when the Lord of lords and King of kings comes in His righteous judgment, putting to death all the enemies of God. That day may be swiftly approaching, but either way, it’s closer today than yesterday, so I strongly urge you to plead with those who don’t yet know Christ. They will either die with the wrath of God upon them, or have that wrath placed on Jesus Christ and have eternal life (John 3:16, 36). There is simply no other way (Acts 4:12).

May God richly bless you

Pastor Jack Wellman

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