Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California believes that we're living in the last days, pointing out some of the patterns unfolding on the global scene that he believes perfectly align with end-times prophecies laid out in the Bible.
Pastor Greg Laurie (Facebook)
"I think it's pretty obvious to almost anyone that we are living in the last days," he said during a sermon last Thursday. "There's all kinds of things reminding us that Christ is coming back again."
Laurie, 62, went on to discuss the rise of global terrorism, which he described as "stronger than it has ever been," pointing congregants' attention to the chaos and violence that has been unfolding of late.
"Islamic terrorism, it's not going to go away, because we have to understand the ideology of those who are committing these acts of terror," Laurie said. "They want to establish a caliphate."
He characterized the current battle with Islamic extremists as an "ideological war" over two world views: an Islamic worldview and a Judeo-Christian take on global affairs.
"They're doing this because they resent our freedom," Laurie said. "But when you really get down to it, there is a hatred here for Christianity and there is a hatred for Judaism."
Laurie specifically pointed to prophetic writings in the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel that many Christian scholars and theologians believe to be projections into a future end-times battle that will involve a nation to the north of Israel as well as a coalition of other countries.
These nations, according to the text, will invade the Jewish state.
In the opening of chapter 38, Ezekiel proclaims that the Lord has come to him and told him to prophesy against "Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal."
God then, through Ezekiel, makes no bones about the fact that he opposes Gog, pointedly saying that he will “put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army,” detailing an apparent military attack on that involve many other nations as well.
Definitions of Gog and Magog are not definitive in the biblical text — and many simply believe that these are events that have already come to pass — but it is written that God will judge the nations that invade the Jewish state.
Laurie, like many evangelicals, believes that Magog refers to Russia, based on references in the text that claim that the forces will come from the “far north” and join others nations, including: Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer and Beth Togarmah; Persia is modern-day Iran, which adds further fuel to these theological constructs.
"And now we have Russia stepping in ... Russia closely aligning herself with Iran," Laurie said. "Do you know that this is a recent phenomena that has not been in place until very recently?"
As TheBlaze previously reported, many prophecy experts also believe that the destruction of Damascus, the capitol of Syria, is also prophesied in Isaiah 17:1-3 and Jeremiah 49:23-27, with the former Old Testament text claiming that Damascus will be a "heap of ruins."
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With much of the chaos unfolding surrounding Syria — and with Iran and Russia currently working together against the Islamic State inside Syria — many evangelicals' eyebrows are raising as they watch the situation unfold; Laurie is clearly among them.
"Wait a second, Bible student, pay attention. There's a scenario in the book of Ezekiel, 37, 38 and 39 that talks about a massive force to the north of Israel marching on her and the force is identified as Magog," he preached. "And most prophecy teachers and experts believe that Magog is modern-day Russia. ... one of the allies that marches with Magog is Persia."
Laurie later added, "We're living in the last days."
The preacher also encouraged his flock to look back to the story of Noah in the Old Testament to see parallels between the condition of the world before the flood and the current status of the global culture, citing Jesus' words in Matthew 24.
Speaking of the end times, Jesus said in verses 36-41:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California (Harvest Christian Fellowship)
Laurie believes that there's an important message there for everyone to heed.
"He's telling us this [Noah] is not a fable," he said. "But he's also encouraging us to look carefully at the way things were before the flood came, because they would characterize the days before his return."
Watch the sermon in its entirety here.
It should be noted — as we reported in an extensive analysis over the debate about Old Testament texts and the end times — that other theologians reject these views, believing that the scriptures discuss events that are either not literal or have already come to pass.
Laurie has toured the nation and world with his popular Harvest Crusades events — gatherings held over the past 25 years during which he has collectively shared the Christian gospel with millions and led hundreds of thousands to accept Jesus.
He recently told TheBlaze that he’s taking what could be the “boldest step” ever since launching the Harvest Crusades in 1990 — a major event slated to be held on March 6, 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Read more about that event here.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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