At least one popular Christian preacher believes we are living in the final days of humanity. Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship – a California church – says that the rise of Islamic terrorism combined with the alliance forged between Russia and Iran could signify the imminent apocalypse.
“We’re living in the last days,” Laurie said in a November 19 sermon. “There’s all kinds of things reminding us that Christ is coming back again.”
Laurie said that the world was foolish to believe that the war against Islamic terrorism was about anything less than ideology. “They want to establish a caliphate,” he said of ISIS. “When you get down to it, there is a hatred here for Christianity and there is a hatred for Judaism.”
Laurie pointed to prophecy in the book of Ezekiel which predicts that two lands – Gog and Magog – will join Persia to launch a final attack on the state of Israel. There is no widespread consensus on which modern country would fit the definition of Gog, but many biblical scholars believe that Magog is currently personified by Russia. And with Russia and Iran (Persia) joining forces to defeat ISIS and other anti-Assad forces in Syria, Laurie and others believe the end times have come nigh.
You would have to go back a long way in history to find a time when religious men were not preaching a message of the imminent end times, of course. Just in the last fifty years, religious leaders have pointed to the rise of Saddam Hussein, the ascension of Pope Francis, the election of Barack Obama, Hurricane Katrina, and the legalization of gay marriage as signs of the apocalypse.
But whether you believe that biblical prophecy is about to be fulfilled or not, there’s no question that Laurie is right about one thing: We are pitted in a war against an ideology. And that’s a fact that very few world leaders seem willing to acknowledge. Even Republicans make the mistake of saying things like, “Oh, they hate us for our freedoms.” No they don’t. They hate us because they hate Christians and they hate Jews.
Beyond that, there are undeniable warning signs that signify troubling times ahead. The end of the world? Maybe not. A war of proportions we haven’t seen in many decades? That…that’s a little easier to believe. Iran is on a course to become a nuclear state within the next decade. Israel and Palestine are no closer to peace today than they ever have been. The Islamic State is growing in power. And with every passing day of Obama’s presidency, the U.S.’s position in the world is shrinking.
You don’t have to believe one word of biblical prophecy to see the dark clouds looming on the horizon. They are there. Just open your eyes and look.