Harvest Ministries Pastor Greg Laurie points to ISIS' beheadings and various acts of Islamic terrorism against the Western world and Jews as signs that the Church is indeed living in the last days.
Preaching a message entitled "Israel, Iran, ISIS in Bible Prophecy," Laurie told his California congregation that they are living in the last days, explaining, "The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3, in the last days things will go from bad to worse."
He detailed various terror acts including the beheadings by Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in November of American aid worker and former Army Ranger Peter Kassig, the kidnapping of school girls by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, and the four rabbis killed when two Palestinians attacked a West Jerusalem synagogue, as signs of worsening troubles
"A new poll reveals many Americans believe that our country is spun off of its axis and that we're out of control. Well I have news for you: it's not just America that has spun out of control, it's the whole world and I'll tell you why: we are living in the last days, no question about that whatsoever," he summed.
Laurie also quoted former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who said we are living in "historic defining times" to further prove his point.
"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted recently stating that the world is experiencing 'historic defining times that will result in a new world order' while questioning America's role in the emerging world. Elaborating further Hagel said 'This is a time of global transformation. We are essentially seeing a new world order evolving and being built. I don't think we've seen such a time since right after World War II.'"
Although the California pastor was unclear what Hagel was referencing in the borrowed quote, he declared that the growing global chaos, which involves the growing threat of ISIS and other terror groups, is a reminder of how near we are to the fulfillment of Bible prophecies.
"The last day's events can be likened as I've said before to a lot of dominos stacked together … so it's like a lot of dominos closely stacked together. There's a chain of events that are going to unfold in rapid succession beginning with the emergence of the antichrist and ending with the battle of Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ and once that first domino falls these things are going to happen like this," Laurie said snapping his fingers.
He continued, "We see so many signs around us right now that show how close we are to all of that."
The Harvest America preacher acknowledged that his claims may seem trite to those who have long heard warnings of End Times. Laurie quoted critics as saying, "I know how some people react when I bring a subject like this up. They think, 'Oh please Greg. C'mon, my grandmother believed that and her grandmother believed that. We've been hearing this Jesus is coming stuff for a long time.'" To those naysayers, he said, "True, I don't deny that," but continued to list reasons why he believes the end prophesied in the Bible is close. His reasons included the fact that Israel has re-formed as a sovereign nation and that, "The city of Jerusalem is under Jewish control for the first time in over 2,000 years."
However Laurie was quick to note that other very crucial parts of Bible prophecy have not been completed.
Going through a list of promises, he said "Here's what God said – let's put it all together – Israel's going to be scattered, has that happened yet? Yes. Israel will be re-gathered again, has that happened yet? Yes. Israel will regain Jerusalem, has that happened yet? Again, yes. Israel will be isolated from the other nations of the world and will effectively stand alone, has that happened yet? Let's just say it's in process. Israel will be attacked by a large force to her north, has that happened yet? No, we're waiting on that still."
In the meantime Laurie called on America to stand by its longtime friend and its right to the city of Jerusalem.
He explained the significance of Jerusalem saying, "The Bible is very clear that the events of the last days will revolve around Jerusalem and why Jerusalem? Because she plays a key role in the End Times," referring to Ezekiel 37.
Though he recognized that some say it is politically incorrect or controversial to defend Israel's claim to Jerusalem, he pointed towards scriptures describing its spiritual entitlement of the land.
"So regardless of what you've been told or read in the media, here's what God says about Israel, the Jewish people and the land in Jerusalem. To the Jewish people, God said in Deuteronomy 1: 8, 'hey I'm giving all this land to you. Go and occupy it for it is the land the Lord swore to you by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to all their descendants,'" he said quoting biblical texts.
Laurie summed, "So basically God gave this land to the Jewish people."
He said America, which reopened talks last year with Iran for the first time since 1979, seems "as though we are backing away from our friend Israel."
Laurie warned that Iran remains a "formidable enemy" that wants to destroy Israel. Iran is also allied with Hezbollah, a group that Laurie referred to in his sermon as a Muslim terrorist group along with ISIS and a number of other groups.
He urged America to continue the relationship with its ally stating, "I believe Israel needs America but I believe America needs Israel," recalling in Genesis that God promised to bless those who bless Israel