The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days, things will go from bad to worse. We could compare events in the last days to dominoes that are closely stacked together. Once the first domino goes, the others will fall in rapid succession.
That is how it will be with world events in the last days, beginning with the emergence of the Antichrist. Then there is the Tribulation period. Then there is the Battle of Armageddon. Then there is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Then there is the Millennium. These events are closely stacked together. And once the first one starts, the others will follow in rapid succession. Events in our world today are getting very close to that. I think I can safely say that we have never been closer to the return of Jesus than we are right now.
In October 2014, at the Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum, former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted as saying, “I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times. I think we are seeing a new world order.”
Hagel went on to say, “What we’re seeing in the Middle East with [ISIS] is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interests, which we are forming.”
We have shifting and change in global powers right now. A new world order will emerge. And I believe there are things happening right now that we have never seen before in human history. It is a reminder that Christ is coming.
Ezekiel 38 says that a large nation to the north of Israel’s newly established homeland, along with a number of allies, will invade Israel from every direction.
Get out a map of the world and find the little sliver of land in the Middle East known as Israel. Now look to Israel’s north. What do you find? You find Russia. Is Russia actually the force known as Magog, which the Bible says will march against Israel in the last days? No one can say with absolute certainty, but I think we can make a pretty good case for it.
Magog was the second son of Japheth (see Genesis 10:2), whose descendants, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, settled north of the Black Sea. The descendants of Tubal and Meshech, Japheth’s fifth and sixth sons, settled south of the Black Sea. These tribes intermarried and became known as Magog, settling to the north of Israel. In Ezekiel 39, God says, “I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:1-2).
Then there are the allies that ultimately will march with Magog. In Ezekiel 38 God says to Gog, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons” (Ezekiel 38:5). Persia officially became known as Iran in 1935. In 1979, Iran became an Islamic republic.
If the Magog that Ezekiel is speaking of is indeed Russia, then it’s fascinating that Iran is identified as an ally of Magog’s. It is worth noting that for 2,500 years, Russia had no alliance with Persia (Iran). That is, until now. Today they are officially allies. An alliance prophesied 2,500 years ago has been formed now. It is indeed a sign of the times.
General Mohammad Naghdi, commander of Iran’s Basij forces, stated, “Our ideal is not [nuclear] centrifuges but the destruction of the White House and the annihilation of Zionism [Israel].”
Which brings us to ISIS. Initially dismissed as a junior varsity rebel group, they have proven to be a major player in terrorism. We were all horrified by the attack in Paris, where 130 people died. Now it has come to America’s doorstep. San Bernardino is now the site of the largest American terrorist attack since 9/11. Terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14, leaving another 21 wounded. Malik pledged her loyalty to ISIS on Facebook and ISIS has called the shooters “followers.” It appears that Malik radicalized Farook.
We have never faced a terrorist group like ISIS before. Sebastian Gorka, an expert on ISIS, works closely with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the intelligence community. He proposes that ISIS is far more dangerous than Al Qaeda.
Among his findings are the fact that ISIS is the richest group of its type in human history, with enough cash to level about 1,600 terrorist acts equivalent to 9/11. He describes their ability to recruit as mind-boggling; they have recruited 19,000 foreign fighters in the last nine months. They do this largely through social media, radicalizing people online who have no digital footprint. These people are not necessarily being monitored by authorities. They do not have to be authorized by ISIS or anyone else. They get radicalized and they act. There are links to training videos that show them how to create acts of terrorism. They use encrypted technologies that hinder the ability of authorities to intercept and analyze information. This was not even possible until the last 10 years.
All of this is done with the objective of producing a global caliphate, or Islamic government.
Jesus told us to be aware of the signs of His return. And when those signs get closer together and bigger and brighter, we know that His coming is near. In fact, it seems as though every time we turn around, there is a new sign. That is what Jesus said it would be like before His return. These events will be happening closer and closer together, and we certainly are seeing that today.
As I see world events unfolding, I wonder if perhaps the Lord isn’t waiting for that last person to believe before He calls His church home. In fact, that person may be walking around on Earth somewhere today.
I believe the only hope for America is a nationwide revival. And we must preach the Gospel like never before. That is why we will be holding a one day evangelistic event at AT&T Stadium on March 6 called Harvest America. Will you remember to pray for us? For more information, go to www.harvestamerica.com. ©2015 Greg Laurie
Greg Laurie is senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, Calif. An evangelist, author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program A New Beginning, he also serves on the board of directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Il. All rights reserved.