At the tail end of a crippling global pandemic and amidst a European conflict many fear could develop into World War 3, Israeli media outlets took note of “Christian” prophecies that suggest we are in the last days before the coming of Messiah.
“The return of Jesus? Self-fulfilling biblical prophecy” read the skeptical Facebook headline of an article by Walla News.
On the Walla site itself, the article’s headline read: Is a biblical prophecy about the end of the world coming true? “Corona and the war in Europe are the first signs”
The headline was citing, and the Hebrew-language article focuses on, recent remarks by Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, a well-known Evangelical teacher.
Lumping Laurie together with those it calls “radical Christians,” Walla quotes the pastor as referencing the prophet Ezekiel and the Book of Matthew in attaching “prophetic significance” to major current events.
In what Walla labeled a “bizarre video,” Laurie states:
“I believe we are living in the last days. I believe Christ could come back at any moment. There are signs of the times that the Bible tells us to be looking for. …Jesus likened it to labor pains… The idea being that the closer they [these extreme events] get together, the closer you are to the birth. And as we see more signs, more things happening, they’re reminding us: Christ is coming back again…
“Ezekiel says that the Jewish people would be scattered and regathered in their land again. …Israel officially again became a nation on May 14, 1948, so that part of the prophecy has been fulfilled. But then Scripture says a nation from the extreme north of Israel will march on her called Gog and Magog. When I see the aggression of Russia, Magog if you will, it’s a reminder that that’s what we are going to see when Magog attacks Israel.
“So Jesus says, when you see these things beginning to happen, freak out because you’re dead. No, he didn’t say that! He said, when you see these things beginning to happen, look up, for your redemption is drawing near.
“Here’s the bottom line and take-away truth: Bible prophecies are being fulfilled in our lifetime. It seems like we’re seeing more things happen in realtime closer together, as the Scripture said they would be. So, what should we do? We should look up. And we should remember that God is in control.”
The Walla article then followed Laurie’s lead by quoting from Matthew 24:3-14, where Jesus tells his disciples that they will know the time of his return has come when the world is engulfed in “wars and rumors of wars…famine and pestilence…false prophets” and more.
Walla cast doubt on what Jesus predicted as “a series of strange and extreme events,” but after what we have experienced over the past two years, can we really remain so cynical?
If someone had told you five years ago that in 2020 the entire world would be crippled by a pandemic, or that just as that crisis was ending Russia would begin invading its neighbors, would you have believed it?
Indeed, as Laurie hinted at, if someone 150 or more years ago were told that Israel would be reborn as a nation-state after 2,000 years of exile, he would have brushed aside the prediction as pure fantasy.
And yet, here we are, amidst “a series of strange and extreme events” that shows no signs of abating.