IRVINE, Calif. – Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship church took the opportunity during his Sunday sermon series on the book of Revelation to talk about the current events in the Middle East as it relates to Bible prophecy. He also pointed to the controversy during the Democratic National Convention over the party's vote on including Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in its platform as highly ironic.
"It seems like every time you turn around there's another outbreak of violence or at least a threat of one," Laurie said during last Sunday's sermon shared at his two Southern California churches in Riverside and Orange County. "Iranian president Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for the destruction of both the nation Israel and the United States and recently stood before the members of the U.N. speaking of an Islamic messiah and a new world order that is coming. Haven't I heard this before?"
Laurie then described events in the Middle East that were perhaps misinterpreted by some people at first.
"Of course, we all know [about] that tragic attack against our embassy in Libya by terrorists in a pre-planned attack on the anniversary of 9/11 and the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens," the pastor, also known for his evangelistic Harvest Crusades, said. "We know it was pre-planned because of the heavy weaponry they brought in and the fact that they knew where his safe house was that he fled to and then killed him in cold blood.
"If you thought the war on terrorism was done wake up, because after these riots broke out the crowds were chanting for the benefit of the cameras, 'Take a picture Obama. We're all Osama.' So it doesn't end with the killing of Osama bin Laden. It continues on."
Laurie continued, "Then, there's the Arab Spring and many thought that was going to change the climate in the Middle East, but instead of it being a hopeful sign we found it to be a Trojan horse for Islamic extremism through the so-called Muslim Brotherhood."
Laurie has been talking about the book of Revelation in his last several sermons at his church and titled his most recent message, "Israel, Iran, and America in Bible Prophecy."
"Why all of this chaos and confusion? What is happening? Here's a simple answer. Bible prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes," Laurie said. "The Bible predicted these events would unfold and I might add that the Bible is the only book that dares to predict the future time and time again with complete accuracy. The Hebrew prophets thousands of years ago foretold the scattering and the re-gathering of the Jewish people into their homeland. They told us that when this happened this would be a sign of the end. In other words, when you see this happen you know that you are living in the last days before the Messiah returns."
Laurie said he found it interesting that the subject of Jerusalem became a hot button issue during the DNC 2012. He recapped what transpired at the convention.
"Somehow the acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was omitted from the Democratic platform along with a mention of God. So the White House insisted that it be put back into the party platform again. I don't know if you saw this on TV but they put it up to a vote and when they asked the people to vote I heard a lot of boos out there yet they said two-thirds approved it.
"But here's what I found interesting about that was the fact that Jerusalem was right there front and center. I mean all the things going on in the world today and the big issue is once again Jerusalem," he explained. "But isn't that what God said would happen? The Scripture says that Jerusalem would be an intoxicating drink, a heavy stone, and a burden for all the world."
He added, "The Bible also told us that the attention of the world would be focused on this tiny little city known as Jerusalem in the end days. It would be the epicenter of all that is happening and surely that is what is taking place before our very eyes."
Laurie said it's important for Christians to study Revelation because it gives a glimpse into the future and offers hope as well.
"God's objective is not to conceal, it is to reveal. It's not to hide, it's to disclose and the word 'revelation' means the unveiling," he said. "The reason we want to learn about the future is to motivate us to live right in the present."
Before getting into more details and an overview of the book of Revelation, Laurie said, "In my opinion, the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the church. I think that could happen at any moment and as we see all of these other things happening that only reminds us that the rapture is even closer."
The entire sermon, "Israel, Iran, and America in Bible Prophecy" is archived online at http://www.harvest.org/.READ: HOW GOD IS USING DEATH IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO BRING LIFE TO END-TIMES FULFILLMENTREAD: WHAT ROLES WILL ISLAM PLAY IN END-TIMES PROPHECY?