California megachurch pastor Greg Laurie shared with the congregation of his Harvest Church on Sunday what Jesus taught about Israel in the end times, and said that the United States needs Israel more than Israel needs America.
Israel is a tiny little piece of land, and yet we hear so much about the country in news, Laurie said in his message, titled, "What Jesus taught about Israel in the end times."
"Israel is at the eye of the hurricane of the great events of the end times," he stated.
Laurie added that God has said that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.
"One of the reasons God has blessed the United States is because of our support to Israel. ... America needs Israel more than Israel needs America … because we need the blessing of God," the pastor said.
Israel is under attack from all sides, he emphasized. It is also under pressure, including from the U.S., he went on to say, referring to the recent 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza. More than 4,500 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, and America pressured Israel to stand down, the pastor said, disapprovingly.
What's common between the enemies of Israel and the enemies of the U.S. is that they are radical Islamists, and their objective is to establish a Caliphate through jihad and rule through Shariah, Laurie added.
He said the Islamic State terror group is targeting Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Both Sunni and Shiite radical Muslim groups want Jerusalem, he said, quoting Zechariah 12:2-3, "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the Earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves."
Laurie preached his message mainly from Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5.
"The Bible is the one book that dares to predict the future … with 100 percent accuracy," he said, adding that about 30 percent of the Bible is prophecy, and that God wants us to know these prophecies. "The more we know about the next world, the better we'll live in this one."
According to Ezekiel 37:11-12, Israel will be re-gathered as a nation, the pastor said. The re-gathering of Israel will be the super-sign of the end times, he explained.
He quoted Matthew 24:32-34, "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near — at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."
After the re-gathering of Israel, an attack will follow from the north of Israel — and it could possibly be from Russia or Iran, he said. But God will intervene and frustrate their plans, he added.
The Bible prophecy is not to scare us, but to prepare us, he said, and reminded the congregation that Jesus said, "I will come again."
He read 1 Thessalonians 5:7-8, which reads: "For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet."
Your reaction to the promise of Christ's coming is a litmus test of where you stand in your belief, he said.