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What in the World Is Going On? | Nearing the End Times

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 16, 2022 3:00 am

What in the World Is Going On? | Nearing the End Times

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 16, 2022 3:00 am

When you go to the movies, no doubt you’ve noticed how the theater gets darker just as the show begins. Well, God has a spectacular End Times plan he’s about to unleash, and this earthly theater seems to be getting darker and darker. Does that mean it’s showtime? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie launches a revealing study in the book of Daniel. We’ll read exactly what God’s Word says about the End of Days. In fact, that’s the title of this new series: The End of Days.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at in the Middle East. So we scratch our head and we say, what in the world is going on? Ready for the answer? We're racing toward Armageddon.

So what are we supposed to do? Remember Jesus said, when you see these things beginning to happen, look up. When you go to the movies, no doubt you've noticed how the theater gets darker just as the show begins. Well, God has a spectacular end times plan He's about to unleash, and this earthly theater seems to be getting darker and darker.

Does that mean it's showtime? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie launches a revealing study in the book of Daniel. We'll read exactly what God's Word says about the end of days.

In fact, that's the title of this new series, The End of Days. I don't know about you, but I've been getting a lot of these robocalls lately. You know what I'm talking about? Random numbers that appear in my phone. Calls like, who are these people? And then when you answer there's a little pause and then there's a recording of some ominous voice. Maybe they're from the government.

Maybe they're offering a vacation special. Maybe they're some other thing. But they're these fake calls. And I looked it up and in March alone there were a record three billion robocalls received across the country.

So they're starting to really irritate me. So I found that there's a feature on my phone where I can block them. So if you get a call from this number, I don't know the person.

They never leave messages usually. You can block it. So I started blocking a lot of these numbers and then someone will come up to me and say, I called you five times. Why didn't you answer the phone? Right?

So I'm blocking people I want to hear from because I'm getting messages from people I don't want to hear from. Ok so in some ways I think as we look at our culture today, we look at what's going on in the world today and someone says these are signs of the times. They say, oh give me a break. I've heard that before. They've been saying Jesus is coming forever and nothing has really changed. No actually a lot of things have changed. I believe we're living in the last days.

And I want to make a case for that a little bit today and more in this series in the book of Daniel. Just look at the aggression of Russia on so many fronts. And then there's the emergence of China.

Make no mistake about it. Not only is China an economic superpower, they are now a military superpower as well. And they're becoming more aggressive and will be even more so in the future.

You can count on that. So add to Russia and China these rogue nations now like Iran and North Korea threatening the world. Then there's the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism. And there's all these advances in technology that are not being used for good things. Everything we do is recorded. Now we've always known that but I think we've become more aware of this. We realize people can get into our information. Hack our information. And someone with sinister motives could use that for some very bad things.

And one day that person will come on the scene. He's known as the anti-Christ. And then there's the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. So we scratch our head and we say, What in the world is going on?

Ready for the answer? We're racing toward Armageddon. It's like everything is being sped up moving rapidly toward what the Bible calls the end of days or the last days. Jesus compared it to labor pains. And you girls know who've had children that as you got closer to the moment of delivery, your labor pains got closer together.

Right? And Jesus said that's how it would be in the end times. There would be these warnings. These things that would remind us it's coming. But as we got closer to the actual unfolding of prophetic events, these labor pains or these warning signs would get closer and closer together. And I think we're seeing that happen before us right now. So what are we supposed to do? Remember Jesus said when you see these things beginning to happen, freak out.

Right? Have you read that verse? Yeah I haven't either. He said when you see these things beginning to happen, do what? Look up. Look up for your redemption is drawing near.

What does that mean? It means look to heaven and be reminded of this. That God is in control. And because of this we need to know what is happening in our world. And the book of Daniel among other things contains a lot of Bible prophecy. That's not all it's about but a good part of it is. This is also called eschatology.

The study of end times events. Some would say well you really can't understand all of that. It's far too complex.

I cannot disagree more. In fact Jesus said when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, and we'll define what that is later, he says let the reader understand. Isn't that interesting? So he is talking about a prophetic event that is still in the future and Jesus says let the reader understand. Why would it say that if I couldn't understand it? The New Testament counterpart to the book of Daniel is the book of Revelation. They are like bookends of the Bible. To fully understand Revelation you have to first understand Daniel.

To gain greater insight into Daniel you need to have a good working knowledge of Revelation. And what does the word revelation mean? It means unveiling. The unveiling. So it is God's desire to reveal not to conceal. It is to put in plain view not to hide from us.

So we don't have to be afraid of this topic. And in addition there is a special blessing in Revelation promised to the person who reads the things in the book, hears the things that are in the book, and keeps the things that are in the book. It says blessed is he who reads and hears the words of this prophecy and keeps the things in it because the time is near. And I think what is true of studying Revelation is also true of studying Bible prophecy in general. Why?

Number one. Studying Bible prophecy helps me to remember that God is in control of all events in the world today. He is in control. Because it can be very scary can't it? Like what is going on?

What is going to happen? God is in control. Actually things are going according to schedule.

And that is also a good reminder that God is in control of your life too. Because maybe something has happened in your life lately that doesn't make any sense. A tragedy has befallen you.

There has been some big shift in other areas. And you are thinking what is going on? Where is God? God is right there with you. And number two it gives you a heavenly perspective.

And I think a lot of times we lose our heavenly perspective. Yesterday I went to a hospital to visit a young lady in our church. Her name is Michelle. She ministered to me more than I ministered to her.

Why is that? Because she just said the Lord is with us and we are trusting the Lord. And she actually said to me, Pastor Greg I am very excited about what is happening.

The Lord is at work. I am thinking you are lying in a hospital bed and you are excited. But she is.

And I will tell you why she could say that. Because when you are in a time of difficulty like that God will be with you in a special way. Maybe it is just that you are more aware of how He is with you. And you are hanging onto Him more tightly. And His strength can be made perfect in weakness.

I think we all need that in our life right now. Because we can go through a whole day without a single thought about heaven. We can go through a whole week without even thinking about eternal things. But when you are on your back the only way you can look is up.

Look up. Your redemption is drawing near. And so we need a heavenly perspective. And we need to be reminded of this simple fact. Jesus Christ is coming back again. And He is coming back soon. And my question for you is are you ready?

Are you ready? It is a very important thing. And I think if you really believe that Christ could come back at any time it will affect you in the way that you live. 1 John 3 says, He that has this hope of the Lord's return purifies Himself even as He is pure. So if you understand Bible prophecy as you ought to it will have a spiritually purifying effect.

A positive effect on your life. In fact one of the signs of the last days according to Scripture will be a renewed interest in Bible prophecy. In chapter 12 of Daniel the prophet is disturbed by various visions he has seen. He can't quite wrap his mind around it.

What does all this mean? And the angel who gave him these visions responded in Daniel 12 for, You Daniel keep this prophecy a secret. Seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there and knowledge will increase.

In other words the angel is saying look Daniel you are not going to understand all of this. And a lot of this isn't going to really happen in your lifetime. It is coming in the days ahead. In the last days. In the end of days. And that is when this is going to be rediscovered. And I believe we are living in these last days.

The final days. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. At Harvest Ministries we hear from people all around the country.

And in places that are sometimes hard to reach. Dear Pastor Greg. We live out in the wilds of Idaho but are able to enjoy your Harvest at Home broadcast. We call it our home church away. And our 13 year old son even gave his heart to Jesus while watching Harvest at Home. Praise the Lord and blessings to you. Praise the Lord and blessings to you. It is so great to know that the Harvest at Home broadcast has impacted this family in this way.

Do you have a story to tell? If so would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email. Greg at Harvest dot org.

Again that is Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today Pastor Greg is launching a study in the book of Daniel. We are getting some important insight on just where we are on God's prophetic calendar.

Let's continue. There are a lot of things that the Bible predicts that are happening before us. For instance the Bible tells us that there will come an army of 200 million identified as the kings of the east. That will march through the dried up river Euphrates and head to the valley of Megiddo.

Which is part of Israel for what is known as the battle or battles of Armageddon. Now when John wrote those words in the book of Revelation there were not 200 million people living on the face of the earth. Yet he specifically said an army of 200 million. China has said they have the ability. They have even used the number.

We could put an army of 200 million on the ground. So is China the kings of the east? Listen. No one can say with certainty.

Alright. But I think there is a good chance they are. And then the Bible speaks of a large force to the north of Israel identified as Gog and Magog that will one day attack her. Many scholars believe that could be modern day Russia. If that is the case it is interesting that in Ezekiel chapter 38 God talks about the allies of Magog as Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya. And Persia is modern day Iran. Well did you know that in 1979 Iran became an Islamic republic. And for 2500 years Russia has had no alliance whatsoever with Iran. But now they are allies working together for the first time in history. And if Magog is Russia this is a sign of the times of fulfillment of Bible prophecy right before our eyes. So what is the next event on the prophetic calendar? No one can say with certainty but I will offer my opinion which happens to be right.

Of course I do believe it is right. But hey we will see. Right. We will see. I believe the next event on the prophetic calendar is what many call the rapture of the church.

Now what is that? Some would say there is no rapture in the Bible. Show me rapture in the Bible.

Well dude listen. The word millennium isn't in the Bible. The word trinity isn't in the Bible. And the word Bible isn't in the Bible.

How do you like that? So relax. And understand this actually the word isn't in the Bible. If you have a Latin version. Because it is from the word rapturus. It is a translation of the Greek word harpazo. Which means to be caught up suddenly by force. That word is used repeatedly in the New Testament in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians. It is that event where we are harpazoed or we are caught up suddenly to meet the Lord in the air. And sometimes it is referred to as the rapture.

That is when the Lord comes for His church. It is on the heels of the rapture that the coming world leader is going to emerge on the scene. First He will appear as a man of peace. A good God. And then He will reveal His true colors. He is known as the antichrist.

The beast. Then the tribulation period begins that lasts for seven years. Again as I said it begins peacefully.

But then literally all hell begins to break loose. Culminating with the final battles to be fought in the valley of Megiddo known as the battles of Armageddon. It is during the battle of Armageddon that Christ Himself returns from heaven in glory. This is called the second coming.

So people sometimes get confused. What is the difference between the rapture and the second coming? Two events. In the rapture He comes for His church. In the second coming He returns with His church. In the rapture it is in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.

You can't even measure it in human time. In the second coming every eye will see Him. So what goes up must come down. And we are going to go up to meet the Lord. And we are going to return with the Lord in the second coming. And then Jesus established what is known as the millennial reign. Sometimes called the millennium.

The word millennium just means a thousand. So the one thousand year reign of Christ. And after that the new Jerusalem is a bride adorned for her husband. Comes down from heaven to earth and we rule and reign with the Lord. These are events that are happening. And when the first one happens the others will follow in rapid succession. I think I can safely say that we have never been closer to the return of Jesus Christ than we are right here right now.

We need to be ready. That brings us to the book of Daniel. By the way that was the introduction. Kind of long. But now we are in the book of Daniel.

So what is going on here? Well we have looked at a couple of books recently. Nehemiah as well as Esther. And in Nehemiah we read about the return of the Jewish people who were living in captivity in Babylon back to their homeland. And they rebuilt the walls of the city.

In the book of Esther that is during their captivity when Xerxes was reigning and Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish people. Ok so this is now going back to the beginning where they are taking into captivity into Babylon. Why did Israel end up in Babylon?

Simple answer. Because they kept worshiping false gods. And the Lord warned them over and over. Stop worshiping false gods. Turn from these false gods. It made no sense.

They had this vibrant relationship with a true and living God and they wanted to worship inanimate objects instead. It would be like leaving your beautiful, loving, nurturing wife for a mannequin. Right? You know one day you say, honey I am leaving you. I have a new woman in my life. Where is she? She is in the car.

And your wife walks out and there sits in the passenger seat a mannequin from the department store. Why would you choose her over me? For starters she says nothing. She doesn't talk. She doesn't complain. She doesn't know. She just sits there and has that beautiful smile on her face all the time. She goes where I want to go. She does what I want to do. I am leaving you for her. You are an idiot buddy.

What are you talking about? Is it any more ridiculous that we leave the true and living God for some object? Some thing. That is what Israel was doing. Worshipping these false gods over and over again. So he warned them. And not only did the Lord warn them. He even specifically warned them who would lead the armies that would take them into captivity. In Jeremiah 25 verse 8 the Lord says, Because you have not listened to me, I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon whom I have appointed as my deputy.

Isn't that interesting. A pagan guy. The Lord says he is my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people.

It was an ominous warning and they weren't paying attention. So now the Lord says you want idols. I am going to give you idols. Welcome to Idol Central Babylon.

Where they worship thousands and thousands of false gods. Careful what you wish for if I get it. You say God I want this.

I want this person in my life. I want this career. I want this ministry. And you keep asking and asking. You know a better prayer to pray is Lord I think this is what I should have. It seems to me this is a good idea but then add this. Not my will but yours be done.

Because God knows better. There's so much more to come here on A New Beginning as he continues this eye opening study in the book of Daniel. Part of a new series called The End of Days. Pastor Greg I have a copy of your new book called Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

Which we're making available right now. Yes. Let me read something from your book if I may. It's in a section talking about Prince. And you write, Contrary to popular belief, adversity is not the greatest test of character. Overnight success is.

Just ask Des Dickerson who was Prince's dazzling lead guitarist from 78 to 83. He said this, Fame was like this vertical takeoff. And suddenly there are more people around you. Oh we have roadies now. Oh we have bodyguards now.

And they're there for a reason too. We experienced many riots. We couldn't walk down the street.

And they had to cordon off the floor of our hotel. What that does to your head is beyond description. And what it does to the human psyche is a whole other thing. There's this internal mechanism that unconsciously begins to take form. And your equilibrium gets so skewed that you find yourself doing and saying things that aren't you. And then get this, he says, You become your own press release. I thought that was very telling.

Yeah that's very insightful and that's written by someone who knows what they're talking about. And think about Prince himself. I mean this incredibly talented man died of a drug overdose.

I mean so many have died of drug overdoses. You would have thought that Prince would have said, Hey my friend Michael Jackson died this way. Hey Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin died this way. Hey Chester Bennington died this way. He actually took his own life. I don't want to die that way.

But that's exactly how he died. And I think people take drugs to numb the pain. Because they just don't know how to live with this altered state of reality they find themselves in.

They need Jesus. And I think so many people look to these rock stars saying, Oh I wish I was them. No you should not wish you were them. But you have your challenges.

You have your pressures. And really Christ is the answer for everyone. He's the answer for the rock star. He's the answer for the unknown person. He's the answer for the billionaire. He's the answer for the person that doesn't have two pennies to rub together. He's the answer for every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, every person. So I've written this book to say no one is beyond the reach of God. Don't stop praying.

Don't give up on these people. You know I think about electronic dance music DJ Avicii. His real name was Tim Bergling. Avicii had global success. Thousands of people would come to his rave concerts and thought he was the greatest thing ever.

But Avicii was a young man who according to his parents was searching for peace and the meaning of life. Tragically he began to drink extensively and his liver was failing. And the doctor told him he had to cease and desist from drinking or he would die.

He's still a very young guy. And then he made somewhat of a recovery and retired from his career. And then ended up taking his own life in the worst way imaginable. But I think a lot of these guys are searching for peace and meaning. Why are they here on this earth? And really we all are when you get down to it. Except these people have had all the success this world offers and have realized how empty it is. I explore the lives of a lot of rock stars.

Past, present, and ones that are emerging on the scene right now. So it's not just about rock music. It's just about this. Don't take the wrong course in life. Don't think that things will fill that void in your life. Or a career will do it. Or success will do it. Or sex will do it.

Or any other thing. What you really want, what you really need, is a relationship with God. And we have a lot of rock stars that we talked to for this book and we interviewed that will tell you that from personal experience. As always, Christ is the answer.

Yeah, yeah, that's right. So many reasons to dig into this spiritual biography of rock and roll. It's actually a group of short biographies. Several dozen musicians and artists and what we can learn from their lives. It's fascinating and a great tool to help you share your faith.

Let us send you Lennon, Dylan, Alice, and Jesus. It's our thank you gift to those who can partner with us right now so that these daily studies can continue. So contact us today. Our phone number is 1-800-821-3300. We're always ready to take your call 24-7.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. What is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Well next time, Pastor Greg comes back to continue his message, What in the World is Going On? Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-04 11:10:45 / 2023-04-04 11:20:50 / 10

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