Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. And millions of Americans believe, and suddenly the rapture comes. What effect would it have on our nation if all those people suddenly disappear. It's a UFO abduction, some would say. We have a choice before us. Revival or judgment. What's it going to be? When the world goes to war, as we see foretold in prophecy, why would the United States, the leading global superpower, not merit a single mention? Is it something we said?
Seriously, it's an interesting question to consider. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us important perspective. It's a good time to consider where our country is heading, and an important time to check our personal readiness for the next event on God's prophetic timetable.
This is the day, the day when life begins. Armageddon. Armageddon.
What an ominous word it is. When General Douglas MacArthur stood on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor, signing a peace agreement with Japan, effectively bringing World War II to a close, he said, quote, we have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door, end quote. Let's talk about the battle of Armageddon. Go over to Revelation 16. Revelation 16, verse 12. Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up.
So the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragons. And we know that's a devil. Unclean spirits would be demonic spirits. And out of the mouth of the beast, that's antichrist. Out of the mouth of the false prophet. So a religious sidekick, if you will, called the false prophet, working in cahoots with the beast or the antichrist. And they are the spirits of demons, verse 14, performing signs which go out to the kings of the earth and the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.
Now here's an interesting little thing. In the middle of all this talk of Armageddon, Jesus gives a personal word to you. A personal word to me. A personal word to believers living in the last days. Look at it, verse 15, Revelation 16. Jesus says, behold, I'm coming as a thief, blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and see his shame.
Then we go back to the other topic. Verse 16, and he gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. Soon after he was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, trying to understand the complexities of the Middle East, wrote in his diary, quote, sometimes I wonder if we're destined to witness Armageddon, end quote.
Now I wonder what General MacArthur and President Reagan would think of the world today. President Biden recently said, speaking of the conflict with Russia and Ukraine, we have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Look, I don't like it when world leaders use the word Armageddon, especially world leaders that have access to that little red button. But it just shows you this is a reality.
This is something that could happen, and it's something that will happen eventually. And so the devil is behind this. The devil is in the details. The devil is the one moving these armies to this great conflict. Two superpowers engage in the valley of Megiddo. By the way, the word Armageddon comes from the root word harmageddon, which is simply speaking of the valley of Megiddo. So it's speaking of a location. The ten forces of the Antichrist come and face off with the kings of the east.
Who are the kings of the east? They're identified as having an army of 200 million. Some have wondered if this is, speaking of modern day China, with their military and economic expansion and aggression that they've shown. It's possible.
The fact of the matter is China is the only nation on earth that could field an army of 200 million and actually have spoken publicly about that. I don't know the answer to this. Others have thought it could be, speaking of demonic forces at work. I'm not sure.
But here's the thing I wonder about. Where is America in all of this? Some nations are spoken of specifically in Bible prophecy. Israel clearly spoken of.
Iran is clearly spoken of in scripture. China perhaps. Russia perhaps.
Many think that Magog could be a description of modern day Russia to the extreme north of Israel. We don't know with certainty about that. But here's what's really missing. Where's America? We are still the reigning superpower on planet earth at the moment. Where are we? Where are we in the end time scenario? Where's Waldo?
You ever read that little book? Okay, find Waldo. Where's Waldo? Where's America? Let me offer a few possibilities.
Number one, and I don't like this one at all. The United States may not be mentioned in the last day scenario because our country is decimated in a nuclear attack. We have a nuclear arsenal. Russia has a nuclear arsenal. China has one. Iran is on the verge of getting their own. North Korea has nukes.
Other nations have nukes. Everything seems to be so vulnerable right now. Could it actually happen?
Yes it could. I hope it doesn't. But as I read the description in the book of Revelation about the destruction on earth, it could be cataclysmic and it could also be man-made. There's a description in 2 Peter 3.7 that says, The heavens and the earth, which are kept in store, are reserved to fire until the day of judgment. The heavens will melt away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat, and the works therein shall be burned up. Is that a description of a nuclear war? I don't know.
I hope not, but I have to throw that out there. Number two, the reason we may not find America in the end times picture is because we simply decline as a world power. You know, every nation has a shelf life. The glory of Greece was eclipsed after 268 years. Rome lasted around nine centuries. The United States is 247 years old and counting, but every nation has its days numbered ultimately. Isaiah 40, 15 says, All the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more than dust on the scales. But here's my favorite option I offer. The reason America is not mentioned in the end times scenario is because, first of all, a great revival takes place. Maybe a series of revivals. Now think about this. How many people in America are actually Christian?
I have no idea. Some say 50%. I kind of doubt that. What if we just took a quarter of Americans and said they're actually Christians?
Even a smaller percentage. Okay, what effect would it have on our nation if all those people suddenly disappeared? That's a UFO abduction, some would say.
Right? Suddenly caught up to meet the Lord in the air. What if we had a series of revivals resulting in millions of Americans believed and suddenly the rapture comes and that's why our nation collapses overnight. Imagine if millions of people disappeared from the military, from the medical world, from law enforcement, from every area you can think of, the media would be largely untouched.
But still. Just gone. Just gone. All of a sudden gone.
What happened? You could see how that would cause us to collapse overnight. America is a unique nation. The only nation we could be compared to, I think, is Israel. Israel was established by God. I believe that God established our nation. I believe God has poured his blessing on our nation formed in 1776. A spiritual awakening prepared the ground for what was later to become the United States of America. A spiritual awakening led by an evangelist named George Whitfield from England. And the Revolutionary War, the chances of us beating the most powerful army on the face of the earth on the battlefield.
Crazy. But we did and George Washington himself said, quote, anyone who believes you can explain our victory in the American Revolution without the hand of providence completely misunderstands what happened. End quote. Washington knew it.
He went on to become our first president. But we need another spiritual awakening. We sing God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above. We need that light from above right now. We need another spiritual awakening.
America needs Jesus. It's our only hope. Will the streets of America ever be safe again? Will we ever have a nation the way it could be?
Or is it just going to get worse? I think it's kind of up to us. We have a choice before us. Revival or judgment. What's it going to be? Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.
Whenever you send us an email, letter or post a comment on social media, we read every word. Pastor Greg, the film Jesus Revolution reignited my passion for Christ and led me to get baptized at Pirates Cove on July 8th, the same place where you were baptized those many years ago. I was saved 30 years ago, but now I'm fully dedicated and an active member of Harvest Christian Fellowship. I'm ready for more spiritual growth. Thanks to you, Pastor Greg. What an encouraging story. Do you have something to share with Pastor Greg? If so, email him and tell him about it. Send it to Greg at Harvest dot org.
Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again, that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well, we're glad you're along today for Pastor Greg's eye-opening message called Antichrist America and Armageddon. Now let's close with that statement we had a few moments ago where Jesus sort of interrupts the dialogue with this statement to us.
Go back to Revelation 16, 15. Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and see his shame. What does this mean?
He's coming as a thief. This is clearly a reference to the rapture. So he's speaking to us.
This is for us right in this moment right now. He who watches means you're awake, you're paying attention. To keep your garments means to be ready to go at a moment's notice. It means you're ready for the return of Jesus. In Romans 13, Paul says, knowing the critical strategic period of time, we need to wake out of our sleep for the night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light and let us be Christ's men from head to foot and give no chance to the flesh to have its fling. Love how Paul says, wake up. Wake up.
Isn't it funny that when someone wakes you up, you always deny it? I was watching TV with my wife the other day, something I found very boring. I fell asleep.
She said, you're sleeping. I said, no, I'm not. I was. I was.
We always deny it. Someone calls you at three in the morning. Were you sleeping? No. Yes. Why did you call me at three in the morning?
Wake up. You know, I think these words maybe relate a little more to those who are older in the faith than those who are younger in the faith. Those who are young in the faith are often full of faith and energy and they're willing to take risks and leave their comfort zone. They want to go change the world.
I love that. Old people, they want to just take a nap. Not all old people, but many of them.
Then when they wake up, they want a sandwich. OK, so you can become complacent. You can live in the past. Rest on your laurels.
Wake up. Wake up to the closeness of the Lord's return because it's never been closer than it is right now. I think we can all see, even a person who isn't really a student of Bible prophecy can see this world's getting scary. And they may have heard about these things we talk about in the church. The mark of the beast and all that. Now they're thinking, tell me more about that again. They can see Antichrist is getting close.
Well, if Antichrist is getting close, Jesus Christ's return for his church is getting closer, right? Closer. Some say, well, you know, I'll get to it eventually. I need to sow my wild oats. What in the heck?
What is that all about? Why do you have to do that? Well, I'm young. Sow the wild oats.
No, you don't want to do that. Because you'll regret that later. Why don't you go sow spiritual seed instead? Remember the Creator. Remember the Creator in the days of your youth, the Bible says. I'm so thankful to God I came to Christ at 17. I made a lot of bad decisions up to that point, but the course of my life was changed. Some say, well, I'll come to Christ on my deathbed.
Okay, maybe you will. I prayed with people on their deathbeds just the other day, yesterday. In fact, I was at a little service, a meeting, rather, for a lady who had died. And family came to remember her. And I knew this lady. And she was Jewish and a very sweet lady.
And we had a lot of conversations together. And I knew that she wanted to believe in Jesus, but she felt somehow it would be a betrayal of her Jewish roots to do so. It was a struggle she had, as many Jewish people have.
When in reality, becoming a believer in Jesus will make you a completely fulfilled Jew, because you meet the one that the Old Testament Scriptures were speaking of. But anyway, she was dying. She was in the hospital. And the nurse very graciously held a phone up to her face. And we were on FaceTime. I could see her. She could see me.
It's as though we were having a face-to-face conversation. And I said to her, you are ready to enter eternity. You're going to go into the afterlife. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Messiah right now? And she said yes. She said yes. So we prayed. And it was only a short time after that she went to be with the Lord.
Yeah, that's what I'll do. I'll do it on my deathbed. You may not have the luxury of a deathbed. For some death comes quickly. You're just going about your day, a day like any other day, and boom it happens. Four people just woke up. They're all old.
Do you have a sandwich? We don't know when death will come. Nobody has a promise of tomorrow. That's why the Bible says prepare to meet your God. Because heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. And hell is a prepared place for unprepared people. You decide in this life where you will spend the afterlife.
This is entirely up to you and you alone. But if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you don't have to be afraid. Even if death comes, you don't have to be afraid because you're going to God's presence. And if the rapture comes, you'll be ready to meet the Lord in the air. So we're going to close now with a prayer. And I want to extend an invitation for anyone who has joined us who is not certain that they're ready for the Lord to return. You're not sure you will go to heaven when you die.
Let's get this settled. There's nothing more important than this, is there? Jesus died on the cross for your sin. He paid the price for every sin you've ever committed. And then he rose again from the dead three days later. Now he stands at the door of your life and he knocks.
And says if you hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. Jesus is ready to come into your life and forgive you of your sin, but you must ask him in. You can do that right now through prayer.
Let's all bow our heads and pray. Father, I pray that your Holy Spirit will speak to every person here. And if there's anyone that does not yet know you, let them come to you and believe in you.
We ask. Now while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together, how many of you would say today, Greg, I need Jesus in my life. I want to be ready for the rapture. I want to be ready to meet the Lord in the air. I want my sin forgiven.
I want to know with certainty that when I die, I will go to heaven. Pray for me. Listen, if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you'll be ready to meet the Lord wherever you are, pray this prayer out loud right now. Pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead.
I turn from that sin now and I choose to follow you, Jesus, from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie today here on A New Beginning. Some in our audience will consider today the start of their new life in Jesus Christ. And if you've just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and meant those words sincerely, first, we want to welcome you into the family of God and then allow us to send you some resources to help you as you begin your new journey of faith. Foremost among these resources is Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible.
It's full of study helps written specifically for those who are new to the faith, and the scripture text is in the New Living Translation, very easy to understand. So get in touch today for your free copy of the New Believer's Bible. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. You know, Pastor Greg, I remember one Christmas as a little boy when I thought I might get a bicycle. Well, in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, I very, very quietly got out of bed, grabbed my little boy flashlight, and headed down the hall to the living room where the Christmas tree was, and there it was in all its splendor, a brand new Schwinn Stingray bicycle. And I was ecstatic. Well, I went back to bed.
I couldn't sleep. And when the time finally came to go open our presents, I want to tell you, I turned in an Academy Award-winning performance of how surprised I was to see this new bicycle. Do you have a Christmas memory?
Oh, yes. I have one similar to that, where I, too, wanted a Schwinn Stingray bicycle. I made it very clear to my mother which one I wanted, what color I wanted. And late at night, I heard them working on something. And as it turned out, they bought me a bicycle that you had to put together. But it was not a Schwinn bicycle. It was from the drugstore. And as I remember, it had red tires. I was very disappointed.
Instead of a super cool Schwinn Stingray, I had some drugstore bicycle with red tires, and soon the tires faded, and they turned to pink tires. Oh, the horror of it all. So we've all had our Christmas disappointments, but I think the key to Christmas is not Christmas presents under a tree, but God's presence in your life. After all, is that not the essential message of Christmas? We're told in Scripture you will call His name Immanuel, which means God is with us. Here's what God wants you to know in this Christmas season.
You're not alone. He is with you. He's with you in the good days and the bad days and all the days in between. And He wants you to draw close to Him.
That's the message of Christmas. God came to our world. He was born in a manger. He lived our life. He died our death. He breathed our air. God became a man.
God had a face. It's amazing. And I love this story, and I never tire of thinking about it or talking about it.
Guess what else I've done? I've written a brand-new book about it. And the title of this book is Heaven's Light Breaking, 25 Christmas Devotions. And I want to send you this new resource for no charge. And by that I mean I'll give it to you for your gift of any size. By the way, it's beautifully designed, a little hardcover book. You'll want to keep it on your nightstand, maybe on your dining room table.
You'll keep it, read it again next year, and the year beyond that, maybe pass it on to your kids or your grandkids. But when we say your gift of any size, what we're really saying is, would you order one and send some financial support to keep us doing what we do? Many of you are new listeners to A New Beginning. Some of you have been listening to us for years, even decades. And the reason we're able to keep coming your way is because of the faithful support of people that believe in what we're doing. We call them Harvest Partners. I'd like some of you to become a Harvest Partner as well, which means you make a financial gift on a regular basis. But listen, let me send you this brand new Christmas devotional called Heaven's Light Breaking for your gift of any size.
Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah, we're ready to send a copy your way. And we won't be mentioning this much longer, so contact us soon. Just give us a phone call at 1-800-821-3300. We're happy to send it your way to thank you for partnering with us to help us keep reaching out in the new year. Again, the number 1-800-821-3300.
Call anytime, or just go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, more insights from Pastor Greg's series, The End of the World, What Does the Bible Say? We'll learn more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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