According to a recent popular video on the rapture, “Evangelist Greg Laurie has suggested that a massive Jesus revival in America could lead to Christians being snatched from Earth, removing the U.S. from the End Times conflict.” But why couldn’t a massive Jesus revival in America instead lead to Christians changing America?
In his interview with PureFlix, Laurie “recalled that one of the earmarks of the Jesus movement of the 1960s and 1970s was that people believed Jesus was coming soon.” He went on to say, “we’ve never been closer to the return of Jesus than right now.” This means that for nearly 60 years millions of Christians have been preoccupied with the return of Jesus. It’s no wonder that our nation has lost much of its Christian foundation.
Let’s not forget that books by Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith predicted that the “rapture” would take place before 1988. That was 30 years ago. The Bible passages that were used in the 1970s to “prove” that the “rapture” would take place 40 years from 1948 (=1988) are the same passages Laurie and others are using today to claim the rapture is near.
He went on to speculate on why the United States and North Korea are not mentioned in end-time prophecy. The answer is simple: the prophetic material in the New Testament is about events that were to happen to that first-century generation leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Jesus was clear on this point: “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34). “This generation” always refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking (23:36; 10:23; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42; 45; Luke 11:50, 51; 17:25).
In “America, Antichrist, and the End of Days,” a talk he gave earlier this year, Laurie focused on the antichrist. He began by claiming that there are over 100 passages in the Bible that talk about the antichrist.
- “In fact, he will be a very charismatic world leader. A great orator, very convincing, probably very handsome.
- “He is going to do things that no world leader has ever done before. He is going to solve the Middle East conflict, and is going to rid the world at least temporarily of terrorism. He is going to be hailed as the greatest peace talker that ever lived.”
- The antichrist, he said, will even “get the Jewish nations and the Arab nations to sign a peace treaty that will pave the way for the long-awaited Third Temple [of which the New Testament says nothing]. The antichrist will be a satanic superman. But it’s all a mask hiding who he really is, [namely] the most evil man that ever lived.”
- “The dominant force of the end times is going to be a confederation of ten nations led by an individual called the antichrist.”
What the Bible really says about antichrist
There are only four passages in the Bible that use the word ‘antichrist’ and Laurie does not mention any of them. Curiously, the book of Revelation does not use the word antichrist. Not one of these passages mentions anything that Laurie says about his version of antichrist. Read the passages for yourselves:
- “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). (“Now” refers to John’s day and audience.)
- “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). (Notice that it’s not a political personage.)
- “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3). (The antichrist was alive and well in John’s day: “now it is already in the world.”)
- “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7). (Past tense. There were many antichrists.)
Notice that there were “now many antichrists” (1 John 2:18). “Now” refers to John’s day. In 1 John 2:22, we find, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” In 2 John 7, we find the biblical definition that compliments what we read in 1 John 2:22: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” “Have gone out.” This is a “when” passage. John’s describing his day.
In his latest interview, Laurie speculated, “We know that the players of the last days will be the forces united under the anti-Christ going into a great battle in the battle of Armageddon with the kings of the East.” Really? Where does John say this? He doesn’t.
John’s definition of antichrist is exclusively theological. Nothing is said about a charismatic leader, solving the Middle East conflict, ridding the world temporarily of terrorism, getting the Jewish nations and the Arab nations to sign a peace treaty that will pave the way for the long-awaited Third Temple, a satanic superman, namely, “the most evil man that ever lived.” Nowhere do we find John describing a ten-nation confederation led by an or the antichrist.
John was describing antichrists (plural) in his day as evidence that “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). What did John mean by “the last hour”? It’s a reference to the prophecy Jesus made in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and other places (Luke 11:46-52; 13:34-35; 17:22-37; 19:41-44) that a prophetic event was going to take place before their generation passed away. When John wrote his first epistle, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was very near. For a verse-by-verse study of Matthew 24, see my books Last Days Madness ((Laurie mentions the Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess. 2). Last Days Madness includes two chapters on the Man of Lawlessness.)), Wars and Rumors of Wars, and my shorter study Is Jesus Coming Soon?
The definition of an antichrist is self-evident: It’s someone who denies that Jesus had come in the flesh and thereby “denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Who does John have in mind? The antichrists were most likely the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ day. The early adversaries of Jesus and the gospel message were Jews as were the earlier believers. Jews denied Jesus as the true temple and lamb of God (John 1:29; 2:19; 8:59; Matt. 12:14; John 10:31; 11:8).
Laurie also believes in something called “the rapture” when the church (Christian believers) will be taken to heaven prior to a seven-year period that encompasses a period of Great Tribulation when billions of people will be slaughtered, including millions of Jews, God’s “chosen people.” He writes, “there are perhaps 50 million legitimate Christians in America today.”
If this is true, and those 50 million Christians acted as a block in every area of life, including politics, wouldn’t this mean a radical transformation of the United States? Instead, Laurie is looking for an escape hatch known as the “rapture.”