Speakers at a recent prophecy conference proclaimed that this is "the rapture generation" as they warned of a looming one-world government and attacks on Israel that could hasten end-times events.
"The last pages of your Bible read like the front pages of your paper," said conference host Rod Parsley in a dramatic video introduction that included footage of recent earthquakes and other natural disasters. "You are here because you've been chosen to live in this final hour."
The Collide 2010 conference, held March 5-7 at Parsley's World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, featured end-times teachers Grant Jeffrey and Jack Van Impe, both of whom host widely viewed prophecy programs on Christian television. The event also included Donald Perkins, an evangelist and Bible prophecy instructor at Immanuel Bible College in San Diego, and Aaron Cohen, a Bible prophecy teacher and human rights activist.
More than 3,000 people attended each of the six sessions in person while others watched live online. "Prophecy is vital to the church in the last days," Jeffrey said. "This is the most exciting generation to live since Jesus walked the earth. We are living in the rapture generation."
Jeffrey, host of the Bible Prophecy Revealed television program, said prophecy is significant for another reason. "People will read prophecy when they won't read anything else religious and won't darken the door of a church," he said. "People want to know what the future holds."
Like many proponents of dispensational pre-millennialism—the belief that there will be a seven-year tribulation period before Christ returns to establish His 1,000-year reign—the conference presenters believe the status of Israel will predict the progression of end-time events.
Jeffrey said Ezekiel 38 predicts a "pile-on" of attacks against Israel by several nations, which he believes is imminent and will revolve around oil resources. "Israel has just found three of the largest oil reserves in the world—off Haifa," a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coast. (Read "Israeli Company Discovers Oil Near Tel Aviv")
He believes this is largely behind the tension building between Israel and other nations including Iran and Russia, which Jeffrey says will lead to the final battle of Armageddon. "This is why Israel is so convinced they must take out Iran's nuclear capability when the rest of the world favors diplomacy," he said.
He and Van Impe say the Bible declares that Israel will win-"because God will not let them be destroyed," Jeffrey said.
Van Impe believes the next major biblical event will be the rapture. As signs, he points to what he says are indications of a one-world government forming and technology to monitor every human being already being used experimentally.
Jeffrey claims global warming is the invention of organizations seeking to find a common cause in order to create a global government. "Global warming has a hidden agenda," he said. "It's a pretext to achieve a socialist global agenda where America will no longer be the America you grew up in."
Jeffrey also refutes the widely accepted belief that there is a looming oil shortage. "Running out of oil is nonsense," he said. "They have found hidden oil 1,000 feet down-in the U.S.-enough to fuel the whole world for centuries. America and Canada are absolutely oil independent if they want to be."
And though they believe the rapture is near, the speakers say speculation about a world cataclysm in 2012, based on indicators in the Mayan calendar, is off base. "Any time you go outside the Word of God to know the future, you are in trouble," Perkins said. "2012 does not fit into God's plan as outlined in the Bible because the Bible calls for seven years of tribulation and 1,000-year reign of Christ. If 2012 is true, then the Bible is a lie."
Most of the conference attendees were Christians, but during his sermon Sunday Parsley warned people to be rapture-ready. He outlined a chilling scenario for those who might be left behind for "seven years of tribulation," which he said would be 100 times worse than the devastation from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquake combined.
"Wrap it all together times 100 and it will not begin to compare with what will be happening in every city in the world," he said.
Utilizing visual aids including real firearms and backpacks, he said those left behind would need to get out of cities, gather food and Bibles, arm themselves and refuse to take the mark of the beast.
"But I've got a better idea," Parsley said. "Give your life to Jesus today. Don't miss the rapture."
Many Christian leaders see Matthew 24—which says the gospel would be preached to the whole world before the end comes—as an important unfilled sign of the end times. Some Bible scholars also believe the prophecies in Ezekiel and Revelation often cited in end-times teachings have come to pass.
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