EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The author of several dozen books, including "The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days, says today's news reports indicate a new alliance is developing of nations that haven't regularly gotten along with each other in the last, oh, few thousand years.
And their common foe would be Israel, said Mark Hitchcock.
He was addressing a packed house at the weekend's "Understanding the Times" conference in Eden Prairie, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, hosted by Olive Tree Ministries.
Attendees traveled from as far away as India and Jerusalem for the 15th annual conference at a large church auditorium.
"It's as if today's headlines were written 2,600 years ago,” Hitchcock said.
He pointed to one prophecy he feels is nearing fulfillment. Known by those watching prophecy as the Gog-Magog war, the text of the prophecy can be found in Ezekiel 38. It describes an alliance of nations that go to war with Israel.
What makes this century different than any other, said Hitchcock, is that Israel has once again been reconstituted, as described in Ezekiel 37 in the prophecy of the "Dry Bones."
He says that nations from Russia to Iran, Libya and Turkey have never been allies throughout history, and yet, here in modern times, each of those countries is not only prominent in the headlines, they seem to be forming alliances, none too friendly with Israel.
"All of the Ezekiel 38 nations are identifiable today and are forging alliances with each other," said Hitchcock.
He also points out that the prophecy indicates that the warring nations attack Israel with "spoil" on their minds and that until just two years ago, Israel didn't have much value to offer.
"As of 2010, it was discovered that Israel sits on natural gas and oil fields that suddenly makes their land very appealing," said Hitchcock.
While a prophecy manifesting itself before the world may be unsettling to some, Hitchcock was sure to provide comfort as well.
"God is in control," he said. "This is His story."
A series of world-renowned speakers on biblical eschatology, or study of the end times, gathered for the meetings.
While people are longing for answers to a myriad of questions regarding what the future holds, Hitchcock told the crowd, "The Bible is the only place we can go to that tells us the future."
And he said Christians should be "living their lives with urgency."
"There are two great magnitudes in life that we should all live in full awareness of: the littleness of time and the greatness of eternity," he said.
Hitchcock also spoke about America's role in Bible prophecy and said that although some try to twist possible hints in the Bible about America, there are far too many problems with those views. Instead, he says, America doesn't seem to be part of an end-times scenario.
He admitted that any conjecture on why America may not be involved in the end times would only be a guess, but he offered a few plausible scenarios.
"We could see a nuclear 9/11, or a financial apocalypse or even an oil crisis," he said.
Regardless of the reason, Hitchcock reminded people, "Part of God's judgment is the wrath of abandonment."
He also provided four keys that America needs to follow to receive God's blessing.
Bill Koenig, well-known author and journalist and member of the White House Press Corps, concurred.
"These are not normal times," he said. "We've crossed the tipping point. All major areas of prophecy are in play."
Koenig wrote a book that researched and documented disasters that corresponded with efforts to pressure Israel into dividing its land. He told the crowd that he has gotten the book, "Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel," into the hands of many prominent national leaders, yet actions against Israel seem to persist.
While he sees costly disasters tied to key dates involving Israel, he also pointed to other issues that may also cost America.
He refers to July 19-22, 2011, as, "Four days of presidential decisions America may never recover from."
Those are the days that Barack Obama went through the process of repealing the longstanding military policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
"In those days America, and Washington, D.C., saw 322 heat records tied or broken," he said. "The heat index reached 129 degrees in Washington, D.C."
Koenig also warned about the impact of radical Islam and said while Obama certainly has defended Islam, Christians should ask, "What is Obama doing about the persecution and death of Christians?"
Another prominent speaker at the event was the senior pastor at Moody Bible Church in Chicago, Erwin Lutzer.
Lutzer started his talk by mentioning his forthcoming book, "The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam's War on Christianity," which will be available in January.
Lutzer spoke about the similarities between Nazi Germany and America today. He reminded listeners, "When God is separated from government, judgment follows."
He then talked about the economy, indoctrination and propaganda, with a reminder that in Nazi Germany, and somewhat easily recognizable today, "Facts become irrelevant."
"Language and euphemisms are created, and there is a tendency to demonize any opposition, or to call an opposing view hate speech," he said.
Lutzer did not place much hope in the upcoming election.
"Things are so bad – we cannot change them by simply changing the administration," he said.
He told the crowd the real issue facing America is what god will be worshiped.
He told about an offer many years ago by leaders in Rome to allow Christians to place a statue of Jesus in the Pantheon, which is where all the symbols of the ancient Roman gods are housed. The offer was refused, because: "Jesus cannot simply be placed in the Pantheon. Jesus is above all gods. He's the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Lutzer worries that Americans simply want to do the same thing as Rome. Minimize Jesus, while elevating other gods to worship.
The final speaker at the conference, which saw around 6,000 attendees, was The author of "The Harbinger" book, and the inspiration behind "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment," the bestselling Christian book of 2012 and the bestselling faith movie of the year, Jonathan Cahn.
As WND reported, Cahn had the crowd standing when he said America needs to repent or face God's judgment.
"The answer for America doesn't lie in an election," he told the crowd. "The answer for America is God, Yeshua, Jesus."
The crowd thundered when he urged them to "get real" for God.
When Cahn reminded believers that the world conditions wouldn't "be as dark if we shined a little brighter," and that if believers truly lived like "salt," he said, "the world wouldn't be as decayed as it is," the applause grew even louder.
He also urged Christians to find strength and to fear nothing.
"It's time to be bold," he said. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world," he quoted from Scripture.
Jan Markell, the founder of Olive Tree Ministries, told WND that she was very pleased with how the conference turned out.
She was especially blessed when Cahn closed the conference by praying the Aaronic Prayer over the crowd in Hebrew.
The prayer, from Numbers 6:24-26, is:
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace."