Will the world end in 2017? With the upcoming "Great American Eclipse", wars, and ongoing terrorism seen around the world, some have speculated that we are indeed living in the End Times.
Recently, evangelist Anne Graham Lotz warned that God may be purposefully hiding himself in preparation for a coming judgment on the nation.
"Our nation is in a mess. Why? Could it be because America is losing God's blessing? His favor. Could our sin be provoking His judgment? Judgment that is not necessarily in the form of a nuclear dirty bomb, or another ISIS attack, or an economic collapse. But a Romans 1 judgment as God backs out of our national life and turns us over to ourselves," Billy Graham's daughter wrote on her website.
She referenced the Old Testament story in which God destroyed the nation of Judah because it continued to become more disobedient and more "wicked," choosing immorality and idolatry.
"God warns a nation that judgment is coming. He doesn't want any to perish. But if a nation does not heed His warnings, He unleashes His anger and there is nothing - no one - who can prevent it. If God would judge His own beloved nation of Judah, why would we think America could escape?" Lotz asked.
"So ... if we are coming under the judgment of God - if He is giving us over to ourselves, removing His blessing, protection, and favor - the solution will not be found in politics or the economy or the military or technology," she continued.
"The solution will be found on our knees as we humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face, and repent of our sin. Then plead for Him to return to us as we return to Him."
Lotz lamented that many of the prayers and calls for repentance within the Church today are more a "rending of garments" and an "outward show to impress."
"Only God knows those who are rendering their hearts as they seek Him. But I am led to ask myself ... how truly serious am I about seeking God on behalf of our nation? When was the last time I fasted and wept and mourned and confessed the sin of our nation as though it were my own? I believe the future of America hangs on the answer to that question," she said.
Lotz is not the only public religious figure to warn of God's impending wrath: Recently, her brother, evangelist Franklin Graham, suggested that if the United States does not return to God, it soon may face its demise - just the Babylonian empire did nearly 2,500 years ago.
"What's the writing on the wall for America? As a nation we are found lacking because of sin and disobedience to God's Holy Word. We have not honored Him. If we don't turn back to God, I fear that our end will be near," he wrote.
Earlier, the evangelist said that in light of the increasing number of natural disasters and global tragedies currently affecting our world, the second coming of Jesus Christ is definitely close at hand.
"We know from God's Word that earthquakes, famines, and wars will increase as the day of the Lord's return draws nearer," he wrote.
He argued that the numerous world conflicts people are witnessing today reflect passages in the Bible that talk about the end times and the "distress of nations: "The Bible tells us that in the end times there will be 'distress of nations with perplexity,'" Graham said, referring to Luke 21:25.
The passage reads: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring."
Graham concluded: "This is certainly the case today."
Nevertheless, Billy Graham, founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, reminds believers that the Bible explicitly warns against making precise predictions about the Second Coming, as no one but God knows when it will happen. Those who claim to know when Jesus will return, Graham says, are false prophets, as Jesus declared, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36).
"If God has concealed it from the angels and His Son, why would He reveal it to a mere person?" Graham asked, explaining that the Bible does tell us two things about Christ's return.
"First, it tells us that He will return!" he said. "Repeatedly, the Bible tells us that God's plan for this world is not finished, and some day Christ will come again to complete that plan. And unlike His first coming, His return will be glorious and recognized by the whole world: "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him" (Revelation 1:7).
The second truth the Bible tells us is that He could come at any moment - and the signs warning of His coming become more and more obvious every day, the evangelist said.
"Once He comes, it will be too late to commit ourselves to Him and work for Him; now is the time to believe in Him and follow Him. Jesus said, 'As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me" (John 9:4).'"
He concluded: "If Christ were to return today, would you be ready? You can be, by opening your heart and life to Christ, and giving yourself without reserve to Him. Don't delay, but by faith commit yourself to Jesus Christ today."