As Hurricane Irma continues its path of destruction, Franklin Graham has said that the ongoing natural disasters seen around the world could be "Biblical signs before Christ's return."
"Wildfires raging on the West Coast. Violent hurricanes, one after the other, ravaging everything in their paths, with one of the worst-Irma-bearing down on Florida," the Samaritan's Purse CEO wrote in a recent Facebook post. "A magnitude 8.1 earthquake shook the southern parts of Mexico this week, and we even recently experienced a rare solar eclipse."
The evangelist pointed out that the Bible says in Luke 21:25, "...there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves", and in Matthew 24:7 it says, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places."
"These are some of the Biblical signs before Christ's return," he said. "Nobody knows the day or hour, not even the Son of God, but it is a reminder to all of us to be ready-to repent and confess our sins, and ask for God's forgiveness. In the meantime, we can find comfort, peace, and hope in Him."
He added, "As we pray for all those affected by the current disasters, we should also remember God's promise to us in John 16:33, 'I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.'"
After causing 27 deaths in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sunday, leaving at least seven million people without power. While the hurricane has since been downgraded to a Category 1, it is expected to move into southern Georgia Monday afternoon, and through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
On Monday morning, Graham said his "prayers are with the many who are waking up to their homes and businesses devastated by Irma's wind and water."
"They will now be facing an overwhelming clean-up," he said. "Reports say up to 5.5 million people are without power in Florida. I pray especially for those who have lost loved ones in the storm. I know they would appreciate your prayers as well. Thankfully, #Irma is weakening as she moves on."
This is not the first time Graham has suggested that we may be living in the end times. Last year, he warned 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."