Apocalyptic Man




I

n
a mid-November blog datelined Jerusalem  Joel C. Rosenberg,
a bestselling Christian novelist, wrote, “The buzz here in
the last few days is that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive
strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and ballistic missile
sites.” Given Israel’s less than sterling performance
against Hezbollah this summer, Rosenberg is not convinced that Israel
“has the capacity—or the will—at the moment to neutralize
the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile threat.” 


However, with “a new Hitler rising in Iran,” it is up
to President Bush—who met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert in Washington on November 13—to deal with the Iranian
threat: “If President Bush believes Iran needs to be neutralized
(and I believe he does) and he is convinced that military action
is the only way (I don’t believe he is there right now), then
the U.S. should take the lead.” 


Rosenberg added, “If anyone is going to stop Iran from threatening
the world with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, it
has to be soon, perhaps no later than the end of 2007. After all,
2008 is an American election year; 2009 will be the start of a new
administration. By then it may be too late. The thermonuclear genie
may be out of the bottle.” 


This past summer’s Israeli/ Hezbollah war led several cable
news networks to raise questions about whether the crisis in the
Middle East was a signal that the “End Times” were approaching.
Rosenberg, the author of such apocalyptic/political thrillers as

The


Copper Scroll

,

The Ezekiel Option

, and

The Last Jihad

, received more than his fair share of media
attention, appearing on both CNN and the Fox News Channel. 


In late October Rosenberg was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, speaking
at the Calvary Chapels of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. His topic
in both churches was “Are We Living In The Last Days?”
The visit to Albuquerque “was the 22nd city we’ve been
in since late-July when

The Copper Scroll

and

Epicenter

book tours began,” Rosenberg wrote. “We’ve had the
remarkable privilege of addressing more than 33,000 people in person
from coast to coast; giving more than 220 radio, TV, and print interviews;
and communicating with more than 17 million people through the media;
as well as meeting privately with U.S. and foreign government leaders
who have become increasingly interested in prophecy.” 




Rosenberg’s
speaking engagements extend beyond church appearances and book signings.
In a recent appearance with host Glenn Beck on CNN “Headline
News,” Rosenberg pointed out that he had made several visits
to “speak at a White House Bible study” and had conversations
with “a number of congressional leaders and Homeland Security,
Pentagon [officials] about my novels, which are based on Bible prophecy.” 


Rosenberg told Beck that, “The question that’s been most
interesting among these various Administration and congressional
officials is, ‘Are you saying that the Bible talks about an
alliance between Iran, Russia, and a group of Middle Eastern countries
to attack Israel at some point?’ And the answer is yes.” 


The day after his appearance with Beck, Rosenberg responded to a
short item in

Rolling Stone

magazine that mentioned his visits
to the White House: “

Rolling Stone





s

latest issue describes me as a ‘loony’ who is secretly
urging President Bush to bring about Armageddon. It’s a theme
the

Washington Post

pursued earlier this year, along with
a number of left-wing bloggers. But any suggestion that I have some
secret back channel into the Oval Office or have had any kind of
influence on the President on this topic is simply not true. Yes,
I’ve briefly met the President a number of times over the years,
and yes, I have signed copies of several of my novels for the President
that were given to him by friends of mine. But no, I don’t
know him personally, I’ve never had a conversation with him
about Bible prophecy, and I doubt he has had any time to read my
books.” 


Rosenberg was an important but mostly behind-the-scenes figure in
the conservative movement until his first novel

The Last Jihad

became a bestseller in 2002. A Jew who converted to Christianity
more than 30 years ago, Rosenberg has worked for former Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician Natan Sharansky,
Steve Forbes, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, and William Bennett,
America’s self-appointed morality maven. He is also a former
Heritage Foundation staffer. 



The Last Jihad

, completed before the 9/11 Trade Center and
Pentagon attacks, featured a hijacked jet making a kamikaze-like
attack against the president of the United States, simultaneous
terrorist strikes on the U.S., London, Paris, and Saudi Arabia,
an oil deal between Israel and the Palestinians that threatened
to unleash a war with Iraq, and a possible preemptive nuclear strike. 


Rosenberg’s second book,

The Last Days

, opens with the
death of Yasser Arafat and a U.S. diplomatic convoy ambushed in
Gaza. Wikipedia notes that, “Two weeks before

The Last Days

was published, a U.S. diplomatic convoy was ambushed in Gaza. Thirteen
months later, Yasser Arafat died.”

The Last Days

spent
time on the

New York Times

,

Denver Post

, and the

Dallas
Morning News

bestseller lists. According to Wikipedia, both
books have been optioned by film producers. 


In an October interview with the

Washington Times

, Rosenberg
told reporter Chrissie Thompson that he didn’t think that his
novels “were going to predict the future…. I was basing them
on a series of Bible prophecies, but when [they] started to come
true…that has been striking for all of us, myself included.” 


Another of his novels,

The Ezekiel Option

, is described by
Rosenberg as “a political thriller about the threat of a Russian-Iranian
alliance to destroy Israel based on the Biblical prophecies found
in the ‘Book of Ezekiel,’ chapters 38 and 39.” These
prophecies, according to Rosenberg, “describe what Bible scholars
call the war of Gog and Magog. Russia and Iran form a military alliance
with Lebanon, Syria, and a group of other Middle East countries
to destroy Israel in what Ezekiel described as the last days.” 


A few weeks before appearing on Beck’s program, in an entry
on his blog Rosenberg suggested that Russia should be added to the
Bush administration’s “axis of evil.” He wrote, “Under
Putin’s leadership Russia has also joined the ‘axis of
evil.’ It is selling billions of dollars worth of missiles
and high-tech weaponry to Iran, Syria, Algeria, and other radical
Islamic and Arab regimes. It is building nuclear facilities for
Iran, training Iranian nuclear scientists, and running political
interference for Iran at the UN to prevent the West from imposing
sanctions despite the fact that Iran’s leader has called for
the United States and Israel to be wiped ‘off the map.’” 




“Identifying
Iran in Ezekiel 38” is easy, according to Rosenberg. “The
country mentioned is Persia and until 1935, the official name of
Iran was Persia. Where we get Russian from is that a dictator emerges
in a land called Magog, according to Ezekiel 38:2…. When you do
the detective work…you find out this is the people group that
settled north of the Black Sea in what we now call Russia.” 


Recently, Rosenberg and his wife Lynn co-founded the Joshua Fund,
which according to its website “is partnering with evangelical
ministries in the Middle East to provide desperately needed resources
to Christians in the region to bless their neighbors in need in
the name of Jesus. This is a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate
the love of Christ to those who need it most.” 


According to its website, The Joshua Fund…“is a non-profit
educational and charitable organization founded to encourage Christians
to: 


  • Pray knowledgably and consistently for Israel and the Middle East 

  • Invite speakers to their churches and conferences to talk about
    how to bless Israel and her neighbors and to share what God is
    doing in the Middle East today 

  • Take vision trips to—and attend conferences in—Israel
    and the Middle East  

  • Publish Christian books and music in Israel and the Middle East 

  • Invest in the rebuilding of the ancient ruins in the Holy Land 

  • Assist the poor and needy in Israel in the name of Jesus Christ 

  • Support the evangelical Church in Israel and the Middle East as
    the only true hope for peace and reconciliation 


The group also raised $20,000 to send bibles to Iraq; hosted a dinner
for Dr. Ahmed Abaddi, Morocco’s director of Islamic affairs
and an aide to King Mohammed VI, which was intended “to help
build bridges of understanding between Morocco and American evangelicals,”
and was covered by the

National Review

, the

Weekly Standard

,
and the

Washington Times

; hosted a forum entitled “What
God Is Doing In Iraq” with born-again Iraqi General Georges
Sada, the author of

Saddam





s Secrets: How
an Iraqi General De


fied and Survived Saddam Hussei


n

;
and held meetings of Joshua Fund board members “with numerous
U.S. and Middle Eastern political leaders…to discuss current events
in light of the Bible and God’s plan and purpose for the Middle
East.”





Bill
Berkowitz is freelance writer covering conservative movements.