View Full Version : My interview with Joel C. Rosenberg at the 2010 Epicenter Conference

Pages : [1] 2

July 13th, 2010, 08:38 AM
Hello Rapture Ready,

My name is Robert Onley, I am a freelance writer and law student in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

On June 25 I had the incredible opportunity to interview Joel C. Rosenberg in Philadelphia at the 2010 Epicenter Conference. (http://www.epicenterconference.com)

The full transcript of my interview with Mr. Rosenberg {Mod Snip/Edit} [Follows] - -

Full transcript of my interview with Joel C. Rosenberg at the 2010 Epicenter Conference

On June 25, 2010, I had the opportunity to sit down with American New York Times Bestselling-author Joel C. Rosenberg (http://www.joelrosenberg.com/), to talk about the current situation in the Middle East involving Israel, Iran and the rest of the world. What follows is the complete transcript of my interview with Mr. Rosenberg.

Robert: Your next novel, to be released next October, is called The Twelfth Imam. Itís named after the Islamic Messiah. Iranís President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is arguably the only global leader on record as being publicly committed to hastening the return of the Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, and bringing about the end of the world. Can you explain the implications of Ahmadinejadís belief in this Twelfth Imam, particularly with respect to Israel?

Joel Rosenberg: Ahmadinejad is a devout Shia Muslim. He is absolutely a true believer in every sense of the term. Religion for him is not some sort of political force, or has political implications. But he believes that the end of the world is at hand. He believes that the Islamic Messiah, known as the Twelfth Imam is coming soon, he says ďimminentlyĒ and believes that the way to hasten the coming of this Twelfth Imam, is to annihilate two countries: Israel, which he calls the Little Satan, and the United States, which he calls the Great Satan. He is on record on this, I document his life, teachings on this topic, not a full biography, in my book, Inside the Revolution.
He [Ahmadinejad] is clear, he gets a little fuzzy in terms of making the ďdestruction of the USĒ a consistent linkage in his public statements, he has certainly made enough statements that you understand the totality of what he is saying. And then he has been very clear about annihilating the US, saying ďthe end of the US is coming soonĒ and he said this a couple weeks ago.
So, the implications are two-fold: 1. If you donít understand whatís driving him, then itís impossible to know how to deal with him. Meaning the world, particularly the US is trying to negotiate with him, or at least start, he [Ahmadinejad] wonít even sit down and talk. And the US and UN, EU, are trying to figure out ďHow do we get these talks started?Ē ďHow do we really engage this guy? What does he want?Ē
If you ask what he wants, and you donít study who he is, youíre going to come up with erroneous conclusions. What he wants is his Messiah to come, and what he believes has to happen is to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization to get there. Period. Once you understand that, then you know that negotiations will be fruitless.
I canít say that sanctions will necessarily be fruitless, but again, sanctions are designed to put pressure on a country or regime to change their course. But for him [Ahmadinejad], if he changes course, the implications are not that he wins another election, or that he loses another election, but that he thinks he goes to Hell forever and ever and ever. This is the fundamental flaw that the world leadership is making, is that theyíre not sitting down and carefully analyzing who this man is, what he believes and the implications of those beliefs.
The implications are that he wants to bring about the end of humanity as we know it. And if he gets these weapons, he will use them. And heís backed up by the Supreme Leader in the Ayatollah Khamenei who believes the exact same thing. We notice this, because Khomeini supported his re-election, rigged the election, when he easily could have given it to Mousavi or somebody else, but he didnít. This tells us, among other clues, that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are two peas in a pod, theyíre incredibly dangerous, and the world pretty much doesnít get it. The only one who does is Netanyahu.
Iím not sure, but maybe Prime Minister Stephen Harper understands the theological implications, but heís certainly standing with Israel, and I want to go over, but in advance say that the Canadian Prime Minister is now the most Pro-Israel leader on the planet and we are very, very grateful for him.

Robert: Even though the media is largely secular, why do they give Ahmadinejad a free pass, why havenít they picked up on his apocalyptic beliefs?

Joel Rosenberg: Generally the secular, Western media only is troubled by someone in religion only if theyíre an evangelical Christian. If youíre a radical Muslim, then ďOh you must have something interesting to know that we should be deferential.Ē And honestly thereís a lot of other stories to cover. So they just donít focus [on Ahmadinejadís beliefs].

Robert: As the negotiations over Iranís nuclear program have progressed, weíve seen the Iranian leadership essentially ďflip-flopĒ, one day supporting the exporting of enriched uranium, and the second day not. Some commentators have linked this to the Shia Islamic doctrine of taqiyya which essentially allows or permits Muslims to deceive ďinfidelsĒ in order to conceal their true belief. Could you comment on how the doctrine of taqiyya is potentially affecting dialogue with Iran?

Joel Rosenberg: WellI think that taqiyya is affecting the dynamic of dialogue with Iran. It is part of this lack of understanding, almost a wilful lack of understanding on the part of the US, European and other officials, they just donít understand how Ahmadinejadís brand of Islam, which is not shared by everybody but certainly shared by them, how it affects them [the US]. There are so many of these elements, whether itís eschatology, or this issue of taqiyya, or other elements.
For example, if you believe that your only guarantee of salvation, of guaranteeing going to Heaven, is martyrdom, then what incentive do you have not to become a martyr. The incentives are all on the side of ďI want to die and take a lot of people with me.Ē
Thatís why itís tough to stop a suicide bomber, because your normal incentives [you use when you] try to talk the sniper, or hostage taker, ďDonít you want to live? Itís going to be difficult, but you donít want to be shot.Ē Youíre appealing to the personís desire to want to live. If the person does not want to live, what exactly are you appealing to? This is what is flummoxing much of international diplomacy/diplomats.


Robert: Do you believe the US administration is even aware of taqiyya in negotiations with Iran, or when formulating policy towards Iran?

Joel Rosenberg: Aware, yea, they're all bright people. Paying attention to it? Assessing: is what Iím getting what they want me to think because they donít really plan. No. Clearly, the West is buying the notion that Iran wants to engage, we just havenít found the key to the door, so weíre flipping through all our key rings thinking, ďWhich key will open the door?Ē
All of the evidence tells us, you donít need a PhD in this, all of the evidence tells us they [the Iranians] donít want to negotiate. The question is: why? And if you understand that what they're saying is: because we want the world to end, and the only reason we would even be having a conversation with the rest of the world, or even feigning interest in diplomacy, is because we need to buy time to build these weapons, and thatís the fundamental misunderstanding of the problem.

Robert: Fundamental deception on the part of the Iranian regime.

Joel Rosenberg: Yes, the problem is, when somebody tells you, ďIím cheating at cards.Ē Thatís my doctrine, I cheat, now letís play poker. You think, ďMaybe I shouldnít be playing poker with you. Maybe I should take all your cards away. And the gun in your pocket, and the gun in your room behind you that youíre building. Why are we playing poker with people who tell us in their own documents that they cheat?

Robert: You touched on this before, but on the surface it seems that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees through Ahmadinejadís antics, and has repeatedly stated that heís prepared to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat. How do you believe Netanyahu perceives Ahmadinejadís threats and posturing, particularly given that you had worked for Netanyahu?

Joel Rosenberg: I think that Netanyahu believes that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei mean what they say. He continues to be bewildered, to put it mildly, at how nobody else sees this. I think that heís coming to the conclusion that nobody is going to see the world, and see Iran, the way that he does, and this is leading him to a very lonely place, and heís going to have to make a decision, probably not in years, but probably measuring this in months, before he has to decide to launch a pre-emptive war. I canít tell you that he will, but thereís an enormous amount of pressure on him. And look atÖ
Hereís one of the markers that Iíll be talking about in this conference, which is: when you look at the ferocity of international reactions against Israel defending its own borders, by boarding a ship, now think about what the worldís reaction will be if Israel sends 400 planes to attack Iran.
We now know that the world will go crazy, and Netanyahu sees this. And heís got to make decisions. We need to be praying for him, as followers of Jesus Christ, for wisdom, for courage, that he [Netanyahu] is as described in the Old Testament, as one of the sonís of Issachar, a man who understands the times and knows what Israel should do.

Robert: Do you believe, fundamentally, yes or no, that Netanyahu is willing to undertake pre-emptive unilateral air strikes, and perhaps covert action, against Iran?

Joel Rosenberg: Thatís a tough question. I think that if anyone, in the history of the Israeli Prime Minister role, in modern Israel, would take pre-emptive action against Iran, it would be Netanyahu. That doesnít tell us for certain whether he will. It also doesnít tell us, whether God is going to supernaturally intervene and thereís a number of options there. For example, he allows both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to retire, to be fired, for there to be a coup, to die, and if thereís a regime change, thatís a game-changing moment, and the question is are the people that are in there worse, just as bad, a little bit better or significantly better. We donít have that yet.
I think one the things that he hopes is that the facts on the ground change, in ways that he canít do himself. Number one, Netanyahu has to assess: is there a possibility still for regime change?
Second, can covert operations slow down or stop Iran from getting the Bomb? I donít think they can ultimately stop it, but it has slowed things down I believe. Number three, does he have in his make-up, the ability to make the most difficult decision in the history of the modern state of Israel. And one might add at this moment, it could be the most important decision in the history of the entire nation of Israel, aside from whether to crucify Jesus or not.
I say that, itís not a related point, thereís only been a few major decisions that had to be made in Israel that had global implications. What to do with Jesus was one. What to do with Iran is another.

Robert: These are amazing and incredible times.

Joel Rosenberg: CBN [Christian Broadcast News] just asked me, having worked for him, do I think Netanyahuís the right guy for the job?
Look, I do think heís the right guy for the job. But I donít envy the job he has right now. I think he was born for it, I think God has chosen him for it. I pray for him every day, and his family and his advisors, that the Lord will have mercy on him, draw them to Himself, and give them supernatural wisdom, because this is a tough job for a Roosevelt, a Churchill, a Reagan, or a Thatcher. Tough for everybody.

Robert: Itís interesting because Iíve argued in some of my articles in the Israel National News that this is the single biggest decision in terms of the course of world history, because as you point out in your non-fiction book Epicenter, [a variety of factors are pointing to the] War of Gog and Magog happening soon, with Russia, Iran, Turkey and other nations joining an alliance against Israel, and so my question is: what do you think is the ďred-lineĒ that will be, or must be crossed by Iran, or geopolitically, that will trigger Israel to take action against Iran? Beyond that, what are the implications for Israel if they take that action?

Joel Rosenberg: I donít know currently, what the ďred-linesĒ are for the Prime Minister. This might be a good question for me to ask the Israeli Vice Prime Minister [Moshe Yaalon] tomorrow {{and Joel did ask him exactly my question}} I donít know he would tell us, but we could ask him. Iíll think about that.
In terms of implications, the implications are that if Israel attacks, and itís incredibly successful, in six days itís over and on the seventh day they rest, itís happened before, it could happen again.
But I think the Israelis have to plan for the worst case scenario, and the worst case is that the world is passing sanctions against them, that thereís a blockade against them, that Israeli embassies are closed all throughout the world, that thereís a wave of anti-Semitism, that oil skyrockets to $2-3-400 dollars a barrel, that nobody blames Iran and everybody blames the Jews, maybe the US cuts off all military aid, and Russia builds an alliance against her . Itís bleak.
Thatís why I donít envy the job Netanyahu is in there.

Robert: If Israel undertakes this action against Iran, will this effectively precede the War of Gog and Magog, as the triggering event for the process leading to the War of Gog and Magog?

Joel Rosenberg: I couldnít say, because there are so many different ways the thing could play out. If Israel launches, and itís successful and that all these terrible worst-case scenarios donít happen, and Israel neutralizes Iran for some time, that could create the pre-conditions for security which Ezekiel 38, 39 requires. If the [attack] creates isolation, that could suggest that weíre in the moment of security [which Ezekiel prophesied] and that this is the trigger for all these other countries to move.
However, Ezekiel 38 suggest that some of the Arab countries, Sheba and Dedan is how theyíre described, Arabia and the Gulf emirates, they seem to suggest as Gog (the Russian dictator) is moving his forces, ďAre you doing this for plunder, for economic reasons?Ē This suggests that itís not a military conflict at that moment, but there seems to be an economic dynamic thatís at play, enough to have that be a legitimate question [written in the Bible], ďAre you doing this for economic reasons?Ē
So that raises all kinds of questions. But one of the things that I posited, or theorized in my novels, is that Israel discovers massive amounts of petroleum, as the Bible predicts that they will.

Robert: And which Israel has recently.

Joel Rosenberg: Yes, and that Russia is drawn to the scene of the conflict, because theyíre a huge supplier to Europe of oil and particularly natural gas, and interestingly theyíre sending a lot of that gas through Turkey.
Here suddenly, now thatís what I was theorizing as a novel, there would be some sort of oil or gas dynamic that moves Russia against Israel, or is at least perceived as part of that dynamic. Now we find that Israel has discovered 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and that in the next few 2 to 3 years Israel will be energy independent and possibly a net exporter of natural gas, around the world, and most likely to Europe, as long as there is not massive anti-Semitism, which is still an open question.
Natural gas could become a trigger point, more than the Iranian nuclear crisis.
One thing thatís interesting about this whole thing with Ahmadinejad, is that thereís nothing in the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 which suggests that the Iranians are driving the process. The Iranians are part of it, but Persia is mentioned once. Itís Gog, the Russian dictator thatís driving the process. This is interesting, and we may be getting closer, but itís a little bit out of bounds right now, we donít see either Medvedev, whoís in the US today, eating hamburgers with the President yesterday, or Putin, who fits a little bit more closely to the image of Gog. In fact Putin dropped back a bit [in 2008], shifting from the President role to the Prime Minister role, but that will likely change in the next few years.
But weíre not seeing that sort of Gog-esque character at the lead in Russia right now. Youíre not seeing anti-Israel attacks rhetorically, much less militarily coming out of Russia, you see it coming out of Turkey, so the countries that are sub-countries, that are allied in the prophecy, Libya, Turkey, Iran, others, theyíre the ones that are most vocal. Russia is holding back a bit. That dynamic will have to change, thatís what weíll be watching for.

Robert: In your novel [I]The Ezekiel Option, one of your characterís is hesitant to reveal details to the President about the prophetic War of Gog and Magog. How familiar, if at all, do you believe President Obama, or anyone in the US administration is with potential prophetic impacts on current events as theyíre unfolding today?

Joel Rosenberg: Not very. Probably not at all. I donít know them personally, so itís not fair for me to say what they may or may not have ever heard. But Iím not aware of any interest. Letís put it this way, if the administration is pretty consistently disinterested in the issues of Iranís eschatology, when theyíre the focus of international attention right now, theyíre probably not focusing much on Biblical eschatology. Itís not part of their world view. Maybe Reverend Wright talks about this but I havenít heard anything.

Robert: Have you sent Obama one of your books?

Joel Rosenberg: *Laughs* I wouldnít be so presumptuous. For the record, Iím happy to chat with him, or anybody in the administration about it. There are a number of members of Congress, and there has been a lot of interest in Washington over the years. Members of Congress inviting me up, in whole groups, staff members, people within different departments, but not the Presidentís.

Robert: Can you comment briefly on Canadaís relationship with Israel. Prime Minister Harper is one of the greatest supporters of Israel, most vocal.

Joel Rosenberg: Amen.


Photograph by: Geoff Robins, AFP/Getty Images

Robert: Thereís a significant movement in Ottawa to support Israel, weíre not willing to step on the world stage and join the bandwagon ostracizing Israel. Could you comment briefly on the significance of a nation like Canada, a large resource-rich country, supporting Israel both now and into the future, particularly if the War of Gog and Magog were to occur soon.

Joel Rosenberg: First of all, I am so grateful for Prime Minister Harper and the government of Canada, and the people of Canada who have shown extraordinary love for Israel at a time when the rest of the world seems to be willing to take cheapshots against Israel, much less build a coalition against Israel.
Itís been a little bit surprising because not every Canadian government has shown that level of warmth and support. The fact that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an evangelical probably has something to do with that, although there have been other evangelicals on the world stage who havenít shown a particular focus on Israel.
I believe God will bless Canada and has blessed Canada for its blessing of Israel and right now, I cannot think of a single other leader on the planet, certainly within the NATO alliance who is showing this level of consistent, principled blessing for Israel and balanced too, the Canadian government isnít showing hostility to the Palestinians, I think thereís a great care and concern that their rights are taken into account, as well as other Arabs in the region and other Muslims.
Itís striking, personally Iíd love to do an Epicenter Conference in Ottawa or Toronto, we havenít been invited to do one and we donít like to cook them up on our own. Maybe itís not necessary.
At the minimum, Iím praying about, is there a way we can honour [Canadaís commitment to Israel]. American Christians and Israel and Canadian Christians, to honour the Prime Minister. I donít know how it works politically up there but I donít want to tread where angels fear to go.

Robert: Youíre actively involved in humanitarian work in Israel through your organization The Joshua Fund, providing supplies to poor Israelis during the Gaza War in 2009. What is the greatest challenge facing the Joshua Fund, and where do you see the Fund in five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years?

Joel Rosenberg: The biggest challenge that the Joshua Fund faces is the enormous need in Israel as well as with the Palestinians, one out of four who live under the poverty line.
So yes, you have a high-tech dynamic economy that has Israel so much wealthier overall in the macro against Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, but you have big pockets of enormous poverty. You have people coming from Ethiopia and Jews coming with almost nothing, and no language skills in Hebrew, and theyíre often settling in outlying towns, near the Gaza border, where no one wants to build a factory and create jobs, or against the Lebanon border where no one wants to create factories and jobs, so itís a really tough situation.
And we as followers of Jesus Christ, in Canada, in the US and around the world, I believe itís our duty, biblically, to feed the poor, clothe the naked, care for the suffering, this is out of Matthew 25. So thatís the biggest challenge, is the enormity of it. As well as strengthening our brothers and sisters, our fellow believers in Israel, making sure that theyíre encouraged, prayed for, and supported, itís a growing body of believers in Israel, but thereís a lot of harassment and persecution there. Itís not like Sudan, or Saudi Arabia or Iran, but itís still challenging. Those are the biggest challenges.
Down stream, well we believe that God is telling us to prepare for the ability to put $100 million worth of relief into Israel and $20 million worth of relief and supplies into Israelís neighbouring countries. What God hasnít told us however is, is [whether] that [is] a one-year thing? Is that over several years? Weíre building the infrastructure, while trying to care for people now, stockpile some for the future, and build the staff, legal and financial infrastructure to be able to handle a growing amount of resources growing there.
Let me just close, the theme of this Epicenter Conference, is to build a global movement of Christians to bless Israel, and her neighbours in the name of Jesus Christ. What does that mean?
It means this shouldnít be an American-only, or Canadian-only, or North American-only effort to show the love of Jesus Christ to the people of the Epicenter. It needs to be something that is worldwide, because ultimately itís nothing about Joel Rosenberg or the Joshua Fund, I mean who really cares what weíre doing.
The point is: What is God doing? God loves the people of the Epicenter, He sent his son Jesus Christ to die in the Epicenter, to rise again in the Epicenter, and Jesus is coming back to the Epicenter. Thatís the focal point of human history, and increasingly itís the focal point of our times, and the questions is: what is every Christian, every follower of Jesus Christ on the planet, what is our call and responsibility to the people in that region, given the moment that weíre in, and will we be faithful to Godís calling on our lives.

Robert: Thank you, this was excellent. It was an honour to meet with you.

Joel Rosenberg: Thank you!

[I]With special thanks to my friend Derek Sawyer for the interview photographs.

Full article copied from Robert Onley's website in lieu of allowing hyper-links in violation of board posting rule # 14 -

[14] No posts or links from other message boards, forums, or political and religious blogs (including tweets, facebook, myspace, Youtube, etc.) on this site or posting messages here on other message boards, forums, or political and religious blogs.
The mod team alone reserves the right to post links to responsible blogs when important to the discussion of particular topics. Due to the dynamic and uncensored nature of blogs, the mod team does not have the time to monitor, validate, and approve all blogs on the net. Please note that this rule also applies to signatures.
No blogs are to be posted unless they are posted or approved by the mod team. Personal blogs should be confined to your homepage.

In Christ
July 13th, 2010, 08:50 AM
Thanks for posting! Must have been a great honor to interview Joel, he is well respected here. Glad to have you on-board here at R-R, and we hope to hear/read about more of your interviews in the future!


July 13th, 2010, 09:09 AM
That was very interesting. I do hope someone asks Joel to host an Epicenter conference in Toronto. I would certainly attend.


July 13th, 2010, 09:30 AM
Wonderful interview! :thumb Have book-marked you blog link...Thanks for sharing!

July 13th, 2010, 12:36 PM
Great interview!

We were at the conference--it was really overwhelming! The DVDs just became available, can't wait to get them and watch it again. Joel is an amazing person.

July 13th, 2010, 06:49 PM
That was very interesting. I do hope someone asks Joel to host an Epicenter conference in Toronto. I would certainly attend.


Right there with you!!

July 13th, 2010, 10:36 PM
That was really interesting. Very nice interview and solid questions! One thing you can count on from Joel Rosenberg is that he is willing to talk to anyone who is serious about his (Rosenberg's) efforts.

I read the interview all the way through and I like how thoughtful Rosenberg's answers were. You asked questions that we all want to ask Mr. Rosenberg, but you can count on him to not jump the gun and try to speak for other people.

He admitted he did not know what Prime Minister Netanyahu would do, but that more importantly, he is praying, as we all are, for the Prime Minister.

Nice job!

We're a tough crowd here to please, so be happy we did not tell you now you should have conducted the interview....... :heh

July 14th, 2010, 08:32 PM
Very, very interesting interview

July 26th, 2010, 03:29 PM
I'm happy you all liked the interview. It really was an amazing experience. Joel is an incredibly kind and welcoming person, truly a man of God. If you ever have the opportunity to meet him, don't be afraid to ask him questions!

I did ask Joel about hosting an Epicenter Conference in Toronto... no commitments, but let me just say that this idea is on his radar, and I will be in touch with him soon. Keep praying!

-- Robert Onley

The Shelter of His Wings
July 26th, 2010, 06:01 PM
Thank you so much for posting the interview with Joel Rosenberg! That was great!

You mentioned that Joel had a meeting with the Israeli Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon. I was wondering if Joel has ever met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and/or if he has sent him copies of his books?

In April, 2007, there was an article in Israel Today that talked about the ultra Orthodox Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, who Netanyahu was acquainted with as a close friend and confidant. Just before his death at 108-years-old, he told his followers that before he dies, he is going to name Israel's Messiah. He requested that the name not be revealed until a year after his death.

It was a big surprise to his followers when the envelope was opened a year later and the note revealed the name of the Messiah to be YESHUA!

Since we all have such unconditional love for Mr. Netanyahu, it would be interesting to know how he felt about Yeshua's name being revealed by his friend and the oldest and most respected Rabbi in all of Israel?

Praying for PM Netanyahu, his family and extended family, all of the IDF, and all of Israel, for wisdom, protection, favor, blessings, and salvation. :pray

(Article about Rabbi Kaduri)