Posted by: Tim | March 31, 2008

Book Review – Epicenter by Joel C. Rosenberg

During the past few months we have had Dr. David Dunn speak at the evening service at the Tab. I missed the first three messages but heard the last two (All are availble for mp3 download at the church website). David travels to Israel regularly and brought us amazing firsthand updates about what is going on in Israel and how it relates to Biblical prophecy. During the last Sunday night he recommended the book Epicenter by Joel C. Rosenberg. So I picked it up at the Prairie Bookroom and read it this week.

It is a page-turner and I finished it quickly. It has been a long time since I have read a book like this. I grew up in The Peoples Church in Toronto where we had Bible prophecy speakers come through all the time. Dr. Oswald J. Smith (the church founder) and his son Dr. Paul B. Smith (the 2nd pastor and son of Dr. Oswald) were both post-tribulational & pre-millennial in their eschatology, but they would often have pre-trib & pre-mill guys in to preach. Every once and a while one of them would talk about Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38-39 and suggest that it had something to do with Russia. At the time, the Cold War was still on and it was worrisome. But after a while it all got kind of old as they kept making dire predictions that seemed to top last years dire predictions, that would come true ‘perhaps very soon’. So while I continued to firmly believe that our Lord could return soon, I tended to tune out these prophecy guys as they just seemed over the top.

All that long intro just to explain that it’s been a while since I’ve read a book like Epicenter. Joel Rosenberg has also written a few novels that are thrillers about the Middle East. Several of the plotlines he has written in his books have come true, to some degree (such as terrorists flying planes into an American city, the death of Yasser Arafat). This has helped make his books a best sellers. In Epicenter, he explains that he is not a prophet (some have called him a modern day Nostradamus!), but his novels make logical speculations based on Biblical prophecy.

Epicenter is non-fiction, and makes 10 predictions of future headlines based on his understanding of Biblical prophecy, which follows a pre-trib, pre-mill, dispensational grid.

1. Israel discovers massive reserves of oil, gas

2. Treaties and truces leave Israelis more secure than ever before

3. A Czar rises in Russia, raising fears of a new cold war

4. Kremlin joins “Axis of Evil”, forms military alliance with Iran

5. Moscow extends military alliance to include Arab, Islamic world

6. Global Tensions soar as Russia targets Israel

7. New war erupts in Middle East as earthquakes, pandemics hit Europe, Africa, Asia

8. Iraq emerges from chaos as region’s wealthiest country

9. Jews build third temple in Jerusalem

10. Muslims turn to Christ in record numbers

Some of these headlines sound impossible or highly improbable, but then so did the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the destruction of the Twin Towers, the death of Saddam, or even the birth of the modern nation of Israel, and many other historical events, before they happened.

What makes his book so interesting is that Rosenberg is highly connected to all sorts of leaders and politicians in the Middle East and he often quotes them to show how these predictions seem to moving towards a possible reality.

Some of the things he said made me put the book down and ask, ‘how was this not reported?’ (although I recognize that traditional media often misses / ignores important things). For example, he interviews a man who was the head of the Iraqi airforce during the first Gulf War, who is an evangelical Christian (how in the world did an evangelical Christian become the head of Iraq’s airforce???). Saddam wanted to drop chemical weapons on Israel and had a plan to send the Iraqi airforce to do it. This man stood against this decision because he thought it was morally wrong, not to mention suicidal as Israel may have gone nuclear in response. Most of his colleagues thought he would die for crossing Saddam on it, but he did not. Saddam decided to go through with the plan anyway, but the Iraqi airforce was wiped out so quickly that they didn’t have a chance to do it. (Coincidentally, last week just before I got the book, I had watched the History Channel’s Dogfights episode about the dogfights of Desert Storm!)

Another thought that is pretty scary is that Iran could put a nuclear armed Scud (or whatever) missile on a commercial container ship (there are something like 130,000 of these ships in the world) and park it off the US coast to launch at a major city. The crazy leader of Iran (Aminoudad? sp.) keeps threatening to wipe Israel off the map and he doesn’t like America either, and such a plan is plausible and wouldn’t seem to be that hard to carry out, if Iran got nukes. This is unnerving stuff.

Rosenberg shares many other intriguing interviews and insights into the Middle East, and relates them to Biblical prophecy, mainly from the Gog & Magog passages in Ezekiel 38-39. Even if you don’t buy Rosenberg’s view of prophecy, the book is very interesting, and the inside interviews with key people is worth the price of the book.

Recommended.

Epicenter by Joel C. Rosenberg, Tyndale, 2006.

April 26, 2008 Update: Something must have happened this weekend as the views on this post have gone through the roof! Please feel free to leave your comments on Epicenter & Joel Rosenberg, or just leave greetings! Also please feel free to visit the rest of my blog. My more recent posts are about the Together for the Gospel Conference that took place April 15-17 in Louisville. I hope to post more soon. Thanks, Tim.

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Responses

  1. Some have called him a modern day Nostradamus because they don’t know the truth about this man. He DIDN’T write “The Last Jihad” before 9-11, he claims to have “come up with the idea” for it before, and then wrote it afterwords and it was published in late 2002.
    His money loving publisher, and a young kid who was his agent hyped it up and everyone bought into it through powerful PR and now it’s grown to something very scary.
    Please be careful. This man doesn’t is so deceived and thus is very deceitful. I don’t think he is a bad person, just wrong. Take for example his refusal to name anything the US has ever done wrong…or the brutal effects on the world (especially Russia!!!) of unfettered, unchecked, capitalism run amok! Milton Friedman’s parents came to the USA from a part of the Ukraine due north of Israel, so why not speculate that Globalization has something to do with the end of days? Rosenberg won’t because that’s where he makes his cash and gets to attend all the fancy dinner parties and be on the talk shows and what not.
    He’s very interesting though I must say. His readers and fans are some of the kindest, most receptive people I’ve ever come across. I’ve done a lot of fighting over the years and seen some rotten stuff, but most everyone interested in this guy is quite kind…kind of like innocent lambs or something. I think these people definitely need to be protected from Rosenberg..who some would say isn’t even a real jew since his mother is a gentile yet he sells himself as a jew over and over and over…

    I could go on and on…

  2. Hi Steve,

    I don’t really know that much about Rosenberg – I’ve just read Epicenter and found it interesting. If what you say is true it would make him a liar. You need to provide some evidence for what you said, otherwise it is not fair to say it.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  3. No doubt about that! I am doing a tremendous amount of research on his stuff, and will have some discussions up on youtube soon. As far as what I’ve said here though, it’s not exactly contraversial or hard to dispute. He flat out says in Epicenter that he “came up with the idea” for The Last Jihad before 9-11 and wrote it after, and that raises some suspicion on the whole bit about him being a sold as a “modern day Nostradamus” by his publishers..but thats the least of my worries.
    As far as him refusing to acknowledge any thing wrong with globalization and capitalism run amok, there simply are no statements from him holding any of this to account, in fact he says in his book and on numerous radio appearances that the brutal invasion of Iraq was a great thing. Who could believe that? Theres nothing that I’ve said that is controversial or needs a tremendous amount of explanation, but I will document as best as I can. I know very well that those who seek the truth are held to tremendously higher standards than those who seek worldly treasures…

  4. Also, it’s much much more what he doesn’t say than what he says, which is interesting. Take for example $2b a month capitol flight from Russia when we imposed on them a system of “free markets” (read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” for the best account of what occurred). This turned most parts of the country from 2nd world to 3rd world, all the while a few people there became billionaires while most suffered. The Russian Jews where then recruited to come to Israel and live in WAR ZONES with their children (illegally occupied territories) and were tricked by fancy, glossy brochures telling them they were merely “coming home”.
    Why no mention of things like that? Doesn’t that have something to do with the big picture? I am not saying I know it is but I do know that ignoring these things is foolish, unless you, as I state are trying to be friends with the likes of cruel men like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
    Also, he knocks Putin for calling the fall of the Soviet Empire a tragedy. Could it be because Putin sees the massive suffering of people who don’t even have electricity because of the new system which, as I stated, have created a huge gap between rich and poor, and infested the country with pornography, sex trade, etc…well, all Rosenberg can say is that “how can he say such things…Stalin did all this rotten stuff, millions died…” well, I heard Rosenberg on a talk show and someone asked him about the US overthrowing Mossadegh in Iran and implementing the brutal Shah…all Rosenberg could say was “come on!!!! that was 50 years ago!!! Good grief!!!”. Why not say the same about Stalin? And why not say that we SUPPORTED the soviets through his most brutal crimes…calling him “uncle joe” and all that non-sense. Not till they became an economic rival did we decide not to like them.
    All this is true and very relevant to everything he supposedly cares about, but it’d be just too difficult for him to acknowledge I guess.

  5. check this out too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mScWWtRfGQ and remember that Iran hasn’t attacked a fly in 280 years!

  6. Steve,

    Here’s a link I found to the New York Times International arm, The International Herald Tribune

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/26/news/iran.php

    In it they quote Ahmadinejad as saying”As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.” He said it at a program called “A World Without Zionism” in October 2005.

    The youtube video you linked to says he didn’t say it. I’m sorry but I have to go with the New York Times. They are one of the most respected newspapers in the world, and even though their editorial bias is left of center, they have reported it just the same.

    Here’s another link to the Washington Post, quoting the UK and Russia condemning Ahmadinejad’s comments about wanting to ‘wipe Israel off the map’.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/27/AR2005102702221.html

    Again the Washington Post is a respected newspaper and they report not only that Ahmadinejad said this, they report that ” “Israel Should Be Wiped Off the Map” was the slogan draped on a Shahab-3 ballistic missile during a military parade in Tehran a month ago.”

    Even the left-leaning Guardian reports the quote:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/oct/27/israel.iran

    If Ahmadinejad does not want Israel wiped off the map it would be very easy for him to stand up and publicly clarify saying something like “I do not want to wipe Israel off the map, as has been falsely reported, I simply want a regime change”. But he hasn’t done this, has he?

    In reading your comments I fear you are influenced by the far left political sites. In my experience they are often not too good with the facts, and many seem to take a conspiracy theory approach to things (ie everything bad is blamed on George Bush, capitalism to blame for all the world’s economic woes, etc…)

    Anyway, I wish you all the best.

    Tim

  7. Typical “you read the left leaning sites” crap. Come on man, don’t do that! And regarding the “liberal” New York Times, have a look at Friel and Falk’s work “Israel-Palestine on the Record: How the New York Time Misreports Conflict in the Middle East (Verso, 2007)

    And Conspiracy theory approach? That is very insulting. I am sure you didn’t mean it as such though. I don’t rely on “political sites” and junk like that, I do quite a bit of actual investigation and writing in weeklies and journals. Regarding “Blaming Bush” and “Blaming Capitalism”, I am interested in holding into account the things I can control, and the place I live.

    This is so frustrating.

  8. …and, Ahmedinijad said the “current regime” should be wiped from the map of history via true democratic elections involving displaced Palestinians. He wasn’t talking violence. AND Ahmedinijad isn’t even the guy in Iran who makes these decisions ultimately…plus, he wouldn’t even be around if it weren’t for the troubles in the region created by the invasion of Iraq.

    This is important stuff! Please do not dismiss it.

  9. […] people bought and read this book and wanted to learn more, being shocked by what Rosenberg wrote. My review is here. Recommended (but take it for what it is – interesting but […]

  10. You guys are too funny!! Hahhahhahahahaahah!

  11. whatever may be the truth in all these.. bottom line is we must always be prepared spiritually… i do love these battle of the brains though.. makes me want to finish this book..my friend is forcing me to read it so she actually gave it as a gift…

    • Thank you for visiting the blog, Mitzi

  12. […] – 3018 views –  Book Review – Epicenter by Joel C. Rosenberg : This book review was one of the first posts I wrote, and I had no idea how popular it would be, […]

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