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Tuesday, 15 June 2010 09:22

Blockades, Bombs, and the Supernatural: An Evangelical Christian’s Solution to Iran’s Nuclear Program

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH

In the lead-up to Christian Zionist Joel C. Rosenberg’s late-June ‘Epicenter 2010” conference, the best-selling author and former political consultant to Netanyahu, has come up with three ways to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Joel C. Rosenberg is a former political consultant to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the author of Epicenter: How the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your World, as well as several best-selling novels. Over the past several years, he has been a strong advocate of a muscular military response – be it from the United States or Israel – in order to destroy Iran’s programs.

In a recent statement, Rosenberg maintained that the Obama Administration’s advocacy of, and the United Nations’ imposition of, new economic sanctions against Iran “are weak and won’t have much effect in stopping Iran from getting the Bomb.” Instead of fruitless sanctions, Rosenberg suggested that only decisive action would effectively deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

According to OneNewsNow, a news service of the conservative Christian advocacy group, the American Family Association, Rosenberg has come up three different decisive scenarios: an all-enveloping blockade that would choke deliveries of gas to the country, massive air strikes to destroy any nuclear facilities, or letting Biblical prophesy run its course.

"To do a blockade or some sort of quarantine...would force Iran's economy to slow down, if not shut down, and then could make the government regime vulnerable to overthrow, hopefully by moderates,” Rosenberg said. "But short of that,” the author added, “it's going to take massive air strikes, either by the United States -- which under this administration is not going to do it -- or by Israel.”

The third scenario is Biblical: OneNewsNow reported that Rosenberg “believes that the third option would have to be supernatural, and he uses the prophecy against Iran found in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as an example.”

Rosenberg’s latest package of “solutions” comes eleven days before he convenes the “Epicenter Conference 2010: Building a Global Movement of Christians to Bless Israel, Come What May,” a gathering set for June 25-26, at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. Conference speakers include Rosenberg; Mossab Hassan Yousef, the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding leader of Hamas; the controversial Lt. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin; Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council; Janet Parshall, a well-known conservative Christian radio talk-show host; Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, who served as the 17th Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, from 2002 to 2005; Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries International and the author of “more than 100 books and Bible studies.”

Among the questions to be batted around at “Epicenter 2010” are:

  • Why does the world refuse to take decisive action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, despite threats of genocide against Israel and the U.S. emanating from Tehran?
  • Why did only 18 countries out of 192 vote against the anti-Israel “Goldstone Report” resolution in the U.N. General Assembly in the fall of 2009?
  • Will the U.N. likely become an increasingly anti-Israel organization?
  • Why has Turkey – a NATO ally and long-time friend of Israel – suddenly turned against Israel and begun developing alliances with Russia, Iran and Syria?
  • Why is the White House pressuring Israel to divide Jerusalem and give up more “land for peace,” despite recent disastrous results in the “land for peace” formula?
  • Why do only 4% of Israelis now believe President Obama is pro-Israel, when 88% of Israelis believed President Bush was on their side?
  • Can a full-blown train wreck between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government be averted?
  • Is the increasing international isolation of Israel we see unfolding predicted in End Times Bible prophecies?
  • What does the Bible say will happen to a nation that blesses Israel?
  • What does the Bible say will happen to a nation that curses Israel?
  • Why should followers of Jesus Christ around the world bless Israel and stand with the Jewish people, come what may?
  • What are real and practical ways to build a global movement of Christians to bless Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem at this critical hour?

     Lt. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin 

So-called “Epicenter” issues are nothing new for Rosenberg. He has been advocating a muscular response to Iran for several years. Last September, fresh from a 9/11 National Town Hall Meeting, Rosenberg was warning that "Rumors of a major war between Iran and Israel in 2010 continue to swirl here in Washington and in Jerusalem."  

On September 16, he wrote in his Flash Traffic: Washington Update, that "because Washington and the Western powers are doing nothing decisive to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, there is an increasingly likelihood that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will feel the need to matters into his own hands, and soon."

A few years earlier -- in late February of 2007 -- Rosenberg, pointed out on his website that several conservative Christian evangelical leaders were showing an interest in Iran, particularly as the situation in the Middle East relates to passages in the Bible. The Ezekiel Option, one of Rosenberg's novels, is "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 "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."

In one of my previous articles on Rosenberg, I pointed out that during a January 2007 trip to the Middle East, Rosenberg claimed that he "brief[ed] several hundred Arab and Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders on the latest geopolitical developments in the region," and that he taught "on Ezekiel 38 and 39 ... prophecies that most Christian leaders in the region are unfamiliar with." 

Rosenberg, claiming that 2007 was "the Year of Decision," pointed out that President Bush and Congressional leaders "will need to decide soon just how they're going to handle the Iranian nuclear threat," [and] Church leaders also need to decide just how they are going to handle the Iranian threat, as well ... after all, time is short, and the stakes are high."

While Rosenberg has spent a great deal of time and energy over the past few years peddling his reading of Ezekiel, he was undoubtedly heartened by an early-June headline from Israel National News that read, “Rabbis: Flotilla Clash Similar to Gog and Magog Prophecy.” After Israeli commandos raided the flotilla heading for Gaza, the Rabbinical Council of Judea and Samaria issued a statement that said that the raid seemed like the Biblical description of "the beginning of the Gog and Magog process where the world is against us, but which ends with the third and final redemption."   

The statement said that “the legitimacy of our people is not derived from the nations of the world and their poisonous traditions, rather from the Torah of Israel which teaches us that [Israel] 'is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations'" (Numbers 23:9). It also pointed out that Israel should not be concerned by world condemnation of the raid.

Israel National News noted that “The Council was formed by Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El and includes leading religious Zionist rabbis who are the spiritual leaders of communities in Judea and Samaria.” The news service also pointed out that “'Gog and Magog' is a reference is to chapters 38 and 39 in the book of Ezekiel, a part of which is read on the intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot (Tabernacles). These chapters describe a vision of a war where the world is united against Israel that will precede the final redemption of Israel and the world. The prophecy's symbolism involves a prince called Gog of Magog, leader of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, who leads a coalition that includes Persia (Iran), Cush, Phut, Gomer, and Beit Togarmah against Israel. There are various opinions regarding the modern identity of these nations.”