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BUILDING A GLOBAL MOVEMENT TO BLESS ISRAEL: Updated speaking schedule

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

insidetherevolution2z-joshuafundlogoIsraeli President Shimon Peres this weekend hinted of a possible coming strike against Iranian nuclear and military sites. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Peres said he hoped President Obama’s call for dialogue with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be heeded, but warned that if such talks don’t soften the Iranian president’s approach, “we’ll strike him.” The comments come on the heels of Benjamin Netanyahu being sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister and assembling a war cabinet to prepare for possible eventualities with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

As tensions between Radical Islam and Israel continue to grow, my Joshua Fund colleagues and I remain committed to educating Christians around the world to the threats facing the Jewish people and mobilizing believers to pray for Israel and stand with Israel, come what may. We are also deeply committed to blessing the poor and needy in Israel, blessing victims of war and terrorism, and stockpiling relief supplies ahead of any coming war. Today, I’m flying to Colorado Springs to have dinner with Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley. We will discuss these critical issues and then tape a radio broadcast on Tuesday to help educate millions of Christians to the importance of showing unconditional love and unwavering support to Israel, as well as strengthening the Church inside the Muslim world. I will let you know when the broadcast will be aired.

Over the next few months, my team and I will be traveling extensively to keep building this global movement of evangelical Christians committed to blessing Israel. I will be sharing the work of The Joshua Fund as well discussing the research I did for Inside The Revolution (currently in its fourth week on the New York Times best-seller list at #17). Here’s a quick update on some of the public events we’ll be doing.

Tomorrow, I will be at the Focus on the Family headquarters doing a late afternoon booksigning. Other upcoming public events include Edmonton, Canada; Branson, Missouri; Washington, D.C.; a possible trip to Israel; Syracuse, New York; and San Diego, California. This summer, I’ll be speaking at several churches in Colorado and will post details on those events when we get a little closer. I hope you can join us at one of these events, and I’d be grateful for your prayers along the way. God bless you.

Tuesday, April 14 — COLORADO SPRINGS

Saturday/Sunday, April 18-19 — EDMONTON, CANADA

Friday/Saturday, April 24-25 — BRANSON, MISSOURI

Friday, May 1 — WASHINGTON, D.C.

May 2-7 — POSSIBLE TRIP TO ISRAEL (TBD)

Saturday, May 16 — SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

Saturday/Sunday, May 30-31 — SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

MORE EX-MUSLIMS WILL CELEBRATE EASTER THIS YEAR THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN HISTORY

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 1:37 pm
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Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (KJV). Guess what? He wasn’t kidding. You rarely hear about it on the news. You rarely even hear about it in churches in the West, in the East, or even in the Middle East. But the big, untold story is that more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ today than at any other time in history.
     After criss-crossing the Islamic world over the last several years and interviewing more than 150 pastors and ministry leaders operating deep inside the most difficult countries for Inside The Revolution, I can report that in Iran, more than 1 million Shia Muslims have turned to Christ since 1979. In Pakistan, there are now more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus Christ. In Sudan, there are now more than 5 million followers of Christ. Not every country has seen millions leave Islam to become adherants of the New Testament teachings of Jesus. In Syria, there are between 4,000 and 5,000 believers, but this is up from almost none in 1967. In Saudi Arabia, there are about 100,000 followers of Jesus now, up from almost none in 1967. But overall, the trend has been dramatic and largely unreported.

      For many Muslims, despair and despondency at what they see as the utter failure of Islamic governments and societies to improve their lives and give them peace, security, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life are causing them to leave Islam in search of truth. Some have lost their way entirely and become agnostics and atheists. Others, as we have seen, have sadly turned to alcohol and drug abuse. But millions are finding that only Jesus Christ heals the ache in their hearts and the deep wounds in their souls.

 

     For other Muslims, it is not depression but rage that is driving them away from the Qur’an and the mosque. They are seeing far too many Muslim leaders and governments and preachers both advocating and acting out cruelty toward women and children and violence even against fellow Muslims. Not all of these find Jesus in their journey away from Islam, but millions do, especially since the 9/11 attacks against the United States. In fact, while this backlash against the theology and practice of Radicalism has been building since 1979, I first began to detect it during my travels in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East soon after 9/11. Again and again, I would meet people who had long been devout and traditional Muslims who told me that they had watched with horror as Arabic television networks constantly replayed the images of commercial airliners hijacked by radical Islamic jihadists flying into the World Trade Center.

 

     First they found themselves weeping. But then they saw other Muslims cheering, and their sadness turned to anger as they asked themselves, “Is this who we really are? Is this what it really means to be a Muslim? To fly planes into buildings and kill thousands of innocent civilians? Because if it is, then count me out. How could I possibly be part of a religion or a political movement that glorifies and celebrates death?”

     That said, what intrigues me is not simply that the Revivalists say the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of the Middle East is under way. What intrigues me is that Islamic leaders are worrying in public that a Christian surge is taking place in the region.

 

     In 1993, a Saudi sheikh by the name of Salman Al-Odeh delivered a sermon entitled “Christian Missionaries Sweeping the Islamic World.” He argued that “in Spain [Christians] have the biggest center of missionaries to Africa. They are trained really well, and their efforts lead many Moroccans to convert.” He then cited the World Christian Encyclopedia—which he described as a “dangerous survey”—and warned his fellow Muslims that “the number of Christians in Africa was 9 million only in 1900 AD, or . . . 9 percent of the whole population. In the year 1980 they became 200 million! . . . They jumped from 9 to 200 million in 80 years [and the survey’s authors] expected them to reach 390 million in the year 2000, or 48 percent of the whole population of Africa.”

 

Eight years later, in December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad Al Qataani, another significant Saudi cleric, appeared in a live interview on Aljazeera satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. “In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity,” Al Qataani warned. “Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.”

 

Let me give you an example.

I met “Shakir” during my first trip to Iraq in February of 2008. Another fearless and effective evangelist, church planter, and pastor in his war-torn country, Shakir (pronounced “Shah-keer”) has a tremendous passion to care for the poor and needy, preach the gospel—especially in villages and rural areas—and help young converts from Islam study the Bible and become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. But this was not always the case. Indeed, how Shakir became a Christian and entered full-time ministry is one of the most fascinating testimonies I have personally had the privilege of hearing firsthand. What’s more, spending time with him helped me understand more fully the theology of the Revivalists.

Our journey to a humanitarian relief project we were doing together was long and dusty and required our little team, traveling in an old Chevy Impala, to pass through numerous military checkpoints, each manned by heavily armed Iraqi soldiers and policemen checking passports and asking questions, all on high alert for members of al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army. Along the way, I found myself staring out at a landscape that was often as barren as the surface of the moon, covered with rocks, nearly devoid of vegetation, and only scarcely populated. During a lull in the conversation with an Iraqi in the car whom I had known for several years, I asked the meek-looking and mild-mannered Pastor Shakir how he had become a Christ follower and a pastor.

“Were you raised in a Christian home?” I asked through our translator.

“No,” he replied quietly. “I was raised a Muslim.”

“Really!” I said, a bit startled. “What did you do before becoming a pastor?”

“I was a jihad cell commander.”

I gulped. You don’t say, I thought. He certainly had my full attention now. “Please, tell me your story,” I said eagerly, pulling out my notebook. Shakir graciously agreed.

He explained that he was born in 1975 to a devout Sunni Muslim family and that as he grew up he became deeply religious. Even at an early age, he loved going to the mosque regularly, and by the age of seventeen, he had joined a secret Radical Islamic movement. He studied hard and learned quickly, and before long he was teaching the Qur’an in various mosques.

“My leaders then sent me to a military training camp where I was trained to use light weapons—pistols, machine guns, and RPGs [rocket propelled grenades]—against the infidels,” he told me. “I was so excited because I wanted to do jihad for God. I was fully convinced that the Shias and the Christians were blasphemers and that if I killed them I would be blessed.”

After successfully completing “Terrorism 101,” Shakir was made a jihad cell commander and was ordered to quietly recruit other jihadists. “I soon had a group of my own followers,” he explained. “I would put them through this military training and then help them get jobs in different government offices and other shops and businesses so they could spy for me and be in position to do great damage when we launched the overthrow of Saddam and his regime.”

One day, one of Shakir’s Radical Muslim disciples came to him and said that someone was distributing Bibles to everyone in the machine shop where he worked. The disciple was very angry and told Shakir that he had cursed out everyone in the shop, collected all the Bibles, and promptly destroyed them. All but one.

“He brought one Bible—a New Testament—to me and said I should read it and see how to react to it and counter it,” Shakir explained. He said he praised his disciple for acting quickly and decisively. Then he sent the disciple away and took the Bible home, and that night he began to read the Gospel according to Matthew.

“I read the book very fervently to find all the blasphemies and corruption,” Shakir said. “But I discovered the words started affecting my mind, and my heart started changing. These were powerful words, not human words. They seemed to me like God’s words. But I thought, ‘How could this be?’”

Shakir became deeply troubled. He kept reading through Matthew but was ashamed of himself because rather than finding fault with these Christian Scriptures, he found himself completely intrigued. He had so many questions. But whom could he ask? He couldn’t very well start discussing the life and teachings of Jesus with the members of the terrorist cell group he was leading. He couldn’t very well ask questions of the terrorist leaders above him. He didn’t dare seek out any Christians. So night after night he kept reading the Gospels, searching for answers. The more he did, the more troubled and anxious he became.

“After reading the Bible in a deep way, I began comparing it with the Qur’an,” he told me. “I was so confused, and in my confusion, I began pleading with God, ‘Please show me Yourself.’ I begged God, ‘Please, show me the right way—is it the Qur’an or the Bible?’”

This went on for several nights.

“One night,” he said, “I was really pleading with God fervently to show me the true, straight path. And that night I had a dream. I found myself standing on the side of a road. There was a large crowd gathered on both sides of the road, and they were cheering and very excited. And I realized that they were awaiting a parade to go by. So I looked down the road to see who was coming, and I saw many prophets riding on horses coming towards us. Suddenly Jonah was riding by. And then David. And Abraham. And Moses—riding on high, strong horses. Everyone was cheering and I was cheering. It was so exciting to see these prophets.”

Shakir kept waiting for Muhammad to come riding by as well, but Muhammad never came. He was not in the parade of prophets. Instead, Shakir said that “at the end of the procession, I saw another person riding, but He was riding on a donkey instead of a horse. He was wearing a white robe, and His face was covered by a white shroud. When this person approached, for some reason I heard myself calling out to Him and asking, ‘Are you Jesus?’ Like I said, His face was covered by a white cloth. So I couldn’t really see His face at that moment. But when He heard my question, the man pulled the cloth away from His face and smiled at me and nodded yes.

“Something came from His face that filled me with a joy I had never felt in my whole life. I started shouting, ‘I saw Jesus! I saw Jesus!’ I was so happy and so joyful and I was laughing. But as soon as I woke up, I realized that my pillowcase and my sheets were all wet around my head. I realized that at some point during my dream I had been crying—sobbing—in shame for all of my sins, for all of my hatred.”

Shakir said he found himself overcome with the realization that he had been so wrong about God, about Islam, about terrorism. He also found himself incredibly grateful and humbled that Jesus would come and rescue him and forgive him of all of his sins and set him on the true path to heaven.

“I felt a strong joy, and I wanted to find my Muslim disciples and tell them that I loved them and that Jesus loved them,” Shakir explained. “After that dream, my life was completely changed. I was eager to evangelize—to tell people about the love of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t hide that joy. The more I read of the Gospels, the more I felt I had to tell people about this love of God, even people that I had hated. This was not easy. I was mocked and persecuted by many. Once I was beaten by eight people. I was nearly assassinated three times. But it is okay. Since I came to know the Lord Jesus as my Savior, I am ready to put my life—and my family—as a sacrifice for Jesus.”

What a remarkable transformation, I thought as Shakir finished his story. He seemed to be thinking the same thing, for when our time was up and the interview was over, Shakir stood up, looked me straight in the eye, and without any expression on his face said, “Joel, you are very lucky.”“Yes, I think that’s true,” I said. “But why do you say it?”

He took a deep breath. “Because if I had met you in 1993, I would have killed you immediately.”

My pulse quickened, and then he added, “But now you are my brother in Jesus, and I love you!”

A huge smile flashed across his face. He threw his arms around me and gave me a bear hug. I breathed a big sigh of relief, and—laughing—gave him a hug as well.

SIDEBAR: In Inside The Revolution, I describe the five core convictions held by all Revivalists. Here is the first — GOD LOVES ALL OF MANKIND.

Each and every one of the Revivalists I interviewed—including Shakir—noted with deep conviction that according to the Bible, God’s defining character trait is love. The Bible teaches that God loves every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth—regardless of race, nationality, tribe, or language.

God loves all of us with an everlasting love. He loved all of us before we loved Him. He loves us so much that He wants to adopt us into His family as His children and let us live with Him in heaven forever. He loves us so much that if we let Him, He will be a Shepherd to us, guiding us, providing for us, protecting us, giving us rest, and taking care of us in every possible way. He loves us so much that if we follow and obey Him, we can actually become friends with Him and develop a personal, intimate relationship with Him.

Here are some of the verses the Revivalists point to in describing the love of this incredible God:

  • “God is love.” —1 John 4:16
  • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” —Jeremiah 31:3
  • “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his lovingkindess is everlasting.” —Psalm 136:1-3
  • “We love, because He first loved us.” —1 John 4:19
  • “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” —1 John 3:1
  • “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” —Psalm 23:1-6

CBN REPORTS ON EPICENTER CONFERENCE

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2009 at 5:08 pm

cbnlogoCBN reporter Erick Stackelback filed an excellent report on the 2009 Epicenter Conference. It aired yesterday on the “700 Club,” with a daily viewership of about 1 million. To watch the report on-line — or to read a transcript — please click here. To pre-order a CD, DVD or MP3 of the event, please click here.

HEADLINES TO TRACK:

HAPPY PASSOVER: Come with us to Israel and bless the Jewish people

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (Exodus 20:2)

Lynn and the boys and I are celebrating Passover this year with our Joshua Fund team. As we do, we are rejoicing over how the Lord has delivered the Jewish people through so many trials in recent decades, and how He has miraculously and prophetically resurrected the State of Israel, as He had promised in the Scriptures to do in the “last days” of human history. We are also praying for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to deliver the children of Israel from rising new threats — this time from Iran and Radical Islam, not the Pharoah of Egypt.

Many nations around the world are turning against Israel at present. The Turkish Prime Minister recently called for Israel to be banned from the U.N. A Spanish court is considering trying Israeli military officials on “war crimes” charges for defending Israel from Hamas rocket attacks. Boycotts of Israeli goods and services are being called for around the world. And now comes this headline in one leading newspaper: Biden warns Israel against Iran strike”; and this one in another leading Israeli newspaper: “Obama team readying for confrontation with Netanyahu.”

That said, we are not worried. The Lord who has been so faithful to the Jewish people from time immemorial will show His mighty hand once again. That was the theme of this year’s Epicenter Conference, that we serve a great and mighty God, a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God, a God who loves Israel and will bless her. In my “State of the Epicenter” address on Saturday, I spoke from the Book of Esther about another time in history when the leader of Iran/Persia (King Xerxes) called for the annihilation of the Jewish people. It seemed hopeless. But as the Jews who really loved the Lord fasted and prayed and turned their hearts towards Him, the Lord heard their cries and sent a great deliverance through one man (Mordechai) and one woman (Hadassah/Esther) willing to serve Him even unto death. Will He not provide such a great deliverance again, as we turn our hearts towards Him and seek His face and ask Him to forgive us and heal us and draw us close to His heart?

We believe the Iran crisis provides a tremendous opportunity for the Church to stand with Israel and bless Israel and see the God of Israel do a mighty miracle. The Joshua Fund team, therefore, is committed to doing everything we possibly can to educate Christians around the world and mobilize a global movement of people who will bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. This November 5-17, we will be a leading a Joshua Fund “Prayer & Vision Trip” to Israel, concluding with our first-ever “Jerusalem Prayer Summit.” We would love to have  you join us for this extraordinary opportunity to walk the land that Jesus walked, learn the history and the prophetic future of the Holy Land, meet Israeli pastors and Joshua Fund allies, and see how powerfully the God of Israel is moving today.

Please pray about it and then, if the Lord gives you the green light, please join us on what will be an unforgettable experience. It will be a powerful way to show your solidarity with the Jewish people, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and to come back with a deeper understanding of God’s Word and His love for all mankind.

May the Lord bless you and your family as you celebrate Passover and pray for the deliverance of the Jewish people.

UPDATED: MORE THAN 20,000 PARTICIPATE IN EPICENTER CONFERENCE: Excerpts from address on the global economic crisis

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm

>> White House denies report of President Obama visiting Israel in June

UPDATED: Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the 2009 Epicenter Conference. It was an extraordinary day and I believe the Lord moved very powerfully here at home and around the world, even as a new global crisis — the North Korean missile launch — was unfolding. Here are a few snapshots:

  • Conference participants were the first to see an 8 1/2 minute video about the work of The Joshua Fund and our “Operation Epicenter” initiative. The strategy is to help build a global movement of Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors with food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid, and to call millions of Christians to “learn, pray, give and go.” I specifically invited participants to sign up for our next “Prayer & Vision Trip” to Israel November 5-17 — perhaps you would like to join us as well.
  • Father Zakaria Botros delivered a 6 1/2 minute address to the conference via video. “Father Z” is the most famous evangelist to Muslims in the world. An Egyptian Coptic priest now living in exile (having been thrown out of his country for winning Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ), his satellite TV program deconstructing Islam and preaching the gospel is seen by some 50 million Muslims every day in North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
  • Conference attendees were the first in the world outside of Syria to see clips from the new motion picture “Damascus,” a docu-drama about the religious zealot Saul of Tarsus seeing a vision of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus 2,000 years ago and becoming the Apostle Paul who preached the gospel throughout the epicenter and wrote half the New Testament. Thus far, the entire film — made by Arab Christians, using Muslim actors — has only been seen by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his senior advisors, and 1,100 Syrian government, religious and business leaders at the premiere in the Syrian capital last month. It was announced at the conference that the Vatican is hosting a world-wide premiere for Catholic leaders on May 16th.
  • Participants saw a three minute sneak preview of the Inside The Revolution documentary film we are working on that will be released nationwide, Lord willing, on September 11, 2009.
  • Lea Maloul, a senior executive from the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Israel, received a standing ovation for her moving address to the conference on what it’s like as an Israeli to live in a missile zone. She thanked The Joshua Fund for investing in medical equipment for the hospital and for telling the truth about the dangers Israelis have been facing over the last eight years as more than 10,000 rockets and missiles have been fired at southern Israel by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
  • Tass Saada gave a powerful testimony of how he was transformed from being a Radical Muslim, PLO sniper, and senior aide to Yasser Arafat to a follower of Jesus Christ and a minister of the gospel to the Palestinian people. He shared from his new book, Once An Arafat Man (for which I wrote the foreword). He also challenged the conference participants to love both Israelis and Palestinians. He said he is opposed to a two-state solution and explained how Jesus is the only hope for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.
  • Israeli Pastor David Ortiz brought the conference to tears as he described how just one year ago someone sent a bomb disguised as a Purim present to his home. His youngest son, Ami Ortiz, opened the package and it blew up, nearly killing the 15 year old boy. David showed a horrifying picture of Ami snapped by a neighbor just moments after the blast as Israeli paramedics were caring for him. They all thought he would die quickly. But David shared the miracle of how Jesus saved Ami. Then David introduced two surprise guests — his wife, Leah, and his son, Ami. The audience erupted in a sustained standing ovation seeing this young man walking, talking, mostly healed, and giving glory to God for his salvation and recovery.
  • Dr. T.E. Koshy — the chairman of The Joshua Fund’s pastors’ advisory council, a pastor from Central New York, and one of three senior elders of a movement of some 6,000 evangelical Christian churches in India, Pakistan, Europe and Asia — gave a stirring talk on “How To Pray In Times of Crisis.” He urged Christians around the world to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” according to Psalm 122:6. He also encouraged the audience from the Bible to remember that we serve “a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God, a wonder-working God.”
  • Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, one of our keynote speakers, gave an incredibly powerful but sobering talk on on “The Most Serious Threats to the U.S., Israel and Our Allies in 2009.” Among others, he described the threat of narco-terrorism in Mexico, the threat of North Korea’s nuclear program and long-range ballistic missile program (and how closely both are tied to the Iranian government), and the aggressive posture of Russia under Vladimir Putin’s leadership. But Boykin — former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and former commander of Delta Force — described Radical Islam as “the most serious threat to U.S. national security since the American Revolution when it was all or nothing.” Boykin explained that the West has never faced a sustained threat from an enemy that wants to die, that glorifies death, that encourages its young people to be martyrs, and believes death by martyrdom is the only way to be sure of going to heaven. He described in some detail the Radical views held by the current leaders of Iran and how determined they are to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it to create the conditions necessary, in their view, to bring back the Islamic Messiah known as the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam. At the end of the conference, General Boykin and I took about 30 minutes to answer questions that had been emailed in from all over the world. In the coming days, I will post answers to some of these questions.
  • Pastor Chuck Smith was another of our keynote speakers. The founder of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, a church of some 25,000 — and founder of the Calvary Chapel movement of some 1,200 churches around the world — Pastor Chuck gave a remarkable message on “God’s Everlasting Love For Israel and The Jewish People.” He took the audience through an in-depth analysis of the prophecies of Ezekiel 36-37 concerning the rebirth of the State of Israel in the last days and Jews returning to the Promised Land after centuries in exile. He then walked us through Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the 1967 “Six Days War,” and the 1973 “Yom Kippur War” to show how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has been so wonderfully faithful in blessing the Jewish people and bringing Ezekiel’s prophecies to pass against overwhelming odds. He then taught on Ezekiel 38-39 concerning God’s protection for Israel from a coming Russia-Iranian-Islamic alliance, and described how geopolitical trends over the last decade or so — and even in the last year — strongly suggest the groundwork is being laid for the “War of Gog and Magog” to come to pass, possibly in our lifetime, possibly sooner than most people would imagine.
  • Mike MacIntosh, senior pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship which took the lead in organizing the conference, spoke on how pastors and lay leaders could apply the lessons of the conference to their own lives and ministries, particularly in blessing Israel in real and practical ways and reaching out to Muslims in America with the love of Jesus Christ.
  • I delivered two addresses, one dealing with the global economic crisis (see excerpts of that message below), the second on the “State of the Epicenter”  and the research I did for Inside The Revolution. Later in the program, after Pastor Chuck Smith’s message on God’s love for the people of Israel, I warned people that the world is increasingly turning against Israel and the Jewish people, including some leaders in the Church. The Turkish Prime Minister has called for Israel to be banned from the U.N.  Spanish officials are investigating Israeli officials on “war crimes” charges. Many are calling for a ban on Israeli goods and services. The White House and State Department are putting growing pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem and cut a premature deal with her enemies. Therefore, I reminded the audience that God said in Genesis 12:1-3 that those who bless the people of Israel God will bless, and those who curse the people of Israel He will curse. I then asked people in the arena to stand to their feet if they would commit themselves to loving Israel, blessing Israel, praying for Israel and standing with Israel come what may. What a powerful sight to behold. I was so encouraged when nearly everyone in the facility stood immediately, and together we prayed that the Lord would truly bless the State of Israel and the Jewish people in every possible way. My Joshua Fund colleagues and I will keep doing this all around the country and around the world, calling followers of Jesus Christ to commit themselves to blessing Israel no matter how hard it becomes and no matter what it costs. We needn’t fear the future. The Lord is powerful. He is sovereign. And He will defend His people.

Over the past few days, we have been gathering more data and reviewing the numbers regarding the audience reached by the conference. We will still need some more time to receive data from churches who showed the conference live via a secure broadband webcast. But here is an updated — though still not final — snapshot:

  • Some 7,000 people filled the Cox Arena at San Diego State University — people began lining up at 5:30am to get in.
  • More than 7,000 computers were logged on to watch the webcast of the conference — we are getting reports that many of those who watched on-line did so with family members or friends, so a conservative estimate of 1.5 people per computer would indicate that some 10,500 watched the webcast.
  • Webcast viewers include people from 57 countries and territories around the world — see updated list below.
  • A total of 109 churches in cities across the U.S. and Canada showed their congregations a live, high-resolution broadband feed of the conference — see list below; we don’t have attendance numbers from these congregations yet, but conservatively speaking, if an average of 50 people were gathered in each congregation that would be at least 4,600 people watching.
  • 50 radio stations that are part of the Horizon Broadcasting Network simulcast the conference throughout the U.S. — at this point, we don’t have an estimate on how big the listening audience was on radio.

UPDATED: The following is a complete listing of countries and territories from which people logged on to watch the Epicenter Conference:

  1. Albania
  2. Anonymous proxy country
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Bahamas
  6. Belgium
  7. Brazil
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Canada
  10. Chile
  11. China
  12. Croatia
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Denmark
  15. Egypt
  16. Finland
  17. France
  18. Germany
  19. Guam
  20. Guatemala
  21. Hong Kong
  22. Hungary
  23. India
  24. Indonesia
  25. Israel
  26. Italy
  27. Japan
  28. Luxembourg
  29. Mali
  30. Mexico
  31. Morocco
  32. Netherlands
  33. New Zealand
  34. Nigeria
  35. Norway
  36. Palestinian Territory
  37. Panama
  38. Peru
  39. Philippines
  40. Puerto Rico
  41. Romania
  42. Satellite provider in an anonymous country
  43. Serbia
  44. Singapore
  45. Slovakia
  46. South Africa
  47. Spain
  48. Sweden
  49. Switzerland
  50. Thailand
  51. Trinidad and Tobago
  52. Turkey
  53. Ukraine
  54. United Arab Emirates
  55. United Kingdom
  56. United States
  57. Venezuela

UPDATED: The following is the list of cities where churches showed a high-resolution broadband Internet feed of the conference to their congregations:

States and Cities

  1. AL  Opelika
  2. AR  Bryant
  3. AR  Conway
  4. AR  Russellville
  5. AZ  Chandler
  6. AZ  Flagstaff
  7. AZ  Glendale
  8. AZ  Phoenix
  9. AZ  Tucson
  10. CA  Auberry
  11. CA  Bellflower
  12. CA  Bakersfield
  13. CA  Carlsbad
  14. CA  Cathedral City
  15. CA  Chino
  16. CA  El Cajon
  17. CA  Escondido
  18. CA  Fremont
  19. CA  Los Altos
  20. CA  Los Angeles
  21. CA  Los Gatos
  22. CA  Norwalk
  23. CA  Oceanside
  24. CA  Palo Alto
  25. CA  Paso Robles
  26. CA  Rancho Cucamonga
  27. CA  Rancho Santa Fe
  28. CA  Red Bluff
  29. CA  San Diego
  30. CA  San Francisco
  31. CA  Santa Maria
  32. CA  Sunnyvale
  33. CA  Temecula
  34. CA  San Luis Obispo
  35. CA  San Marcos
  36. CA  Templeton
  37. CA  Vista
  38. CA  Westminster
  39. CA  Whittier
  40. CO  Aurora
  41. CO  Bennett
  42. CO  Boulder
  43. CO  Broomfield
  44. CO  Commerce City
  45. CO  Denver
  46. CO  Englewood
  47. CO  Fort Collins
  48. CO  Grand Junction
  49. CO  Johnstown
  50. CO  Lafayette
  51. CO  Laporte
  52. CO  Littleton
  53. CO  Longmont
  54. CO  Loveland
  55. CO  Parker
  56. CO  Westminster
  57. CO  Castle Rock
  58. CO  Rocky Ford
  59. CO  Windsor
  60. CT  Fairfield
  61. FL  Brandon
  62. HI  Honolulu
  63. IL  Chicago
  64. IA  Huxley
  65. KS  Lawrence
  66. KY  Union
  67. LA  Lake Charles
  68. MI  Calumet
  69. MI  Grandville
  70. MI  Canton
  71. MO  Kimberling City
  72. MO  Saint Joseph
  73. MS  Philadelphia
  74. MT  East Helena
  75. NC  West End
  76. NM  Albuquerque
  77. NM  San Miguel
  78. NY  Jamesville
  79. NY  New York
  80. NY  Sangerfield
  81. OH  Dover
  82. OH  North Baltimore
  83. OR  Damascus
  84. OR  Portland
  85. OR  Salem
  86. PA  Harrisburg
  87. PA  Lancaster
  88. PA  Lebanon
  89. PA  Manheim
  90. SC  Rock Hill
  91. SD  Sioux Falls
  92. TN  Morristown
  93. TX  Baytown
  94. TX  Cedar Hill
  95. TX  Lubbock
  96. UT  North Salt Lake
  97. UT  Salt Lake City
  98. UT  Park City
  99. UT  Vernal
  100. WA  Auburn
  101. WA  Bainbridge Island
  102. WA  Yelm
  103. WA  Colville
  104. WA  Ellensburg
  105. WA  Everett
  106. WA  Port Orchard
  107. WA  Seattle
  108. WI  Madison
  109. Canada — Calgary

 

EXCERPTS FROM JOEL C. ROSENBERG’S ADDRESS ON THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS

You and I are gathered at an extraordinary moment in human history – a moment of great darkness and peril — a moment that requires tremendous wisdom to understand what’s happening, and tremendous courage to navigate the right course through thick fog and raging storms.

 

The theme of this conference is: “Understanding Today’s Global Crises In Light of Bible Prophecy.” And the reason is clear: Pick up any newspaper and you can see that the U.S., the West generally, and notably our allies in Israel and the Middle East – what I call, “the epicenter” – face severe, historic, and in some cases unprecedented threats, economic, geopolitical, military, and spiritual.

 

In Luke 12:54-56, Jesus urged us to understand the times in which we live…..

And Jesus was saying to the crowds – When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, “A shower is coming,” and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, “It will be a hot day,” and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?

During the course of this conference, we’re going to analyze this present time and examine some of the most serious threats and crises facing us today.But let’s begin with the economy.

 

  • The U.S. unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 4.5% in the beginning of 2007 to 8.1% today….12.5 million Americans are currently out of work. Some 2.6 million Americans have lost their jobs in just the last four months.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

 

  • Nearly 1.2 million American families have lost their homes since 2007. California has been hit particularly hard – the Golden State had the second highest rate of house foreclosures in the nation in February.<!–[endif]–>

 

  • In 2008, Americans lost some $6.9 trillion in wealth in the stock markets.<!–[endif]–>

  • When you combine stock market losses and the collapse of home values, Americans have lost $11.2 trillion in household wealth in the last 18 months, according to Federal Reserve Bank data.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

 

  • And with the loss of jobs, and the loss of homes, and the loss of so much wealth has come a loss of confidence, a loss of hope.

 

Americans, of course, are not alone.

  • The head of the International Monetary Fund told a reporter last month: “The world is in a dire economic crisis….The crisis will push millions into poverty and unemployment, risking social unrest and even war, and urgent action is required….”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>

<!–[endif]–><!–[endif]–>

 

  • A new report by a private Wall Street firm finds: “Between 40 and 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half,”….and adds: “this is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently told a conference in Europe that 100 million people have been thrust into poverty as a result of the global economic crisis. He cited a World Bank statistic that “half a million children will die simply because they won’t have enough to live on.”

 

  • What’s more, the Prime Minister added: “It is absolutely clear that the global institutions that we built in the 1940s are quite incapable of dealing with the problems that we have now.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

 

The global financial institutions we have today are the most sophisticated the world has ever known – yet clearly they are failing us. The world’s leaders just met at the G20 summit in London – yet clearly they have no answers. Many are looking to Washington for a rescue plan they can count on – but it is far from clear Washington knows what to do.Washington’s plan is to try to spend our way out of the crisis, to add $9.3 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. It’s a plan that is leaving many here at home and around the world fearful or angry. How, they ask, can we possibly add $9 trillion in debt to the $10 trillion in debt we’re already passing on to our children and grandchildren?

<!–[endif]–>

 

CNBC’s Jim Cramer – long a supporter of President Obama – has in just the past two months become a sharp critic of what he calls the new administration’s “radical agenda.” He calls the administration’s spending plans “the greatest wealth destruction I’ve seen by a President.” What’s more, he says the President’s plans have created “a level of fear in this country that I have not seen ever in my life.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>

 

In this, he is quite right. A new poll finds that “53% [of Americans] now think the United States is…likely to enter a 1930’s-like depression within the next few years.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>

 

Not surprisingly, our newspapers are filled with stories of the emotional impact of the economic crisis – more cases of drug and alcohol abuse, more case of spousal and child abuse, and this is just the beginning. A suicide hotline near Los Angeles reports a 60% spike in calls since the crisis began. A suicide hotline near Chicago reports a 70% increase in recent months. A national suicide hotline is also seeing a 70% increase in calls.<!–[endif]–>

 

“People are fearful,” says a family therapist in Richmond, Virginia, quoted in a newspaper article I read recently. “Nobody knows what is next, so there is a lot more anxiety.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

“A lot of people have lost their jobs for the first time,” says the executive director of a crisis hotline near Lynchburg, Virginia. “It hits them pretty hard. They don’t know where to turn.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–><!–[endif]–>

 

Perhaps that is why you have come, or tuned into this conference. Perhaps you are fearful, not sure what will happen next….not sure where to turn. If so, let me begin with some good news. The Bible says that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God who loves you and wants to adopt you into His family. The Bible says God has a plan and a purpose for your live, a plan for good and not for evil.The Bible says He is a great and powerful God. In Hebrew, we call Him El Gibor, the “mighty God.” He is all knowing, all sovereign, all powerful. He is completely in control….and He promises to give wisdom to those who seek Him.

 

The Bible says in Daniel 2:20-23…..

 

Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong

to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs. He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things….To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise….

 

The Bible says in James 1:5…..

 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 11:28-30….

 

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

 

You and I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But God does. None of the speakers on this platform today has the ability to take care of you whenever and wherever disaster strikes. But God does. None of us in this room have the wisdom we’ll need to navigate every twist and turn in the road of life, especially with all that lies ahead. But God does.

 

When we read the economic news going from bad to worse month by month, it’s almost as if we can hear the ice cracking underneath our feet. Humanly speaking, we have very little influence to stop or change the current course of events.

The Bible indicates that when the return of Jesus Christ is near, life will actually get much more difficult. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24 to expect wars and rumors of wars, kingdoms rising against kingdoms, nations going to war with other nations, the rise of false messiahs and false prophets, earthquakes, famines, apostasy, lawlessness, people’s love for one another growing cold, rampant persecution of followers of Jesus Christ and so forth. It was quite a list. And we are seeing all of it coming to pass in our lifetime. And the Bible says it will get even worse as we go forward. That’s the bad news.


 

The good news is that the God of the Bible is a God we can trust to care for us and save us no matter what happens. So we must pray. We must get on our knees, humble ourselves, turn to the Lord and seek His wisdom, His mercy, His grace, His favor on our nation and our leaders, lest we see the current economic crisis take us into a financial death spiral.


 

I have no doubt the Lord is shaking our country and He is seeking to purify His Church. He is making us reconsider what we value, where our treasure is, where our hearts are. He is preparing us to see Him face to face. For when we see Him, the Bible teaches that there will be a day of accounting. He will ask us what we did with the resources He entrusted to us.


 

What, then, shall we say?

 

In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus told us…..

 

Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

 

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

 

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

This is the most important question of this entire conference – so let’s ask it right up front: Are you seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness? Have you given Him your heart, your mind and your soul? Are you putting the God of the Bible first in your life? Are you trusting Him completely to take care of your needs?

HEADLINES TO TRACK:


JOIN THE EPICENTER CONFERENCE WEBCAST: White House to cut defense budget

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

The 2009 Epicenter Conference begins Saturday morning at noon eastern, 9am Pacific time. To get more information — or to watch the conference on the live webcast — go to www.epicenter2009.com. Hope you can join us.

HEADLINES TO TRACK:

NORTH KOREA TRIGGERS NEW GLOBAL CRISIS: C-Span to cover Epicenter Conference

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

A new global crisis is rapidly developing in Asia. North Korea has an intercontinental ballistic missile on the launch pad, is fueling the rocket, and says it will conduct a “test fire” between April 4 and April 8. The U.S. has warned Pyongyang not to proceed with any “provocative” actions. But the tyrannical northern regime isn’t listening. Worse, Pyongyang threatened a “fiery bolt of retaliatory lightning” if Japan or the U.S. tries to shoot their missile down. Today, President Obama — at the G20 Summit in London — vowed to issue a “stern” response if North Korea fires the missile, though he showed no indication that there would be a military response. The danger, experts say, is that the missile could reach Alaska or Hawaii. It’s not clear if it could reach Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego or another Pacific coast American city. But the missile’s very existence poses a real threat to U.S. national security. What if it is carrying a nuclear warhead? What if the “test” is actually designed to launch an attack that could blindside us? We shouldn’t be taking any chances. We should take out the missile and its launch pad immediately and send a crystal clear message to Pyongyang — and, by extension, to Tehran and other rogue nations — that serious threats to our security will be dealt with firmly and decisively. Some might say that taking pre-emptive military action against an enemy that endangers you is overreacting. But wouldn’t it have been better if the U.S. had taken decisive pre-emptive action against al Qaeda before 9/11?

Media Interviews (all times eastern):

  • Thursday, 6:30pm — Lars Larson Show, nationally syndicated
  • Thursday, 8:30pm — Roger Hedgecock Show, nationally syndicated
  • Saturday — We just got word that C-SPAN will cover my address at the 2009 Epicenter Conference on Inside The Revolution and the “State of the Epicenter” for later airing on Book TV.

HEADLINES TO TRACK:

    APRIL 1st MARKS 30th ANNIVERSARY OF THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION: How did Washington miss it? Netanyahu understands Iran threat today, does Obama?

    In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 12:47 pm
    The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile on February 1, 1979

    The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile on February 1, 1979

    On April 1, 1979, Khomeini declared Iran the world's first "Islamic Republic."

    On April 1, 1979, Khomeini declared Iran the world's first "Islamic Republic."

    FLASH: Islamic Radicals threaten to attack Washington directly — “Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world … The maximum they can do is martyr me. But we will exact our revenge on them from inside America.”

    It was thirty years ago today that the Ayatollah Khomeini declared Iran to be the world’s first “Islamic Republic,” that is, the first country in human history that would be governed by Sharia law, the laws of the Qur’an. Yet as I document in my new book, Inside The Revolution, the Carter administration at the time completely missed the explosion of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the fall of the Shah, the rise of Khomeini, and later the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that led to 52 Americans being held hostage for 444 humiliating days.

    Admiral Stansfield Turner, the director of the CIA under President Carter, would later admit in his memoirs, “We in the CIA served the president badly with respect to our coverage of the Iranian scene….We had not appreciated how shaky the Shah’s political foundation was; did not know the Shah was terminally ill; did not understand who Khomeini was and the support his movement had; did not have a clue as to who the hostage-takers were or what their objective was….We were just plain asleep.”

    Thirty years later, the question is: Does the Obama administration understand who the leaders of Iran are today? Do they understand the eschatology — or End Times theology — held by the current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and how such deeply-held religious beliefs are driving Iranian foreign policy and military doctrine? Do they understand that Iran’s current leaders believe they have been chosen by God to bring about the end of the world, that this is why they are hell-bent on acquiring or building nuclear weapons?

    Last week, I met on Capitol Hill with a bipartisan group of nine current and former Members of Congress. They told me neither they nor their colleagues  have been well briefed on such issues, nor has senior administration officials. Yet the President is embarking on a policy of direct contact and direct negotiations with a nation whose leaders he may not truly understand.

    One leader who does understand the apocalyptic, cultish nature of Iran’s leadership is new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told The Atlantic magazine. The Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon was a “hinge of history,” he said, emphasizing that all of “Western civilization” was responsible for preventing an Iranian bomb. “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said of the Iranian regime. “When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

    It is not just Iran’s leaders that should concern us. Al Qaeda’s leaders say publicly they want to annihilate us. Top CIA officials tell me they believe bin Laden’s forces are actively seeking nuclear weapons to annihilate entire American cities. And just this morning, the London Times quotes a Pakistani Taliban leader warning: “Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world … The maximum they can do is martyr me. But we will exact our revenge on them from inside America.”

    Please pray the Lord protects our country and gives our President and his senior advisors wisdom. Pray, too, that hte Lord gives Prime Minister Netanyahu wisdom to protect the Jewish people at this critical hour, and that the Lord would use him to explain to world leaders — including those in Washington — who the leaders of Iran really are, what they really want, and how far they are willing to go to accomplish their objectives.

    Washington, I fear, is “just plain asleep” again. It is time to wake them up.

      >> Attend or watch the 2009 Epicenter Conference on Saturday, April 4th

      **************************

      Excerpts from Inside The Revolution on how Washington missed the Islamic Revolution:

      On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his wife, Empress Farah, at a sumptuous state reception on the South Lawn of the White House. Despite thousands of Iranian students protesting outside the White House gates, denouncing the shah’s human rights abuses and restrictions on personal freedom in the country of their birth, the president spoke warmly of his “close personal friendship” with the shah and called Iran “an island of stability” in the Middle East, reflecting on the personal and strategic ties between the two men and the nations they led.

      Carter was the eighth American president to know the shah personally. The first was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had met the Persian monarch in the Iranian capital of Tehran in 1943 at a summit with Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill, seeking a way to stop Adolf Hitler and his Nazi war machine, which was rampaging through Europe and the Middle East.

      Since that summit and the subsequent conclusion of World War II, Iran had emerged as a key and trusted ally of the United States and the Western alliance, as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism in the Middle East, and as a major supplier of oil to American industries and families. Washington feared Moscow’s desire to seize the oil fields of the Middle East and control the Persian Gulf and the oil shipping routes to the West. It was a fear the shah and his top advisors shared. They had no desire to become a Kremlin satellite, so they turned to the Americans for help, and Washington readily responded.

      Over the next three decades, the U.S. sold Iran advanced American fighter jets, naval assets, and all manner of others arms, in addition to a state-of-the-art radar system to safeguard Iranian airspace from Soviet bombers. The U.S. also trained Iranian pilots and built several intelligence-gathering outposts in the northern mountains of Iran, designed to track Soviet missile tests and intercept Soviet military communications. During the coldest years of the Cold War, the relationship with Tehran was one the White House and the Pentagon valued deeply.

      In December of 1977, merely a month after hosting the shah and his wife at the White House, President Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, accepted the shah’s reciprocal invitation to visit Tehran. Moments after Air Force One touched down in Tehran on New Year’s Eve, the president restated on Iranian television what he had expressed to the people of the United States.

      “Iran is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world,” Carter said without any apparent reservation and without any sense of what was coming. “This is a great tribute to you, Your Majesty, and to your leadership and to the respect, admiration, and love which your people give to you.”

      A year later, the shah’s regime had been toppled, the Pahlavi family had fled into exile, a radical Islamic jihadist was in power and in command of billions of dollars’ worth of advanced American weaponry, and oil had stopped flowing into the U.S. from Iran.

      And top officials in Washington had not seen it coming.

      “We knew there was some resentment [to the shah],” Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, would later comment. “We knew somewhat of the history of the country, but we were not conscious, nor were we informed, of the intensity of the feelings.”

      How was that possible? How could the best and brightest minds in the White House, State Department, and Central Intelligence Agency have missed the lead-up to the Islamic Revolution in Iran? And thirty years later, is it possible that Washington could miss the danger rising in Iran once again?

      ……It was not hard to find evidence of anti-shah sentiment building in Iran in the mid-1970s. Ruhollah Khomeini, the fiery Shia Islamic cleric widely known as “the ayatollah,” had been railing against the shah for decades at that point, often from exile in Turkey, Iraq, or France.

      “The Shah . . . has embarked on the destruction of Islam in Iran,” warned Khomeini. “I will oppose this as long as the blood circulates in my veins.” In nearly every sermon and in almost every book and article that he wrote, Khomeini denounced the shah as a traitor to Islam and a betrayer of the Iranian people, and he found he was touching a nerve. The more forcefully he preached against the shah’s regime, the more Iranians responded to his message and called for change…..

      Tens of thousands—and then hundreds of thousands—of enraged Iranians soon began pouring into the streets, denouncing the shah and his regime and calling for the immediate return of the ayatollah. As the riots spread from city to city, people began throwing Molotov cocktails at the police, and the police fired back. Over the course of the next few months, an estimated three thousand Iranian protestors were killed by the forces of the shah.

      Incredibly, however, that same August CIA Director Stansfield Turner’s top Iran experts were telling him that “the Shah would survive another ten years.”

      Worse, the CIA sent a written analysis to President Carter arguing that Iran “is not in a revolutionary or even a prerevolutionary situation.”

      Gary Sick, a staffer on the Carter National Security Council as the Iranian Revolution began, would later admit that “the notion of a popular [Islamic] revolution leading to the establishment of a theocratic state seemed so unlikely as to be absurd.”

      Ken Pollack, a Middle East specialist on President Clinton’s National Security Council, would later concede that “virtually all of the Iran experts in Washington . . . believed that the Shah would be able to weather the storm.”

      New York Times intelligence correspondent Tim Weiner, in his 2007 book, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, concluded after years of research that “the idea that religion would prove to be a compelling political force in the late twentieth century was incomprehensible” to Washington officials at the time and that “few at the CIA believed that an ancient cleric could seize power and proclaim Iran an Islamic republic.”

      Mark Bowden, the award-winning journalist and author of Black Hawk Down and Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam, drew a similar, sobering conclusion after years of his own research: “By 1978, the Peacock Throne was teetering. Not that American intelligence and military assessments realized it; it was uniformly predicted that the shah would weather the storm. What the Western intelligence reports missed was the awakening giant of traditional Islam, a grassroots rebellion against the values of the secular, modern world. The rise of Khomeini and the mullahocracy took everyone by surprise.”

      …..On January 16, 1979, the Shah and his family fled Iran.


      …..On February 1, 1979, the Revolution came home. The chartered Air France 747 touched down in Tehran at Mehrabad International Airport at precisely 9:33 a.m. local time and was immediately greeted by a rapturous welcome. An estimated fifty thousand Iranians had converged on the terminal, tarmac, and grounds, some weeping, some wailing, all desperate to get a glimpse of the man they suspected might, in fact, be the Twelfth Imam they had so long awaited.

      “The holy one has come!” the crowds chanted as the Ayatollah Khomeini, tall and slender with a long gray beard and dark, brooding eyes, draped in black robes and his signature black turban, stepped out into the morning air. Now seventy-eight, he looked somewhat tired at first, even tearful, as he waved a bit feebly to the cheering throngs. But as the roars grew and people screamed, “He is the light of our lives!” the firebrand seemed to draw energy and resolve from the crowd.  The shah was gone, Khomeini was back, and the country was his for the taking….


      On March 30 and 31, millions of Iranians went to the polls, and then, on April 1, 1979, Khomeini officially announced that the referendum had passed overwhelmingly, with 97 percent of the vote. Iran was now the first Islamic Republic in the history of the world.

      “I declare to the whole world that never has the history of Iran witnessed such a referendum,” Khomeini noted that day from his home in Qom, “where the whole country rushed to the polls with ardor, enthusiasm, and love to cast their affirmative votes and bury the tyrannical regime forever in the garbage heap of history. . . . By casting a decisive vote in favor of the Islamic Republic, you have established a government of divine justice, a government in which all the segments of the population shall enjoy equal consideration, the light of divine justice shall shine uniformly on all, and the divine mercy of the Qur’an . . . shall embrace all, like life-giving rain. . . . Tyranny has been buried. . . . This day [is] the first day of God’s government.”




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