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How would Israel launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear program and what might be the blowback? Novel series explores chilling scenario. (Limited time special offer: each novel only $5)

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm

WeeklyDeal-graphic(Denver, Colorado) — What if an American President fundamentally miscalculated and inadvertently allowed Iran to build not just a single nuclear warhead but a small arsenal of nuclear missiles?

What if an Iranian leader — driven by his Shia End Times theology — believed that the only way to hasten the coming of the Islamic messiah (known as the Twelfth Imam), establish a global caliphate and bring about the End of Days was to launch nuclear attacks to annihilate Israel (the “little Satan”) and the U.S. (the “great Satan”).

What if an American President then tried to pressure an Israeli Prime Minister not to launch a preemptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear program, but the Prime Minister decided to order the attack anyway? What might such an attack look like? How might it unfold? And what might be the blowback? Would Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas rain missiles down on the Jewish State, and unleash waves of suicide bombers against Israel and her allies? How would Israel counter such a retaliatory strike?

These are the questions I explored in a trilogy of political thrillers several years ago, starting with The Twelfth Imam, continuing with The Tehran Initiative, and concluding with Damascus Countdown.

If you have never read the series before, I’d encourage you to read them this summer and encourage your family and friends to read them, too. For a limited time, you can order the novels directly from my publisher, Tyndale, for just $5 each. And there are big discounts for bulk orders. To learn more — or to order directly — please click here.

I wish I could say the novels were merely fictional speculation on a highly unlikely scenario. But the events of the past few weeks have, I’m afraid, increased the possibility that such an Israeli first strike on Iran’s nuclear program could actually happen. Consider the following:

One of the key questions — in the novel series, and now in real life — is whether the CIA would really know if and when and where Iran began building nuclear warheads, and could they discover such developments early enough for the U.S. to act decisively to neutralize the Iranian threat?

And if the U.S. didn’t detect an Iranian nuclear breakout — or did but wouldn’t take decisive action — would Israel?

Given the disturbing trend lines in the Middle East right now, I hope you’ll find this trilogy of novels both riveting and informative.

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With ISIS on the rampage, “is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?” So asks a must-read feature story in the New York Times.

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm
(source: New York Times)

(source: New York Times)

(Denver, Colorado) — In my recent novel, The Third Target, a New York Times reporter  criss-crosses the Middle East, trying to understand and explain to the world the rise of the Islamic State and the objectives of its leaders. Among the questions my fictional character — J.B. Collins — is trying to answer:

  1. Why are ISIS jihadists are so blood-thirsty?
  2. Why do ISIS leaders want to establish an Islamic kingdom or caliphate?
  3. Are ISIS leaders are really serious about slaughtering and/or enslaving all of the Christians of the region, in addition to annihilating Jews and all Muslims who don’t subscribe to their theology or eschatology?

What he discovers is evil beyond his worst nightmares — a Satanic movement determined to rob, kill and destroy everyone in its path, and particularly Christians.

Now, in real life, a must-read feature story has been published in the New York Times magazine by a reporter who has crisscrossed the epicenter, documenting the slaughter of Christ-followers by ISIS, and asking the provocative but very relevant question: “Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?”

I highly recommend that you read and share the article with others. But I also urge you not to be discouraged. Here’s why:

  • Bible prophecy is clear that wars and revolutions will increase and intensify in the Middle East and around the world in the “last days” as the return of Christ draws increasingly near. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” (Matthew 24:6-8; see also Luke chapter 21, Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12-14, etc.)
  • Bible prophecy is also clear that persecution of Christ-followers will increase and intensify in the last days before Jesus returns. “[T]hey will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Matthew 24:9)
  • The prophecies found in the Biblical book of Revelation indicate that many Christians in the Middle East will be martyred for their faith. “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” (Revelation 6:9-11)
  • The prophecies of Revelation also make clear that many followers of Jesus Christ will specifically be beheaded in the last days before the Lord’s return. “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God…” (Revelation 20:4)
  • That said, Bible prophecy further makes clear that amidst all the wars and persecution of believers in the last days, the good news of God’s offer of salvation and forgiveness and eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will be communicated to every person in every nation, including throughout all of the Middle East. That is, as chaos and carnage spread, the boldness of Christians to share the Gospel with all those who are lost — including throughout the Muslim world — will also deepen and intensify. “This Gospel of the kingdom [of Jesus Christ] will be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)
  • Not only will all people in the Middle East (and around the world) hear the Gospel during the End Times, so many will repent and receive Christ as Savior and Lord that the total number of new believers will be difficult to count. “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God…” (Revelation 7:9-11)

In short:

  • yes, this is the most dangerous moment in the history of the Middle East for Christianity — Satan and the forces of evil are on the rampage in the region
  • but no, this is not the end of Christianity in the epicenter — rather, this is the dawn of Christianity’s greatest waves of evangelism, conversion and discipleship.
  • Even now, millions of Muslims are converting away from Islam and becoming truly devoted disciples of Jesus Christ, as I have written about in my non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, and in blog columns like this one.

I’ll discuss this more at the August 6th event I’ll be speaking at in Denver. (please click here to register).

For now, here are excerpts from the New York Times article:

  • One hundred years ago, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and World War I ushered in the greatest period of violence against Christians in the region. The genocide waged by the Young Turks in the name of nationalism, not religion, left at least two million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks dead. Nearly all were Christian. Among those who survived, many of the better educated left for the West. Others settled in Iraq and Syria, where they were protected by the military dictators who courted these often economically powerful minorities.
  • From 1910 to 2010, the number of Christians in the Middle East — in countries like Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan — continued to decline; once 14 percent of the population, Christians now make up roughly 4 percent. (In Iran and Turkey, they’re all but gone.) In Lebanon, the only country in the region where Christians hold significant political power, their numbers have shrunk over the past century, to 34 percent from 78 percent of the population. Low birthrates have contributed to this decline, as well as hostile political environments and economic crisis. Fear is also a driver. The rise of extremist groups, as well as the perception that their communities are vanishing, causes people to leave.
  • The Arab Spring only made things worse. As dictators like Mubarak in Egypt and Qaddafi in Libya were toppled, their longstanding protection of minorities also ended. Now, ISIS is looking to eradicate Christians and other minorities altogether. The group twists the early history of Christians in the region — their subjugation by the sword — to legitimize its millenarian enterprise. Recently, ISIS posted videos delineating the second-class status of Christians in the caliphate. Those unwilling to pay the jizya tax or to convert would be destroyed, the narrator warned, as the videos culminated in the now-­infamous scenes of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya being marched onto the beach and beheaded, their blood running into the surf.
  • The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. ‘‘How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?’’ says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history. ‘‘ISIL has put a spotlight on the issue,’’ says Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whose parents are from the region and who advocates on behalf of Eastern Christians. ‘‘Christianity is under an existential threat.’’

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The darkest headlines I have read in years.

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

“The Satanic Temple is set to unveil its…monument in Detroit.” (AP/CBS Detroit)

UPDATE: Satanic statue unveiled in Detroit (Daily Telegraph)

Earlier this week, I flew back to the U.S. from Israel for several speaking engagements.

In the coming days, I speak (and blog) about the crumbling U.S.-Israel alliance, the Iran nuclear alliance, the horrific advance of the Islamic State across Syria and Iraq, and what happens to America, Israel and the nations of the Middle East according to Bible prophecy.

But I need to draw your attention to some of the most troubling headlines I have seen in years. The news in the Middle East is dark and getting darker, to be sure. But the headlines here in America are getting very dark as well — mass shootings around the nation, the slaughter of nine Christians inside the black church in Charleston, the 12 shot in a Louisiana movie theater, and four Marines gunned down in Chattanooga, all of which happened in July alone; Planned Parenthood executives caught discussing how best to sell hearts, lungs and brains from aborted babies; and now the unveiling of a sculpture of Satan in Detroit in what is being promoted as the largest public Satanic ceremony in American history.

No, this is not fiction. These are not plots of my future novels. This is all happening across America this month.

Consider the following:

I am absolutely sickened by these videos in which Planned Parenthood executives discuss — so coldly, so cruelly — the selling of human body parts over a lunch of salad and wine.

Captured on tape by the undercover video sting operation of a pro-life organization, these two executives discuss without shame or remorse how they would be happy to ask doctors who perform abortions on human babies to be extra careful to kill the babies in such a way that their livers, lungs, brains and other body parts can be extracted intact and sold. One Planned Parenthood leader says the babies can be killed in a “less crunchy” way. The other casually jokes that she’d like to make enough money from the sales of these body parts to buy “a Lamborghini.”

Have you watched the videos? Please do, and please share them with others. People need to know the truth. The mainstream media is giving some coverage to the story, but not nearly enough. This is sick. This is barbaric. This is the stuff of Dr. Mengele and the Nazis, and it isn’t happening on the other side of the world in Auschwitz; it is happening right in America every day.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that kills more than 300,000 babies in the womb every year. It also receives more than a half-billion dollars a year of federal money — that’s right, your taxpayer dollars and mine. Congress should immediately cut off all taxpayer funds to the group. PP should be investigated for criminal activity (it is illegal to sell body parts for profit). Congress should also immediately pass pending legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks. And pro-life legislators and activists in Washington, D.C. and the States need to make a new push to end abortion once and for all in this nation.

Since 1973, more than 57 million babies have been aborted in this country. Their innocent blood is crying from the ground for justice, and God is listening. If we do not plead for His forgiveness and turn this thing around, judgment is coming.

These headlines alone would be horrific enough. But it gets worse. Consider this headline just published today:

Here are excerpts from this story, published by the Associated Press and CBS News in Detroit:

  • A group is planning to unveil an 8-foot-tall bronze statue featuring a goat-headed Satan in Detroit during a gathering that’s being billed as the “largest public satanic ceremony in history.”
  • The Satanic Temple has said Saturday’s private event will be open only to people with tickets, $25 each.
  • Invitations to “The Unveiling” summoned guests to prepare for “a night of chaos, noise, and debauchery… Come dance with the Devil and experience history in the making.” The event location is not being announced publicly and is known only to those with tickets.
  • The group said the bronze Baphomet monument, which weighs about one ton and has never been seen before in public, “is not only an unparalleled artistic triumph, but stands as a testament to plurality and the power of collective action.” The statue, which backed by an inverted pentagram and flanked by statues of two young children gazing up at the creature, shows Satan with horns, hooves, wings and a beard.
  • The group went on to say the unveiling event “will serve as a call-to-arms from which we’ll kick off our largest fight to date in the name of individual rights to free exercise against self-serving theocrats.”
  • Photography is strictly prohibited at the 18-and-older event unless, of course, you’re a $75 VIP ticket holder. Those partygoers will have an exclusive opportunity to be photographed seated on the Baphomet monument…..
  • The statue had been planned for the state Capitol in Oklahoma City until Oklahoma’s Supreme Court banned a monument of the Ten Commandments on Capitol grounds.
  • Detroit was ultimately selected for the unveiling because The Satanic Temple in the city has a “strong congregation,” with more than 200 registered members….

It is sobering how rapidly evil is rising in this country, how brazen, how public. We need to humble ourselves. We need to get on our knees. We need to seek Christ’s forgiveness and His mercy on this country. We need to do it now, or we will face the consequences foretold in the Bible thousands of years ago.

Consider just one passage of many:

At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

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Is the Obama administration preparing to “divorce” Israel? I’ll address this and other questions in Denver on August 6th. “Israel, Iran & ISIS: What’s next?” Register now to attend.

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

AAA-MinistryArch-event(Denver, Colorado) — A terrible darkness is descending upon the people of the Middle East. The forces of evil are on the march. The forces of freedom seem to be in retreat. And people in the region, in the U.S., and around the world are asking sobering and increasingly urgent questions.

  • Is a new and terrible war coming to the epicenter soon?
  • Is the Obama administration preparing to “divorce” Israel?
  • What exactly are the details of the recent nuclear deal with Iran?
  • Will the deal bring about regional stability as its supporters contend, or accelerate the path to war as its detractors fear?
  • Why are Iranian leaders euphoric about the deal and Israeli and Sunni Arab leaders so deeply concerned?
  • Have the U.S. and the Western powers halted the ISIS onslaught in the Middle East, or is ISIS continuing to take more and more territory and kill and terrorize more and more people?
  • How vulnerable are nations like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the Islamic State?
  • What role does Islamic eschatology play in motivating the leaders of Iran and ISIS?
  • How are followers of Jesus in the epicenter faring amidst all the current turmoil, and how can Christians in the West pray for them, support them and encourage them in these dangerous times?

On Thursday evening, August 6th, I’ll address these issues at an event in the Denver, Colorado area. The topic of my address will be, “Israel, Iran & ISIS — What’s Next?” I hope you will join us.

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents (Len and Mary Rosenberg) started around 15 years ago. It provides architectural services at no charge to evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show and share the love of Jesus. Before I speak, my folks will share a bit about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry in various parties of the world, including Africa and Asia. Then I will discuss the latest developments in the epicenter and take your questions.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm. Doors will open at 6:15pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com. Please join us — I hope to see you there.

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Netanyahu tells Steve Forbes the prospect for “worst kind of war” with Iran is growing because of nuclear deal. Polls show 47% of Israelis now support a unilateral strike.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2015 at 5:33 am
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks to Forbes magazine editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.

Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks to Forbes magazine editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.

(Central Israel) — Are Israeli leaders actively considering preemptive military strikes to neutralize Iran’s nuclear threat, now that the world powers have struck a deal that gives Iran nearly everything it wants and puts Tehran on a legal pathway to The Bomb?

I was asked this last night during an interview on an American radio program. The host knew that I had once worked for Netanyahu, and that I stay in touch with his team and other Israeli national security experts. He also knew that I had written a series of political thrillers several years ago — The Twelfth Imam, The Tehran Initiative and Damascus Countdown — that imagined what might happen if an Israeli prime minister ordered such an attack, despite pressure from an American president not to do so.

Here are some thoughts.

  1. First, let me be clear: I have no inside knowledge of what Israeli leaders are preparing to do. I haven’t spoken to Mr. Netanyahu in quite some time. Indeed, having just returned to Israel on Tuesday, I haven’t been in contact with any Israeli officials yet so I’m only sharing my own personal thoughts and observations.
  2. Israel has used surprise military force twice to neutralize foreign nuclear programs. In 1981, the Israeli Air Force attacked and destroyed Iraq’s nuclear facilities. Then in 2007, the Israelis attacked and destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility being built with the help of the North Koreans. An attack on Iran’s facilities would be far more complex, and the possible retaliatory blowback could be horrendous. But yet, the Israelis certainly have the capability to do what they need to do, and they’ve been preparing for years for that moment. Given Israel’s historic track record, it is possible Israeli leaders will come to the point of feeling they have no choice but to launch attacks on Iran.
  3. I am certain Israel’s leaders want to find every possible avenue short of war. They certainly would like to see Congress derail this dangerous — indeed, insane — nuclear deal that gives Iran everything they want and more. This will be the first focus. The Israelis could also potentially use covert means to sabotage or slow down Iran’s pursuit of The Bomb. Meanwhile, the Israelis are quietly working with the Saudis and others Sunni Arab states to figure out ways to neutralize the Iran threat short of war, if at all possible.
  4. That said, support for war is rising here. The latest polls indicate that 74% of Israelis say this deal won’t stop Iran from getting The Bomb, and 47% of Israelis now support unilateral strikes against Iran, if need be, while only 35% oppose such strikes.
  5. What’s more, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an interview to my old boss, Steve Forbes, indicating that the prospect of war — including a “nuclear war” — has just become much more likely because of this deal. You will find the full text of the interview (and a link to the video) below. I would encourage you to read it and study it carefully. Please be praying for peace, praying for wisdom for Israeli and other regional leaders, pray for Congressional leaders to do the right thing, and keep praying for President Obama and his team, as well, that their hearts and actions might be dramatically changed and soon.

Here is the interview in full — or watch it here:

STEVE FORBES: Prime Minister, President Obama has said that if there isn’t a deal with Iran it will mean war.  What we’ve learned about the deal is not reassuring.  What’s your take on this?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I think if the deal goes through we’re in danger of war, and it might be the worst kind of war we can imagine.  Because this deal will open the way for Iran not to get a bomb but many bombs.  Within a decade it will be free to enrich uranium on an unlimited basis.  And it will be able to make the fissile core for dozens of bombs–indeed, hundreds of bombs–which it can then put on the hundreds of ICBMs it already has.

Under this deal Iran is going to get $100 billion to $300 billion, which it will be able to use to fund its terrorism and its aggression in the region–its aim being to destroy Israel. Given Iran’s history of aggression, I’d say that this double bonanza of a guaranteed pathway to a nuclear arsenal and a jackpot of money to continue its aggression actually makes the danger of war, even nuclear war, a lot greater.

SF: You make a very important point. Even if Iran sticks to the deal, which is highly problematical, in a decade it will be a major global nuclear power, and it will have ballistic missiles.

BN: Iran is producing them, and guess what?  Within a few years they will be able to reach the Eastern seaboard of the United States. And then every point in the United States. But this deal will also enable Iran to tip those missiles with nuclear weapons, with atomic bombs. And I think it’s a huge mistake to allow the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world, Iran, to have nuclear weapons, as well as the capacity to give such weapons to its terrorist surrogates. This is a big, big mistake. Not only endangering Israel and the entire Middle East but the entire world, specifically the United States.  The mullahs, the dictators in Tehran, they call us the little Satan; they call America the big Satan. You are their ultimate target, and you should not give such a terrorist regime the weapons of mass destruction.  Because I think the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. Here you have a militant Islamic state, Iran, arming itself with nuclear weapons and receiving a huge cash bonanza in the bargain.  That’s a mistake.

SF: The prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power is going to set off a nuclear arms race in this part of the world, is it not?

BN: It is. The greatest danger in this deal is not that Iran will violate the agreement.  That’s a danger — and it’s probably a certainty, given its record of cheating.  The fact is that within ten years Iran won’t have to violate anything; it can just walk into the bombs. Into many bombs.  The Iranians are openly saying that they won’t have the 6,000 centrifuges they’re allowed under this deal, they can have 190,000 centrifuges. Which is a vast amount.

They’ll be able to take yellow cake, put it into those centrifuges, spin it and make the material needed for nuclear bombs within weeks–and on a vast scale. And they don’t have to violate the agreement. They merely have to keep it to get a nuclear arsenal.

And that’s why countries in the region — Iran’s Arab neighbors and others — are saying, “Well, if Iran is going to be given a license to produce an atomic bomb arsenal, then we have to do that, too.”  So this deal will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East tinderbox.

And, you know, this could be the deal that will be the ultimate nuclear proliferator, that more than anything else in history will cause the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That’s bad news for everyone.

SF: Iran clearly wants to become the dominant power in the Middle East. We see its proxies operating everywhere. Iran seems, ultimately, to have its eyes on Saudi Arabia’s oil, not to mention Iraq’s.

BN: And the holy places.

SF: And the holy places. Putting aside the nuclear issue, how do we counter Iran’s ambitions in the region, which have global implications?

BN: Well, don’t give Iran the $100 billion to $300 billion to fund its proxies and its own arms industry–its rockets, its drones and its submarines. Why give the most dangerous regime on Earth the power to further its aggression?  This is a big, big mistake.  So, the first thing is: Don’t give Iran the funds to multiply its aggression 10 times, 100 times over.

Second, resist Iran and its proxies.  Support your allies, support those who are resisting Iran.  And the principal ally, the best ally that the U.S. has in this region is Israel.  I think that America has no better friend than Israel, and Israel has no better friend than America. And we should stand together against Iranian aggression, and against ISIS’ aggression.  Both of them are our enemies.  You shouldn’t strengthen one and weaken the other; you should weaken both.

SF: What happens if Congress doesn’t derail this deal?

BN: We always have the right and the duty to protect ourselves against a regime that, while denying the Holocaust, is planning another Holocaust against the six million Jews of Israel. That will not happen. We won’t let it happen.

SF: Is this like the 1930s?

BN: No, it’s worse, because we have the example of the 1930s, which wasn’t available then.

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Sunni Arab leaders aghast at Iran deal. Saudis publicly blast it as “worse than the U.S. deal with North Korea” & warn deal will “wreak havoc in the Middle East.”

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2015 at 4:34 am
Saudi Prince Bandar is publicly blasting the deal with Iran as worse than the nuclear deal with North Korea.

Saudi Prince Bandar is publicly blasting the deal with Iran as worse than the nuclear deal with North Korea.

Sunni Arab leaders throughout the Middle East are aghast by the insane nuclear deal President Obama and the P5+1 powers have struck with Iran.

Many Sunni Arab leaders feel deeply threatened by a resurgent and increasingly violent Iranian government.

Now they also feel deeply betrayed — “thrown under the bus,” says one Arab analyst — by an increasingly weak American government that is clearly and rapidly retreating from the Middle East. (See here, here, here, and here.)

Egyptian, Jordanian, and Gulf leaders are privately stunned and angered by the recent moves of the Obama administration, especially with regards to Iran, yet they have also been cautious in their public comments.

The Saudis are a different story.

As I have reported in the past, the Saudis have been quietly working with the Sunni leadership of Pakistan to potentially buy nuclear warheads from the Paks if the world community didn’t find a way to cut off Iran’s pathway to The Bomb.

What’s more, as I have also reported on this blog, the Saudis have been quietly cooperating with Israel in recent years on contingency plans for a potential preemptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, should all peaceful options prove fruitless.

Now, in a highly rare development from an ally that almost never publicly criticizes the American government, one of Saudi Arabia’s most senior and respected leaders has chosen to publicly blast the Iran nuclear deal.

Writing a letter to the Washington Post from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (widely known as Prince Bandar) — the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. from 1981 to 2005 — warns that the current deal with Iran is far worse than the U.S. deal with North Korea which led to the Pyongyang building and testing nuclear warheads.

What’s more, Bandar warns that “Iran is a major player in the destabilization of the region” and that giving Tehran this clear path to the Bomb and billions in sanctions relief “will wreak havoc in the Middle East, which is already a disastrous environment.”

There is a real opportunity here for the next American president. A leader who knew what he was doing could rescind and repudiate this dangerous deal with Iran upon taking office in January 2017. He could also set about to work closely with this quiet but real emerging alliance between Israel and several Sunni Arab powers to seriously and effectively confront not only the Iran nuclear threat but the growing ISIS threat to the region, as well.

[For more, see my column in February, “Amidst Obama retreat from Mideast, three regional leaders are forming a quiet but fiercely determined alliance against Iran & ISIS. Israeli PM Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah II & Egyptian President el-Sisi face high stakes. Will they succeed?”]

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Here is the text of the Bandar letter in full:

“Pundits are saying that President Obama’s Iran deal stirs deja vu of President Clinton’s 1994 North Korean nuclear deal. I humbly disagree. President Clinton made his decision based on a strategic foreign policy analysis, top-secret intelligence and a desire to save the people of North Korea from starvation induced by its leadership.

“It turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong. If Mr. Clinton had known about the major intelligence failure, he would have made a different decision.

“Mr. Obama made his decision on the Iran nuclear deal aware that the strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information and intelligence from U.S. allies in the region predict a worse outcome than in North Korea — and Iran will have access to billions of dollars.

“This deal will wreak havoc in the Middle East, which is already a disastrous environment. Iran is a major player in the destabilization of the region.

“Why would Mr. Obama go ahead with such a deal with Iran? It is definitely not because Mr. Obama is not smart enough, because he is. He must believe that what he is doing is right. Still, I am convinced that my good friend Henry Kissinger was correct when he said, “America’s enemies should fear America, but America’s friends should fear America more.”

“People in my region now are relying on God’s will and consolidating their local capabilities and analyses with everyone except our oldest and most powerful ally.”

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Iran’s president goes on TV to tell his nation Iran got everything it wanted from nuclear deal and much more.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2015 at 4:01 am
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is publicly boasting how Iran got everything it wanted from the deal and much, much more.

Here are excerpts of a televised speech he delivered to the nation on July 14th:

  • “Our objective was to have the nuclear program and have sanctions lifted.
  • “At first they wanted us to have 100 centrifuges; now we will have 6,000.
  • “They wanted restrictions of 25 years; now it’s 8.
  • “First they said we could only have IR1 centrifuges, now we can have IR6, 7 and 8, advanced centrifuges.
  • “[At first they said our] heavy water plant at Arak had to be dismantled; but now it will remain with heavy water under conditions.
  • “[At first they said the nuclear facility at] Fordo had to be closed; now we will have 1,000 centrifuges there….
  • “In future days when UNSC comes with new resolution, all 6 of their previous resolutions will be lifted….
  • “Honorable Iranian nationals, all sanctions, including on missiles, will be lifted on days of implementation. Not suspended, lifted!
  • “Today is the end of oppressive sanctions. The chain of sanctions is broken….
  • “Today people in Lebanon and Palestine are happy because Zionists have tried to block this deal but failed….
  • “Oh great nation of Iran this is the beginning of a new movement, I tell you!”

These remarks were reported via Twitter by Thomas Erdbrink, the New York Times’ correspondent in Tehran.

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World strikes final “historic” nuclear deal with Iran. Will it bring peace, or war? Here are my initial thoughts.

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Delegates from Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States in Vienna on Tuesday after reaching an accord.   Credit Carlos Barria/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images  (NYT)

Delegates from Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States in Vienna on Tuesday after reaching an accord.
Credit Carlos Barria/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images (NYT)

(Central Israel) — Lynn and I flew back home to Israel today, and arrived just as the news was breaking that the international community has struck a final nuclear deal with Iran.

Will it bring peace, or war? I am still reading through the 100-page agreement and will have more analysis later. But here are a few initial comments and observations.

President Obama and his team are convinced they have cut off Iran’s path to The Bomb and that the world will now enter a season of peace and stability. “Today after two years of negotiation the United States together with the international community has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the president said.

The Iranian leadership is euphoric — they are calling the agreement “historic,” and celebrating their victory over the West. No wonder. They got nearly everything they wanted and gave up no serious concessions. Under this deal, Iran can continue enriching uranium. They don’t have to dismantle any nuclear facilities — not a single one. They don’t have to shut down their ballistic missile factories or dismantle any of their ballistic missiles. They don’t have to promise to stop funding and supporting international terrorism. They don’t have to release a single American citizen held in Iran — not Pastor Saeed or the Washington Post reporter on trial for his life or any of the others. The list goes on and on.

The Israeli government is also calling the deal historic — “a stunning historic mistake.” In the car ride from the airport to our home, Lynn and I listened to a live radio broadcast of Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing the nation. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction.”
  • “This deal repeats the mistakes made with North Korea. There too we were assured that inspections and verifications would prevent a rogue regime from developing nuclear weapons. And we all know how that ended.”
  • “In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing.”
  • “Amazingly, this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive behavior in any way. And just last Friday, that aggression was on display for all to see. While the negotiators were closing the deal in Vienna, Iran’s supposedly moderate president chose to go to a rally in Tehran and at this rally, a frenzied mob burned American and Israeli flags and chanted ‘Death to America, Death to Israel!’ Now, this didn’t happen four years ago. It happened four days ago.”

Does Netanyahu’s remarks signal military action against Iran is coming, and/or coming soon? That’s not clear. But it cannot be ruled out. Israeli leaders certainly want to find a way to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat without using force. But Israel has successfully used preemptive air strikes to destroy two foreign nuclear facilities over the years, in Iraq in 1981, and in Syria in 2007. The possibility of an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran has just gone up significantly.

Readers of this blog know that I wrote a trilogy of political thrillers several years ago — The Twelfth Imam, The Tehran Initiative, and Damascus Countdown — imagining what might happen if a foolish American President inadvertently allowed Iran to secretly build a small arsenal of nuclear weapons, and an Israeli Prime Minister decided he had no other option than to launch a massive preemptive strike against Iran. Still, that was fiction. I pray that nothing in those novels will come to pass. I certainly don’t wish for a war with Iran, especially now that my family and I live in Israel. Indeed, I’m praying for a peaceful resolution to this mounting crisis, and I’m asking the Lord to move mightily to bring down this evil regime in Tehran and end the nuclear threat through any means other than war. But the Lord may allow a war to come. Leaders in this region — both Israeli and Arab — may conclude a preemptive war soon would be far preferable to a nuclear war with Iran later. So we must be ready for whatever comes next. I hope you will join me in praying for “the peace of Jerusalem,” as the Psalmist commands us in Psalm 122:6. Pray, too, for wisdom for the leaders in this region to know how best to deal with this challenge. And pray that the people and leaders of the region turn to the Lord for His wisdom and His grace and salvation, not their own.

Again, I will post more analysis in the days ahead as I work my way through the agreement, and as we see how other leaders and nations react to the deal. For now, let me share with you what the former head of Israeli military intelligence noted in assessing the situation: “There are three likely scenarios for where the world goes from here,” notes Amos Yadlin.

  1. Iran somehow transforms itself into a less malign state and constructively engages with the family of nations. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely.
  2. Iran decides in a few years to renege on its commitments, as North Korea did in 2003. If Tehran calculates that the gains of this approach outweigh the retaliation it would provoke by the West, there is no doubt they will go for the bomb. Israel and the international community must maintain a credible military option at all times to stop Iran producing a nuclear weapon.
  3. Iran plays it safe, keeping to the letter if not the spirit of the agreement, while waiting for any restrictions on it to expire in a decade. While doing this, Iran improves its technological know-how, continues to sponsor terrorism, and calls for the destruction of Israel.

“The deal and the lifting of sanctions on Tehran will pour more than $100 billion into Iran,” notes Yadlin. “Even a fraction of that sum will triple the budgets of terrorists such as Assad, Hizbullah and Hamas.”

He adds: “Israel learned long ago that taking out a nuclear program doesn’t equate to war.”

Developing……

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Israel, Iran & ISIS: What’s next? (I’ll be speaking about this in Denver on August 6th)

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Joel-ThirdTarget(Washington, D.C.) —  With events moving so rapidly in Israel and the Islamic world — and a serious and growing rupture between the Obama administration and the government of Israel — it is vital that we truly understand the times, and the future, from a Biblical perspective. What’s more, we need to understand what God is asking of each of us, and be faithful to the task.

On Thursday evening, August 6th, I’ll be speaking on these issues in the Denver, Colorado area. The topic of my address will be, “Israel, Iran & ISIS — What’s Next?” I hope you will join us.

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents (Len and Mary Rosenberg) started around 15 years ago. It provides architectural services at no charge to evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show and share the love of Jesus. Before I speak, my folks will share a bit about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry in various parties of the world, including Africa and Asia. Then I will discuss the latest developments in the epicenter. I’m especially looking forward to your questions as that is my favorite part of the evening.

The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm. Doors will open at 6:15pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com. Please join us — I hope to see you there!

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What are the implications of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision? Four key things to consider.

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2015 at 6:09 pm
The latest polls show nearly 60% of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage. (graphic credit: Five-Thirty-Eight)

The latest polls show nearly 60% of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage. (graphic credit: Five-Thirty-Eight)

(Washington, D.C.) — What are the implications of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday to make same-sex marriage a Constitutionally-protected civil right? Is the Court’s decision to change the definition of marriage really such a big deal, or are Christians hyperventilating over the issue for nothing?

Unfortunately, yes, this is a very big deal, and it puts America on a perilous path. Unless we change course soon, this could accelerate the nation’s judgment and implosion.

Let me walk through four key things Christians ought consider at this critical time.

First, the Supreme Court is overreaching its Constitutional authority, and is thus undermining its own legitimacy and pouring gasoline on a highly-politicized issue that will deeply divide Americans for years to come.

If the Constitution even mentioned the word “marriage,” the Court might theoretically have the right to address the subject. But the word is never mentioned in the text. Thus, the Framers of the Constitution never intended the federal government to define or regulate marriage. The 10th Amendment plainly states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So the issue must be left to the people and the States.

The 14th Amendment does not provide the Court the authority to redefine marriage and cannot be used to create a Constitutional right to a same-sex marriage. “In 1972, in a moment of lucidity, the Supreme Court rejected a 14th Amendment-based appeal on gay marriage,” notes a legal scholar at George Mason University. “The case sprang to life when a gay man attempted to obtain a marriage license in Minnesota. The Supreme Court of Minnesota rejected all of the Constitutional arguments made by the Plaintiff. The U.S. Supreme Court found a ‘want of federal jurisdiction’ in rejecting the appeal.”

Tragically, by overreaching its Constitutional authority, the current Court is undermining its own legitimacy. It is also taking an already-incendiary cultural issue and throwing gasoline on a growing political fire.

Second, the Court’s ruling forces 320 million Americans to embrace overnight a radical reengineering of the entire social compact of marriage that even some of the nation’s most liberal political leaders strongly opposed just a few years ago.

For more than 5,000 years, Judeo-Christian civilization has been built on the definition of marriage as one man and one woman in a sacred compact before God, creating a family that can bear children and raise them with the loving care of a father and a mother. Now, five unelected Justices of the Court are undermining the fundamental building block of healthy, stable Western civilization with no idea what the down-stream implications and ramifications will be.

Until recently, even some of America’s most liberal political leaders were opposed to this radical social experiment. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage,” then-Senator Barack Obama said on MTV during the 2008 presidential campaign. “Marriage has historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” said Hillary Clinton in 1999, explaining why she supported the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (with a one-man-one-woman definition of marriage) that was signed into law by her husband, President Bill Clinton. Obviously, both President Obama and Mrs. Clinton have since changed their positions. In doing so, they and the five Supreme Court Justices who back their position are now putting people who still hold the position they once professed to hold in the position of being attacked as “bigots” and “haters” and “civil rights violators.”

Third, the Court’s ruling opens the door for a frontal and massive assault on religious liberty. Christians all over the country who hold to the Biblical definition of marriage are beginning to be taken to court and fined — some are even in danger of losing their businesses and their homes — if they do not agree to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, or cater such weddings, or take photographs at such weddings, and so forth. Other Americans are being subjected to government-mandated “sensitivity training” for not helping homosexuals celebrate their lifestyle. Still other Americans are being fired from their jobs for holding and teaching the Biblical principles of marriage.

For example, “the owners of an Oregon bakery learned [in April] that there is a severe price to pay for following their Christian faith,” reported the New York Post. “A judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recommended a lesbian couple should receive $135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering after Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to make them a wedding cake. As a result – Aaron and Melissa Klein could lose everything they own — including their home.” (For some other examples, see here, here, here, here and here.)

The assaults on religious freedoms that are happening with growing frequency at the local and state level could now explode at the national level. The First Amendment to the Constitution plainly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But the Court’s ruling seems to put the un-enumerated “civil right” of a same-sex marriage above the enumerated right of religious freedom. Thus, the ruling now appears to give the federal government the power to force Christians, Jews and other religious people to embrace, sanction, support and serve same-sex marriage ceremonies — and embrace and support, or at least not oppose, homosexual marriage and lifestyles — or risk being sued or prosecuted for federal civil rights violations.

The Obama administration’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., was asked directly by Justice Samuel Alito during oral arguments in the latest same-sex marriage case whether Christian colleges and universities and other religious institutions who oppose gay marriage could lose their federal tax exempt status by continuing to teach Biblical marriage. Verrilli’s answer was as troubling as it was revealing. “You know, ­­I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue,” said Verrilli. “I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is – it is going to be an issue.” This suggests the federal government could soon try to force religious schools, churches and other institutions to actively support homosexual marriage or risk severe civil and possibly criminal sanctions. 

Those Christians who say, “Let’s live and let live — just let homosexuals marry whomever they want and don’t make such a big deal of this issue,” are, unfortunately, being naïve. Many in the homosexual community — certainly the gay political activists — are not content with the mere legalization of same-sex marriage. They want to force the rest of the country to embrace and support them. Thus, they and their supporters in Washington will likely move aggressively to criminalize the Biblical definition of marriage and to severely penalize those who teach and follow it.

Fourth and most troubling, the Court has acted in direct and brazen defiance of the Word of God — and as painful as it is for me to say it, this will likely accelerate us towards judgment if America does not soon change course.

God, not government, created marriage. Indeed, God defined marriage in the very first book of the Bible (Genesis 2:23-24) as a sacred union between one man and one woman. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ reaffirmed this Biblical definition of marriage. Jesus said, “‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Nevertheless, five unelected Justices have willfully moved to redefine what the Lord God Almighty Himself ordained. At the same time, nearly 60% of Americans tell pollsters that they support the legalization of same-sex marriage, up from about 12% in 1988 (and up sharply just in the past few years). Thus, while these five Justices bear much responsibility, they are acting in the will of nearly six-out-of-ten Americans.

Tragically, this is not the first time the Court has gotten a major policy issue wrong, or the first time it has acted in defiance of the Word of God. In 1973, the Court ruled in the Roe v. Wade abortion case that Americans had a Constitutionally-protected right to murder their unborn children. This was a morally unconscionably decision which has led directly to the death of more than 57 million children as well as terrible emotional and spiritual pain and suffering for millions of women. The Court’s decision to undermine Biblical marriage and attack religious liberty will also lead to great sadness and suffering, not freedom and joy as its supporters contend.

The members of the Supreme Court have forgotten they are not truly the highest or “supreme” court in the land. There is a higher authority, and there is a grave cost to defying the Supreme Judge of the universe.

In Romans 1:18-32, the Apostle Paul warns societies that turn away from God and His Word. Three times in this passage, the Apostle warns that God will allow societies that rebellious against Him to slide deep into heterosexual and homosexual sin, along with many other sinful practices. Indeed, God vows to turn such societies over to debauchery if they will not repent, and He warns that such societies will, in time, face judgment and the “wrath of God.”

These are some of the reasons I wrote the non-fiction book, Implosion, in 2012, because I’m deeply concerned that we are on a fast-track towards judgment unless we repent and radically change course. And as I wrote in the book, it is the responsibility of those who love God and follow the Bible to lovingly and clearly explain to individuals, societies and entire nations what God says in the Bible, what He offers mankind, and what He requires of us, and the grave consequences of refusing to listen to or obey the Lord and His Word. It is not our job to force people to obey Christ, or to be unkind or angry towards those who deny Him. Rather, it is our job to “hold fast the faithful Word,” even to a society that won’t listen.

How then should Christians respond to the latest developments?

The Court’s latest decision must not lead Christians to anger or hatred or violence.

Rather:

  1. Let us be moved to brokenness before God, to deep repentance and to ceaseless prayer — many Americans don’t take God and His Word seriously because they don’t see Christians taking God and His Word seriously; for this and much else we need to repent and ask God to show mercy us and forgive us.
  2. Let us plead with our Father in heaven to pour out His Holy Spirit and grant us a massive spiritual revival within the Church that will draw us back to a close walk with Christ and faithful obedience to the Word of God.
  3. Let us keep become far more faithful to teach and preach the Word of God, the “whole counsel of God,” and clearly and lovingly explain to all people the Gospel — the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness for all who will turn to Christ — and not be intimidated into silence.
  4. Let us plead with the Lord to grant a Great Awakening to America at large — as we preach (and live) the Gospel, let us pray that God chooses to move so powerfully that millions of lost, unsaved people repent and turn to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and Redeemer of their lives, marriages and families.
  5. Let us always be gracious and kind to those who disagree with us (on the marriage issue and/or other Biblical issues), constantly seeking to obey Christ’s command to “love your neighbor” and to “pray for those who persecute you.”

Here are some other excellent resources and suggestions as we enter this dark period in our nation’s history:

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