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To defeat ISIS, we need to retake Iraq & cut the Caliphate in half. (My radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on Apocalyptic Islam)

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2016 at 1:04 pm

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(Washington, D.C.) — Over the course of the last month, as I’ve been traveling across the country on The First Hostage book tour, people have been consistently asking me a series of excellent questions:

  1. How do we defeat ISIS?
  2. What should the Obama administration be doing that it isn’t?
  3. If this administration can’t or won’t get the job done, what should the next President do?
  4. Should we send a ground force into Syria?
  5. What about the ancient Islamic prophecies that the West will get slaughtered in the Syrian town of Dabiq?

On Wednesday afternoon, I was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on his nationally syndicated talk show host. I have grown to respect Hugh as a serious thinker as well as an excellent interviewer, both on radio and in his role helping to moderate the CNN presidential debates. Hugh, a devout Christian and a skilled lawyer, reads voraciously and has an insatiable hunger to learn. Often when I’m in Israel, I enjoy listening to the podcast of his interviews not only with the presidential candidates but with key experts on foreign policy and national security matters.

During our conversation about The First Hostage — my last interview on this book tour — we discussed each of these questions, as well as how I write novels and do my research. You can listen to the podcast of the full interview by clicking here.

That said, here’s a slightly more detailed explanation of my view on how to defeat ISIS:

  1. Yes, a coalition of U.S., Iraqi, Kurdish, Jordanian, Egyptian, and other Sunni Arab military forces can and must crush the Islamic State. This is a winnable war, but not with the current strategy of half-measures, pinprick bombings, and political tough talk not backed up by a serious military approach to win.
  2. What the Obama administration should be doing is pursuing a “Take Back Iraq First” approach. Since the first Gulf war in 1991, and then with the war to liberate Iraq in 2003, followed by the surge strategy in 2006-2008, the American people have identified Iraq has a strategically important country to us. Getting Iraq right matters. We have invested heavily in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein and from the clutches of al Qaeda and other Radical Islamic terror groups. Withdrawing all our forces in December 2011 was a terrible and foreseeable error. It created a vacuum that ISIS exploited. Now we’re seeing genocide against Christians and Yazidis by the Islamic State, the wicked fruit of Apocalyptic Islam. Thus, the goal now must be to re-take Iraq — and cut the Caliphate in half — using decisive military force. We likely need 20,000 to 40,000 U.S. boots on the ground, primarily special forces. We need to heavily arm the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. We need to strengthen the Iraqi military. We need to increase arms (and humanitarian aid and other economic assistance) to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, our most faithful Sunni Arab ally in the region. We also need to work closely with Egypt, the Saudis and the Gulf States and get their active participation. The mission: to storm across northern Iraq, crush ISIS wherever they are found, liberate Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — set the captives free, crush ISIS once and for all, and drive whatever remains of the terror group back into Syria. This could likely be done by the end of 2016 if the U.S. took the lead and was fully committed to victory. By cutting the Caliphate in half, it would deal a serious blow to ISIS morale and their sense that they are invincible.
  3. If President Obama won’t pursue such a strategy, then we need to elect an American President who understands the threat of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam and has the courage and wisdom to fight to win, beginning with re-taking Iraq.
  4. No, I don’t believe we should send U.S. ground forces into Syria. That Arab nation is imploding. It’s engaged in a Hellish civil war. Now the Russians and Iranians are fighting there on behalf of Bashar al-Assad and his evil regime. There are no good options. There are no rationale leaders that we can identify at this point who could truly govern the country in a civilized way, even if we could defeat ISIS, remove Assad, and pacify the civil war. Syria is a hornets’ nest. My heart breaks for the people of Syria. The U.S. and other world powers need to help Jordan and Lebanon care for the millions of Syrian refugees that have flooded their borders. We should not take Syrian refugees into the U.S. because we cannot vet them and determine who is a terrorist and who is not. We should use air power to consistently degrade ISIS forces, infrastructure, oil reserves, and so forth. But we should not launch a ground force into a country that we have no plan — or ability — at this point to truly rescue.
  5. While there are many reasons at this point not to launch a ground war into Syria, fear of ancient Islamic prophecies about an end of the world battle in Dabiq is not on the list. Those are false prophecies. ISIS is driven by them. But they are not Biblical prophecies. They are not based on truth. They are based on false teaching. We needn’t fear false teaching and false prophecy. Since we can degrade ISIS in Dabiq (and Raqqa, and elsewhere) from the air, that’s what we should do for now. Once we have worked with our Sunni Arab allies in the region to re-take Iraq, and degrade ISIS forces in Syria from the air, then we can re-evaluate and develop the next phase of our strategy. But while we need to understand how Apocalyptic, genocidal, Islamic eschatology motivates ISIS leaders, we need not hesitate confronting them because of their apocalypse-addled thinking.

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32 reasons a Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for America.

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2016 at 9:31 pm

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UPDATE: I ask my readers who are devout Christians to be praying (even fasting) all day today. Gather with family and friends to pray for God to show mercy on America, to sovereignly guide the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, and to raise up a humble, strong, wise, Christ-centered leader who has the vision and courage to help turn America around and get us going in the right direction. Above all, this is a spiritual battle for the soul of America. Please be engaged in faithful prayer. The future of the country hangs in the balance.

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(Washington, D.C.) — The voting starts Monday, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Two out of three Americans know we are on the wrong track, going in the wrong direction. We are heading steadily towards implosion. We’ve murdered some 58 million babies. We have five Justices on the Supreme Court who have decided that the Bible is wrong and they know better than God how to define marriage. We have taken on $18 trillion in debt and there’s no end in sight. We are surrendering to Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and ISIS. Our tax code is corruptingly complex and killing jobs and opportunity. We can’t — or won’t — control our sovereign borders. Our schools are a mess. Violence, drugs and pornography are epidemic. The list goes on and on.

Americans are hurting, frustrated, and many are angry. The question is: Who can get us turned around and heading in the right direction? Can anyone?

As I wrote on this blog last August, I’ve been praying about this and studying the Scriptures for many months, asking the Lord for clarity, and here is what I have concluded — America needs a Josiah. A President cannot save America from all our troubles, but leadership matters. Above all, we need a sweeping spiritual revival throughout the Church, based on the principles found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We need a Great Awakening among those who don’t know Christ personally. We need God to wake up a lost nation from their spiritual slumber to earnestly seek the Lord for individual and national forgiveness and restoration. I’m praying for such sovereign moves of God.

At the same time, I’m praying God raises up a President like Josiah, the one-time King of Judah whom the Bible describes as one of the most humble, strong, wise and impressive leaders of all-time. Obviously, we don’t want a theocracy. So I don’t literally mean America needs a king. And I’m not saying America needs a Pastor-in-Chief or a Theologian-In-Chief. We’re not looking for someone perfect. That will have to await the Second Coming. But before you vote, I strongly encourage you to read the Biblical accounts of Josiah. I believe you will find qualities in his life, his faith, his leadership and his passion for and commitment to making bold, sweeping, transformational change that are benchmarks of the kind of leader we need right now.

Will the Lord have mercy on our nation and raise up a Josiah? I honestly don’t know. We don’t deserve one. The Lord would be justified in turning us over to those who are corrupt and/or those who could lead us to tyranny. That said, I do see several possible candidates who — even with their weaknesses and flaws — could emerge as such a leader, especially with much prayer and wise counselors around them. They include (in alphabetical order) Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. In a previous column, I described them as the “Final Four” that I was watching closely. Will one of them emerge over the next few weeks as the leading candidate in the presidential race? We will see.

That said, I have to be honest with my readers that there is one candidate on the Republican side who is definitely not a Josiah. Donald J. Trump is currently the national front-runner in the GOP, and is leading the pack in Iowa. But he would be a catastrophe for America should he be elected President.

Mr. Trump is trying to convince the GOP and the country that he is a deeply committed conservative. But all the evidence says he has been a liberal all of his adult life. Even if he has recently changed his views, all we have is his word. There is very little fruit in his life that would indicate that he has had a true change of heart on matters of faith or policy. Indeed, he has said openly that he does not need to repent or ask God for forgiveness.

It would be a mistake to entrust the entire pro-life, pro-marriage movement to a man who has blown up two marriages of his own, boasts of his infidelities, runs gambling an strip clubs, has supported abortion on demand and Planned Parenthood for decades, and talks of appointing his own pro-choice sister to the Supreme Court. It would be a disaster to entrust the economy to a man who has proposed both the biggest tax cut in history (with no plan to pay for it) and the biggest tax increase in history. Further, it would be a catastrophe to entrust the security of our nation and our allies to a man who has no foreign policy and national security experience, who clearly doesn’t understand the threat of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam, and who says he gets his military advice from watching Sunday TV talk show.

In some ways, Mr. Trump reminds me of the Biblical figure, Sampson — blind and ready to bring the house down. But perhaps the analogy to Saul, Israel’s first king, is more apt. Read the account in I Samuel chapter eight through fifteen. The people demanded that the Hebrew prophet Samuel “appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (I Samuel 8:5) The rebellious people didn’t want God to lead them. They wanted a king of their own choosing, someone that would make Israel seem like all the pagan nations around them, someone to “go out before us and fight our battles.” (I Samuel 8:20). In short order, the people made a man named Saul their king. They didn’t study his character or his track record or his statements or his views on how to lead them. They chose “a choice and handsome man” who was “taller than any of the people” and was the son of a “mighty man of valor.” (I Samuel 9:1-2). Why? Because Saul looked the part.

Samuel, the Hebrew prophet, was horrified. But in the end, the Lord said, “Listen to the voice of the people…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” (I Samuel 8:7) The Lord then explained how much this foolish decision would cost His people, but He let them make their choice anyway. And it did not go well.

Is this where America is heading?

I realize some — maybe many — of my readers will be angry at what I’m writing. But I have to be honest with my readers about the enormous threat Mr. Trump poses to all that we hold dear. His arrogance, narcissism, greed and lack of respect for women, minorities, and anyone who disagrees with him disqualifies him to be President of the United States. I do pray for Mr. Trump that he will either truly come to personal relationship with Christ through repentance and faith, or — if he has already made that decision — will humbly seek discipleship and grow in his new faith. But even if he’s a new convert, he is not ready to be president.

Thus, I am deeply concerned that so many professed Evangelical Christians are supporting Mr. Trump. Perhaps they haven’t looked carefully at his life, his statements, his record, his leadership, his allies, and his flip-flops.

Here are 32 reasons a Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for America. Each is a direct headline, based on specific statements by Mr. Trump. (There are many more. But this is plenty for reasonable people to consider.) Please carefully review this, and please share it with family, friends and others on social media.

  1. Trump: I could “shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” (CNN) — “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
  2. Trump on God: ‘I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness’
  3. Trump: I’ve Never Asked God For Forgiveness For Anything [VIDEO] 
  4. Donald Trump Would Not Rip Up The Iran Deal
  5. Trump: Don’t Just Kill ISIS — Kill Their Wives and Children
  6. Trump: I Get My Military Advice from Watching TV Talk Shows
  7. Donald Trump Doesn’t Quite Know the Difference Between the ‘Kurds’ and the ‘Quds’
  8. Putin endorses Trump
  9. Donald Trump lavishes praise on ‘leader’ Putin — Trump on Putin’s alleged killing of journalists: ‘At least he’s a leader’
  10. Trump Tax Plan Would Increase Deficit By Over $10 Trillion
  11. TRUMP: Let’s slap a 45% tariff on Chinese imports
  12. Trump proposes massive one-time tax on the rich (in 1999)Donald Trump Once Proposed the Biggest Tax Hike Ever
  13. Trump Pushes Single Payer Healthcare, Tax Increase on Wealthy
  14. On Meet The Press in 1999, Trump said “I’m pro-choice in every respect” and supported partial birth abortion
  15. Trump says his pro-abortion sister would make ‘phenomenal’ Supreme Court justice
  16. Donald Trump Defends Planned Parenthood
  17. Donald Trump waffles on totally defunding Planned Parenthood
  18. Anti-Abortion Leaders To Iowa Republicans: ‘Anyone But Trump’
  19. Of Course Donald Trump Is the Most Pro-Gay Republican Presidential Candidate (Slate)
  20. Trump gave at least $100K to Clinton Foundation
  21. Donald Trump Donated Heavily To Democrats, Especially During Election Which Put Reid And Pelosi In Power
  22. Trump: If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, I’d be dating her (The View)
  23. Trump says his own personal ‘indiscretions’ – including cheating on his first wife – are fair game in politics (UK Daily Mail)
  24. GOP senator: ‘Weird’ that Trump brags about affairs (CNN)
  25. Trump casino in Atlantic City to open strip club
  26. 18 Real Things Donald Trump Has Said About Women
  27. The Real Donald: Excerpts from Trump’s books on women, marriage, sex and more. (Huffington Post)
  28. Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S. [NOTE: What about peaceful Muslims? What about our Muslim allies like Jordan’s King Abdullah II or Egypt’s President el-Sisi? What about Muslims who are providing the U.S. with intelligence on our enemies?]
  29. Rick Perry: Donald Trump Is Disrespectful To Mexicans & Mexican Americans.
  30. Glenn Beck Slams Donald Trump For Joking About Killing Journalists
God have mercy on each of us, and on this great country of ours.
[This column is based on my personal beliefs and opinions. I share them in my personal capacity as an American citizen and an author. They do not reflect the views of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit organization and takes no political or legislative positions.]

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Debate Analysis: This is fast becoming a three-way race between Trump, Cruz & Rubio. Here’s why. (Fascinating to see “apocalyptic” Islam mentioned repeatedly during the debate.)

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2016 at 7:23 pm

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(Ft. Myers, Florida) — Who is ready to lead us in 2017 and beyond?

That’s the central question, and last night I watched the presidential debates very carefully, trying to determine which of the candidates truly understand the nature and magnitude of the threats we face and who is best prepared to handle such threats.

Last November, I wrote that for me the field had narrowed to a “Final Four” — the two young Cuban conservatives (Cruz and Rubio), and the two previous Iowa caucus winners (Huckabee and Santorum). Thus, last night I watched these four most closely.

Here are my observations:

  • First, the debates were so much better — more spirited, more engaging, more substantive and policy-focused — without the presence of Mr. Trump.
  • Neither front-runner in the race — Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton — will protect unborn children, promote and defend Biblical marriage, appoint conservative jurists to the Supreme Court, or protect us from Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islam. Clinton is openly opposed to such objectives. Mr. Trump says he’s a recent convert to conservatism, but there’s little if any evidence to substantiate the change.
  • Mrs. Clinton fully supports President Obama’s failed policies towards Iran and ISIS.
  • Mr. Trump says that he will not rip up the Iran deal.
  • Now, on to the Final Four….
  • In the first debate, Santorum continued to show that he has a strong grasp of the threats posed by Iran and ISIS and has two decades of experience preparing him to neutralize those threats. His answers on these matters were clear, convincing and I have no doubt he would make an excellent Commander-in-Chief were the country to give him the responsibility.
  • Huckabee was solid on life, marriage, religious freedom and the importance of reforming the tax code to help Blue Collar Americans and create millions of new jobs, as was Santorum. Huckabee made the case for a national sales tax. Santorum made the case for his 20% flat tax.
  • At one point, one of the Fox anchors tried to imply that Santorum’s pro-life credentials were in question because he didn’t attend the March For Life in Washington. That was ridiculous, and Carly Fiorina was classy in her defense of Santorum’s unimpeachable pro-life record. Good for her.
  • I am deeply grateful for Santorum and Huckabee for their faithfulness to the cause. They have always been there for Evangelicals and Catholics to fight for the things that matter most. They both love Israel deeply. They aren’t afraid to speak out against Islamic extremism and other threats at home and abroad. They have both been unfairly treated by the media, and relegated to the back of the pack. But they acquitted themselves well at the debate, as they always do.
  • That said, I was disappointed that both men chose to go to Mr. Trump’s event.
  • Mr. Trump is a lifelong liberal. He has no national security or foreign policy experience. He promotes all kinds of flawed and crazy ideas. He would be dangerous for the country if he was elected. No one should be standing with him. No one should be supporting him, or legitimizing him, especially two former caucus winners.
  • Sen. Cruz put in a solid performance at the second debate. He made an aggressive case for the flat tax and economic growth. He was clear in his opposition to Radical Islam and argued that as Commander-in-Chief he would be strong in dealing with the ISIS and Iran threats. He argued that the U.S. military is being hollowed out by President Obama and must be rebuilt, which is all too true. However, he was challenged by several who say Cruz has repeatedly against the U.S. defense budgets. Unfortunately, Cruz didn’t give a clear answer as to why he has cast such votes.
  • Overall, Cruz was well prepared on the issues and didn’t make any major mistakes.
  • However, given that Cruz is such a highly accomplished debater, he did not dominate or deliver the knock out punch I expected. Indeed, overall he seemed a bit quieter and less commanding than he has in previous debates.
  • Rubio, by comparison, had an exceptional night. He demonstrated a seriousness on all the issues across the board, including life and faith and religious liberty.
  • Rubio was particularly impressive when it came to the issues of Iran and ISIS. Repeatedly, in fact, Rubio warned that Iran and ISIS are not typical threats but are driven by “Apocalyptic Islam” and thus more dangerous than most people realize.
  • “I believe only with a strong America will we defeat this radical group, this apocalyptic group called ISIS,” Rubio said early in the debate.
  • “ISIS is the most dangerous jihadist group in the history of mankind,” Rubio said later. “ISIS is now found in affiliates in over a dozen countries. ISIS is a group that burns people alive in cages; that sells off little girls as brides. ISIS is a group that wants to trigger an apocalyptic showdown in the city of Dabiq…in Syria. They want to trigger an apocalyptic Armageddon showdown.”
  • Still later in the debate, Rubio said, “let me first describe Iran because they’re not just a normal nation state. And we have no quarrel with the Iranian people. But the Iranian leader, their supreme leader is a radical Shia cleric who has an apocalyptic vision of the future.”
  • He’s absolutely right. I was impressed by Rubio’s command of these issues and his willingness to use describe this brand of Islam as “apocalyptic” to help the American people more precisely understand the nature of the threats we face.
  • So, where does that leave us?
  • Iowans vote in the caucuses on Monday night. The stakes are high and the drama is mounting. At this point, polls indicate that Mr. Trump is well out in front, and that Sen. Cruz has slipped out of the lead and is currently in second place. The polls also show Sen. Rubio is a distant third, though his numbers have been slowly inching up in recent months.
  • Trump and Cruz claim we now have a two-man race. Perhaps, but I’m not convinced that’s accurate. Not yet. I suspect we could see some dramatic surprises in the days and weeks ahead. Indeed, I have a sense that Rubio could surge in the final days.
  • Is it possible that Santorum or Huckabee will gain last minute traction? Yes, it’s possible one or the other will outperform the polls, and if that happens, that would be fascinating and highly unexpected given that the media has written them off.
  • If neither Huckabee nor Santorum surges, then neither likely has a path forward to the nomination and would most likely have to drop out soon.
  • If Trump wins Iowa, he could very well win New Hampshire. If he wins both, he becomes almost an unstoppable train and could theoretically wrap up the nomination very quickly.
  • If Cruz wins in Iowa, this would be a real blow to Trump who is convinced the entire country loves him and talks about his dominant position in the polls all the time. Cruz might then surge to a second place finish in New Hampshire and would be well positioned to win South Carolina. Cruz winning two of the first three states would give him a real head of steam going into the SEC primaries, though the establishment will try to do everything to crush him.
  • The X Factor is Rubio. If the Florida Senator continues to click upward in Iowa — and especially if he surges in these final days and hours going into the caucuses — he could surprise us.
  • This could rapidly become a three-man race: Trump (the liberal masquerading as a conservative) vs. Cruz vs. Rubio. Now that would be a fascinating race. Both Cruz and Rubio have flaws. But they also have real strengths and it would be healthy for two young, brilliant, conservative, Hispanic, Evangelical leaders compete to win the confidence of their party. It would be fascinating to see one of them then compete against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to lead the country after Mr. Obama’s second term is complete.
  • How will all this play out? I have no idea. But I believe every Evangelical Christian across the country and around the world should be praying faithfully for the Lord to raise up the leader who can turn this country around and get us heading in the right direction (i.e., a “Josiah.”) We need to pray, but we also need to act. We need to mobilize our family and friends to turn out to vote. If Christians stay home and cede the battlefield, then those who don’t share our values are going to win, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Here are key excerpts from the Thursday’s debate on the issue of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam:

SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I want to be frank about what I stand for. I believe the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest power in the world. And I believe only with a strong America will we defeat this radical group, this apocalyptic group called ISIS. That’s why when I’m president we are going to rebuild our intelligence capabilities. And they’re going to tell us where the terrorists are. And a rebuilt U.S. military is going to destroy these terrorists. And if we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we’re going to find out everything they know, because when I’m president, unlike Barack Obama, we will keep this country safe….

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FOX NEWS ANCHOR CHRIS WALLACE: Gentlemen, we’re now going to start to drill down into specific issues that are on voters’ minds. I’m going to start with one of the biggest ones, which is foreign terror. According to Google, ISIS was by far the most searched foreign policy topic over the last year. Senator Cruz, you talk tough about fighting terrorism. You talk about carpet bombing into oblivion. You talk about seeing if the sand will glow at night. But critics say that your record does not match up to that. You opposed giving President Obama authority to enforce his red line in Syria. Three years in a row now, you have voted against the Defense Authorization Act. How do you square your rhetoric with your record, sir?

SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, Chris, I will apologize to nobody for the vigorousness with which I will fight terrorism, go after ISIS, hunt them down wherever they are, and utterly and completely destroy ISIS. (APPLAUSE) You know, you claim it is tough talk to discuss carpet bombing. It is not tough talk. It is a different, fundamental military strategy than what we’ve seen from Barack Obama. Barack Obama right now, number one, over seven years, has dramatically degraded our military. You know, just two weeks ago was the 25th anniversary of the first Persian Gulf war. When that war began, we had 8,000 planes. Today, we have about 4,000. When that war began, we had 529 ships. Today, we have 272.

You want to know what carpet bombing is? It’s what we did in the first Persian Gulf war; 1,100 air attacks a day, saturation bombing that utterly destroyed the enemy. Right now, Barack Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. He’s not arming the Kurds. We need to define the enemy. We need to rebuild the military to defeat the enemy. And we need to be focused and lift the rules of engagement so we’re not sending our fighting men and women into combat with their arms tied behind their backs. (APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, does Senator Cruz’s record match his rhetoric?

RUBIO: Well, again, I mean, obviously, as already has been pointed out, the only budget that Ted has ever voted for is a budget that Rand Paul sponsored that brags about cutting defense spending. And I think that’s a bad idea for the following reason.

ISIS is the most dangerous jihadist group in the history of mankind. ISIS is now found in affiliates in over a dozen countries. ISIS is a group that burns people alive in cages; that sells off little girls as brides. ISIS is a group that wants to trigger an apocalyptic showdown in the city of Dabiq — not the city of Dubuque; I mis-said — mis-said that wrong once — the city of Dabiq in Syria. They want to trigger an apocalyptic Armageddon showdown.

This group needs to be confronted and defeated. They are not going to go away on their own. They’re not going to turn into stockbrokers overnight or open up a chain of car washes. They need to be defeated militarily, and that will take overwhelming U.S. force.

Today, we are on pace to have the smallest Army since the end of World War II, the smallest Navy in 100 years, the smallest Air Force in our history. You cannot destroy ISIS with a military that’s being diminished. When I’m president, we are rebuilding the U.S. military because the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest military in the world.

WALLACE: Senator Cruz, you’ve got 30 seconds. You were mentioned.

CRUZ: Chris, in 1981, when Ronald Reagan came to the Oval Office, he encountered a military that had been debilitated just as the current military has, just like Jimmy Carter weakened our readiness, undermined our ability to defend this country, so too has Barack Obama. Just as morale in the military has plummeted in the last seven, so it had then.

What Reagan did is he began with tax reform and regulatory reform, unleashing the engine of the American free enterprise system. It brought booming economic growth and that growth fueled rebuilding the military. I intend to do the exact same thing to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and to devote the resources from the booming economy to rebuilding our Navy, rebuilding our Air Force, rebuilding our Army and ensuring we have the capacity to keep this country safe.

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FOX NEWS ANCHOR BRET BAIER: Gentlemen, you’ve all said that the Iran nuclear deal is a bad one. Senator Rubio, you were among the candidates who’ve said you would tear it up on day one. But as you know, Iran has already received tens of millions of dollars — tens of billions of dollars in this deal and has quickly reestablished ties economically with Europe. The major concessions, in other words, are up front in this deal. So should you win by the time you take office, the remaining parts of the deal would be the constraints on Iran. So why blow up those constraints on day one, letting Iran off the hook?

RUBIO: Well, let me first describe Iran because they’re not just a normal nation state. And we have no quarrel with the Iranian people. But the Iranian leader, their supreme leader is a radical Shia cleric who has an apocalyptic vision of the future. He views himself not simply as the leader of Iran, but as the leader of all Muslims — all Shia Muslims on the planet. And they have a desire not simply to conquer the Middle East and to become the dominant power in that region, but ultimately to be able to hold America hostage.

That is why they’re building an — right now, developing long- range missiles capable of reaching the United States, and that is why there’s going — they’re going to use those $100 billion to expand their conventional capabilities and to one day buy or build a nuclear weapon.

We will — when I am president of the United States, on my first day in office, we are canceling the deal with Iran, and nations will have to make a choice. They can do business with Iran, or they can do business with America, and I am very confident they’re going to choose America before they choose the Iranian economy.

“The First Hostage” now 4th week on Publishers Weekly best-seller list.

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

PublishersWeekly-logo(Ft. Myers, Florida) — We’ve just learned that The First Hostage has hit the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list for the fourth week in a row. The thriller about the Islamic State plotting to capture and behead the President of the United States is presently #20 on the PW charts.

I’m encouraged that it’s resonating with so many readers, especially given that it’s competing against recently released novels by the biggest names in the fiction world, including John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks, and Danielle Steel, among a host of others.

Thank you so much to all of you who are reading and enjoying this new J.B. Collins series in the U.S., Canada and around the world! Thanks, too, to all of you who are reviewing the novel and spreading the word about the book on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. I’m deeply grateful for each of you.

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The Caliphate vs. The Kingdom. What is “the gospel of the kingdom” of Christ and why is it our hope in such dark times?

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2016 at 2:58 am

GospeloftheKingdomUPDATED: (Dallas, Texas) — This weekend here in Dallas, I taught Part #3 of a series of messages I’m delivering across the country this month on what Apocalyptic Islam is, why it’s a threat to us, and how the Church ought to respond.

Here are the links to my notes for the first two messages.

  1. Part #1 — What’s the difference between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology & Biblical eschatology? And why does it matter?
  2. Part #2 — ISIS waging war of genocide against Christians in the Mideast. New UN report provides chilling details.

Here at Prestonwood Baptist Church, I spoke on “The Caliphate Vs. The Kingdom.” I explained why Iranian and ISIS leaders are so fervent about the coming of their so-called messiah (the Mahdi) and their Islamic kingdom (the caliphate), and asked whether Christians are anywhere near as passionate about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His actual, literal, physical Kingdom on earth.

Over the last several years, I’ve been doing a personal study in the Scriptures on the whole notion of “the gospel of the kingdom.” What is the kingdom, exactly? Why is it a matter of good news for believers? How can anticipating the coming of the kingdom be a source of great hope in dark times? I have to say this study has been especially encouraging as I’ve been studying the caliphate and Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology. There are some similarities, but the contrasts are striking, and important.

What’s more, as we begin 2016 — as we begin the process of choosing the next President of the United States and so many other national leaders — we also need to have a deeper understanding of Christ’s kingdom. We need to constantly remember that the Lord is sovereign over our electoral process, that He may not give us the candidates want to win, and in fact He may allow horrible, corrupt, even dangerous leaders to win control of the United States. I hope not. I pray not. But should this happen, all the more we will need to understand “the gospel of the kingdom” and live with the hope that our King is coming soon to make all things right.

As soon as I can, I hope to post a link to the video or audio of the message. But for now, here some of the notes I used, particularly the Scriptures that formed the basis of the message. Please print them out and study them yourself, and as a couple and with your kids and your small group Bible study. And please feel free to share these notes with others on social media. Hope you find them helpful. God bless.

“THE CALIPHATE VS. THE KINGDOM” — sermon notes

  • As darkness falls over the world, and particularly over Middle East….
  • As the forces of freedom are in retreat….
  • As Iran’s Apocalyptic Islamic regime and its nuclear program is not neutralized but rather rewarded by the West and as the regime becomes even more aggressive….
  • As the forces of the Islamic State — also driven by Apocalyptic Islam

— wage a war of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria in order to hasten the establishment of their Islamic kingdom or caliphate and the coming of their so-called messiah, the Mahdi….

  • As our religious liberties here at home are under relentless assault…..
  • As Americans murder 58 million unborn babies and there seems no end in sight….
  • As our faith and our values are constantly trashed by our nation’s elites….
  • As Washington seems unable or unwilling to steer the ship of state back in the right direction….
  • As the two presidential front-runners give us little confidence they can or will turn the country in the right direction either….
  • And as many in the Church turn their back on Christ and His Word and His people….

It is important for followers of Jesus Christ to remember, to study more closely — and to preach faithfully and without hesitation– what the Bible calls “the gospel of the Kingdom.”

The good news is that we have a King. He is coming. He adopted us into His royal family. And He will reign forever. He will establish justice and righteousness. He will make all things right, and all things new. This is our hope in an increasing dark world. And we must hold fast to it now as never before.

THE HEBREW PROPHETS FORETOLD THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM

“One like a Son of Man was coming…up to the Ancient of Days….And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

“Behold, a day is coming when….the Lord will be King over all the earth; in that day, the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” (Zechariah 14:1,9)

“Behold the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he will reign as King and act wisely and do justice and rigtheousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders…There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the hrone of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with Justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this.”

(Isaiah 9:6-7)

JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” — John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2)

JESUS CHRIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 4:23)

“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:35-36)

JESUS’S DISCIPLES ARE TO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

  • “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” (Matthew 10:6-7)
  • “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

THE APOSTLE PAUL PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

  • “And he (Paul) entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8)
  • “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25-27)
  • “And he (Paul) stayed (in Rome) two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:30-31)

THE KINGDOM TO WHICH WE BELONG HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES

  • “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’…..Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels….These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46)

HOW DOES ONE ENTER THE KINGDOM?

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again He cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
  • “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
  • “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23)

ONCE WE RECEIVE CHRIST BY FAITH, WE ARE ADOPTED INTO THE ROYAL FAMILY AND THUS ENTER THE KINGDOM

  • “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will….In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:4,5,7,8)
  • “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession…” (I Peter 2:9)
  • “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth….He has made us to be a kingdom.״ (Revelation 1:5-6)

LET US SEEK TO UNDERSTAND AND SERVE THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM

  • “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
  • “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” (Matthew 13:11)
  • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21)
  • “To these (apostles) He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “Blessed are the gentle/meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
  • “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:11)

LET US PRAY FOR THE KINGDOM TO COME

  • “Pray, then, this way: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

THE KINGDOM IS NOW, AND NOT YET

  • Matthew 13:11 — “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”
  • NOW: The Kingdom of God came in a spiritual form when Christ arrived in earth the first time.
  • Luke 17:20-21 — “For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
  • Matthew 12:28 — “…if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
  • NOT YET: The Kingdom of God is coming in a physical form when Christ comes back to earth the second time.
  • Luke 19:11-12 — “While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So he said, ‘A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return….'”

WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS & BENEFITS OF THE MESSIANIC, MILLENNIAL KINGDOM?

  • The Messiah “will reign as King and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5; see also Jeremiah 33:14-16)
  • “Judah will be saved.” (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • “Israel will dwell securely.” (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • “Then it will come about that any who are left of the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.” (Zechariah 14:16)
  • The Lord God “laid hold of the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and threw him into the abyss.” (Revelation 20:2-3)
  • The saints “came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years….They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4,6)

WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF THE ETERNAL KINGDOM?

  • “the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come….time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom” (Daniel 7:18, 22)
  • God will dwell (tabernacle) with His people (Revelation 21:3)
  • “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any death.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3)
  • “they will see His face” (Revelation 22:4)
  • “there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them” (Revelation 22:5)
  • “they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5)

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ISIS waging war of genocide against Christians in the Mideast. New UN report provides chilling details.

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm

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(Austin, Texas) — The evidence is in, and it’s chilling — the Islamic State is intentionally waging a war of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

The jihadists are systematically trying to exterminate the Christian population in both countries by forcing followers of Jesus Christ to convert to their brand of Apocalyptic Islam or enslaving them, murdering them, starving them, and/or driving them out of the region.

This is the case I began to lay out during a presentation at Life Austin Church here in the Texas capital on Thursday night. It was part of a series of messages I’m delivering across the U.S. on radio, TV and in churches as part of The First Hostage book tour.

For the moment, ISIS is focusing their genocidal campaign on the populations of Iraq and Syria. But this is only the beginning. According to their Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology, ISIS leaders want expand their genocidal campaign throughout Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and the rest of the region in order to broaden their Islamic kingdom or caliphate and hasten the coming of the Mahdi, who they believe will then establish a worldwide caliphate.

Consider the trend lines:

The number of Christians in Iraq has dropped from 1.4 million to fewer than 275,000 in recent years, which ACLJ notes is “an 80% drop.”

“When hundreds of thousands of Christians – men, women and children – are killed, this isn’t war — this is genocide,” argues World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder. “And we Jews know what happens when the world is silent to genocide.”

Lauder has urged Jews and Christians to join forces against genocide. “Together, we must speak as one and tell the world: no more discrimination, no more terror, no more death, and no more silence!” I absolutely agree.

While ISIS is engaged in the slaughter of Christians because they believe it is fulfilling Islamic End Times prophecy, they actually unknowingly fulfilling Biblical prophecy about the last days.

The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied in John 16:3 that “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”

Christ also prophesied that believers will see “wars and rumors of war,” the rise of “lawlessness” and vastly increased persecution in the last days before He returns to set up His Kingdom. The Lord Jesus specifically warned that the enemies of the Cross “will deliver you to tribulation” in the End Times “and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” (see Matthew 24) These are exactly the trends we’re seeing emerge in the epicenter.

But let’s be clear: it’s not just Christians who are facing the ISIS genocide. Sunni and Shia Muslims who don’t share the ISIS theology and eschatology are also facing this jihadist rampage. So are Yazidis and other minorities. And, of course, ISIS is threatening to exterminate the Jews of Israel soon.

“Palestine will not be your land or your home,” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told the Jews of Israel in an audio message in December. “It will be a graveyard for you. Allah has gathered you in Palestine so that the Muslims may kill you.”

In August of 2014, just after I finished writing my first novel about ISIS (The Third Target), I began publicly warning that “we are watching genocidal conditions emerging in the epicenter” as the ISIS jihadist rampage accelerated.

The situation has worsened dramatically since then.

By February of 2015, the government of Iraq had laid out their case to the U.N. Security Council that the Islamic State was not simply committing atrocities but outright genocide.

“These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. They have committed the most heinous criminal terrorist acts against the Iraqi people whether Shi’ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis,” Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said. “These are in fact crimes of genocide committed against humanity that must be held accountable before international justice.”

Now, just this week, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the magnitude of the horror. Consider the numbers just in Iraq:

  • 18,802 civilians were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October 2015
  • 36,245 civilians have been wounded during this same period
  • some 3,500 have been seized as slaves by ISIS
  • 3.2 million civilians have been displaced from their homes and villages, on the run for their very lives

“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,” the report states. “The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

The U.N. report “details numerous examples of killings by ISIL in gruesome public spectacles, including by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings. There are also reports of the murder of child soldiers who fled fighting on the frontlines in Anbar. Information received and verified suggests that between 800 and 900 children in Mosul had been abducted by ISIL for religious education and military training….ISIL [also] continued to subject women and children to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery.”

Now consider the numbers in Syria, as well. According to the United Nations:
  • at least 250,000 people have been killed in Syria
  • 6.6 million people in Syria have been displaced from their homes and villages and are on the run for their lives
  • 13.5 million need humanitarian assistance,” reported Reuters on January 15, 2016.
  • First, the President and Congress must publicly acknowledge that the Islamic State is engaged in genocide.
  • Second, it is time for Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.
  • Third, we need to elect a new Commander-in-Chief ready, willing and able to neutralize the ISIS threat, as well as the Iranian nuclear threat before it’s too late.
As Jay Sekulow, head of ACLJ, and his team note, “The Holocaust gave rise to the necessity to define what ‘genocide’ is, and Article 2 of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) did just that,” defining it as:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

“Christians in the Middle East urgently need this recognition to wake up the world to what is going on,” Kuby notes. “In contrast to other diplomatic notions such as ‘systematic mass murder,’ ‘genocide’ is an internationally recognized legal term. It is necessary to call for further steps, such as a resolution at the UN Security Council and a referral to the International Criminal Court….All necessary criteria are fulfilled in order to recognize this as genocide. To deny this only adds to the horrendous suffering that people are already experiencing.”

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Steve Forbes calls #TheFirstHostage a “stunning, spine-tingling, steroid-paced” tale. Here’s his new review in Forbes magazine.

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2016 at 7:13 pm

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(Dallas, Texas) — Just read the review of The First Hostage by Steve Forbes in the latest issue of FORBES magazine and I wanted to pass it along to you all.

Thanks so much, Steve — I’m  so glad you enjoyed the novel this much. I couldn’t be more grateful! Now, let’s get this thing turned into a major Hollywood blockbuster.

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FORBES BOOK REVIEW

The First Hostageby Joel Rosenberg (Tyndale House Publishers, $26.99). If you’re not already a fan of Joel Rosenberg, whose books–fiction and nonfiction–have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, you’ll be one once you’ve read this latest novel. It combines Joel’s ability to spin stunning, spine-tingling, steroid-paced tales with his impressively deep knowledge of the Middle East.

The First Hostage is the second in a new series of action thrillers whose main character is New York Times journalist J.B. Collins. Although this is an exciting stand-alone read, you might first want to dive into its precursor, The Third Target. These novels involve ISIS terrorist attacks; espionage, with a possible highly placed, pro-ISIS American mole; weapons of mass destruction; and intrigue galore.

This book begins where the first left off: at a meeting in Amman, Jordan, where the king of Jordan, the U.S. President, Israel’s prime minister and the head of the Palestinian Authority are about to sign a historic peace agreement. ISIS launches a massive attack, and in the confusion the President goes missing. Collins is there covering the event but before long finds himself suspected of being a mole. There are many mind-boggling twists and plenty of suspense before the book ends.

Joel Rosenberg, who in a previous life served as the director of research for my 2000 presidential campaign, knows his subject well. An evangelical Christian who lives in Israel with his wife and children, he has addressed audiences around the world; been interviewed for his insightful analyses on hundreds of TV and radio programs; and advised world leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Joel knows too much to ever share President Obama’s delusion that what’s unfolding in the Middle East isn’t much of a threat to the West.

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Which, if any, of the presidential candidates understand Apocalyptic Islam? My conversation with Todd Starnes of Fox News.

In Uncategorized on January 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

ToddStarnes-columnonApocalypticIslam(Dallas, Texas) — The other day, I was interviewed by Todd Starnes of Fox News. He asked me about my family’s move as a family to Israel and my experience writing novels that seem to foreshadow future terrorist attacks and wars. He also asked me about my take on the 2016 presidential campaign and whether President Obama or the leading presidential candidates understand the threat of Apocalyptic Islam and are prepared to deal with it.

Todd just finished reading The First Hostage. He very graciously called it “a page-turning political thriller” and “a riveting account of Islamic radicals kidnapping an American president.” And as he opened the podcast, he took me aback by saying, “one of my favorite authors on the entire planet is a guy named Joel C. Rosenberg,” noting that he was introduced to my novels through Rush Limbaugh talking about them on his programs.

I very much enjoyed our conversation, and it was one of the more thoughtful discussions I’ve done on the book tour so far. It runs about 30 minutes. Hope you’ll take time to listen to the podcast (I’ve just become a subscriber), and share it with others.

A few excerpts from the column:

“Once you understand Apocalyptic Islam, you understand just how dangerous it is to give Iran not just one path to nuclear weapons, but two,” he said. “This president doesn’t understand the threat of radical Islam. He won’t even define that – much less Apocalyptic Islam.”

And he doesn’t hold out much hope for the current presidential frontrunners [Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump] either.

“This is a very challenging year when you have a president and two frontrunners who just don’t understand the most serious foreign policy threat of our time,” he said. “That is not comforting.” Rosenberg has offered counsel to several Republican presidential campaigns including Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

“Senator Rubio totally gets it,” he said. “He’s been using that language in the debates and in his speeches.”

Among the others who “get it” are Cruz, Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum.

What about Donald Trump?

“It’s clear [Trump] doesn’t understand this,” he said. ‘It’s just all bloviating.'”

[NOTE: Examples of how Trump doesn’t understand foreign policy or threat of Apocalyptic Islam….

It’s not so much that the world is facing a future threat — the threat is already here.

“These people are crucifying Christians, they’re beheading people” he said. “They are creating mayhem and really genocidal conditions in Syria and Iraq and our current president is just using half measure to run some sort of public relations war against them.”

He [President Obama] doesn’t have a plan.

[FINAL NOTE: Though I forgot to mention him during the interview, I would note that Gov. Huckabee understands that threat of Apocalyptic Islam, as well.]

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What’s the difference between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology & Biblical eschatology? And why does it matter? (Video & sermon notes)

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Harvest-Joel-preaching3NOTE: I am so grateful to God that four Iranian-Americans were released from prison in Iran over the weekend, including a Washington Post reporter and an Evangelical pastor. Click here to read more about how God was using Pastor Saeed Abedini to preach the Gospel inside the worst prisons of Iran.

(Riverside, California) — Yesterday here in Southern California, I did a Q&A session and delivered a sermon on the differences between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology (End Times theology) and Biblical eschatology.

I explained why this topic matters, and why it’s particularly important right now.

This was the first of a series of messages I will be delivering as part of our month-long book tour for The First Hostage, and I’m very grateful to my friend, Pastor Greg Laurie, for inviting me. My intention is to post notes and the video or audio of each message along the way. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to comment on our Epicenter Team page on Facebook, and to share this with family, friends and colleagues on social media.

To watch the video of this message, please click here.

NOTES:

First, some background: Radical Islam is a serious threat, but it’s not the most dangerous threat the West faces. Apocalyptic Islam is far more dangerous.

Radical Islam seeks to attack us. Apocalyptic Islam seeks to annihilate us.

Radical Islam (al Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, Muslim Brotherhood, etc) uses violence for the purpose of persuading Jews, Christians and other so-called “infidels” to withdraw from — and leave entirely — the holy lands and holy places they consider their own, namely the Middle East and North Africa.

Apocalyptic Islam (such as the top leaders of Iran, and the leaders of the Islamic State) do not merely seek to drive infidels out of their region. They are driven by ancient Islamic prophecies. They believe the End of Days is at hand, that their messiah (known as the Mahdi) will come at any moment to establish an Islamic kingdom or caliphate that will rule over the entire globe, and that the way to hasten the coming of the Mahdi is to annihilate the infidels who refuse to submit to their brand of Islam.

To be clear: having an eschatology is not necessarily wrong. What is both wrong and horrific is having an eschatology that requires a person or an entire religion to rob, kill, destroy and even commit genocide to achieve their religious objectives.

Devout Jews believe the Messiah will come one day to establish a global kingdom (see Daniel 7, Jeremiah 23 and Isaiah 9, among other passages). Christians believe this as well and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is, in fact, that Messiah and that He will come again to establish His kingdom in the last days (see the Book of Revelation, among other passages). Having said that, it’s important to understand that both devout Jews and Christians believe God will supernaturally achieve these objectives. We do not believe that God requires us to slaughter our enemies en masse to bring about the End of Days and establish His kingdom.

Most world leaders do not understand these issues. Most citizens don’t either. But the rise of Apocalyptic, genocidal Islam makes it urgent that we and our leaders study and understand these distinctions. We cannot defeat an enemy we cannot or will not define.

There are some similarities within Islamic, Jewish and Christian teachings about the End Times. Indeed, when it comes to the study of eschatology, most devout Muslims (Sunnis and Shias), Jews and Christians — that is, those who take their holy books seriously and haven’t rejected or drifted from the orthodoxy of their religions — agree on five basic points.

  1. Ancient prophecies in our holy books give us signs to watch for that will indicate when the End of Days has come.
  2. So many signs are coming to pass in our time that we can be confident that we are, in fact, living in the End of Days.
  3. The Messiah is coming to earth, and it is possible that this will happen very soon.
  4. The coming Messiah is the King, He will establish a global kingdom, and He usher in justice and righteousness on the earth.
  5. Each of us must live differently in view of the fact that we are living in the End of Days and the fact that each of us will face the Final Judgment soon.

That said, the vast majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are not dangerous. Polling research indicates about 7% to 10% of Muslims worldwide subscribe to the concept of violent jihad to achieve their objectives. And while all devout Muslims believe the Mahdi is coming in the End Times to establish a global caliphate, the vast majority do not support violence much less genocide to achieve those ends. But some do, including the leaders of Iran and ISIS, and that’s what makes them so dangerous.

What, then, are the main differences between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology (based on the Qur’an and the hadiths) and Biblical eschatology (based on the Old and New Testaments)? I’ve prepared a simple chart to draw out some of the important distinctions.ApocalypticIslam-chartSome important questions are these:

  • According to the Bible, how does one enter the Kingdom of God?
  • According to the Bible, how is one adopted into the royal family of God?
  • What did John the Baptist mean when he preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”?
  • What did Jesus mean when he preached “the gospel of the kingdom”?

I hope you’ll take some time to watch this message in full.

For more resources, please see below:

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Breakfast with a CIA director. (And #TheFirstHostage climbs to #9 on Publishers Weekly bestseller list.)

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

JimWoolsey-Joel-FirstHostage

(Washington, D.C.) — On Thursday morning, I had breakfast here in D.C. with Jim Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I gave him a copy of The First Hostage and had a chance to get Jim’s latest take on the twin threats of Iran and the Islamic State and the meltdown of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

We discussed the differences between Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islam, and I asked him specifically about his take on the Iran nuclear deal, given that it was arguably the biggest development in the Mideast in 2015. He told me he’d read the entire nuclear deal carefully and that as an arms control agreement, “It would be fine if it was a deal that had been made with Denmark.”

I love that line.

In other words, in Woolsey’s assessment, it’s not the language of the agreement, per se, that is so bad. It’s the fact that the deal was made not with a peaceful, benign, cooperative nation like Denmark, but with the fanatical regime in Tehran that openly calls for, “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” It gives Iran both the ability to cheat — and thus build nuclear warheads — or to keep the deal and wait for another 10 to 15 years before breaking out to nuclear weapons capacity. Well put.

Woolsey also is deeply concerned the political correctness is causing many in the U.S. and the West to be unwilling to have an honest conversation about the threat posed not by the vast majority of Muslims, but by the small but significant subset of Radical Muslims who embrace violent jihad. If we cannot even have an honest conversation about the religious ideology driving our enemies, he notes, how can we fully protect ourselves and defeat these enemies?

Jim was very helpful to me in the early stages of my research for this novel series, and I’m very grateful for his insights. It was good to see him again.

Meanwhile, with threat of Islamic State terrorism dominating headlines, the polls, the State of the Union address, and the presidential campaign, The First Hostage is rising on the Publishers Weekly best-seller list. This week, the political thriller about ISIS climbed to #9 on the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list, up from #13 last week.

The First Hostage is the second novel in a new series about a New York Times foreign correspondent who finds himself caught in the middle of an unfolding plot by the Islamic State to launch a genocidal attack with chemical weapons, overthrow the Kingdom of Jordan, and capture and behead the President of the United States. The first novel in the series, The Third Target, released in January of 2015.

Thank you so much to all of my readers, young and old, loyalists and newcomers to my work. I’m deeply grateful for the very kind notes you’ve been sending me and the encouraging reviews of these two books. Thanks, too, for all you’re doing to write about and review the novels on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and let your friends know about the book.

This weekend, I’ll begin several weeks of traveling the country to talk about the novels, how they relate to fast-moving current events, and the difference between Islamic eschatology and Biblical eschatology. That begins this weekend when I’ll be preaching at Pastor Greg Laurie’s congregations in Southern California. For more details, please follow us on Twitter and on our Epicenter Team page on Facebook.

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