Have you heard that Israeli leaders are urging Jews to read through the entire Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter? Amazing, but true. Here’s the latest.

netanyahu-biblestudyoct2016rivlin-launching929initiative(Central Israel) — You probably haven’t heard this in the mainstream media, but Israel’s most senior leaders are urging the Jewish people to read through the Bible, the whole Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter.

Can you imagine President Obama or any other U.S. leader calling on American people to read through the Bible? Neither can I.

Given the general trend here in Israel towards secularization, this is quite a surprising yet thoroughly encouraging development. I’m sure many of you are skeptical, but it really is true. Here’s the latest.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off the new school year here by encouraging children to rediscover the Word of God and Biblical roots of their Jewish heritage.

“First of all, the study of the Bible,” he said in August. “Knowledge is a critical word. We want to give it [knowledge of the Scriptures] to every child in Israel, Jews and non-Jews as one, religious and secular. This is the basis of the new world, and the basis of Israel as a strong nation in the world.”

Last week, the prime minister and his wife, Sara, hosted another in a series of occasional Bible study groups at their official residence. They discussed — among other things — the Biblical connection Jews have to the Temple Mount, despite a recent U.N. vote denying Jews have any such connection.

The Netanyahus organized their first home Bible study group in December 2011, as I reported at the time. In so doing, they carried on a tradition first begun by David Ben Gurion and later by Menachem Begin but rarely repeated by other Israeli premiers. Their stated goal was to set an example for the nation and to “perpetuate a love of the Bible.” [See here and here for coverage of other Bible studies they have held.]

Meanwhile, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and several government officials have launched something they call the “929 Initiative.”

This is a wonderful and worthy effort to encourage all Israelis — even the most secular and non-religious among us — to read one chapter of the Jewish Scriptures a day, every day, until they have read all 929 chapters.

Rivlin and his colleagues kicked off the $12 million initiative in December 2014. Since then, they have been encouraging Israelis to continue reading verse by verse, chapter by chapter through the full Hebrew Bible or “Tanakh” until everyone finishes together in the summer of 2018 for the 70th anniversary of the prophetic rebirth of the Jewish State.

There is a pretty impressive and sophisticated website dedicated to the project, with Israelis of all kinds, from a wide variety of backgrounds, writing articles on what they think about the Bible verses they are reading. There is also an app that helps Israelis remember what chapter they’re supposed to read each day and help them mark their progress.

Here are several article about the initiative. I commend them to your attention.

I especially wanted to bring this all to your attention as we celebrate Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles (aka, “Feast of Booths”). Why? Because in the Torah, Moses commanded the people to read through all the Scriptures in their entirety every seven years. Sadly, this is a commandment many if not most of my fellow Jews have forgotten, or never were aware of in the first place.

10 Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and [a]the alien who is in your [b]town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)

Some of my favorite stories in the Bible are when King Josiah called the nation of Judah together to hear the Word of the Lord read to them in its entirety, and when Ezra and the priests read the entire Bible to the nation of Israel after their return to the Land from Babylonian and Persian captivity.

Several years ago, we organized an Epicenter conference with the theme, “The Power of The Word.” Several of the speakers taught on this largely forgotten history of Jewish leaders calling the nation back to the Scriptures — if you’re interested in watching the videos of those and other messages, please click here.

I’m grateful to Netanyahu and Rivlin and to the other Israeli leaders who are calling our people back to reading the Bible cover to cover. Will you join me in praying that more Jews (and Gentiles) heed their call? Thanks so much, and Chag Same’ach — happy holidays from Israel!



What is “Sukkot,” the Feast of Tabernacles, and why do Jews celebrate it?


Shalom from Israel and Chag Same’ach — happy holidays!

We have just begun the third of the Fall Feasts. The first was Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year. The second is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This one is known as Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. What is this feast all about? Why do we as Jews celebrate it? And how does it relate to the prophetic plan of the Lord, as laid out in the Scriptures?

These are  important questions, and to provide the answers I commend this excellent article to you. I hope you’ll read it and discuss it with family and friends, and share it with others on social media. Thanks, and may the Lord bless you as you study His Word and draw nearer to Him day by day.

““In that day I will raise up the tabernacle [sukkah] of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.” Amos 9:11-12


After many delays, the battle to liberate Mosul from a hellish ISIS nightmare is about to begin. Here’s the latest.


UPDATE: The battle for Mosul began in the early morning hours of Monday, October 17th. Here’s one of the first reports from the BBC.

The good news: two years after the Islamic State swept through large swaths of north-western Syria, and seized control of upwards of one-third of Iraq, a coalition of U.S, Arab and Kurdish military forces are poised to launch a massive new battle to liberate the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest.

The bad news: how much time do you have?

  • For one thing, while ISIS is losing ground in Iraq, and even losing some ground in Syria, it’s ideology has spread to some three-dozen countries.
  • Second, ISIS is recruiting jihadists from well over 100 countries.
  • Third, ISIS operatives and loyalists are launching deadly terror attacks all over the world, including in North America and various NATO countries.
  • Four, the battle for Mosul — repeatedly promised yet repeatedly delayed over the past year — could cause ISIS to slaughter many more innocents.
  • Fifth, the battle for Mosul could also create a massive new refugee surge.

In the days ahead, I’ll keep you updated on this multi-national effort to retake Mosul, end the hellish ISIS-led genocide against Christians and Yazidis, and drive ISIS out of northern Iraq once and for all. I’ll also report on a fascinating Iraqi proposal to create a new province in northern Iraq where Christians and other minorities can be safe.

For now, please join me in praying for the people of Mosul. Please pray the Lord would liberate them from the ISIS nightmare they have been suffering for two years. Pray that the Lord would show grace and favor on the coalition preparing to attack ISIS. Please pray, too, for the various Christian ministries (including the organization we founded, The Joshua Fund) that is trying to minister to refugees in Iraq, strengthen the local persecuted Church there, and be a light in the darkness.

That said, here’s the latest news reports on preparations for the battle of Mosul:

“Thousands of troops are massing outside ISIS-held Mosul in preparation for a battle that could spell the end of the terror group in Iraq,” reports the UK Daily Mail. “The fight to reclaim the city is expected to begin next week in what will be the biggest Iraqi military operation since the US-led invasion in 2003.”

“A successful conquest would destroy ISIS’s last bastion of power in the country, and represent a serious blow to its legitimacy,” the British paper notes. “Some 30,000 Iraqi troops are expected to take part in the battle, with support from US special forces and western coalition warplanes.”

The BBC reports:

  • A planned military offensive to reclaim Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS) could see up to a million Iraqis flee their homes.
  • The UN’s refugee agency has told the BBC how it and its partners are gearing up to deal with the expected humanitarian crisis by building camps to house those in need.
  • The much-delayed operation to drive IS from Iraq’s second-largest city is expected to begin this month, more than two years after the jihadists over-ran Mosul and proclaimed its caliphate.
  • In preparation, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and its partners are stepping up contingency plans, informed by a number of lessons learned from previous offensives, such as Falluja, says Bruno Geddo, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Iraq….
  • An estimated 3.3 million people — equivalent to almost 10% of the population of Iraq — have been uprooted by fighting since the start of 2014. Those currently fleeing Mosul and its surrounding areas join about half-a-million people who fled the city in June 2014.
  • There are no firm figures on how many people remain in Mosul, but there were more than two million when IS took the city more than two years ago.
  • Mr Geddo estimates the population could now be “anywhere between 1.2 and 1.5m people.”….

> Order the new paperback edition of The First Hostage today — click here.



As we observe Yom Kippur this year, it’s worth asking: Where do we as modern Jews receive atonement for our sins?


At sundown tonight — Tuesday, October 11th — we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year.

According to Moses and the Holy Scriptures, only the blood sacrifice of a perfect animal — sacrificed with a humble, repentant heart, and with faith in God’s mercy and grace — would bring about forgiveness of sins.

  • “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)
  • “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
  • “Blessed is the one whose sins are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)

But here’s the problem modern Jews face today: How do we receive atonement for our sins in the modern age, without an operational Temple in Jerusalem?

That is, how can we make sacrifices and receive forgiveness of sins — and thus the right to enter the holiness of heaven and live with the Lord in heaven forever and ever in His holy and perfect world — without being able to sacrifice a perfect lamb at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Lord designated all sacrifices to occur?

The destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. was a huge blow to Judaism, because it deprived Jews of the place to receive atonement from God. For two thousand years, we haven’t had the ability to have our sins forgiven in the manner required by the Lord in the Bible.

Fortunately, the Lord spoke the answer through the Hebrew prophet Daniel hundreds of years before the Second Temple was destroyed.

In Daniel 9:24-26, we learn three critical and fascinating truths:

  • Daniel told us that the Messiah (“Anointed One”) would come at a certain time in history “to atone for wickedness” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness”
  • Daniel also told us that when the Messiah came, he would be “cut off and will have nothing”
  • then Daniel foretold that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed after the Messiah was “cut off” — as Daniel noted, foreign invaders “will come and will destroy the city and the sanctuary”

Think about that for a moment. Daniel told us something extraordinary: the coming Messiah would be “cut off” and bring atonement for our sins, and He would come before the Temple would be destroyed.

In retrospect, that makes sense, right? Why would the Lord take away the Temple unless He was going to provide a new way for atonement, the very “new covenant” He spoke of through the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah?

What’s more, the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah gave us additional important details about the Messiah’s role in bringing each of us atonement from our sins. Consider these passages from Isaiah 53:

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

13 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

What’s intriguing to me is that the Jews of the First Century (B.C.E.) actually believed the Messiah would one day come to earth and die as a “suffering servant” — as an atonement for sins and the redemption of Israel — and would then rise from the dead on the third day.

That’s the conclusion of a respected professor and Dead Sea Scrolls expert at Hebrew University. In fact, he argues that the death and “third day” resurrection of the Messiah is, in fact, a distinctly Jewish concept that actually pre-dates the emergence of Christianity.

Dr. Israel Knohl has based on his conclusions on many years of research and recently analyzed archaeological evidence, including a previously unstudied Dead Sea Scroll. Indeed, Knohl argues that this notion of the Messiah rising on the third day is a pre-Christian concept that dates back to before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem Ephratah.

I had the opportunity to sit and discuss this with Dr. Knohl at length a few years ago and it was an absolutely fascinating conversation.

I first heard of him when he drew worldwide media attention several years ago for his research, including a major article in the New York Times and several articles in Biblical Archaeology Review — see here, and here, and here.

The Times story, which ran under the headline, “Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection,” begins as follows: “A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days. If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time. The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.”

The tablet has been named by scholars as “Gabriel’s Revelation” because it suggests that the angel Gabriel was instructed by God to direct that the Messiah be raised from the dead on the third day.

The stone tablet was discovered several decades ago and is owned by a Israeli-Swiss Jewish man by the name of David Jeselsohn who didn’t understand its significance when he purchased it. The Times article was published in 2008. Dr. Knohl then published a book about all this in 2009 entitled, Messiahs and Resurrection in “The Gabriel Revelation.” That was a follow up to his previous book, The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls (first published in Hebrew in 2000 and then in English in 2002).

In the book, Dr. Knohl explains the various Jewish theories about the Messiah, including the idea of a “Messiah son of David” who will come as a reigning king on the earth like King David was, and a “Messiah son of Joseph” who will be rejected by his brothers, mistreated, left for dead but will eventually reappear and save not only the nation of Israel but the world like Joseph did in the book of Genesis.

I would commend these articles — and Dr. Knohl’s books — to your attention. I would also encourage you to read Daniel 9 and Isaiah 53 and the other Biblical passages I’ve mentioned here. Study and discuss them with family and friends, and on this important Day of Atonement, ask the following questions:

  • Did the ancient Hebrew prophecies really did foretell that the Jewish Messiah would die as an atonement for our sins but was also supposed to be buried and raised from the dead on the third day?
  • Did the Jews in the first century really believed that the coming Messiah would be rejected by the religious leaders of the day in order to be killed on Passover and raised from the dead on the third day, on the Feast of First Fruits?
  • If so, why should this matter to you and me?

“The First Hostage” has just been released in paperback.


I’m pleased to announce that Tyndale has just released the paperback edition of The First Hostage.

My latest political thriller lists for $15.99, but it’s available through many bookstores for much less — including here and here for just $9.02.


“The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

> Order the new paperback edition of The First Hostage today — click here.



Some thoughts on a presidential campaign going from bad to worse to nightmarish.

trump-hillaryAs the news from both presidential candidates goes from bad to worse to nightmarish to surreal (see below), I find myself grieving. There is no other way to put it. I’m not grieving as one who has no hope. But I am grieving all the same.

It is bitterly painful to see America arrive at this point, neck-deep in corruption and vulgarity, edging closer and closer, day by day, towards moral, spiritual, social and economic implosion.

We desperately need a revival, a sweeping spiritual awakening, to put us back on the right track. Will it come? I honestly do not know. I’m praying — pleading — for the Lord to give us one, and soon. I’m praying for each of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their families and advisors. I’m praying the Lord will supernaturally salvage this train wreck of an election and give us a surprise ending that will truly bless the entire country. Yet I’m also praying for His infinite, amazing grace and mercy if He chooses to let us proceed down this ugly path “as is.”

Unless we turn wholeheartedly to Christ our coming King and Redeemer, it could be a very dark four years indeed. But the Scriptures do offer us hope.

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

I have to admit that I seriously long for the Lord to set the Rapture into motion in the days or weeks ahead. Election Day would be just fine, though sooner would be better.

I am willing to preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God and make disciples and serve the poor as long as the Lord tarries, so as long as He continues to grant the grace and strength to do His will and forgiveness whenever I inevitably fall short.

But as darkness falls over America, as it is falling over so much of the world, I am growing weary. As the rich and powerful and corrupt seem to gain more riches and more power and grow more corrupt, I am growing weary. As I see injustice spreading like a cancer, and as I see so many people abandoning the faith and ignoring the Word of God and doing whatever is right in their own eyes, I am growing weary.

It is all foretold, of course. The ancient prophecies are coming to pass — all the apostasy, the corruption, the persecution and darkness that the Lord Jesus and the Apostles and the Hebrew prophets foretold about the “last days” — we’re seeing it all play out, just as the Word warned us ahead of time.

Consider just this passage and ask yourself if this doesn’t describe American culture and politics today? “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The worse it gets, the more I find myself saying, “Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!”

I’m not going to post anything new about the increasingly toxic and tremendously disturbing presidential campaign. If you’re interested, you can read what I posted on my “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook on Friday. Or you can scroll through the last several days of Tweets.

For now, let me just say this: regardless of how grieved I am by both nominees, I am 100% committed to genuinely and faithfully praying for the Trump family, and for the Clintons, as I have been throughout this campaign. I will continue to pray that the Lord Jesus Christ shows them great mercy, that they will seek Him with all their heart, and that He will supernaturally change them and bear much good fruit in and through them.

The God of the Bible is a change agent. All through the Scriptures we see God saving, changing and redeeming broken, burdened, troubled lives, and it is breathtaking to behold. The Lord loves to change hearts and minds and mouths. He alone has the power to change lives, and I truly pray He will show His great mercy and love to the Trumps and the Clintons. Meanwhile, I have great respect for those who feel called to provide either family and either candidate sound, Biblical, spiritual counsel. Both families need true, faithful believers around them speaking the truth in love, as do we all.

Indeed, whoever wins the presidency and is raised up to lead America for the next four years, I will pray for faithfully and respectfully. This is what the Apostle Paul commands of us. Thus, I hope you and your family and friends will be faithful in praying for the next president and all the Members of Congress, too. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

That said, I believe it’s important for all of us to realize just how much trouble we’re in. After killing 58 million babies, America now faces impending divine judgment. There is no way out, no way back. The blood of 58 million babies is crying out for justice and they will get it.

Only a true revival — a great, sweeping spiritual awakening — could possibly forestall such a judgment. In addition to such a great awakening, ideally the Lord will give America a leader like King Josiah, the Biblical leader who made big, bold changes to turn his nation around. Indeed, God saw Josiah’s humble heart, and his great love for the Scriptures, and his passionate commitment to help his nation make major reforms and get back on the right track, and therefore He gave Josiah much favor. Indeed, because of Josiah’s leadership, the Lord chose to forestall imminent judgement of the nation of Judah for some two decades.

Sadly, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine have demonstrated any of the characteristics of Josiah. But Gov. Mike Pence has. Perhaps the Lord will raise him up to provide the leadership we need at this time. I hope so. Time will tell.

In the meantime, prayer is really all we have as individual Christians at this point. Yet what more do we need? Prayer offers us a direct line to our Father in heaven, the Almighty God of the universe who could grant us a great awakening if He sovereignly chose to, or who alone can give us the grace to endure the suffering and hardships if He chooses to set His judgments into motion.

In these dark times, my friends, come what may, may you and I keep our eyes on Jesus and be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

Recent news from the campaign trail:



Tonight, I’m speaking in Denver on “the big untold story in the Mideast” — how the Gospel is spreading despite darkness and genocide. Please join us.

ma-2016fundraiser(Denver, Colorado) — The eyes of the world were once again focused on Israel this week.

Leaders of more than 70 nations — including President Obama and, to his credit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — arrived in Jerusalem Friday to attend the funeral of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Some 50,000 Israelis passed by the casket to pay their respects to the last of the founding fathers of the modern nation state. By God’s grace, the Israeli security plan was excellently designed and executed and there were no terrorist attacks or incidents. Thanks to all of you who were praying this week for the peace of Jerusalem.

As I watched the memorial service and followed the news coverage generated by the event, I found myself grateful for — even heartened by — a moment of calm in the Middle East storm. Many of the leaders who attended have been highly, even brutally, critical of Israel over the years. Many of them have voted against Israel at the U.N. and sought various ways to penalize or punish Israel over the years. Yet this week they set all (or most) of that aside to honor the memory of a man who for all his many flaws and virtues will be remembered for his valiant efforts to make peace.

Now, the funeral services are over. The leaders have left. Life will soon return to normal — and yet the “new normal” in the Mideast is one of evil, savagery and despair.

Tonight, I will speak in the Denver, Colorado area. We’ll briefly discuss this “new normal.” But we’ll spend most of our time discussing “the big untold story in the Middle East” — the story of how the Holy Spirit is opening hearts and minds to the Gospel and drawing more Jews and more Muslims into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ than at any other time in human history.

I plan to share both the latest statistics and some of my favorite stories of how God is moving powerfully and saving so many souls, facts and insights I’ve learned from years of crisscrossing the region from Morocco to Afghanistan as well as now living in Israel.

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry my parents (Leonard and Mary Rosenberg) started around almost two decades ago to provide architectural services for evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus.

Before I speak, my folks will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry. Then I will discuss what God is doing in the epicenter. I’m especially looking forward to answering your questions — always my favorite part of the evening — and afterwards I’ll be signing books, as well.

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. An offering will also be taken during the event. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at www.ministryarchitecture.com, or you can just show up and register as a walk-in.

I hope to see you there.



Seventy world leaders arriving in Israel for Peres funeral. Please pray for safety & the peace of Jerusalem.


(photo: Israeli security command center as world leaders arrive. credit: Times of Israel)

UPDATE: President Obama, an 18-member bipartisan Congressional delegation, and more than seventy world leaders from more than eighty countries are heading to Israel at this hour to attend Friday’s funeral for the late Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s modern founding fathers. Please pray faithfully for their safety and for the peace of Jerusalem, even as you continue to pray for Peres’ grieving family and friends.

More than 50,000 Israelis have already come to the Knesset Plaza, in front of the Israeli parliament, where Peres’ coffin is lying in state, to pay their last respects.

I so wish I could be among them. However, I am presently in Denver, Colorado, preparing for a speaking event on Saturday evening in which I’ll discuss current events and trend lines in Israel and the Muslim world and lead a Q&A session. There is certainly be a great deal to discuss, and pray about. If you’re anywhere near Denver, please plan to attend.

“Among those [world leaders] planning to attend the funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery are U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German President Joachim Gauck, British Prime Minister Theresa May, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, former British prime minister David Cameron and Britain’s Prince Charles,” reported the Times of Israel.

Also attending are:

  • former U.S. President Bill Clinton
  • Secretary of State John Kerry and a 33-person U.S. delegation
  • a delegation from the Vatican (though not the Pope)
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — which is quite striking, and encouraging, given the persistent tensions between Abbas and Netanyahu
  • and official delegations from the two Arab nations with whom Israel has peace treaties — Jordan and Egypt (though at this hour I have not seen any report that King Abdullah II or President el-Sisi will personally be in attendance).

Bringing so many leaders to one location in the epicenter of the epicenter, of course, creates what security officials might describe as a “target rich environment.”

Readers of The Third Target will recall how I portrayed a massive ISIS attack on the royal palace in Amman when Arab, Israeli, American and European leaders gather for a fictional Palestinian-Israeli peace summit. God forbid such a scenario would come to pass in reality.

Fortunately, more than 8,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to secure Ben Gurion International Airport, the highways in an out of Jerusalem, and the Mount Herzl national cemetery. I don’t expect trouble, but I do believe we need to be praying.



I will always cherish the time I met & interviewed Israeli President Shimon Peres for my book, “Epicenter.” Tonight, this Founding Father passed away at 93. [UPDATE: World leaders coming for funeral on Friday in Jerusalem.]



  • State funeral to be held Friday in Jerusalem
  • President Obama and other world leaders to attend
  • Praise for Peres is pouring in from leaders around the world

(Denver, Colorado) — If you’re an American citizen, imagine the opportunity to meet one of the Pilgrims, fresh off the Mayflower. Someone who was there at the birth of a nation. For me, that’s what it was like to meet Shimon Peres.

Peres, “the last of Israel’s founding fathers,” died tonight. He was 93. Please be praying for his family and friends as they grieve his loss and try to adjust to a world without this beloved yet controversial giant.

Peres began his political career in his mid-twenties as a trusted aide to David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the reborn Jewish State in 1948. From there he served in every senior government role there was — Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, and eventually the nation’s President.

Last summer I listened to the audio book of Peres’ absolutely wonderful and moving biography, Ben Gurion: A Political Life, which I commend to each of my readers, and especially to Evangelical leaders who love Israel, as well as those still trying to understand her.

Peres had a front row seat to history — indeed, to ancient Biblical prophecies coming to pass — but he was not simply an observer of that history, he was an active and at times transformative participant. He helped launch Israel’s fledgling air force in the late 40s. He started Israel’s nuclear program. He also won the Nobel Prize for his peace-making efforts, even though his moves towards the Palestinians were deeply divisive inside Israel.

I will always cherish the time I met and briefly interviewed Peres in the fall of 2005 for the non-fiction book, Epicenter: Why The Current Rumblings In The Middle East Will Change Your Future, I was working on at the time. How often do you get to meet a man at the epicenter of history, at the epicenter of prophecy coming to pass before our very eyes? To shake his hand, and chat with him about his view of Israel’s future, was like touching a bit of Israel’s extraordinary past. I didn’t agree with Peres on every matter. But I had enormous respect for him. I would have liked to have spent much more time with him.

Indeed, many Evangelical Christians leaders had great respect for this visionary and statesman and will truly mourn his passing.

In light of his passing, I thought I’d post a few excerpts and hope it gives you a little insight into this intriguing figure of Jewish history.

The Bear Hug

Are Israel and her neighbors moving closer to war or to peace?

Nowhere was this conundrum more vividly on display for me than at the “Peace: Dream or Vision?” conference I attended in Israel in the fall of 2005, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the beloved Israeli prime minister who signed the historic peace treaty with Jordan’s King Hussein in 1994.

Outside the conference center at the Strategic Dialogue Center of Netanya Academic College were all the reminders of the “wars and rumors of wars” that Jesus said would plague the world until his return—a phalanx of heavily armed security guards, metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, and so forth. To get in I had to not only show my passport to the security staff but give it to them to hold on to until I left, and my camera, camera bag, tape recorder, and briefcase were all searched carefully—as was I—before I was allowed to proceed.

But inside were all the reminders of Israelis “living securely” in “the land that is restored from the sword,” which Ezekiel predicted. One moment I was watching former Mossad chief Danny Yatom chatting like old buds with Dr. Abdel Salam Majali, the former Jordanian prime minister, and Osama El-Baz, the chief political advisor to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The next moment I was watching Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, give a bear hug to former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Once they were all enemies. Now they were all friends. Once they were plotting each other’s demise. Now they were talking about their shared vision for a “new Middle East.”

Such warm relationships between Arab and Israeli leaders may seem insignificant, but they most certainly are not. They actually represent enormous progress toward resolving the conflict. Let me give you a little anecdote to provide some context.

In April of 1988, ABC’s Ted Koppel took Nightline to Israel for a week of broadcasts on the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising known as the intifada and the increasingly desperate need for peace and reconciliation between the two sides. Having recently returned to the States after nearly six months in Israel, where I had studied at Tel Aviv University and witnessed the outbreak of the intifada, I watched Koppel’s show with great interest every night in my dorm room at Syracuse University.

On April 25, Koppel held the first-ever town hall meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, broadcast live from the historic Jerusalem Theater. It was bound to be riveting television, for never before had Israeli and Palestinian leaders sat on the same stage together, much less engaged in anything close to a dialogue. But when the show began, I was surprised to see a three-foot-high stone wall running down the middle of the stage. The Israelis sat on one side, the Palestinians on the other. It was a sad symbol of the divide between the two peoples.

Years later, I was interviewed by Koppel on Nightline. After the tap­ing was finished, I had the opportunity to ask Koppel about that wall. “It came up at almost the last minute,” he explained, remembering the moment vividly. “We were just a few hours from going on live from Jerusalem—at 6:30 in the morning, Israel time, mind you, so that the show would be on at 11:30 p.m. back in the U.S.—and suddenly the Palestinians said they refused to appear onstage with the Israelis without sitting in a booth, so they didn’t appear to actually be talking to the Israelis. We said absolutely not. So they asked that we put razor wire down the center of the stage, and again we said no. Finally, they asked that we build a wall—just a small wall, they said—to represent how divided Arabs and Jews are. They threatened not to appear at all if we didn’t do it, so we did it. It was an amazing night.”6

It certainly was. And one of the Palestinians who appeared onstage that night was Saeb Erekat. Then he had refused to shake hands with the Israelis. He had barely made eye contact with them. And he had demanded a wall. Now, at the peace conference in Netanya, he was giving bear hugs. How much the world had changed.7

“A New Age” in the Middle East?

Shimon Peres is a living legend in Israel and is one of the country’s founding fathers. I have long disagreed with his Socialist economic views and a foreign policy too dovish, in my opinion. But I have always respected this man who served his country not once but three times as prime minister and in numerous other ministerial positions and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

I had never met the former prime minister before that conference in Netanya, but having worked for Benjamin Netanyahu—who defeated Peres in 1996—I was very much looking forward to it.

Now in his eighties, Peres is quieter and slower and more grand­fatherly than he once was, but he is still a dreamer. He told the assembled dignitaries that he believes the Middle East is entering “a new age” and that he has never been more optimistic that a final peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached in the not-too-distant future.

“The Lord is in charge of the beginning and the end, but we are ­responsible for the middle,” he said, insisting that there is no contradiction between fighting terror and negotiating for peace. “When a cat is chasing a mouse, there’s no sense for the mouse to ask for a cease-fire. He must deal with the cat and insure his own safety.”

After Peres’s keynote address, I had a few minutes to interview the former prime minister. “Is it your sense that Israel is more secure today—before we get to the point of the Iran nuclear bomb—than it has been in its history so far?” I asked.

Peres agreed with that assessment. “I would say that Israel’s security was globalized,” he explained in his distinctive, gravelly voice, suggesting that with the U.S. as a strong ally, the fall of Saddam, and peace treaties in place with Egypt and Jordan, the threat Israel faces today is “the problem of terror, rather than a classical attack” by a conventional Arab army or air force.8

Had the passing of Arafat—the Nobel Peace Prize winner who never actually made peace—helped or hurt the prospects for a final deal with the Palestinians? I wondered.

“With him, [the peace process] wouldn’t have started,” Peres insisted. “With him, it wouldn’t be finished.”…..



How serious is the ISIS threat to Jordan? Watch a new “60 Minutes” interview with King Abdullah and go inside the “third world war” with the “outlaws” of Islam.

cbs60minutes-theking(Denver, Colorado) — Last night, the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” broadcast a must-see story they called, “The King.” It was both an illuminating interview with, and an intriguing profile of, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the most loyal Arab ally the U.S. has.

I highly recommend you watch the 14 minute segment, or read the transcript.

Amidst the ISIS-led genocide against Christians in Syrian and Iraq, Jordan — under the king’s leadership — is an island of refuge, stability and tolerance.

Indeed, nowhere in the Arab Muslim world are Christians safer than in Jordan.

The “60 Minutes” story does an excellent job of taking you inside the world my wife, Lynn, and I entered last Spring when the king invited us to spend five days with him after reading my novel, The First Hostage. Just as we did, you’ll go inside the palace and hear the king in his own words on the risk that the West is not taking this “third world war” with the “outlaws” of Islam seriously enough. You’ll go, as we did, to the Syrian border, and go inside a refugee camp. You’ll also learn much more about the clear and present danger the Islamic State, an imploding Syria, and 1.5 million refugees are posing to the Hashemite Kingdom.

In fact, as the segment begins, you’ll see correspondent Scott Pelley joining the king on a live-fire military exercise near the Jordanian town of Zarqa in which Jordanian air and ground forces practice attacking an ISIS-controlled village with real bullets, bombs and missiles. This was something His Majesty invited Lynn and me to see with him, as well. It was absolutely fascinating and it really helped us understand more clearly how grave is the threat and yet how uniquely prepared the king is to defend his people.

Whoever emerges as the next President of the United States — indeed, whoever wins the many House and Senate races underway across the country — will need to make it a high priority to build a much stronger American alliance with Jordan, and to listen to our most faithful Sunni Arab ally.

In the meantime, please be praying for the king, his family, his advisor, and for all the people of Jordan, including all the refugees.

[With ISIS waging genocide against Christians in the Middle East, is there any hope? How are allies like the King of Jordan protecting Christians as well as Muslims in the epicenter? I’ll address these topics in Denver on Saturday evening, October 1st, and take your questions. Please click here to register and join us.]

Keeping Jordan’s balance amid crisis

Terrorism. Civil war. A refugee crisis. Geopolitics. That’s the situation in the Middle East and right on Jordan’s doorstep. Scott Pelley interviews King Abdullah II

Scott Pelley, “60 Minutes,” opening comments: The bombs in New York and New Jersey last week brought the specter of terror home, again. It seems no country is safe, but there is one that is beating fearsome odds. ISIS burned through Syria and Iraq until it hit a firewall, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The king, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, is holding the front and sheltering millions of refugees despite his struggling economy, no oil wealth and precious little water. If the king can keep his balance, Jordan may prove that an Arab state can remain peaceful, tolerant, and modern. The arsonists torching the Middle East hope to see him fail.


Scott Pelley, script of the “60 Minutes” segment, “The King”: This is not war. These are Jordanian forces sharpening their edge on a make-believe town. Some of their weapons are antique. Attack helicopters designed originally for Vietnam. Surplus-armored cars that they found online. Jordan can’t afford the arsenals of its neighbors. Skill is its advantage.  And, to hone it, they switched in training from blanks to live ammunition.

This is the soldier who ordered the switch. He’s the former head of Special Forces. He is Abdullah II, the king of Jordan.

Why live ammo we shouted? “Everyone uses blanks, makes no sense,” he yelled. There’s no sense in anything less than lethal because no king of Jordan has ever known peace.

Scott Pelley: This is the mosque that you built in honor of your father….

King Abdullah II: Yeah.

Abdullah became king in 1999 on the death of his father who ruled 47 years. We met the 54-year-old at his palace in Amman. He knows ISIS by its Arabic acronym, Daesh. But whatever you call it, he says the West doesn’t realize it’s in a Third World War.

King Abdullah II: I think this is the challenge that we’ve had over the past several years where people look at, you know, is it Iraq this year or Syria next year? Well, what about Libya? What about– Boko Haram or Shabaab in Africa? We have to look at it from a global perspective.

Scott Pelley: All of these things need to be attacked at the same time. You can’t concentrate on Syria one year and then deal with Boko Haram in another?

King Abdullah II: Well, the prime example, it’s as you see certain military successes in Syria and Iraq against Daesh, the leadership, they’re telling their fighters either, “Don’t come to Syria or Iraq,” or moving their command structure to Libya. And so are we going to wait to get our act together to concentrate on Libya? And then, you know, do we wait a year or two to start helping the Africans deal with Boko Haram or Shabaab? So we’ve got to get ahead of the curve because they’re reacting much quicker than we are.

Scott Pelley: The American strategy in Syria and Iraq, as you know, is to use U.S. air power and to train forces on the ground to fight the battle. That has not worked. How do you move forward from here?

King Abdullah II: I think the problem with the West is they see a border between Syria and Iraq. Daesh does not. And this has been a frustration, I think, for a few of us in this area with our Western coalition partners, for several years. You know, the lawyers get into the act and say, “But there’s an international border.” And we say, “For God’s sake, ISIS doesn’t work that way.” So if you’re looking at it and want to play the game by your rules, knowing that the enemy doesn’t, we’re not going to win this….

To read the full transcript, please click here.