The eyes of the world are focused on the events in the Middle East — the epicenter of the dramatic events that are shaping our world and impacting our future. Are you ready for it?

(Galilee, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. Since Saturday, my family and I have been in Jerusalem meeting with The Joshua Fund warehouse team and some of our Christian, Jewish and Arab humanitarian relief distribution allies. We’re being debriefed on the exciting ways the lives of poor and needy Israelis and Palestinians have been blessed by your prayers and financial support. We’ve been praying with these dear friends and seeking to encourage them, and I must say we’ve been very encouraged ourselves. I will send a report on all this soon.

Today, we are enjoying some time of prayer and Bible study on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We are seeking the Lord’s direction for the fall, as well as laying the groundwork for next May’s Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem and The Joshua Fund “prayer & vision tour of Israel.” We are also keeping an eye on Russia as they fuel Iran’s first “hot” nuclear reactor, on Iran as they unveil dangerous new weapons to threaten Israel and the region, and on the diplomatic track as the Palestinians agree to direct peace talks with Israel in Washington on Sept 2.

In that context, I wanted to let you know that on October 1st and 2nd, 2010, at the historic Moody Church in downtown Chicago, I am looking forward to joining Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Charles Dyer, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, former PLO terrorist Tass Saada, and Dr. Mitch Glaser for the “INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS CONFERENCE.” We will examine the Iranian nuclear crisis, the rise of Radical Islam, the future of Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the possibility of a major new war in the Middle East. We will do so from a biblical “third lens” perspective and provide practical insight on how to bless Israel and her neighbors, come what may.

Please join us. Details and tickets can be found at


For Shabbat today, Yediot Aharonot, a widely read and respected Israeli newspaper, and Ynet News, the paper’s popular website, has published a lengthy and fascinating article with this headline: “JESUS LIVES ON IN JERUSALEM: Thousands of Messianic Jews reside in Israel, perform Jewish ceremonies and serve in IDF.” I commend it to your attention, in part because the article reports two facts certain to intrigue secular Jews and infuriate some of the ultra-Orthodox:

  • In Israel, there are now some 15,000 Jewish followers of Jesus (known in Hebrew as Yeshua) as the Messiah, and the number is growing.
  • In the U.S., there are now some 350,000 Jewish followers of Jesus as the Messiah

The article is really a profile of the growing community of Jesus followers in the Land, and is remarkably devoid of cyncism, snideness or derision. To the contrary, it is really quite respectful of the life-changing beliefs of the Israelis they interview and profile.

Excerpts from the article:

  • “Some 15,000 Messianic Jews currently live in Israel, but if you saw one on the street you would almost certainly fail to recognize any difference. They honor Jewish circumcision, bar-mitzvah, and wedding ceremonies, but believe Jesus is the messiah. The small community of Yad Hashmona, near Jerusalem, is home to a number of Messianic-Jewish families. They believe in Jesus – or Yeshua, as they call him – and in the teachings of the New Testament as well as the old. They are Jews in every sense, but for the most part keep this side of their faith to themselves. When these families gather for the Shabbat meal, however, Jesus is the guest star at their table….
  • “Around 350,000 Messianic Jews live in the US, and one would be just as hard-pressed to recognize them there as in Israel. Some are Orthodox, and dress as the haredim do, while others are traditional and wear a yarmulke or no religious symbol at all. They are for the most part Zionists, and see IDF service as a top priority. In the army they serve as pilots, commanders, and elite unit members, but usually make sure to keep their messianic beliefs under wraps….
  • “Jonathan Bar-David is a 30-year old Messianic Jew. He attended secular Israeli schools, served as a paratrooper in the IDF, and then went on to travel before settling down to study engineering at the Technion in Haifa. But before all this, he was educated on the teachings of Christ in Yad Hashmona. ‘When I was little only my closest friends knew I was a believer,’ he says. ‘But in high school, when I was ready, I revealed it to my entire class’….
  • “Lihi Einav is a 52-year old student of Second Temple Literature at Bar-Ilan. Until the age of 35 she was totally uninterested in religion, and busied herself with the healing profession. But then she met a British couple who gave her a copy of the New Testament, and she was immediately captivated by Christ’s powers as a healer. Later she became interested in the Old Testament as well, and her path to Messianic-Judaism became clear….
  • “For a community living under the perpetual wrath of the haredim, who for the most part alienate and discriminate against them, Messianic Jews remain inexplicably optimistic. Perhaps it is because they still follow in the footsteps of that Galilee-born Jew who wandered into Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, the one who believed in turning the other cheek.”


Readers of my non-fiction book Epicenter may recall that Chapter Five predicts this future headline: “ISRAEL DISCOVERS MASSIVE RESERVES OF OIL, GAS.” That chapter is based on prophecies in Deuteronomy that specifically indicate that “oil” and “hidden treasures” under the sea and the sands will be found in Israel in the last days of history. It is also based on the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 & 39 indicating that Israel will be significantly prosperous in the last days, before a Russian-Iranian-Turkish alliance forms against her and seeks to destroy her.
In recent years — and indeed, in recent months — we seem to be seeing this Russian-Iranian-Turkish alliance growing. We also see Israel’s economy growing significantly and remarkable new discoveries of oil and gas.
Consider today’s headline from Ynet to which a friend just alerted me: “1.5 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL DISCOVERED NEAR ROSH HA’AYIN.”
Excerpts: “Could the State of Israel be sitting on an oil reserve that can provide energy, cash flow, and international political influence? This is the question that everyone is waiting to be answered in the engineering report ordered by Givot Olam Oil, overseeing the drilling at the Megged 5 site, next to Rosh Ha’Ayin. The final report will be submitted on September 5. However, a preliminary report was already issued to Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on the oil reserves on the site. ‘The amount of oil in place in Rosh Ha’Ayin plot is estimated at 1.525 billion barrels of oil.’ In previous reports, the quantity was appraised at only a few hundred barrels of oil a day….”
Consider, too, this Ynet headline today: Israel’s economy charges ahead; 4.7% growth in Q2: Israel’s economic growth hits 4.7% in second quarter of 2010, leaving behind Euro bloc at 4.1%.” The article notes that Israel is the fastest growing economy in the West.
All this comes on the heels of Israel discovery enormous reserves of natural gas, as I have written about over the past year.

Step into the story! Prayerfully consider attending the 2011 Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem and come with The Joshua Fund on a “prayer & vision tour” of Israel

NETANYAHU’S WARNING ON IRAN: But fmr. Amb. John Bolton says Israel has only 3 days to strike before Bushehr reactor goes hot

George Will writes an important column in the Washington Post this morning from Jerusalem, apparently after spending time with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He notes: “If Israel strikes Iran, the world will not be able to say it was not warned.”

Jerusalem Post: Bolton claims Israel has only 3 days to strike Bushehr plant

Haaretz publishes this important analysis, based on The Atlantic story from last week: Will Israel really attack Iran within a year?”

Also worth noting:

  • Learn: The DVD collection of speeches from the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philly has just been released, including the message/Q&A by Israeli Vice Prime Minister Yaalon, and a special bonus feature on how to share the gospel w/your Muslim friends by Hormoz Shariat and Tom Doyle — you can order your copy by clicking here
  • Learn: Pre-order The Twelfth Imam. Details coming very soon on book tour dates, locations and details.
  • Learn: Visit, read a sneak preview with advance excerpts from The Twelfth Imam, and/or sign up for Joel’s (free) weekly Flash Traffic emails
  • Pray: Join Joel’s “Epicenter Team” on Facebook
  • Give: Would you like to help The Joshua Fund educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel, and provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to the poor and needy in the epicenter? Please click here to visit and provide at $50, $100 or $250 donation.
  • Go: Attend the 2011 Epicenter Conference in Israel and go on a “prayer & vision tour” of Israel with The Joshua Fund

    Israelis Defense Minister approves purchase of 20 F-35I Joint Strike Fighter stealth fighter planes in deal worth $2.75 billion

    Tensions in the epicenter are spiking with news that Russia next week will help Iran’s first nuclear power facility go “hot” as early as next week. Analysts had originally been expecting this to happen in August. Then the Russians said it would be delayed until September. The Israeli government has not commented yet. But the big question is whether Prime Minister Netanyahu sees this as a “red line” that if crossed would trigger an Israeli military strike. Please step up your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem. Please also pray for The Joshua Fund team as we meet for next week for prayer, strategic planning and budgeting. We see the need to accelerate our efforts to prepare for a coming war, but need the Lord’s wisdom to know precisely how to proceed. Thanks.

    Russia’s nuclear agency said Friday that it will load fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant next week, defying U.S. calls to hold off the start of the launch,” reports AP. “Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov said Friday that uranium fuel shipped by Russia will be loaded into the Bushehr reactor on Aug. 21, beginning the startup process. ‘From that moment the Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear-energy installation,’ he told The Associated Press. The United States has called for Russia to delay the startup until Iran proves that it’s not developing nuclear weapons. Russian officials said that the latest U.N. sanctions against Iran won’t affect the Bushehr project….”

    THE POINT OF NO RETURN: New article in The Atlantic examines the prospect of an Israeli first strike on Iran

    (image by Alex Williamson, for The Atlantic magazine)

    >> The DVD collection of speeches and presentations from the 2010 Epicenter Conference begins shipping today. It includes messages by General Boykin, Kay Arthur, Greg Laurie, Hormoz Shariat, Mosab Hassan Yousef, myself and others. It also includes a special two-hour seminar bonus feature with Hormoz Shariat and Tom Doyle on how to share the gospel with your Muslim friends. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, please go to

    I commend to your attention a new article in The Atlantic by reporter Jeffrey Goldberg entitled, “The Point of No Return.”


    • “For the Obama administration, the prospect of a nuclearized Iran is dismal to contemplate— it would create major new national-security challenges and crush the president’s dream of ending nuclear proliferation. But the view from Jerusalem is still more dire: a nuclearized Iran represents, among other things, a threat to Israel’s very existence. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold…..”
    • “[T]he United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace [enroute to Iran]. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down….”
    • “When the Israelis begin to bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz, the formerly secret enrichment site at Qom, the nuclear-research center at Esfahan, and possibly even the Bushehr reactor, along with the other main sites of the Iranian nuclear program, a short while after they depart en masse from their bases across Israel—regardless of whether they succeed in destroying Iran’s centrifuges and warhead and missile plants, or whether they fail miserably to even make a dent in Iran’s nuclear program—they stand a good chance of changing the Middle East forever; of sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel’s only meaningful ally; of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel’s conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper among nations….”
    • “I have interviewed roughly 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike, as well as many American and Arab officials. In most of these interviews, I have asked a simple question: what is the percentage chance that Israel will attack the Iranian nuclear program in the near future? Not everyone would answer this question, but a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July….”
    • “Based on months of interviews, I have come to believe that the administration knows it is a near-certainty that Israel will act against Iran soon if nothing or no one else stops the nuclear program….”

      Another article worth noting is this one in Ha’aretz:  “The morning after the attack on Iran: How will the international community respond the next day?”

      NOTE: Learn more about The Joshua Fund’s “prayer & vision trip” to Israel in May 2011, including the 2011 Epicenter Conference. Prayerfully consider coming with us not in spite of the threats but because of them. We will pray for the peace of Jerusalem, study God’s love for and promises to the Jewish people, participate in humanitarian relief outreaches, and in other ways bless Israelis and Palestinians. We would love for you to join us!

      SPECIAL NOTICE TO PASTORS AND MINISTRY LEADERS: If you would like to lead your own tour to Israel in May 2011 and bring your guests to the 2011 Epicenter Conference, we would love for you to do this! In fact, our tour agency — Inspiration Cruises & Tours — would be glad to help you design and promote such a tour and have many turn-key options available for you. Please click here for more details.


      “Collision Course” is a one-hour TV special that examines geopolitical trends in the Middle East in light of Bible prophecy. It includes a brief documentary opening on the tensions in the Middle East, followed by extended excerpts of addresses by Mosab Hassan Yousef, Lt-General (ret.) Boykin, Tim LaHaye, Pastor Skip Heitzig, Pastor Greg Laurie and Joel C. Rosenberg delivered at the Harvest Prophecy Conference in April 2010. The program is new viewable online at


      A reader recently emailed me: “Am curious why tours of Israel are being offered now in this year, when at this time 2009 your web site clearly stated there would be no tours in 2010 because of Iran/Israel relations and the expectation of an attack. So what’s changed?”

      My reply: “The Lord told us not to lead a tour in 2010, but He’s telling us to organize a tour for May 2011. I’m not sure I can explain it. There could still be a war this year, or next. We don’t know. We’re just trying to be faithful to the Holy Spirit’s direction. I hope you’ll praying about coming with us.”

      Let me add: As the world abandons the people of the epicenter for various reasons (wars and rumors of war, anti-Semitism, replacement theology, etc), I believe true and faithful followers of Jesus Christ should bless Israelis and the Palestinians with unconditional love and unwavering support. With war threats mounting, I believe we should be even more committed to going to Israel, praying for Israel, praying with Israelis, caring for the poor and needy int he region, and strengthening the Church as the only hope for peace and reconciliation in the region. Above all, we must obey the Lord. If our Father in heaven tells us to go, let us not be like Jonah in the Bible and go the other direction. Then again, if the Lord tells us to stay away, then isn’t it better to obey than to sacrifice? Each of us should seek the Lord in faithful and consistent prayer (even fasting) and ask the Lord to show us precisely what He wants from us as individuals, families, churches and communities. We can trust the Lord to make His will clear to us. As Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 7:7-8, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

      >> Learn more about The Joshua Fund’s “prayer & vision trip” to Israel in May 2011, including the 2011 Epicenter Conference


      >> To read sneak preview excerpts of Joel’s new novel, The Twelfth Imam (releasing on Oct. 19) — or to pre-order a copy — please click here


      TRAGEDY KILLS 7 IN ISRAEL: And tensions rising on Israel-Lebanon border

      Jerusalem Post headline: Seven dead as train, minibus collide near Kiryat Gat “Seven people were killed and 20 were injured in a collision between a train and a minibus at a railroad crossing north of Kiryat Gat on Thursday evening. The fatalities, including a pregnant woman and three children, were all from the same family….” Please pray for the injured and the families of the dead and wounded.

      Meanwhile, Mideast leaders and regional analysts are increasingly concerned war could break out on the Israel-Lebanon border. But for the grace of God, the firefight the other day could have triggered a summer war just like 2006…or worse. Please continue to pray for peace.



      >> Read an advance excerpt from The Twelfth Imam — releasing on Oct 19 — or pre-order a copy at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite local book store or Christian retailer


      It is with great excitement about God’s love for the people of Israel that I cordially invite you to join us for The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Trip to Israel.” It will be held May 13-24, 2011 and includes admission to the 2011 Epicenter Conference.

      If you have never been to the Holy Land, it is hard to describe what a profound spiritual effect such a journey can have on you and your family. You may have heard others say God’s Word seemed to “come alive” in a new way when they walked where Jesus walked, from the shores of Galilee to the Mount of Olives and into the streets of Jerusalem. Well, it’s true, and I believe our 2011 Israel trip will allow you to experience this for yourself and intensify your desire to walk more closely with Jesus Christ.

      If you have been to Israel before, this trip will be a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of how powerfully the Lord is moving there. And this tour is like no other. You will visit The Joshua Fund’s warehouse and participate in a practical ministry project to bless the poor and needy. You will have the opportunity to meet with and pray for local pastors and ministry leaders on the frontlines of the faith. You will participate in a special two-day conference to study God’s Word and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I will also teach at key locations and answer your questions about the future of the epicenter.

      Joining me to speak at the 2011 Epicenter Conference — held at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem — will be Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries, Pastor Ray Bentley of Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, Anne Graham-Lotz, Pastor Heitzig of Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque, and others. We will teaching through the Old Testament “Book of Joel” verse by verse, chapter by chapter, as the Lord speaks through the ancient Hebrew prophet, calling His people to gather the elders, consecrate a fast, assemble the congregation, pray, and return to a true and holy walk with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We’ll also study Bible prophecy, geopolitical trends in the Middle East, and learn more about how to build a global movement of followers of Jesus Christ willing to bless Israel and her neighbors, come what may.

      Space is limited, so please prayerfully consider joining us. You’ve read about what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do in Israel. Now step into the story. We would love to see you there!

      * NOTE: If you would like to go on a tour to Israel in May and attend the 2011 Epicenter Conference but you’d like to go on slightly different dates than The Joshua Fund tour, please click here for lots of different options.

      SPECIAL NOTICE TO PASTORS AND MINISTRY LEADERS: If you would like to lead your own tour to Israel in May 2011 and bring your guests to the 2011 Epicenter Conference, we would love for you to do this! In fact, our tour agency — Inspiration Cruises & Tours — would be glad to help you design and promote such a tour and have many turn-key options available for you. Please click here for more details.