The newfound offshore gas fields of Tamar, Leviathan, and Tanin give Israel a historic chance at energy independence and could transform the region’s geopolitics. Israel may work with Cyprus, which has its own find (shown on map below), on export plans.” Photograph from Albatross Aerial Perspective/AP

As Israel discovers more and more natural gas, will this be a “game changer” in a positive way, or a new reason for Israel’s enemies to attack? Specifically, what will Russia’s reaction be when Israel becomes a natural gas exporter to Europe? Russia is currently one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe. Could such developments lead to the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies? These are trends worth watching closely.

Excerpts from summer 2012 issue of National Geographic:

Israel’s northern port city of Haifa has been a crucial energy center for decades; refineries dating back to the British Mandate in this land have long processed the oil sent by pipeline or shipped here from abroad. Today, rigs are working off Haifa’s coast to tap the first major fossil-fuel reserve ever found in Israel’s territory, a store on which it hopes to build a far more independent energy future.

The Tamar natural gas field was discovered in 2009 some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off Haifa’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea. There are perhaps scores of known gas fields bigger than Tamar, with its estimated 250 billion cubic meters (9 trillion cubic feet) in reserves; Alaska’s North Slope, for instance, is believed to hold four times as much fuel. But Tamar is large enough to meet all of Israel’s natural gas requirements for 20 to 30 years, the experts say.

This unprecedented offshore bonanza expanded dramatically the following year when another field, Leviathan, almost double the size of Tamar, was discovered another 30 miles (48 kilometers) to the west. (A smaller field, Tanin, with an estimated 33.9 billion cubic meters (1.2 trillion cubic feet) in natural gas, was discovered nearby earlier this year.)With natural gas scheduled to begin flowing from Tamar next year, and from Leviathan about four years later, Israel is on the brink of a historic shift. Instead of being an energy-scarce nation amid Middle East oil giants, many of them hostile, Israel now faces a future as a fuel producer in its own right—likely as an exporter and supplier to some of its neighbors, a development that could dramatically alter the region’s geopolitics.

Israel’s foreign and domestic policy no longer will be intertwined with the question of securing adequate fuel supply. Now it will face a quite different challenge—managing the nation’s newfound energy abundance.

“This is going to change the overall way of the economy of Israel,” says Shaul Zemach, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. “It’s like a domino—it’s going to have a domino effect on all of the markets.” Quite simply, he said, it’s a “game changer.”…. [To read the full story, please click here]

>> Help The Joshua Fund teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please prayerfully consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.

>> 2012 Epicenter Conference set for Sept 12-16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico — will be webcast worldwide


Israeli children learning to use their new gas masks.

>> UPDATE: Israel Would Strike Iran to Gain a Few Years, Oren Says

Tonight in Israel, war with Iran seems closer than ever. Top Iranian officials are threatening to annihilate Israel again. Senior Israeli officials are telling people to get their gas masks and prepare for the worst.

“With the US sending clear public signals to Israel that it is opposed to military action now against Iran, and a cacophonous debate on the matter in Israel, senior Iranian officials continue to threaten Israel with destruction,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that he was confidant ‘the fake Zionist (regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography,’ Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.”

“Matan Vilnai, who is stepping down as home front defence minister to become ambassador to China, said the country was ‘ready as never before,'” reports the UK Telegraph. “‘The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts,’ he told the Maariv newspaper. ‘It could be that there will be less fatalities, but it could be there will be more, that is the scenario that we are preparing for according to the best experts.’ Speculation is growing that Israel is planning a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear programme – or that it is using the question to increase pressure on Barack Obama to launch an American strike….And in Israel, critics have warned that the country is not ready for the promised Iranian retaliation, pointing to a shortage of gas masks, for example.”


The top two U.S. defense officials today publicly doubted whether Israel was capable of effectively neutralizing Iran’s nuclear threat. It’s not clear why the American government is choosing to undermine a key ally on the possible eve of a major war in the Middle East. But that is what has just happened. “A possible Israeli strike on Iran‘s nuclear facilities may be able to hinder the Islamic Republic’s atom ambitions but it will no destroy its nuclear program, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday,” reports Ynet News. “In a press briefing held in the pentagon, Dempsey and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta were asked for their opinion of a recent media report suggesting Israel was closer than ever to undertaking a unilateral strike against Iran, and whether they believed such military action would be effective….”

To read the rest of the story, please click here.

IS ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRAN JUST WEEKS AWAY? Reading the latest tea leaves.

Yes, it is possible that Israeli leaders could be bluffing. Yes, it is also possible that they are simply trying to pressure the U.S. and international community to take more decisive action to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat. But reading the latest tea leaves, I believe evidence is rapidly mounting that this could really be it — Israel could be just days or weeks away from a massive preemptive strike against Iran.

I believe there are significant changes in the way Israeli leaders are speaking about the possibility of war. One fact that has particularly caught my attention in the last 24 hours is that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is telling reporters that it is time for the world to admit that diplomacy has not worked, and that Iran only has “weeks” and not “months” to cease nuclear activity. To be clear: I’m still praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the epicenter everyday, as we are commanded in Psalm 122:6. I’m not advocating war. I would be so glad if Israel and/or the world could find a way to neutralize Iran without violence and bloodshed. But I don’t want to see a Second Holocaust either, and that’s surely what Israel would be facing if Iran gets the Bomb. I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu believes he is out of other options, and it’s clear to him thus far that the Obama administration is not going to act decisively to prevent Iran from getting the Bomb in time. There could be numerous detours on the journey in the days and weeks ahead. But unless something dramatic changes quickly, I believe that everyone in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Tehran are on the verge of a massive and imminent war.

As you know, I spent two weeks in Israel in July, meeting with The Joshua Fund staff there and many of our key allies. Then, before leaving Washington, I also held two full days of meetings with our senior staff to evaluate our 2012 and 2013 budgets, and reassess our war preparations. I can report to you that we are doing everything we possibly can to be prepared for what is coming, by God’s grace. It won’t be easy. There will be many surprises and enormous challenges, I’m sure. But we’ve been praying and planning and organizing and training and building alliances since 2006 for this moment, and we’re deeply grateful for your prayers and financial support. Please keep praying for Israel and her neighbors and for The Joshua Fund as we approach these very dark days ahead.

Here are the latest significant developments:

>> Help The Joshua Fund teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please prayerfully consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.

>> 2012 Epicenter Conference set for Sept 12-16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico — will be webcast worldwide


“After forcing Egypt’s top brass to retire in an unexpected power play and issuing a decree to consolidate presidential authority, President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday said the moves were made with the nation’s best interest in mind,” reports the Times of Israel. “‘Today’s decisions are not directed at certain persons or meant to embarrass certain institutions. … I only had in mind the interest of this nation and its people,’ he said in a televised speech. ‘I want (the armed forces) to dedicate themselves to a mission that is holy to all of us and that is the defense of the nation.’ Earlier Sunday, Morsi fired Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, forcing them into retirement, and canceled the military-declared constitutional amendments that gave top generals wide powers, Egyptian state TV reported….”


>> A trip report from Israel by John Hannah, former National Security Advisor for VP Cheney: “We have entered the phase of strategic decisions” — Excerpts: Israeli officials have lost almost all faith that the current American strategy of negotiations combined with escalating economic pressure can succeed in compelling Iran to back down….With rare exception, the Israelis I spoke with have little to no confidence that President Obama will act in a timely manner to stop Iran from acquiring a military nuclear capability….”He’s prepared to let them get one turn of the screwdriver away,” several Israelis remarked. “We’re not.”….As more than one Israeli official told me with obvious regret, “We are forced to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it would be.”


Tonight, I’m honored to be speaking and doing a question & answer session on my new book, Implosion, in the Denver, Colorado area. Given the horrific violence in nearby Aurora recently, and now the new massacre in Wisconsin, and the enormous debate over the future of our country, I think this will be a timely discussion. The occassion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc., a ministry my parents (Len and Mary Rosenberg) started 12 years 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 a bit about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry in countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, Zambia, Sudan, Romania, Haiti, Thailand, Turkey, Israel, etc. Then I will discuss the enormous economic and spiritual challenges facing the United States, whether we could face not just a decline but a collapse, and the prospect of a Third Great Awakening. And I’m especially looking forward to your questions as that is my favorite part of the evening. The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at Please join us — I hope to see you there!

On Saturday, I’m looking forward to addressing The Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Indeed, I look forward to participating in this important event to talk about the research and analysis I did for my new book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time? This event will be a critical forum to talk about the urgent need to rescue our imploding families and seek the Lord for a sweeping spiritual revival to save America before it’s too late. Also speaking at the Summit will be former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, and Iowa Rep. Steve King. It will be held at Point of Grace Church. Please register now and join us.

>> Please join the conversation and follow on Twitter @jcrflashtraffic


I’m finishing writing my new novel, The Damascus Countdown, this week, but set aside fiction for a moment — the painful truth is that Syria is imploding. The bloodthirsty regime of Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering its own people, and steadily losing control of the country. The latest reports indicate that more than 20,000 Syrians have been murdered. Top Syrian officials are defecting. The rebels are steadily winning control of more and more of the country. Iran is sending forces to fight on behalf of the Assad regime against the rebels. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly sending naval warships and Russian marines to Syria as a show of support for Assad, though it’s not clear how far the Kremlin is willing to go to defend the dictator of Damascus. But the rebels are no friends of freedom. Should they topple the Assad regime and seize control, we could see a repeat of the Egyptian revolution last year where Radical Islamic jihadists end up gaining control of the country.

Looming over the entire catastrophe are Bible prophecies that Damascus will be judged and utterly destroyed in the last days. Please be praying for the Syrian people to renounce Islam and give their lives to Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Please pray for the persecuted Christians in Syrian that the Lord will give them courage and boldness to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, and care for those who are wounded, scared and desperate.

Here are the key developments in recent days:

  • MAJOR DEFECTIONS — “Syria’s prime minister defected and fled to neighboring Jordan, a Jordanian official and a rebel spokesman said Monday, evidence that the cracks in President Bashar’s Assad’s regime have reached the highest echelons of government,” reports the Associated Press. “Ahmad Kassim, a senior official with the Free Syrian Army, said Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan along with three other ministers.  A Jordanian government official confirmed Hijab defected with his family but did not comment on the three other ministers.  The Jordanian government official spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he was not allowed to make any public statements on the defection. Hijab is the highest-level government official to defect since the uprising against Assad’s authoritarian rule began 17 months ago. The other ministers’ identities were not immediately known.”
  • RUSSIAN MARINES ARRIVING — “Interfax quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry source as saying three landing assault ships, an anti-submarine ship and four smaller vessels might call on Tartus by Sunday,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The ships are carrying a contingent of about 360 marines and amphibious armored personnel carriers….’ am absolutely confident that most likely their task will be to evacuate the personnel and equipment of the base,’ Alexander Golts, a defense expert and deputy editor-in-chief of the popular liberal online publication Yezhednevny Zhurnal, said in an interview. ‘However, this group is not sufficient enough to evacuate from 30,000 to 60,000 Russian citizens working and living in Syria,’ Golts said, ‘unless the marines will be ordered to gain control of a landing strip at Damascus airport and help establish an air-bridge to take all Russians out….Whatever their task, it is clear that given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria the Kremlin wants to have some sort of military presence close to its shores,’ Golts added.”
  • IRAN SENDING FORCES — “Iran is sending thousands of fighters to help the Bashar Assad regime in it’s ongoing conflict with rebel forces, according to a Syrian opposition leader,” reports the Times of Israel. “Col. Abdul-Jabbar Mohammed Aqidi, the commander of rebel forces in Aleppo province, was quoted in Al Arabiya on Saturday saying that 3,000 Iranians had already passed through Damascus International Airport in the last week.”

Henry Kissinger now believes Syria will implode.

As I have written before, there are actually two key Biblical prophecies that explain that at unspecified time in the future, the city of Damascus will be completely destroyed — judged by God — and will not be inhabited again.

* Isaiah 17:1-3 — “The oracle concerning Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin. The cities of  Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks to lie down in, and there will be  no one to frighten them. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus….’”

* Jeremiah 49:23-27 — “Concerning Damascus. ‘Hamath andArpad are put to shame, for they have heard bad news; they are disheartened. There is anxiety by the sea, it cannot be calmed. Damascus has become helpless; she has turned away to flee, and panic has gripped her; distress and pangs have taken hold of her like a woman in childbirth. How the  city of praise has not been deserted, the town of My joy! Therefore, her young men will fall in her streets, and all the men of war will be silenced in that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ’I will  set fire to the wall of Damascus, and it will devour the fortified towers of Ben-hadad.’”

These prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth. It has been attacked, besieged, and conquered. But Damascus has never been completely destroyed and left uninhabited. Yet that is exactly what the Bible says will happen. The context of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 are a series of End Times prophecies dealing with God’s judgments on Israel’s neighbors and enemies leading up to — and through — the Tribulation.

How exactly will Damascus be destroyed? When will exactly it be destroyed? What will that look like, and what will be the implications for the rest of Syria, for Israel and for the region? The honest answer is that the Bible does not say. I’m currently writing a novel entitled, The Damascus Countdown that envisions how these prophecies could come to pass. This will be the third and last in the novel series that includes The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative (both out now in paperback and ebook). Lord willing, I will finish the manuscript in the next few days and it will release early next year (probably in March). In the meantime, I am tracking events in Damascus and Syria very closely [i.e, see blog posts: “Will Syria Implode?”; “More than 1,000 Syrian leaders attend premiere of Damascus film]. I am also praying much for the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy on the people of that great city. The innocent blood shed by the Assad regime is reprehensible, and heart-breaking and is setting the stage for a terrible judgment. The believers in Christ there are being horribly persecuted, but some are still boldly preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word of God. Let’s pray that they reach all of the people of Damascus and Syria before the judgment comes.

>> Help The Joshua Fund teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please prayerfully consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.


“A major effort by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate into Israel was thwarted on the Israel-Egypt-Gaza border on Sunday night,” reports the Times of Israel. “The gunmen killed at least 16 Egyptian soldiers and commandeered two Egyptian armored vehicles before attempting to cross into Israel; they were stopped by the army and the air force, and several terrorists were killed. The death toll was earlier reported as 15. The army and the police continued searching the area overnight, and additional troops were deployed, in case any of the terrorists were still on the loose inside Israel. No Israelis were reported injured in the attack. Israeli residents in the area were told to stay inside their homes late into the night.”

>> UPDATE: Terrorists were more than a kilometer inside Israel, speeding toward kibbutz, when army blew up their armored vehicle

Another article notes: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday visited the site of an attempted terror attack that took place the night before near the Egyptian border, saying that only the Israel security establishment itself can protect the country’s citizens. ‘I think it’s clear that Israel and Egypt have a common interest in keeping the border quiet. Having said that, it becomes clear time after time that when it comes to the safety of Israeli citizens, Israel must and can rely only on itself. No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and different Israel security forces of Israel and we will continue to conduct ourselves like that.'”


A murder wave continues across America this year. AP is reporting: “At least six people were killed Sunday when a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, authorities said. The suspected shooter later died in an exchange of gunfire with police. CNN reports: “The officer was wounded but ‘returned fire, and that shooter was put down,’ said Bradley Wentlandt, the police chief in nearby Greenfield, who briefed reporters.  Investigators who picked through the building afterward found four bodies inside the temple and two other victims outside, plus the gunman, Wentlandt said.” Please pray for the Lord to comfort the families and friends of those killed, and to heal and comfort those wounded. Developing…..


“‘An Israeli military strike on Iran may be just weeks or at most a couple of months away,’ a former Israeli intelligence chief said Friday, while stressing that he personally did not think the time was right for an Israeli attack,” reports the Times of Israel. “‘It seems to me,’ said Aharon Zeevi Farkash, former head of Military Intelligence in the IDF, ‘that [an Israeli attack] could come in the near future… that is, weeks or a couple of months.’ Asked whether an Israeli strike would lead to war, he responded: ‘Absolutely.’ Interviewed on Israel’s Channel 2 News, he added, ‘The Iranians have to understand’ that if they don’t halt their nuclear drive, ‘they will ultimately have to absorb a blow to their main military sites, from an international coalition, or from the US, or perhaps from Israel.”