Joel Rosenberg, novelist and a dual citizen of Israel and America, speaks at the Values Voters Summit 2018. He speaks of some very exciting events that have happened recently in the Middle East. The novels that he has written tap into the prophetic even though he has not acknowledged it and the novels have led him into the presence of kings and presidents.
Joel answers the question; what Evangelicals need to know but may not be getting from the mainstream media? “The Islamic state as it existed three years ago, no longer exists. The caliphate has been crushed, the genocide against Christians in the Middle East has been stopped. ISIS has not been vanquished, but it is definitely on the run. Israel has just celebrated her 70th anniversary of her prophetic rebirth on May 14, 1948. Jewish families like my own are returning back to the promised land, back to the Holy Land after centuries of exile just as the scriptures foretold. It’s happening in our lifetime. Israel is building a prosperous economy and a vibrant, robust, dynamic democracy and 23 years after Congress overwhelmingly passed a law to make it happen, the American Embassy now resides in Jerusalem.” He says all this isn’t just in the last three years but the last 18 months.
Joel says he must be honest, so he shares what he thought of President Donald Trump. “I was a never Trumper, until Thursday…before the election. I had to send in my absentee ballot from Israel by FedEx, and I had been quite outspoken about my concerns and criticisms of Candidate Trump. But it did come down to, it was him or her now…this is it, you gotta send in your ballot.” He shares how some people were early adopters of President Trump, and some were late to accept him which is how Joel felt.
Being a friend of Vice President Mike Pence, Joel’s wife helped him realize he couldn’t vote against a friend, on the one hand; he just didn’t know what would happen and how President Trump would be as a leader of our country. Now he says it is extraordinary to see his friend helping President Trump and helping to lead our nation. “People are policy and when you see someone like Secretary Pompeo…as the director of Central Intelligence and then the Secretary of State leading foreign U.S. policy, explaining it, advancing it, working with the President. This is just amazing to see Evangelicals in these key positions…people who have these values and are so concerned about the direction of the country are in key positions. And they are making progress.” Joel looked at President Trump as a marriage to America, and he wasn’t sure it should happen, but it did happen, and he wants to see it succeed. “There will be times that criticism is necessary, but there is a difference between being a critic and being a cynic…there are times to be critical, but if you are a cynic, that means you don’t believe somebody can ever change, ever make good decisions, ever hire good people, ever advance our values, and that is clearly not the case. So much good has happened, and I am grateful.”
Next, Joel speaks of the greatest threat in the Middle East. He says the primary threat remains to be Iran. The Iran Deal emboldened the Iota and repressed the Iranian people and Christians. “This level of influence, and aggression, and evil, true wickedness coming out of Iran has been encouraged by the Nuclear Deal.”
He speaks of a meeting he had with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, and after the president spoke, he walked around and talked to everyone. Joel approached him and introduced himself and thanked him for liberating the people of Egypt and for protecting Christians. He boldly points out the President el-Sisi has not met with a group of evangelicals. “One group I haven’t noticed that you met with, I may have missed it, please forgive me, but have you met with Evangelical Christian leaders? He said no I haven’t. I said you may want to consider that.” Joel pointed out the number of Evangelicals in America and the world is 600 million worldwide stating that they would be fascinated to meet with him. Because of his boldness, President el-Sisi asked Joel if he would like to bring an Evangelical delegation to meet with him!
In their meetings, they met with senior Muslim leaders and 60 Egyptian Christian leaders asking them how we pray and encourage them. The Evangelical’s first met with President el-Sisi in his palace and met with him for three hours!
Joel also took a delegation to Jordan and met with King Abdullah. He had written a book about the king and King Abdullah read that book, The First Hostage. “Rather than banning me from the kingdom forever, he invited my wife and me to come for five days. To build a friendship, to begin to get to know his worldview…he sent us to meet with all his special forces, generals, different bases, and key leaders, national security leaders. I think he was saying I want to show you what I am doing everything to make sure that your book is never coming true.” Which in Joel’s book the king was killed by ISIS. He had three different meetings with King Abdullah, and he was so honored and amazed to have met with him. After this meeting he was able to bring the Evangelical delegation to meet with King Abdullah.
Joel says that all the leaders in the Middle East are concerned about Iran, even to the point of calling Iran, Hitler. “Russia is forming an alliance with Iran…to the south something new, and American, Israeli, Sunni, Arab alliance. It’s not perfect, it’s not fully formed, but something’s happening that’s never happened in history. We need to encourage it, we need to nurture it, we need to be grateful that this current administration understands it, and the last administration certainly did not. And we need to continue to pray for peace in the region, for peace in Jerusalem, and that we can be salt and light in every aspect of life. From foreign policy to human rights, and the Gospel most importantly.”
On the earth, it is a historical time to be alive; it should make us want to be informed and prayerful. We are so grateful for Joel as he reminds us as we stay in tune with God, we can be in the right place at the right time to be able to do something amazing for God. We must continue praying for Israel and the Middle East! We can continue to bring the light to all seven mountains of culture as we talk about at VFNKB and Joel is doing just that. We want to hear from you, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Greg and John shared in this segment.
Screen capture courtesy of Values Voters Summit .org