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227 of 239 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2006
I have to admit when I first heard that Joel Rosenberg had written a series of novels, I wasn't very excited to take a look at his work. Im generally not into "end times" books because many of the ones I have seen are essentially a few facts scattered thought a matrix of wild speculation. And I never did catch on to the "Left Behind" genre. However, being involved in the leadership of a Messianic Congregation, and having a general interest and concern for the Jewish people, I was nevertheless curious.

Then I noticed then this book, which is a sort of "cliff notes" to Rosenberg's novels, providing key highlights and most importantly, the basis for his novels. After reading a few sections, I found myself being quite impressed at the content. Before long, I was hooked; this is a very well done book. The thoughts are clear, speculation is generally noted (rather than affirmed as fact), copious references are provided, and I believe that the book is generally faithful to its Biblical roots.

The central theme of the book is the literal fulfillment of the prophecies of Ezekiel in chapters 37/38. The author takes these prophecies, and tries to interpret them in light of current world events. When he wrote the novels, some of his "predictions" had apparently not yet been fact, so that in some ways his views offer some testable hypotheses. Rosenberg is not a "date setter (thank G-d)," though he believes that we are rapidly coming to the climax of these prophecies. Especially important is his use of primary sources; in most cases he talked to many "in the know" people across the word, and didn't just quote sound bytes from the internet/TV/radio. The book as a very investigative feel to it, and the high quality of the effort here is rather evident.

The author tries very hard to "stick with the text," and is very respectful of the Scripture. Given some of the titles of his novels, you might think this work is a diatribe against Islam, but it surely isn't. In fact, the first third of the book lays the groundwork as to why the author feels that Russia is the country to watch, although he uses the Scripture to outline why several major players in the Middle East have a role as well in the unfolding of Ezekiel's prophecies. The Russia section is truly eye opening, and you will start to develop an eerie feeling as you read it. This was perhaps the most intriguing and scary part of the book; you wont want to miss it.

In short, this is a well-researched and Biblically sound treatment of the Ezekiel prophecies. Of course you may not believe all of the links the author has made between the Scripture and current events, but at least there is integrity in the work. Epicenter is highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in Israel and the role that she will play in G-d's plan of redemption.
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301 of 335 people found the following review helpful
In his first non-fiction book, New York Time's best-selling novelist Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical Christian from an Orthodox Jewish background, takes the reader on a journey that includes interviews with Israeli, Palestinian, and Russian leaders, previously classified CIA and White House documents, complemented with a powerful narrative that will fix your attention on how events are connected, from biblical prophecy to recent headlines.

Absolutely an excellent book on a very delicate topic that is affecting and will affect our world. Rosenberg shows us the power of the Scripture in understanding the past and the present, and even more important: in predicting the future. A Thought-provoking reading that is well worth for Christian Readers and any reader as well.

With everything that is going on in the middle east and around the world, in such places like Iran, Iraq, Russia, and China: the invasion of Iraq and the violence of the post Sadam's Iraq, Iran's president vows to wipe Israel, and more it is nice to have the analysis and the point of view of a well respected Christian writer.
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167 of 189 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2006
Joel Rosenberg a former Jewish convert to Christianity seems to have the most uncanny grasp on recent modern events. His Jewish background gives him a greater than usual empasis on old testament teachings and prophency. When the fiction books he was writng began to come true after he wrote them he and his associates were surprised to say the least. I saw him in a seminar relate the events of 911 that eclipsed the writing of his book The Last Jihad. Then he stated his next fiction book came true while he was writing it! Now he has released a "non fiction" book! We must keep an eye on the events unfolding, and if indeed we see things happening that this book forcasts not only will it prove its prophesy, but will certainly as he says change our future. i think the jury is still out, but these events indeed bear careful scrutiny and watching, and if proven by time demand a Christian response.
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106 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2007
I was given a copy of Joel Rosenberg's "Epicenter" along with great accolades for its message. It took me a while to want to read it because I long ago grew weary of the Tim LaHayes and Hal Lindseys of the world who want to tie every current event to biblical prophecy. Books such as this, as well as Rosenberg's fictional novels and LaHaye's "Left Behind" series, are popular because people are trying to make sense out of world events and are hoping that there is a purpose to all of the negative things that occur in our world. In a sense, end-times interpreters are correct - everything that happens is part of the working out of God's plan for mankind; however, their doomsday predictions do nothing to change any of that. Most such writings seem to come from rather an elitist position on the part of the author (as though he is the only one who can correctly interpret prophecies through world events) and are woefully lacking in the gospel message that gives people hope to endure such times.

Rosenberg has become well-known for having a seemingly uncanny knack of writing fictional novels with events that later (or often sooner) occur in real life. This book is his first venture into non-fiction, and he tries to explain how he comes up with many of his ideas for his novels and presents his theory of an impending earthly calamity (though this is not the final battle of Armageddon). Unfortunately, the introduction and first few chapters of the book come off as being self-congratulatory advertisements for his novels. Also, Rosenberg writes as though he were letting the reader in on some big secrets that he has gleaned from statesmen and church leaders in various parts of the world, but he tells us nothing that we can't get from reading a newspaper or watching television newscasts. There is nothing new or surprising about the facts that certain Jewish organizations are making plans to rebuild the Temple, Iran wants to destroy Israel and (preferably) the U.S. as well, Russia wants its Soviet-era empire back and Middle Eastern oil to boot, and both of these latter countries are a threat to world security.

As far as Rosenberg's prophetic interpretation is concerned, I believe he focuses too narrowly on Ezekiel 38-39. He ignores, or at best gives short shrift, to prophecies in Jeremiah 51-52 and (more importantly) in Revelation 19 that have to be considered alongside the two chapters from Ezekiel. Rosenberg also presents his belief in the Rapture, which is an oft-debated doctrine in Christendom. I wish just one of the authors who presents the Rapture as a definite event would address the fact that this concept did not arise until 1830 and is based on an alleged `prophetic utterance' which was made in tongues, and then interpreted, in a charismatic church in London that was pastored by the Rev. Edward Irving (a man whose ideas got to be so far out in left field that he was almost out of the ballpark); prior to that time, no one in the church had engaged in any interpretive gymnastics with the select few scriptures that are currently used to support the idea of the Rapture. I also wonder how much credibility I can give to Rosenberg's ideas when he states that the first Temple was built by King David - in the Bible, God told David that he could not build the Temple because he had too much blood on his hands from the wars he had fought; thus, David's son, Solomon, had the first Temple built after his father's death. If Rosenberg is in error on such an obvious item, how much error might there be in his interpretations of prophecy?

What sets "Epicenter" apart from all of the other end times books is that Rosenberg includes chapters in which 1) he presents the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 2) he gives a personal testimony about how first his parents, and then he, came to be believers in Jesus. Jesus informed believers of what the signs of the end would be in passages such as Mark 13 and Matthew 24 (the Olivet Discourse) so that we would know when His return is imminent. However, Jesus also told us not to be concerned about trying to figure out the exact day and hour of His return. We are to be prepared for the end of days by having a relationship with Him and by sharing our faith with others so that they might also come to know Him. Rosenberg is to be commended for presenting the gospel of Christ and giving his testimony, and if his interpretations of prophecy also happen 'to scare some people straight' (i.e. bring them to Jesus), then his book will have served some positive purpose (although I do not consider such sensationalism to be the ideal evangelistic tool).
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Joel Rosenberg has had an amazing run of novels that have nearly mirrored headlines from the Middle East. The Copper Scroll, The Last Jihad, and The Ezekiel Option are fictional stories based on biblical prophecies related to end time events. In his latest book, Epicenter: Why current rumblings in the middle east will change your future, he takes a nonfiction look at Ezekiel 38 and 39 in light of current events. Very thought-provoking...

Contents: All Eyes On The Epicenter; Predicting The Future; The Genesis Of Jihad; Connecting The Dots; The Third Lens; Future Headline - Israel Discovers Massive Reserves Of Oil, Gas; Future Headline - Treaties And Truces Leave Israelis More Secure Than Ever Before; Future Headline - A Czar Rises In Russia, Raising Fears Of A New Cold War; Future Headline - Kremlin Joins "Axis Of Evil", Forms Military Alliance With Iran; Future Headline - Moscow Extends Military Alliance To Include Arab, Islamic World; Future Headline - Global Tensions Soar As Russia Targets Israel; Future Headline - New War Erupts In Middle East As Earthquakes, Pandemics Hit Europe, Africa, Asia; Future Headline - Iraq Emerges From Chaos As Region's Wealthiest Country; Future Headline - Jews Build Third Temple In Jerusalem; Future Headline - Muslims Turn To Christ In Record Numbers; Tracking The Tremors; Frequently Asked Questions; American Attitudes Towards Bible Prophecy; Ezekiel 38 - 39; Endnotes; Acknowledgements

Unlike many sensationalist books and writings, Rosenberg looks at media and news in the "third lens" of Scripture. Much of what you read in this book is based on actual speeches and reports from major Arab, Israeli, and Russian leaders that you just don't get in the Western media. Examining the religious beliefs and calling of Iran's current leader should be enough in and of itself to worry anyone when they think about Iran getting nuclear technology. Rosenberg doesn't pretend that his views and thoughts are "inspired by God" and will happen just as he writes them. But his analysis and conclusions are based on current facts, and as such will make any open-minded person think through the implications of current trends. You can definitely see how his background as a communications strategist with access to many of the world's top leaders has allowed him to write novels that come dangerously close to being tomorrow's headlines (and in fact, *have* on a few occasions)...

Not "for fun" reading, but well worth the time and effort if you have any curiosity about where all the turmoil in the Middle East could end up...
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2006
I have been a student of Biblical prophecy for a long time, and have read many books concerning the end times. Some of the books have wildly speculated about what will happen in the last days. Some have cherry-picked verses from different books and used them to justify the author's preconceived notion of the end. Others have been shown to be wrong after world events proved them so.

This is the first book I've read that seems genuinely in the realm of probability. It is well-researched, with extensive documentation of resources. It reads like a political thriller, which makes it difficult to put down. While not exhaustive in its description of end times events, it does point the reader in the direction of which news and countries to watch. As the days go by, I find the headlines confirm what Joel Rosenberg has written. There are those who have described him as a psychic or modern-day Nostradamus. However, he himself says that he is simply writing what God has shared in the book of Ezekiel. Don't miss this one!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2007
EPICENTER, which marks a departure for bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, answers many questions that readers have had regarding his novels.

With detailed first-hand research and personal interviews, and having read previous classified intelligence documents, internal White House and State Department memos, this former political columnist writes with authority and insight. Three months before September 11, 2001, Rosenberg completed the first three chapters of THE LAST JIHAD, which opens with radical Islamic terrorists hijacking a jet plane. To his surprise, reporters began calling his work "eerily prophetic."

While the news media will connect political information with economic data for their stories, Rosenberg believes that the Bible is the key to understanding the significance of global events and trends. In well-crafted style, he lays out 10 future headlines. For each one, he provides Scripture and research to make them spring to life. Readers will be amazed at how he weaves these details into a convincing whole.

Among his predictions:

Israel will discover massive reserves of oil and gas, and thus will become one of the 10 richest countries in the world. Treaties and international agreements will give Israel greater security than ever before. A czar-like regime will rise in Russia and raise concerns for a new cold war. With this change in Russia, the Kremlin will form a military alliance with Iran, which will then extend throughout the Arab and Islamic world. As a result, Russia will target Israel --- and this will lead to new wars erupting in the Middle East as earthquakes and pandemics hit Europe, Africa and Asia. Each of these events sounds startling and undoubtedly will change our world.

Rosenberg then turns to his final three predictions. Out of the chaos in Iraq, this country will emerge as the wealthiest in the region. The Jews will build a third temple in Jerusalem. And Muslims will turn to Christ in record numbers. With authority, Rosenberg writes, "The big (untold) story in the Middle East is that more Muslims are turning to Christ today than any other time in human history, and much of it has happened since 9/11."

Some readers may scoff at Rosenberg's contentions, but I found EPICENTER to be fascinating. He validates his predictions with over 20 pages of endnotes and documentation of his various sources. I encourage you to read this book for yourself. You will gain insight into current world events and begin to understand how to use what Rosenberg calls the "third lens" of Scripture.

--- Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Over the years (since the late 1970s) I have studied the scriptures and have read many many books on the end time prophecies (well over 100). While I though that every possible angle had been taken, I was wrong. Joel C. Rosenberg takes a different track, He gets inside the governments of the world and shows how there are fulfilling Bible prophecy; weather they know it or not (and in most cases they do not know it). Rosenberg uses a style much like a detective novel, the book is very interesting, exciting and engaging. He sites the Major News Media, He uses Quotes from Religions and Political leaders; and intelligence experts from all over the world; Its amazing who is quoted hear. One thing is Rosenberg is in the process of witting a fictional series, based on the end times prophecy's of the Bible, the book's include the Last Jihad; The Last Days; The Ezekiel Option; and The Copper Scroll; He refers back to those books many times, showing us how, and why, he wrote what he did. Rosenberg has an uncanny ability to predict the feature, in his fiction, such as has in his first book, the last Jihad, he has Airplanes being used as weapons to fly into Buildings. He has had many such predictions like this. Now he will readily admit he is not a prophet, he does not claim that, what he claims is in reading he bible, studying the news and geopolitical events & trends its not hard to predict what might happen. Rosenberg covers the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 35-39 very well, with almost a line by line exposition of Chapter 38. he also brings in many other prophecy's from both he Jewish and Christian scriptures (Old and New testaments). He talks pretty thoroughly about the Iran's 20 year nuke program, he covers Russia's move back to dictatorship, he discusses the Iraq war and how and why it fulfills bible prophecy, he covers all of Israel's modern wars, treaties etc., and covers the Israel and Palestinian trouble. Rosenberg also makes ten predictions of future headlines based on his understanding of the scripture and I will let you read the book to see what they are. Rosenberg goes on to show us that Christ is being accepted as Lord and Savior all over the world in amazing numbers even in Muslim country's. This is a must read for everyone. If you really want to know what and why the world is heading in the course it is headed read this book and study the Bible.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2006
First let me comment that I am a "cautious" Bible prophecy reader. Do I believe that Jesus will return in the Second Advent? Yes. Do I believe in what is commonly known as the PreMillennialist interpretation of Bible prophecy? Yes. Do I see every shadow and say "it's the antiChrist, run!"...No. Nor do I worry that I will go to the doctor tomorrow (hypothetically) and they'll order me to have an implant in my hand or my forehead. Again, I am a student of prophecy, but I don't worry about every shadow that may cross my path. Now. What I do believe though is that events are occurring in the Middle East, with Israel at the very center of events, that have been foretold in Bible prophecy. Further, I believe that, just as events are occurring in Israel, so too are the people of Israel being readied for the next earth shocking events in Bible prophecy. I believe that the covenant God has with Israel will culminate soon, maybe in my life time, maybe not...but the events are happening and they are happening now, and happening quicker. Thus the need to read Joel Rosenberg's Epicenter. This is a fine book that shows the background story of this man's fiction writings...thus the "truth behind the fiction" to use an already coined cliché. Epicenter focuses on what is happening right now in the Middle East and has been happening already in the Middle East and what just may be happening in the Middle East, tomorrow. Israel is the true foci of God's prophetic plans for the human race, all the way back to Abraham (and even, in some respects, the prophetic historical periods between Adam and Abraham). Blessings and judgment will God's plan for the human race, through Israel. Blessings toward those nations that see the truth in Yahweh through Christ Jesus, and curses toward those nations that curse God's people--both the Jews and the Christians. Any one who wishes to see what is going on in the Middle East needs to read this book, even if you do not come to this book in the desire to study Bible prophecy--if you just come to this book to see the social and the political and the military apocalypse that is building up in the Middle East. This is an important work for all to read. It isn't perfect, and you might not agree with everything Mr. Rosenberg has to say, but I will hope that you at least give him a chance to speak his mind while reading his book. You might just learn something that will not only save your life, but also your soul.
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2006
I say great book but you need to know your stuff; if you don't, now is the time to learn.

We have here a wonderful source material for the happenings in the world today and what is coming in the near future for each of us personally. Indeed the third lens of Biblical prophecy is necessary to understand our times. Some may bring up the question of the proper focus of that lens and if Rosenberg understands Ezekiel's prophecies correctly.

I agree that perhaps Rosenberg relies too heavily on a certain school of prophetic interpretation; but to stab at the forgiveness of errors these people make would be unwarranted. Any learned Bible student should be aware that at this present time "we see through a glass darkly". Prophecy student's need to and very often realize that we are human and limited and subject to error, though God's Word is not.

As we humans stumble through our life's experience on our way home, we come to know our and other's errors as a learning experience. The scripture even tells us this will be thus: I Cor. 11:19 "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." It indeed is the Christian thing to do, to forgive and forget and push forward to that prize, waiting on the Lord to make all things manifest.

Indeed, I would say approach Rosenberg's book with caution because it may be a compilation of Rosenberg's life experiences but it is but one view, Rosenberg's. That does not mean that there is not an immense amount of information here.

True, there are many scholars that disagree on the meanings of the prophecies in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but it is God's track record that the closer we get to fulfillment of a prophecy the clear it becomes. So don't give up on prophecy. We are guaranteed that it will be fulfilled and most often than not it is not the way that we humans may think; that simply shows God's power, strength and faithfulness to His own word.

Rosenberg skips over what Ezekiel 37 meant to Ezekiel's contemporaries. Of course those in exile would think that that prophecy would refer to them, but all that are knowledgeable of prophecy realize that there are multiple fulfillments of prophecy until the ultimate final prophecy is fulfilled completely. It is a pattern in prophecy that a learned student of prophecy comes to realize and recognize. I believe that Rosenberg simply by passed this issue as not essential to his book as he is speaking of our time not specifically those gone by.

Rosenberg did not make an error by using nineteenth century scholar's teaching that `rosh' refers to Russia. Everyone, do your home work closely, there are many other sources for this identity. I'll not site them here it is YOUR responsibility to search out a thing not mine to prove it; I simply challenge you to prove all things.

I disagree somewhat with Rosenberg's take on "Meshech" and "Tubal" as being Moscow and Tobolosk becausse scholars today see them as the area of modern-day Turkey.

There have been attacks on Rosenberg's emphasis on certain nations and their part in this prophecy and Hal Lindsey's interpretation, but again I say we are human and all subject to human error as scripture tells us that we will be. Time and God will show us that the scripture was right all along though we humans may get the best of ourselves and that includes me.

Many people don't realize that the most important reason for prophecy is to show God's faithfulness to His Word not to just tell us what is going to happen. We can know generally what is going to happen and be in error on the finer details and still see God's hand on it all. After all who are you relying on in your life, yourself, so called learned people, or God alone?

I don't think that "Epicenter" will be just another prophetic disappointment; I say only if we allow it.

I for one do not agree that the attack of the prophecy will be so much solely on the modern nation of Israel (as the radicals call `the little Satan'), but that it will include the USA (as the radicals call `the great Satan') as a prime partner of attack. The attack could likely be from the far north of the USA beginning in the oil rich fields of Alaska. I have my reasons for seeing this, I'll not take time to highlight now. One of which is that it would not be expected though Alaska is rich in oil and some Russians have historically stated of wanting Alaska back.

You take away from this wonderful piece of information what ever you personally desire. I desire to see God's hand in my life and all of his master plan for His creation.

Read the book!!!

Despite some difficulties it is a wonderful, enlightening and essential source of information about many nations' activities in the world among other nations. It is a great first hand resource of information on the geopolitical scene because Rosenberg lived it; he was there in the thick of things and spoke to these leaders of these nations.

Again, read the book!!!
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