Byline: Chrissie Thompson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Joel Rosenberg attracted world attention when the events described in three of his fiction books began to occur in real life.
Mr. Rosenberg has now drawn on his Christian faith, Orthodox Jewish heritage and experience as an aide to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his newest book, "Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future." The following are excerpts from telephone interview with the author:
Q. Three of your fiction books have seemed almost prophetic. For instance, "The Last Jihad" contained a story of hijackers using a jet in a kamikaze attack on an American city, which leads to a war with Saddam Hussein over weapons of mass destruction - and you wrote it before September 11. Did you mean for these stories to be predictions?
A. I didn't particularly think that these novels were going to predict the future, per se. I had based the series on events I thought might happen. .. I was basing them on a series of Bible prophecies, but when [the novels] started to come true .. that has been striking for all of us, myself included.
Q. Which Bible prophecies are you referring to?
A. Ezekiel Chapter 38 and 39 describes what Bible scholars call the war of Gog and Magog. Russia and Iran form a military alliance with Lebanon, Syria and a group of other Middle East countries to destroy Israel in what Ezekiel described as the last days. .. This list of countries that's going to destroy Israel doesn't include .. Iraq. ..
I thought, "Well, if this were to happen in my lifetime, and Saddam Hussein were still in power, I can't imagine a scenario in which Iraq would not be involved." ..
I thought the most likely scenario for Saddam leaving is either a coup, an assassination, natural causes of him dying or an invasion of some kind. .. The only country that would be likely to invade Iraq would be the United States, but why would we? .. What if there was a kamikaze terrorist attack against the United States that caused an American president to think that he needs to wage a war against radical Islam and, ultimately, against Saddam Hussein?
Q. Do you think the rest of this is going to come true - that this alliance with Russia and Iran is going to be the manifestation of these biblical prophecies?
A. Russia is clearly building a military alliance with Iran today. In December of last year, Russia signed a $1 billion arms deal with Iran. Russia is building Iran's nuclear facilities. Russia has trained over a thousand Iranian nuclear scientists, and Russia is running political interference for Iran at the United Nations to prevent the U.S. and Europe from slapping sanctions on Iran. ..
Q. Exactly how do we know that this prophecy in Ezekiel is referring to Russia and Iran?
A. Identifying Iran in Ezekiel 38 is the easiest. .. The country mentioned is Persia, and until 1935, the official name of Iran was Persia.
Where we get Russian from is that a dictator emerges in a land called Magog, according to Ezekiel 38:2. .. When you do the detective work .. you find out this is the people group that settled north of the Black Sea in what we now call Russia. ..
Q. What makes you believe the predictions or warnings in your current book - that Iran is really trying to destroy Israel and the U.S. to bring about the end of days?
A. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said, "We're going to wipe Israel off the map." .. I based that element of this Russian-Iranian desire to destroy Israel on the prophecy. …