By Joel C. Rosenberg (Jerusalem, Israel, April 17, 2008) —
One week ago today, my colleagues and I were holding our inaugural Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, discussing the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 which foretell the rise of a dictator in Russia who forms strategic alliances in the “last days” not only with Iran but also with Libya. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is actually in Libya, the first Russian leader in history to visit the North African country, creating a strategic alliance, signing numerous agreements, and negotiating a $2.5 billion arms sale to this enormous and historic enemy of Israel. “Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit as ‘historic and strategic’ during a state dinner at the Bab Azizia palace,” reported Agence France Presse. “‘This is the first visit by a Russian president to Libya. It is a historic, strategic and very important visit,’ Kadhafi said in a speech….’The trip will enable increased cooperation, given that we are both producers of gas and oil,’ Kadhafi said. ‘We will work together to defend our interests.’ Libya is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2007-2008, and Khadafi said the world body needed to be reformed in order to face what he called an “imbalance of forces” internationally. Putin, who spoke in Russian, said: ‘We must reflect on the project to reform the United Nations’ and referred to ‘a friendly country on the Security Council with which we can work together to resolve problems.’ The Russian president said ‘a large number of agreements’ would be signed between the two countries during his 24-hour visit to Libya. Putin arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday at the head of a large delegation for a visit expected to be dominated by talks over energy contracts and arms sales.” Is this proof that the prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 are close to fulfillment? This is a question I have addressed in the Epicenter book and film, and addressed at last week’s conference. Let me state again in no uncertain terms that in my view it remains too early to draw such a definitive conclusion. More would have to happen geopolitically to cause me to be able to state publicly and with assurance that we were about to see the “War of Gog and Magog” come to pass in our lifetime, much less soon. That said, however, Putin’s historic trip to Libya today — along with many of Putin’s moves over the past eight years, including his historic visit to Iran last fall — have been remarkably, even eerily, consistent with Biblical prophecy. Which is why a large and growing number of people are asking such questions. For now, the bigger question is: Are evangelical Christians doing everything we possibly can to pray for peace and prepare for war in the Middle East? What a remarkable experience we had in Jerusalem just one week ago today trying to wrestle through that question. Some 2,000 Jewish and Christian leaders from all over the world — the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East — gathered together at the international convention center in the Holy City to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the prophetic rebirth of Israel, to examine the geopolitical threats posed by radical Islam, and to mobilize Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and show unconditional love and unwavering support for the Jewish people. At the conference, we officially announced the launch of “Operation Epicenter” to provide Israel and her neighbors with at least $120 million worth of humanitarian relief supplies over the next few years to care for those in need today, as well as to stockpile food, clothing and medical supplies ahead of the next major war. We so wish you could have joined us, but for those who could not, we have now made it possible for you to watch each speech on-line at no charge. Our prayer is that you will learn more about who we are at The Joshua Fund, and what we are trying to accomplish, and that you will be inspired to join us in blessing Israel and her neighbors in real and practical ways. At http://www.epicenter08.com, you will also find full color photos from the conference. You will find results from the exclusive survey we commissioned of American Christian attitudes towards Israel and the epicenter. You will also find links to order DVDs of the full 8-hour conference, or a 2-hour summary package on DVD. Thank you so much for your prayers that the conference would go well, and that the message would spread far and wide. Those prayers were graciously answered. We did not have protests. We did not have any troubles at the conference. To the contrary, there was great interest from many parts of Israel. We had hundreds of secular and religious Israelis — as well as an Orthodox Rabbi — come from Dan to Beersheeba to see and learn and evaluate who we are and what we are doing through The Joshua Fund. We also had extensive media coverage, including CNN Headline News, CBN, The Jerusalem Post, The Christian Post, a one-hour live radio broadcast on “Janet Parshall’s America,” and a one-hour live radio broadcast on a network of more than 100 Christian radio stations, to name just a few. So thank you again for your prayers — and please keep praying that: 1) the Lord would raise up at least 100,000 allies around the world would be mobilized to pray knowledgeably, consistently and faithfully for Israel and the people of the epicenter; and 2) that the Lord would graciously allow us to invest $120 million into humanitarian relief in Israel and the surrounding countries through “Operation Epicenter” to care for the poor and needy and for victims of war and terrorism over the next few years. May the Lord bless you more than you can hope for, dream of, or imagine as you bless Israel and her neighbors with unconditional love and unwavering support.