Joel C. Rosenberg, an Evangelical Christian and New York Times best-selling author who has extensive experience in Middle East affairs, warned at a conference attended by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that Iran and Israel will soon be thrown into a war.
"War is coming," Rosenberg said at the First Baptist Jacksonville Pastors' Conference on Jan. 29, Florida Baptist Witness reported. "You and I are living in an extraordinary moment in one of the most dangerous moments in the history of our country; one of the most dangerous moments in the history of Israel and the Middle East; and one of the most dangerous moments in the history of the church."
According to the biography on his website, Rosenberg has worked as a communications advisor with a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, Natan Sharansky, and Benjamin Netanyahu.
He also founded The Joshua Fund, a nonprofit educational and charitable organization to mobilize Christians to "bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus" with food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief. In 2008, The Joshua Fund hosted the first Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, which drew 2,000 Christians who "wanted to learn, pray, give and go to the Lord's work in Israel and the Middle East."
At the First Baptist Pastors conference, Rosenberg explained that the writing was on the wall and it was only a matter of time before war in the Middle East breaks out again. Rosenberg asked if churches were equipped to deal with the ramifications of such a big conflict, should such a scenario unfold.
Rosenberg explained that pastors should not shy away from examining how such a war could be directly linked with biblical prophecy. He also said that he realized many pastors fear prophecy has become "sensationalized" and "cheapened" in today's society, and that people may not take it seriously anymore.
The author wanted to make clear, however, that prophecy still has an important role to play in the church and in the Bible.
"Prophecy is an intercept from the mind of an all-knowing and all-seeing and all-powerful God," he said. "It is meant to inspire, motivate and encourage. It will lead to repentance, holiness, and prayer and fasting."
Rosenberg stressed numerous times that war between Iran and Israel was imminent, and might break out this year. The evangelist even admitted fears that whoever wins the presidential election this year may not be able to "turn the ship around" and prevent war between the two nations.
One interesting guest at the conference was former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who stopped by at the First Baptist Church with his wife to listen to part of the presentation. According to the article, he was recognized by Pastor John Blount from the church. Gingrich did not make himself known, however, and remained silent for the duration of the conference.
Other Middle East experts in recent times have also warned of the very real possibility of a new war involving Israel soon – including Bill Salus, an author, researcher and lecturer who focuses on the prophetic relevance of current Middle East and world events. He claims that the Rapture, a belief that believers will be taken into heaven, leaving unrepentant sinners behind on Earth to experience God's judgment, will soon occur – and that Christians today might be living in the last days.
It appears that Iran may indeed be considering war against Israel, as only at the end of last month, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, made a statement describing Israel as a "cancerous tumor that should be cut, and will be cut." The ayatollah declared Iran's support for anyone who opposes the Jewish nation, further supporting fears of growing hostilities between the two Middle Eastern countries.