As Joel wraps up the series Critical Issues Facing the Epicenter, we'll explore why Israel and the Jewish people should be important to all believers. With the return of Jesus Christ approaching, we must consider our part in blessing Israel and her neighbors and Joel will encourage us to learn, pray, give, and go. Joel also addresses questions from the congregation about current events, prophecy, and the sound interpretation of God’s Word.
Calvary Albuquerque is regularly host to special guest speakers. This series includes messages from many great Bible teachers including; Pancho Juarez, Mike Finizio, Don McClure, Bill Welch and others. These messages can be purchased as CDs from our online store, or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
Skip: Alright. Well, welcome to our Sunday night Q&A with our guest speaker, Joel Rosenberg. By the way, he did a great job, didn't he, today and last night? This is how the format of the evening is going to go. I'm going to bring Joel out in just a moment. He's going to give a little bit of a sum up of what he talked about based on a question that I'm going to ask him. And then I have several questions myself that I'd like clarification on some of the things he said, but we're going to invite you to ask questions and there's going to be a microphone, a couple of them set up with our pastors. They are going to ask you what your question is first before you even go to the microphone, so that it's not like, "What the price of gas?" some crazy question like that. We want legitimate in-time questions, and then you'll be able to ask that question.
Also, if you're more comfortable with texting rather than asking, you can text and we'll put this up on the screen. You can text your question to .org368674 and then the keyword CalvaryABQ, or you can email if you want to email us that question. Of course, you'd have to be quick on the draw to do that but we'll be able to receive it as well. You can email it to questions@calvalryABQ.org. So if you have handheld device and you want to ask a question, be it text or email, we'll get it and be able to see it on the screen and ask the question. So there are a couple of ways to do it besides just some of the questions I'm going to ask. So Joe, why don't you come on out? Please welcome Joel Rosenberg.
Joel: Thank you very much.
Skip: Well Joel, you're with us again. This is five times you have spoken since last night. How does it feel?
Joel: I'm glad to be here. I'm glad that anyone else has showed up, so I'm happy to answer some questions and I appreciate it very much.
Skip: Well, great! In fact, you sort of shine in this area. You really like a Q&A kind of a format, don't you? You feel comfortable getting kind of direct questions.
Joel: I do because I find that everytime I say something, it generates an enormous amount of questions. I hope that I'm answering some when I speak. But I think this is an area that people sense there's more to be understood and then they -- I think there's not enough credible voices. I'm not saying that I'm the most but I think I'm glad to be one of the voices that are saying God loves both the Jews and the Muslims.
Skip: That's a very unique message that you brought. I want to sort of recap what you talked about for the sake of those who are here tonight. You went probably -- most of you went to one of the services we had. One or two people say they were at all of the services. Last night, Saturday night, the topic was "Are the Jews the chosen and why does it matter?" This morning at 8:00, the topic was, "Were the Jews given the Promised Land and why does it matter?" The third at 9:30 this morning, "Why does the world hate Israel and the Jewish people and why does it matter?" And finally at our 11 o'clock -- 11:15 service, "Does God love Israel's neighbors and why does it matter?" I thought it's a very important component to have that last message.
Tonight, we want to talk about, though we're going to answer questions I know what's on your heart, is to talk about how the church can bless Israel and her neighbors are part in it. This was part of a whole series as we talked last night and we showed up on the screen the series of critical issues facing the people of the epicenter. And as I was listening to all of the messages Joel, it dawned on me that what you were doing for us is formulating a theology of Israel -- a biblical theology on the nation and the people of Israel, both the covenant promise that God made to them to have the land and for the people that God has a plan for themselves.
Why are these people so important to Joel Rosenberg and why should they be important to us?
Joel: Well, they're important to me personally because I'm a Rosenberg. So if you're Jewish -- I'll be clear. I'm Jewish on my father's side. My father was an Orthodox Jew, raised in Brooklyn. His family escaped out of Russia as Orthodox Jews in 1907. They escaped in a hay wagon that was crossing the border out of anti-Semitic Tsarist Fascist Russia. Soldiers plunged their swords into the hay to see if anyone was in there. By God's grace, no one was injured. No one sneezed. None of the kids, which were quite a few actually in that hay wagon, said "Are we there yet? I got to go to the bathroom". And having gotten out of anti-Semitic Fascist Tsarist Russia, they cleared out of Russia and they got -- theoretically, they could've said, "Great, we're out. Let's settle in Poland or Germany or Austria" where many Russian Jews fled to and thought, "Now, we're safe", but the Lord kept moving them and they didn't know the Lord personally.
But I believe the Holy Spirit moved them across Europe, got them to Ellis Island, and like any good Jewish family, they set up shop in Brooklyn which is where my father was raised.
Now, my mom's side is daughters of the American Revolution -- English, Methodist WASP, so a very Annie Hall marriage as it were. I mean, literally my Jewish grandmother offered to buy the engagement ring back from my father at a profit to him to not marry the Shiksa -- the non Jewish girl, right?
Now, if you understand that Jews don't like to pay retail, then paying over-retail to your own son, that meant she didn't really want him to marry the woman that would become my mother. So this was personal for me. I mean, I see God's love for Jews, amen, and Gentiles. And I see how God has drawn both of my parents eventually into the Kingdom -- the Kingdom of Faith in Jesus Christ in 1973, and eventually I did as well. I took my first trip to Israel in 1987. I was a junior at Syracuse University and I got an opportunity to spend a semester abroad, about six months, in Israel at Tel-Aviv University, and it was gain changing for me.
I was electrified by everything. I was the only believer on the entire campus, which was challenging but it was also exciting because everyone kept saying "Isn't your name Rosenberg?" "Yeah." "But don't you believe in Jesus?" "Yeah." "Well, (a) why are you here and (b), how is that possible?" and that was kind of exciting. But just being there, I just knew in a way that I didn't know just by reading the Bible this is the center of history. It was at the beginning and it will be at the end, and I just sensed the Lord saying in some way, I'm supposed to be a part of it, not at the center of history but understanding the people there and caring for them in some way.
Skip: Joel, as I was listening to you this morning and last night, what struck me is that you approached prophecy differently. I want to explain that. It's just not academic to you. It's not just arm's length. It's not just about fitting the chronology or charts. It's personal to you on a level, and partly you've explained why. You are Jewish. You are a Rosenberg. And I think there's a part of you, especially as I saw some emotion coming out in that last service today when you were talking about God's love not just for the Jews but for her Arab neighbors as well. Is that like Paul the apostle, you feel this kindred Paul and as Paul said, "I could even wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren's sake," so--
Joel: That's a guy who believes in eternal security.
Skip: Yes, exactly right. So give us a little bit of your feeling because I think it kind of goes in to what you want to say to us tonight for a few minutes about our part in reaching Israel. But for you, its prophecy has a goal. I see it in your life as a motivator to have you do what you do in Israel and with the territories in Israel and the nations around Israel. So prophecy is a motivator to get Christians to act, is that how you'd see it?
Joel: It is, and I'm not sure a lot of people have perceived it quite that way because I think for some, prophecy is an end unto itself. And so, it becomes fascinating in its own right. It doesn't necessarily become an application or sort of a 'so what' moment. Okay, that's all interesting, Jesus coming back and now you've got all the charts and graphs, but so what? Why does that make a difference?
I come from a campus crusade experience at Syracuse University. That's where I met my wife in Campus Crusade for Christ where the passion was "Go and make disciples of all nations because yes, Jesus is coming". Therefore, we better do something about it, like obey Jesus. I go to a church in Washington, DC where my pastor is from a Jewish background himself and he loves to teach his way through the scriptures. But then by halfway through the sermon, he'll say, "Alright, we're going to pick up on the rest of the passage next week, but now we need to ask the important question 'so what?'"
And so for me, yes, the fact that we have so many indications that we're getting close -- closer to the return of Jesus Christ tells me therefore we better do things in keeping with what the Lord has called us to do.
Historically, the church has been drawn to the big places. We're going to go reach China with the love of Jesus, and India, Brazil and Africa, all important, critical. But I think since we talked about it, we see that the church has really had mostly, not exclusively, but mostly a deeply far(ph) theology towards Jews. And since Israel didn't exist, that wasn't even part of the equation, like how do we bless Israel. There was no way to bless Israel. But bless the Jews? From Martin Luther on, there were a lot of people that just said, "Why would you do that?" In fact, they went the other direction and somehow got out of this text that Jews were cursed. And I think I said in one of the services the apostle Paul really gives us a pretty clear indication in Romans that the gentile church is supposed to impart -- provoke the Jews of jealousy.
I think the gentile church has done a pretty good job on the first part of that thought. The provoking of the Jews has been very effective I would say historically, not so much to jealousy. So for me, when I see number one, my own family coming to faith, knowing historically that with all the things that were against us as Jews and how few Jews have come to faith in Jesus historically, that the fact that I know that my father knows, that my children know and that my gentile wife and my gentile mother know, that's an important piece that I just can't say, "Oh, good! Check that off and move on with the rest of my life."
That's important, and I just sense this -- burden might be too strong a word but I'm compelled to say, "How do I go be a blessing to others?" or show me what that means, what does it mean to be a blessing, but I should probably also say that I didn't even know I was a Jewish until I was in the 5th Grade. I know that it sounds funny, a name like Joel Rosenberg. I mean, how dumb do you have to be not to know that you're Jewish? But my father never told me and my mother never told me. It came out that one day, he was teaching a 6th Grade Sunday school class and I was in 5th Grade and he decided to have a Passover Seder. He came home one day and said, "Hey we're going to have a Passover Seder next week in our class." I said, "A what?" He said, "You know, the thing you do to celebrate Passover." I'm like, "Okay. What does that mean?"
So he explained what you do. I said, "How would you know how to do that?" He said, "Because I'm Jewish." I said, "You're Jewish? Does that mean I'm Jewish? How could this never come up?" I know that sounds funny, and it is, but two thoughts on that. One, as I tell that story around the country from time to time when I tell my testimony, I'm amazed how many people come up and say "I didn't know I was Jewish until..." whenever. Did you know that Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright in the Clinton Administration didn't know she was Jewish until the US Diplomatic Security Service did a background check on her and said, "Madame Secretary, just so you know, you're clear. You're good to go. You're also Jewish." "I'm what?" Senator George Allen of Virginia, until he was in a political campaign, didn't know he was Jewish until a reporter figured it out.
Now, I was a little suspicious when Senator Hillary Clinton was running for Senate in New York and she discovered she was Jewish. But I'm just saying it's possible. That seemed convenient, but I'm just saying. So my point is apparently, there are a lot of people from whom their parents or grandparents often hid that to protect them. The other part for me was once I discovered, "Hey, this is important isn't it?" then it become a real exciting thing on the one hand and also -- I know this is not quite unique in history but it's rare, so how do I live differently?
Skip: Okay. So I'm going to ask Joel another question and perhaps you have questions, too, because I've talked to some of you or you've showed me slips of paper, so you'll have the chance to do that. Are they're going to line up right here?
So you're going to be able to come right down the center aisle and these pastors here have microphones, so you can get ready for your questions as I ask you this question. You said something today that sparked some interest with me. You said radical Islam threatens Israel with annihilation. Replacement Theology threatens Israel with delegitimization. And you gave some examples of Martin Luther and others who have been anti-Semitic, and it dawned on me that for many people in church history without painting specifics, they have interpreted the scripture spiritually rather than literally. So the Alexandrian church fathers years ago had that hermeneutic or way of interpreting the Bible. So Joel, help us, what's the best hermeneutic? What's the best approach of the scripture when it comes to reading it and interpreting it?
Joel: Well, that's like a whole doctoral dissertation type of question. There are a couple of ways to answer it I guess. The first thought I would have is with regards to Replacement Theology historically -- look, I'm sympathetic to church fathers who after 500 years of no Israel, no prospect of Israel, thought, "I don't know, 1000 years go by, 1500 years go by, 1900 years go by..." you can understand people go, "Okay. We're just trying to take that literally, but the rebirth of the State of Israel, Jews coming back to the land, it's not going to happen." So we must be misreading it. I'm sympathetic to that. I understand that. But it turns out that they were wrong, that God really literally mean it. He just meant it's going to be a long time. So that's the first thought. So now, I think we should be gentle and loving to those who still hold to it and help work their way out of it. That's the first one.
Second thought is there is a kernel of truth in Replacement Theology, meaning not that God has replaced Israel with the church, but the church is supposed to be learning lessons from Israel. We do share a lot of those promises. We don't replace Israel. God has a plan and purpose for Israel and the Jews. But the entire nation of Israel, their history was designed to show us how God interacts with mankind. So of course, there are lessons. Of course you can look at the nation of Israel and then say, "Well, how does that apply to the church?" We do it everyday when we teach scriptures if we say, "This what Moses went through and this is how we need to learn. This is what David went through and this is how we do it."
So that kernel of truth is true. It's just that this idea that God has done with the Jews I think demonstrated that that's not the case, but there are really parallel tracks and in some ways, they are interwoven tracks that's God's plan and purpose for the Jewish people and plan and purpose for the church. But at some point, and I think it's some point sooner rather than later, the church is removed. And then Israel, which has obviously been reborn, gaining ground in terms of its size and its importance in history, it's going to be the centerpiece, not the United States, not China, not Moscow, not London. Israel is going to be the centerpiece.
Now, what are the answers to a specific question that's sort of hermeneutic? I think the point is to tie that altogether. We need to look at every scripture that mentions Israel in two ways. One, what does it literally mean to the people of Israel then? What does it mean to Israel and the Jewish people today then the future, because that's one track. But also, what can we learn as individual followers of Christ whether we're Jewish or gentile? What can we learn from these things? Does that answer your question?
Skip: Yes, it does. And I think you helped answer it today when you said, well, if you have a promise in the Bible that the Jews are going to return to their land and then you look and you say they're there, that must be literal. It's pretty easy to connect those dots when you have a biblical hermeneutic formed via history unfolding itself in your days, in our days. So many people say, "But wouldn't it be great to live in Bible times?" We are living in Bible times and that's the great thing about studying Bible prophecy. You understand the relevance now to those dots being connected.
Joel: Well, that's right. And that's why I'm sympathetic to those who lived in the 15th Century who are like -- I mean, either they've never met a Jew or they certainly didn't believe that God wasn't bringing Israel. There was no evidence at that time. You'd have to literally go by faith and that was hard for people.
Skip: We have a question, not from anybody walking forward but a text question. Obviously, people are feeling a little more comfortable with their handheld device. So I'm trying to guess that this is probably a younger person because they texted it, and I'm not going to tell you what age I think younger is, but here's the text question. "What are your thoughts regarding the Muslims wanting to build a shrine near ground zero?
Joel: Well, that's a good question. I'm opposed to it because what the Islamic cleric, the Imam, is saying that he wants is to pursue reconciliation and interfaith cultural dialogue, and I can't think of almost anything more provocative than building a mosque at ground zero.
If you're hoping to build interfaith dialogue and religious reconciliation, I really think you picked the wrong approach. I think that's obvious. I don't think that's what he's really trying to do. I think he's building a victory mosque. We destroyed this and now we're planting the flag of Islam. So I don't believe them, to be honest.
Now legally, I don't think there's anything that you can do unless they're literally engaged in some sort of terrorist activity and that that can be proven by the FBI. I think that if we neatly try to oppose one faith building a house of worship, that's going to backlash pretty quickly. We're already having enough troubles in our own country. I don't think we want to have the president -- so my hope there is that if they pray that it doesn't get built but if the Lord allows it to be built, then we should saturate the zone with people who are sharing the Gospel with everybody that comes in and out of the building. And with love -- I mean, surely show love and share the Gospel and not be intimidated that somebody built a building and is lying about it. So okay, that's not the first time in history.
Skip: Now, we have another text message but before we do, let's take a live question please.
Female: Joel, a good friend of mine was born and raised in Israel and is Jewish, and her response to Jesus Christ is the Messiah was to be born of the lineage of David and since it is immaculate conception, how can they prove his lineage since the tribe comes from the man from the Father? So what would your response be in that kind of situation?
Joel: That's a great question. That's a fun question. That's why there are genealogies in Matthew and Luke because it traces the lineage of Jesus' mother and father. It's interesting, I was with a ministry just the other day and they were telling me something very interesting. Most of us, we skip over the genealogies to be honest, right? We're like, "Okay. He began it. Okay, let's get to the Jesus part," right?
But this ministry leader that we met and we were doing some work with mentioned that when he travels to African countries and other countries around the world, genealogy is like a huge thing, like you're important in the tribe, in the village because your father was so and so and his father was so and so, and they can go back centuries. It's a big deal. So therefore, if a leader is coming and it's an important leader, the tribal chief or whatever will begin to explain the genealogy of who's coming.
And by the time they get there, they're like "Oh! This guy is a big deal." This ministry provides the Bible an audio. It's actually a local ministry that faith comes by hearing and we just love these guys. When he's saying, "The audio on Matthew Chapter 1, Verse 1," for me, my instinct is to skip that part. Let's just get to the birth of Jesus. But when people in various tribes around the world hear the lineage of Jesus, they're like "Oh my gosh! That's like a huge deal."
Now for Jews, it's very important also because that lineage -- you have to get back to King David and both Jesus' mother side -- Mary's side -- and the father side, either way you want to go, it both leads back to David. It's hugely significant. Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Rabbi from Brooklyn, the "Rabi(ph)" they called him, people thought he was the messiah but he's from Brooklyn. And as far as I read Micah Chapter 5 Verse 2, the messiah will be coming from Bethlehem Ephrata, not from Brooklyn.
Now, God bless the people of Brooklyn. You know they're my peeps, but I'm just saying that's not where -- you really have to come from Bethlehem Ephrata and you have to be born of the lineage of David. And fortunately, the New Testament gave us that information in great detail even though most of us don't really focus on it. Some people do and some people need to. So thank you.
Skip: Let's take another one.
Dan: Hi Joel, I'm Dan and my question essentially involves God blessing those countries that blessed Israel and those countries of course being cursed by God that cursed Israel. Now, if we have say in the United States an administration that is less than pro-Israel, yet we have a populace or a church who of course is pro-Israel, who do you think God would then judge? Does He judge the nation because of its leaders or does he the judge the nation based on its people?
Joel: That is a great question and I think it goes to an important element, which is that God is patient. Yes, he will eventually make a sovereign decision about judging but He's not looking to curse nations. We should be very clear about this. Let me put this in this context. The Lord sifts that out and makes a determination but he does -- it's not knee-jerk. It's not like, "Oh! This government suddenly did something bad." If that were the case, there would be no Iran. There would be no Saudi Arabia, and that's not the case. God is patient. He doesn't want anyone to perish but all to come to knowledge of Jesus Christ as a savior. And so, the Lord forestalls those final judgments for a long time.
Now, I've had people come to me and say -- some people have written books on this, web blogging and they say, "You see, when this particular American president did something bad, we had this hurricane. And then when this person did something bad, they had this earthquake."
I say, "Look, those things could correlate." I mean, that's possible. But number one, He's not really telling us that that's what He's doing. Secondly, you'd have to be able to go to Iran, for example. Can you do this? Every time that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad curses Israel, do they have an earthquake or hurricane? I think it's not really -- it's not a game. We can't jump to that bad thing happened in that country some time in a real time scenario.
Look at Egypt. If you curse the Jews, you're going to be cursed. They got 430 years. They were cursing Jews everyday, every week for 430 years. You'd think, "Lord, come on. Kick in Genesis 12 already." But God loves the Egyptian people. He doesn't want to bring judgment. He was very patient -- more patient than we would be. But fortunately, He's more patient with us as well. Is that helpful in terms of trying to sift that through?
Joel: I appreciate it very much.
Skip: Great. Now, before we get another one live from the floor, we have one that was emailed in about Ezekiel 38 and 39, and let me read it. "Ezekiel 38 and 39 speak of a major battle -- the battle of Gog and Magog. This will clearly be a battle witnessed worldwide. How can we, as the church, prepare for this great evangelistic opportunity? What should we be doing now to prepare to give an answer for what will happen?"
Joel: Great question. Wow! There are so many pieces of that. Look, the first thing is, the war of Gog and Magog -- that's Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, these other countries that will surround Israel and seek to attack, destroy, take over Israel in what Ezekiel said would be the last days. We know this time reference is an end-time prophecy. What's amazing -- and you and I have talked about it with the Epicenter film and the Epicenter conferences and so on and so forth -- is it's pretty intriguing where we are now geopolitically, like Russia is building an alliance with Iran.
Turkey has just turned from the west towards Iran and Russia and Syria. Libya is there. There's an awful lot of evidence that suggest we're tracking towards the war of Gog and Magog. Now, I don't think that the data is conclusive yet. It's certainly curious, right? So we don't know for certain it's going to happen in our lifetime. But based on what's happening, you can't rule it out. All that to say, it means to me -- this goes back to your earlier question of, "Alright, the prophesy seems to motivate you Joel, not just to be interested in it and teach it, but to do something about it," yes.
For Lynn, my wife, my boys and myself, for us, we said, "Okay listen, what if we did live in the time that's Ezekiel 38 and 39? What's going to happen?" We don't know it for sure but we don't know it isn't. So rather than just write books and speeches and even holding conferences, I think we need to do something more practical. So we began this ministry called the Joshua Fund in the summer of 2006 to mobilize Christians, to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus according to Genesis 12 Verses 1 through 3.
So what did that mean for us? Well, we had to define it. What does it mean to bless Israel? It certainly meant to mobilize Christians to understand God's heart for Israel, that He hadn't rejected Israel, to counter Replacement Theology. I think that's going to be a big part of the conference next May. It's going to be an important element of this. Mobilize Christians to do four things really -- learn, pray, give, and go.
To us, that's the Joshua Fund mission, to help Christians get those four words into our hearts and heads -- learn, pray, give, and go, because that will get us ready both for the geopolitical war that might be next or the prophetic war that might be next. Learn what God's doing in the region and God's heart for the people of the region. Pray knowledgably, faithfully, consistently for the leaders of Israel, for the people of Israel, for the church in Israel, for the church in the Muslim world, for the enemies of Israel, for the neighbors of Israel. I mean, there are all kinds of ways to be praying and we try to encourage people in specific ways. Learn, pray, give. Give to ministries that are doing effective work to be a blessing in Israel. The Joshua Fund, we provide food, clothing, medical supplies, other relief aid. We recently bought some ambulances for Israel's emergency relief system. We're caring for holocaust survivors, widows, orphans -- Jews and Arabs. And so, to the extent that people want to give to what we're doing, that would be great because we think there's a lot of preparations that Joshua Fund and other needs to be doing.
We're currently renting a warehouse in central Israel. It's about 10,000 square feet and we're buying these food and other supplies in bulk, keeps the price down a little, then we're able to distribute it to seven food distribution centers around the country. This requires a lot of money to do these things -- to buy trucks, to transfer all these things, hire staff, to do these things. We're doing it, why? For two reasons, one, to care for the poor and needy now and mostly, we deliver these relief supplies through local believers so they can be a witness and they can be a blessing. But we're also trying to prepare for whatever's coming.
And since we don't know if Ezekiel 38 and 39 will happen in our lifetime -- I go back to Ezekiel 38 Verse 7 where the Lord says to Gog, the Russian dictator, "Get ready, be prepared." And I'm thinking if God is saying to the enemy of Israel, "Get ready and be prepared," shouldn't the church be doing the same thing? And that's what the Joshua Fund is. So learn, pray, give, and then go. Go and see what God is doing over there. Go and meet pastors and ministry leaders. Go and visit Israelis and Arabs who don't have any faith in Jesus but for whom we're supposed to serve and be humble servants to them. And of course, that's what the conference and tour next year will be about.
So that's the way we've tried to help people get their hands around. How do you prepare? Learn, pray, give and go, and I think it gives it sort of a construct by which a person can walk away and say, "Okay, maybe Joshua Fund, maybe Samaritan's Purse, maybe whatever else. But Lord, show me what you want me specifically to do so that when I'm..." meaning you, when you're standing there for the Lord, as Lynn and I, when we're standing before the Lord and He says, "You wrote the Ezekiel option. You wrote Epicenter. You made that film Epicenter with Skip. You held a conference. You knew these things were coming at some point. Why is that all you did? Why didn't you build a ministry that could care for and strengthen and prepare for all that was coming?"
And so, that's what we're trying to do. That's our answer that we believe is from the Lord to respond to this preparation. But I'm trying to get Christians all over the world to say, "Alright. And what are you supposed to do?" And maybe that's coming to help us but maybe the Lord has another plan for you.
Skip: Before the question, just an FIY, if you can see on the screen, maybe we could put this up. Joining us online is Brunner, originally from Iran. I recognize this lady because she joins our broadcast quite often. Originally from Iran, now living in Fredericksburg, Virginia, most of her family still lives in Iran. She was Shia Muslim; now she's a Christian, I believe.
Joel: Hello. God bless you. Amen.
Skip: Welcome. Please.
Leticia: Hi, my name is Leticia Keith and I'm glad to have you here. I'm studying the Book of Isaiah and we're in Chapter 13 and 14, and that's where God's judging the neighboring countries of the nations. So I just felt a real blessing for you to be here because I just feel like it's all coming together. But I have a family in Colorado and they believe they're from the true church and that I'm not. I was sharing with them about the Replacement Theology and how there are the archbishops that are saying that the Jewish people can't take the position of using the Bible. And my sister told me that that's not what the Catholic leaders believe and that they support the Jewish people. And so, my question to you is if the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church and then there are the archbishops or the Vatican archbishops, how does that happen? Is it coming from the Pope to the archbishop saying what you had shared with this, or are there like sects that believe something that's not coming from the Pope?
Joel: That's an excellent question and it's important, and I try to be nuance in what I was saying, meaning these particular archbishops and bishops gather together in an official conference at the Vatican and this is where they came out. Now, the document that was released was not great, not terrible, but as I quoted from the New York Times, the statements that got made in the final communiqué and even in the press conference beyond what was written and agreed upon by these bishops or archbishops seem to go even further than the communiqué itself or the document. As I noted, not all Catholics believe in Replacement Theology.
And what was particularly troubling about this episode last month was that the church leaders, the popes in the last few decades, I would say there has been an attempt to build relations with Jews to change course a little bit. It's been incremental but for example, the Pope visited Israel in 2000. That was a big deal. It was a big deal for Israel who has seen historically the Roman Catholic Church be Replacement Theology and isn't entirely convinced that they're not now. But they were very glad to welcome the Pope and a number of the cardinals and others that came on that delegation.
So I was disappointed and then suddenly with some steady, incremental progress that has been made, it's not been great, but it hasn't been bad. It's been progressed. That's what progress is, right? This didn't go well. Now, I haven't seen any quote by the current Pope that says that he endorses these conclusions, but it's not like he was held off in a corner someplace. It's at the Vatican. By the way, I was invited to the Vatican last year for the premier of that Damascus film that I referred to. I know not all of you were with us for the last session but I hope you can listen to the last story I told in the story on God's heart for the neighbors. An evangelistic film called Damascus was made by Arab-Syrian believers for Syrians. I was invited and they were going to show it at the Vatican. But I had another engagement and I had made a commitment to this pastor and I just didn't think I could break it. But Lynn and I were invited to go there and we thought, "Wow! That would have been exciting."
I have met wonderful Born Again Catholics and some who literally work at the Vatican. And I know they love Israel and I know they love the Jewish people and I know they love Jesus very, very much, sort of in the opposite order, but I'm just saying. So I don't want to throw out this idea that it's all Catholic and it's all Protestants. It never has been -- there's a remnant everywhere and we need to strengthen what remains the Lord said to the church at Sardis in Revelations. So let's go build those relationships and not concede that even those who are teaching in the wrong direction shouldn't be engaged lovingly, not to debate these people but to say, "Hey, maybe that seemed true for 1900 years, but let's really look at that scripturally." Was that helpful? Thank you very much.
Skip: Thank you for that. Before we take another one from the floor, we have a text question, Joel. "What is the history of the Dome of the Rock?" The Dome of the Rock of course for reference is the golden dome sitting on the temple area where the temple once stood. What's the history of it?
Joel: Well, it goes back -- I don't know, maybe 12 centuries or something, 11 centuries. I don't recall exactly when it was built. It wasn't always golden. One of the pieces of the story of the Dome of the Rock is that King Hussein who lost control of the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem. But before that happened, he wanted to do something that would strengthen his relationship with the Palestinians. And so, he decided to gold plate that dome, so it was always sort of a black slate historically. But maybe it was 40 years ago or so, 50 years or 45 years ago. They added gold plating on that dome. It's pretty spectacular. The problem is the dome was built as an Islamic victory mosque. It's not literally a mosque. There's the Al-Aqsa mosque called the mosque in the corner on that same temple mounted platform.
But the dome is built literally right over where the holy of holies was. And it's interesting because you can't go in there now if you're not a Muslim. But when I was in college back in the '80s -- in 1987, I got a chance to go in. If they'd known I was a Jewish believer in Jesus who eventually would work for Netanyahu, I'm sure they never would've let me in, but they didn't know that. So I went in and I was with a guy who helped read for me the Arabic inscriptions in there and one of the striking things about the dome is that inside there's an Arabic saying that says -- I'm paraphrasing but, "God is one. He does not beget and he was not begotten."
This is not direct assault on Jewish control of the Temple Mount. This is a direct assault on John Chapter 3 Verse 16. Muslims never imagined historically that Jews would ever be a threat to them, never imagined Israel would be reborn as a country. I mean talk about Replacement Theology, they've done the replacing and they were like, "That's never going to happen." What they were concerned about was Christians and they wanted to make a statement in Arabic at the center of God's plan and purpose for humanity John 3:16 is not true. God does not have an only begotten son. He does not beget and He was not begotten.
Well, that's true. God was not begotten but He did beget and not the way we think of it, but that's taking direct aim that Jesus is not the son of God. And look, that's going to last. That's not going to hold up. And I don't know exactly how that was removed. I'm opposed to all violent ways to have it removed, but God is going to have His day and I think it's coming.
Skip: Let me just add a little piggyback on that for thumbnail -- quick thumbnail sketch. When Islam developed around 638 AD, they quickly moved to the land of Judea and took over Jerusalem and they built the Dome of the Rock. The Quran never mentions Jerusalem but it's odd through their tradition that it has become the third holiest site to Islam. They made quick haste of expelling all of the Jews out of Jerusalem when they built that mosque and they were setting up, planting their flag there.
Now, years later when the crusaders came in, they took over Jerusalem in 1095 when they started. But by the time they got to Jerusalem, they expelled the Muslims from Jerusalem. They put a cross atop the Dome of the Rock. And when the Muslims took back Jerusalem, it has gotten through a lot worse. They took the cross off and Saladin, the one who was in charge of that occupation at that time, took the cross and dragged it through Jerusalem to defame Christ followers and built it back into a mosque so that animosity over that piece of real estate has been ongoing for quite some time. Go ahead, please.
Jeannie: Hi, I'm Jeannie Syler. Thank you for coming. We've learned a lot. You had mentioned today in Genesis 17 Verse 20, we were talking about the children that Abraham would be having by Sarah and the maid servant. But he is also questioning God, "How about Ishmael? Will you give him any blessings?" And so, I was thinking about this all day today where God did say he will be the father of 12 rulers. And that's really bugged me all day. Who are these 12 rulers that Ishmael would be over or would come from him?
Joel: That's a good question. I don't know. I think would probably be better than me fishing.
Jeannie: Because what you were reading was it says, "And I would surely bless him. I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his number. He will be the father of 12 rulers and I will make him into a great nation." So the 12 rulers is what was bothering me.
Joel: Yeah, that's a good question. Skip, maybe you know specifically. I'm going to go research that because I'd like to have an answer to that. Generally on a multiplication, nobody is multiplying faster than the Muslims in the Middle East. I mean, God bless their hearts. They're having 8, 10, 12, 14 kids. Jews are having like 1.4 or something. I mean among Orthodox, it's higher. People talk about Muslims taking over Europe because they're having 8, 9, 10, 12 kids and Europeans are like, "Yeah, whatever. We don't even believe in the family."So it's a problem, right? And so, the whole fruitful and multiplying thing is something that they're taking very seriously and of course, it's prophetic. But I'm going to go look that up and I appreciate it. I like you to ask questions that I'm like, "I need to go do more research."
Jeannie: Yeah, maybe Skip will tell us. Tell Skip at some point because he knows.
Joel: Do you know the 12 rulers?
Skip: I'm trying to jog my memory because I have read up on this. A lot of it is obscured by history. It's not -- the Bible record drops genealogies and tips its hat only superficially to the genealogy that is there because it wants to quickly get to the genealogies that matter. It presents certain genealogical lines. We know where Ishmael settled and we know that they settled around the area of Israel in Saudi Arabia, in the mountains of Edom, et cetera. And there has been a pretty good stab at who those leaders might have been but because it's obscured in history, it is typically seen as a guess. That's the best that I can do.
We have one here that's been texted in. "I've heard..." -- this is a common question, Joel. You get this at every prophecy conference and every time we teach on eschatology, this is one of the top 10. "I've heard that the US is nowhere to be found in the End Times Prophecy in the Bible. Is that true? What do you think our role as America will be either way?"
Joel: It is the number one question I get asked all over the country with the exception of how can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus, which of course is my perennial favorite. But other than that, that's the number one and it's absolutely true. There's no place that I feel is a credible case that the United States is mentioned in End Times Prophecy or in the Bible at all. I think the close illusion in my view would be Matthew 24:14 where Jesus is saying in the end times, all these terrible things are going to be going on. But in Matthew 24:14, he says "This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end shall come."
Now, I think the United States has sat squarely in the middle of that verse. We don't own that verse but we're in that verse, why? Because this is where so much of the missions work -- training, recruiting, developing and sending has happened historically in the last several hundred years. This is the ATM machine for the world's missions movement. This is satellite television technology that's reaching these close countries with the Gospel developed here. Radio technology that reaching people with the Gospel developed here. Thank God for Al Gore inventing the internet, right? Because --
Skip: You spent time in politics. I'm just picking up. There's so much of it this weekend.
Joel: I'm not -- no. I mean, he claimed it. I'm just saying. We're glad that all of these things -- satellite, radio, internet, they can be used for evil. I mean pornography and all kinds of other horror shows, but God has used it also to drive the Gospel. And so, I think United States fits in Matthew 24:14. But there are a lot of countries that are mentioned specifically and there are a lot of regions and sections and people groups that are mentioned specifically in End Times Prophecy and we're not there.
People say, "What about China and what about North Korea and Indonesia?" Well, those are not mentioned but at least you have in Revelation 16, the Lord refers to the kings of the east will marshal their militaries, come up the Euphrates through Iraq to come to Armageddon. So we don't know exactly which the kings of the east are, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that they may be China, North Korea and what have you. But there's no kings of the west mentioned.
So the bottom line is the question, if we're not mentioned as a player in the last days and we're already in the last days, what happens to us? And the answer is I don't know. I don't know because the scripture doesn't say. But there are a few options, one option is the rapture. In a blink of an eye, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 million, maybe more followers of Christ disappear. Now, you think America has got a foreclosure problem now. Who's paying their mortgages the day after that? Maybe it happens. And it's sort of a funny way of thinking that the country implodes after the rapture. Now, I think China would lose at least 100 million people from the rapture, maybe more. Would Europe notice? Would there be any work loss?
I'm going there this week. We'll see, but I don't think Europe is going to be affected deeply by the rapture. But the rapture would have an effect on United States obviously. But there are other possibilities -- natural disasters. I mean what if one Katrina after another just came, and the Lord allowed one after another earthquakes and California breaks off? There are all kinds of reasons why United States would suddenly be so internally focused that even while end-time events were happening, we wouldn't be players. You could have a financial collapse. I don't think that's an unreasonable concept when you've got $120 trillion of debt, at least unfunded liabilities that we've said we're going to pay somebody someday and those bills are coming due soon.
So bad political leadership, nuclear war, terrorism, there's a lot of scenarios, none of them are good except for the rapture for us. But I am very concerned for our country, and let me just put it this way to tie that off. Given the corruption, pornography, abortion, all of the things that are going on in our country today -- now, Billy Graham, your friend, has said famously, "If God doesn't bring judgment eventually on United States, he will owe an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah." Now, I pray for that revival. I don't want to see us go through that judgment. But if we were on top of all that, to add betrayal of Israel, I shudder to think where we're heading.
Larry: Hi, my name is Larry and my question is I've heard that the underground Christian church in Iran is -- they have around four million believers. Is that number correct?
Joel: We don't know exactly the numbers because obviously, you can't do a census. That's a very hostile government, of course. These guys believe in the 12th Imam. They believe they're going to destroy Jews and Christians. They're not allowing anybody to go in and do any scientific research. When I did a research for my non-fiction book last year "Inside the Revolution", I interviewed about 40 Iranian Christian leaders. I didn't go to Iran but I interviewed people here that live in the United States that are Iranian Christian leaders and those that are in the region that could come out or live on the borders. And the bottom line was they all said that the number of Shia Muslim converts to Christianity has increased from about 500 in 1979 to over a million today. Now, some have said to me four million. Some have said to me seven million. I don't think they really know. And so, with the way I describe it in "Inside the Revolution" is this is what all 40 independently told me. This is their sense on the ground and from all their different sources of data. I don't think we really know.
The point is the trajectory that God is doing this unbelievably amazing move where He's pouring out His Holy Spirit in ways that make me jealous. You're going to talk about provoking me to induce the jealousy. There are maybe 15,000 believers in Jesus in Israel. There's over a million in Iran. I mean, Lord, hello! We'll have our day and we have to be faithful in prayer and all the rest, but it's exciting and let me just give you one quick example.
My wife and I were traveling in Europe a few years ago -- about ten years ago actually and we happen to get invited to come to a ministry center that was hidden in a house in a suburb and they have -- in the basement of this house, it's a whole like communication center. And so, what they do is they show the Jesus film in Farsi, the Iranian language, on satellite television and then they've got an 800 number -- it's not 800, but it's a number that you can call and it gets bounced all over the world that happens to come to this house. And Iranian believers in Jesus who had to flee for their lives out of Iran, they staffed the call center and people call in and say, "I want to learn more and I want to get a Bible. What do I do? I don't understand this." So we got invited to come see this thing.
So long story short, they're telling us the story about how this woman, this elderly woman was watching television one night on satellite television and was bored with everything. You know how it is. You got all these channels and there's nothing, right? She comes to a moment at the Jesus film and she was like, "What was that?" Because Muslims know that Jesus was important. The Quran says he was born of a virgin, that he did miracles, that they're supposed to read the Injil, the New Testament, though all the governments tell them they can't. He was born of the Virgin Mary, but they don't know anything else about him. They know they're supposed to revere him but they're kind of curious about him.
So she's watching this film about Jesus and she's just mesmerized. And at the end of the film, the narrator says -- he explains how to receive Christ and the verse that flashed up on the screen was Revelation 3 Verse 20, "Behold, I'll stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me." So the woman had never heard this verse. She didn't know exactly what it meant. So she thought, "I'm supposed to open the door." So she gets up and she hobbles over to the door and she opens the door. Boom! She's hit in the face with a bolt of light and she's like, "Who is it?" And Jesus says, "It is I." And she says, "Come in, my Lord" and Jesus walks into her room and begins to talk to her for a little while about his love for her and the people of Iran and he wants her to follow him. And suddenly, he disappears so she's like, "Oh my gosh!"
So she looks back at the screen and there's this 800 number -- this number to call. So she calls the call center and it goes all over the world and it winds up in the basement of this house. And the Iranian Christian operator says, "Can I help you?" And she says, "I just saw Jesus." This operator says, "Yeah, isn't that an amazing film? Isn't that a great film, the Jesus film?" She's like, "No, no. You don't understand. I just saw Jesus." They get the calls like this all the time and that's just one slice of one ministry at one period of time, and that was ten years ago.
God is moving. He loves the people of Iran. I am just so loved getting to know the people of Iran. My wife is discipling a Shiam Muslim convert, a woman who came to faith. In fact, real quickly. Oh, these are great stories. I don't want to take off the night with all the stories, but just this one.
So there are these two doctors in the Washington, DC area. The guy is a South Korean and he was a Presbyterian but he was not really walking with the Lord and he was training a young doctor and she happened to be an Iranian Shia Muslim. He fell in love and they decided to get married, but the only way they can get married is if he converted to Shia Islam, so he did. His Presbyterian parents freaked out, "What are you doing?" Well, they get married and they're going along and she has a vision of Jesus, so she becomes a follower of Jesus. He's like, "Wait a minute. I need a judge's ruling on this. I converted from Christianity to Islam and now, you're converting from Islam to Christianity." But she's just on fire and my wife has been discipling her and she's making disciples and he, a number of years ago, he realized a mistake he had made. But God was gracious. He came back. I've been discipling him and now he's just itching to find young men who are willing to be trained to make disciples themselves.
These are just a few of just countless examples of how powerfully God is moving in Iran. I don't know the numbers. We'll know when we get to heaven, but the dynamic is what's important and we've never seen more Muslims come to Christ than we have in these last 30 years. Thank you so much.
Skip: And Joel, we have a question that's been emailed to us. The question is, "When did the United States become the great Satan?" And to frame that, you've often said that the leadership within Iran who believe in the 12th Imam has framed the United States as the great Satan and Israel is the small Satan. When did that happen? When do we become the great Satan?
Joel: It's a good question. When you go back through the literature, when I first started seeing it mentioned is really in the 1970s. The guy who made it most famous I would say would be Ayatollah Khomeini. I'm sure that he was not the first. I suspect he wasn't the first but he certainly popularized that idea that United States is the great Satan. Obviously, it's not in the Quran because we didn't exist and Israel didn't exist either back in the 7th century. So it really was when Israel was reborn and United States became the best friend of Israel and Israel became the best friend of us. This began to creep into the theology because Israel is the epicenter of Judaism. Well, that's wrong in their view. And since they see the United States as the epicenter of Christendom, then we're even worse than the Jews. So that's where that term came from. But again, I first started seeing it in the '70s, though I suspect it probably dates back a little bit earlier. In fact, Khomeini himself I think was probably saying it in the '60s but it just wasn't popularized outside the region.
Skip: Right. Thanks Joel.
Dan: My name is Dan. Are the Jews preparing for another temple and is another temple necessary to fulfill biblical prophecy?
Joel: Yes and yes, next question. No. [Laughter] That's a great question. In my book "Epicenter", I've got a whole chapter on preparations that are being made. Yes, Orthodox Jews, all Orthodox Jewish groups are really preparing. In fact, I think we did a little bit in the Epicenter film on this, but these groups are making clothing for the priests. They're building the implements that will be used to do temple sacrifices. A lot of it I think is done at this point. One thing that's interesting is that the Sanhedrin was the counsel that in the scriptures where 71 rabbis that ran all of the functions, all of the operations of the temple. Well, after the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., the Sanhedrin held on thinking, "Well, okay, the Bible does indicate that there'll be a new temple again." That is part of Bible prophecy and it's critical to End Times Theology. So they thought, "Let's hold on." And so, it went to the -- I think the 5th century, the 400's and they're like, "Alright, whatever" and they disbanded.
But in 2006, the Sanhedrin reconvened, first time in almost basically 1500 years or so and they got 71 Rabbis and they ordered architectural plans to be made for the temple. I have it on my web blog. I track these things as they come up with the news. If you were to Google Joel Rosenberg, temple, Paul and Israelis, something like that, you'd get a Paul that came out I think in the last year or so that showed -- I think it was like 63% or so of Israelis want the temple to be built, which is kind of amazing because most Israelis are secular, literally like 80% plus either don't believe in God or don't care.
So Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox, these are very small minorities. You can't get a majority for that, but I believe this is a rising instinct inside Jewish life. And it's not because the Rabbis are so popular there. Most Israeli Jews are like, "I am done with religion. I am so done. Let's get on a plane and go to India and find a guru. Let's go to some other place and snort something else. Let's have any supernatural or metaphysical experience that God could possibly find short of actually going to synagogue or talking to a Rabbi." And that's just the mindset that they don't really know God. They are a bunch of hypocrites. That's the feeling. So the fact that 60% plus of Israelis today want the temple to be built, wow! I think we're not that far.
And one other thing, in Revelation 11 -- this is an interesting point that I think is overlooked because a lot of Bible prophecy teachers say that when the anti-Christ basically signs or confirms a peace treaty with Israel, then at the beginning of the tribulation, the temple will be rebuilt.
I don't buy that personally, though I understand where that comes from. But in Revelation 11, the Apostle John is told to measure a fully operational temple. At the same moment that's -- so that's verse one and two. Verse three is God is saying He's going to grant His two witnesses the authority to preach the Gospel in front of that operational temple and it actually says for 1260 days. Meaning from the first day of the tribulation, these two witnesses -- some people say Elijah and Moses, other say Elijah and Enoch because they had never died and the men wants to die and they face their judgment -- we don't know who they're going to be, but they're going to be out there preaching the Gospel and having supernatural science and wonders in front of a fully operational temple and we know the date is going to be the first day of the tribulation because halfway in the tribulation, God allows these two witnesses to be assassinated and then their bodies lie there for three and a half days. They have basically Christmas all over the world. People are giving each other presents because they're like, "Great! These two guys are gone!" and then they're resurrected. Wow! You don't want to be there for that people.
If you haven't given your life to Christ, please, tonight's the night. You can see that on the big screen I'm sure from heaven. But anyway, we know the timing, so how can you build a temple starting on the first day of the tribulation if it's supposed to be fully operational the first day? So my sense is -- and my dad was an architect for 35 plus years, now in full time ministry, but he -- just from looking at his life as an architect, I think, wow! I suspect the process of building that temple is going to start prior to the tribulation and possibly prior to the rapture. We could start seeing the temple being built in our lifetime possibly. So yeah, it's inbound. Thank you for the question.
Skip: Joel, I was shown a schematic years ago of the diagram of the electrical for the temple and the dispute going on was, can we modernize it that much, even use electricity in the newly furbished temple? Before we get to this question, we have one that came in via email. It says, "I heard that Israel is sitting on vast oil reserves. Are you aware of any support to this statement and if so, why hasn't it been exploited? I would think this would ignite world interest as world reserves dwindle."
Joel: Well, that's a great question. When I first wrote my first novel, "The Last Jihad", I had a massive fictional discovery of oil and gas. Then "The Last Days", the second novel picks up on that idea as part of John Bennett's my Wall Street strategist turning White House operative, and he's been all over this seizing of this oil and gas discovery. It was all fictional. It was based on some possibility that something had been found but I thought, "Let's build on that."
Now, when I was a doing a book signing in Bakersfield, California for the last day, some guy comes up to me and says, "That's not fiction. That's true." I said, "What's true?" He said, "They have found oil in Israel and in fact, there are Bible prophecies that say that they'll find oil and petroleum in the last days in Israel." I mean I'd love to tell you, "Oh, yes, yes. I knew that was going to happen." I honestly didn't. I just didn't and no one ever taught me that.
So I went to study it and I'm like, "Oh my gosh! There are Bible prophecies that say that the oil is going to be found in Israel in the last days. So there's a chapter on that in Epicenter, the non-fiction book. But since then, since 2006 when Epicenter came out, wow! Oil keeps being discovered in different parts of Israel but because of an -- I am now a geologist, so I'm a failed political consultant, so just keep this all in context. But apparently, the density, the porosity or something, they can't seem to get the oil out of the ground in commercial quantities without it costing so much because it's just extremely difficult to extract. But Israel has now discovered about 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and most of this is off the coast of Israel -- some towards Gaza, most of it towards Haifa. And this is a game changer and the Israeli press is all over this thing. They just began drilling, I think it was the last month or the month before, for the rigs that will be offshore rigs to get this natural gas to market.
Two pieces of information that are important to note. Number one, this feels real to me. The oil discoveries I think are real but they're not commercialized. The experts in the world industry and in particular in Israel say that Israel is likely to be energy independent in the next two to three years and then an exporter of natural gas likely to Europe in the next two, three or four years. These is huge and you can know it's true in part because the Israeli Tax Authority is all over this and saying that the law that had been on the books like, "If you ever found natural gas or oil, we tax it at 12%." But now they're like, "Oh no. This is all ours. We need a lot more than 12%" and the companies are saying, "Hey, you already had a lot. You can't go back and take..." They're like, "Yes, we can. It's our gas and you can't have it unless we say so." When the Israeli Tax Authority gets into the battle, you can suspect that we're inbound for something very real and I think this will be a game changer.
If the Lord allows these things to come fully on line, wow! Imagine that Russia, which is probably the world's most aggressive exporter of natural gas, particularly to Europe, they are not going to be happy. They're not big on competition. They're the communist mindset, and the era of Islamic world is not going to be happy either. So just when Israel finds itself blessed, it's going to trigger more attacks and threats.
Skip: Thanks Joel. Please.
Carrie: My name is Carrie. I just wanted to dovetail a little bit in your comment on Revelations. It just so happened you touched on it a little in the previous question. In past Bible studies I've done and in my own quiet times in tackling Revelations, which I find to be exciting and it's challenging but it's encouraging in the same respect as it dovetails with the Old Testament and prophec