Originally published in The Christian Post
Speaking in a discussion on Islam at the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention on Tuesday, New York Times bestselling author and Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg explained that the biggest threat facing the Western world is not the rise of radical Islam, but rather the rise of “apocalyptic Islam.”
In one of four Islam discussions held at the three-day conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Rosenberg, who authored the bestselling book series The Last Jihad, criticized the Obama administration for refusing to acknowledge the threat posed by radical extremist terrorists as a threat from “radical Islam.”
Rosenberg continued by saying that although many people feel that the rise of radical terrorist groups is one of the biggest threats to America and Western nations, a bigger cause for concern in the West should be the rise of two nation-states — Iran and the Islamic State — with leaders promoting an “apocalyptic” brand of Islam focused on the “annihilation” of the United States and Israel.
Driven by end-of-the-world theology
“We are not simply facing a threat from radical Islam. At the core, we are actually facing something even worse,” Rosenberg told The Christian Post on Wednesday. “We face the threat of apocalyptic Islam. For the first time in human history, we now are faced with two nation-states whose leaders are driven by an end-of-the-world [theology].”
Rosenberg contends that Iran’s purpose for wanting to build up its nuclear arms program is so that it can one day destroy Israel and the United States in order to pave the path for the coming of the “Mahdi” (Islamic Messiah).
“The Islamic Republic of Iran are led by men that believe that the end of the world is at hand and they have a Shiite Islamic theology. That is why they are trying to build a nuclear weapons program,” Rosenberg asserted. “Why? Because they believe the way to bring the coming of the Islamic Messiah, the Mahdi or the 12th Imam, is to annihilate Israel and the United States. That is Shiite apocalyptic Islam. It is not just radical; it’s apocalyptic.”
Although the Islamic State, which has seized large areas in Iraq and Syria and has affiliate groups in a number of countries around the world, does not currently have the capacity to build a nuclear arms program, Rosenberg said that the militant group is not waiting to acquire disastrous weaponry to bring on the apocalypse.
“Just this last summer, we have seen the Islamic State, and this is Sunni apocalyptic Islam,” Rosenberg stated. “ISIS is trying to build the end of the world kingdom, or caliphate, for the Mahdi to come and rule. They are not waiting, like the Iranians are, to build genocidal weapons. ISIS is trying to bring about genocide of the infidels right now.”
Nuclear arms deal
As a historic nuclear arms deal between the United States and Iran could take shape, Rosenberg chastised Obama for the possibility that he will “legitimize” and “legally ratify” Iran’s nuclear program.
Last year, Rosenberg commissioned a survey that was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates polling firm, which found that 82 percent of Americans feel that Iran would use nuclear capabilities to “annihilate” Israel. The poll also found that 68 percent of Americans feel that Iran would use nuclear weapons to attack the United States.
“It shows the level of fear and it also shows that the nation doesn’t want to the president to make a deal that will legitimize and legally ratify Iran’s ability to keep building its nuclear program,” Rosenberg said. “That is exactly what the country doesn’t want.”
Speaking in a Tuesday morning discussion on Islam, Michael Youssef, president of Leading the Way ministries, which broadcasts television and radio programs 24/7 to over 160 million homes across the Arab world to help spread the light of Christ, said that governments and secular media have not been helpful in stopping the rise of Islam as they have done nothing but fear Muslims, while infringing on the rights of Christians.
Strong Christian Church needed
As the Muslim population is increasing in Europe and the US, Youssef, who authored the recently released book Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Does The Bible Say About World Events Today, explained that the rise of the Islamic threat needs to be met with a “strong Christian church”:”To be quite honest, I am not really afraid as much from jihadis as I am fearing that the evangelical church is losing its moorings on the biblical authority for all kinds of different reasons,” Youssef told CP. “The challenge from Islam can only be met by a strong Christian church, rather than a week and indecisive, spineless Gospel preaching.”
“We know that the longing of the Muslims heart, there is no God. They don’t know God. They think God is unknowable. But, you can know God,” Youssef continued. “That is why Jesus came from Heaven, so that he can bring us to a relationship with God. Thousands of people are responding to that message. That’s really the answer to the challenge. I see no political solution other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
As the mass exodus of Christians migrating out of the Middle East due to the rising threat of radical Islamic violence and persecution continues, Youssef said Christians and churches in the Middle East need to seriously devote more time in prayer in order for God to intervene in the genocide of Middle East Christians.
“I am challenging through the waves of our television station for believers in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and elsewhere, to not forget that it’s not just having the label as a Christian, but going to the God of power and might and asking him to do some things that might look impossible but he will do them,” Youssef asserted.
Youssef, who was born in Egypt and spent part of his childhood in Lebanon, used Egypt as an example of how the power of prayer can change an Islamist nation that had much hostility toward Christianity.
“They had prayer meetings all across the country. Churches were packed 24/7. They begun to pray and cry to God. And on Jan. 30, 2013, 33 million people took to the streets and rejected the Islamist rule,” Youssef explained. “If Islamist rule continued today, you would have seen Christian refugees in Egypt, millions of them, would have been in the desert somewhere. So, God does answer prayer. When God’s people really take his word seriously and take his promises seriously, God will answer prayer.”