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Sid: You know I was listening on the radio one day I’m driving home from the ministry and I was listening to Sean Hannity. And Sean had a guy on an author I’d never heard of him before his name was Joel Rosenberg and Joel says I’m an evangelical Christian and my father comes from an Orthodox Jewish background. And I thought hmm I’m going to really listen to this interview. Then Sean was saying things like “This fellow is prophetic he was talking about the terrorist attack before it occurred he had a best selling book out called “The Last Jihad.” And he had all of this prophetic stuff and Sean was raving about this guy so I figured I’d get him on the phone and let’s find out about Joel Rosenberg who wrote the book “The Last Jihad” and his latest book is titled “The Last Days.” Joel so I can get to know you just a little bit tell me about your father’s background.

Joel: Sure, well Sid thank you so much for having me on the air I’m glad you caught that interview and picked up that there was a story behind the story I appreciate that very much. My Dad was raised Orthodox Jewish in Brooklyn he comes from a family…his parents were children rather his grandparents had escaped from Russia in the first few years of the 1900’s. They lived in Minx at a time when Czar was whipping out town after town of Jews.

Sid: Interesting my heritage is from Minx too but go ahead.

Joel: What years did your family come over?

Sid: Well my grandfather came over in probably 1938 or something like that.

Joel: Well, this was around 1905 and 1906 and again God’s grace they got out by God’s grace they didn’t settle in Poland or Austria or Germany they were able to make it across the continent, got a boat to Ellis Island. And like any good Jewish family they set up shop in Brooklyn. And that’s where my Dad grew up in the Bedfordstizes area of Brooklyn. He was bit of a rebel so at 18 he decided to set off for California the promise land.

Sid: (Laughing)

Joel: To become an architect and I think he went about as far away from his family as he could for a number of different reasons. I would say during that time he had really become an agnostic. The Orthodox Judaism his family practiced quite honestly was much more pharisaical and religious do and don’ts than it was spiritual and it disillusioned him. He eventually got a job as an architect in Syracuse, New York where my mother an agnostic Methodist was a doing graduate work at the university. They met and got married and they were really what I would call and maybe this era I would call seekers. They read the Bonifide Neata, the Koran, they read the Bible together, they visited churches and they were constantly talking about you know “There must be a God.” You know this was the 60’s and they were a little bit older and of course married so they weren’t really liked hippies or anything but they were definitely…they were lost but they were searching. And in 1973 they happened to visit a church where somebody really carefully and clearly communicated that Jesus is the Messiah. And they carefully communicated the way to salvation. My Mom heard that just instantly knew that’s what we’d been looking for and there was an altar call and she went forward just assuming that my Dad was a couple of steps behind her and he wasn’t.

Sid: It’s a real strong thing because if we don’t know anything about Judaism the one thing we know is what a Jew doesn’t do. A Jew doesn’t believe in Jesus. And most Gentiles don’t understand what a hard decision that is even for a Jewish person that’s turned off on religion.

Joel:   That’s right and it was very…his mother my Dad’s mother when she was walking down the street if there was a church she would cross the street and walk on the other side. And she was deeply against Christianity.

Sid: My grandfather shared the story…well my father shared the story about my grandfather on the other side of the family on my mother’s side was Minx. My father’s side was Poland and my grandfather would walk by a church and spit at the church every time he would walk by it because he attributed the worst things that have happened to Jewish people was due to Christianity.

Joel: Yeah, it’s a hard legacy some mistakes, some serious mistakes of people in the name of Christianity and some of course really twisting Christianity to do evil. Either way yeah this is where my Dad was he was yeah, he was a searcher but he couldn’t quite believe that this is it.

Sid: I’m going to take you Joel to January of 1984 here you are a young man struggling with your own faith what do you believe, what don’t you believe. As a matter of fact you weren’t experiencing much joy being part of religious Christianity. And one evening in 1984 you were actually upset with God.

Joel: That’s right. Well my parents my Dad did 6 months later come to receive Christ and Jesus as the Messiah. So they started taking us to church and kind of began growing up in a church background but it wasn’t connecting with me in my heart. And I was getting to the point as a Junior in high school that I was not experiencing…I think I was mad at God because I said “God you promised in your Bible love, joy, hope and happiness, peace I’m not experiencing any of it so either I don’t get it or it’s not true.” And this was you know probably common adolescence but it was also I think God was really almost forcing me but He was really requiring me to wrestle with Him. And of course I learned later that he who wrestles with God. So I was really wrestling with it I was angry and I was slipping into a depression week, after week over the course of that school year. But one night I had just gone through my little lip me “God you’re not doing anything for me, what have You done for me lately? That type of thing and God stopped me dead in my tracks and in my heart it was as though He was speaking in an audible voice although I don’t think He was. But in my heart it was clear He said “Joel do you ever spend time reading my word?” Now there was a technical answer I could have given yes I had read the Bible but I knew what He was asking and the answer was “No.” And I said “No Lord I’m not doing that.” He said “Joel, do you ever spend time talking to me in prayer?” And again I had to say “Honestly no, I’m not doing that in a regular basis in a furiously way.” And He said “Why would you expect to experience My blessings if you don’t know Me?” End of the conversation it was like the frequency turned off. But I knew at that moment that God had been so merciful to me it just changed everything in that moment to just hear God ask me a rhetorical question but one that helped me understand that He was listening to me and that He had an answer for me.

Sid: There is nothing more exciting when anyone comes to that personal realization that God is real and personal and interested in me as an individual. I have heard God’s voice several times in my life. I wish that it would be every day but I have heard God’s voice and I have to tell you Joel there is nothing to compare to it. I wouldn’t take a billion dollar for being about to hear God’s voice and to get instruction.

Joel: It was a powerful moment for me and it developed a veraciousness in me for the word of God and prayer. I mean I just dove into the scriptures and just between that January of my Junior year and the fall that I went into my Senior year I went to the Olympics to share the gospel with some friends in Los Angeles the summer of ’84. I started a Bible study in evangelism group in my high school. Man that was really a controversial move and we shared our faith with just about everybody in that high school 1500 people. And people could see even though I had been brought up in the church now at this point in my life even though I had name Joel Rosenberg it was always a little confused by that.

Sid: (Chuckle)

Joel: But they could see that I had been just a little down and a little more oomph as a Junior. And I was just on fire for God my Senior year and people noticed that and they asked questions and God gave me answers and I just awe man it was just accelerating just abiding with God in His word it was just was extraordinary.

Sid: I have to ask you a question I know that you one day you ask God to help you write a book etcetera but in your wildest imagination did you think that you would write a book that would be Number 1 on Amazon.com, that for 11 weeks it would be on the New York Times best seller list that. I mean that you would be interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, by Sean Hannity.

Joel: By you! My wife and I when we first moved to Washington we used to listen to your show it just happened to be on at the exact moment we’d drive to work and we’d listen to those trumpets and that’s where we heard the word “Mishpochah” I don’t think I ever heard the word in Hebrew school so.

Sid: (Laughing)

Joel: So yeah I mean no, I never imagined.

Sid: What’s the purpose of your books? Why are you really and truly…underline, underline why are you writing your books I mean Who’s Who, I mean the top people in America I mean are talking about this book but why did you write it?

Joel: To share the gospel, I mean I had always wanted to write novels and screen plays since I was a kid but when God finally gave me the time and said “Okay, this is the time to write” He had refined my heart to the point where I didn’t want to do it to be successful in some worldly sense. I wanted to write a story that drew people in out of adventure.

Sid: Let me tell you it not only draws people in I have to give people a warning I mean I got so excited when I was reading it I had to put it down a little bit to calm down. Let me read what Sean Hannity has to say about your first book “The Last Jihad.” Buckle up “The Last Jihad” is a high speed hard pounding edge of the seat, rollercoaster ride into the heart of darkness. It feels ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, this stuff could really (I could picture Sean saying this) this stuff could really happen.” I mean I can see how God is using this book because it’s one of the top secular books in America. But I have to tell you as good as your first book was you out did yourself in your next book “The Last Days”…

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