The Abraham Accords, Peace Deals, and Prophecy

In this episode of Inside The Epicenter, Joel and Carl share their experiences with Middle East leaders and discuss the benefits of economic ties, technology, security, water management, and tourism. This episode touches on the expectations of peace treaties in the region and the prophetic implications of the Abraham Accords. 

Additionally, they dissect the political tensions and the ups and downs of the regional relationships between Israel and other countries such as Turkey and Iran. 

What role can Christians play in promoting and facilitating peace and understanding in the Middle East? 

Listen to this episode to find out!

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- I don't know, I'm not predicting, but I feel bullish that more peace and prosperity is coming to the region, and that to me is fascinating because most of the generations that went before me could never have said that.

- Are we looking at a situation where the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict might be on our doorstep within the next few months? And what relationship does that have to the Abraham Accords? Hi, and welcome to "Inside the Epicenter" with Joel Rosenberg, a podcast of the Joshua Fund, a ministry dedicated to blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. I'm Carl Moeller, executive director of the Joshua Fund, and I'm joined today by Joel Rosenberg in Jerusalem, who was there on the White House lawn when those Accords were signed, but Joel, welcome. We're gonna talk about the Abraham Accords today, and I know we've talked about 'em before, but welcome from Jerusalem, and we're excited to kind of highlight what these Accords are all about.

- Well, thank you, Carl. Great to be with you, and yeah, we're coming up on a very special anniversary and lot has happened since that. I dunno if we wanna get into it, I'll leave it to you, but.

- [Carl] No, we do. Yeah.

- Actually the head of the leader of United Arab Emirates actually told me and a delegation of evangelical leaders several years before he made peace with Israel that he was going to do that. So yeah, the Joshua Fund has been sort of watching it closely, all Israel news, of course, literally covering it, but a lot has happened.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- And of course then we led an Abraham Accords delegation that you were part of, the first such delegation to go to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and back here to Israel to meet with all the senior leadership and say, what has happened? What are we learning? And that was last year, and so much has happened since.

- [Carl] Yeah, well, you know, Joel, you're right, and I'm here right now, as you know, at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, and one of the major focuses is on Israel and its 75th anniversary. Last night, I was talking to a Jewish leader whose heart and passion has been to really engage the US government in supporting the Abraham Accords, and is, you know, continuing to say grateful things for our work to, you know, as part of a group of organizations helping to make the Abraham Accords more known to people in the United States, and I think that's been a huge opportunity for us to tell people about how important these peace treaties are. Before I ask another question, I just wanna say, you know, one thing that you've shared with me a long time ago, and it's really true, when we pray regularly and consistently for the peace of Jerusalem and of Israel, and then peace treaties are signed, we need to be rejoicing over that, and we need to be excited about that, but maybe you can talk a little bit.

- Especially since more are coming, I believe we gotta really be praying, 'cause I think we're gonna see more in the next year or so.

- We're gonna talk about that. We're gonna get to that because I think that's one of the profound benefits of having been to the region and seeing, you know, some of these nations that are excited about these Abraham Accords. Maybe you can give the listeners just an overview of what were some of the intended goals for the Abraham Accords when they were initiated, and some of the conversations that you've had.

- So when we met with the then Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed, commonly and affectionately known in the region as MBZ or MB Zed, he was the crown prince then. He's been elevated since then to the president of the country because the previous president had been sort of in a coma, and so MBZ was the defacto leader. Now that man sadly has passed away, and MBZ is the head. When he asked me to bring a delegation of evangelical Christians, first of all, it was the first ever such evangelical delegation to the UAE, and we were asking him about a lot of different things, and one of the things that the team and I wanted to say to him was something I said specifically, which is, you know, we want you to know three things about us as evangelicals. There's more than three, but we want you to know about three when it comes to peace. First, God commands us in the Bible to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, so we're doing that. We don't, we love Israel and we're never gonna change. That's part as a biblical mandate. It's not political, it's theological, and we love our neighbors, the Palestinians, other Arabs and Muslims. That is not political either. Even if we disagree with some of Israel's neighbors, even if we disagree with Israel at times, we love them because Jesus as a Jewish Israeli commanded us to love our neighbors so, and our enemies. So we wanted him to know that. Then we said, as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you know, it's been a quarter of a century and we're looking, who is gonna be the next Arab leader to make peace with Israel. Now, it was almost a rhetorical question. This was the first time after meeting with the king of Jordan and the president of Egypt. We'd never been to a country to meet with a leader who didn't have peace with Israel. This was the first time I'd led a delegation like that, and so we wanted, you know, just put that out there, plant a seed, I don't know, whatever. I'm not sure I'd say it, but, well, he shocked us. MBZ shocked us. We were sitting in his parlor in the palace in Abu Dhabi, the capital, and very intimately, it wasn't like a big palace room. It was intimate, and he leans forward and he says, "Joel, it's gonna be me. I'm gonna be the next guy to make peace with Israel."

- [Carl] Wow.

- I'm like, what? And he began to lay out why. Now, at the time that was off the record. So we couldn't walk out and say, woohoo. We were sitting on one of the biggest news stories of the last quarter century in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, and I wish All Israel News and All Arab News had been in motion at that time. It wasn't yet. So, but he explained what he has later said, and I can talk about it now 'cause it's all obvious. MBZ has been clear, and the other leaders in Bahrain and other countries, Morocco and all have said, look, first of all, we wanna make sure we do have peaceful relations with Israel. None of those countries have been actively at war in terms of military kinetic war, as they say, like Jordan, Egypt and Iraq and others were, Lebanon, Syria. So it wasn't like they had to stand down from military confrontation, but they definitely want peace, but they also want what they call normalization, and so what they really are saying is, we want economic ties. We see Israel as a regional economic powerhouse. It's a technology powerhouse. It is a security powerhouse. It's a cybersecurity powerhouse. It's a, how do you create clean water in the desert so it's not so expensive, powerhouse, all these different agritech. How do you make the deserts bloom? How do you create enough food security using what Israel uses, computerized drip irrigation. Like we don't have enough money, water just to do what they do in Iowa, or you know, in the bread basket or anywhere else, or in California, just water everything, right? California doesn't have that much water either so, but here we have to literally, it drips out on computerized spurts every little while, and so they want all of that, plus they want tourism. They want Israelis to come and see, get on planes, and they want their people to go there and cultural and sports connections, and they really want robust relations. They're not saying, let me be clear, they're not saying they agree with every Israeli political decision or policy decision. What they're saying is, we may have to argue with you over things we disagree with.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- But that doesn't mean we can't be friends and we can't work together on things that are of common interest, and that is really what has happened, and that's why other countries are watching and thinking, I don't know, maybe we should do this too.

- Yeah. Well, you know, that's fascinating because, you know, again, we have normalized relations with countries like Germany or England even, and yet we still have disagreements and we don't always agree with national agenda items or other kinds of things, but they're normal. They're not broken, and I think that's one of the, that was one of the primary goals of the Abraham Accords.

- [Joel] Yeah.

- And was to bring sort of the common interests of the region together to the table. You know, you talked about.

- There was another big one, I should add, which is.

- [Carl] Gonna get there, yeah.

- Form an alliance against the Iranian regime, which they're all, everyone is terrified of, and most of these countries are, you know, they're Muslim countries, but they're not Shia and they're not Persian, and they don't have militaries that are as strong as Israel's, even though some of these countries are much larger, but they want to work together with us and the United States to defend themselves against an Iranian nuclear bomb, an Iranian terror regime and so forth so.

- [Carl] Sure.

- There are other elements that I should have mentioned also, yeah.

- Well, I remember, you know, from the delegation that we were on, the conversations both in Israel and in the Gulf Nations we went to that Iran and the common defense and the, you know, the realities of the real world that we live in, where the United States unfortunately under this administration, is taken a back seat to providing regional security. They're looking at each other and saying, okay, you have resources, you know, in the Arab states and the Israelis have a very strong military and economic opportunities, and that's a natural regional alliance. Do you think that they're working positively towards achieving both the social and the economic and the military goals so far?

- Yeah, absolutely. There's no question, and in fact, you know, a very senior Bahrain official told me, you know, Joel, we don't even really call it normalization here. We call it formalization, because from their perspective, they were never, in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Bahrain, they were never actively engaged in war with Israel, except they were part broadly of the Arab world boycotts economically, but they, you know, they're a small country, a million and a half people. They didn't really have a lot of options, but over the years, they've really had a lot of back channel and underground relations. They couldn't openly trade with each other, but it, there was a lot of warmth going on behind the scenes and so now they, you know, once the United Arab Emirates, one of their much bigger, you know, friendly neighbors to Bahrain, once they normalized, announcing that on August 13th, 2020, it really only took a few weeks before the Kingdom of Bahrain was like, we're in as well, 'cause they always wanted to be in. They were just too small to take the lead.

- [Carl] Right.

- And that's why Mohamed bin Zayed's decision to go first after a quarter of a century was so bold. It was so courageous, and it was keeping in a promise that he'd made to me and this group of evangelicals, which was striking because he really trusted us in a way that he didn't, you know, he didn't know us, but why did he tell us that and trust that we wouldn't leak it, but all that to say, yeah, I think there's been, I think every country involved, I, you have to take out Sudan. Sudan normal, created this sort of semi-normalized state. We call them a member of the Abraham Accords, but there's a lot of trouble going on in Sudan. We should do a show on Sudan, Sudan's a member of the Gog and Magog coalition, biblically. So I've never been real optimistic or bullish, let's say, that Sudan was gonna hold. There are reasons for that, but I would take them out of the equation, but the other three, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco have all seen significant increases in trade, in tourism, in technology transfers, in security and intelligence cooperation. It's funny, I'll just say one more thing on that. Last summer, or last spring, I guess, I got a message, I'm forgetting the exact timing. Anyways, last year I got a message, a back channel message from a senior advisor to Israel's defense minister saying, "Hey, Joel, the foreign minister of Morocco is a little upset with you." I said, "With me? I don't even know the Moroccan foreign minister. I'm sorry, why? What, did I not send them a signed book?" Or I don't know, you know, I don't know, am I, and this person said, "No, because you keep leading these delegations of evangelical leaders for all these different Arab countries, and you're not, you haven't come to Ma Morocco." I said, "Well, I don't just do this. Like, I don't just walk into a country. I get invited. So, you know, please let him know I'm sorry if you feel offended. Please don't be offended, but I'm happy to come if you, you know." So I got this message, I got a letter a couple weeks later. Hey, can you come next month with a delegation? I was like, I can't do it that fast. It takes longer to prepare, but I said I could bring a TBN crew and I could bring a few people. I brought two of our board members from the Joshua Fund, and we thought, well, let's go explore this. If the Moroccans are reaching out, let's reach out with them, and, you know, the plane that we were on was totally packed, direct flight from Israel to Morocco. There had never been direct flights for, you know, I'm not sure ever, but certainly not the last 20 plus years, and now, you know, you were on those flights. We went directly from Israel to the UAE, from Bahrain back to Israel, totally packed.

- [Carl] Packed.

- Like, not a seat available, and we were told. You were with me.

- People sat there.

- We sat for about 90 minutes with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, the brother, the younger brother of Mohammed bin Zayed. His name is ABZ, Abdullah bin Zayed, and he told us there was like, hundreds of flights every week and we were like, hundreds? Like, and they're packed, and he said that they're not hundreds of flights back and forth between the UAE and Israel because the government has mandated that. That's the market.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- There's just that many people wanting to travel back and forth. So anyway, this is encouraging. It's working. Now, does every country want more? Yes, they want more, but you know, the Bahrainis are like, "Hey, remember us? Like, we would like more tourism to our little country," which is a beautiful country. You and I were there at one hotel though. Just, I mean, it's like if the Caribbean had money, like just so lovely, so beautiful, and I think, wow. So I'm encouraged. They're encouraged.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- And I've been in these countries now six or seven times, and it gets better every time.

- Well, you know what, Joel, I gotta tell you, I remember that beach walk we took in Manama, the capital of Bahrain and the conversation, and I also remember you saying, I got this letter from the foreign ministry of Morocco to come and bring a delegation. You want to go to Morocco next month? And I, if it wasn't for family commitments, I was gonna be able to go to that as well, but, you know, it is fascinating to see what God is doing in bringing these nations together to make these accords with, with Israel, and we're gonna take a quick break right now, just for a minute, but I want to come back and talk about some of the other regional countries and their relationship to this, both good and bad. We'll be back in just a minute. Our verse of the day today is found in Jeremiah 33:7. "I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes "of Israel and rebuild them as they were at first," and our prayer requests today are, number one, pray that peace prevails in the Middle East, and that more people come to know peace through Jesus Christ, and second, pray that Israel continues to prosper and that God grants Israel favor before its neighbors. Well, we're back. Joel, fascinating story. We're talking about the Abraham Accords. We're talking about the way that your interactions with some of the leadership of these countries both predated the Abraham Accords and also affirmed, you know, some of the goals of the Abraham Accords to normalize relations between Arab countries and Israel, but there were other.

- Remember that dinner? Remember the dinner that we had with a very senior Bahraini official when we first got there? Just take a second 'cause that's a great anecdote.

- Well, you know, this was my first trip to these countries at this level. I mean, Joel, you know, I've traveled in the region for years and done things mostly with the Christian churches and the, and basically believers in those countries, both above ground and below ground, as you will, but this was my first trip with a delegation level meeting, and yes, we were in the Capitol and we were brought into a dinner, an Iftar dinner, the dinner when they break the fast of Ramadan in the evenings, because as most people who under, who know Islam, during Ramadan, people fast during the day, and then they can eat at night, and it's a whole thing when you have a day where you haven't eaten all day and they have an amazing meal, but the amazing attention to service, the hospitality, the frankly, the level of opulence I was not prepared for. I really was, I've always known Middle Easterners to be incredibly hospitable, but when you combine hospitality with royalty.

- [Joel] Yeah, right.

- And basically you are, you're seeing something amazing. I characterized it like a cross between the Arabian Nights and "Downton Abbey." I mean, it was.

- [Joel] No, it was footmen.

- Like nothing I'd ever experienced before.

- White gloves and tuxedos and whatever it was, maybe, and then they were like, you took a sip of orange juice and boom, they filled it right back up again.

- They filled it up, that's right.

- We did not deserve it, we did not expect it, but wow. When they, when these countries want, when royal kingdoms roll out the red carpet, you get a little bit of a sense of what the biblical culture is like. As Americans, we are so rebellious against, okay, that's our DNA politically and historically, but you know, it's interesting here in this region, almost every country has a royalty, not every country, but it's an entirely different mindset, and I will say that while there are some downsides, right, if the king is corrupt or evil, that's bad, but if you have a benign king, a friendly king, well you really see how with that authority, he can make decisions. It doesn't mean he can pull his people to go change if they are adamantly opposed, but he can move them and he, a king can be used to take a country in the right direction or wrong, and there's, and it's a totally different concept and I haven't, you know, my first king that I ever met was King Abdullah in Jordan and I, I was just not prepared for the biblical culture of which I, you know, I've read my whole life, but I, it's something different by meeting a democratically elected leader or being, or meeting a royal. It just, it's hard. I'm not sure if I'm, I don't think I'm describing it well, but there's something very different.

- Yeah, I mean, obviously the whole world watched the coronation of King Charles and.

- [Joel] Right.

- This was, this is one of those kind of experiences that we in America aren't very familiar with. Maybe if you've had a chance to meet the president or something like that, perhaps you'd feel very similar, but honestly, it was amazing, but Joel, gotta ask the question because you brought up Jordan. There are two other countries in the region that have peace treaties with Israel in the immediate neighborhood of Israel itself, Egypt and Jordan, and yet they have not had the same sort of economic normalization. Talk a little bit about that and, you know, contrast, if you will, between those peace agreements and the Abraham Accords and these other countries.

- Yeah, so it, that's an important set of questions actually, Carl. Thank you for thinking of that, because the first thing people have to realize is it's a lot easier to normalize with Israel if your country hasn't been directly in a kinetic, violent war, right? So, Bahrain, UAE, Morocco have never fought physically against Israel, so it didn't mean it was easy. If it was easy to make peace, it would've been done a long time ago. It wasn't, but it's different than Egypt and Jordan. Egypt and Jordan made peace because they wanted to stop war. They, it was costing, they were losing every time. '48, '56, '67, '73, they lost every time. King Hussein of Jordan, he lost all of the West Bank, which was occupied by Jordan. It wasn't actually given to Jordan by the UN, but they had occupied it in '48 and half the city of Jerusalem, and they lost that all in the 1967 war when Israel liberated and unified Jerusalem and took Judea and Samaria. Those are the biblical names for what the world calls the West Bank. Then that was humiliating for King Hussein, and that was, and it also almost cost him his throne, though over time he adjusted and he eventually made peace with Israel, and then of course, President Sadat, Anwar Sadat, he invaded Israel in 1973 on Yom Kippur, the most holy day in the Jewish calendar, where Jews are not doing anything. They're not watching TV, they're not watching, they're not listening to radio, they're not on their phones. They don't, they're just at home praying or at their synagogue, and they're fasting even. They're not even eating or drinking, and Sadat invaded on that day, hoping to catch Israel off guard and to take us over, capture us. It didn't work by God's grace and the hard work of the Israeli military and a lot of sacrifices, and an airlift admittedly by the United States, 24 hours a day from president, then President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. They turned the tide. So that happened in '73. By '77, Anwar Sadat was ready to make peace, very boldly, first Arab leader to do it, but he was the leader of the largest Arab country in the world. He had the power to not care what everyone else wanted, and he realized, look, I may not have won in '73, but I sort of bloodied Israel's nose enough that my honor and my country's honor is back. Now, let's call it a day. I can't afford war to go on forever and ever, and there's too many people who were suffered. So that was good, that was bold and you know, another story maybe for another time, but I should tell the story at some point of meeting the widow of Anwar Sadat in the very home in Cairo with my first delegation that I led there, and my two sons, Jacob and Jonah with me, it was amazing to meet the widow of Sadat in the very home where Anwar Sadat had both plotted the cruel, and I would say evil, attack against Israel in '73, but also the same home where he had plotted the peace offensive of '77, which led to the Camp David Accords in '78 and the peace treaty in '79, so like, wow, but all that to say, the people of Egypt, okay, they didn't want to make war, but they have a lot of pain and a lot of anger, and they don't want peace with Israel. They don't want normalization, and the same thing with Jordan. 70% of Jordan roughly are Palestinians. So even though the king is quite moderate and has peace with Israel, King Abdullah, who, you know, his father made the peace treaty in 1994 and then King Abdullah inherited it and continues it quite deftly, but his people don't want normalization 'cause they have very deep anger and bitterness towards Israel. So that's what makes it different. I will say, from getting to know President el-Sisi in Egypt and getting to know King Abdullah, and not just once, but multiple times, spending hours with them, I know that they share their people's concerns, but they also think the bigger picture is peace and peace is good, normalization is hard, but let's try to find a way for our economic growth to go up, our trade with Israel, and since the Abraham Accords, I've got some numbers if you want them, but yes, Jordanian trade with Israel has gone up and Egyptian trade has gone up, even though they didn't make any new formal agreements.

- Well, I think it's a whole spirit moving through the region perhaps, and, you know, and I think that's quite helpful. Hey, let's talk a little bit differently about Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia's relationship to the Abraham Accords.

- [Joel] Sure.

- A couple years ago when we were talking about the prospect of this, as the Abraham Accords came out, it seemed possible that within a few weeks even, Saudi Arabia might also sign those accords. What's happened since and where is Saudi Arabia in relationship to the Abraham Accords?

- Well, look, there was a lot of momentum building under the leadership of President Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and of course the senior White House team, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz, and the Israeli, the US Ambassador to Israel here, David Friedman. All of 'em I've gotten to know, all of them have become friends, and I, and we've talked a lot about these issues together. They were, their feeling was that the Saudis were inbound on wanting to make a deal also if Trump had won a second term. There would've been complications. There would've been things to, it wasn't gonna be as easy because the Saudis wanted various things that the Trump team was gonna have to think through, do we want to give the Saudis those things, but, you know, love 'em or hate 'em, Trump got those four peace treaties with the Arab world late in the game in a presidential election year. August, September, October, November, December, boom. He got these four, plus a deal by the way, we haven't talked about, between Israel and Kosovo, which is a normalization deal, which is a Arab, I'm sorry, it's not Arab, but it is a Muslim country. So that's a whole 'nother one, but one of the things that Trump did is he really pulled out the lessons from his book, "Art of the Deal." He was transactional, right? Morocco wanted something. They wanted American recognition that they're the rightful owners of what's called the Western Sahara, not the terrorist radical force known as the Polisario, which is backed by Iran and Algeria. So no American government had wanted to take that risk, and Trump was like, no, that you totally deserve our recognition for that, yes. So then Morocco's like, great. They already wanted to normalize with Israel, but that was what, that was their price, and Trump gave it. The Emiratis in the UAE, they wanted a number of things too, including the ability to buy F-35 state-of-the-art stealth fighter jets to protect themselves against the Iranian threat. Now, those are still being built, they're not delivered yet, but normally Israel will be like, I'm sorry, what? You're gonna give the Arab countries F-35s? Like, we have them, but we don't want anyone else to have. No, Israel supported that and a number of other things, and the Bahrainis got an increased trade package, and Sudan, we said we weren't gonna talk that much about it, but Sudan got taken off the terror list and they paid back reparations or not paid back. They paid reparations to people that have been killed and wounded by Sudanese terrorists. So they, I think there was like a $638 million settlement. So they did things, we did, Trump did things. So the question when Biden took over, it seemed like the Saudis were ready, but Biden wasn't ready. We reported this on All Israel News, actually on All Arab News. We took an actual poll of Americans, and we found that 79% of Americans wanted Biden to normalize between Saudi Arabia and Israel as a major priority in his new administration, but Biden had been so hostile to the Saudis that that was, you know, for the first year and a half, that there was no chance of that happening, but we've been reporting, my colleagues and I of a shift going on in the Biden administration, and I can tell you things that we've said on All Israel News and All Arab News, that the Saudis have indicated to several people that I've talked to personally, including Senator Lindsey Graham, said this to me on the record on All Israel News, I just came from Riyadh, I just met with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, MBS. He is ready to normalize with Israel. However, he wants to normalize with Biden. There's such tension between Biden and the Saudis.

- [Carl] Wow.

- How can we get there? Now, I, a few other sources I can't go into, but the point is the Biden team has changed. The Biden, President Biden himself is changing and his team is changing, and there's now a growing view here from multiple sources. I would say I have like seven sources now that are indicating that Biden wants to normalize, but there are some sticky issues that they have to navigate through, MBS wants to normalize, and Netanyahu definitely wants to normalize. So some, we just reported the top diplomatic correspondent here in Israel, which is on All Israel News, and he, and on "The Rosenberg Report," and he said on the record, from his reporting, there's a view that in the next five to six months, a Saudi-Israeli deal could be struck with Biden probably winning the Nobel Peace Prize for doing it, and if that happens, Carl, it's the view of many, including that journalist, but other even Biden administration officials that I know, and Israeli officials who believe that normalization will open up then with Indonesia, possibly Malaysia, possibly other Arab or Muslim countries. This could end the Arab-Israeli conflict as we've known it.

- [Carl] Wow.

- In the next five to six months. That is how big a deal this is, and we probably should have front-loaded that, but it's just sort of, this is the question you're asking me, and I'm realizing this is a big deal.

- Talk about burying the lede, right?

- Right, right.

- That could easily be one of the most profound and biblically significant issues and in resolution of this problem. Joel, I think that's probably where many of our listeners want to go next, which is, okay, Joel, so all of this is happening. Where does this fit in the biblical narrative about the end of days and the historical biblically and prophetic role for Israel and in the world? So maybe, I know that's probably a whole series of podcasts, maybe even books for you to write on, but.

- I can give you a short version.

- What do you think about that? Yeah.

- Yeah. That, no, let's definitely do that and soon, but the short version is, most people when they think of Bible prophecy and the end times, they're thinking about wars and rumors of wars. That's what Jesus said would happen in the last days, but, you know, there are other specific prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, including, obviously including Ezekiel 38 and 39, which talk about cataclysmic wars, and then of course you get into Revelation. You got the war of Armageddon and all kinds of, you know, horror show going on. So that's the way people think about it, if they think about Bible prophecy at all, but there are nuances that are important, and that is, for example, in Ezekiel 38, yes, that prophecy leads to this massive war with Russia, Iran, Algeria, Sudan, Turkey, and other countries coming to surround and attack Israel and try to consume her, devour her, conquer her in the last days of history. That is going to happen. However, the word in Hebrew is aval. Aval, before that happens, three things have to happen. Israel has to be reconstituted as a country with Jews coming back and resettling the land. Check, okay.

- [Carl] Check.

- That's Ezekiel 36 and 37. Then Israel has to become prosperous, really prosperous, because in the early stages of Ezekiel 38, the text describes people saying, "Why, Gog," this Russian dictator, "why are you doing this? "Are you coming for plunder? "Are you coming for our wealth, essentially?" I'm paraphrasing, but, so Israel must be so prosperous that it would tempt a Russian dictator to say, I want that. Now Israel's pretty prosperous by regional standards without oil, right? It's pretty amazing. Maybe we'd be more prosperous. Maybe, could that be 50 years from now, 100 years from now? It could, but you know, like the technology that we have, the wealth that's being generated just by our technology is tempting to a country like Russia that's dying, and by the way, part of our wealth here in Israel now comes from natural gas that we've discovered offshore. Israel, Russia's biggest export, its biggest moneymaker is natural gas. So we are cutting in as Israelis now into the Russian market, so that's something to watch for. The third thing is Israel, Israelis need to be living securely in the land. That's what Ezekiel 38 says. It doesn't actually use the word peace, shalom, but it's pretty clear that Israelis are feeling very comfortable. They're living securely. Well, how do you live securely if your whole country was born in war and has war and terror ever since? Well, you have to have peace treaties, and not just treaties, not just pieces of paper. You have to actually have peace. So the fact that we've gone from two peace treaties, Egypt in '79, and Jordan '94 to six peace treaties now with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, that is dramatic. Now, if we normalize and make peace with the Saudis and then the Indonesians and the Malaysians and the Qataris and the, you know, the, you know, just, if it can keep spreading, Kuwaitis, maybe, you don't need all of those to make Israelis feel secure in the land, but that plus F-35s plus, you know, long range missiles plus submarines, plus our relationship with the world's only superpower of the United States, all that suggests that we are moving steadily, actually quite decidedly towards being able to check the box, at least humanly speaking, that we're living securely in the land. I'm not saying there's not still trouble, but Israelis are used to trouble. What we're not used to is peace and security, and so I have to say, Carl, I'm not predicting that the war of Gog and Magog is gonna happen tomorrow, but.

- [Carl] Right.

- But the trajectory of more peace treaties and more security and more warmth and normalization is consistent with the prerequisites that have to happen before the next big prophetic war, and that is intriguing and I think is being under noticed, underestimated by most Christians, even those who are interested in prophecy.

- Yeah, no, we've done podcasts on the war of Gog and Magog in the past, and it's been always a major interest of our listeners to understand the nature of that conflict, and I think this conversation about the Abraham Accords raises the bar a little bit and says, one of the elements is not just the alignment of the enemies against Israel, but it's the, I guess, would you say, Joel, that the Abraham Accords is producing or provoking perhaps a bit of anger or jealousy on the part of some of these nations like Iran and Turkey and Russia?

- Yes, that is true. Iran is, you know, you can only imagine the terror masters of Tehran are furious by this, and the Palestinian leadership has been very outspoken, very angry, though that too is dialing down. They're reassessing, they realize it doesn't look like there's any way to derail these agreements. Maybe we have to figure out how to work with these agreements. Look, I know it sounds crazy to say, but I suspect there's gonna be some sort of Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement to use the French, or is it a real peace treaty? Is it just something that makes it better? I don't know exactly, but you know, and I don't know if we've said it on the podcast, but last year I was invited by the number two most powerful guy in the Palestinian Authority, a guy named Hussein al-Sheik, to come and visit him in Ramallah. Now, I'm an Israeli, I'm a Jew, I'm an evangelical, I'm a Zionist. I love the Palestinians, but I don't agree with the policies of the Palestinian Authority, some of them, but, you know, I, so why would he invite me? Because he was trying to open up a channel to talk to evangelicals and build a relationship and so, look, I don't wanna overstate what that is, but what I'm finding so far, if you just look at the pattern, the countries and leaders that wanna meet with evangelicals, I happen to be, for whatever reason, in God's sovereign sense of humor, the guy that they're asking to come and meet with them. I, you know, I don't know why and not by myself. I mean, bringing you and bringing others. It seems like before they make peace, they meet with us. I'm not, I don't know how to, I'm not sure even how to correlate that. It's just that it's one of these feelers.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- And I have the opportunity to not only hear these things, but then communicate them through you and All Israel News and All Arab News and "Rosenberg Report" and say, hey, we need to be praying for these things because well, God is actually answering. It's easy to go, wow, we've been praying for peace for a long time. It's never happened. I know, but now it is, and that's why we need to redouble, retriple our efforts. So the last point I would say is, I don't know how to reconcile the demands of the Palestinian people and leaders with Israel's security needs. I don't know how to do it. So we never came with peace proposals to these Arab countries, but I will say that these Arab countries that we've met with, setting aside the Palestinian leader that we met with, but the others, they're realizing, look, I, they're not sure if there's a way to reconcile that either, but what they decided is, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- Let's make peace. Let's normalize with Israel. Let's not give up our view that the Palestinians need justice, need mercy, need compassion, which I agree with, and that's why I think they also are inviting me. They realize that yes, I'm Israeli, I'm Jewish, I'm evangelical, I'm a Zionist, but I'm not unreasonable. Those things don't add up to enemy. They add up to, okay, Joel's a true believer, but he also is a bridge to this evangelical world, and the evangelicals who not only love Israel, but they love peace. They're called to peace, they're called to love their neighbors. So I'm just saying, I think there's more coming, whether it's the next five to six months. That, I don't know, but you know, I did write a novel called "The Jerusalem Assassin," in which the Saudis wanna normalize with Israel and they want the Americans to broker the deal, and now it brings all the bad guys out of the woodwork to try to literally blow up the peace summit, but that was a crazy idea five years ago or whatever.

- [Carl] You wrote that.

- Now I've actually brought that book to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who doesn't have peace with Israel, but according to the local reports, has just talked to Netanyahu twice in recent weeks, recent days about normalization. Like, I brought that book and I had that conversation with the man who can make the decision. The king of Saudi Arabia is quite ill at this point, and so he's really not, he's not the effective leader of Saudi Arabia anymore. The son really is, even though he's not the king. It's similar to MBZ being the crown prince, but effectively leading the country until, you know, the king or the president passed. It's similar right now, and so to have this conversation with MBS.

- [Carl] Wow.

- Not just for two seconds and a handshake and a photo op, but over hours, and to give him that book. It's interesting. I'm not saying that I'm playing a role. I'm saying I happen to have an opportunity to be a witness as well as to bring, be a witness back from what I've heard from him, and share what I can with the evangelical world and to say something big is happening, and even Biden is turning into it. So whether it's Biden or the next Republican president, whenever that happens, I don't know, I'm not predicting, but I feel bullish that more peace and prosperity is coming to the region, and that to me is fascinating because most of the generations that went before me could never have said that.

- Could never have, and you know, Joel, I will say, as we often say on this podcast, stay tuned, because this is what we said earlier about the Abraham Accords and potentially a game changing agreement of peace with Saudi Arabia, but at the same time, the reengagement perhaps of the US and the increasing tension with some of the players on the chessboard from the opposite side of the Abraham Accords, Iran and Turkey and others. So these are times when no one listening should be going to sleep on what's happening in the epicenter right now. As we always say, it is the epicenter for a reason. You know, it's the center of human history. It's the center of biblical narrative and biblical history, and it's the, certainly the center of the prophetic and where things are going. So Joel, I want to thank you once again for taking us where really nobody else is capable of taking us, into the palaces and into the conversations of such importance of what God is doing in the Middle East right now. Thank you for just giving us an update on the Abraham Accords in this hour.

- Happy to do it. I'm glad you asked. This is a good, good episode. Yeah, but you're right, we did bury the lede and, but hopefully people stuck with us and got the real meat and potatoes, the pearl inside the oyster in this particular podcast.

- Exactly. Well, thanks again, Joel, and for our listeners, if you'd like to learn more about the Joshua Fund, you can visit our website at, and there you can learn about all we're doing in the Middle East to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, and how you can participate in the healing work we're doing in this critical region, and as always, you can check out our show notes for anything you heard on this podcast that you'd like more information on. For Joel Rosenberg, I'm Carl Moeller. Thanks for listening to this episode of "Inside The Epicenter."

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