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Joel C. Rosenberg

Joel C. Rosenberg

Best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg has some 2 million total copies in print. As a communications adviser, Joel has worked with a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders. He has also spoken at the White House, the Pentagon, and to members of Congress. In 2008, Joel designed and hosted the first Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem. He is married, has four sons, and lives near Washington, D.C.
Joel C. Rosenberg: Truth in Fiction

Joel C. Rosenberg: Truth in Fiction

(May 2013)
C.J. Darlington
Middle east expert Joel C. Rosenberg explains the challenges of writing political thrillers that keep one step ahead of real events.

Best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg didn’t find out he was Jewish until he was in fifth grade. His father, who apprenticed with architect John Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) and lived with the Wright family for several years, had abandoned his Jewish faith and never mentioned it. “Many Orthodox Jewish families are wonderful, warm and friendly,” Rosenberg says. “I’ve met plenty through the years, but my father’s experience was deeply negative. He was not interested in reliving family memories. So when I was growing up, no one told me I was Jewish. When I found out, I was surprised!” he says with a laugh.

His parents came to faith in Christ, and Joel now embraces his Christian and Jewish heritage with vigor, traveling the world encouraging other Christians to bless Israel through his and wife Lynn’s Joshua Fund organization, as well as their Epicenter conferences. Despite his crazy schedule, Joel hasn’t abandoned his novel writing. In fact, he believes his fiction is where the magic is happening. “Fiction has a way of unlocking people’s imagination in a way nonfiction doesn’t. I have found the reaction to my fiction so interesting. The novels have gotten a discussion going, and I’m intrigued with that.”

His latest thriller, Damascus Countdown (Tyndale House), once again continues in the Rosenberg tradition of uncannily colliding with current events. “The most dangerous corridor on the planet right now is the corridor between Tel Aviv and Tehran,” Joel says. “It runs right through Damascus. Even if you set aside the Bible prophecy about the future of Syria and Damascus, just looking at what’s happening right now, it makes Damascus Countdown a book that people—I hope—will find interesting, and perhaps illuminating, because it sheds a different light from a biblical perspective.”

In the novel, Israel has just launched a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which of course isn’t something the Twelfth Imam (the Muslim false messiah introduced in the previous novels of the trilogy) will take lying down. It’s up to CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to save the day before it’s too late. “I am absolutely fascinated with Bible prophecy,” Rosenberg says, “and I’m fascinated with other prophecy, too, namely Shia Islamic eschatology. I don’t believe it, but I am fascinated with how the leaders of Iran do. Until a number of years ago, as is the case with most Americans, I hadn’t heard about the Muslims having their own endtimes beliefs, and I certainly couldn’t have anticipated the leaders of Iran would be so driven by it. Writing these novels about how it would be if some of their thinking played out has been interesting. I asked myself, “According to the Bible, is it possible for a Muslim so-called messiah to emerge?” The Bible doesn’t speak to Muslim faith, but Jesus Himself said in the last days false messiahs would come, and some of them would be able to do great signs and wonders, trying to mislead people, including the elect.”

Joel admits tying all the pieces of the series together in an explosive finale was the most challenging part of the process. “I opened up a lot of doors,” he says. “I needed to start closing them or blowing them up.” Pleased with the result, Rosenberg believes Damascus Countdown is a “high-speed, riveting, end to the series.”

With one eye constantly on the Middle East, Rosenberg is also hard at work on his next project, a historical novel about the Holocaust inspired by a trip he made to Auschwitz in 2011. “It’s a significant break from what I’ve been doing in the past,” he says. “I’m very excited about it, but sobered by it, too.”

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of FamilyFiction Edge digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!


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