He’s strategized for Rush
Limbaugh, Steve Forbes
and Israeli President
Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s
spoken at the White House
and the International Spy
Museum.
More than a million copies
of his books are in print.

Yet when he began writing his first
novel, The Last Jihad, best-selling
author Joel Rosenberg never had taken
a class on writing. He barely even had
time to read novels during his 10 years
in Washington, D.C., as a communications strategist.
Now his sixth novel, The Twelfth Imam,
is hot off the press and reads like it’s
ripped straight from tomorrow’s
headlines.

“When I wrote my nonfiction
books, part of the story I was tracking
was the end times theology held by the
current leaders of Iran,” Rosenberg says.
“They believe the Islamic Messiah,
known as the Twelfth Imam, is going to
come at any moment and bring about the
end of the world. They are supposed to
help accelerate the end of the world by
destroying Israel and the United States
in the process. I asked myself, ‘What if an
Islamic messiah does come to earth?’
Jesus said that false messiahs would
come, so what would that look like?”

Rosenberg’s main character in the
novel, David Shirazi, is sent into Tehran
to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons
program. Then the prophesied Twelfth
Imam appears performing signs,
miracles, and healings. Iran prepares to
strike Israel, and Shirazi has to save his
country and the world.

It’s no accident Joel’s novels resemble
current events, but it’s important to him
to remain biblically accurate while still
telling a compelling story. “I think about
that a lot,” Rosenberg says. “It doesn’t
come naturally. People can say, ‘Just
make it up. It doesn’t really matter.’ But
it matters to me, because the premise [in
all my books] is: What if the actual Bible
prophecies come true? I don’t want to
cobble together what seems fun from the
Bible and make a commercial story out of
it. That’s not what I’m trying to do.”

Yet in the first pages of Rosenberg’s
novel The Last Jihad he described a
terrorist attack on a major U.S. city using
a hijacked airliner. This intrigued the
national media—Rosenberg wrote the
novel nine months before Sept. 11—and
he was catapulted onto more than 160
radio and TV shows.

Eventually he caught the eye of Tyndale
House. “Everyone on pub committee went
crazy over his writing,” says Ron Beers,
Tyndale’s senior vice president and group
publisher. “Joel is not only an extremely
talented writer, but he has an uncanny
ability to write fiction that seems to coincide perfectly with events occurring in the
season the book launches.”

Rosenberg is quick to point out he
doesn’t claim to be a a prophet. “I’m
writing about things God already has
said in His scriptures will happen in the
future, and I’m trying to imagine from my
limited vantage
point how we might
get there.”

Through his
books Rosenberg
hopes to encourage
people to ask the
most important
questions of all:
“What if we’re
getting closer to the
coming of Jesus?
How do I live my
life differently be-
cause of that? That is
my main goal—not to
persuade people that something’s going to
happen in a certain order, but to ask people: ‘Given what we’re seeing, how should
we live differently’?” FF

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About The Author

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.