Mideast 'Sideshows' a Distraction from Real Threat?

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JERUSALEM, Israel - President Obama is once again embarking on a plan to build bridges between the U.S. and the Middle East.

The death of Osama bin Laden and the so-called "Arab-Spring" revolutions taking place in the Middle East will likely be the primary focus of this new outreach.
But Middle East expert and author Joel Rosenberg said these events may be distracting attention from Iran, the region's main threat.

"The worst case scenario facing Israel right now is the U.S. administration and the European Union and NATO are all so distracted by all the wars and rumors of wars and uprisings - very Matthew 24esque - that their eyes are off of Iran," Rosenberg told CBN News.

"Iran is the strategic mortal threat to Israel at this point," he said.
Rosenberg told CBN News that while bin Laden's death is useful for Israel and the U.S. -- it's not a game-changer.

"The leadership in Iran and their feverish pursuit of nuclear weapons is the issue in the Middle East, bar none," he reiterated.

"Everything else is important, but in essence they're sideshow struggles to the main event  -- and yet the sideshows are sucking up all the political bandwidth in Washington and Brussels and elsewhere," Rosenberg said.

Iranian leaders could be using those sideshows to their own benefit. 

CBN News recently reported on a secret video produced in Iran that predicts the revolutions will eventually lead to the appearance of the "Mahdi," or Islamic messiah.

At his Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem, Rosenberg called the Iranian version of the end of the world a "photographic negative" of biblical eschatology.

"In their case, they believe that to hasten the coming of the 12th Imam, the Messiah, you have to kill millions and millions and millions of people, obliterate Israel and then obliterate, annihilate the United States, and then the end shall come," he explained.

In contrast, "Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 24:14 this gospel of the kingdom -- this good news that everyone can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ -- shall be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come," Rosenberg said.

According to Rosenberg, the situation in the Middle East may signal tough times ahead for the state of Israel.

"My sense of things at this point is that things are going to get worse for Israel," he told CBN News. "I don't see good coming out at this stage from what we've just seen in Egypt."

"Egypt's making very dangerous moves towards Iran, when they have been at odds towards Hamas, as Hamas builds this alliance now with the Fatah, which is a disaster for the peace process," he said.

Referencing the book of Joel - Rosenberg admonished Christians to be aware of the times in which we live.

"Joel's message from the Lord is very simple and direct. The day of the Lord is coming, surely it is near. And the question is: Are we getting ourselves ready for the day of the Lord?" Rosenberg said.

"These big judgments and traumas prophetically are coming," he added. "We can't stop those."

"All we can do is to make sure everyone from Tel Aviv to Tehran has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and been able to make a decision one way or another - either for Jesus or against him," he said.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Bureau

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