Monday, August 18, 2008
Epicenter - the DVD
I don't know why I didn't mention this sooner. This was excellent. Of course, I read the book first, but the interviews are awesome. Benjamin Netanyahu is an impressive man. Others were compelling to watch as well.
They are saying we don't have much time, and that an attack by radical Islamists is eminent. They are also saying that the West is asleep and that waking up people in the West may be impossible, or too late.
The documentary also shows that we are indeed living in the last days.
Here are a couple of reviews that I found on Amazon:
The DVD makes a nice companion to the book for the person who has already read the book and/or is already convinced of Joel's argument ahead of time. The DVD alone is not a very convincing piece and would not make a useful tool for broaching the topic of Bible prophecy with non-believing friends and acquaintances (which is disappointing because this is the primary reason many people were looking forward to this DVD).
Primarily, it is too short (58 minutes) to properly build its case, and apparently in making it so short Joel decided to focus on clips of interviews with people he mentions in his book, and does not provide a proper background and platform on which to build his case for accepting Ezekiel 38/39 as talking about a near-future war. By focusing on this one passage, it also lacks any attempt at providing a basis for why the Bible should be used as a 'third lens' through which to view history. One can say we should all one wants but if one doesn't provide reasons why, it's not very convincing. It never discusses the rest of the Bible, such as its overall purpose as the Word of God to mankind and what its real significance is for our lives. Without first establishing this, and the historical and archeological support for its veracity, there is little to no reason why a skeptic would bother to consider what Joel says.
Joel's Epicenter book does a slightly better job of building Joel's case and talks a little more about Scripture and the seemingly prescient writings in Joel's previous books, where as the DVD is more just a way to put faces and voices to the names and quotes in his book without ever really building a case for what Joel believes about Ezekiel 38/39.
The main feature of the DVD runs 58 minutes. At around 15 minutes into this (thus with about 43 minutes remaining) the voiceover says "for the next hour...". This immediately loses a lot of credibility with the audience, especially if you are hoping to use this as an evangelistic or discussion-broaching tool and thus is viewed by a hostile audience who will be looking for errors and reasons to ignore the argument Joel makes. Exaggeration of something as basic as the runtime only sets the stage for the skeptic to then suspect exaggeration in the documentary content itself.
Another very basic error is the showing of a clip of an approaching F/A-18 Hornet aircraft mixed in with footage supposedly of the '67 war. This plane was not even built during the 1960s, nor has it ever been owned or operated by any of the nations involved in that conflict. Its maiden flight was in 1978; it entered US service in 1983, and is now also flown only in limited numbers by Spain and Australia. This type of factual carelessness (or ignorance) also takes away from the credibility of the film for the discerning viewer.
Because of these items, it's very tough to rate this more than 3 stars. In comparison, I'd give the book a 4 because it contained some useful information, built a slightly better case for Joel's belief about Ezekiel 38/39, and was an entertaining read.
My rating is based on those facts.
Epicenter is a wonderfully done documentary about how Jerusalem is the epicenter of Israel, which is the epicenter of the Middle East, which is the epicenter of the world. The interviewees, including Greg Laurie and Benjamin Netanyahu, are well-known and credible. I especially was inspired by an Iranian minister's interview. The bottom line of this documentary is that we ARE living in the "end times", as we see in the news that Iran wants to wipe out Israel and Russia allies with Iran. Bible prophecies ARE coming true and we are living to see them. My favorite part of the dvd is the "special features", which include footage of the full length interviews. For those wanting to be in the know about how the end times are unfolding, this is an excellent resource.
This video is a trailer for the DVD.