And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.(Daniel 10:19-21)
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.(Revelation 16:12-14)
The Persians are heirs of one of the great world civilizations. Mighty kings and rulers such as Cyrus the great, Darius, Xerxes once ruled a vast empire, from India to Ethiopia and including the land of Israel. Daniel predicted that the Persians would be the second of four pagan world empires to rule over the chosen people, and lived to see the day that Persia overcame Babylon to rule the known world.
The Persian conquerors were benevolent towards the Jews, releasing them from captivity in Babylon, sending any who would go, back to their land, financing the rebuilding of the temple, and of Jerusalem as Isaiah had foretold hundreds of years beforehand, even naming the Persian King who would do so, ie Cyrus.
That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.(Isaiah 44:26-28)
Persia would eventually fall to the Greek empire, led by Alexander the great, as Daniel predicted and would be ruled by his successors for about a hundred years.
Persia eventually threw off the Greek rulers, and remained independent and resistant to the Roman Empire which followed. Persian culture developed over the centuries, around the religion of Zoroaster.
For our purposes, we pass over Persian history to the Islamic conquest of the entire Euphrates basin, in 636 AD. The ancient civilizations of Persia and Mesopotamia (Iraq) have both been embalmed and buried in an Islamic grave since that time. Strict religious subjugation of these ancient people have been the rule to this day.
It is important to note at this point that Persia adopted the Shiite version of Islam, as opposed to the Sunni version that most of the Arab muslim world subscribes to. This significant rift within Islam stems from the death of Mohammed, and the debate about who should be his successor.
However for a brief time in the recent past, Persia underwent a brief “westernization” process, as a result of being with the allies in World War II . Shortly before the War, Persia was renamed Iran, to emphasize her Aryan identity. After the war, the US was allowed to work with Iran to develop their oil industry.
When the Shah of Iran began an aggressive modernization campaign, in the 1960’s -70’s, the Mullah’s (Shiite Clergy) revolted. One of the most vocal critics of the Shah’s secularizing and democratic reforms was an exiled Iranian cleric, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His use of cassette sermons ,which smuggled into Iran in the hundreds of thousands radicalized and inflamed the Iranian population against the Shah.
Furthermore, the US president Jimmy Carter, for whom the centerpiece of his foreign policy was human rights, could not countenance the Shah’s violent suppression of the increasing revolt. As reports of “human rights ” abuses poured out of Iran, the Carter administration distanced itself further from the Shah, until in 1979, the Shah and his family fled Iran.
When the Ayatollah Khomeini emerged from exile,landing in Tehran, hundreds of thousands of fanatical Shiites thronged to get a glimpse of the man who had come to lead the world’s first modern Islamist revolution.
Iran was plunged into a Shiite, theocratic nightmare from which she has not yet recovered. Sharia law has been written into a new Iranian constitution, and human rights abuses that Carter couldn’t have fathomed have become commonplace in Iran.Millions of Persians have been arrested tortured and died at the hands of the Islamic revolution.
This one time advanced, western-friendly nation in the middle east has become the inveterate enemy of the US and of Israel, and exporter of global terror, and the model for the radical Islamist movement around the globe. The blood that is on the Mullah’s hands since 1979 cries out against them.
It is as though an evil Spirit has animated and taken possession of this ancient nation. Everywhere in Iran, almost over night, the frowning face of Khomeini glowered from bill boards, placards and signs. Religious police squads appeared on the streets, rebuking admonishing, even beating and arresting any who seemed to “western” or any females unaccompanied by relatives or improperly clothed. Women who recently had been dressed and made up in up to date fashion, were now entombed in the ever-present black chador.
Indeed there is an evil Spirit, a fallen “Prince” the Prince of Persia described in Daniel chapter ten. Since 1979 this evil spirit seems to have been released into Iran and has been given free rein to suppress Iran, crush any dissenters, and to entomb the once modern nation in a rabid expression of Islam, making Iran a base for the violent expansion of Islam through terror.
Iran’s leaders routinely vow to “wipe out Israel” and to destroy the “great Satan”, as they arm themselves with nuclear weapons in spite of western objections. The Iranian president Ahmadinejad literally believes he is in communication with the 12th Imam, the Mahdi, who lives in the bottom of a well and will emerge for the apocalypse of the last day. Here from an article by Charles Krauthammer, Is Iran Arming For Armageddon?
Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam has its own version of the messianic return — the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which houses a well from which, some believe, he will emerge.
When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential elections, he immediately gave $17 million of government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam.
An aspect of the way God will judge the nations, is by removing their right minds from them, we are told in the second Psalm, that the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing. Iran is a prime example that truly “evil spirits” are driving the nations of the world towards Armageddon.
Pray for the people of Iran, many of whom would love to be able to receive the salvation that is in Jesus. Even in Judgment God shows mercy.
On a recent trip to the UK in three separate cities I met lovely Persian young people who had all testified of dreams and visions that eventually led them to the gospel message of the grace of God and eternal life in Christ.