By David Dollins
The nation of Iran was called Persia, its Biblical name, until 1935. Persia was one of the former great empires of the world, ruling from 539 B.C. to 331 B.C, until they were conquered by Alexander the Great. Kings such as Cyrus the Great, Darius, Ahasuerus (commonly known as Xerxes), and Artaxerxes ruled this once great empire. Persia was also the setting for the book in the Bible entitled Esther. Ironically, the book of Esther tells how a Jewish girl became the queen of Persia and how God used her to save her people from a plot to destroy them. The book also explains how a special festival, called Purim, was established to remember and celebrate the deliverance that the Jews had experienced. Purim is derived from the Persian word pur, meaning 'lot'. It recalls how Haman, the enemy of the Jews, cast lots to determine the best day to carry out his plan to exterminate them.
It would appear not much has changed in 2,500 years. A 'spirit of Haman' still influences the leaders of Iran in the present day. I quote now from The New York Times (October 27, 2005). "Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be 'wiped off the map'…Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, 'As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map". Don't think it is just Iran's President who believes this. He is only a puppet of the Ayatollahs who actually run the government. Amazingly, Psalm 83:2, 4, is prophetic for our day. It says, "For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you (God) have raised their heads. They say, 'Come, LET US WIPE THEM OUT AS A NATION; let the name of Israel be remembered no more". Iran's leaders, in their hatred of Israel, have become a self-fulfilling prophecy by quoting Psalm 83:4. One day soon, according to the prophet Ezekiel, Iran will experience a 7-fold judgment from God. Its end has been decreed.
Unknown to many, Iran is an important player in the Bible's prophecies of the end of days. It was 2,600 years ago, prior to Persia even becoming a world empire, that the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the future that most every Biblical scholar agrees is speaking of the time period in which we are currently living. Specifically, in Ezekiel 38, there is a list of nations that will come together at the end of days for the express purpose of destroying the nation of Israel. This battle has been traditionally called the 'Gog and Magog' war. Among those nations listed is Turkey, who is identified by multiple ancient place names/locations that existed within that country's current borders (i.e., Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah). Also, Libya is identified. Some Bible translations use the word 'Put', which is simply the Hebrew place name for the area currently occupied by present-day Libya. Finally, Iran has been singled out by its ancient name Persia (Ezekiel 38:5).
This coalition of nations, and the Bible implies many more nations with them, will make an all-out assault on Israel at the end of days with the intention of destroying her. God told Ezekiel that this event would occur in the "latter years" (Ezekiel 38:8). At the last moment it will look like Israel will be wiped out, but God will intervene and Iran and the other nations will suffer a 7-fold judgement from God – a great earthquake, pestilence, bloodshed, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:19-22). To be sure, God will not need Israeli airplanes and troops to get this accomplished. In fact, the context of the Scripture implies that this event occurs when Israel is isolated by the nations, as is happening now, and is vulnerable to attack precisely because they are unable to rely on friends and allies. This is also occurring with each passing day.
When God makes Iran and the other nations an example of His divine judgement, He also reveals His divine purpose. Seven times, God's perfect number, He makes similar statements as the one found in Ezekiel 39:7, "my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel…and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." There you have the reason for God's intervention. God's coming judgement on Iran and the other nations with them will be to reveal Himself, to magnify Himself, to reveal His holiness, to glorify Himself, and to make Himself known in the eyes of many nations – all these phrases found in the Book of Ezekiel. God intervenes on behalf of Israel in order to reveal to the nations that He is God alone, that the prophecies of old that spoke of Him are true, and that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah who came to bring salvation to all of mankind.
Additionally, revival will come to Israel. At the end of Ezekiel 39 it says that God will pour out His Spirit upon the house of Israel. God says, "then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land (prophecy fulfilled May 1948), and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord God" (Ezekiel 39:28-29). According to the Apostle Peter in the New Testament, only Jesus Christ has been given this authority to pour out the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:33, Peter said, in referring to Jesus upon His resurrection, "…being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear". On that day, Jesus Christ will gloriously reveal Himself to Israel and an unbelieving world as the one true Savior, Lord, Messiah, and God!
As it regards the nation of Iran and the other participating nations, they may want to consider the Bible's graphic description of the aftermath of this judgement captured in Ezekiel 39. It says, "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land" (v. 12). Then the Lord, speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel says, "Speak to the birds of every sort and to all the beasts of the field, 'Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth…" (Ezekiel 39:17-18). God says that one day He is going to make a feast out of these fallen armies for all kinds of scavengers. Iran's destiny and end has been decreed. The Persian people need Jesus Christ. They need their eyes to be opened, the same way that King Ahasuerus' eyes were opened because of a young Jewish girl named Esther.