The Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83 Prophecies/Part 10

By: John G Weldon, PhD; ©2011
Iran is clearly the most significant danger faced by modern Israel (as well as America and the world) and some experts see Iran’s nuclearization as imminent.

Table of Contents

The Ezekiel 38/Psalm 83 Prophecies: Russia, Iran and Muslim Nations in Biblical Prophecy

Iran in the Bible and Biblical prophecy

Iran is clearly the most significant danger faced by modern Israel (as well as America and the world) and some experts see Iran’s nuclearization as imminent. In Israel under Fire Drs. Jimmy DeYoung and John Ankerberg discuss their two-week research trip to Israel to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2008. They interviewed leading politicians, military experts and religious leaders: “All through our 21 interviews, we were consistently and firmly told that Iran is a major threat against Israel.”[1]

We have already seen that as part of a confederacy of nations, Iran will take part in the upcoming battle of Gog and Magog in order to destroy Israel. There is no doubt that the current Iranian regime would certainly love such an endeavor to once and for all annihilate Israel. It fits perfectly with their preferred eschatology.

Nevertheless, what is not widely known is the significance of Iran in the Bible.[2]

Iran historically (Elam, Persia) has had a lengthy and noteworthy role in world affairs, and it is also important in the Bible (Esther, Daniel), and in Bible prophecy. Historically, the geographical region of Iran has played a major role in Mideast affairs through the Elamites, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, and the Medo-Persian Empire.

Many are familiar with the impressive Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great. The Persian Empire was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world, dominating the Ancient Near East from 539-331 BC. It defeated and replaced the great Babylonian Empire of Kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. But less well known is its biblical significance. The book of Daniel records the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire, which set the stage for the return of the Jews back to Israel from their 70-year captivity, and the rebuilding of the Temple destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar. It was Cyrus the Persian who issued the decree for rebuilding the Temple that we read about in Ezra under Zerubbabel’s leadership. Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah all led groups of people back to Israel from around 538-433 BC.

Thus, when we read the Old Testament books of Esther, Ezra, and Daniel, we are often reading about how God used the Persian Empire (e.g., Iran) to both judge and even bless His people Israel:

“When Cyrus the Great (reigned 550-529BC) established the Persian Empire, he made Shushan its capital. Darius the Great (ruled about 521-486 BC) also built his magnificent royal palace in Sushan. This palace, later occupied by Artaxerxes II (404-359BC), figured prominently in the biblical story of Esther. It was also in the city of Shushan that the prophet Daniel had his vision of the ram and the goat (Daniel 8:2) and where Nehemiah lived in exile. According to a tradition of the Shiite Muslims, the present-day village of Shush (ancient Shushan) is the site of the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Daniel.”[3]

The Persian King Cyrus II is one of the most celebrated kings of human history. He is the one who founded the great Persian Empire, which, as the book of Esther records (under King Darius) extended from India to Ethiopia, an Empire 3,000 miles long and on average 1000 miles wide. Again, it was King Cyrus who, under divine leading, permitted the Jews to return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity and to rebuild their Temple, as recorded in Ezra. The Kings own decree is recorded:

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you — may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.'” (Ezra 1:1-4; cf. 2 Chronicles 33:22-23).

In a similar fashion, the Persian King Darius I ordered that the temple at Jerusalem be rebuilt after the work on it had been stopped for 14 years (Ezra 4:24; 6:1)

Read Part 11

Notes

  1. John Ankerberg, Jimmy DeYoung with Dillon Burroughs, Israel under Fire, 53.
  2. Much of the information below is taken from Darrell G. Young, “Iran in Bible Prophecy: The Prince of Persia,” October, 2004; http://focusonjerusalem.com/iraninbibleprophecy.html.
  3. Darrell G. Young, “Iran in Bible Prophecy: The Prince of Persia,” October, 2004; http://focusonjerusalem.com/iraninbibleprophecy.html.

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