By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Throughout the world, many are focused on the nation of Iran.
What does the Bible say about this nation?
In this article, we are going to carefully examine one of the prophecies of Jeremiah, in which he directly talks about Iran.
Jeremiah 49:34-39-34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
35 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might.
36 Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.
37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies And before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them, My fierce anger,’ says the LORD; ‘And I will send the sword after them Until I have consumed them.
38 I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.
39 ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
As we examine this prophecy, let’s notice five facts about it.
The Place Of The Prophecy
The prophecy deals specifically with a place called “Elam.”
Jeremiah 49:34-The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
Where exactly is “Elam?”
The name “Elam” actually describes the people who inhabit the land known today as Iran. This country has had several names through the ages, including “Elam” and “Persia.”
“Elam was an important state in southwestern Iran from the third millennium BC to the appearance of the Persian Empire and beyond. Less well-known than its neighbours in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant or Egypt, it was nonetheless a region of extraordinary cultural vitality….All too often we take for granted the identity and ethnicity of the archaeological and historical cultures which we study, without considering whether discrepancies exist between our definitions and the self-definitions of the peoples being studied. In the case of Elam, it is now clear that we are dealing with a notion imposed by Mesopotamian scribes, not one which had any basis in indigenous notions of ethnic and linguistic self-definition. Diverse groups in southwestern Iran were subsumed under this foreign label, but at a certain point the label was adopted for it clearly served a purpose in a different context of self-definition. Elam is both a name and a concept. How these changed through time will be explored in the chapters which follow.” (D.T. Potts, The Archaeology Of Elam: Formation And Transformation Of An Ancient Iranian State, 1, 12 (Kindle Edition); Cambridge World Archaeology)
Throughout the Old Testament, Elam/Persia/Iran had a varied and diverse background.
“Elam was an ancient center of civilization, two hundred miles east of Babylon in what would be the southwest part of modern Iran. It was conquered by the Assyrians under Ashurbanapal, ca. 640 B.C. but regained its independence with Assyria’s collapse. It joined forces with Nabopolassar to destroy Nineveh in 612 B.C. The Babylonian Chronicle seems to indicate there was a conflict between Nebuchadnezzar and Elam, 596–594. In 539 the Elamites helped overthrow the Babylonian Empire. 49:34 The message given to Jeremiah against the Elamites is dated as “early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.”47 Most scholars equate the phrase with the accession year of Zedekiah, 597, but it could have been several years later, perhaps 594. It seems unusual that Jeremiah would announce judgment on a people so remote from Judah with no actual contact with Judah; however, Jeremiah was a prophet to the nations (1:10). Perhaps Elam was included as a reminder of the sovereignty of God over all nations. God as the avenger is more prominent in the judgment message against Elam than in the other judgment oracles in chap. 49 (notice the frequent use of “I”). 49:35–38 The Elamites were famed as bowmen, but that major source of their military power would be broken (cf. Isa 22:6; Hos 1:4–5). Ammon depended on Molech and its riches (49:3–4). Edom depended on wisdom and its inaccessible location (49:7,16). Damascus depended on its fame (49:25). Kedar depended on its remoteness (49:31) and Elam on its bow, but all of them failed. The fate of those nations is a solemn reminder that dependence on human resources rather than on God will always fail (see 9:23–24).” (F.B. Huey, Jr., The New American Commentary: An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture-Volume 16-Jeremiah & Lamentations, 406-407 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)
It makes sense why Jeremiah would address Elam at this time since the Elamites had periodically joined forces with Babylon, and no doubt had often made themselves an enemy of Judah as well.
The Period Of The Prophecy
The text tells us that these events will take place in “the latter days.”
Jeremiah 49:39-‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
When exactly are “the latter days?”
When we study the phrase “latter days” throughout the Bible, we see that this phrase can have several different meanings, depending on the context.
End Of A Person’s Life.
Job 42:12-Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.
Proverbs 19:20-Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
Numbers 24:14-And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”
End Of A Nation’s Economy And Government
There are times when the phrase “latter days” may have reference to the end of a nation’s economy and political infrastructure.
This is made clear from the words of Moses to the people of Israel. In describing how they would one day be punished for their wickedness, Moses prophecies about their repentance and how they would return to the Lord and be returned to their land. Moses describes this as taking place during “the latter days.”
Deuteronomy 4:30-When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice.
Deuteronomy 31:29-For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”
Now, when did this happen? The Bible shows us that when the Hebrews would thus repent in the “latter years,” it would be during a time when they returned to the Lord while under the Old Testament Law:
Deuteronomy 30:1-3-1 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you,
2 and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,
3 that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
Now, why is this relevant? The Old Testament Law was taken away when Jesus died on the cross and was replaced by the New Law (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 26:28; Romans 7:4; Galatians 3:24-25; Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8-9).
Since the timeframe that Moses describes as the “latter days” would include the idea that the Jews would still be under the Old Testament; and since the Old Testament was abolished when Jesus died on the cross; then it follows that the “latter days” that Moses prophesied of was a time prior to the death of Jesus on the cross.
Indeed, these prophesies were brought to fruition when the people of Israel repented of their sins for which they were taken captive (2 Kings 17; 24-25; Ezra; Nehemiah).
“When a prophecy is projected for fulfillment to the latter days it must refer to a specific historical framework of space and time. Otherwise, the prophecy is left suspended to an indefinite future time period and obviates any reason for mentioning the time element. Thus, we should ask, The latter days of what? Through an examination of the scriptural employment of the term “latter days” and its coordinate terms, we come to view this particular prophetic time element as the time of the end of a nation’s economy, and in particular, a reference to the end of the economy of the nation of Israel, whose theocratic relationship to God ended at the cross, but whose national economy continued until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70….What would happen? Evil would befall Israel. The evil pronounced by Moses that they would be destroyed, they would perish from off the land of their possession, that Jehovah would scatter them among the nations to be their captives (cf. Deuteronomy 4: 25-28; 28: 63-64; Leviticus 26: 31-33). This was fulfilled in the Assyrian (c. 722-21 B.C.) and Babylonian (606-536 B.C.) captivities (as discussed in the Historical Division). Why would it happen? Israel would corrupt themselves and provoke God to anger by the work of their hands. This was through the great sin of idolatry (cf. Deuteronomy 4: 25; Jeremiah 8: 19, 11: 17, 25: 7, 32: 30). How would Israel corrupt herself? By turning aside from the way which Moses had commanded them, which was the covenant law given at Sinai, the law of Moses, and turn to idolatry. When would it happen? “In the latter days.” The evil had to come upon them while yet under the law of Moses, for the “evil” was the result of turning aside from that law. This was hundreds of years prior to the time of Christ. The evil had to come upon Israel prior to 536 B.C., for the evil was the result of her idolatry, for which cause God sent her away into Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, during which time she was forever cured of the sin of idolatry. Therefore, since the evil was to befall Israel in the latter days, and since that evil befell Israel in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, then the latter days of this prophecy were during the captivity of Israel (722-536 B.C.)….Where would Israel be? In tribulation, in captivity, scattered among the nations where Jehovah had driven them, as described in the preceding verses (26-29). What would Israel do? Return to Jehovah. How would Israel return to Jehovah? By hearkening to his voice, by returning to the law of Moses as a precondition to returning to the land from their captivity (Deuteronomy 30: 1-2). When would Israel return to Jehovah? “In the latter days.” But the return to Jehovah had to be while Israel was still under the law of Moses, for Israel would “return to Jehovah” by obeying the Lord’s voice according to all that Moses had commanded them (Deuteronomy 30: 1-2). Therefore: Since Israel was to return to Jehovah in the latter days, and since that return was a precondition to return to the land, and since Israel returned to the land in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1: 1 ff), then the “latter days” of this prophecy preceded the year 536 B.C..” (Edward Wharton, Christ And The Church: The Fulfillment Of Purpose And Prophecy, 2013-2076 (Kindle Edition); Lubbock, TX; Sunset Institute Press)
The Christian Age
There are times when the phrase “latter days” is used to refer to the very last dispensation of time, before the end of the world:
Isaiah 2:2-Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
This phrase is used several times in this sense in the Book of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 23:20-The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
Jeremiah 30:24-The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, And until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.
Jeremiah 48:47-“Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab In the latter days,” says the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Jeremiah 49:39-But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
See also: Ezekiel 38:8, 16; Daniel 2:28; 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1).
It is also helpful to remember that the phrase “latter days” is the same as “last days.”
Genesis 49:1-And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:
Now, WHEN are the “latter days” or the “last days” that Jeremiah here prophesied?
The Apostle Peter quotes from Joel 2 and declares:
Acts 2:16-17-16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS.
Notice that the last days were beginning when Peter was preaching there on Pentecost.
2 Timothy 3:1-1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
Hebrews 1:1-2-1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
Throughout the New Testament, we see that the phrase “last days” has reference to the entire Christian Age and Dispensation. This is made especially clear in Paul’s Epistle to Timothy and Peter’s Epistle to the brethren of the dispersion. For example, in describing certain types of people who will be present during the “last days,” Paul then tells Timothy to stay away from such individuals (2 Timothy 3:5). Obviously, in order for Timothy to be turning away from people who would be present in the last days, then Timothy would have to be living during the last days for this to happen! Indeed, the Greek of this passage is even more clear regarding the subject:
“Although Paul speaks of these “last days” (v. 1) with future tense verbs (vv. 1, 9), this is a future in which Timothy is already involved, since the passage is applied to him in his present situation (note the second person singular present tense imperatives in vv. 1 and 5) and since the activity of the false teachers is depicted as already occurring (in the present tense verb forms in vv. 6-8)….eaxataL; ilµeeaLc,** “last days,” is used here as elsewhere in the NT (Acts 2:17; Jas. 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:3; cf. Heb. 1:2; cf. further iv voteeotg xa.Leois in 1 Tim. 4:1 and the discussion there) to refer to the time of the Messiah, that last period of days before the final messianic action takes place. The concept and language are taken over from the OT (cf. Acts 2:17, quoting Joel 3:1; cf. further Is. 2:2). Here, as in 1 Jn. 2:18, where eaxati wea is used, the phrase does not designate some yet-to-come period of days. Rather, Paul is reminding Timothy that the Christian community is living in the “last days,” and, because that is true, he must come to grips with what characterizes those “days.” (George W. Knight III, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Pastoral Epistles, 7187-7196 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
In the same way, Peter warns how scoffers will arise in “the last days” (2 Peter 3:3), and that the brethren to whom Peter is writing must therefore be prepared for such persecution (2 Peter 3). This goes again to demonstrate to us that the phrase “the last days,” as used in the Bible, has reference to the Christian Age.
Therefore this prophecy of Jeremiah regarding Elam would take place and be fulfilled sometime during the Christian Age.
The People Of The Prophecy
The text declares that during the Christian Age, the people of Iran would be scattered all over the Earth.
Jeremiah 49:36-Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them toward all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.
Did the events here described take place during the time of Nebuchadnezzar? Renowned scholars Keil and Delitzsch write:
“If we compare this prophecy with the remaining prophecies of Jeremiah regarding the heathen nations, we shall find that it contains no reference whatever to any execution by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon of the judgment with which the Elamites are threatened…History says nothing of a war waged by Nebuchadnezzar on Elam, nor does this prophecy furnish any support for such an assumption.”
Well, has there been a time when the people of Elam have been “scattered” over the face of the Earth?
Amazingly, this appears to have been fulfilled in our very day and age:
“”Allow me to draw out several key points from this passage: Verse 39 tells us that these events are going to happen in “the last days.” The passage tells us that God will scatter the people of Iran all over the earth (verse 36). This actually happened during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. For the first time in history, Iranians were scattered all over the globe. Today, an estimated five million Iranians live outside their home country. God says he is going to “break” the current structure of Iran (verse 35). God says he will “shatter Elam [Iran] before their enemies” (verse 37). God says he will bring his “fierce anger” against the leaders of Iran (verse 37). God says, “I will send out the sword after them until I have consumed them” (verse 37). God says he will “destroy” Iran’s “king and princes” (verse 38). Despite all this terrible judgment, God specifically promises to “set My throne in Elam”—that is, be the God and King of the people of Iran (verse 38). God also promises to “restore the fortunes of Elam” (verse 39)….That may be the case. I, however, lean more toward the view held by many Iranian Christians who believe that God means he will bless the people of Iran spiritually. In some ways, this has already begun. In 1979, there were only about five hundred known Shia Muslim converts to Christianity in all of Iran. Today, all the Iranian Christian leaders I have interviewed (more than forty) say there are more than one million Shia converts to Christianity in Iran. Iranian followers of Jesus Christ believe that as we get closer to the second coming of Christ, God is going to pour out his love and forgiveness and his Holy Spirit on the people of Iran in an even more dramatic way, opening the eyes and hearts of even more Muslims and helping them to see clearly that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world and that only through faith in him can they know and experience God’s love and plan for their lives. They also believe that Iran will soon become a “sending country,” a base camp, as it were, from which thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of Iranian followers of Christ will fan out throughout the epicenter, preaching the gospel, making disciples, and planting churches in the last days.” (Joel Rosenberg, Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran, (1203-1222 (Kindle Edition); Tyndale House Publishers)
The Powers Of The Prophecy
Another part of this prophesy deals with the subject of God judging the wicked leaders of Elam and Iran during the Christian Age, as well as on its’ military.
Jeremiah 49:35-“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, The foremost of their might.
Jeremiah 49:38-I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.
Certainly throughout time, the Iranian leaders have often proven themselves to be exceedingly wicked. In fact, the wickedness of these leaders should be a serious concern to Americans today due in large part to the Islamic beliefs of many of its’ leaders, and especially their focus on one person in particular: the Mahdi.
Interesting Facts About Islam
The “prophet” Muhammad began to receive “revelations” in about the year 606 A.D. The most accurate account of his experience goes like this:
“When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command of God. “He came to me,” said the Apostle of God, “while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said `Read!’ I said, `What shall I read?’ He pressed me with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said `Read!’ I said, `What then shall I read?’ -and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said: `Read in the name of thy Lord who created, who created man of blood coagulated. Read! Thy Lord is the most beneficent, Who taught by the pen, Taught that which they knew not unto men’ [96:1-5]. So I read it, and he departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it was as though these words were written on my heart.”‘ (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, The Life of Muhammad, trans. A. Guillaume laume (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 106).
Perhaps one of the most striking circumstances of this encounter come from the realization that Muhammad for quite some believed that this encounter was demonic in origin.
“One of the most widely respected modern Muslim biographer, Muhammad Husayn Haykal, speaks vividly of Muhammad’s plaguing fear that he was demon possessed: Stricken with panic, Muhammad arose and asked himself, ‘What did I see? Did possession of the devil which I feared all along come to pass?’ Muhammad looked to his right and his left but saw nothing. For a while he stood there trembling with fear and stricken with awe. He feared the cave might be haunted and that he might run away still unable to explain what he saw. [74, emphasis added] Haykal notes that Muhammad had feared demon possession before, but his wife Khadijah talked him out of it. For “as she did on earlier occasions when Muhammad feared possession by the devil, so now stood firm by her husband and devoid of the slightest doubt.” Thus “respectfully, indeed reverently, she said to him, ‘Joy to my cousin! Be firm. By him who dominates Khadijah’s soul I pray and hope that you will be the Prophet of this nation. By God, he will not let you down’” (ibid., 75). Indeed, Haykal’s description of Muhammad’s experience of receiving a “revelation” fits that of other mediums.”. (Norman Geisel, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 505 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
Two former Muslims, being well acquainted with the occult nature of Muhammad, have documented:
“Muhammad was deathly afraid of the source of the revelation, believing at first that he was possessed by an evil spirit, or jinn…Muhammad’s call was finally confirmed after obsessive soul-searching. searching. Given his mental state, the obvious question arises as to whether that call can be trusted. Remember that the tortured prophet repeatedly believed himself to be demon possessed….Third, later revelations became more and more eccentric. At one point Muhammad claimed to speak to the dead. Questioned about the incident by his novice disciples, the prophet replied, “[The dead] hear me no less than you do, except that they are unable to answer me.” Muhammad not only claimed to communicate municate with the dead; he prayed for the dead at the cemetery of Baqi al Gharqad. Muslim scholars do not explain away this phenomenon. Rather, they believe that he was a psychic, endowed with heightened perception and sensitivity. One commentator says that communication between the living and the dead is an “indubitable fact.”s Muhammad oscillated between revelations from Satan and Allah. The most famous of these visions resulted in the so-called “Satanic Verses.” Muhammad revealed to his followers the words of Allah: Did you consider al-hat and al-Uzza And al-Manat, the third, the other? Those are the swans exalted; Their intercession is expected; Their likes are not neglected.6 This revelation, commanding them to allow intercession to certain idols, shocked Muhammad’s disciples. Recognizing the theological logical discrepancy and the concession to paganism, Muhammad withdrew his revelation, explaining that Satan had deceived him into writing the verses. The angel Gabriel came to the prophet and declared, “God cancels what Satan interjects.” As expected, Muhammad quickly received a substitute revelation that canceled the last three lines (verses).” (Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look At Muslim Life And Beliefs, 313-345 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Krueger Publications)
At this point, Muhammad was commissioned by Allah to preach Islam to his surrounding neighbors. Later, as he failed to procure many converts, he was authorized by Allah to begin preparing for “jihad,” or “holy war.” The Islamic concept of “jihad” carries several ideas, but included within is the ideal of killing those who refuse to convert to Islam.
Sura 2:19-“Slay the unbeliever wherever you find them.”
Sura 3:28-Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.”
Sura 3:85-“Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.”
Sura 5:33-Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam.”
Sura 8:12-Terrorize and behead those who believe in Scriptures than the Koran.
Sura 8:60-Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.
Sura 8:65-The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.
Sura 9:5-When opportunity arises kill the infidels wherever you find them.
Sura 9:30-The Jews and Christians are perverts, fight them.
Sura 9:123-Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.
Sura 22:19-Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water, and melt their skin and bellies.
Sura 24:4-Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.
These verses could easily be multiplied nearly a dozen times over. The point is, Islam authorizes its’ followers to practice jihad.
What rewards are promised to those who are willing to give their lives in jihad?
“Sexual enticements play an integral element in recruiting Jihadists. The late author and journalist Muhammad Galal Al-Kushk wrote; “The men in Paradise have sexual relations not only with the women who come from this world and with ‘the black-eyed,’ but also with the serving boys.” According to Kurum, Al-Kushk also stated, “In Paradise, a believer’s penis is eternally erect.” 69” (Walid Shoebat with Joel Richardson, God’s War On Terror: Islam, Prophecy, And The Bible-A fresh understanding of Biblical prophecy from an Eastern perspective as viewed by an ex-Muslim terrorist, 2123 (Kindle Edition))
One of the most common forms of jihad in Islam is waging war through deception. Former professor of Islamic theology Mark Gabriel explains:
“Philosopher Ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328) wrote a book titled The Sword on the Neck of the Accuser of Muhammad. In it he described how Muslims should live in the weakened stage. Believers when in a weakened stage in a non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book [i.e., Jews and Christians] when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and religion. i In other words, it’s OK to lie to non-Muslims to protect yourself when you are a minority in their country. There’s a simple Islamic proverb that says, “If you can’t cut your enemies’ hand, kiss it.”2 This is clear in the prophet Muhammad’s life and his teaching in Mecca and after. The peaceful lamb of Mecca, after immigrating to Medina, became a roaring lion that threatened the whole Arabian Desert….The first time that the prophet Muhammad permitted denying Islam or him as a prophet was with Amar Ben Yasser.3 Yasser, who was one of Muhammad’s friends, was captured and held hostage by the tribe of Quraysh. The tribe tortured Yasser, so he denied Muhammad and Islam to gain freedom. As soon as they set him free, he went back to Muhammad and confessed what had happened. Prophet Muhammad told Yasser that if that ever happened to him again he should do exactly what he did with no shame. At a different time, the prophet Muhammad heard that one of his enemies (Sha’ban Bin Khalid Al-Hindi) was preparing his troops to fight the Muslims. Muhammad sent Abdullah bin Anis Aljohani to assassinate this enemy. Aljohani asked the prophet Muhammad to describe the man that he was supposed to kill. Muhammad told him to go and join the enemies’ troops, curse Islam and Muhammad, and that he would find Al-Hindi that way. Prophet Muhammad’s messenger went to the enemies’ camp. When he identified the leader, he struck up a conversation and cursed Muhammad and his people. To make a long story short, Aljohani was able to build a close enough relationship with his victim to cut off his head when he was sleeping. He brought the head to the prophet. We see here that the prophet Muhammad’s messenger used lying-denying the faith and cursing prophet Muhammad-in order to accomplish his mission.4” (Mark A. Gabriel, Ph. D., Islam And Terrorism: What The Quran Really Teaches About Christianity, Violence, And The Goals of The Islamic Jihad, 792-821 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; Frontline)
In fact, there are two important Muslim words that describe in detail the tenants of deception in Islam:
“TRUTH Kithman is a command to deliberately conceal one’s beliefs. Primarily practiced by the minority Shi’a Muslims, this doctrine is articulated by Imam Jafar Sadiq, the sixth imam of Shi’a Islam: One who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us. 2 You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honor him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him. 3 So Shi’a Muslims are commanded to hide what they truly believe in order to mislead outsiders as to the true nature of their religion…There is essentially no difference between the doctrine of kithman and the doctrine of taqiya. Taqiya is defined by one Shi’a Muslim commentator thusly: The word “al-Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/ or strategies at a time of imminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/ or mental injury.” A one-word translation would be “Dissimulation.” 4…The doctrines of kithman and taqiya are often said to be strictly Shi’a doctrines, and Sunni Muslims deny that either doctrine is part of their tradition. Unfortunately, this is merely another deception. Next, we will run through some of the Sunni traditions that prove the universal application of taqiya within Islam….As long as a Muslim lives in a country where Islam exists as a minority, in “a weakened state,” then deceptiveness is allowed. When challenged by non-Muslims to blaspheme Allah, they “went along with them.” The nonbelievers arrested ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir and tortured him until he uttered foul words about the Prophet [Muhammad], and praised their gods and idols; and when they released him, he went straight to the Prophet. The Prophet said: “Is there something on your mind?” ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir said: “Bad news! They would not release me until I defamed you and praised their gods!” The Prophet said: “How do you find your heart to be?” ‘Ammar answered: “Comfortable with faith.” So the Prophet said: “Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again.” Allah at that moment revealed the verse: “… except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith…” 6 (Surah 16: 106) So Muhammad actually encouraged Muslims to lie and blaspheme and deny their beliefs if that would protect them, as long as they remained “comfortable with faith.” Ibn Abbas, the most renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis, confirms this notion. “Taqiyya is [merely] the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith.” 7…We see that taqiya is indeed a doctrine for all Muslims that allows them to deny any aspect of their faith in order to protect themselves from harm.” (Joel Richardson, The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About The Real Nature Of The Beast, 152-156 (Kindle Edition); Los Angeles, CA; WND Books)
This does not mean that all Muslims are out to get us, for there are no doubt many Muslims who ignore these verses and concepts of the Quran.
Yet we would be foolish to believe the common assertion that, “Islam is actually a religion of peace.”
It certainly is not!
Iran And The Mahdi
To understand how all of this applies to Iran’s leaders, we need to see what happened to Islam when Muhammad died.
Failing to name a successor before his death, the Muslims were split into two different groups: the Shiites and the Sunnis.
“By far the largest segment of Muslims belong to the Sunni sect. Following the death of Muhammad, the Sunni faction purposed that the successor to Muhammad should be elected from among the people. The Shiites (party of Ali) believed a direct descendancy from Muhammad should be followed, a blood line of succession. Consequently, the Shiites reject as fraudulent the first three caliphs elected. They accept only the election of All, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law.” (Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look At Muslim Life And Beliefs, 1525 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Krueger Publications)
The vast majority of Muslims today are Sunni.
However, the Shiites believe that one day the Muslim “Messiah,” (i.e., the Mahdi) will return to the world.
“The Quran is less clear about the major signs that precede the Day of Judgment, but there are ample Hadith—oral traditions of sayings and acts attributed to Muhammad—that offer guidance. The Hadith are second in sacredness only to the Quran. They are the recorded wisdom of Islam’s prophet—the model Muslim—and are essential sayings and stories of how Muhammad lived in the seventh century A.D . But according to the Hadith, first, the birth of the Dajjal, or Antichrist, heralds the beginning of the End Times. It is said that the Dajjal will have one eye, and hair all over his body. Some prophecies attributed to Muhammad say that he will appear on the road between Iraq and Syria. According to the Hadith of Muhammad, the Dajjal will be born near Iran and Syria at a time when immorality—specifically homosexuality and drug use—reign. Seventy thousand Jews will be seduced by the Dajjal to fight the true Muslims, who will be led by a successor of Muhammad called the Mahdi. Epic battles will ensue. Many ISIS militants believe that the Dajjal has already been born. They’ve even distributed photographs on social media of supposedly one-eyed babies. It turns out some of the photographs are of actual real-life children born with one eye (one was born in Bolivia in 2008; the other, born in India in 2006, lived only one day)….Islam is divided into two main branches: Sunni and Shia. Sunnis make up 85 to 90 percent of Muslims. The branches share many views, such as their reverence of the Quran as a holy book and their belief that Muhammad was a prophet, but the 120 to 170 million Shia Muslims around the world take a distinctly different view from Sunnis toward the End Times and the role of the Mahdi, who according to their tradition has already visited earth and gone into hiding. The majority of Shia consider themselves “Twelvers,” referring to the number of imams, or leaders, who have been divinely ordained. These successors to Muhammad were infallible and ruled with perfect justice, despite persecution from the Sunni caliphs who attempted to kill most of them. The first imam was Ali, a son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad. The most recent was Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali, whom Twelver Shia refer to as the Mahdi. In 873, he went into hiding, supposedly at the bottom of a well, to avoid being captured by Sunni authorities. The Mahdi waiting in hiding is called “the occultation,” which, in the Shia tradition, continues to this day. “Henceforth, no one will see me, unless and until Allah makes me appear,” one of the Mahdi’s representatives told his followers. “My reappearance will take place after a very long time when people will have grown tired of waiting and those who are weak in their faith will say: What! Is he still alive?” Whereas in the Sunni tradition of Islam, belief in the imminence of the End Times is more confined to radical Salafists, it is very much in the mainstream of Shia belief. The Hidden Imam, or Mahdi, will set into motion a course of events that will end the world, just as it is believed in the Sunni tradition. While most of the Muslim world is Sunni, the Islamic Republic of Iran is almost exclusively (90–95 percent) Shia. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei—as the father of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, before him—is a fervent believer in the End Times and the return of the Mahdi. This informs Iran’s geopolitics. Another prominent Iranian ayatollah has promised that when the Mahdi does emerge, “ he will behead the Western leaders.” Indeed, Iran’s headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons is viewed by many as preparation for the confrontation that will ensue when the Mahdi comes out of occultation.” (Glenn Beck, It IS About Islam: Exposing The Truth About Isis, Al Qaeda, Iran, And The Caliphate, 284-315 (Kindle Edition); New York; Threshold Editions)
According to Islamic Hadith, before the “last hour” when the Mahdi will appear, there must be an increase in the slaughter of the Jewish people. Muhammad declared:
“The Prophet said… the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6985)
So, the Shiite Muslims believe that the Mahdi will one day come back into the world, and that they can “hasten his coming” by increasing the bloodshed of the Jews.
Now, would it surprise you to learn that the leaders of Iran are committed Shiite Muslims who want to hasten the coming of the Mahdi?
In fact, Iran’s last president, MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, delivered a speech at the United Nations (September 26 2005). In that speech, he appealed to Allah to ““hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.”
NOW is it clear why Iran is so determined to get nuclear weapons?
NOW is it so clear why the Jews are so terrified that Iran might get nuclear weapons?
We certainly have reason to beware of Iran getting nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, we have this promise from God: one day, He will bring the wicked rulers of this nation and any of the wicked soldiers in that country’s military into judgment.
The Providence Of The Prophecy
The text does not leave those in Iran in a sense of doom with no forgiveness available; instead, the Lord shows here in two ways that there is hope for the people.
First, He promises to establish His throne in the midst of Iran.
Jeremiah 49:38-I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD.
This is a reference to the promise that He will reign from the nation of Iran. It will become a source of spiritual forgiveness and furtherance of the Gospel.
Second, He promises to “bring back the captives” of Elam.
Jeremiah 49:39-But it shall come to pass in the latter days: I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”
What does this mean?
When we compare the translations on this verse, we find an interesting phrase used synonymously with “bringing back the captives:”
Jeremiah 49:39 (ERV)-“But in the future I will make good things happen to Elam.” This message is from the LORD.
Jeremiah 49:39 (ISV)-“But in the latter days I’ll restore the fortunes of Elam,” declares the LORD.
Why the different translations? How does “bringing back the captives” equate to “restoring the fortunes?”
“The expression restore the fortunes or “reverse the fortunes” ( šûḇ š e ḇûṯ , lit. “turn the turning”) occurs frequently in the OT. The translation “turn the captivity” 1 is incorrect and the phrase occurs at times where no captivity is in view (e.g., Job 42:10; Ezek. 16:53). What is in view here is either a reversal of the fortunes of Yahweh’s people or a restoration of their fortunes.” (J.A. Thompson, The New International Commentary On The Old Testament: The Book Of Jeremiah,11060 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
“The word š e ḇûṯ goes back to šwḇ , “return,” and not to šāḇâ , “to take captive.” The AV and RV both assume the root šāḇâ , “to take captive,” and translate “turn again the captivity.” In practice, after the exile “to turn the captivity” and “to reverse the fortunes” came to mean much the same thing, but the context seems to the present commentator to require derivation from the root šwḇ.” (J.A. Thompson, The New International Commentary On The Old Testament: The Book Of Jeremiah, 199272, Footnote 1); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company)
Sometimes the translators of the Bible need to use paraphrases instead of literal word-for-word translations. Every culture has idioms that often go beyond a literal word-for-word interpretation.
For example, consider the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs.” We know that this simply means that it is raining very hard and in a ferocious way (the way that, say, cats and dogs might fight and attack each other when aggravated).
That would make no sense.
In the same way, every society has phrases and concepts that require the translators to have a familiarity with the culture and context of a given passage. This is why translation can often be a difficult work, and not merely as simple as “do it word for word.” This is also another reason why I always encourages students of the Word of God to make use of other Bible translations in their investigations into Scripture.
Yet why would “returning captives” equate to “restoring fortunes?”
Several times in my jail ministry, I meet individuals who are first arrested (or “taken captive”). Immediately at the police station, their belongings are taken from them and place in large Manila envelopes. Later, if and when they are released, the officers take the Manila envelopes with their names on them and return (restore) their belongings.
So, this phrase had direct reference to the fact that one day the Lord would restore the fortunes of Iran one day. This could have reference to one of two things (or probably both).
First, there could be a promise from God here to the effect that the nation of Iran would one day again become a strong and prosperous nation. After their wicked leaders would be judged, the nation’;s economy, military, and infrastructure could be reestablished so that they would once again become a dominant world power. This is, certainly, one possible interpretation of the text.
Second, there is the larger possibility that the text is referring to the promise that one day the people of Iran would be spiritually blessed, in incredible ways. Notice that the phrase “restoring the fortune” used throughout Jeremiah often carries the idea of blessing the people of a nation spiritually (Jeremiah 33:7-9, 11; 48:47; 49:6). Further, notice that the text prophesies that God would establish His throne in the midst of Elam (Jeremiah 49:38).
Several time sin the Old Testament, God promised to show mercy to nations that were once rebellious when they repented after His judgments upon them. For example:
Isaiah 19:19-25-19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.
20 And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them.
21 Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.
22 And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.
24 In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land,
25 whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”
Ezekiel 16:53-55 (CEV)-53 Someday I will bless Sodom and Samaria and their nearby villages. I will also bless you, Jerusalem.
54 Then you will be ashamed of how you’ve acted, and Sodom and Samaria will be relieved that they weren’t as sinful as you.
55 When that day comes, you and Sodom and Samaria will once again be well-off, and all nearby villages will be restored.
Now, the question arises; has there been a time during the Christian Age in which God blessed the people of Elam spiritually?
Look at who is present when Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon (which began the “last days” as noticed earlier in Acts 2:16-17)
Acts 2:7-11-7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
9 Parthians and Medes and ELAMITES, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
The spiritual fortunes of Elam began to be restored on Pentecost of Acts 2, the beginning of the “last days,” just as Jeremiah the Prophet prophesied nearly seven hundred years earlier.
They will continue to be restored as people in Iran (and around the world) submit to the Lord and obey His Good News
In regards to the nation of Iran as recorded in the Book of Jeremiah, God told about: the place, the period, the people, the powers, and the providence of the prophecy,
Some of these prophecies have been fulfilled; and others are in the process of being fulfilled. One day, all of God’s Word will be brought to fruition.
Friends, the God of Heaven offers His providential pardon to all who will come to Him. He has reached out to sinful man by sending us His Son, Jesus Christ, Who lived among us and was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). At the end of HIs life, Jesus went to the Cross and paid the price for all of our sins on the Cross of Calvary, to provide atonement for the holy wrath of all-perfect God (Matthew 20;28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and three days later, He arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
He desires all men and women everywhere to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), which is why He has commissioned His church to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). Those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 8:24) after hearing His Word (John 6:44-45), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus Christ as God’s Son (Acts 8:37; 1 Timothy 6:12), are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4), and are faithful to death will be saved (Revelation 2:10).
When we as Christians sin and fall short (1 John 1:8), God offers forgiveness when His people repent and confess those sins to Him in prayer (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 4:15; James 5:16).
Why not obey Him today?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.