What does the Bible say about Iran’s future?


The Bible contains numerous passages, dealing with the future of Iran, which was formerly known as Persia. Most commentaries and encyclopedias are in agreement that the modern-day Iranians are descendants of the ancient Elamites. For instance, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible equates Elam with Persia. Genesis 10:22 and 1 Chronicles 1:17 state that Elam was a son of Shem—and therefore a brother of ancient Asshur or Assur. The city of Sushan or Susa was one of the capitols of the Elamite or Persian empire, and Esther, Daniel and Jeremiah resided there at times. Susa is today known as Shush—a city in modern-day Iran.

In biblical times, the Medes and the Persians conquered the Babylonian Empire. Famous King Cyrus of Persia permitted captured Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple. Subsequent Persian kings, such as King Xerxes, had a more or less friendly relationship with the Jewish people, specifically because of his wife, the Jewish Queen Esther. In time, that friendly relationship would change, and presently, Iran is viewed as one of the arch enemies of the modern house of Judah.

The Bible predicts that the Jewish people and the modern house of Israel (which is not Jewish, but comprised of the peoples of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA) will be conquered and enslaved by the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian or German leadership, called modern “Babylon” in Scripture. When Jesus Christ returns, He will free the survivors of that captivity and bring them into the Promised Land. Note from what countries the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah will be freed.

Isaiah 11:11 states:

“It shall come to pass in that day [a reference to the time when God will begin to intervene in human affairs, but also including the time AFTER Jesus Christ has begun to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth] That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush (Ethiopia), From Elam (Persia or Iran) and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.”

In this context, we should note that in the near future, Iran will participate in fighting against the state of Israel.

Isaiah 22:6 prophesies, in the context of the future enslavement of the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem (compare verses 1-4):

“Elam [Iran] bore the quiver With chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.”

The timing is again the day of the Lord or “in that day” (verses 8, 12), when God has “removed the protection of Judah” (verse 8), since they looked to their armor or military, rather than to God (verses 8, 11). We note, from Ezekiel 27:10, that at one time, “Those from Persia, Lydia and Libya Were in [mystical “Tyre’s” or modern Babylon’s] army as men of war.” So it appears that at least some modern Iranians will participate, perhaps as mercenaries, in the military attack of modern Babylon against the state of Israel.

Focusing on other passages in the Bible, we are told that apparently sometime after that attack, the relationship between modern Babylon and Iran will deteriorate, and Elam or Iran will form an alliance with the Medes or Russia against “Babylon.”

Isaiah 21:2 states:

“A distressing vision is declared to me; The treacherous dealer deals treacherously. And the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media!”

Continuing in verse 9 we read that “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!” The repetitious curse shows the dual application of this prophecy to ancient as well as modern times.

A future alliance between Russia and Iran (which is already developing today) is not surprising, given the fact that these two powers were allied in the past, as the “Medo-Persian Empire.”

Placing all the pieces of biblical prophecy in the overall puzzle, we note that in the future, Iran will be enslaved and subsequently freed from their captivity. We are not specifically told who will enslave them, and when exactly this will occur, nor, when exactly the captivity will end, but in light of the Scriptures discussed so far, it appears that after their mutual attack on Jerusalem, modern Babylon—a confederacy of many nations–will turn against Iran and enslave the Iranian people; but that then Russia will intervene and free the Iranians; and that Russia and Iran (Media and Elam) will together attack modern Babylon.

Note the following passage in this context:

Jeremiah 49:35-39 tells us:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might. Against Elam I will bring the four winds From the four quarters of heaven, And scatter them towards all those winds; There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go. 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 [a reference to the coming day of the Lord’s great wrath or fierce anger],’ says the LORD; ‘And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them. And I will set My throne in Elam, And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the LORD. ‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days [a clear reference to the end times]; I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the LORD.”

Modern Iran will be captives [apparently of the modern Babylonian system], but they will be freed—apparently by the Medes or Russians, as both will together attack modern Babylon. Note too that the context is related to a time when God will set His throne in Elam or rule over Elam. Today, as well as in ancient times, God does not and did not rule this world; the rulers of this world are and were Satan and his demons. It is true, of course, that Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow—but still, generally, God is not ruling this world at this point. [However, He is willing to rule His disciples—those who have spiritually “come out” of this world and who look forward to a better world to come.]

And so, we read in Daniel 10:13 and 20 that at the time of Daniel, Persia or Iran was ruled by a demon—the prince of Persia. The angel Gabriel and the archangel Michael fought with this demon to carry out God’s directives. And we read that in the end time, just prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Satan and his forces will try for a second time to overthrow God in heaven, and Michael and his angels will again fight against and defeat Satan and his demons in an outright spiritual war (Revelation 12:7-12).

Russia’s and Iran’s hatred against the modern descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah will not easily disappear. Even shortly after Christ’s return, when Christ will have set His throne in Jerusalem, Iran will be a part of a great confederacy of hostile nations, under Russian and Chinese leadership, in an attempt to invade the Promised Land and to conquer those who are left from the modern houses of Israel and Judah.

Ezekiel 38 reports about this future futile event, and in describing the military leader of that hostile army (“Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,” verses 2-3), Ezekiel 38:5 says specifically that “Persia, Ethiopia and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet.” We read in Ezekiel 38 and 39 that God will supernaturally intervene and totally destroy that great army.

Jeremiah 25:15-38 describes God’s all-encompassing judgment on all God-defying nations of this earth, and verse 25 mentions the judgment on “all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes.” Again, in verse 29, God gives us the approximate time setting, when His punishment on all the nations will commence:

“’For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name [Jerusalem], and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

As we have seen, the punishment of Iran will be carried out, mainly and ultimately, when God will destroy the great hostile army, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Another reference to Iran’s punishment is given in Ezekiel 32. In verses 11 and 12, God speaks first of the destruction of (ancient and modern) Egypt through modern Babylon–the “most terrible of the nations.” This same expression, “most terrible of the nations,” describing modern Babylon, is used in Ezekiel 30:11-12; Ezekiel 31:12; and Ezekiel 28:7. In Ezekiel 7:24, the phrase “worst of the Gentiles” is applied to modern Babylon invading the land of Israel (For more information on modern Babylon, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” especially pages 42 to 46.)

Returning to Ezekiel 32:24, the destruction of Elam and all her multitudes is described in figurative and allegorical ways. The point is that no country will escape God’s judgment, and so He also mentions this in the context of the fate of Assyria (verse 22) and of Meshech and Tubal (verse 26). Remember that Gog was described in Ezekiel 38 as the hostile prince of Rosh [Russia], Meshech [Moscow] and Tubal [Tobolsk].

But there is hope for everyone, because God is not a respecter of person. He accepts all of those, regardless of what race, nation or ethnic group they might belong to, if they seek God with all their heart and mind and soul. In Acts 2:9, Elamites (modern-day Iranians) were peacefully assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the New Testament Church. And when Christ rules this world from Jerusalem, all nations, including Elamites, will ultimately flow to Him to learn God’s ways (Isaiah 2:1-4).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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