Every week in Iran and many other Moslem-majority entities—after Muslim's "Friday Prayers—Islamic imams vigorously denounce the United States of America to be "Big Satan" and Israel as "Little Satan." Then, their congregants spill into the streets, shouting, "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
Depending on the current events, they may light our countries' flags on fire. Other times, they may hand out candies in celebration of some terrorist activity or deadly mayhem directed toward these key democracies.
These weekly, imam-instigated demonstrations are more than some religious "pep rallies." Iran's modern threats to destroy the nation and people of Israel are part of a decades-old, Islamic war of attrition going back to shortly after the end of World War I and the defeat of the 400-year-old Islamic Ottoman Empire.
Iran is 1,000 miles from Israel, but it has baited and bribed terrorist regimes and organizations in three border countries and territories surrounding Israel (Lebanon, Syria and Gaza) to constantly threaten or initiate military and terrorist activity against the one Jewish-majority state in the world.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (known popularly as Persia, until 1935) supports its sect of Islam's expansionist vision for a revived Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. In addition, Turkey has its own brand of evil expectation of worldwide, Islamic domination.
Iran's incessant obsession with Jews and the Jewish state is rooted in the context of a historical event which occurred more than 2,500 years ago when the Persian Empire ruled the majority of the known world.
The story is primarily a spiritual conflict found in the Old Testament book of Esther. It details the miraculous account of a beautiful Jewish maiden who would become a queen from the harem of a powerful Persian king. The nemesis in the story is a wicked and arrogant prime minister who sought to murder all the Jews living in captivity throughout his vast Medio-Persian Empire.
Purim is the holiday marking the Jewish people's deliverance from that royal death decree, around the fourth century A.D., as told in the Old Testament book of Esther (6:1-7:10). Purim this year (2019), begins at sundown on Thursday, March 21, and continues through the daylight hours of Friday, March 22.
To acquaint you with the powerful account of Esther from the pages of Scripture, I'd like to introduce you to Zion's Hope ministry. The ministry is offering a free booklet (while supplies last), to help you understand the small book of Esther and highlight its connection with the Jewish holiday of Purim. The easiest and quickest way to request your free copy of this great little resource is by phone at 1-888-781-9466.
Current world events seem to be moving us quickly toward the end-times judgments and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha'Mashiach). He will come to destroy the enemy armies of the Antichrist (Rev. 19:11-21) and to ultimately cast the "satanic trinity" (the devil, the Antichrist-beast and his false prophet) into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10, 13-15).
Revelation 13:1-3 and 17:7-13 are two key prophetic passages that give us crucial information as to the multi-national make-up of a final world empire over which the Antichrist will rule. Interestingly, many of the same nations which persecuted the Jews throughout history will unite in the formation of a larger federated empire.
Many contemporary biblical scholars believe that modern Iran (ancient Persia, in the time of Queen Esther) will be one of the 10-horned, end-time nations mentioned in Rev. 13:1. These will unite to form a "final beast empire" (possibly a revived Islamic caliphate) under the leadership of the Antichrist (Dan. 11:36-45). But they will be defeated by the angelic armies of Jesus Christ, who is the Lord over all lords and King over all kings (Rev. 17:14).
Let us be alert to the ominous actions of Israel's enemies in the Middle East and the growing anti-Semitism throughout Western nations, including our own. In particular, let us watch, with prophetic concern, the nation of Iran.
In conclusion, here are three steps we can take, as "watchmen on the walls" in these end-times. First, continue to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6). Second, continue to proclaim the good news of God's love and Jesus' victory over death, hell and the grave (John 19:31, 1 Cor. 15:54-55, Heb. 2:9). Finally, prepare our hearts for the return of our Savior and the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Rev. 22:12-21)!
Ordained to the ministry in 1969, Gary Curtis is a graduate of LIFE Bible College at Los Angeles (soon to become Life Pacific University at San Dimas, California). He has taken graduate courses at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Gary served as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California, for 27 years (1988-2015), the last 13 years as the vice president of Life on The Way Communications Inc., the church's not-for-profit media outreach. Now retired, Gary and his wife have been married for 50 years and live in Southern California. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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