Iran in Prophecy
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., August 1995
(December 1979, January 1982) 1
Transcribed and edited by David Sielaff, April 2006
Read the accompanying Newsletter for April 2006
Historical events in the Middle East can alter the shape of the political environment very quickly. In fact the region is used to experiencing abrupt changes in authority and influence. The Bible has some very interesting things to say about Iran in prophecy, anciently called Persia. In the Bible two other names describe this region of the world. Those names are Elam and Media. They also are to be considered when we look at the prophecies dealing with this area of the world. 2
[Thirty] years ago you could take an El Al jet from Tel Aviv to Tehran, the capital of Iran, which was then ruled by the Shah. Iran was one of the Islamic powers who tried to get along with Israel at that time. But then the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. 3 Things changed dramatically and quickly. Iran suddenly became hostile to Israel. It is still very antagonistic to Israel, here in 1995 [and even in April 2006].
At present a great deal of emphasis is being placed politically, economically, militarily, and religiously on what happens in the Middle East, which lands sit on the world’s top reserves of oil. Fifty years ago few would have thought the region very important, but suddenly the Middle East is becoming the most important area on earth, involving the major powers of the world. I have been there on many, many occasions. Some of you no doubt have been there as well. What do you see? You see desert lands. How there could be any potential whatsoever for major confrontations between world powers over desert lands of the Middle East? Now, however, everyone knows there are important factors involved in the nations of that region.
Someone knew it a long time ago. That person was God Almighty. He gave prophecies in His Bible which show what will happen in the Middle East in the next few years. We do not want to set dates but I think anyone who has any mind at all can begin to see that things are beginning to shape up in the Middle East as never before. 4
We also are aware that elements of biblical prophecy, geographical areas mentioned in the Bible, and peoples of the Bible, are coming back into a prominence in that area to make the Bible one of the most important commentaries of future newspaper events that you can possibly imagine. We are coming into a phase of history in which the Bible will play a major part in understanding the world around you.
The Bible makes it quite clear that before the Second Coming of Christ Iran must have a strong and centralized power, a type of a Shah. There is coming a major power, a man who will arise in the region of ancient Persia, our present Iran, who will conduct many interesting and very important affairs dealing with the End Time. That man has not yet arrived on the scene. Bible prophecies say that this leader of Iran will come to the rescue of the nation of Israel just prior to and just after the Second Coming of Christ. Look at the last verses of chapter 44 and the beginning of chapter 45 of Isaiah which show a type of situation developing in Iran which is fundamentally different than we see at the present time.
A number of major events must take place in the region of Iran prior to the Second Coming of Christ. At present I do not see these in action. They will occur however. In fact the events that are taking place may well be a prelude to these major events, but what is happening at present, as I see it in the Scripture, is not revealed absolutely. Confusion in Iran at the present time shows that End Time events are not presently being conducted there or in the Middle East. They are leading up to it.
What does prophecy say will happen just before the Second Coming? Turn to the central prophecy of the whole Bible about events prior to the Second Coming, and look at the Book of Daniel. 5 Let us first read about Persia in these matters dealing with the history of the world starting from the 6th century B.C.E. onward. We should start there because the Book of Daniel shows a “history” of the future given to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in a dream, interpreted by the prophet Daniel, revealing what would happen in that area of the world from the 6th century B.C.E. down to the Second Advent of Jesus the Messiah.
This dream of Daniel chapter 2 shows that Persia will have a prominent role. It starts by mentioning Babylon, the power then in authority over the Middle East in the early part of the 6th century B.C.E. This prophecy is about a dream which Nebuchadnezzar had at night. The dream was about an idol seen on the plains of Shinar and the idol had a head of gold. The next part in the area of the chest and arms was silver. Farther down it went into brass and the legs were made of iron. Finally, right at the very bottom we have the feet with ten toes and they were partially with iron and partially with miry clay.
The dream did not stop with this image. There was a mountain in the distance and Nebuchadnezzar saw a rock that was carved out of the mountain side without hands. It rolled down the mountainside straight for the image. It struck the feet where the toes are made up of iron and miry clay. It toppled this image over on its side. Then the rock pummeled the remains of this image into dust. Wind comes and blows that dust into all areas of the earth. That was the dream.
Daniel revealed to Nebuchadnezzar what the dream was about in specific detail. This dream relates the history of the world in prophetic terms since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the King over the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He came to power in the traditional chronology in 604 B.C.E. and ruled for a little over 40 years. In that period of time Daniel was in Babylon with his three friends. The twelve chapters of Daniel were written beginning at that period of time and through to Nebuchadnezzar’s death, to the arrival of Media and then Persia came on the scene. Daniel lived through to the middle part of the 6th century B.C.E.
Let us look at the interpretation that Daniel gave to Nebuchadnezzar where Daniel refers to Persia (Iran today), starting with the historical scenario at the time the dream was given. We will not stop with Persia, but we will come down to the present day to see what the Bible says will occur in Persia in the next few years in advance of us, and how Persia will affect world history. Daniel’s interpretation:
“You O King [Nebuchadnezzar] saw and beheld a great image. This great image whose brightness was excellent stood before you and the form thereof was terrible [fearful to look at]. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.”
The first thing to realize is that each kingdom that follows below the head of gold decreases in power and authority. As one views parts of the image closer to the ground, the values of the metals deteriorate, starting with gold, then silver, brass, iron, until it finally gets to this feet area where we find the least value in the toes with part iron and part clay. We have that same type understanding today that the most precious metal, gold, is on top. Daniel goes on to say in verse 37:
“You O King are a King of Kings for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.”
This is the beginning of the interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. Verse 38 tells us something very interesting that most people overlook. It says that Nebuchadnezzar had an influence that reached out to all areas of the world, though his headquarters was at Babylon and in Mesopotamia, and we see the vast ruins of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon to this very day. 6 He had a typical empire of the period. That does not mean that he had soldiers in the New World, in South Africa, in Australia, or places like that. It means that Nebuchadnezzar controlled the economics of the world to such an extent that he was, indeed, head of the world system at the time. That is what we find Daniel telling him.
“You are the head of gold, and after you [we find chronology coming in] shall arise another kingdom inferior to you [in power, authority, and extent]…, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
That next kingdom after the Babylonian kingdom is the subject today. That kingdom would be Persia, or Iran, the silver kingdom mentioned here.
There will be a “third kingdom of brass which shall bear rule over all the earth.” That is interesting also. We must understand that statement not in the sense that soldiers would be everywhere throughout the earth or that one government would rule, but that the philosophical principles, the economic principles, and the economic power of the world at this particular time would be essentially in the hands of, first, Babylon, then Persia, and then to Javan, a European power normally associated with Greece and north into the Balkans (and that is important to remember at this time because of the Balkan wars). That third kingdom is also to rule over all the earth. Then it speaks about the next kingdom:
“And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.”
Last it speaks about the ten toes on the feet. Some are made of miry clay and others are iron, and they do not mix very well. They are very weak, the weakest of all. This image of the Babylonian kingdom is to last until a stone comes down out of a mountain.
That stone is a representation of the kingdom of God, the second advent of Christ, which will destroy this image on its base. The base part of it is not only toward the bottom, but it will be base in the sense of not being of the same quality of power and authority as was Babylon (which started with gold), then Persia which is silver, then brass, iron, and finally iron mixed with miry clay. These ten toes or kings are destroyed. These ten kings are also mentioned in the 7th and 8th chapters of the Book of Daniel later, and are also indicated in Psalm 83 and the 17th and 18th chapters of the Book of Revelation. These all have to do with the end time.
We find a chronological or historical sequence of events starting with the 6th century B.C.E. and coming down until our time today. Those ten kings as we see on the feet of this image have not yet come into power. When they do come into power they will be relatively weak because they will not really agree with one another. God will cause them to cohere for a short time, about a 3½ year period. They will have power in the Middle East and it will come out of the Jerusalem area. 7 Once this image falls over on its side and is pummeled into dust:
“And in the days of these kings [these ten kings represented by these toes] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
… that is, for the rest of recorded prophetic history. That is what Daniel was trying to tell Nebuchadnezzar. But let us not forget one more point. Daniel went on to say:
“Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king [Nebuchadnezzar] what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
From Daniel chapter 2 go to chapters 7 and 8 where you will find confirmation that the first kingdom was the Babylonian kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel chapter 7 there is a vision occurring in the last years of Nebuchadnezzar’s dynasty. Nebuchadnezzar was already dead and his son Belshazzar was on the throne. This was the middle of the 6th century B.C.E. some 40 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
A vision was given to Daniel and he interprets it. It builds upon Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in chapter 2. The vision of chapter 2, however, did not go into detail concerning many of these kings; only the king of Babylon was identified. It was establishing the whole image as being a Babylonian kingdom. It makes no difference if the next segment after Nebuchadnezzar was Persia, the head was Nebuchadnezzar. It will be guided by Babylonian principles. The brass portion which is Javan, a European power, is still governed by the head which are the Babylonian principles. Coming to the legs made of iron, very strong in this particular case in two divisions, but they also are still governed by the head, Babylon. Then we come to the feet of ten toes, the last kings to exist on earth before the Kingdom of God emerges under Christ to destroy the image. They are still governed by the head, which is Babylon. 8
So we are still a part of Babylon. That is why the image needs to be completely destroyed, thoroughly annihilated, and then the Kingdom of God will emerge, with Jesus Christ as King. Once that happens on the earth there will be a Kingdom for a thousand years, and it will be very different than this Babylonian Kingdom we have at present. In delineating these four powers leading down to these ten Kings, we find in chapter 7 still more details about these kingdoms.
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.’”
The “great sea” was probably the Mediterranean, as it was known in past times. Here are four winds coming from four cardinal directions of the compass, striving upon the great sea causing waves to come forth. A great commotion was taking place. This means a storm was seen, and the waves were roaring:
“And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made [to] stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”
This seems to describe ancient cherubim. At the British Museum there are great cherubim statues from ancient Assyria and Babylon which typified certain aspects of the Babylonian Empire. This lion with eagle’s wings is identified in other areas of Daniel as the Babylonian Empire. There can be no question. 9
“And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they [the teeth] said thus unto it [the beast], ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’”
A bear was the second beast Daniel saw emerge out of the Great Sea in great commotion. This is the Medo-Persian Empire that succeeded the empire of Babylon. This is reflective of the Iran in the near future. He had three ribs in his mouth. 10 What was to succeed the bear?
“After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.”
This beast has four heads, and an extensive dominion given to it. That answers to the brass portion of the image of Daniel chapter 2. This leopard has been identified with the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great. After Alexander died the empire broke into four divisions, which may be what this verse tells us. After the four divisions come out of this leopard, the Greek Empire, Daniel sees the fourth beast:
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible [fearful], and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue [the rest of these beasts] with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 11
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
This little horn is the Beast in the Book of Revelation [chapters 13 and 17], the man who will emerge amongst these 10 horns or 10 kings at the end of the age, coming out of this exceedingly terrible Iron Beast, which succeeds the Greco-Macedonian Empire. This iron beast will exist just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Anyone doubt that? Read verse 9:
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him [from before the throne].” 12
This horn to arise from this iron beast of 10 horns shall occur just prior to the Second Coming of Christ, and God will sit in judgment through Christ over all the nations of the world when the books are opened at the end of the age. We also read in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that when Christ Jesus comes back the wicked one, the Beast, will be slain by flaming fire.
Something will happen to those first three beasts: Babylon, Persia (or Media with Persia), and Javan (sometimes translated as Greece):
“I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke: I beheld even till the beast was slain [the particular beast of the end time], and his body destroyed, and given to the burning. As concerning the rest of the beasts [the other three, Babylon, Persia, Javan], they had their dominion taken away [back in the 6th, 5th, and 4th centuries B.C.E.]: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.”
That is most important to look at. It means that these first four beasts will be prolonged and preserved until the time of the end. We will see a revival in power of Babylon, of Persia, of Greece — and of Syria and Egypt — before the Second Coming of Christ. That is what it says. I know this sounds very difficult to believe, but this is the vision of Daniel chapter 7. Daniel gave this prophecy in the first year of Belshazzar, King of Babylon. The Babylonian Empire was just about over. The four kingdoms being talked about here are coming up at the end of the age.
In other words though the ostensible part of the kingdom or empire disappeared, and you cannot see them in evidence as they were formerly in the earlier period when Daniel saw them, they will still be simmering below the surface. “Their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” Look down in verse 15:
“I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them [one of the angels that stood by], and asked him the truth of all this [what this means]. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
These great beasts, which are four [Babylon, Persia, Javan, and the iron kingdom], are four kings [or kingdoms], which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever [the age], even for ever and ever [the age of the ages].”
The information in Daniel 7:12 and 7:17, when combined, reveal that Babylon, 13 Medo-Persia, and Greece (along with the fourth non-descript nation) WILL ARISE on the world scene when the ten nations exist. Each of those three nations will be renewed and be in existence in their former areas at the end of the age! This must transpire for prophecy to occur.
These kingdoms from Daniel chapter 2, as confirmed in the visions of Daniel chapters 7 and 8, will have a continual existence, beneath the surface a little bit, until the very end of time. That includes Media and Persia who are the silver section of this image. It is part of Babylonian history from the time that Nebuchadnezzar had his dream, and later when Daniel gave the interpretation.
We can therefore expect to see a new Persia arrive on the scene, along with a new Greece, a new Babylon, a new Syria, and a new Egypt. I have said so for  years [since 1974]. 14 I do not know exactly in what fashion they will come back according to biblical prophecy. Persia is coming back. All the old empires are coming back powerfully. Some say, how could this happen? Those are desert lands in most cases, and all are in the Middle East except Greece which is in southeast Europe. The Bible says they will arise. When they do, what will happen to this Persia or Iran near the end of the age?
What the image of Daniel chapter 2 and the vision of Daniel chapter 7 represent will be in existence at this end time. Since the head, as I said before, is the kingdom of Babylon, a part of that image very near the head is Persia and Media. We have a panoramic view of history beginning with the Babylonian Empire up until judgment is set and the books are opened at the Second Coming of Christ (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3; Daniel 7:10), when the beast will be slain (Daniel 7:11, 8:25, 11:45; Revelation 19:19–20).
The bear part of this vision is what we will look at. It is the silver portion of the image from Daniel chapter 2. The interpretation is clear as to who the first three image portions and beasts are. These beasts are described further in another vision given to Daniel in chapter 8. The second beast is given a name in Daniel 8:20. There it is given two horns as well, and it is called Media and Persia. 15 The image Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about in chapter 2 will not be completely destroyed until the Kingdom of God is established on earth, until that stone comes off that mountain top and hits that image on its base (Daniel 2:44–45). Not until then does the whole image cease.
At present Iran wants nothing to do with Israel. But near the end of the age it will be different, because one of the nations to allow Israel to build its own Temple in Jerusalem, believe it or not, will be Iran. The person in charge of Iran will be called a modern Cyrus, a son of the sun, who will come and help some way, somehow, in the rebuilding of that Temple which will exist at the end of the age.
Most of the major prophecies about Persia are found in Isaiah and Jeremiah. From Isaiah chapters 41 to 45 (inclusively) we find a great deal of information about the powerful king who will head Persia at the end of the age and will be instrumental in helping Israel rebuild a new temple in Jerusalem. The section is expressed in language applicable to the 8th century B.C.E. of Isaiah, and it uses as a subject-indicator the ancient King Cyrus of Persia. But Isaiah tells us that the early historical events are to be reflected in a later application. Look at Isaiah’s teaching on this matter which shows his duality principle. 16 This may sound completely absurd, but that is what the Bible says. Here is a principle given by YHWH:
“Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.”
What Isaiah is saying is this: if you want to know what the future will be, you better look at the past and understand it. The past can give indications to what the future will be like. It will be type and antitype. That is the theme of Isaiah chapter 41, written some 100+ years before Daniel.
Persia will be one of the major powers that will exist at the end of time. As it had an existence back in the 6th century and into the 5th century B.C.E., in Daniel chapter 7 we find that Persia shall have a renewal. It, along with Babylon and Javan, will simmer under the surface. At the end of the age all three will emerge again, but they will emerge alongside ten kings which will be members of one group. Those ten kings will be made out of iron (some rather strong) and miry clay (some rather weak). In the 17th chapter in the Book of Revelation Christ Himself will call these ten kings together to do a particular service for Him.
To find out just what is in advance of us and where Iran fits into all of this, we need to recall once more what Zechariah chapters 12, 13, and 14 tell us. These are chapters that I have referred to frequently because they are very clear as to what will happen to Israel in the years in advance of us.
Israel as far as a state is concerned will get even more powerful, believe it or not. There is soon coming a major event in Israel that has not occurred yet. Zechariah shows Israel in power, quite a great deal of power, in the Middle East (Zechariah 12:1–9). Then in verse 10 is that cardinal verse that we should all pay attention to, because something important will happen to the people in Israel and in Jerusalem. It says:
“I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn [son].”
Verses 11–14 continue to say that there will be a national conversion of the Jews to Jesus Christ. The individual who was pierced is none other than our Lord Himself who was crucified. There will be a spirit of grace and supplication sent to the Israelis and to “the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” It goes on to explain in chapter 13 that with this conversion God will start cleaning up things in Jerusalem 17:
“In that day shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness. It should come to pass in that day that the Lord of hosts I will cut off the names of idols out of the land.”
That means the idols from “the land” of Israel. There are idols in Jerusalem and most are in Christian shrines and churches. They will be remembered no more (verse 2). The false spirits and false prophets will “pass out of the land.” There is coming a national conversion to be associated with the spirit of John the Baptist coming back, an Elijah will come back, as we will find in the 4th chapter of Malachi, just before the Day of the Lord takes place. 18
In this national conversion the Jewish people will begin to understand who Yeshua is, that is Jesus Christ. (Yeshua is a Hebrew word for Jesus.) They will start understanding that He is the Messiah. That is all prophesied in chapters 12 and 13 of Zechariah. After that conversion, we read in verses 7, 8, and 9 that a great tribulation will come upon Israel and in the Middle East, and it may have ramifications even out here into the Western World, because it says in verse 7, at this time of conversion and afterward:
“Awake O sword against my shepherd [God’s shepherd here is Israel], and against the man that is my fellow,’ says the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
Israel will be scattered again. This will be a major international event. There is coming some type of war, which, by the time it concludes, two thirds of the people in Israel will have perished. It is a great tribulation. Only one-third will survive (verses 8–9). Then we come to the 14th chapter of Zechariah where the Mount of Olives is the scene, and God Himself, that is Christ Jesus, comes back from heaven to earth, and He puts his feet on the Mount. That is when that image in Daniel chapter 2 will be finally destroyed when that stone (that Nebuchadnezzar saw) carved out without hands comes down and hits the image on the feet. But before this happens there will be a great tribulation upon Israel, and Israel’s remnant scattered. Now that is what it says, but I will not go into more detail because my subject is Iran.
Where does Iran fit into all of this when Israel is scattered at this time? As I said at the beginning, politics in the Middle East can change very quickly. At one moment a nation is on one nation’s side, then a short time later on another. Iran, which is Persia or Media, was in alliance (almost) with Israel back twenty years ago [from 1995]. But when Ayatollah Khomeini came on the scene some fifteen years ago Iran’s relations with Israel deteriorated tremendously. At present the people of Iran are highly hostile and antagonistic to Israel [continuing to April 2006].
That situation will change. When Israel is scattered as described in Zechariah, there will be a change in attitude by the people of Iran. In fact there is coming a King who shall arise, like a Shah of old, and his name is actually given in the Bible. He will aid the Israelis, believe it or not, bringing them back from this scattered condition, just before the second coming of Christ. He will help them return to the land of Israel and reestablish them there.
Not only that, these Iranians, or this King who will rule at the time, will actually help the Israelis build a new temple in the Jerusalem area. And it also says in prophecies that have never occurred in history, in the 50th and the 51st chapters of the Book of Jeremiah, that the Iranians will help to gather nations together to destroy Babylon, indeed, helping Israel to destroy Babylon. That is in the prophecy regarding Nebuchadnezzar and others. That is right. Persia will, near this time of the Second Coming of Christ, actually aid God in doing a reversal, shall we say, of what they have been doing over recent years. Remember that the ten kings mentioned in the Book of Revelation in chapter 17 and 18 shall finally fight against one another, and they will turn on the beast of Babylon and also help destroy Babylon.
There shall be a change of opinion in Persia or Iran coming in the next few years. Now we have quite a number of years — when I say “a number,” I mean it will not happen tomorrow. It certainly will not happen, I am sure, before the 21st century. But in the early part of the 21st century we will come to a period when Israel shall be converted to Jesus Christ. It does not mean everyone shall, but a great number will convert. Then comes this Great Tribulation that Jesus Himself talked about in the Olivet prophecy of Matthew 24. He even said to people that were members of his ecclesia, those of His own group, that they should be aware of what is happening at that time, and flee into the mountains. That also is on the horizon to us.
But before that happens Israel shall get even more powerful. We are looking at a few years down the line yet. But we must keep our eyes on Jerusalem, on Israel, on Iran, and what will happen there. There are several prophecies concerning Iran that have never happened in history.
There was a man who lived in ancient Persia who ruled the kingdom of Persia, the second kingdom of the Babylonian image. That man was called Cyrus. He lived in the 6th century B.C.E. There is another man coming up from the East, from Iran, who will do certain things to help Israel at the end of the age.
Isaiah chapter 40 begins a section of Scripture which differs remarkably of the prophecies in the first 39 chapters of Isaiah. Chapter 40 introduces this end time scenario. In Isaiah 41:2 there is information about this man God will raise up.
“Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.”
Note carefully that this ruler is called a “righteous man from the east.” God calls him and gives him “the nations before him” and makes him to “rule over kings.” The metaphors “as the dust to his sword” and “driven as stubble to his bow” mean that he will easily overcome all opposition. When he fights, this king of the east will prevail. But go on in chapter 41 where this king is again mentioned as being from both the north and the east:
“I have raised up one from the north and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treads clay.”
This is Old Testament language to say that he will have great power and authority. This is the same person here who is coming up from the East, but the North comes into it also. This means East and North of Israel, in the region of Iran. When you come to chapter 44 in Isaiah beginning in verse 24, it says this:
“Thus says the Lord, your redeemer [speaking to Israel], and he that formed you from the womb, I am the Lord that makes all things, that stretches forth the heavens alone that spreads abroad the earth by myself. [This prophecy comes from God.] That frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; that turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish; That confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; that says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited’; and to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ and I will raise up the decayed places thereof.”
The King James rendition “decayed places” just means the waste places. If you note the context, you find that at this time of Great Tribulation, as Zechariah chapter 14 says, Judah and Israel will be scattered again in the Middle East. And at this very time that event will happen.
It says in verse 27 “That says to the deep [the ocean] be dry and I will dry up your rivers. That [he] says of Cyrus” (Isaiah 44:27–28). Cyrus is the man of the North and East, the man who will be raised up. This was written by Isaiah in the 8th century before the birth of Christ, some 100+ years before Daniel, before the typical fulfillment in history. The first king of Persia in the Book of Daniel was named Cyrus, and that Cyrus is a type of the Cyrus prophesied in Isaiah.
This Cyrus in Isaiah’s prophecy deals with the end time, our time today. Things that are mentioned here, particularly in chapter 45 never occurred with the original Cyrus back there, but they will occur with the Cyrus coming up in the next few years. This man has the name of the sun on him, s-u-n. That is what “Cyrus” means. He is a Gentile, not an Israelite, but he will help Israel do something. The former Cyrus in the 6th century before Christ did some of these things in type, but not in great detail, and all scholars know that. If you read the whole passage about what this man of the East is to do, it could not refer to the original and typical Cyrus who was head of the Persian Empire back in the 6th century B.C.E. Recall that Isaiah says that if you want to know the future, look at the past (Isaiah 41:22). 19
“That [he] says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure’: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built’; and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”
At this time of tribulation Jerusalem will have a severe problem, with no temple or anything. This Cyrus will come along, the man of the East, and he will do the job of bringing the temple back into order. How many of us believe that a Temple can be rebuilt in Jerusalem?
It is important to note that virtually all of the people of the Middle East are Muslims. 20 I have been in the Middle East for many years and I have talked with many Muslims to find out their political, theological, and prophetic beliefs. Do you know the Muslims believe that Christ Jesus, whom most Arabs call Isa, will come back to this earth, rule for 1,000 years, and that all people who are Islamic peoples today will have to submit to Him during the 1,000 year rule? Where do they get this teaching? They get it from the Book of Revelation. Why do they get it from there? It is because Muslims believe in the Old Testament, they believe generally in the New Testament, but they also take the writings of the Koran and put it all together. They think that Jesus Christ is the second most important Prophet ever to appear on earth. Muhammad is the most important Prophet. Muhammad went to heaven on his horse Beka [sometimes spelled Boraq] supposedly. Of course, he did not in my view, but they say he did.
Jesus went to heaven also. There is one difference between the two. Jesus, Muslims say, has to come back to earth to rule for 1,000 years. When He is here, He will build a Temple and all people will have to submit to Him for 1,000 years, including the Arabs, including the Muslims. Muhammad, they say, is more powerful. He does not have to come back to this wretched earth. Do you see how they look at it?
How can a Temple be built in Jerusalem? If the Jews today tried to bomb the Dome of the Rock (and they could do so), and if they tried to build a new Temple there [on the false site of the Haram esh-Sharif], what do you think the Arabs, the Iranians, the people of Afghanistan and other Muslim places would do? They would say this is against everything taught in Islam. They would not like it at all. 21
But the people of Islam, all 750 million of them [1 billion in 2006] believe that Isa, that is Jesus, is coming back to this earth. If a man could come back to this earth with a false prophet to give miracle after miracle after miracle, Muslims would think he was the Christ returned to this earth. The Ayatollah Khomeini believed this. [The current Shia religious leaders of Iran believe this.] Most Muslims believe this.
If another man from Iran would come along who was anointed of God, a type of Christ, and “prove” it with miracles, believe me the Muslims, most Christians, and most people on this earth would submit to him to let that Temple be rebuilt. It says in Isaiah 44:28 and then in chapter 45, that there is a man coming out of Iran, out of Persia, who will permit this Temple to be built. He will be on the side of the Jews. 22 At the present time that is not the case with the rulers of Iran
Daniel says that the four kingdoms are coming back into existence in the Middle East at the end of the age. Things are beginning to happen to show the emergence of this very power that the Book of Daniel is talking about. The Middle East is where prophecy will be fulfilled. Iran will play a major part. What we are seeing at the present time is only a prelude to the end.
Who is this Cyrus? Some have said, well maybe it is a reference to Jesus Christ. No, it is not, because when you go into chapter 45, though he has some qualities of Christ upon him (he is actually called the anointed one, one who is anointed, but any priest of prophet was anointed and he has a special role to play), 23 this man’s actions occur before the Second Coming of Christ:
“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.”
These gates are holding in people that they cannot go back to their lands that they have been taken from. This Cyrus will open the gates. Going on:
“I will go before you [God says to this Cyrus], and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.”
This Cyrus (who will be a King of Persia, King of Iran, or another Shah if you want to call him that) will actually have great power from God to do one thing, that is to bring back the scattered Israelites who will survive the Great Tribulation.
“And I will give you [Cyrus], the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord [YHWH], which call you by your name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called you [Cyrus] by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me.”
Remember he is actually named in advance. This person who will do these things in the next few years in advance of us will come from Persia. So you see that could not be a cipher for Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus has known the Father for a long time. This man really is not even an Israelite. He will come from the area of Persia. There are times coming in the near future when a man will be raised up from Persia, who shall help the Israelis come out of the Great Tribulation, help rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, and it will be this Iranian individual who is not even an Israelite. Going on it says:
“I am the Lord [Yahweh], and there is none else. There is no God beside me: I girded you [Cyrus], though you have not known me.”
See the point: “you have not known me.” Here is a man from the East, coming from the North as well. He will do a marvelous work in restoring Israel, and God will bring him into public notice, but he has not known God in the past. He is a Gentile. But he will find out that the God of Israel is the God of the world, of the whole world, and the creator. That is what it says:
“I girded you, though you have not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.”
This man called Cyrus shall establish righteousness in the land of Israel just before the second advent of our Lord back to this earth. This Cyrus is King of Persia, King of Media, King of the area of Elam up in Iran at the present time.
Now I will show you two chapters that deal with this same event of Isaiah. They are Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51. Mark those down to read because I will only discuss a few of about a hundred verses. These prophecies have never occurred in history. The prophecies were given by Jeremiah in the 6th century before Christ. They talk about the destruction of the Babylonian system (these ten toes that will be completely overcome). It names the power that will be used by God to bring the Israelites back from their great dispersal during the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Great Tribulation, which is future to us.
Persia will be a major power in the Middle East just before the return of Christ to this earth. It will be instrumental in helping Israel in their endeavors. A strong man will reform Persia into a power to be reckoned with. He will even aid the Israelis in building a new Temple in Jerusalem. Though we do not know the exact time schedule when this will occur, it looks probable that we will not have long to wait to see the trends developing in that direction. In other words, all the prophecies of the Bible require that a renewed Persia be on the political scene in the Middle East before the Day of the Lord can commence.
The powers that will destroy Babylon are even named. The central power, leading a group of other nations, will be the nation of Media, which is yet another name for Persia or Iran today. That is what the 50th and 51st chapters of Jeremiah say.
“The word that the Lord spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet. Declare you among the nations, and publish [sound, proclaim], and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not.”
A destruction is coming upon this Babylonian system.
“For out of the north there comes up a nation against her [Babylon], which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.”
The nation that will destroy Babylon comes from the north. We will see that the nation of Media or Persia is the one talked about. When this event happens something will occur as far as Israel is concerned.
“For lo, I will raise up and cause to come against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country, and they shall set themselves in array against her [Babylon] and from thence [from the north], she shall be taken, their arrows shall be as mighty expert and none shall return in vain.”
Great nations will come and cut down the Babylonians to a destroyed condition. They will do it because Israel shall be given a chance to not be scattered anymore, and the Israelites will be able to leave Babylon. Read all the way through, where Israel was scattered because of the Babylonian influence of this great beast power in existence at the time of the Great Tribulation. It goes on to explain more in detail:
“Behold a people shall come from the North, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts [sides] of the earth.”
It says later in the same prophecy:
“Make bright [cleanse] the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord [YHWH Himself] has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.”
He says in the next part of chapter 51 that the Israelites scattered during the time of Jacob’s trouble (the Great Tribulation) will be gathered. They will be able to depart from Babylon and go back to Jerusalem. There the Second Coming of Christ will take place and Israel then shall become the greatest nation on earth during the great millennium. Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 speak about the Medes from the north helping to destroy the Babylonian image. This shows that a strong leader is yet to emerge in Iran, with a name like Cyrus who will perform the deeds of his counterpart of old. He and his people will also be responsible for destroying modern Babylon (the area of Iraq). Read all of Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51. Some interesting things are on the horizon in the Middle East. Let us keep our eyes open to prophecy. The stage is being set for the restoration of “former things.”
Those ten kings that are with Babylon at the very end will be destroyed at the same time. Much of the information that we read in these prophecies centers on Israel being in a state of needing help. And who comes to their aid the very last moment? The Medes, the Persians, and this Cyrus, this Gentile from the East. Yes we have much to look forward to in the next few years in the history of the Middle East, and Persia (that is, Iran) figures in very powerfully.
At the close of his ministry Christ left some specific instructions to his apostles.
“The Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch you therefore ... And what I say unto you [the apostles] I say unto all, WATCH.”
All of us (even today) should watch for the signs of events which will precede the end of the age and the Day of the Lord! That is what we are trying to do — and we hope you are too!Let us keep our eyes on what is happening in that area of the world at the present time. What you will see is this: Israel soon will receive a spirit of grace and supplication. They will turn to Yeshua. But that is not the end. There will be the Great Tribulation, Jacob’s trouble. But the Persians, the Medes, will come to aid of Israel, and God will put it in their minds and in their hearts to destroy not only Babylon but to bring Israel out of Jacob’s trouble and back to the land of God’s promise. This is a very interesting scenario of prophecy in the next few years. Let us keep our eyes on the Middle East.
1 This article is from an audiotape by Dr. Martin’s material from August 1995. Some material was drawn from a December 1979 audiotape and a January 1982 “Prophetic Report.” All words in [brackets] in regular text are mine. DWS
2 I am no prophet, nor do I have the slightest prophetic powers to tell anyone what will happen in the near or remote future. I do not have visions or dreams or voices out of the air to tell me the future. I hope most of us do not require those things. What I have is a body of books called the Holy Scriptures. In those Scriptures are prophecies which can be understood. If a person approaches the prophecies from the historical point of view, reading them for what they actually say (with proper translations), we can understand the major events prophesied to occur a few years in advance of us. ELM
3 When he came to power in 1979 Khomeini was not the only Ayatollah of Iran. There were six major Ayatollahs in the area. Khomeini was just the most important at that time. Khomeini died in June 1989. "Ayatollah" is the title of a high-ranking Shiite Muslim religious authority. They generally assume political roles and are regarded as worthy of imitation by those of the Shiite sect of Islam. The Shiite religious Islamic party has been the ruling power in the Iranian “Islamic republic” ever since. DWS
4 Looking prophetically there are things which are far more important than what is occurring in Iran at the present time. Many people wonder if what is happening there is a part of prophetic involvement dealing with the End Times. Are we on the threshold of the times of the end that Christ Jesus told His apostles about on the Mount of Olives some 1900 years ago? Do events in Iran at present involve these End Time affairs which Christ says will take place near His Second Coming reflected in the Old Testament scriptures as well as the Book of Revelation? These are the things we want to look at. No. What is occurring in Iran at present is only a prelude to the momentous events leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. Events occurring in Iran right now are NOT events leading up to the End Time per se. They are just events, you might even say minor ones to begin with, that are getting the area into a proper focus for the big things the Bible says will take place just prior to Christ’s Second Coming. ELM
5 The Book of Revelation is very important, and to combine Revelation with Daniel with all the other Old Testament and New Testament scriptures is really the way to come to a comprehensive understanding of the future. But if you just want to pick one book to observe and look at very carefully to give you a pretty good idea of what will occur in the 7, 8 or 10 years, or maybe a generation before the Second Coming of Christ, the Book of Daniel gives the most profound interpretation. ELM
6 I was in Babylon several years ago [in the 1970s] and I even picked up clay tablets with Nebuchadnezzar’s name inscribed on them and others with his name embossed on them. We know clearly where Nebuchadnezzar was at the time, and here was Daniel talking to this King. ELM
8 In the book of Revelation what do we find this whole system called? It is called Mystery Babylon, and that is the kind of condition we are in today, though we live in the United States of America, or in Britain, Australia, or in the Western part of this world, the democratic countries. We love them, we feel they are the best types of government that have ever been on earth, and I would agree with that 100 per cent. Still at the same time we are governed by Babylonian principles. We are not being governed by the principles of the kingdom of God yet. That will come when this image is destroyed. ELM
9 Verse 4 describes what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in the 4th chapter of Daniel, when in his arrogance Nebuchadnezzar said that he ruled by his own power over all the kingdoms of the world, after which God sent him into a 7-years madness. He had hair that grew like eagles feathers and nails like a bird (Daniel 4:33). Finally a man’s heart was returned to Nebuchadnezzar. ELM
10 People have tried to interpret what those three ribs are. I have all types of interpretations myself, but no one really knows what the three ribs were. Perhaps one of these days we will. But none of us can know at the present time. ELM
11 These ten horns are analogous to the ten toes in Daniel chapter 2. The ten toes are kingdoms that exist when the Kingdom of God is established on earth, but they must be destroyed first. This kingdom is at first iron, but in Daniel chapter 2 we read that the ten kings themselves are iron mixed with miry clay. ELM
12 This is a throne of judgment. It also says the books will be opened and the kingdoms of this world shall be judged for their crimes. ELM
13 See Dr. Martin’s article “The Rebirth of Babylon” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p021001.htm, and the accompanying article “Will Babylon be Rebuilt” by F.E. Marsh at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p021002.htm. DWS
14 Dr. Martin made this statement about these countries in 1979. As of April 2006 Egypt is still one of the poorest nations in the world, but we shall be able to see its resurgence to power in the future. Great petroleum reserves have recently been discovered in Egypt. DWS
15 The brass portion is called Grecia in the KJV, but in the original Hebrew it is “Javan.” This indicates an extensive area including Greece, but also the Balkans region. Then it goes on to the fourth kingdom, and says “in the latter part of their kingdom,” the latter part, right down to the ten toes and all of that, will come this very terrible kingdom, which will be destroyed by Jesus Christ. You must go through Daniel chapter 2, then chapter 7, and now in chapter 8, to get an interpretation of exactly who was meant when it spoke about the head portion, the arms portion, and body portion (of silver), the brass portion, the iron, and so forth. The iron portion is never identified, nor are the ten toes at the end times, at the bottom of the image identified. Nor are they identified in the Book of Revelation, which is interesting. But the first three are identified. The head of gold is Babylon, identified as Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. The second portion of the silver is the bear portion. It is identified as two: Media and Persia, two kings or kingdoms united together, something like England and Scotland. The next one is identified as Grecia, but it means Javan. The rest are not identified. ELM
16 This duality principle for the interpretation of prophecy is also shown in Ecclesiastes 1:9, 3:14–15; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 2:1 — and in the teaching of Peter in Acts 3:19–21 where he said that all that the prophets said in the past would be restored just before Christ comes back to earth. ELM
17 How many years we cannot be certain, but it would not surprise me if this began to happen in 5, 7 to 10, 15 years from now certainly. These things have to start happening and they are clearly described here in Zechariah. ELM
19 Here is the sequence: Isaiah prophesied in the 8th century B.C.E. naming Cyrus and telling of his future deeds. The Cyrus of history lived in the 6th century B.C.E. He is a type of the Cyrus to appear at the end of the age before Christ returns (to fulfill the prophecy about him in Isaiah). DWS
20 Some of them are Shia Muslims like the people of Iran, who are different than the Sunni Muslims. The difference is something like the Protestants and Catholics, so far as Christendom is concerned. Most Arabs are Sunni Muslims. Almost all of the people of Iran [and some in Iraq] are Shia Muslims. The Ayatollah Khomeini who was in charge in early December 1979 was a Shia Muslim. They frequently are at odds with the Sunni Muslims. ELM
21 This portion was from 1979, over 15 years before Dr. Martin began his Temple research (in 1995). In 1979 Dr. Martin (and everyone else) believed the Temple at Jerusalem was near the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine. Dr. Martin’s research proves the Haram esh-Sharif is not the site of the Jewish Temples. DWS
22 The antichrist is not being discussed here. Remember that God says that this Cyrus will be “righteous” (Isaiah 41:2). DWS
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