THE PERSIAN BEAR IS STIRRING

The people living in Iran often call themselves Persians. This is an ancient name that is found in history and is also recorded in the prophetic scriptures. The Persian Empire was a major empire in the time of Daniel, and expanded its territory into the area now known as Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, the ancient Persian Empire extended over the same part of the world that is now one of the strongest Islamic territories in the world.

In Daniel chapter seven, the Persian Empire was identified with the symbol of a bear. In Danielís time, scholars indicate that the bears of Persia were some of the largest in the entire world. Throughout history, the Persians have played an important role in secular and prophetic history. Today, the nation of Iran is not only the heart of the ancient Persian land, but Iran is one of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38 that will form an Islamic coalition against Israel and attack the Jewish state on the northern mountains of the Holy Land.

With the United States troops occupying the land of Iraq, the Iranian Islamic leaders are concerned that the United States will set its attention upon their radical and fanatical leadership. The majority of Iranís population (about 75-80%) is under 35 years of age. This group hopes and believes for a time when they will return to a democracy. Iran was once under the leadership of the shah of Iran, a monarch who permitted religious freedom and expression. However, in the late 1970s, Iran fell to the hands of the Islamic radicals who have now taken full control of the nation. There are pockets of people who have spoken out against the Shiite leaders, only to be arrested, beaten up, or even killed for their resistance.

Recently, the Iranians began to make threats against the United States and Israel. It is believed they have an active nuclear program and in a short time will have nuclear warheads capable of reaching a city in Israel. Iran has said that if America invades their country or Israel pre-empts a strike (as they did against Iranís nuclear reactor several years ago), then Iran will use their weapons against Israel and also attack America in some way.

Many of the insurgents actively assaulting our troops are Shiites with ties to Iran. The religious leaders in Iran hope that America will fail in Iraq or pull out prematurely, because this void would enable them to take possession of many places and cause an insurrection using weapons and forces from inside Iran. The Iranians should listen very carefully: Israel and America will not stand back and allow Iran to use nuclear weapons against their population. Israel presently has the ability to make Tehran "glow in the dark" for some time. We know that according to the prophet Ezekiel, Persia will be one of the countries that will be defeated on the mountains of Israel. Once again, we can see how prophetic stepping-stones are all around us and how the prophetic scriptures are in the process of being fulfilled before our very eyes!

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