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Iran in Turmoil
Where will it lead?
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July 31, 2009 - Audio, 9.00 MIN
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Welcome to this week's edition of the Bible in the News. This is Paul Billington with you again this week, scanning the news for events which in one way or another demonstrate the Truth of the Bible. Most frequently this connects us to Bible prophecy, and so it is again this week as we see Iran in an uproar-- near revolutionary situation--as opposition leaders and protesters confront police and the government of Ahmadinejad.
Also we have seen in news headlines Iran's boast that they can hit Israeli nuclear facilities. One of their Generals was quoted as saying:

"There is nothing stopping us from targeting Israel's nuclear sites and this will definitely happen if we are attacked. our rockets have the precision capabilities to target all the Israeli nuclear sites."

At the same time Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barack responds with making the statement: "Anything it takes to stop Nukes." "We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table" he said.

Of course, the pressure is now mounting to persuade Israel to voluntarily give up any nuclear capability it may have--and everyone with any sense knows where that would lead. The whole world knows!

But as we have pointed out on this programme before, it is the Bible that tells us the truth about Israel AND about Iran (the Biblical Persia). Our listeners and readers will be familiar with Ezekiel 38:5 which we have quoted many times. They will be familiar as well with Daniel's prophecy, both chapter 2 (the silver part of the metallic image) and the second beast of chapter 7 which is a bear. Persia (that is modern Iran) appears quite prominently in prophecies connected with the latter days.

In 1854 John  Thomas wrote an exposition of Daniel's prophecy and wrote about those things connected with Persia. He noted the transfer of power from Babylon to the Medes and Persians and then explained the future destiny of Persia. This is how he explained it--I quote:

"This transfer of the government occurred B.C. 542. Its mission was to restore Judah's Commonwealth, and to extend the boundary of the Kingdom of Men. "ARISE DEVOUR MUCH FLESH," was the policy of its reign. The Bear was the symbol of this government, whose dominion extended from India to Ethiopia, over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces. The reign of the Bear began under a Mede, and in two years passed by inheritance to Cyrus, a Persian. This change of position was represented to Daniel in the saying that "IT RAISED UP ITSELF ON ONE SIDE," so that one side became "higher than the other;" but before it raised itself up, the higher side was no higher than the other; therefore the higher side acquired its position last, as appears in the history of the time. The Ram in the eighth chapter, with horns of unequal height is another symbol for the same government; the unequal elevation of the sides of the Bear, and the different altitude of the Ram's horns, are conditions representative of the same dynastic peculiarity--'THE HIGHER HORN CAME UP LAST.'

"The Bear had also another peculiarity worthy of note. 'It had three ribs in the mouth of it between its teeth.' These ribs represented the threefold division of its conquests. The interpretation is found elsewhere in these words of Daniel: 'it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, who should be over the whole Kingdom; and over these, THREE PRESIDENTS, of whom Daniel was chief: that the princes might give account to them, and the King (the Bear-Mouth) should have no damage.' The three presidencies, then, of the silver dominion were the ribs in the mouth of the Bear.

"In dismissing this symbol, it is worthy of remark, that while the RAM, by which the Persians represented themselves in Daniel's time, is their symbol in relation to the Macedonians under Alexander, the Deity hath chosen for them the BEAR to signify them as an element of the image in the latter-days. The latter-day symbol then of Persia, is a Bear; and a Bear is at this time her formidable neighbor, and has already taken from her a large portion of her territory. The Russian Bear is destined to supersede her present government as an independent sovereignty, and to grasp Persia between its teeth from near India to Ethiopia, which is to be "AT HIS STEPS." This is no mere conjecture, but absolutely certain; for Yahweh has declared by Ezekiel that Persia shall be an element of Gog's confederacy, and that Gog's is the Russian power will be seen when I come to treat of the King of the North at the time of the end. The Ram continued 206 years and 9 months."

So wrote John Thomas in 1854.

This is a remarkable exposition of Daniel's prophecy bringing it into harmony with that of Ezekiel. What interests us now is the feature of the Bear, for prophetically it refers to Persia, but as everyone knows it is also identified with Russia. So note the statement by John Thomas written 155 years ago:

"The Russian Bear is destined to supercede her (Persia's) present government as an independent sovereignty, and to grasp Persia between its teeth, from near India to Ethiopia..."

As we watch the government of modern Persia--Iran--descending into chaos and near revolution, we could well ask what the outcome might be? Is this the time when Russia might "grasp Persia between its teeth?"

Well, something has to happen in order to solve the Iranian threat to both Israel and the world. The United States is reluctant to move into Iran for several reasons. Despite all the sabre-rattling it is unlikely that Israel would go it alone. So really, who would complain if Russia grasped Iran in the interests of Middle East and world stability? Many--including Arab countries--would applaud such a move.

We have to wait and see of course. We watch--that's all we do--we "watch."

Looking at the prophetic word in 1854 John Thomas declared that a move by Russia against Persia was "no mere conjecture, but absolutely certain; for Yahweh has declared by Ezekiel that Persia shall be an element of Gog's confederacy."

There is no doubt that that prophecy requires this. The question is, what might bring it about--and when might it occur? This is the sort of development we watch for when we talk about the Bible in the News. This last week for example, Russia joined hands with Iran in joint military exercises in the Caspian Sea. The stated reason given was that of joint interest over oil and the environment. Well, we have seen Russia's oily friendship with others, especially in Europe. When the Bear hugs its neighbours we have to question the motives. Daniel 11:41 says "... and many countries shall be overthrown," and Iran just may be one of them.

So continue to watch with us here on Bible in the News. And by the way--if you want more in-depth coverage of this and other issues, send for the Bible Magazine. It is published 4 times a year and frequently deals with events in the News from a Bible perspective. You can click on the "subscribe" button in the Right hand column of our on-line print version of this programme.

Join us again next week God willing.

Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!