Ever since being elected President of Iran in June 2005, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad has used every means he can not only to drive Iran
backwards to the days of the Islamic Revolution, but also to drive
it forward to become a world leader in belligerence. Ahmadinejad is
driven by ideology. He believes his divine calling is to hasten the
coming of the Mahdi (the Shia messiah, the Hidden 12th Imam) and
prepare Iran to receive him. According to the myth, the Mahdi, who
supposedly disappeared in the 9th Century, will return from his
occultation (concealment) in the well behind the Jamkaran mosque on
the outskirts of Qom during a time of world chaos. He will lead the
apocalyptic battle between good and evil and establish the global
rule of Islam.
Convinced the Mahdi’s return is imminent, Ahmadinejad is preparing
Iran to receive him. Various infrastructure projects are underway
for the Mahdi’s benefit, and Ahmadinejad has vowed to rid Iran of
Christianity and all other offensive non-Islamic influences and
practices. He is also agitating world chaos by inciting anti-
Semitism, advocating genocide, bolstering his arsenal, courting
dictators and stoking tension across the globe. According to the
myth, when the Mahdi returns from occultation Jesus will return
from heaven to be his follower and pray behind him. Jesus will
fight against the Dajjal, the deceiver or false messiah. There will
be an apocalyptic battle between good and evil and Jesus will
declare Islam to be the true religion and convert all Christians to
Islam. The world will be transformed into a perfect Islamic society
ruled over by the Mahdi. Then the Day of Resurrection will come.
Hezbollah, an Iranian asset, holds the same ideology.
Persecution against the Iranian Church increased as soon as
Ahmadinejad was elected. In the latest incident an Iranian
Christian named Issa Motamadi was imprisoned for his faith on 24
July in the north-western town of Resht. He will soon stand trial
before a Revolutionary Tribunal. According to sources, Issa and his
wife Parvah, both converts to Christianity, came to the attention
of the authorities seven months ago when they decided to give their
new-born son a Biblical, Christian name. A security official is
said to have advised Issa to renounce his faith. He also intimated
that it may take several executions before Iranians actually
comprehend the reality of the religious situation. There are
rumours that Parvah may also be targeted. The family desperately
needs a lawyer courageous enough to advocate with conviction for
Issa’s and Parvah’s rights. Issa’s mother, who is not a Christian,
is traumatised by the situation. All their Christian friends will
be at risk.
Observers are concerned Ahmadinejad may increasingly persecute
Christians while the eyes of the world are on the conflict in the
Levant. But he who made the eye does see! (Psalm 94:8-11) So we
appeal to Christ, who has promised to build his Church, and to whom
all authority in heaven and earth has been given for the benefit of
the Church (Ephesians 1:22).
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:
* the Lord to stand against, frustrate and confound those rulers
who ‘plot together against the Lord’ (Psalm 2), especially
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the leaders who
support his agenda against the Church.
* God’s Holy Spirit to do an amazing, powerful, subversive work in
Iran, revealing Christ as Messiah, Redeemer, Saviour and friend.
* Issa & Parvah Motamadi and their young son, as well as their
pastor, Christian friends and extended family, all of whom could
be at risk along with Issa. May God protect and keep them
physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and give them
strength and a profound experience of his presence.
* God to provide Issa Motamadi with an advocate and with the right
words to speak (Matthew 10:19), and may all things work together
for the Kingdom and glory of God.
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
IRAN STRIVING TOWARDS ISLAMIC APOCALYPSE
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is driven by his Shiite
ideology. He believes the Mahdi (Islamic messiah) will soon return
to Iran to lead the apocalyptic battle between good and evil.
According to the myth, the Mahdi will return during a time of world
chaos. Ahmadinejad believes he is called to hasten the Mahdi’s
coming and prepare Iran to receive him. Accordingly Ahmadinejad has
vowed to rid Iran of Christianity and all other offensive non-
Islamic influences and practices. Persecution has escalated and
another believer, Issa Motamadi, was imprisoned on 24 July. A
security official has reportedly advised Issa to renounce his
faith. He also intimated that it may take several executions before
Iranians appreciate the reality of the religious situation. Please
pray for Issa, his wife and young son, and for the Church in Iran.
REJOICE – BHUTAN: BELIEVERS RELEASED FROM PRISON
In RLP 382 (14 June 2006) we requested prayer for two Bhutanese
believers imprisoned for sharing the gospel. On 29 July,
International Christian Concern was informed that Benjamin and John
have both been released from prison and reunited with their
families. We thank God for his mercy. May God bless the Church in
Bhutan, and may the nation be blessed as it emerges from isolation
and repression into openness and liberty. May God frustrate those
who would seek to frustrate this transition!
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RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.