The nation of Iran will be a powerful force during the Time of Distress that marks the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The role of Iran is described in a vision that Daniel received while the people of Judah were in exile in Babylon. After the vision the angel Gabriel appeared to explain its meaning to him. He first explained the timing of the vision's fulfilment.
Understand that the vision concerns the time of the end
I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end (Dan 8:17,19).
The angel makes it clear that the vision will be fulfilled in the later "time of wrath".
Daniel 8 is being fulfilled in our time. The first part of the vision is described in Daniel 8:3,4.
I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
The interpretation of the ram is given in verse 20. The two horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. The people of Media and Persia now make up the nation of Iran.
During the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iranian and Shia spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomenei deposed the Shar of Iran. The Shah had been installed by the CIA and was an American puppet. Iran under the Ayatollah had all the characteristics of the ram; no nation was able to stand against it. Iran was the centre of revolutionary Islam.
During the 1980s, Iran got bogged down by the Iran-Iraq war and lost its leadership role. The next decade was spent recovering from the war. This lull in activity is represented by the gap between the horns. During this time Iran had to compromise with the West, so it lost credibility as leader of the radical Islam. Iran's mantle passed to Al Qa'aida because it was leading most of the action, but Al Qa'ida is a Sunni Wahabbi-based organisation that is opposed to Shia Islam.
With Al Qa'ida under increasing pressure and new leadership emerging in Iran, the baton is being handed back again. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected as President of Iran in August 2005. He is intent on re-establishing Shia Iran as the leading defender of Islam throughout world, the role it had when led by Ayatollah Khomeini.Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his successors are the second horn on Daniel's Ram.
Although Ahmadinejad is not a religious leader like Ayatollah Khomenei (the first horn), he became even more powerful. He has already taken several steps to reclaim the leadership of the revolutionary movement.
Iran-backed militias dominated the southern parts of Iraq that were occupied by the British army. With only 10,000 troops on the ground the British have had little choice but to go along.
The latest election in Iraq has given dominant power to Shia parties closely tied to Iran.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran will recomence the development of nuclear power. This could give it the capacity to develolp nuclear weapons.
All thse actions are a direct challenge to the power of the United States. Iran is declaring that it will not be pushed around by the other nations. Several factors will contribute to this resurgence of Iranian power.
Ahmadinejad is confident that he has the backing of God. He said that when he spoke to the United Nations in September 2005, he felt himself surrounded by light. He felt that the atmosphere changed and the world leaders were unable to blink, as their eyes and ears were opened to the message from the Islamic Republic.
The destruction of Iraq has removed a major obstacle to Iranian power.
Iran now has a population of nearly 70 million, which is more than the United Kingdom. A quarter of the population is aged under 15, which gives it enormous vitality.
Iran has the world's second-largest proven natural gas reserves. In December 2005, Russia cut off natural gas supplies to the Ukraine, placing supplies to Europe under threat. The only alternative source of gas for most of Europe is Iran, so this Russian ruckus will strengthen the hand of Iran.
Iran also has about a tenth of the world's oil reserves, so the United Nations will be powerless against it. Any trade sanctions against Iran will increase the price of oil, the last thing that the world economy needs at this time.
As the United States puts more pressure on Iran, its credibility in the Islamic world increases.
Daniel said that no animal could stand against the ram, and none could rescue from his power. Over the next few years, we will see a revival of Iranian power in a way that surprises the world. No nation will be able to stand against it (until the time when he is to be destroyed by the long horned goat). Iran will do as it pleases an become a really important player on the world stage.
Daniel saw the ram charging to the west, the north and the south. The charging to the south and the north were partly fulfilled in the 1980s. The recent war in Lebanon might be a further butt towards the north.
However, Iran has not yet advanced its power to the south. The only significant country south of Iran is Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates Although the Saudi King is a Sunni Moslem, most of the population of the Eastern Province where most of the oil is found are Shia. The majority of workers in the Aramco, the Saudi Oil Company, are also Shia. They have been subject to Wahhabi persecution and often much of their property has been seized.
Iran might attempt to expand its power by stirring up the Shia majority in Saudia Arabia. This could be the ram's charge to the south.
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