Iran’s government has been heading down a troubled path for many years. In this third post, I consider what we may expect spiritually in Iran in the coming months.
The Iranian government is between a rock and a hard place. It has too many multifaceted problems and is fighting too many unwinnable wars. Besides their internal problems, now they must respond to Trump’s action and threats. These issues impact how the government will treat Christians and how the people will respond to the gospel message.
Funeral of Qasem Soleimani, Tehran, Iran on 6 January 2020.
Photo: Maryam Kamyab and Mohammad Mohsenifar
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
The Islamic Regime’s Problems
- Bad economy. The economy is bad because of sanctions, poor decisions, and weak economic infrastructures. Iran can solve none of it. A lack of financial resources will continue to pressure the government. They have been reducing subsidies. If they become unable to pay salaries to government employees and especially the revolutionary guards, the whole government will implode. Even if they suddenly want to shore up the economy’s foundation, they cannot because the system is not designed for such corrective action. So the economy is an unsolvable problem for them.
- Corrupt government. Corruption is so rampant that it has become an integral part of how the government governs. The US$150 billion that they received under Obama’s administration sped up corruption in Iran. Many people in power wanted a piece of that pie. Those who want to eradicate corruption cannot do it because the top clergy and their families are the major players in it. So corruption is another unsolvable problem for them.
- Oppositional population. The people are against them. They came on the streets to protest the economy, and they faced bullets. As a result, their hatred of the government and even Islam itself has increased. The regime reportedly killed over 1,500 people within the past two months. They have not allowed the families of the dead to gather and mourn, and they arrested those who tried. That means the parents of some of those who were killed are now in jail because they publicly mourned the loss of their son or daughter. The government has lost the people’s heart, and there is no way to gain it back.
- Military Threat. Now they have President Trump threatening them with action. It started with the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, but Trump made it very clear that he is ready for more. They have no solution for that. If they do nothing, they look weak. For 40 years, they have lied to the people of Iran, telling them that Iran is a superpower. Now they are in danger of being found out and losing respect and credibility. This threat may give people hope that their government is not as strong as it claims and that it could be toppled. If so, this hope will encourage them to continue their protests and oppositions.
The Spiritual Impact
- More salvations. I predict that in the next six months, we will have an accelerated number of Iranian Muslims who will come to Christ. This expectation is not new. We saw a similar occurrence ten years ago. During the Green Movement in 2009, the government killed, raped, and tortured many people. The government’s brutality unmasked the true face of Islam to many: a heartless religion that devalues human life. Because of what they saw, many people who were undecided about Islam beforehand became sure that Islam is not the way. Thus, they became open to the message of the gospel. Even some fanatic Muslims—people who were sold out to Islam and opposed Christianity just a few months prior—came to Christ. How do we know? Because they contacted us and shared their stories. Likewise, we expect that in the next six months, we will see a surge in salvations among those who used to be devoted Muslims—even among the clergy and government officials!
- Fewer persecutions—temporarily. Because the government has too many problems to fight, for the next few months they will not focus on destroying Christianity as they have when they have had the money and time. If their negotiations prove successful, however, and they can bring back a more normal situation to Iran, then they will start a new wave of Christian persecution.
- More intense persecution. They will arrest fewer people, but they will act harshly toward them—that is, long jail terms and even execution. They will want to make an example out of the few they arrest to put fear in the hearts of other Christians and stop them from evangelizing, fellowshiping with other Christians, or connecting to organizations outside Iran such as Iran Alive. As Christianity grows and the government feels more out of control, it will intensify the persecution.
- Greater opportunity for Christians to be salt and light. As the darkness grows, the light can have more impact because it has the power to destroy the darkness. Light in the midst of the darkness is easily seen and very attractive. So this is the time for Christians to be different. In the midst of the nation’s desperation and hopelessness, Christians can bring the hope of Christ.
On our channel, we encourage Christians to behave differently than their culture expects. We ask them not to be afraid, not to lose hope, but to continue in faith, to love others, and to share their faith with others. We tell them that no matter what happens, even if there is a war, God will still be with them and stay faithful to His promises. We tell them, “Continue to show Christ to the people around you in your actions and talk because no matter what, you know that you are the winners. Iran will eventually be a Christian nation according to Jeremiah 49:38.”
These are critical times. What happens in Iran will impact the Middle East, and what happens in the Middle East will impact the world. Let’s be awake and alert. Let’s see where God is working and join him.
What Can We Do?
Let’s listen to God more than we listen to the news. When we listen to the news, we will be reactionary—reacting to what has happened—that is, reacting to what Satan has done. But when we listen to God, we will be proactive. If we listen to the news more than God, then we will always be a few steps behind Satan because we must first hear what he is doing and then try to stop him. But when we listen to God first, we stay several steps ahead of Satan. God wants us to be proactive and be several steps ahead—not behind—what Satan is doing. God wants us to listen to him more than we listen to the news.
Know the will of God and do it. This is the time to act. I have felt a great urgency in my soul the past few months that we should act and act now. With what we see happening in Iran now, I know that feeling of urgency was and is from the Lord. The time is short, and the days are evil. We must be wise and not fools. We must know the will of God and then do it (Eph. 5:15–17). Before us is a historic opportunity to make Iran the first Islamic nation that turns to Christ. We know it will surely happen because He promised it (Jer. 49:38), but we also know that He wants to accomplish His will through us. Let’s join together to do His will and make history in Iran and the Middle East.