In a previous post, I explained that the Bible says Iran will become a Christian nation. Even as Islamic terrorists bomb airports and subways in Brussels, even as a disgruntled Muslim Taliban member in Lahore, Pakistan, bombed women and children celebrating Easter at an amusement park, God is right now drawing the people of Iran to Himself in the greatest defeat of Islam in its 14 centuries of existence.
How can I say this?
Reason 2: The Research Confirms That Iran Is Becoming a Christian Nation
Establishing an exact number of people following a forbidden faith in a closed country is difficult, but there are processes that help us.
Operation World is a well-known and respected missions research organization that publishes a manual reviewing the condition of every nation in the world. Its latest edition lists Iran as the fastest growing evangelical population in the world, with yearly growth at 19.6 percent. That means the number of Christians in Iran is doubling almost every four years.
In 1979, at the time of the Islamic Revolution, there were less than 500 Muslim Background Believers (MBB’s) in Iran.
By early 2012, Open Doors, a nondenominational organization tracking Christian persecution, estimated that at least 370,000 new Christians from a Muslim background had been added to the rolls, with further growth continuing explosively. Today a conservative estimate of total Christians in Iran puts the number around two million. Iran as a nation has rejected Islam. After 35 years of Islamic rule, the people of Iran have concluded, “Islam is not the answer, but the problem.” As a result, in Iran right now, Islam is experiencing its greatest defeat in history.
The work is far from done, however. The government of Iran and the Revolutionary Guard continue to put obstacles in the way of sharing the Gospel. They are afraid of the growth of Christianity in Iran because they have been powerless to stop it despite arrests, persecution, and torture. They have closed all church buildings, yet they know that the number of MBB’s and underground house churches are growing.
So we can expect the persecution to increase as more and more Muslim-born Iranians turn to Christ.
Will the government be able to stop the nation from becoming a Christian country? God willing, I don’t believe so. By God’s grace, we are seeing the underground church spread throughout the nation, and an “army” of transformed, discipled Christians are loving their family members and neighbors into the arms of Christ.
This transformation that is changing a nation will be the subject of my next post.
Are you shocked? You are not alone. Most people are shocked when I say that Iran will be a Christian country. I don’t blame them. They have formed their view of Iran based on the information they receive from the secular news sources. As a result, when they think of Iran, they may think of nuclear bombs, threats to “wipe Israel off the map,” and chants of “Death to America.”
Knowing what is happening inside Iran, I have a different view.
Over the next several weeks, I will unpack for you the reasons for my confident statement.
Reason 1: The Bible Says So
Many Christians are familiar with Jeremiah 3:17 where the Lord promises that He will set His throne in Jerusalem:
“At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.” (NIV11)
This prophecy is indeed an amazing and encouraging statement, inclusive of not only people of Jewish heritage but also “all nations.” Yet I do not rely merely on God’s promise that “all nations” will subject themselves to His throne when I declare that Iran will be a Christian nation.
In Jeremiah 49:38, God specifically declares, “I will set my throne in Elam.” (Elam is an ancient, biblical name for a region that is a part of Iran today.) Most Christians are unaware of this prophecy, made in the sixth century before Christ and as yet unfulfilled.
But what does it mean that the Lord will set His throne in Iran? I believe it means more than seeing millions coming to Christ, as is currently happening in Iran, or having a country with churches on every corner. I live in Dallas, Texas, where a great number of Christians and large churches populate the area, yet I do not think the Lord would say that His throne is established in Dallas.
I believe our Savior would say this only when He is worshipped by the nation and obeyed in every area of personal conduct, in families, the marketplace, the media, and in education, art, and the government. Yes, this is the future of Iran according to Jeremiah 49:38! Do you believe it? I know when you look at the secular news, believing that Iran will be a Christian nation might seem too big a leap of faith. But the Bible says so, and that settles it.
In times like ours, where widespread war and terrorism make it seem like the enemy has the upper hand, fear of the future often rules our hearts. But the Bible clearly declares God’s victory over physical and spiritual evil in Iran and the world. What are you doing to join God in making it happen? Are you hindering or helping the cause? I pray that you would consider the times and the opportunity before us.
Even as terrorists bomb airports and subways in Brussels, God is drawing the people of Iran to himself in the greatest defeat of Islam there in history. How can I say this? The research confirms it. I will share more on this with you in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, especially as we celebrate this week our Lord’s victory on the cross, I pray that when your neighbor or coworker despairs over the battle against Islam, you will tell him or her, “Iran will be a Christian nation, God willing, in our generation.” Then, as the Lord leads, partner with me to make it so.
Islam demands obedience but provides no power to obey. Muslims are desperate for the power and grace to change that Jesus offers. I want to share with you a quick story of how Jesus is transforming Iran by letting His presence and His power become known to Persians through our ministry. Arman contacted us through email to let us know how Iran Alive’s counselors and satellite television broadcasts (Network 7) helped free him from bondage:
My name is Arman, and I’m 32 years old from Iran.
At the age of 18, I became addicted to pornography. By the time I was 24 years old, I was tired of myself and my addiction, and I didn’t know what to do.
I thought if I got married, I would be healed of needing to watch pornography. But my addiction continued even after my marriage.
It got to a point where I started cheating on my wife. I forced my wife to sleep with others, and I would sometimes find another woman to have a threesome with us.
Then I was introduced to Network 7. When I watched the program, I became disgusted with myself and the things I had done. I felt very filthy!
I contacted your counselors, and little by little the Lord started changing my ways of thinking. I received healing and freedom from this bondage. I now feel God’s presence and strength in my life.
Because of the changes in me, my wife has become interested to learn more about Christ, and she follows Network 7. I have been called to grow in the Lord and work with young people who are in the same bondage. I want to be a soldier for Him.
Praise God for how He is working in Iran! May He raise up an Army of Love that will transform the whole nation in this generation.
*As with all of my posts, names and faces have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
In Iran, there are no above ground churches. Even underground churches, while effective and growing, are only accessible to 1% of all believers due to fear and security. That is where our Global Church for Iran, or Church 7 strategy, provides a lifeline for the estimated 2 million believers who have no other option for church of any kind. No option for fellowship, discipleship, training or encouragement that is readily available and enjoyed by those of us in the West.
Watch this exciting video to see what Iran Alive Ministries is doing about this problem.
Our Counseling Center Ministry recently passed this email from one of our viewers to me. I was greatly touched, as I know you will be, by the Lord’s great mercy and grace in the life of this young lady. Here is the message:
My name is Elizeh. I have a 16 year-old daughter who suffers from depression has often threatened us with committing suicide. As you can imagine, this has caused a great deal of concern for us.
We always watch the Church7 programs but my daughter would never pay any attention to them. One day, when we were watching the program, my daughter was not staring at the wall like she usually did, but she was actually listening. All of the sudden, she walked to the TV and placed her hand on it and started to cry out loud and said, “God I need you and I want to be your daughter!”
The whole family was in tears. As Pastor Hormoz was praying the salvation pray, she repeated after him and gave her heart to Christ.
Ever since then, we have seen great joy in her face. God has given her back to us. I want to thank each and every one of you for the love that you show us through Church7. We pray that you will always stand firm in Christ.
May we see millions of Iranians experience the life transforming power that comes only through our Lord. To Him alone be the glory!
*As with all of my posts, names and faces have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
Without question, Satellite TV is a tremendous vehicle for reaching vast numbers of people with the saving Message of the Gospel. In Iran, it is the safest, most effective and efficient method of reaching millions of people who are hungry for hope.
We believe that a conservative estimate of viewers of our network to be between 3 million and 6 million people inside Iran at any given time. When you consider that there are around 1 million believers in Iran, the overwhelming majority of our viewers are Muslims who are seeking and not yet followers of Christ. Many of these people are high-ranking government officials, top businessmen and key politicians who are looking for hope themselves.
Recently, one of these men called our Counseling Center Ministry to tell of his experience watching our programming. Watch the video to hear his story and learn more about our 2-fold strategy.