Iran (MNN) — Christians with an eye on biblical prophecy are growing wary.
Formerly known as Persia, Iran is mentioned in Ezekiel 38’s prophecy as having a starring role with Russia in End Times events. Persia and Rosh (Russia) are described as having a military alliance intent on invading and destroying Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, key talks between Iran’s defense minister and his Russian equivalent took place back in January. The pair were reportedly developing a mutual defense agreement “to prevent foreign meddling.”
“The situation in the region and the world requires that powerful Russia and powerful Iran jointly promote strengthening of international security and regional stability,” Brigadier General Hosein Dehqan told Interfax.
Now, Iran is putting blame squarely on the U.S. and Israel for current Middle East turmoil.“If not for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and its unwarranted support for the inhumane actions of the Zionist regime [Israel] against the oppressed nation of Palestine, today the terrorists would not have an excuse for the justification of their crimes,” Iran’s President told the UN General Assembly earlier this week.
Amid the disturbing developments and suspicions, there’s good news coming from Iran, too.
Take *Amir, for example.
Amir’s pathway to Christ began in 2004. A friend invited him to an underground church in Tehran, “to see how Christians worshipped.” Amir accepted his friend’s invitation and was forever changed.
“That was amazing! The worship with songs, and [it was a] peaceful place,” he shares in broken English.
“I can’t say with words that feeling I had.”
Fast-forward to 2008: Amir has accepted Christ as his Savior and is actively serving in Tehran’s Underground Church.
“My father said, ‘This is your choice. It’s not a problem, but be careful,’” recalls Amir with a smile.
During this time, Amir also attended university, where he studied Printing to one day take over his father’s publishing business. Shortly thereafter, Amir’s pastor approached him with a proposition.
“My pastor one time told me, ‘We have a project for [the] youth group,” Amir says. “‘We want to print [a] magazine for the youth group; can you print it?’
“I said, ‘Yes, of course!’”
Everything went fine until 2010, when the church’s Christian magazine attracted government attention. Iranian officials began “putting pressure” on Amir’s church, and even interrogated his pastor.
“The pastor told me, ‘Delete every file of that magazine,’” recalls Amir. “The government said, ‘You advertise another religion’…and, you know, Iran is the Islamic Republic.
“[Islam] is very important for the government, because if you delete the Islamic in the Republic of Iran, you have to change the government.”
By God’s grace, Amir’s father had connections in all the right places. He first contacted a friend who used to practice law in Tehran, and this man advised Amir to flee the country.
“If you stay here, 100% they [the government will] find you,” the man told Amir.
The next call was to friends in airport security. Since Amir’s name hadn’t yet been added to the official watch list, “I fly to Turkey three years ago.”
Immediately joining a Persian-speaking Church, Amir took another crucial step of faith.
“In Iran, I [couldn’t get] baptized because it’s very difficult for us to baptize,” he explains. “I [got baptized] in 2013 in Istanbul.”
After studying theology, Amir began teaching new believers about the Christian faith. He also registered as a refugee with the United Nations, in hopes of one day reaching America.
Under UNHCR mandates, refugees wishing to re-settle outside their source nation must have sponsors willing to take them in and help them adjust.
Working through a U.S.-based ministry, a retired missionary helped make Amir’s dream come true.
Arriving a few weeks ago on U.S. soil, Amir is now stepping forward in faith and trusting God with the results.
“I know I’m here because this is part of the plans of God.”
Will you keep him in your prayers?
*name changed for security reasons