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Is Modern-Day Iran Ancient Persia?

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The following article, Is Modern-Day Iran Ancient Persia?, was first published on The American Vision.

I posted a few comments on Mark Hitchcock’s site where he was promoting his third (or is it his fourth) book on Iran and Bible prophecy. I can’t find what I posted, so I’ll post some of what I wrote there.

First, Mark Hitchcock writes a lot of books on Bible prophecy from a dispensational premillennial point of view and gets them published by Harvest House and Thomas Nelson.

His latest book is Showdown With Iran (2020):

Showdown with Iran: Nuclear Iran and the Future of Israel, the Middle East, and the United States in Bible Prophecy by [Mark Hitchcock]

Before that he wrote, Isis, Iran, Israel and the End of Days (2016):

ISIS, Iran, Israel: And the End of Days by [Mark Hitchcock]

Before that, he wrote, Iran the Coming Crisis: radical Islam, Oil, and the Nuclear Threat (2006).

Hitchcock is not doing biblical exegesis; he’s doing newspaper eisegesis.

Nearly all his books are about the end times. Here’s his latest of the latest:

Corona Crisis: Plagues, Pandemics, and the Coming Apocalypse by [Mark Hitchcock]

The advertisement copy for the book reads, “In Corona Crisis, professor Mark Hitchcock will share how the current coronavirus outbreak is related to the vivid, end-time biblical prophecies about plagues, pestilence, and pandemics” based on a misapplication of Jesus’s statement that there would be “pestilences in various places” as a sign of his coming (Luke 21:11).

Of course, Jesus was outlining signs that would be a prelude to His coming in judgment against Jerusalem before that contemporary generation passed away (21:32).

As I point out in “Is Revelation 6 a Prophecy About Today’s Pandemic and Other Apocalyptic-Like Events?,” there have been numerous plagues throughout history much worse than the Coronavirus and people thought it was the prelude to the coming apocalypse.

As to plagues in the lead up to the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus (AD 37–c.100) “mentions both pestilence and famine as the immediate preludes of the storming of Jerusalem. They were due, like the plague at Athens [430 BC], to the vast masses of people — Passover pilgrims — who were at the time crowded in the city.” [1]

The Roman historian Suetonius wrote that there was such a “pestilence” at Rome during the reign of Nero that “within the space of one autumn there died no less than thirty thousand persons, as appeared from the registers in the temple of Libitina.” [2]

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What should we make of the claim that modern-day Iran is fulfilling the prophecies about Persia?

First, Persia is not a nation; Iran is a nation.

Second, Persia in the Bible was an empire that encompassed more than modern-day Iran.

Third, a comparison of two maps will show this to be true. The first map is of modern-day Iran:

Map of Iran

Here’s a map of the Persian Empire that includes Libya, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan :

Map of the First Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire) around 500 ...

They are not the same. The extent of the Persian Empire is described in the book of Esther: “Now it took place in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces” (1:1).

  1. F.W. Farrar, The Gospel According to St. Luke, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: At the University Press, [1880] 1910), 316.
  2. C. Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Nero, 39.

Continue reading Is Modern-Day Iran Ancient Persia?

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