The importance in Scripture and prophecy of Iran and Iraq is apparent in the mention of Babylon, a city located about fifty miles south of what is now Baghdad and the famous dwelling place of demons.
Her full title in Revelation 17:5: “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.”
The name “Babylon” appears, by our count, 273 times in Scripture — to give one an idea of its historicity.
A warlike city-state, flush with money, it was used by the Lord to chastise Israel when Israelites strayed into idol worship and other sins.
“Mystery, Babylon.” A mystery, indeed. Might we also wonder over “Mystery, Persia”?
That territory is what is now called “Iran.” And it is no less significant. At its peak, Persians controlled an empire stretching from Libya and Turkey across Egypt, much of modern-day Israel, parts of Iraq (including, at certain points, Babylon itself), Syria, Iran itself, other nations in the Mideast, then on to Afghanistan and Pakistan — in short, the hottest of geopolitical hot spots, as we see in our own time.
What is it about this region that causes such vehemence, hatred (in the name of Allah), and vitriol; that causes amazing fanaticism? Is it inbreeding? Is it a religion based on the false premise that killing others — innocent others, including the young — is serving God?
Or is it also supernatural?
Have the “jinn” — pagan genies or spirits spelled out in Islamic teaching — obumbrated and infested the populace?
Jinn is an Arabic collective noun deriving from the Semitic root jnn, whose primary meaning is “to hide” or “to conceal.” Some authors have interpreted the word to mean, literally, “beings that are concealed from the senses.” Cognates include the Arabic majnūn (“possessed”, or generally “insane”).
That pretty well describes suicide bombers and entire segments of these populations in this region — in Mystery Persia –bent on violence with each other and particularly with Jews and Christians (savagely kill, and then denounce others as “the great Satan”).
Where Muslims rule, there is more often than not brutality — whether it’s public floggings, assassination-by-dismemberment, or cutting off hands (for theft) in rather sedate nations like Saudi Arabia, fervid internecine battles in Iraq (with Kurds), revolutions, civil war (Lebanon), bombings in Damascus, civil war in Syria, skirmishes in Egypt, the threat of nuclear war between Muslim Pakistan and India, or war between Turkey and Cyprus — with Iran and Iraq (Mystery Persia) tallying a disproportionate share of the conflicts and threats. For a while, the island of Thassos off Greece was under Persian control (but taken back by the Archangel Michael: see here).
Curious it is to note how, when an angel was sent to help Daniel (Daniel 10:10), the angel was delayed for twenty-one days by the “the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” a principality or territorial demon whose blockage was only overcome when the Archangel Michael arrived to assist.
As an evangelical website notes, “Why does such a powerful demon as the Prince of Persia and the mighty angel Michael come into play? Because when it came to Israel, the Persian Empire stood out as the major empire that ruled over Israel during Daniel’s time. The Prophet Daniel earlier in chapters 2 and 7 prophesied about the world empires that would affect Israel over the next few hundred years. He started with the Babylonia Empire, which had first exiled the Jews. The subsequent empire was the Medo-Persian Empire, and then eventually the Greek Empire, and finally the Roman Empire. These empires stood out as the Gentile nations which trampled Israel, and their Gentile descendants will continue to trample Israel until Jesus Christ returns.”
That principality was not alone. There were other “kings of Persia.” Who and exactly what they were or are remain a mystery.
But we are left with the notion that major demons — and one in particular — hover or hovered over that region, so powerful that the hold can be broken only by the likes of the great Michael — who now, in these days, should be invoked as Babylon and Mystery Persia once more create mayhem.