JD: Maybe we could start by talking about where the name Iran comes from.
DJ: That’s a great question and the answer will probably surprise a lot of people. The last official name was Persia in the Western world until 1935. And what happened in 1935 was that the Iranian Ambassador to Germany had come under the influence of the Nazis who of course were advancing the idea of the superiority of the Aryan race. They were using this as an excuse to exterminate the Jewish people. So because of this influence by the Nazis the Iranian government told other countries to refer to it as Iran or the land of the Aryans because that’s the name of the country in the Persian language. So the ethnic history behind the term Aryan that’s where the name Iran comes from, from Aryan.
When we think of the Biblical Persian Empire which was first established by Cyrus the Great in the 500 BC that was far larger than today’s Iran.
JD: And you just mentioned that Cyrus the Great established the Persian Empire. What do we know from Scripture concerning how God used Cyrus the Great?
DJ: Well in Ezra 1:1&2 we read that it was in the first year that Cyrus the Great stirred up his heart and commanded him to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem that “The word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled”. Amazingly Isaiah actually does mention Cyrus by name; something that’s very rare in Biblical prophecy that you have a specific name like that.
In chapters 44 & 45 of Isaiah he specifically talks about Cyrus some 150 years before he even lived. “Cyrus he is my Shepard and he shall preform all my pleasures.” Same to Jerusalem, “you shall be built and to the Temple your foundation shall be laid.” Then in fulfillment of prophecy this combined Medo-Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians. And it was this fall of the Babylonian Empire that set the stage for the Jewish exiles to return to their home land in three ways. First to rebuild the Temple, then to restart the Temple service, and then finally to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It’s an amazing set of prophecies.
JD: David James explaining how the modern day state of Iran got its name.
We report this information because it is setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
It is so interesting that the nation of Iran changed their name from Persia to Iran because of the influence of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The Persians also developed a hatred for the Jewish people as well from Adolf Hitler who hated the Jews. That hatred has driven the Iranians to want to wipe the Jews of the face of the earth, that their name be forgotten forever, that’s Psalm 83:4.