January 18, 2020
Subject: “Angels We Have Heard On High” Part 3 – Past to Present: The Lord Jesus in Iran
Psalm 110:1 “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your Enemies Your footstool.”
The chorus we have been studying in the Christmas Carol ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ is this one: “Come, adore on bended knee… Christ the Lord, the newborn King.” This week we examine the third element of evidence it contains for the truth claims of Christianity – the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We will use as evidence what has been happening in Iran, a country 99.4% Muslim, for the past 10 years.
Since Iran’s leading terrorist, Major General Qasem Soleimani, was killed on January 3 by an American military strike, America has been on high alert for how they might retaliate. But within Iran, there is a more significant movement that is not getting the media attention it deserves. Iranians in droves are professing Jesus Christ, not Allah, as their Lord. And this movement of the Iranian people is at the cost of their lives. You see, Muslims confess that Jesus is one of their greatest prophets, but He can never be their Lord.
Open Doors, a non-denominational mission focused on strengthening persecuted Christians worldwide, ranks Iran as the 9th most dangerous place in the world to live if you profess Jesus Christ as your Lord.
Here’s some information on their website on Iran’s attitude toward Christians: “Iranian society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights of and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. Christians are forbidden from sharing their faith with non-Christians in Iran, and it is illegal to produce Christian literature or hold church services in Farsi, the most common language in Iran. If Christians attend an underground house church, they face the constant threat of arrest. Secret house churches are monitored and frequently raided, and dozens of Christians are imprisoned in appalling conditions.”
In her August 2018 article, Lindy Lowry of Open Doors documents this phenomenon: “As persecution against Christians intensifies in Iran, the church is standing strong. In fact, it’s growing! In this Middle Eastern country where conversion from Islam and sharing your faith are illegal, Muslims are rapidly coming to Christ – so rapidly that Iran’s government leaders are acknowledging the church’s exponential growth.
Addressing a gathering of Shia Muslim leaders, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, openly admitted to summoning Christian converts for questioning, saying that mass conversions ‘are happening right under our eyes.’ Alavi admitted his agency is collaborating with Muslim religious seminaries to combat the perceived threat of mass conversions to Christianity across the country.
In his speech, Alavi also admitted that ‘these converts are ordinary people, whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things.’ According to Article 18’s Advocacy Director Mansour Borji, this admission represents a ‘huge shift’ away from Iran’s usual rhetoric that converts are agents of the West who have undergone significant training to undermine national security. ‘It is also interesting to see the intelligence minister admit to ‘whole families’ converting,’ Borji said, noting that this is ‘an admission that such conversions are far from a rare event; rather they are happening en masse, and across the country.’
Jesus Himself proclaimed, and many like the Iranian people agree, that He is not only the Christ, or Anointed Messiah, but He is the Lord. In this week’s verse, Jesus quotes from words recorded over 3,000 years ago by Israel’s King David to challenge the religious elite of His day: “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The LORD said to my LORD, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your Enemies Your footstool.’ Therefore, David himself calls Him ‘Lord’: how is He then his Son?” (Mark 12:35-37). Jesus is making a striking claim to Lordship.
The first word for Lord is YHWH, God the Father and the great ‘I AM’ of Exodus chapter 3. But the second word for Lord is ‘Adoni’, which means the ‘Lord of all the Earth’. It appears to be two Gods talking to each other through King David, where YHWH is speaking to ‘Adoni’. But Jesus is saying that the Anointed Messiah, who must come through the lineage of King David and is therefore born after David, existed before David was born as David’s Lord! That means ‘Adoni’ is the Lord God who created David.
Jesus is explaining the Virgin Birth and the Trinity in one verse! The Anointed Messiah is Lord over all the earth. The apostle Paul, like King David and the Iranian people, have confessed this truth that leads to their eternal home in heaven: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). The Lordship of Christ – alive today in Iran.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.