Within Islam there is a belief that there is a coming messianic figure, referred to as the 12th Imam or Mahdi. Although this belief is more or less universal across the sects of Islam, the Shiites have a particularly fundamental perspective on the Islamic teachings regarding the 12th Imam. And these teachings ought to be taken very seriously by the West and the Church.
Iran is a predominately Shiite nation, and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is evangelical in his beliefs. He sees himself as called by Allah to usher in the reign of the Mahdi, and that the Mahdi will unite the Muslim world, ruling from Iraq and bringing peace. However, to bring forth his appearing, terrible destruction must first be in place, as well as the destruction of Israel. Ahmadinejad has made no secret of his hate for the West and Israel, and has spoken publicly of his desire to see “Israel wiped off the face of the map”.
Ahmadinejad now sees the recent unrest in the Middle East as “prophetic” signs that the Mahdi is near. However, intelligence also suggests that Iran have been manipulating the troubles to bring about their own agenda. Iran have been circulating videos throughout the Middle East calling on the people to rise up and over-throw their rulers, sympathizers of the Iranian regime have infiltrated these countries, like Egypt and Yemen, in a bid to seize power and make alliances with the Iran.
As previously stated, the Mahdi will only appear after the destruction of Israel, and seeing Jerusalem in Muslim hands. What are the West doing? Ahmadinejad sees America as weak at this time, and looks to capitalize on her weakness, by pressing forward with their nuclear ambitions. The Church is called to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”, however half the church is anticipating the destruction of Israel. This is especially a time for the Church to stand in the gap for Israel; and pray for America, that she will once again be a friend and ally to Jerusalem.