As COVID-19 drives many to ponder their meaning in life – especially their spirituality – and with signs of insurrection in Iran, thousands in the Islamic Republic are coming to faith in Jesus Christ in what is being called a “Pandemic of Hope.”
“Iran is facing a wave of internal turmoil and covert attacks that are undermining the radical regime's nefarious plans,” CBN News reports. “Even as the violence escalates, hope is rising among Iranian citizens who are finding salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Seeking freedom from Christ over tumultuous tyranny
The peace of Jesus Christ is being sought by thousands upon thousands of Iranians as chaos escalates in the Islamic Republic of Iran, while its leadership continues to be an aggressor to its neighbors – especially Israel.
“Whether it's the exploding coronavirus, mysterious fires at nuclear and military facilities or protests, Iran's ruling Islamic clerics are facing unprecedented challenges as the regime tries to maintain an iron grip on the nation,” CBN News divulged. “In the latest military incident, Israel struck an Iranian-backed weapons facility and military positions in Syria … [with] the missile strike south of Damascus reportedly kill[ing] five Iranian fighters and injur[ing] a dozen others.”
The crackdown on those believed not to be invested in the Islamic terrorism-supporting regime has ramped up of late.
“[O]n Monday, the government executed a man it convicted of spying for the CIA and Israeli intelligence,” the CBN report noted. “Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd received that sentence for allegedly passing information to the CIA about the whereabouts of General Qasem Soleimani – the powerful leader [who] was killed in a U.S. drone strike earlier this year.”
Foundation for Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow Alireza Nader – an expert on Iranian affairs – says Iran’s dictators are weeding out dissentients out of fear of an insurrection.
"This is a regime that's facing a possible rebellion in the near future,” Nader told CBN. “Regime officials talk about it, so they are executing a lot of people to put fear into the public."
This comes after numerous recent arsons and blasts ignited by dissentients throughout the rogue nation.
“On Sunday, fires broke out at a military installation near Tehran – a shipyard in Bushehr – and a key power plant connected to Iran's Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan, [with] similar incidents happen[ing] across Iran since June,” the report continued.
The author of Rise and Kill First, Dr. Ronen Bergman, maintains that such uprisings are evidence of a concerted effort to topple the jihadist regime.
"This cannot be a coincidence," Bergman argued, according to CBN. "This cannot be just a series of accidents without malicious intent from someone."
In addition, Israeli-Iranian tensions have escalated to both overt and covert warring between the nations.
"Israel is specifically trying to stop the transfer of very advanced, precise munitions to the regime's proxies – like Hezbollah – and also wants to slow down the Iranian nuclear program," Nader stressed.
On the American front, President Donald Trump is reportedly taking action to wipe out a number of Iran’s essential infrastructures by giving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the go-ahead to launch more offensive cyber-attacks.
Burgeoning faith amidst unrest
Amidst the pandemic, internal strife and backlash against the oppressive Iranian regime, a growing movement of thousands leaving Islam for Christianity is well under way.
"That's why we are calling this a pandemic of hope," Mohabat TV Operations Director Mike Ansari stressed to CBN.
Ansari – whose Christian satellite channel is one of the most popular in Iran – shared that the number of online salvations reported to his ministry is 10 times greater than last year’s count in July.
"We are registering around 3,000 personal decisions by Iranian Muslims to leave Islam for Christianity during this revival [since the onset of the pandemic in March]," Ansari continued. "People in Iran are just not happy the way their economy is going, the way the government is robbing them of their national resources and exporting Shia Islam to the neighboring countries, so they just don't trust their government."
As a result of the flood of Muslims turning to Christ, Iranian officials have been targeting the Church since March by arresting and imprisoning dozens of Christians.
"During these critical times for the regime, there's a tendency – historically – for the regime to really crack down on religious communities like Christian converts, and we see that today," Nader reminded CBN News.
Iran is one of the world's most dangerous places for Christians, yet Christianity is growing faster in Iran than in any other country in the world.
But well before COVID-19 and the latest government crackdown, Iran was dubbed late last year as “the fastest-growing church” in the world in a documentary by Dalton Thomas, Joel Richardson and Marco Moreno called Sheep among Wolves. A September Fox News report on the film called the revival “an underground, persecuted Christian movement in a country known for exporting radical Islamic terrorism – Iran.”
This tide of new Iranian converts to Christ is taking place in a country that has been rated yearly as one of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians on Open Doors’ annual World Watch List -- currently ranked as an "extreme persecutor" at number nine.
Not just Iran
Iran is not the only place where God is using COVID-19 to change hearts.
“The top English-language Bible on Google Play and App Store was installed almost 2 million times – the highest amount ever recorded for March – according to Appfigures,” NewStatesman.com disclosed in late April. “Similarly, one of the UK’s largest online Christian bookstores, Eden, has seen physical Bible sales rise by 55% in April, while Google searches for ‘prayer’ and ‘Christianity’ have skyrocketed.”
Hard times have pushed people toward Christ on a global scale.
“The pandemic has triggered a ‘historic spiritual moment,’ says Dr Rowan Williams – the former archbishop of Canterbury – who is unsurprised by the growth in Bible reading,” the April article added. “He notes that engagement with online church services is also booming, and that it is a response to feelings of disorientation, fragility and fear caused by the crisis.”