In a manner akin to various messianic national strains in Western thought (such as the American city on a hill), R.K. Ramazani describes Iran’s vision of itself as the Redeemer Nation. Here is an extended quote from his book:
The key to understanding Khomeini’s concept of Islamic world order is the idea of the vilayat-e faqih (rule of the leading jurisprudent). The concept of hukumat (government) in his political thought is rooted in that of vilayat (rulership), a rulership that belongs to God, to the Prophet Muhammad, to the infallible Imams (ma’sumin), and, by extension, to the learned and pious faqih. To the faqih belongs temporal as well as spiritual authority, which he should exercise in the absence of the Twelfth Imam, who will appear (zuhur) ultimately as the Mahdi (Messiah) or the Sahib-e Zaman (master of the age) to establish just and equitable rule.
The rule of the faqih during the waiting period, or before the appearance of the Mahdi, is preparatory to the ultimate establishment of “Islamic world government” by the Mahdi. In other words, the faqih paves the way for the Mahdi’s eventual creation of just and equitable government throughout the world. But where will the way be paved for the fulfillment of that divine promise? In Khomeini’s own words, “the way will be opened for the world government of imam mahdi…once the governments of the meek will be [are?] established.” But in Khomenini’s view and in that of his disciples so far, “the government of God” has been established only in one country, and that is Iran, as a result of the Iranian Revolution. It has been established, in Khomeini’s words, in ” a country which wishes to establish divine justice in the world, first of all in Iran itself.” It is more than implicit in the view of Khomeini and his close adherents that because of this unusual rule of the faqih, it is Iran that is uniquely qualified as a nation to pave the way for the ultimate founding of world government by the expected Mahdi.
Since the virtuous government is in the process of being established in Iran, it is Iran that has become, as it were, the “redeemer nation.” As such, it is Iran that aspires to spread justice throughout the world and, to borrow Prime Minister Mir-HusseinMusavi’s words, to make possible “the liberation of mankind.”
[end of quote]
I see parallels in this system of thought to the rule of the Judges in Israel. Khomeini sees a chain of authority from:
Muhammad (and the inscripturated will of God in the Qur’an)
The infallible Imams of the past
The modern jurists (AKA clerics)
In Israel, prior to the reign of Saul you had God ruling via the judges meditating on his law as revealed to Moses. Meditating on the law and being filled with the Spirit caused the judges to grow in wisdom. In our age the Church should disciple the nations and one part of this discipling is to reflect on ALL of the inscripturated Word of God in order to grow wise at whatever we set our hands to do. The primary difference is that no one nation on earth is going to be a redeemer nation, exporting God’s rule to the world. The Church itself is the redeemer nation that consists of every tribe and tongue. Khomeni’s vision is of course flawed because:
[a] It is based on a false god and a false scripture.
[b] It suppresses dissent via massive state-sanctioned violence. It sacrifices the teaching role for conversions with an iron fist.
[c] Islam does not adequately discern between the nation and the people of God.
The fruit of this Revolution is tragic. People who are zealous for god and thirst to expand his rule fail because they reject the true God as revealed in Jesus the Messiah. Further, the blind hatred for the State of Israel is a demonic madness which clouds all the rest of their thinking. Also, suppressing internal dissent by torture, beating people with pipes, chains and other meansdoesn’t not seem to accord well with the benevolent revolution promised by Khomeni. Still, because it is a perversion of the true vision of the true God for the world, the Shia Islamic vision of a chiliastic perfection has an attraction in our age.