Many including Osama Bin Laden and others have viewed themselves and acted as forerunners to the Mahdi.
New evidence has emerged that the Iranian government sees the current unrest in the Middle East as a signal that the Mahdi--or Islamic messiah--is about to appear.
CBN News has obtained a never-before-seen video produced by the Iranian regime that says all the signs are moving into place -- and that Iran will soon help usher in the end times.
While the revolutionary movements gripping the Middle East have created uncertainty throughout the region, the video shows that the Iranian regime believes the chaos is divine proof that their ultimate victory is at hand.
'The Coming is Near'
The propaganda footage has reportedly been approved at the highest levels of the Iranian government.
It's called The Coming is Near and it describes current events in the Middle East as a prelude to the arrival of the mythical tweflth Imam or Mahdi -- the messiah figure who Islamic scriptures say will lead the armies of Islam to victory over all non-Muslims in the last days.
"This video has been produced by a group called the Conductors of the Coming, in connection with the Basiji -- the Iranian paramilitary force, and in collaboration with the Iranian president's office," said Reza Kahlil, a former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards who shared the video with CBN News.
Kahlili, author of the book, A Time to Betray, worked as a double agent for the CIA inside the Iranian regime.
"Just a few weeks ago, Ahmadenijad's office screened this movie with much excitement for the clerics," Kahlili told CBN News. "The target audience is Muslims in the Middle East and around the world."
To watch the video in its entirety, visit Kahlili's website.
The video claims that Iran is destined to rise as a great power in the last days to help defeat America and Israel and usher in the return of the Mahdi. And it makes clear the Iranians believe that time is fast approaching.
"The Hadith have clearly described the events and the various transformations of countries in the Middle East and also that of Iran in the age of the coming," said a narrator, who went on to say that America's invasion of Iraq was foretold by Islamic scripture--and that the Mahdi will one day soon rule the world from Iraq.
Other 'Prophetic' Signs
The ongoing upheavals in other Middle Eastern countries like Yemen and Egypt--including the rise of the Muslim Brotherood -- are also analyzed as prophetic signs that the Mahdi is near -- so is the current poor health of the king of Saudi Arabia, an Iranian rival.
"Isn't the presence of Abdullah, his illness, and his uncertain condition, great news for those anxious for the coming?" asks the narrator.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khameini, and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah, are hailed as pivotal end times players, whose rise was predicted in Islamic scriptures.
The same goes for Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, who the video says will conquer Jerusalem prior to the Mahdi's coming.
"I think it's a very grave development," Mideast expert Joel Rosenberg, author of The Twelfth Imam, told CBN News, "because it gives you a window into the thinking of the Iranian leadership: that they believe the time for war with Israel may be even sooner than others had imagined."
Kahlili says The Coming is Near will soon be distributed by the Iranian regime throughout the Middle East. He explained that their goal is to instigate further uprisings in Arab countries.