Friday, July 19, 2013

Cyrus the Great

Suggested Reading: Ezra 1-2

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

The Temple that Ezra rebuilt was an earlier version of what is depicted in this model from the time of Jesus. Today, a Muslim mosque, known as the Dome of the Rock (seen in the background), is located on that same Temple Mount.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.


Key Verse: Ezra 1:2b-3

“…He [the Lord God of Heaven] has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May his God be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.” Cyrus the Great, Ruler of the Persian Empire.

Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and released the Jews from captivity, encouraging them to rebuild the Temple. Today’s reading records that the amazing treasure, which Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had stolen from the original Temple of David and Solomon, was returned to the Jewish people. Several years later, after the death of Cyrus, the new ruler, Darius (of Daniel’s den of Lions fame) had to search for the memorandum Cyrus had written ordering the new Temple to be built (Ezra 6:1). It might be useful to us to read Daniel 6:25-28. Darius also had a high view of the God of Israel. Queen Esther and the potential persecution of the Jews is in the mix here also. Hopefully in the next two weeks, as we proceed through Ezra and Nehemiah, we’ll get the history sorted out adequately.

Cyrus the Great is named in an amazing prophecy. Approximately 150 years before Cyrus came to the throne, in the writings of Isaiah (the only book which is complete in the Dead Sea Scrolls), the actions of a ruler named Cyrus in the restoration of the Temple and Jerusalem is predicted (read Isaiah 44:24-28). God, who created the cosmos, could surely have let His prophet Isaiah know in advance what His plans were. Those who choose to not believe will surely say that this was added to the book of Isaiah after the event.

The historical record of these events outside of the Bible is impressive. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “In 538 B.C. these events happened as recorded in the Bible.” Add to that the Cyrus Cylinder (a most unusual archeological artifact – I’ve seen a replica) which tells the story exactly as the Bible records it, and of course Josephus, the Jewish historian also records the story.

This first commentary on Ezra is way over 100 words. An economy of words hopefully will follow in the next days.


Lord God of Israel, You are faithful to Your promises to Your ancient people. I pray that I will have the faith given to me so that I too will trust Your promises which You have made over and over in Your Holy Word to all people at all times. Amen!


On Wednesday this week I sent an e-mail to Ezra Levant, the most outspoken opinion commentator on television in Canada. I invited him to check out my blog, particularly because he is Jewish and obviously named after the scribe, Ezra. I did not mention to him something he no doubt already knows, that his last name, “Levant” is the description of the name of the area once ruled by Cyrus, which extends from the Euphrates River (Babylon) on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and from southern Turkey to the tip of the Sinai in the south. It seemed to be a cultural and geographic region which had at one time been ruled by King Solomon, and later by the Assyrian Empire.

Also, I could not help but think of the far-reaching impact of the social and political actions of Cyrus. He developed the model which would be used by Rome and even the British Empire, i.e. local rulers who owed their power to the Emperor. Remember, one of the titles of Queen Victoria was, “Empress of India.”

Yours for have a far-reaching impact on today’s world,



11 thoughts on “Friday, July 19, 2013

  1. With regards to Cyrus King of Persia, God will use whomever He desires to accomplish His will and to complete His purposes. We might not know a lot about the heart of Cyrus, I trust that he was a brutal conqueror just as were many of his contemporaries. However, God must have touched his heart uniquely; it would be interesting to know how God touched this man that he would graciously send the Hebrews back to their land to rebuild their temple. Nothing short of a miracle of God could have accomplished this task, I’m sure. Nothing is impossible with God!

  2. God conquered the seemingly impossible by restoring the temple and treasures back to Israel from the Babylonians. We know in His timing, He is also able to restore the events of today which do not conform to His loving standards and dictates. It is amazing to see Cyrus’s restoration prophesied in Isaiah. If we could only have such documents today to refer to for our future. Actually, we do. Scripture! All will conform in due time, driven by love. Had to return early from camping due to the extreme heat (and love for my wife!). Read daily and caught up. Have a great day everyone!

  3. amazing facts from our amazing God…so thankful for your daily work and excellent input from fellow bloggers…thank-you!!!

  4. Scott, you are so right NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with God.

    Amazing reading today of King Cyrus and how he returned the people to their homes and to the rebuilding of the temple. Also to read the links to Isaiah and Daniel. We can be assured of God’s promises and stand firm….His timing is always perfect and HE is never late!!

    Thanks for sharing the poster Pastor David. Unfortunately we will always have opposition but if we stand strong on The Word of The Lord He will take care of these things in His time.

    Be safe and COOL on these hot days. Blessings!

    • P.S. Beverlee, thanks for the update on Heather. Praise The Lord she is free from the pain, and to know she is enjoying each day The Lord gives her with family and friends. I am sorry the cancer had not ceased in the liver and colon and pray she will not have too much discomfort there.
      Continuing to bring you and her before The Lord.

  5. Incredible message and learning, today. So looking forward to the next few weeks of reading, to uncover more of the mysteries of the Bible in Ezra and Nehemiah.

    I read a wonderful message, this morning, in Streams of the Desert, which I will share just a part of:

    ‘To have a sympathizing God we must first have a suffering Savior, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him.

    ‘We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a savior must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

    ‘The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of the tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.

    ‘The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best-shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.

    ‘Strange and difficult indeed
    We may find it,
    But the blessing that we need
    Is behind it.

    ‘The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.’
    Streams of the Desert, Cowman, July 19, p. 228.

    God bless you, fellow saints!

    • Hi David, Thank you for a great study today, as always. Ezra 1:1 says He(The Lord) stirred the heart of Cyrus. This is another confirmation that our all powerful, all knowing and ever present God is able to turn the hearts of men for his purposes. He has everything under control, and here we see that the Jews were sent, if they wanted to go, back to Jerusalem to build the Temple and resettle the land, no war, just handed to them on a plate so to speak. He cares about us in the same way! Let’s turn our tribulations into blessings! l try to remember that whatever l go through , l can pray for others going through similar things and have a greater understanding of , where they are at. Got a bad back? Pray for backs, Got a problem child, pray for others going through the same etc. We can bless and be a blessing even when it doesn’t make sense to the carnal mind. This way God gets the glory and we all win!

  6. The kings of the time were used of God, some loved Him and some tried to destroy Him, no matter what God’s word stands strong and will never falter……I so enjoy ‘our morning devotion’ together, thanks to all who do respond, their words are read daily…..Its not so hot out here in the west as we are still working on the flood areas… to all.

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