Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cyrus the Great

Today’s┬áReading: 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 for 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 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 few days.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

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!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

On Canadian media, one of┬áthe most outspoken opinion commentators is Ezra Levant. 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,

David

P.S. Check out Ezra Levant’s website (click here). This Jewish lawyer is the leading advocate for the rights of Evangelical Christian Institutions such as Trinity Western University. The liberal left is persecuting this excellent law school.. Please stand with Ezra!!!

 

4 thoughts on “Sunday, July 19, 2015

  1. Hi David
    I totally enjoy reading through all these historical books showing the hand of God. What a great turn of events as God speaks and direct Cyrus – and He obeys allowing God’s people to return to build the Temple in Jerusalem. It reminds us of the Sovereignty of God. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

    Thank you also about your comment yesterday regarding David & Kathy Reynolds of World Embrace, work in Uganda. His photos are amazing. One idea is to put these in a book with short descriptive captions which could be a great fund raiser. I also think financial support directed towards them and their ministry is a great idea. “The servant is worthy of his hire”. I will be making a gift towards this and pray that others may also feel led to do so. Every blessing to our God, our great Provider through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Thanks for 100 words.com. May God continue to bless you with health and strength as God continues to use you & your wife for the Glory of God.
    Samuel

  2. You need not be concerned about the 100+ words necessary for comments on your 100 Words Blog. No one expects you to be limited in such a way as that. Please take all the words necessary to do justice to what you glean from the passage of scripture for the day. I always find the extra words you use very interesting and helpful.

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