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Persia Feels God's Hand - Releases the Jews To Rebuild - approx 538 B.C.

              What?  Releases them to rebuild?  Yes, it's true.  One of the hallmarks of God's doings with His peoples is that He protects them when they are living righteously (or at least trying to), elevating them among the surrounding pagan peoples. He uses prophets and nature (natural disasters,drought, plague, animals) to chastize them when they start to go bad.  He uses the surrounding pagan peoples to further punish them when they really go bad (via wars and incursions), but then He gives them grace among their enemies when they are highly chastized and feeling repentant as they ought to.  Being God, He doesn't always follow this pattern, sometimes doing surprising things, but it's easy to find this pattern in the pages of the Bible and of history, concerning the Jews.

              Now try to name another people in the world that gets treated like this. True, some stories of conquered peoples contain an element of mercy by their conquerers, but with God's people it's just outlandish how far their captors go. 

              Cyrus the Persian in 535 B.C., in the first year of his reign, 70 years after the initial 605 BC invasion by Babylon, pronounced that Jews were free to return to Jerusalem to rebuild God's temple.  Cyrus acknowledges that God is the God of Heaven, that all of Cyrus' s conquered lands and kingdoms were given Him by this God.  Cyrus also says God has appointed him (Cyrus), to build Him a house in Jerusalem (God's temple in Jerusalem, built by Solomon, had been torn down by the occupying Babylonians in 586 B.C. and lay in ruins).

              This neatly fulfilled two prophecies that God sent concerning Judah, one which had mentioned Cyrus, by name, long before he was born.  Isaiah 44:28.  It basically said ' Cyrus, My shepherd, will perform my will. '  And that 'Jerusalem would be rebuilt' and 'the temples foundation will be laid.'  **There still was a temple when this was written!!**   The other prophesy was Jeremiah Chap 29:10  saying 'When 70 years are completed for Babylon I (God) will come and fulfill my promise to take you back.'

              The key is probably in Isaiah Chap 44.45 where Cyrus is named by name, and God enumerates the many blessings He has given to Cyrus, though He specifically mentions that Cyrus does not yet even know who He is.  God says that it is for the sake of 'Jacob my servant' and 'Israel God's chosen one' that Cyrus was elevated to prominence in this way. God affirms to Cyrus that He is the one true God. 

              Imagine being a conqueror like Cyrus was, riding into the formerly 'unconquerable' city of Babylon whch you have taken, and being handed a prophecy written long before your birth.  It denotes you specifically, using your actual name, and it describes a great run of good fortune that you have now already experienced, promising you more, and saying it is for the sake of this God's favored people that all these good things happened to you.  This old prophecy from Isaiah was handed to Cyrus as he entered in triumph into conquered Babylon.  No wonder he was generous.  And he even instructed the people that were neighbors of the departing Jews to give them gifts of silver, gold, live stock, and other treasures for them and the building of their temple.

              It is good to belong to God!!  Praise God always!!. 

              ***Harry S. Truman, US President when World War II ended, was approached by a group of Rabbi's at one time, and they spoke to him basically in private.  The exact details of their talk I've never found recounted.  But it has been written that Israel's head Rabbi at that talk suggested Truman was from birth intended to be God's instrument for Jewish restoration.  Some attest that President Truman there after considered himself to have been raised by God to be a modern-day Cyrus for the Jewish people, so traumatized by the events of World War II, an instrument for their prophetic regathering at the end of the diaspora.  He even gave a recorded speech once, to the Jewish Theological Seminary, in which he openly referred to himself as Cyrus.****            

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