Today’s Iranian regime denies the Holocaust and has made no secret of its wish to wipe out Israel. Ayatollah Khamenei is a far cry from the Persian King Cyrus: he who permitted the exiled Jews in Babylonia to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple could be described as the first Zionist. Article in the Evangelical Christian Patheos Press.
King Cyrus the Great was the first to make a public declaration of
human rights for the Jews in an empire that included 127 provinces
spanning from India to Ethiopia. One hundred years before Cyrus’s birth,
the prophet Isaiah referred to Cyrus as “God’s anointed” and “God’s
shepherd.” (Isa. 44:28; 45:1).
King Cyrus enabled the Jews to
return to their homeland in Israel to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem.
He also returned 5,400 Temple items of gold and silver to the Jews,
which King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem to Babylon,
present-day Bagdad, Iraq.
King Cyrus declared,
LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and
he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in
Judah.” (Ezra 1:2-4).
King Darius I greatly admired
Daniel, who first lived in captivity in Babylon, as a scribe in the
court of Nebuchadnezzar. Later, Daniel lived in Susa, the Persian
Empire’s capital, present-day Shush, roughly 150 miles east of the
Tigris River, near Iran’s southwestern border. Its capital later became Persepolis, an architectural wonder.
Daniel’s writings unite Old and New Testament historical events with apocalyptic literature. He recorded Darius’s exaltation:
protect my country from foes, famine and falsehood. … I issue a decree
that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God
of Daniel. For He is the living God and He endures forever… He rescues
and He saves; He performs signs and wonders … He has rescued Daniel from
the power of the lions.” (Dan. 6:26-27).
efforts were made to halt Temple rebuilding efforts, King Darius
instructed that, “full costs be paid to the Jews from the royal treasury
out of the provinces beyond the River, and that without delay.”
Additionally, those who protested against the Jews were ordered to
provide them with food—daily— or be impaled against the beam of their
homes, which would become a “refuse heap.” (Ezra 6).