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Tuesday, January 1 2013
The Decrees Of The Persian Kings
The people of Judah were taken away into exile in Babylon by 586 BC because they became rebelliously corrupt to the LORD. Unlike the Kingdom of Israel, that never to this day returned (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes), for the sake and purpose of the coming Messiah, the people of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), the descendants of the original exiles, were allowed to return after seventy years. That prophecy of the return was stated before they left, by "the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah."
"36:15 And the LORD God [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God] of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets [see The Prophets: North and South and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets], until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God [see also The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today], great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
The return of Judah would occur after the Babylonian Empire had itself fallen, to the rising Persian Empire (Persia is known today as Iran).
"36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
The people of Judah who returned, led by Ezra and Nehemiah (see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah) and others, would find a city still in ruins. The rebuilding of the city and the Temple would be further hindered, first by people who had moved into the land during Judah's absence. The squatters "hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia." Amazingly, the rebuilding was impeded, for years, by "hired counsellors" i.e. lawyers.
"4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah] heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; 4:2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.
Artaxerxes was a reigning Persian king, after Cyrus (who had permitted the people of Judah to return, with the stated purpose of rebuilding the city for Judah), who accepted the argument of the lawyers, who were representing the unlawful squatters of the land.
"4:6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Artaxerxes then issued a "commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded."
"4:18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. 4:19 And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. 4:20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them. 4:21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. 4:22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?" (Ezra 4:18-22 KJV)
The result was that the rebuilding work was stopped, as it remained until a new Persian king, Darius, took the throne.
"4:23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, along with Zerubbabel, then led the resumption of the rebuilding. Once again, a complaint was sent to the ruling Persian king, this time by "Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and their companions."
"5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.
The result would be different this time because the king was made aware of the original decree by Cyrus.
"5:6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king: 5:7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus;
When the original decree was found, Darius not only upheld it, but added his own decree to it.
"6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 6:2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:
Darius further added to the legal authority of the original decree of Cyrus - including a penalty that anyone who interfered with the building (presumably, including the lawyers), that "whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon."
"6:6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: 6:7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.
So it was that the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were rebuilt.
"6:13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily. 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 6:15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
Fact Finder: What incident marked the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire?
This Day In History, January 1
45 BC: The Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar (see The Politics Of Rome), began to be used for the first time.
42 BC: The Roman Senate posthumously deified Julius Caesar - an irony and/or a hypocrisy, considering that he had been assassinated by Roman Senators in the Senate itself (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
193: The accession of Pertinax, the 19th Roman emperor (see New Testament Roman Emperors).
990: Russia adopted Rome's "Julian" Calendar.
1500: Portuguese explorers landed on the coast of South America; they named the place Rio de Janeiro ("River of January").
1502: Portuguese explorers landed on the coast of South America and named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January).
1515: King Louis XII of France (1498-1515) died at age 52. Francis, Duke of Angouleme, succeeded Louis as Francis I.
1583: Rome's Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Belgium (see Pope Gregory's Calendar).
1651: Charles II, son of Charles I, was crowned king of Scotland.
1773: In Olney, England, the hymn "Amazing Grace" was first played, by John Newton.
1785: London's oldest newspaper, The Times, began publishing as the Daily Universal Register.
1801: The Act of Union of England, Scotland and Ireland formed the United Kingdom.
1804: After leading a rebellion against the French colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent of France.
1833: Britain claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
1863: Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that formally freed all slaves in the U.S.
1871: While German armies besieged Paris, a new German Reich, with the king of Prussia, Wilhelm, as its inaugural emperor, was proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
1877: Queen Victoria of England was proclaimed empress of India.
1894: The Manchester Ship Canal in England began operation.
1901: The Commonwealth of Australia began with Edmond Barton as its first Prime Minister.
1912: China became a republic following the Wuchang Uprising.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German submarine U-24 sank the British battleship Formidable in the English Channel, near Plymouth.
1925: The capital city of Norway, known as Christiana since 1674, resumed its name of Oslo.
1934: Alcatraz became a U.S. Federal prison. The U.S. today (2013) has the highest civilian incarceration rate in the world, with 737 U.S. citizens in every 100,000 behind bars; the U.S. has only 5% of the world population, but its citizens compose 25% of the world's incarcerated (apart from the many military and political prisons and "interrogation centers" that are operated by the U.S. military and CIA around the world).
1946: Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced that he was not a god.
1947: The Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 came into effect, thereby converting British subjects into Canadian citizens. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King became the first Canadian citizen.
1950: In sovereign defiance to United Nations and Vatican pressure to make Jerusalem an "international city," nearly the entire Israeli government was transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah).
1956: Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt.
1958: The 1957 Treaty of Rome took effect, establishing a six-nation European Economic Community among West Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
1959: Cuban communist forces under Fidel Castro overthrew the CIA and Mafia-backed (the Cuba scenes in the Godfather movies are historically correct) regime of Fulgencio Batista and took control of the government of Cuba. The people of Cuba went from being ruled by a fascist dictator to being ruled by a communist dictator.
1973: Britain, Ireland and Denmark entered the European Economic Community, now called the European Union.
1975: During the "Watergate" criminal investigations, John Ehrlichman (Counsel and Assistant to the President), John Mitchell (United States Attorney General) and H.R. Haldeman (White House Chief of Staff) were found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury.
1981: Greece was admitted as the 10th member of the European Economic Community.
1992: Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt succeeded Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru as United Nations Secretary General.
1993: Independent Czech and Slovak Republics were established from the former Czechoslovakia.