Cyrus the Great
That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd,
and shall perform all my pleasure:
even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built;
and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Nearly 150 years before Cyrus was born, the prophet Isaiah foretold his birth, his name, and the tasks that the Creator God had predetermined for him to accomplish. The Bible records that certain people are foreordained to be born and carry out specific tasks for God during their lifetime and a few of these individuals are even named before their birth. Cyrus the Great was one of these individuals whom God had predestined to play a pivotal roll in his awesome plan for humanity.
King Cyrus was an extremely important person, because God destroyed the Babylonian empire through him, and brought a close to a seventy-year punishment of the Jews that God imposed on them for their rebellion against him. Also through King Cyrus, God set into motion his seventy-week prophecy that fixed the year for the Messiah’s death and resurrection, and reveals the sequence of events and dates for the Messiah’s return which will bring to an end human rule of the earth, and usher in the government of God to rule over the entire earth.
Although historians have slightly differing interpretations and views of the historical record concerning the dates of Cyrus’ birth and death and his various accomplishments, there is ample historical documentation that Cyrus the Great was indeed a real person whose name is mentioned 23 times in the KJV Bible and whose tomb in Iran can be visited today.
In Volume 1 of his historical works, The Greek historian Herodotus records that, before Cyrus’ birth, King Astyages dreamed that out of his daughter Mandane flowed a stream of water that filled his capital and flooded all of Asia. When he asked the interpreters of dreams what this meant, they told him that his pregnant daughter would have a son who would overthrow his rule.
In order to stop this perceived threat to his rule, King Astyages sent for his trusted servant Harpagus and told him to kill and bury his daughter’s child as soon as it was born; however, Harpagus could not bring himself to kill the newborn child and instead gave him to a shepherd and his wife to kill. But, they were also unwilling to kill the child and instead reared Cyrus as their own.
Harpagus’ reluctance to kill the infant Cyrus and the emotional attachment to the newborn child by the married couple shows the Creator God’s hand at work to fulfill his plan for Cyrus. See Isa.45:10-13.
Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou?
or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,
Ask me of things to come concerning my sons,
and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
I have made the earth,
and created man upon it:
I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens,
and all their host have I commanded.
I have raised him up in righteousness,
and I will direct all his ways:
he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives,
not for price nor reward,
saith the Lord of hosts.
Cyrus’ Cylinder containing the decree for the return of the exiled Jews to their home land to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple.