October 7, 2020

Go Up to Jerusalem in Judah and Build the Temple of God

Ezra 1:1-6

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“This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the LORD, “and will make it desolate forever” Jer 25:11-12

The people of Israel were taken captive to Babylon as a result of forsaking God’s covenant. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would end when the “70 years” ended. This prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus king of Persia; King Cyrus conquered Babylon and released the people of Israel from the Babylonian captivity.

Then Cyrus made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

“The 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. Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.”

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of God in Jerusalem. All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.

King Cyrus defeated Babylon and freed the exiles from their captivity, although he could have kept them as slaves. Moreover, he acknowledged the God of Israel, whom he had not known, as the true God and gave glory to Him over and over again. It was because he was very surprised to find that the Bible had already foretold his name and also prophesied about his defeating Babylon over 170 years before.

Cyrus realized that his conquest of Babylon was a fulfillment of God’s prophecy, not something that he did by his own power. This moved his heart so deeply that he tried to fulfill the remaining parts of the prophecy concerning himself. Since he knew that everything would be fulfilled according to God’s prophetic plan, regardless of his own will, he kept in step with the prophecy.

The people who believe the prophecies act differently from those who don’t. They realize that they have a part in the fulfillment of the prophecies and act in accordance with them.

Now, the prophecy that nations will come to the light of Jerusalem’s glory and kings to the brightness of Her dawn is unfolding into reality before our very eyes (Isa 60:1-11). Let us arise and shine the light of Jerusalem’s glory. All the remaining prophecies will also be fulfilled without fail sooner or later.

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