Cyrus the Great: The Lord’s Anointed

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Cyrus the Great

The Lord’s Anointed

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Cyrus the Great: The Lord’s Anointed

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Never limit who God can use to further His purpose and spiritual plan. After all He once used a thoroughly pagan king and even called him by name years before he was born.

Can God use anyone, small or great, to do His will and work at any given time on this planet? Indeed He can.

The amazing story of the Persian King Cyrus--called Cyrus the Great--is a proof of God’s ability to foretell future events long in advance. Fulfilled prophecy is a key proof that God and His Word the Bible are true. That God uses people with great worldly power (or no power at all) to further His goals expands our view of God and raises the ceiling to reveal the expansive perspective God has on this world.

Isaiah 45 gives us the account of Cyrus:

“Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1 Isaiah 45:1Thus said the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
American King James Version×
).

The double doors and gates reference the entrance to the mighty city of Babylon, thought to be impregnable in its day. The Euphrates River flowed through the city and massive gates. Cyrus figured out a way to divert the water and lower the flow so his troops could enter the city. With the aid of spies planted in Babylon, the doors were flung open in the early hours of the day. What the Babylonians thought would be a long siege turned out to be both short and catastrophic. In the night of the great feast of Belshazzar, according to God’s prediction, the city fell, and the Persians took control. All according to a prophecy made more than 150 years earlier.

Note that Cyrus is referred to as the Lord’s “anointed.” The word is mashiach, and is the word from which we get “messiah.” Because Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of God, some draw a parallel between Cyrus and Jesus Christ. What is significant to consider is God’s view of the man. He is called by God His "anointed.” Cyrus was set apart for a special purpose that preserved this remnant part of Israel and restored their presence to Jerusalem. All this laid the groundwork for the later work of Christ in both His ministry and planting of the Church in the first century.

So Cyrus stands as a powerful proof of God’s ability to fulfill His plan and foretell how He will do it, whether it is hundreds or thousands of years in advance. Cyrus’ accomplishments are a key link in the age-long plan of God. Cyrus worshiped pagan gods. Yet God was still able to use him to fulfill His will. This demonstrates God's power. Proverbs 21:1 Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will.
American King James Version×
states it well: "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes."

This also tells us to temper our words and evaluations of people who may not have a full calling or revelation of God and His plan. Today’s world is just as deceived as the ancient world. God continues to move His purpose for all mankind forward. Could He use someone like a Cyrus today? Yes He could. Can God use anyone, small or great, to do His will and work at any given time on this planet? Indeed He can.

Let this story of Cyrus not only ground us in confidence God’s Word is true, but also give us an expanded view of who He might use at any given time to do His will.