57 Isaiah / Part 2 (6)


The Lord of justice

Isaiah 45:1-8
U Corinthians 5:17-21
T In a plan of God

 A text of this morning begins with "Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed,"(45:1). There is it in 44:28, "It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire,'", but in here, a person called Cyrus appears in order to play an extremely important role as "His anointed" and "My shepherd". I think that a plan of God to Israel and a message to us of the present age are told through this Cyrus, and I want to hear it this morning.

 I have said here that "he appeared", but, in fact, this Cyrus lets the Jews return to Jerusalem, who became prisoners in Babylon, and he is King Cyrus of Persia who started an Imperial ordinance of the Jerusalem shrine rebuilding. Because it was in the times after 140-150 years of Isaiah, even a country such as Persia much less Cyrus did not still gain power. Therefore progressive bibliologists of the present age assume that it was written down after the return of prisoners in Babylon realized this point by Cyrus and separate it with prophet Isaiah. And they took a opinion of the times of nameless prophet (it was named "the second Isaiah"), after return of prisoners in Babylon. However this prophet tells that it is realized not in the past-shaped tense but realized by the tense of the future form with "He will let My exiles go free," by Cyrus. Prophets of the Bible tell a future event being as a future thing, as a past event being past at least. To that consciousness, I think that we of the present age must not add anything and deduct it, too. Because the future form that prophet tells is a decision matter of God, we must establish it in us well, there is not a strange thing essentially at all, even if it points 100 or 50 years, nor 5 or 6 years. In this sense, the appearance of Cyrus would have matched in a plan of God.

 I have said a little difficult things, but I wanted to convey the thought that I merely admired it, to this prophet who points at 140-150 years later achieving a name "Cyrus".


U After time of 70 rose

 This Cyrus appears in the last of UChronicles. "To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete. Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia - in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah - the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah, whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!'"(36:21-23) "All the days of its desolation", it says the period that Israel is ruined by Babylon and when the people were considered to be prisoners in Babylon. And "seventy years", it points at the number of years prophesied by Jeremiah, "And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." (Jeremiah 25:11). Strangely, the first year when Cyrus touched the throne (the Imperial ordinance was given in that year) agrees in the 70th year. An article of Chronicles is the thing that some editors edited the thing which was written after Cyrus appeared on a history stage, but it may be said that Isaiah and Jeremiah (BC630-580, a prophet who appeared later for 40 years from Isaiah) told the mystery of God before Cyrus.

 Now about Cyrus which Isaiah tells, we must hear that the mystery of God is going to be clarified. "I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place."(43:3) and we heard declaration of God that He gives these countries as compensation to liberate Israel to Cyrus. Actually, after Cyrus died, his child Cambyses succeeds his will and captures Egypt and he became King of Egypt, but it may be said that this promise of God accomplished it.

 Isaiah writes down words of God in this way. "Whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will no be shut: 'I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places,'"(45:1-3) Cyrus who was only nobody of genus king of Media which crowded in mountains zone located in a boundary of Iran and Turkey, he added power remarkably during only ten years, and established Persia as his thing in Media, and put it within the hand to Babylon. Is not there such state is pictured in vividly by Isaiah, appearing?


V The Lord of justice

 "In order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name;" (3-4) Cyrus was called by God and played an extremely important role in that time. Perhaps, it would be the same purpose that was called "His anointed", "My shepherd". It is to have worked as a container of God. It let the Israeli people who became prisoners in Babylon return and rebuild a shrine in Jerusalem. Historians suppose that Cyrus liberated many races who were prisoners in Babylon return, and rebuilt a shrine on their ground, and adopted a policy to return their gods to them, for the purpose to tame the Rabbi rank who had power for the people. For him who became king of Babylon in a short term, would he judge that was extremely effective to touch the people in a friend by a religion policy? He himself seems to have admired Marduke God of Babylon. Therefore Isaiah says, too. "I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me."(4), "I will gird you, though you have not known Me."(5) The One who is God chooses the person whom He is going to choose, and uses the person whom He is going to use for the main position. For the claim of God which was repeated many times, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God."(5,6,18,21,22), I feel that He declares the absolute sovereignty. And Cyrus leaves soon from the stage of the history when Israeli people return and the rebuilding of Jerusalem shrine begins. In a policy to restore religion of the many races which went to ruin, he seems to have lost interest immediately, and his judgment goes to expansion of an empire and loses his life by a battle in the east (the present Iranian eastern part).

 Indeed, it is felt his life was shined only by control of God, but, in fact, his work is not only liberation of prisoners in Babylon and rebuilding of the Jerusalem shrine. He did not notice it at all, but he was used for a new work of God. "The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these. Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I, the Lord, have created it."(7-8) How would Cyrus be used for a new work of God? It seems that he shows Jesus as one model. In the things that he was called "My shepherd" "His anointed", I feel that the meaning is put there. In the times when justice was lost in tyranny of Babylon, it was from his own circumstances, but it is Cyrus who brought a little justice. We cannot doubt that he became the pioneer that new creation of people of the Lord is going to begin at least. Shall we wish to stare at the Lord of justice that he made the road preparation through Cyrus? By a maelstrom of this present age when justice is lost.