Cyrus Cylinder front

Cyrus Cylinder @ British Museum

ABOUT THE CYRUS CYLINDER; WHAT IS THE CYRUS CYLINDER?

The Cyrus Cylinder is a barrel-shaped baked clay cylinder which size is about 23 cm long and 11 cm wide. It has the record of Cyrus, king of Persia (559-530 BC) and his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. Today, the cylinder is kept in British Museum in London and recognized as one of the most important relics.

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CYRUS CYLINDER

The Cyrus Cylinder is regarded as a symbol of tolerance and freedom. The reason is well written in the Cylinder including the following:

“I announce that I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire … Today, I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion.” – Translation obtained from Gresham College, England

According to the cylinder, Cyrus set all free the people of God of Israel, and let them go back to their home and homeland. Also, He gave people freedom of religion and went back to their lives and religions. Accordingly, Jews who were the captives in Babylon, could come back to Jerusalem and even build the Jerusalem Temple ruined by Babylon. This is why the Cyrus Cylinder is regarded as a symbol of freedom and is called “the first bill of human rights.”

CYRUS IN THE BIBLE – RECORDS BEFORE CYRUS CYLINDER

More amazingly, this same story of Cyrus was written in the Bible, too.

2Ch 36:22~23 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘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. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’”

Ezra 1:1~3 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:“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. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.“

The Old Testament already had recorded about the decree of Cyrus, the return of the Jews and the rebuilding of Jerusalem Temple. But, people was doubt of it. And there was no other evidence except for those Scriptures. Moreover, it is not common that the Great conqueror set prisoners of war free and even help them to build their own temple for their God.

However, When Cyrus Cylinder appeared in the public, these Scriptures were proved to be historically true and all doubts melt away.

 

MYSTERY OF THE CYRUS CYLINDER NOT WRITTEN IN THE CYLINDER. DID BIBLE RECORD CYRUS BEFORE HIS BIRTH?

It is still hard to understand the reason why Cyrus even provided Jews with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:4). He was the Emperor of Persia and religion of Persia was sun-god worship. Why did King Cyrus do so? This mystery is not written in the Cyrus Cylinder and anywhere else except the Bible.

Isa 44:28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

Isa 45:1-4, 13 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: .. though you do not acknowledge me….  I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.”

 

The book of Isaiah was recorded about 170 years before King Cyrus set freed Israel. It was even before he was born. How amazed Cyrus was when he read this scripture! Being deeply shocked, Cyrus did the things prophesied in the Bible.

 

CYRUS’ PROPHECIES WHICH WAS NOT FULFILLED BY CYRUS

However, the prophecies about Cyrus are still remaining, not being fulfilled yet. Then by whom these prophecies will be fulfilled perfectly?

Isa 41:17-18 …“I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.

This is part of the prophecy about Cyrus. But who in the world can make it possible? Bible says only God is able to become the source of the water of life and He who to come as a prophetical Cyrus in the east will fulfill the prophecy above(Isa 41:2~4).

It was not coincidence that Cyrus set Israel free. God concealed a secret about the God’s Second Coming in the Cyrus Cylinder. Now it’s time to break the seal of prophecies about Cyrus. The Bible says we are captured by the spiritual Babylon, just like Jews were captured in Babylon. The first thing we should do is to meet a spiritual Cyrus – the second coming Christ – who comes in the east to accomplish a prophecies about Cyrus completely.

References:

  1. British Museum – The Cyrus Cylinder
  2. What is the Cyrus Cylinder? – Cyrus Cylinder US Tour 2013
  3. The Cyrus Cylinder and the ancient proclamation of human rights