• Cyrus the Great and Zoroastrianism

Cyrus the Great and Zoroastrianism / He believed in Zoroastrianism but he worked for God.

Cyrus the Great beleved in Zoroastrianism but he liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem

About Cyrus the Great and Zoroastrianism. A very interesting story about Cyrus the Great who believed in Zoroastrianism. 538 B.C. Cyrus the king of Persia, issued an edict that Jews went back to Jerusalem and built the temple of the Lord. He commanded the resident to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem. And he allowed to bring the articles belonging to the temple of God which plundered by Babylon. The Cyrus king’s edict now reads as follows.

Ezr 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.

Why did he issue this edict? He was  the king of Persia believed in Zoroastrianism. However, he said “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth” and praised God.. Why did Cyrus who profess(believe in) Zoroastrianism praise the LORD(God)?


Symbol of Zoroastrianism

Symbol of Zoroastrianism

Let’s find out about the religion of Persia, Zoroastrianism first. It may sound unfamiliar but, have you heard about Thus Spoke Zarathustra written by Nietzsche? Here, Zarathustra is Zoroaster in Persian. Zoroaster is traditionally dated from 628 to 551 B.C. He was the founder of Zoroastrianism believed in one god, Ahura Mazda. By the age of 30, he began to work as a preacher and taught the idea of monotheism and the truth at a time when Persia was considered utterly corrupt and people believed in multiple gods and goddesses. However people didn’t listen it then he went on a journey and met the king of Bactria, Vistaspa. He thoughts monotheism helps to unite people of the multiracial and multi religious country. Zoroastrian doctrine earned him the patronage of Vishtaspa and expanded congregation. It expanded beyond the Bactria empire throughout Persia and neighboring countries.


Before the advent of Zoroastrianism, Persia people believed in many gods. Mostly they were personifications of natural phenomenon. But, after formation of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda was emphasized as one almighty god. Ahura Mazda means “best god” combined the meaning of Ahura ‘god’ and the meaning of Mazda ‘wisdom’. Angra Mainyu is agaist Ahura Mazda to use evil but he eventually lost and Ahura Mazda ruled over the whole world.

The most important doctrine of Zoroastrianism is dualistic monotheism. It means that twin spirit Spenta Mainyu-good spiritand Angra Mainyu-evil spirit emanating from Ahura Mazda are broken in two and fight in the war. However, this manipulative power of ruling classes creates conflict from one’s mind not the material world.


There is the inextricable link between Zoroaster and royal authority. Dr. Robert C, Zaehner who is the expert of Zoroastrianism said it is an ideal relation which Zoroaster and royal authority intimately connected. And the glorification of royal authority was recorded in the book of Zoroastrianism, Denkard. Zoroastrianism is the source of the strength of royal authority. So the first duty of royal authority is to protect people’s religious faith. Persian people thoughts if royal authority lay on the basis of good religion, Zoroastrianism and king aggressively protects the religion, the sovereign was flourishing and people lived an affluent life.


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.” ’

Isa45:1-7 “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: I will go before you and will level the mountains ; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.

 Cyrus, the king of Persia which is the root of Zoroastrianism, why did he allow Jews to build Jerusalem and dedicate to support them? What changed his mind? At a time when Cyrus conquered Babylon, he found a book, Isaiah. The book of Isaiah said, he got to know the prophecy about himself already was written 170 years ago. He finally realized everything is God’s work not his ability.


  1. Wikipedia, Zoroaster
  2. Wikipedia, Zoroastrianism
  3. World Mission Society Church of God, Cyrus
  4. Jewish Economic History
  5. Religion in Persia
  6. Bible with 5 Empires