I am presently at the Amsterdam Airport after a great weekend in Ede with Pastors Bruce and Angelique Wijnen and the church in Ede. I also finished a wonderful time of prophetic training last week in Spain with the G42 students. I am excited now to go home to my family. I am looking forward to being home later today and seeing my family after three weekends on the road.
Last week I presented Scriptural thoughts concerning the appointment of king Cyrus as a shepherd of God’s people. He was God’s appointed instrument for purposes that were beyond the understanding of natural kingdoms. As I stated last week, Cyrus was not likely aware of the heart of God in the matter. He was a worldly king used by God for His heavenly plans among men.
Isaiah 45:8 “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. 9 Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker — an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?”
10 “Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’” 11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. 12 It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it.”
I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. 13 “I have aroused him in righteousness and I will make all his ways smooth; he will build My city and will let My exiles go free, without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts.
It was 210 years after the prophecy of Isaiah that Cyrus became king of Persia for the purposes of God in the earth. God aroused his righteousness and it was through the commission of Cyrus that the process went forth to build God’s city and to let His exiles return to the freedom of their holy city. Cyrus was not of the covenant of Israel, but he purposed in his heart to support the desires of God’s’ people in the land.
2 Chronicles 36:22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled (the end of 70 years of captivity), the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!
Ezra1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:5 Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. 6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
Ezra 1:7 King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; 8 and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty- nine knives, 10 thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. 11 All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Ezra 3:7 They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
The first century Jewish historian, Josephus writes in The Works of Josephus:
BOOK 11:CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY- THREE YEARS FIVE MONTHS FROM THE FIRST OF CYRUS TO THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT
(1) In the first year of the reign of Cyrus, which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, (2) that after they has served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity; and these things God did afford them; (3) for He stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia:– “Thus saith Cyrus the King:– Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; (4) for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets; and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”(5) This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision:– “My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple.” (6) This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God, (7) for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and, beside that, beasts for their sacrifices. (8) When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites and priests, went in haste to Jerusalem, yet did many of them stay at Babylon, as not willing to leave their possessions; (9) and when they were come thither, all the king’s friends assisted them, and brought in, for the building of the temple, some gold, and some silver, and some a great many cattle and horses. So they performed their vows to God, and offered the sacrifices that had been accustomed of old time; I mean this upon the rebuilding of their city, and the revival of the ancient practices relating to their worship. (10) Cyrus also sent back to them the vessels of God which king Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple, and carried to Babylon. (11) So he committed these things to Mithridates, the treasurer, to be sent away, with an order to give them to Sanabassar, that he might keep them till the temple was built; and when it was finished, he might deliver them to the priest and rulers of the multitude, in order to their being restored to the temple. (12) Cyrus also sent an epistle to the governors that were in Syria, the contents whereof here follow:– “KING CYRUS TO SISINNES AND SATHRABUZANES, SENDETH GREETING.”
“I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem, on the same place where it was before. (13) I have also sent my treasurer, Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they may lay the foundations of the temple, and may build it sixty cubits high, and of the same latitude, making three edifices of polished stones, and one of the wood of the country, and the same order extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God. (14) I require also, that the expenses for these things may be given out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the vessels which king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the temple, and have given them to Mithridates the treasurer, and to Zorobabel the governor of the Jews, that they may have them carried to Jerusalem, and may restore them to the temple of God. (15) Now their number is as follows.– Fifty chargers of gold and five hundred of silver; forty Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty basins of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels for pouring [THE DRINK OFFERINGS], and three hundred of silver, thirty vials of gold, and two thousand four hundred of silver; with a thousand other large vessels. (16) I permit them to have the same honor which they were used to have from their forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for wine and oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hundred drachmae; and for wheat flour, twenty thousand and five hundred artabae; and I give order that these expenses shall be given them out of the tributes due from Samaria. (17) The priests shall also offer these sacrifices according to the laws of Moses in Jerusalem; and when they offer them, they shall pray to God for the preservation of the king and of his family, that the kingdom of Persia may continue. But my will is, that those who disobey these injunctions, and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and their substance brought into the king’s treasury. “(18) And such was the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out of captivity to Jerusalem, were forty-two thousand four hundred and sixty.
When we face the election of worldly leaders, worldly kings, or worldly presidents, we are not necessarily looking to appoint covenant keeping, God understanding leaders among men. I would hope that God can give us covenant keeping and God understanding leaders, but sometimes He appoints leaders that we do not understand. Sometimes what appears to be hard becomes what God uses for our good. Sometimes what appears to be a ruler who seeks to conquer for his or her will becomes the very instrument used by God for His will in the earth. As we face decisions of our time we can only ask God’s Spirit in our hearts, who has God appointed for such a time as this among the kingdoms of men? These are not appointments to the kingdom of God. They are appointments to the kingdoms of men. Those leaders may even destroy the strength of kings to open locked doors and closed gates. They may be anointed to make rough places smooth and to shatter doors of bronze so that new gates cannot be shut. The wealth of nations may be given to them through their exploits and God’s hand may be upon them for such a cause. These are secular kings, but they may be the ones who will partner with the purposes of God in the earth. They may not exhibit what we may call an intimate relationship with God, but God may use them for His heavenly purposes in the earth. God may use them for both wellbeing and calamity. The secular kings of the world do not bring the kingdom of God to the earth, but they can be called by God to serve the expression of God’s kingdom that is already in the earth. So, when you vote, don’t vote for Jesus to be the external king of the nations of the kingdoms of the knowledge of good and evil. Pray for Jesus to become the King in the hearts of men and women in the nations of the world and pray that the appointment of the secular kings of the world will serve God’s purposes among men. Even if it does not look the way you may expect it to look.
I challenge each of us to pray and trust the Spirit of God within our hearts as we exercise our voting responsibilities among the nations. I challenge each of us to not judge one another in the way we cast our votes. I also challenge each of us not to measure those being elected by the standards of the kingdom of God, but to trust God as He often appoints secular leaders with different standards to serve His purposes in the earth. This is not a compromise of God in His character, but a willingness of Him to use anyone in spite of their understanding or lack of understanding in whom He is. The kingdoms bound to the knowledge of good and evil are not the same as the internal kingdom freed by the Tree of Life!
Ted J. Hanson