Isaiah 44:28-45:6 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." ‘ "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 the treasures of darkness, 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. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is
no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so
that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know
there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.
This prophecy written about 700 bc was fulfilled in Cyrus who became king
of Persia in 559 bc. In Isaiah's time the Solomon's temple with standing.
It had yet to be destroyed by the Babylonians which wouldn't occur for
over 100 years and yet he prophecies of the rebuilding of the temple yet
to be destroyed. Cyrus' decree to rebuild the temple is recorded in Ezra.
Ezra 1:1-4 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 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. Anyone of his people among you— may his
God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the
temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And
the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide
him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings
for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’"
("first year" refers to his kingship over Babylon, not the year of becoming
king of Persia - 536 bc)
By fulfillment of such prophecies God shows his sovereignty over the
nations. Polytheism was predominant in the cultures of the day. As such
God wanted to show that he was not simply a god limited to the nation of
Israel, but rather that He was the one and only God over the whole world.
And thus appointed this man - this Gentile as His chosen vessel.