The Cyrus Cylinder, one of the many wonderful archaeological artifacts that provide background information on Bible times, is scheduled to be displayed at five museums in the U.S. this year in New York City, Washington D.C., Houston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Cyrus (576-530 BC), who is mentioned 23 times in Scripture, was the Persian king who conquered the Babylonian Empire and issued a proclamation ordering the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (Ezra 1:1-4).
Cyrus was called by name in prophecy before he was born (Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1). It was once thought by skeptics that the Bible’s record of Cyrus’ release of the Jews and his granting of religious liberty was mythical, since it did not fit into the pattern that was typical for pagan kings of that era, but the Cyrus Cylinder confirmed that this was in accordance with his standing practice. The Cylinder, which is owned by the British Museum, is inscribed with text in the Akkadian language stating that Cyrus had the policy of restoring captives to their lands and assisting them in rebuilding their temples. The Cylinder was found in the ruins of the temple of Marduk in Babylon in 1879.
It reads: “I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned their habitations.” An Unshakeable Faith: A Christian Apologetics Course is accompanied by 20 PowerPoint presentations featuring more than 2,200 slides, and the presentation on Medo-Persia has a photo of the Cyrus Cylinder that we took at the British Museum and a discussion of the importance of this object.
(Friday Church News Notes, February 8, 2013, www.wayoflife.org, email@example.com, 866-295-4143)