King Cyrus the Persian, was one of the kings God Almighty predestined to rule over nations at various times, preparatory to the end of this world. The LORD called him by name, even before he was born; not to talk of knowing Him; the creator of the whole universe. Before anybody is born into this earth, God had known him. The person has assignment to perform before departing from this world. God knows how long the person will stay. The LORD gives him opportunity to live, change and mend his ways.
God outlined what this great king Cyrus from Persia (now Iran), would accomplish in his lifetime. He reigned before Alexander the Great the Macedonian came to the scene. God said of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, thou shall be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid. Thus said the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou has not known me.” Isaiah 44:28; 45:1&2, 4.
Cyrus II (reign: 559-530 BCE), also known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Persian Empire. When he became king, Persia was a client state of the empire of the Medes. Cyrus revolted, conquered the Median capital Ecbatana and deposed the king of the Medes, Astyages. Throughout his reign he conquered Babylon, Lydia, and the Greek cities of Asia Minor. The expansion of Persia brought wealth, which Cyrus used to construct the royal city of Pasargadae. Cyrus had a wife named Cassandane. She was an Achaemenian and daughter of Pharnaspes. From this marriage, Cyrus had four children:
Though his father died in 551 BC, Cyrus had already succeeded to the throne in 559 BCE. However, Cyrus was not yet an independent ruler. Like his predecessors, Cyrus had to recognize Median overlordship. In 553 BC Cyrus rebelled against Astyages: He rallied the Persian people to revolt against their Median overlords. After several battles he conquered the Median capital of Ecbatana in 549 BCE, effectively controlling the Median Empire. While Cyrus seemed to have accepted the crown of Media, by 546 BCE, he officially assumed the title “King of Persia” instead.
By the year 540 BCE, Cyrus captured Elam and its capital, Susa. Cyrus moved into Babylonia (Iraq), and fought the Battle of Opis in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis on the Tigris, north of Babylon. The Babylonian army was routed, and Cyrus conquered Babylon without any significant resistance. Herodotus explains that to accomplish this feat, the Persians diverted the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped “to the height of the middle of a man’s thigh”, which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed to enter at night.
After taking Babylon, Cyrus proclaimed himself “king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four corners of the world” in the famous Cyrus cylinder. It goes on to describe how Cyrus had improved the lives of the citizens of Babylonia, and repatriated displaced peoples. Although some have asserted that the cylinder represents a form of human rights charter, historians generally portray it in the context of a long-standing Mesopotamian tradition of new rulers beginning their reigns with declarations of reforms.
Cyrus performed according to God’s word revealed by Prophet Isaiah: that would conquer and subdue nations, as well as proclaiming the rebuilding of destroyed temple of God in Jerusalem. “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up”—II Chronicles 36:22-23.
Constantine I, was born in AD 280, in Naissus, Moesia (now Niš, Serbia). His father became the Western Roman emperor in 305; after his father’s death, Constantine fought to take power. He became the Western emperor in AD 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in AD 337.
Accounts of Constantine’s life state that, following a vision, he had ordered a Christian symbol to be painted on his soldiers’ shields. Constantine later claimed to have had a vision on the way to Rome, during the night before battle. In this dream he supposedly saw the ‘Chi-Ro’, the symbol of Christ, shining above the sun. Seeing this as a divine sign, it is said that Constantine had his soldiers paint the symbol on their shields. Following this Constantine went on to defeat the numerically stronger army of Maxentius at the Battle at the Milvian Bridge (Oct AD 312).
Under this emblem, Constantine was successful in battle and entered Rome. Constantine now became the Western Roman emperor. He soon used his power to address the status of Christians, issuing the Edict of Milan in 313. This proclamation legalized Christianity and allowed for freedom of worship throughout the empire. Constantine saw this victory as directly related to the vision he had the night before.
Henceforth, Constantine saw himself as an ’emperor of the Christian people’. But Constantine, who only had himself baptized on his deathbed, is generally understood as the first Christian emperor of the Roman world.
As time went on Constantine became ever more involved with the Christian Church. He appeared at first to have very little grasp of the basic beliefs governing Christian faith. But gradually he must have become more acquainted with them. So much so that he sought to resolve theological disputes among the Church itself.
In 324, Constantine defeated Licinius and took control of a reunited empire. After this triumph. Soon after his victory in AD 324 he outlawed pagan sacrifices, now feeling far more at liberty to enforce his new religious policy. The treasures of pagan temples were confiscated and used to pay for the construction of new Christian churches.
Gladiatorial contests were out ruled and harsh new laws were issued prohibiting sexual immorality. Jews in particular were forbidden from owning Christian slaves.
In old age now, Constantine planned a last great campaign, one which was intended to conquer Persia. He even intended to have himself baptized as a Christian on the way to the frontier in the waters of the river Jordan, just as Jesus had been baptized there by John the Baptist.
Constantine founded the city of Constantinople on the site of Byzantium. But Constantine is perhaps most famous for the great city which came to bear his name – Constantinople.
Constantine was in Helen polis, planning a campaign against Persia, when he fell ill. He set out to return to Constantinople, but grew worse and was forced to halt his journey. He had delayed his baptism—a common practice at the time—but now underwent the rite. Constantine died on May 22, 337, in Ancyrona, near Nicomedia, Bithynia (modern day Turkey), at the approximate age of 57. He was buried in Constantinople at the church of the Apostles. He fulfilled the LORD’s assignment in his life. Though he didn’t die in old age, his life was eventful.
KING JOSIAH OF JUDAH
King Josiah of Judah (part of Israel), was another man that fulfilled God’s purpose in his life. Centuries before he was born, God called him by name. He mentioned the exploits of this man, to cleanse the land of idol worship and all forms of ungodliness.
“And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus said the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD has spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out”—1Kings 13:1-3. And it happened instantly that altar was rent, and the ashes on was poured out all over the place.
God was angry with the pagan worship in the land. And vowed to raise Josiah to put an end to it, when he was not yet alive. Centuries later, Josiah’s father, King Amon was killed early in life. And Josiah the son ascended to the throne, about three hundred years after the prophesy. He restored the true worship of Almighty God; and destroyed idols and shrines.
He commanded the exhuming of bones of idolatrous priests from their graves, and burning them off before the evil altars. The king came across the grave of the man of God who prophesied longtime ago, about the cleansing he was carrying out. “Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel. And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria”—2 Kings 23:17-18.
Later on in life, King Josiah was killed in a battle at the valley of Megiddo, against Necho King of Egypt. The people mourned and lamented the death of righteous King Josiah of Judah. Before his death, he fulfilled divine purpose in his life.
The same valley of Megiddo will witness the greatest battle on earth during the time of tribulation. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon (Josiah), in the valley of Megiddon.
God Almighty is real. He is self-existing, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscience. Those who doubt His existence have not had personal encounter with Him. His eyes go to and fro the earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
He makes invisible hedges around those who fear and reverence Him. The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them. On the physical, it may look as if the child of God is very vulnerable to danger. But in the spirit realm, God is fully in charge.
That you are still alive today is by the mercy of God. You may not yet have known Him early in life like Emperor Constantine. But, he knows you, and wants you to come to Him. A story was told of people moving across the desert on caravan. They were in convoy. The journey took them some days. They used to offer prayers to God every night for protection. They were highly afraid of robbers. They were aware of armed people following them far behind. Those looked like thieves. And the thieves couldn’t penetrate to rob them of their goods.
It was a wonder both to the ‘caravan’ people and the robbers. But one night, they didn’t pray as fervently as they used to. They became complacent: and prayed in a half-hearted manner. They felt God could still protect them as usual. Unknown to them, there was a wall God made round about them. It was invisible to them: but visible to robbers. They couldn’t attack them because of the mysterious mobile wall. But the following morning, the side of the wall was broken. And the robbers entered through there, and caught them.
The leader of the gang assured them they wouldn’t be harmed, if they could explain to them the phenomenon of the mobile wall around them: and the broken side that enabled them to get at the caravan people. The caravan people denied the knowledge of any mobile wall around them. They said they used to pray every night for God’s protection. However, they couldn’t pray as they ought to the previous night. That was why the wall of defence was broken. The robbers quietly left them: they neither attacked nor robbed them!
The story was told of John Wesley, the founder of Methodist Church. He went to preach the gospel in a certain community. Before going there, he prayed to God for protection. He was riding on a horse. He was to preach on a crusade that would last for some days. He was shuttling the distance. It was a hostile city. Unknown to him, some people laid ambush for him, to beat him up and kill him.
But, they were scared by the presence of a muscular man sitting behind John Wesley on the horse. They couldn’t attack him because of his presence. Later, people asked him why he was always traveling with a muscular man. He told them he wasn’t aware of any muscular man guarding him. But, that he knew an angel of God was always with him.
Nothing befalls a righteous man without the express permission of Jehovah God. A young godly man wanted to travel. He got himself prepared for the journey. He bathed, wore his dresses, ate food, and came out. Then, he entered his vehicle and drove off. As he was driving along, he was not feeling comfortable inside him. As he was driving, he was feeling more uncomfortable. He couldn’t explain it. At a stage, he felt like going back. He reversed the vehicle and drove back home. Later he learnt some people laid ambush for him on the way. God delivered him miraculously from attackers.
What people attribute to luck, in most cases is God’s supernatural intervention in human affairs; even among those who haven’t really known Him. When people narrowly escape from fatal accidents, they say they are lucky. It is the hand of God upon them. He is preserving their lives for a purpose.
On several occasions, the LORD has mysteriously delivered me from death: from robbers, ritualists and all worth not. He has saved me in order to carry out the assignment am doing for Him. Like David, I can say, I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Had it been I put my trust in charms and other fetish, surely, I would have died longtime ago.
One of the ways God Almighty protects His people, is by putting fear in the hearts of prospective attackers. “And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob”—Genesis 35:5. The LORD was with Jacob (the ancestor of modern day Israel), and his family where they went as sojourners. God put His fear in the hearts of the inhabitants of the lands, who were highly afraid to afflict them. Don’t really fear him that can only kill the body; but fear God Almighty that can destroy both the body and soul in everlasting fire.
He also creates circumstances that won’t permit adversaries to strike His people. For instance, He can cause sudden heavy rain to fall in an area to disperse attackers. God’s blessings added no sorrow. On the other hand, devil’s protection or powers added to sorrow to the recipient. There is always a rule or condition attached to every charm or fetish. Any day it is violated, leads to more bondage and eventual destruction of the person. It is a trap. The enemy has come to: steal, kill and destroy.
Take for instance somebody that went to a juju priest to acquire charm to shield him from gunshots. The evil genius prepared and gave it to him, after being paid huge sum of money. He told the customer that the condition attached to the charm, was that he must not eat food cooked by woman. The customer took the condition as a minor issue. He collected the amulet and left. Initially, it was actually working for him. He could stand on a hail of bullets, and noting would happen to him.
But, one day he couldn’t resist eating the food cooked by his wife. Shortly he became ill. A strange sickness came upon Him. He was taken to various places including hospitals, but couldn’t be cured. He died slowly and miserable death. Those who trust in idols and charms shall be disappointed and ashamed. It is much better to trust in the LORD, than to trust in fetish.
YOUR YEARS HERE ARE NUMBERED TIMED.
The LORD has timed your stay on this earth. He knows how long you will live here: whether you have long or short lifespan. People of all ages and works of life come and go. Death has no age barrier, or respecter of whatever the person is. God has not planned it that everybody must reach old age before dying. If He allows such, many people will be waiting till the time they are getting old before they repent. That is why He said, today is the day of salvation; tomorrow may be too late.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. A good understanding have they that fear him. In every nation, there are people who worship the true God, the creator of the whole universe. They serve the LORD and humanity. And by the time they depart from this world, they leave behind a good; something to be remembered for. God said, “Thus said the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glory glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, said the LORD”—Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Your coming into this world at this time is not by chance. God had known you and formed you in the womb. He wants you to serve him and humanity, in whatever capacity you have found yourself in life. He said to Jeremiah when he was young, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
You can serve the LORD Almighty through your profession in life as: law-enforcement agent, teacher, health official, businessman, athlete, etc, anything you do to glorify His name, including being His direct messenger. You have to fulfill His purpose for your life. When you turn around and worship Him only and do his will, you will become a vessel unto honour. You will inherit everlasting life. If you do otherwise, you will be a vessel unto dishonour. Then, you will bear the consequences of living ungodly life. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap. He who sows violence, shall reap violence. He that sheds blood, shall have his own blood shed by man.
A certain wealthy man was living without God in the world. He had numerous exotic cars, and lived in a mansion. He had a wife, and many girlfriends, he rented flats for. He was living like overlord. He used to sack his girlfriends at the slightest provocation; only to replace them with new ones. Of course, he would quit them from the houses he rented for them.
The wife was highly afraid of him, due to his dictatorial tendencies. He belonged to a secret society, and was a drunkard. He had no regard for God, the Creator of the universe. He was always beating, and quarreling with his wife, for praying in his house, and attending church services. He was against anybody attempting to preach the gospel to him. He looked down on ministers of the gospel; and was prepared to warn any of them from going to ‘disturb’ him.
In his business empire, his workers feared him. He made himself inaccessible to poor people: even his relations. He was living as if he would never depart from this world. But one day, something happened to him. He fell very sick. He was rushed to the hospital. There he died hours later. The relations put his body in a mortuary. They made elaborate arrangements for his burial. They bought expensive coffin: hired chairs and canopies, among other things. They fixed date for the burial.
Actually, when he died his soul left the body. He was between hell and paradise, when an angel of God stopped him. He was about being cast into hell; but the Lord decided to give him a second chance, which is quite unusual; to go back to earth and repent. He suddenly woke up in the mortuary: and the attendants ran away. He went straight to a church, where he accepted Jesus as his lord and savour. Today, he has reconciled with his creator.
They that come to God, He gives everlasting life. No power can snatch person from God for He is greater than all.
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