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In 718 B.C. the Assyrians deported the majority of people from the ten tribes of Israel and replaced them with people from the Euphrates River Valley who became known as Samaritans.
Historically the vast majority of these Samaritans were converted to either Islam or Catholicism and those who did convert in this way are today called Palestinians.
Over 100 years later Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon took the city of Jerusalem and deported its inhabitants and much of Judah and those of the ten tribes who had fled there for refuge, in 586 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar deported these people to Babylon and left the rural folks to tend the land.
Because of local intrigues these local people then became very fearful that the Babylonians would return and do them much harm so they defied the Word of God by Jeremiah the Prophet and they fled down to Egypt.
Some years later in 568 B.C. the Babylonians invaded Egypt and the remnant of the ten tribes and all of those Jews who had fled to Egypt died there.
At this point in history the vast majority of the ten tribes of Israel had been deported by the Assyrians and later the majority of Judah had been deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and finally in 568 B.C .all of those Israelites and Jews who had fled to Egypt died there.
The net result of these events was the complete depopulation of Palestine of all Jews and all Israelites which brought the surrounding nations including the people of Gaza, the Ammonites of modern Jordan and the Samaritans rushing in to claim the now vacant land.
God had told Judah by Jeremiah the prophet that they would serve Nebuchadnezzar his son and his grandson in Babylon and after that time some of them would be restored to the land where they would rebuild his temple seventy years after they went into captivity in 586 B.C.
This program is about God’s miraculous fulfillment of his prophetic promises.
In about 550 B.C. the Medes joined the Persians as allies under the Persian king Cyrus the Great and they began to expand their joint empire.
Cyrus the Persian was the first King of the Persian dominated Achaemenid empire from about 550 B.C. He was followed by certain others and then his son Cambyses; then Darius the Mede became ruler of the Persian Empire about 522 B.C.
This Darius the Mede also called Gobryas by the Greeks was king of the Medes himself and was also the general of the army of the Medes and Persians which finally conquered Babylon; and after Cyrus and Cambyses, Darius the Mede ascended the throne of the Achaemenid Empire.
Some have been confused into thinking that there were two men called Darius, one a Mede and the other a Persian who came later, this is simply not true.
Darius the Mede conquered Babylon and Darius the Mede was the one who became king of the Achaemenid Empire of the Medes and Persians after the death of Cambyses.
After this in the summer of 539 B.C. there was a revolt in southern Babylon and the Babylonian king the son of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus by name, went south with his army to put down the rebellion, leaving his own son Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, in charge of Babylon.
With the army of Babylon engaged with the southern rebellion at Uruk the army of Cyrus invaded Babylon from the north. In June the Babylonian garrison at Opus was completely defeated by Darius who was called Gobrys by the Greeks and immediately after this Sippara opened its gates and surrendered to the advancing general.
Darius called Gobryas by the Greeks was then sent to Babylon in 539 B.C. Daniel 5 describes the death of Belshazzar the second ruler in the kingdom and the fall of the city Babylon in a night with almost no fight. After taking Babylon, Cyrus captured Nabonidus the ruler of the kingdom in the south of the country.
The conquest of Babylon fulfilled God’s prophetic promise through Jeremiah that Judah would serve the Babylonians for three generations.
Jeremiah 20:7 7 and all nations shall serve him [that is Nebuchadnezzar] and his son [Nabonidus] and his son’s son [Belshazzar] until the very time of his land come.
Then in October 538 B.C. Cyrus himself arrived at Babylon and proclaimed a general amnesty which was communicated by Darius to all of the province of Babylon of which he had been made the governor.
Meanwhile Belshazzar had died in the fall of Babylon and later when Nabonidus’ wife died, Cambyses the son of Cyrus conducted the funeral in 536 B.C.
With the death of the Chaldean ruling family at Babylon, Cyrus assumed the title King of Babylon and claiming to be the descendant of the ancient kings he made rich offerings to all the temples and religions, doing this to establish a good relationship with all religions and maintain the support and peace of the population.
This was in continuation of the Babylonian Church State system, the people who ruled the empire changed, the nations who ruled the empire changed, but the Babylonian Church State system remained.
As part of the activities around his coronation Cyrus decreed that the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylon could send delegations to return to their old lands and bring with him the images of their gods and restore their national religions.
Among those populations were certain Jews who as they had no images took with them the sacred vessels of the temple and some fifty thousand Jews and Levites returned to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the temple.
Only a small portion of the Jews and Levites returned to Jerusalem, the vast majority remained in Babylon; there is also no record of anyone from any of the ten tribes returning to Jerusalem from Babylon, they [the remnants of the ten tribes] all remained in Babylon.
We will see in future programs that more people return to Jerusalem during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, nevertheless the vast majority continued to remain in Babylon until Alexander the Great conquered Babylon and Greek influence swept through the Middle East. At which time the Jews in Babylon along with members of the various of the ten tribes of Israel began to spread out from Babylon migrating to Egypt, Asia Minor and other places.
Because of this, congregations of Jews and of the remnants of the ten tribes sprang up in many countries throughout the region and in the first century Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts, Jews and members of every tribe of Israel came to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Pentecost from all of the surrounding nations.
This is not referring to those people of the ten tribes who had been deported by the Assyrians and were migrating north and west after the fall of the Assyrian Empire.
This is referring to that remnant of the ten tribes who was deported along with the Jews to Babylon.
The Decree of Cyrus
Jeremiah 29:10 God had promised after seventy years he accomplished at Babylon I will visit you and perform my good work toward you causing you to return to this place.
Isaiah also records that God had appointed Cyrus for this task
Isaiah 44:28 that saith 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.
Ezra records the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple and the history of the building of the temple, but Ezra did not go to Judea until many years later, long after the temple was completed.
He was simply recording the history, it was the chief of the fathers or the elders and family leaders of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites who went to Jerusalem some 100 years before Ezra.
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus [which was 536 B.C.] 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 that he make a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and put it also in writing saying; thus saith Cyrus king of Persia the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth and charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
What is there among you of all his people he is 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 and whosoever remains in any place where he sojourns that the men of his place help him with silver and with gold and with goods and with beasts besides the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Now, how do you suppose that Cyrus knew that God had appointed him to do this thing?
Babylon had fallen in 539 B.C. and it was three years later that Cyrus declared himself king, during that time he must have conferred with Daniel.
At the decree of Cyrus fifty thousand people from Benjamin, Judah, Levi and the priesthood traveled to Jerusalem and they were able to complete the altar before the fall festivals in that year and observed the fall festivals.
Then they gathered materials and in the spring of the next year they laid the foundations of the temple; however the Samaritans, the Ammonites and the people from Gaza were not pleased. Remember that they had taken over the land when the ten tribes and later Judah were deported from the land depopulating the land of anyone from Israel or Judah.
The Samaritans now controlled the land and they were not pleased by this influx of people after more than 50 years.
This battle over control of the land in Palestine continues to this very day, it has been going on for more than 2,000 years and can only be solved by the coming of Messiah the Christ and the humbling and conversion to godliness of all the peoples in the region and indeed of all humanity.
After the foundation of the temple was laid the work stopped because of the extreme poverty and extreme opposition from all of the local peoples; and because of all this opposition the work stopped and there was no work done during the remainder of the reign of Cyrus and certain others and of his son Cambyses.
Then in 522 B.C. to Darius became king of the Achaemenid Empire (Daniel 9).
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahaseures of the seed of the Medes [he was a Mede not a Persian] which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans in the first year of his reign [which was 522 B.C.] Daniel understood by books [that is by studying the Book of Jeremiah] the number of the years word of the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet that he would accomplish seven years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel fasted and he prayed and in response to Daniel’s fast God stirred up and sent Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people of Judah in Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and he also sent his angel and gave Daniel a new prophecy about the rebuilding of the city Jerusalem which will be the subject of another program.
Haggai 1:1 in the second year of Darius the king in the sixth month and the first day of the month came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel governor of Judah and to Joshua the son of Josedech the high priest is saying.
They informed the people with many words that they needed to be about the business of rebuilding the temple and inspired they resumed construction which greatly angered the Samaritans and Ammonites.
Then the Samaritans and Ammonites wrote a letter to Darrius saying that the people who were building the temple in Jerusalem were building the city as well and that they were a historically rebellious people and the king should not allow them to continue.
At that time Darius had just become king and various provinces and peoples were testing him and little rebellions were breaking out here and there so Darius in response to this letter from the Samaritans ordered all work on the temple stopped.