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This PowerPoint/Keynote presentation is part of the
apologetics course entitled An Unshakeable Faith.
Copyright 2011
Way of Life Literature
P. O. Box 610368
Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143
http://www.wayoflife.org
[email protected]
In Canada
Bethel Baptist Church, 4212 Campbell St. N., London,
Ontario N6P 1A6
519-652-2619
Most of the
photographs in
these presentations
were taken by the
author on location.
Archaeological
Treasures that Confirm
the Bible
Part Six
Medo-Persia
The Babylonian Empire was
conquered in 539 BC by the MedoPersians as described in Scripture.
“In that night was Belshazzar the
king of the Chaldeans slain. And
Darius the Median took the
kingdom, being about threescore
and two years old” (Dan. 5:30-31).
The Medo-Persian Empire
encompassed 127
provinces and spread
from Greece to India,
Armenia to Ethiopia
(Esther 1:1).
The Persians maintained a major
road system with rest stations, inns,
and guarded garrisons that kept the
highways free from bandits.
The Royal Road stretched 1,600
miles from Susa to Sardis and
post stations with fresh horses
were placed about every 15
miles along its length. A caravan
could travel the length of the
road in 90 days, but a courier
could make the same trip in a
week.
The Persians invented
horseshoes to facilitate mail
moving over the Royal
Road.
In the 5th century B.C., Greek
historian Herodotus coined the
famous saying that has often
been wrongly attributed to the
U.S. postal system. Referring to
the Persians he said, “Neither
snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom
of night stays these couriers from
the swift completion of their
appointed rounds.”
Cyrus the Great
The Medo-Persian king Cyrus
the Great (576-530 B.C.) is
mentioned 23 times in Scripture.
The prophet Daniel was still
living at the beginning of his
reign (Dan. 6:28; 10:1).
Cyrus was called by name in
Bible prophecy before he was
born. Isaiah prophesied in about
574 B.C. that Cyrus would
rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
“That saith of Cyrus, He is my
shepherd, and shall perform all my
pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem,
Thou shalt be built; and to the
temple, Thy foundation shall be laid”
(Isaiah 44:28).
True to prophecy, seventy
years after the Babylonians
destroyed Jerusalem, Cyrus
issued a proclamation
ordering the rebuilding of the
Jewish temple (Ezra 1:1-4).
Cyrus Cylinder
It was once thought by skeptics
that the Bible’s record of
Cyrus’s release of the Jews
and his granting of religious
liberty was mythical, but
archaeology has confirmed that
this was his standing practice.
The Cyrus Cylinder doesn’t
mention Israel, but it states
that this king had the policy of
restoring captives to their
lands and assisting them in
rebuilding their temples. The
cylinder was found in the
temple of Marduk in Babylon
in 1879.
The Cyrus Cylinder, British
Museum
“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 ... I gathered all their
[former] inhabitants and
returned their habitations.
Furthermore, I resettled ... all
the gods of Sumer and Akkad
whom Nabonidus has brought
into Babylon ... unharmed in
their chapels” (British Museum).
Xerxes and
Esther
The Persian king during the
time of Esther was Darius’
son Xerxes. This was the
Greek form of his name; the
Hebrew form, Ahasuerus,
appears in the Bible.
Xerxes appears on the
Behistun Relief standing
behind Darius.
Xerxes also appears
standing behind Darius in
this relief from Persepolis at
the Oriental Institute in
Chicago.
Archaeology has confirmed
the historical accuracy of the
book of Esther and even
identified Mordecai.
“It is generally accepted that
Mordecai can be identified
with Marduka, a high official
working in Susa. Some
would identify Esther with
Queen Amestris” (Hoerth
and McRay, Bible
Archaeology, p. 145).
“The book of Esther fits
nicely within what is known
from Persian and Greek
history, and numerous
scholars have remarked on
the book’s great ‘familliarity
with both general and
specific features of Persian
life’” (Hoerth and McRay,
Bible Archaeology, p. 145).
“The book is sprinkled with
loan words and personal
names of Persian origin”
(Hoerth and McRay, Bible
Archaeology, p. 145).
The Shushan
Palace
The Medo-Persian palace at
Susa (Shushan) is
mentioned in three books of
the Bible. Daniel,
Nehemiah, and Esther lived
in this palace.
“The words of Nehemiah the
son of Hachaliah. And it
came to pass in the month
Chisleu, in the twentieth
year, as I was in Shushan
the palace” (Nehemiah 1:1).
“That in those days, when
the king Ahasuerus sat on
the throne of his kingdom,
which was in Shushan the
palace” (Esther 1:2).
“And I saw in a vision; and it
came to pass, when I saw,
that I was at Shushan in the
palace, which is in the
province of Elam; and I saw
in a vision, and I was by the
river of Ulai” (Daniel 8:2).
The palace began to be
built by Darius and was
completed by Xerxes. This
Darius tablet at the Louvre
in Paris says, “This palace
which I built at Susa...”
The Bible describes the
palace as a glorious place
with pillars of marble, beds
of gold and silver, and
pavements of red, blue,
white, and black marble”
(Esther 1:6).
Archaeology has
confirmed the glory of
the palace. It
measured 820 x 490
feet and its throne
room had 72 majestic
columns, each 63 feet
high, some with giant
bull capitals on which
the cedar beams
rested.
Some of the
columns stood on
ornate bellshaped stones.
The palace was decorated
with panels of beautiful
glazed brick with reliefs of
soldiers and animals. Some
of these are in the Susa
Room of the Louvre in
Paris.
Many beautiful objects
have been recovered
from the ancient palace
that give us a glimpse
into life in that day.
Some of these would
have been seen by
Daniel, Nehemiah, and
Esther
This silver bowl is
inscribed with the name
of Artaxerxes, the great
king.”
This is a rhyton, which
was used to pour wine
into cups. Nehemiah
could have used one of
these.
The king’s cupbearer
was a privileged
position. He was the
head of the servants.
An image found at
Susa depicts a line of
servants waiting on the
king, and the cupbearer
is first in line.
NOTE TO
TEACHERS
There are review
questions and a
summary to this
section in the book
An Unshakeable
Faith.
This Powerpoint/Keynote presentation is part of the
apologetics course entitled An Unshakeable Faith.
Copyright 2011
Way of Life Literature
P. O. Box 610368
Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143
http://www.wayoflife.org
[email protected]
In Canada
Bethel Baptist Church, 4212 Campbell St. N., London,
Ontario N6P 1A6
519-652-2619
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