overview of colossians

Do You Know Me? I Am Iran. I Am Persia. We Are An Ancient People. We’re Not Arabs, As Many Think. For Centuries Iranwas Known As Persia. We Became The Largest Empirethe World Had Ever Seen. But Part Of Our Storyis Often Forgotten. Some Of Our Greatnesshas Faded From Memory. Yet, The Prophets And Writers Ofthe Bible, Like Daniel, Isaiah,And Ezra, Remember Our Story. And What’s Surprising Isthat The Hebrew Bible Speaksof Persia As Chosen By God, Chosen For The Good Andfor The Blessing Of All People. Woven Together In The Hebrewbible Are Prophecies, People Andevents Describing Persian Kings, Epic Battles, Androyal Decrees That Changedthe World, And Still Do. What May Surprise Many Today About Persian History… Is That The Jewish Peoplebecame One Of The Favored Peoplegroups Of The Persian Empire. And Perhaps Most Surprising Ofall Is How The Hebrew Bible…

Describes In Intricatedetail How Both Persiaand The Jewish People… Helped To Fulfill An Astonishing Promise God Made To Abraham. According To The Hebrewbible, For The Promise Toabraham To Be Fulfilled, Both Persian And Jewishhistories Had To Intersect.And They Did. John Lee: One Of The Mostinteresting Things About Thehistory Of The Persian Empire… Is Its Links Withother Cultures. In Particular,We Know That The Historiesof The Persian Empire… And Of The Bible Are Deeplyinterlinked. We Can See Events,People, And Places… That Appear Bothin Our Sources For Ancientpersia And In The Bible. Edwin Yamauchi:I Have Taught Ancient History,Including Persian History, For Many Years, And I Broughtall Of These Archaeological, Biblical, And Classicalsources Together… To Present A Narrativeof The Ancient Persians… And Their Interaction Both Withthe Greeks And With The Hebrews. Lee: The Persian Empire Wascertainly The Largest Empire…

That The World Had Ever Seenin A Global Perspective. Before The Time Of Persia,No One Else Had Managedto Bring Together… Lands From The Mediterraneanto The Black Sea, All The Way Tothe Indus River Valley,Into A Single Political Unit. Narrator: Persia’s Empireincluded Not Only The Countryof Iran Today, But Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, And Many More. The City Of Persepolisbecame The Greatest Cityin The Persian Empire. Persepolis Is Anamazing Site. It Includes A Complexof Palaces, Audience Halls, Fortifications,And Other Buildings Allbuilt On A Huge Platform… Four Times As Large Asthe Acropolis, Carved On Thelower Slopes Of A Mountain. The Apadana, Or The Audiencehall, Is The Most Remarkablebuilding, Perhaps, Of All. It’s Been Estimated Thatan Audience Of 10,000 People… From All Over The Empirecould Have Come There. And In The Staircases Thereare Remarkable Sculptures,Originally Painted, No Doubt, Of Delegations From23 Nations Bringing Giftsto The Persian King. Lee: Persepolis Isa Place Where Many Differenthistories Come Together. The Bible Is An Extremelyimportant Source… For Understanding The Persianempire From The Perspective Ofone Particular People Within… Within That Empire, And Whileit’s Not A Historical Source… In The Sense Thatwe Would Think Of Histories, It Certainly Preserves A Greatdeal Of Historical Information, And A…

A Veryimportant Perspective, And For That Reasonit’s An Invaluableresource For Studying… The Persian Empireand Its Relations Withthe Jewish People. Narrator: The Biblecontains 240 Referencesrelated To Iran Or Persia. The Name Persia And Persiansare Found 33 Times In Sixbooks Of The Hebrew Bible. Cyrus, Persia’s First King,Is Named 19 Times. Persia’s King Dariusis Listed 15 Times. Persia’s King Ahasuerus,Also Called Xerxes,Is Found 12 Times. Persia’s King Artaxerxesis Listed 13 Times. Other Persian People And Placesare Found Another 148 Times. Most People,Including Most Iranians,Are Not Aware Of The Fact… That The History Of Iranand The History Of The Bible… Intersect At Profound Levels Throughout The Centuries. Narrator: And It Wouldtake Over 1,000 Years Beforegod’s Promise To Abraham… Would Intersect Persian History. While Living In Jerusalem,The Prophet Isaiah Gavean Unusual Prophecy, A Prophecy That Specificallyidentified The Name Cyrus,Persia’s First King, Many Years Before He Was Born. Now, Isaiah Lived About700 Bc, And Cyrus Does Notcome Onto The Scene Until, Roughly Speaking,150 Years Later. Isaiah The Prophet,Remarkably, Predicted Thatthe Lord Would Use… A Future King Ofthe Persians Named Cyrus, Koorush, Whom He Calls”The Anointed One.” Tremper Longman Iii:This Phrase “Anointed One”Is Extremely Important. It Means “Messiah” And Istypically Connected To Kings. When Isaiah Callscyrus The Messiah,There’s No Ritual Behind It. A Flask Of Oil Wasn’tpoured Over His Head.But It’s A Metaphorical Use, Meaning That This Is A Personwhom God Is Going To Use Fora Special Purpose In His Plan. This Is The Onlytime In The Scriptures…

Where A Non-Israeliteis Called The Messiahof God, The Anointed Of God. In Isaiah Cyrus Is Called Themessiah, But Also The Shepherd. Now, Shepherd Is Actually A Veryfrequently Used Image Throughoutthe Ancient Near East For Kings. And God Calls Cyrushis Shepherd For A Reason. The Shepherd Responsibilityis Just To Watch, To Feed, To Take Care, To Nurture, Tolead, And That’s What Cyrus Did. Cyrus Did That In Linewith God’s Planning, That Godwanted To Keep That Promise. Longman: Isaiah Considerscyrus Someone… Who Is Chosen To Guide And Tolead The Peoples Of The World, And, Specifically,Even His Own People, The Jews. Narrator: And No One Couldhave Imagined How King Cyruswould Help To Fulfill… The 1,000-Year-Old Promiseto Abraham, To Becomea Blessing To The World. Today In Iran The Tombof Cyrus Still Standsas A Marker In History. The Outstandingmonument At Pasargadae,Which Is Still Quite Intact, Is The Tomb Of Cyrus Himself,Made Out Of White Limestone Thatextends About 35 Feet In Height. Narrator: When Cyrus Becamethe King Of Persia, Babylonwas The Dominant World Power. Babylon’s Capital Was Locatedin What Is, Today, Modern Iraq. Early In The 500s Bc Theruling Dynasty Of Babylon… Had Conquered The Jewishpeople And Deported Themback To The City Of Babylon, And That’s Where They Were,In Exile, When Cyrus Cameto Babylon In 539 Bc. Narrator:According To The Hebrew Biblethere Were Spiritual Reasons…

Why The Jewishdescendants Of Abrahamwere Deported To Babylon. Abraham’s Descendants,Israel, Was Called To Bea Light To The Nations. That Is, They Were To Lovegod In Such A Way… And Obey Him That God Wouldshower His Blessings Upon Them. And Then The Nationsof The World Would See Thisand Be Attracted To This God. And In This Way, In The Oldtestament, God’s People Wereto Reach The Nations. But Of Course,The Story Of The Old Testamentis Unfortunately Too Much Of… God’s People Not Actingin The Way That They Should… And Becoming An Obstacleto People Being Drawnto The True God. Nebuchadnezzarwas The Greatest Ofthe Neo-Babylonian Kings. He Began Ruling In 605 Bc.According To The First Chapterof The Book Of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar Attacked Jerusalem In His First Year. We Don’t Have Any Directconfirmation Of That Attack, But We Do Have Confirmationof His Second Attack In 597 Bc, And Of His Third Attackin 587 Or 586 Bc, During Which He Destroyedthe Temple Of Solomon. Well, Daniel And His Fellowcomrades Were Among Those Whowere Deported By Nebuchadnezzar. Narrator: The Prophetdaniel Was Only A Teenagerwhen He Was Exiled To Babylon. Daniel May Have Wonderedwhat Would Now Happen Togod’s Promise To Abraham… To Bless The Worldthrough His People. Covering Hundreds Of Miles, Thedeportation Would Have Taken Thejewish People About Five Months. They Traveled North Onthe International Trade Route,Past The City Of Damascus, And Around The Topof The Fertile Crescent, Then Into The Tigrisand Euphrates River Basinin The Direction Of Babylon. After Almost 70 Yearsof Exile In Babylon, The Elderly Prophetdaniel Read Words Fromthe Prophet Jeremiah… That Caused Daniel To Thinkagain About Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s Prophecy Aboutjerusalem Gave Daniel Hope. So Daniel Began To Pray. But How? How Woulda Return Home Be Possible…

Under The Mighty Gripof The Babylonian Empire? According To The Hebrewbible, King Cyrus, Called The Anointedand The Messiah Of God,Would Change Everything. Cyrus Was A Remarkablemilitary Conqueror. Starting From A Verysmall Kingdom In Whatis Today Southern Iran, He Rapidly Expanded As Farwest As What Is Today Turkey,Out Into Central Asia, And Perhaps Mostimportantly, Into Mesopotamia,Where He Captured Babylon, Maybe The Most Importantcity In The World Atthat Time, In 539 Bc. Narrator:After Conquering Babylon,Cyrus Issued A Decree, A Decree That Completelychanged The Way Kings Ruleconquered Peoples. And That Foreign Policywould Begin To Open The Way… For God’s Promise Of Blessingto The World To Be Fulfilled. One Of The Mostimportant Textual Finds… In All Of Ancient Archaeology Was The Cyrus Cylinder. The Cyrus Cylinder Is Afootball-Sized Clay Object… That Was Found In Babylonin The 1870s, And It Records A Decreeissued By Cyrus Of Persia… Upon His Taking The City Of Babylon In 539… 538 Bc. This Is A Barrel-Shapedclay Cylinder, Written In Akkadian, That Is,In The Ancient Semitic Language, That Was Discovered By A Mancalled Hormuzd Rassam, Who Worked For The Britishmuseum, In The City Of Babylon. And We Know That The Persians,Especially Under Cyrus, Allowed Captives To Go Back.And This Proclaims A Differentpolicy From That… Pursued By The Assyriansand Babylonians Before, Who Had Transported Populationsfrom One Place To Another Butdid Not Allow Them To Return. So The Cyrus Cylinder Is Avery Important Document Becauseit Shows Us How The Persians… Are Able To Successfullyappeal To Local Customsand Traditions…

In Order To Gain Support Forand Allegiance To Their Rule. Cyrus Was Very Successful Inusing A… A Traditional Format,This Kind Of Inscription, To Proclaim That He Respectedthe Gods Of Babylon, That He Would Allow Peoplewho Had Been Exiled Or Deportedto Return To Their Homes, And That He Would Restore Godsback To Their Original Places. Cyrus Was The First King Inhistory That Allowed The Peoplethat He Had Conquered… To Worship God In The Waysthat They Wanted To. Lee:Today You Can Visit The Unitednations Building In New York… And See A Copy Ofthe Cyrus Cylinder, Which Is Actuallya Replica Of The Originalin The British Museum Today. In The Bible, It Talks Abouthow Cyrus Gives Permission… For The Jews To Returnto Jerusalem And Commissionsthem To Rebuild The Temple. And This Is An Amazingand Important Thingand Part Of God’s Plan. Rev. Mansour Khajehpour:The Fact That God Usesiran And Persia… Basically To Take Care Ofthe Captives Of Israel, Not Just To Bless A Nation,But To Make That Nationa Blessing To All Nations, All People On Earth, Is Agreat Fact To Be Remembered. Even Today In The 21st Century, It’s Reported That70 Percent Of The Populationof The World… Live In Countries Wherethey Do Not Have Freedom Ofreligion Or Freedom Of Worship. But In Cyrus, The Greatpersian King, We Encounter Avery Open-Minded, Tolerant King, Who Allowed The People Thathe Had Conquered To Worship Godin The Ways That They Wanted. So Cyrus Actuallyis A… Is… Is A King Whoinstalled Freedom Of Religion, And Freedom Of Worship.This Is…

We’re Talkingabout 2,500 Years Ago. Narrator: The Prophet Isaiahnot Only Wrote About Cyrusas A Messiah Of God, But Also Abouta Future Messiah Who Wouldbe More Than Just A Man. And The Passagetalks About How His Kingdomwill Be An Eternal Kingdom. And It Just Dawned On Methat This Son Who Is To Come,This Child Who Is To Be Born, Who, According To Isaiah 7:14,Will Be Born Of A Virgin, And He Will Be Calledimmanuel, God With Us, This Son Is Not Just One Prophetin The Long Line Of Prophets. This Son Is Going To Bemighty God, And He Willestablish An Eternal Kingdom. God Used That King Cyrusand The Events Around Him, And The Future Kings Inthe Land Of Persia To Fulfillhis Absolute Promise… That There Will Bethe Messiah, Christ,The Messiah To Come On Earth, And Being Basicallythe Savior Of The World. Narrator:And It Was Jesus Who Describedhis Purpose For Living. And It Was Also Isaiahthe Prophet Who Spokeof A Servant Of God… Who Would Suffer Anddie For All People. That Message Thatwas Given To Abraham, Preserved Throughout The Historyby Intervention Of Differentnations, Including The Persians, Fulfilled In The Personof Jesus Christ In The Bosomof The Israelite Family, Prepared The Road And Their Hearts And Melted Many Hearts Throughout The History, And Now Of That Nation, Thepersian Nations And The Arabs, And The Elamites Andthe Turks And The Chineseand All Nations… Are Blessed Today.The Message Is Simple. That Promise That Was Givento Abraham Is For Everytribe, Every Nation.

A Few Weeks Afterthe Death And Resurrectionof Jesus The Messiah, As His Discipleswere Gathered In Jerusalem, The Bible Tells Us Thatthe Spirit Of God Fell On Them. The Spirit Of Godbirthed The Church Inthe New Testament Times. The Bible Tells Usthat People Had Come Fromall Over The World… To Celebrate The Jewishfeast In Jerusalem. But Many People Mightnot Realize That The Firstthree People Groups… That Are Mentioned In Acts Chapter 2 Verse 9: Parthians, Medes, And Elamites, Are People Groupsfrom Iran. Iranian Peoplewere Present In Jerusalem, Whether They Were Jews Who Hadlived In The Persian Empire… Since The Time Of The Exileor The God-Fearing People, Iranians That Had Cometo Faith In The True God… Because Of Their Contactswith The Jewish Community. Nevertheless, Iranian People Were There In Jerusalem. Iranians Were Filledwith The Spirit Of God. And We Believe Thatwhen Iranians Went Backto Their Home Countries, They Took The Messageof The Good News Of Jesusthe Messiah To Their Own People. We Look At Church Historyhundreds Of Years Later. The Iranians Took The Gospel,The Good News Of Jesus, To China Throughthe Silk Road. In Fact, The Chinesepeople Called Christianitythe Persian Religion, Because They Had Heard Thegospel From Persian Christians,Persian Followers Of Christ. So I Am Very Proud,I Feel Very Honored As Aniranian Follower Of Jesus… That God Has Usedthe People Of Iranin A Significant Way…

To Bring Hope And Healingto The Nations. I Think A Persian Rug Canbe A Beautiful Symbol Of Howgod Is At Work In History, How God Is At Work In Our Lives. When You Look At A Rug,One Side Of It Canlook Very Rough. The Knots, The Threads,The… The Back Side Of A Rugmight Not Look Very Beautiful. But You Have Faith Thatthe Other Side Of The Rug, There Is A Glorious, Beautiful Pattern Rich With Different Colors And Textures. I Believe That’s Howwe Need To Look At How Godis At Work In The World. It Might Look Very Messy Fromour Side Of History Right Now, But We Have Faith Thatthis God Who… Whose Purposeis To Bless The Nations, This God Whosepurpose Is To Establishthe Shalom, The Peace, The Kingdom Of Jesus,That He Is Actuallymaking A Beautiful Story. One Day The Patternswill Make Sense. One Day We Will Seethe Glory Of God’swork In Our Life… Just The Way We See And Enjoythe Glory Of A Persian Rug.

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