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There is extra-biblical evidence that Cyrus was aware of the prophecies. The first-century Jewish writer Flavius Josephus wrote:

...by reading the book which left behind of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple." Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfil what was so written. (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, xi, Chapt. 1-2)

Return to Israel

I did some quick looking up but was not real successful.

Estimates of total number of Jews taken captive to Babylon range from 10,000 - 18,000.

The roughly 50,000 who returned were labelled as a "minority" of the Jewish Population in Babylon after 70 years. I always thought roughly 50,000 left and 50,000 remained in Babylon - but cannot find the "remaining" number anywhere.

The estimates of actual number returning here in EZRA including women and children are 120,000 to 130,000.

Reasons given for Jews who decided to remain in Babylon was lifestyle and freedoms were pleasant enough that they did not want to go back.

Jewish Encyclopedia mentions that in the Ezra group only people who could prove their genealogies (Jewish ancestral line) were allowed in the band. If so, apparently some people got lax on keeping up with the "family tree" while in Babylon.

In the end, I am reminded that approximatley 2,000,000 Jews came in from the Wilderness to Canaan, the hundreds of thousands of fighting men that were given in census' in past readings, and growth of the nation over time - yet......

this was it. A remnant. Not as bad as Noah's eight, but this is what is left of the Nation of Israel after incurring God's Judgment.


1Cor1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." NIV

It has been only 2+ years since I was saved. I remember what I used to think about the Bible prior to April 2004:
- for the weak
- someone who needs a crutch in life
- fairy tales, nice moral stories, antiquated.
All this with having never read the Bible.

Got tired of having to fend off agressive Christians - so decided to prove the Bible contradictory or in error. Read atheist websites ridiculing Bible and Christian Apologetic responses. Tried to find bible errors on my own. I could not.

Then one night (actually sat up in bed), and thought - 'What if its true?'. If God created universe, can't He have a book? Doesn't matter how it came about- councils, ancient texts, scribes, etc. Why can't the Creator of Universe have a book to reveal Himself and His plan to mankind?

So decided to change perspective and read the Bible as if it is the Truth. I was advised to just read Gospel of John and Romans over and over. Romans was tough - and did not really get it - (Hence why I did a commentary last month on Romans - If I could explain it in writing, then it would internalize).

But Gospel of John "I got". Read it a few times, checked some archaelogical data, some historical facts, listened to a few commentaries and movies on gospel - and WOW!

If this was true, then Jesus the Son of God and John the writer were saying some pretty radical stuff. Stuff that was not talked about in my Catholic upbringing (1960's). Born from above (again)? Receive Him and Believe in Him is all it took? Verifying Old Testament as pointing to Him (thereby its importance)? If you reject Him, then you are lost?

Well, it became decision time, and I have told that story before in other posts.

But what changed?

How did I go from thinking the Bible was foolish, to taking it seriously as the message and power of God?

John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." NIV

Can only say, 'God was drawing me to Him'. I was giving an honest effort to disprove the Bible, and kept thinking - these Christian Apologists are pretty persuasive. Then when I decided to stop trying to disprove the Bible and read it as if it were "true", it was as if I had put on a different set of glasses. Things made sense. No changes in me - reading comprehension ,intelligence, vocabulary all the same, but.... God had removed my "blinders" to reveal Himself and His plan to me.

Since then, have talked to the wise, the scholars and philosophers (plenty of those in a college town), other religious types (non-Christian) about the Gospel and what happened to me. Sadly, most just want to argue the minutae. They don't get the big picture, or even try to see it.

Mankind wants to come up with the answer. Mankind wants to figure it out, with mankind figuring into the picture somehow. The "foolishness" they cannot accept is Mankind plays no part in God's solution. I often tell these people, "It is not so much if I am right, but what if you are wrong? You owe it to yourself to look at this more intensely and with honesty."

Meanwhile, I figure God put them in my life for a reason. Put them on prayer list and Pray for God to continue drawing them, and for Him to take their "blinders" off so they can see the "message and power of God".


In 1Cor Paul uses foolishness a lot. I know most understand that it is the perceived "foolishness" by man as per verse 18.

Just like the perceived "weakness" of Christ on the cross is wrong when viewed in terms of the Ressurection.
1Cor1:27-29 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." NIV

"God isn’t saying that it is better to be foolish or uneducated. Rather, He is saying that the world’s wisdom and education does not bring us salvation in Jesus Christ. “In putting the strong and wise and great to shame, God does not exalt the weak and uneducated and worthless, but brings all of them down to one common level.” (Calvin)

"God has called the weak and ignorant first, but not exclusively; shepherds first, then wise men; fishermen first, then the educated (like Paul, who was himself an educated man)." - David Guzik

“The ancient Christians were for the most part slaves and men of low station; the whole history of the expansion of the church is in reality a progressive victory of the ignorant over the learned, the lowly over the lofty, until the emperor himself laid down his crown before the cross of Christ.” (Alford, quoting Olshausen)

Ezra 1:1-2:70

THE KING'S heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills. (Proverbs 21:1 AMP)

There is no other explanation for this seemingly coincidental event. Even with the world warring, nation against nation, peoples against peoples, God is Sovereign no matter what man thinks.

These are those who came from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer. They weren't able to prove their ancestry, whether they were true Israelites or not: Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, 652 in all. Likewise with these priestly families: Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai, who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and took that name. They had thoroughly searched for their family records but couldn't find them. And so they were barred from priestly work as ritually unclean.
(Ezra 2:59-62 MSG)

If the Old Testament was written as examples for us to follow, and in regard to error, not follow, then we should be showing due diligence in picking leaders, and a leader is really anyone who is seen by the congregation, from the volunteers who clean the bathrooms to the ushers and if big enough, the people who facilitate parking.

I Corinthians 1:18-2:5

The wisdom the word calls wisdom is nothing but folly and foolishness. Outside of the Mind of God, apart from the salvation of Jesus Christ, there is no wisdom. It is a powerful thing when believers filter the education they have received in school through the lens of the gospel.

Psalm 27:7-14

You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. (Psa 27:8 AMP)

The above verse excites me. God wants to be in vital union with me, he wants to carry on a conversation with me. This is so exciting because I know that the creator of the universe has time and wants to spend time with me so that we can have sweet fellowship in our relationship as Father-daughter, as Master-servant, and as Redeemer-and the-one-delivered.
I have not spoken in secret, in a corner of the land of darkness; I did not call the descendants of Jacob [to a fruitless service], saying, Seek Me for nothing [but I promised them a just reward]. I, the Lord, speak righteousness (the truth--trustworthy, straightforward correspondence between deeds and words); I declare things that are right. [John 18:20.] (Isa 45:19 AMP)

Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6 NET.)

Proverbs 20:20-23

One of the problems with seeking our own vengeance is that it ties us to the sin and the person who committed the sin against us. Focusing on a wrong, plants our feet deep into the soil of bitterness and grudges and we become immovable, failing to take hold of what God has for us. Freedom means letting go of past hurts and moving on. Besides, God can “pay back” the person in such a way that you can never ever think dream up in your wildest imagination.

My example:

I entered college when I was thirty-five as a single never married black parent of two, and on welfare. I had just begun to explore the scriptures and who God was to me three years before the incident I am about to describe. I don’t believe at the time I could truly say I was a Christian. In doing the paperwork to transfer my credits from a two-year school to a four year school, I found myself in a small elevator heading toward the Financial Aid Office when the elevator stopped and two professors deep in conversation get in. They had come from a pre-semester faculty meeting I guessed because they were lamenting the school accepting more “minority” students and how it would lower the standards.

Because they were deep in conversation, they didn’t see me or acknowledge my presence until with horror I said excuse me to exit the elevator when I got to my floor. I saw the anguish on their faces and said, “Oops, too late,” and walked off. There was a battle going on within me to a) report them, b) curse them out or c) ignore them. I chose “c.”

Fast forward, thee years latter and two months before my graduation with honors and 5 awards, I was leaving the school when I stopped to chat with security. Also speaking with security was a man truly distressed. He was scheduled to teach a required Freshman Math Class and the department had changed the book. His yellowed notes for the text they had always used were now unless. I asked him if could I look at the first chapter and saw it was all about “Sets.” I said, “O, this is easy,” and immediately proceeded to give this man in distress some pointers on how he might teach the class, said good-by and left the building. As I walked down the street, the memory of the elevator incident flashed before me and I laughed. The professor who had voiced the complaint about minorities had just received a math lesson from that which he feared, a minority. I hadn’t remembered the incident nor carried it with bitterness through my years of study there. I had absolutely forgotten the elevator encounter, until God brought it back to me.

Today it stands as a reminder to me about my own propensity to pre-judge.


Verse 30

But of Him (i.e., God the Father) you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

Verse 30
(Amplified Bible)

But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our
Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as]
our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and
our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and
our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].


Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10 is a very special verse to me personally as my mother did, in fact, choose not to be a part of our family.
I thank God every day for my father, a single parent, who raised me. Now, I pray often that my father will trust in the Lord Jesus and become my brother in Christ !

That way, we can not only share human life (my father literally was the only link to being my immediate family),
but the riches of spiritual life as well !

His name is Will (Wilbur) Brown.

Note, the wonderful riches we ALREADY have in Christ… which Jesus HAS ALREADY PAID FOR !

Are we living and experiencing who Christ is IN US and who we are IN CHRIST ?

“Christ in you is the certain, guaranteed hope of glory” Colossians 1:27


Listen to my pleading, O LORD.
Be merciful and answer me!

My heart has heard you say,
"Come and talk with me."

And my heart responds,
"LORD, I am coming."

* Notice the HUGE
additional DEPTH of
meaning of these verses
in the Amplified Bible.

Note this information explaining the Amplified Bible:

The Amplified Bible takes both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what Scripture really says.


Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, Seek My face

==> [inquire for and
require My presence as
your vital need].

My heart says to You, Your face ==> (Your presence), Lord,

==> will I seek, inquire
==> and require [of
necessity and on the
authority of Your Word].

The Amplified Bible really adds EXCELLENT ATTITUDES of:
a) trust of the human heart
b) intensity of worship


I have really missed the worship (youtubes) you had been displaying. Hope they will return soon. God Bless !

I love 1 Corith. 1:18: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." As I engage in conversations with others, I see many ppl who truly think the gospel is foolish...I cant understand that reasoning!! The power of Christ is my life source in every sense! I am freed from the bondage of sin, I am allowed to have rest and peace inside that I longed for all my life, I finally have it! I am forgiven, I am now able to forgive others, I am free from bitterness and anger. I tried for years to get that peace on my own. I tried to change on my own. But the power of Christ in one's life can truly transform lives. I cant even write down all the wonderful ways the Lord Jesus has rescued me. Not just in this life, but eternally...I'm putting my soul in His hands and I dont want my life, heart or soul in any one else's! I've recently been in conversations with atheists and other nonbelievers and the thought of the gospel is ridiculous to them...honestly, that shocked me. Even when I was rebellious, living for myself, I never thought that way, I always knew deep down what Christ did, tho I didnt fully understand or receieve it at that time.
I love v. 25: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Amen!! You can bet your life on that!! Human wisdom is complete rubbish! Like I shared before in a philosphy class I took years ago, God allowed me to feel what nonbelievers did, the confusion and weight that I couldnt bare...it was a taste of what nonbelievers live with. It was awful!!!!! I RAN to the Lord! I love His peace, rest, TRUTH. So many ppl claim to be looking for truth, but are they really? There is absolute truth, its in Christ Jesus and once you drink of the living water you will never thirst again! I THANK the Lord Jesus for not giving up on me! he is soooo good!! I cant understand why everyone doesnt want that assurance. Not only in this life but the assurance of salvation. Well one thing is for sure, the devil is working overtime in these last days.

Proverbs. How many times have I sought to get revenge in my heart only to have the Lord remind me its not my place! when I act in vengeance, i regret it...because I have sinned against God, I cant say it doesnt feel good to "get even". But I have never regretted NOT seeking revenge. Its much harder to walk away. Ihear ppl all the time talking about how they got in a fight or cussed someone out and they act so proud. I just think to myself, why are they proud of that? its easy to lose your temper and act like a jerk, haha. Because being a jerk comes naturally to us, our sinful nature. Its much much harder to go against our nature. I feel its commendable to do so, and its pleasing to the Lord who not only sees my actions but my heart. When God says, Let it go! I better!

Psalms v.3 "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."
I cant even tell you what this means to me! I know this all too well...i have come so close, in the past, to losing heart in this world. God has been gracious to me!
v.14. "Wait on the Lord". A very valuable lesson God is teaching me. ...I think this is a hard one for everyone, because by nature, we dont like to wait...but it is good to trust in God. Everything I waited for has been well worth the wait!

John, R, and Vance,

I know I have addressed you before, but I cannot tell you how much you each influence my life. Just today, you all shared something personal about your lives. Thank you for the blessing you give by sharing your wisdom and hearts.


"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong"...how powerful is that? That just changed my whole perspective...what a way to look at life and God in a new and fresh way. He never stops amazing me. He's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are so much higher than our own...it just remindes me how much Ive grown and still how much I have to go...He's so amazing. It just reminds me that he uses the little things that we take for granted or the things we disregard God uses it all for His glory and to achieve His purpose and His plan.

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