Can you imagine celebrating the 2500th anniversary of anything? That's no typo. As we prepare this coming July 4th to celebrate the relatively young 241st anniversary of the birth of our "new nation, conceived in liberty," let us look to the past to remind us of our incredibly great potential future. There is a choice to be made.
In 1971, the former 15th U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Benson, was given an invitation, along with many other "notables," to visit Iran for the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus The Great. That's the same Cyrus we read about in the Bible in several places (2 Chronicles, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel).
Jeremiah spoke of him to be the one who would help the captive Hebrews to practice their religion as God had instructed them. Cyrus not only authorized them to return to Jerusalem, but went much further when he decreed that Jehovah's temple should be built up once again. He even ordered that the sacred "vessels of the house of the Lord" be returned.
This was an instance of God using a civic leader, and the most powerful one at that, to affect history and the moving forward of God's work among us, His children. The record states:
"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 saith 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."
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
Many centuries later, the Lord stirred the spirit of several other people to help bring about the most unique country in the history of the world, the United States of America. I'm no scholarly historian, so please don't beat me up if I get a couple of dates wrong, but I want to discuss the principles of these great events. I want to suggest that God was absolutely and directly behind the bringing forth of the ideas of this new Republic.