By Kingly Decree | Executive Order

In 519 BC, God orchestrated the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem via kingly decrees. King Cyrus, King Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia were God’s instruments concerning the reconstruction of His House in Jerusalem.

Not surprisingly, there was resistance to the rebuilding of God’s house at Jerusalem during the entire project. At one point some people who were against the Israelites sent a letter to King Darius concerning the validity of the decree. “Did proof of such a decree actually exist?” they demanded.

Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, “where the treasures were stored in Babylon. And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:” ~ Ezra 6:1-2 NKJV

In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid …Let the expenses be paid from the king’s treasury.” ~ Ezra 6:3-4 NKJV

Why pay for this project out of the King’s treasury? Verse 5 explains that the gold and silver treasury of God’s temple had been looted/stolen by King Nebuchadnezzar and brought back to Babylon around 70 years prior.

It was time for God’s judgement against the Israelites for idolatry to be over. The temple at Jerusalem was to be rebuilt and dedicated to the LORD. But in the seventh year of the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the LORD sent Ezra to Jerusalem to serve as priest and scribe of the Law of the LORD; but not to go empty-handed:

This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of His statutes to Israel:

Artaxerxes, king of kings,
To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven:

Perfect peace, and so forth.

I issue a decree, that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you.
And whereas you are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand;
and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem;
and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be freely offered for the house of their God in Jerusalem –
Now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings, and offer them in the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.”

~ Ezra 6:11-17 NKJV

WOW! When God moves, He means business. So how does any of this relate to us today? Perhaps this decree by King Artaxerxes reminds us of how the LORD bent the hearts of the Egyptians toward the Israelites during the Exodus. God caused the Egyptians to give their wealth freely to the Israelites at their departure from Egypt. There appears to be a pattern of how God cares for His children. He sometimes shifts wealth from the masters in order to bless His people when they have been held captive during judgement. At the point of God’s forgiveness and consequential freedom from bondage, God immediately blesses.

How do we view things like presidential executive orders today, which are very similar to kingly decrees back then? When our democratic processes break down, and it becomes difficult to govern the people righteously, God may use special means to guide us into trusting Him.

By kingly decree … It served the Israelites well when they were obedient to God in the Old Testament; and it will for us, too, if we trust our LORD.

Notice that as powerful as he was, King Artaxerxes called himself king of kings, without capital letters. He evidently realized that he was not THE King of Kings Jesus. As we celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus soon, may the world recognize and worship Him as their personal Messiah, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

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