The Medo-Persian empire continued the tradition of
sun worship. As Medo-Persia
indicates, it is a kingdom derived from the combination of the Medes
Persians. This combination took place under the rulership of Cyrus the Great.
The Biblical Darius was also one ot the famous Medo-Persian kings. Both Cyrus
and Darius are important characters as they were instrumental in the return of
Judaens to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity.
The earliest form of the religion of the Medo-Persians is described in
ancient manuscripts known as the Zendavesta. Ahura-Mazda was known as the
creator of all things: heaven and earth, light and darkness, the originator of
all laws and judge of the world. In the earliest periods of Ahura-Mazda, the
worship of many gods is apparent, including: Indra ( Storm), Awmaiti (Earth),
Agni (Fire), Soma (intoxication), Vayu (Wind), and most important to our study,
Mithra or (Sunlight). When Cyrus, the Persian emperor, conquered an area, it was
his policy to restore the worship of the resident gods. By doing this Cyrus,
although a conqueror, was well received, and even looked upon as a hero:
supporting the local god. This was also the case when Cyrus ordered the
rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. To state this plainly: Cyrus told them
what they wanted to hear!
An understanding of religious thought in the Medo-Persian empire is of great
importance. It was from a climate of religious tolerance that Judah returned to
Jerusalem, bringing with them traditions that had absolutely nothing to do with
the worship of God. These are the traditions condemned by Jesus when he spoke to
the chief priests and Pharisees. Because of their refusal to abandon these false
beliefs they "stumbled" and failed to receive their long awaited
Messiah, Jesus Christ.
God will not allow the slightest pagan tradition to be combined with His
worship. All such attempts are in vain!
This segment is excerpted from the book,
"Too Long in the Sun".
Please click the ORDER
button to secure a copy for yourself and learn even more on this topic!