What are the odds the circumstances surrounding the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth that correspond with many ancient prophecies was just a coincidence?

What Happens When God Names Someone?

When God names someone the few times in Hebrew history, it is associated with greatness and long-term blessings.[1] What does that say about Jesus of Nazareth?

As a 75-year old man, God told Abram to move with his family to the land of Canaan promising “…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[2] Faithfully, Abram complied and eventually settled near the city of Salem and the mounts of Moriah.

Abram and his wife, Sarai, decided that due to their old age, the only way for him to have a son was to father a child with Sarai’s servant, an Egyptian named Hagar.[3] Once Hagar became pregnant, both women despised each other placing Hagar in difficult position. 

Sarai blamed Abram of creating the situation by making Hagar pregnant. Abram told Sarai that since Hagar was her servant, she could do with Hagar as she wished. Hagar was treated harshly to the point she ran away. God sent an angel to Hagar telling her to return and obey Saria, then she would be blessed through her son whom God named Ishmael:

Gen. 16:11-13 “And the Angel of the LORD said to her: ‘Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction…Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand… I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.’”(NKJV) [4]

Hagar gave birth to Ishmael when Abram was 86 years old.[5] The boy lived with his mother as part of Abram’s family for more than 13 years until the time came for the next chapter in Abram’s life. Ishmael went on to get married to an Egyptian girl and was blessed with 12 sons who would become princes of their tribes.[6]

At the age of 99, God appeared to Abram confirming His promise 24 years earlier. Adding to the promise, the message from God was 3-fold:

Gen. 17:5-6 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.” (NASB)

Gen. 17: 15-16 “…As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Gen. 17:19 “…Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

Renamed by God, descendants of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac included the kingdom of the House of David from whom the Messiah would come according to several future prophecies.[7] God included the names of Abraham and Isaac in His introduction when he spoke to the Hebrew nation. Perhaps the greatest recognition of greatness came about 1300 years later when God called Abraham His friend in present tense:

Is 41:8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.” (NKJV)

Isaac would marry Rebekah to whom was born twins, Esau and Jacob. A famine came upon the land and God warned Isaac not to go to Egypt as his father had once done to escape a famine meanwhile assuring Isaac of His blessing:

Gen. 26:3 “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

Living in exile for 20 years hiding from Esau who wanted to kill him for stealing his firstborn birthright blessing, Jacob decided to go back home. Before entering the land of Abraham, Jacob’s family camped at a place called Bethel.[8] That night, Jacob wrestled with a Man who, at the end of the night, said:

Gen. 32:28 “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”(NKJV)[9]

At peace with Esau, Jacob settled and built a house in the land of Canaan. God later sent Jacob back to Bethel instructing him to build an altar. Returning home, he received another message from God:

Gen. 35: 10-12 “God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” … “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”(NRSV)

Gabriel, the archangel known in Biblical history as the messenger of God, appeared to Daniel to interpret visions. In both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Gabriel reappeared first to Mary, then to Joseph.[10]

Mary was informed she would miraculously conceive a baby by God to be named “Jesus” who would be the promised Messiah. Joseph, Mary’s betrothal, received a similar message from Gabriel telling him that Mary’s surprise pregnancy was by the hand of God and the baby was to be named “Jesus”:

LK 1:26-33 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ … ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.’ And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’” (NASB)

MT 1:20-21 “…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (NASB)

In two different independent appearances by Gabriel months apart, first to Mary, then to Joseph, neither knew about each other’s message from God. Circumstances of the separate announcements met the standard of Jewish Law requiring two witnesses to confirm a fact – God named Mary’s baby, “Jesus.”[11] What does this say about the fulfillment of God’s promises and the blessings to be associated with the babe God named Jesus?

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Philologos Edition: Apr1301.  Philogos.org. n.d. Book II, Chapter 4.  <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm> Last accessed 12 Apr. 2018.
[2] Genesis 12 ; Genesis 12:3. NASB, NKJV, NRSV.
[3] Genesis 25.
[4] CR Genesis 17, 21.
[5] Genesis 16.
[6] Genesis 16, 25; I Chronicles 1. “The 12 Tribes of Ishmael.” Nabatea.net. n.d. <http://nabataea.net/12tribes.html>
[7] “Abraham.”  BBC | Religion. 2009. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/history/abraham_1.shtml>  “Analysis: Story of Abraham and His Relevance to Islam, Judaism and Christianity.” NPR. 2018. <https://www.npr.org/programs/totn/transcripts/2002/sep/020924.feiler.html>
[8] Genesis 35.
[9] CR Genesis 35. 
[10] Luke 1; Daniel 8, 9. “Uriel.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14606-uriel>  “Gabriel (Archangel).” New World Encyclopedia. 2017. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gabriel_(Archangel)>
[11] Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15; Numbers 35:30. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 9a. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_9.html> Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 30a. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_30.html>

Jacob – Relevant to the Messiah?

Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, is far removed from Jesus of Nazareth having lived some 2000 years earlier. How then is Jacob relevant to the Messiah or the story of Jesus of Nazareth?

Knowing how God viewed Jacob is key. First clue are the words of the Voice coming from the burning bush when God introduced Himself to Moses: 

EX 3:6 “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (NASB)

Moses was hesitant about being sent to confront Pharaoh and deliver the Hebrews from the bondage of Egypt. Moses ventured to ask the Voice what he should say if they asked, “‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”(NIV)  God’s resounding response:

EX 3:14-15I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’”. (NASB)

God directly refers to Himself five times in Exodus as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” to whom He made a promise, a covenant which He affirmed to keep.[1] Jesus of Nazareth quoted these words of God saying “… Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’”(NKJV)[2]

Promises made, promises not forgotten. Appearing first in Genesis and then referenced in the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, I Chronicles, and Jeremiah, God made the same two-fold promise to each of the three patriarchs: [3]

Gen. 17:5-6 “And your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will emerge from you.” (CJB)

Gen. 26:2-4 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said… your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring… (NRSV)

Gen. 35:10-11 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” And He named him Israel. And God said to him, “I am the Almighty God; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a multitude of nations shall come into existence from you, and kings shall come forth from your loins.(CJV)

Second big clue demonstrating the significance of Jacob is revealed when God gave him a new name – Jacob would be called Israel, in Hebrew, Yisra’el, meaning “God Prevails.”[4] Israel to this day 4000 years later is the name of the Hebrew nation. Israel’s sons would become known as the fathers of the 12 tribes Israel.[5]

Perhaps the biggest clue that Jacob played a key role in the story of the Messiah are the prophecies themselves. Before Jacob died, he blessed each of his sons and foretold their future.[6] Judah’s blessing was two-fold:

Gen. 49:8-10 Judah, [as for] you, your brothers will acknowledge you. Your hand will be at the nape of your enemies, [and] your father’s sons will prostrate themselves to you. A cub [and] a grown lion is Judah. From the prey, my son, you withdrew. He crouched, rested like a lion, and like a lion, who will rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the student of the law from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him will be a gathering of peoples. (CJV)

Rabbi Rashi, one of Judaism’s most revered scriptural interpreters, identified Shiloh as the “King Messiah, to whom the kingdom belongs” and “the scepter” refers to the royal lineage of “David and thereafter.” [7] According to Rashi, the prophetic blessing of Judah was a pretext to the establishment of the kingdom of David.

“The scepter” reappears over 400 years later in another prophecy tied to Jacob. Moab King Balak, an enemy of Israel, sought to have a curse placed on them by the prophet Balaam. Instead, the response from God through Balaam was the prophecy linked to Jacob, a Star and the Scepter:

Num 24:17 “”I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.” (NKJV)

Rashi interpreted “the scepter” or “the staff” as referring to King David. “The Star” shooting forth from Jacob he interpreted to mean “As the Targum [Onkelos] renders, an expression similar to ‘He has bent his bow’ (Lam. 2:4), for a star shoots out like an arrow; in old French, destent, as if to say, his good fortune shall rise [prosper].”[8]

Promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were initially fulfilled when Israel conquered the land of Canaan and established a kingdom ruled by King David from the tribe of Judah. [9] The prophet Nathan prophesied to David that his kingdom would become the throne for the kingdom of God forever:

2 Sam 7:12-13  “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” [10]

Hebrew prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Micah and Malachi would add more specific details about the One who would come forth from Jacob.[11] They would include characteristics of the Messiah and predict the circumstances of his birth, life and death.

One more prophecy brought together the promises and predictions made about the house of Jacob. It came from God’s own heavenly messenger, the archangel Gabriel, who announced to Mary:

LK 1:31-33 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Gabriel proclaimed that the promise made to Jacob and the prophecies from the prophets would be fulfilled when Mary would give birth to the Son of God who would be given the throne of David to reign over the house of Jacob forever.

Jacob’s name is woven into the story of the Messiah from start to finish. Where would the promise of the Messiah be without Jacob?

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Translations:

NASB: New American Standard Bible
NET: NetBible
NIV: New International Version
NLT: New Living Translation
NKJV: New King James Version
NRSV: New Revised Standard Version

REFERENCES:

[1] Exodus 3:6, 14-16; 4:5; 33:1. NET, NIV, NASB, NLT, NRSV, NKJV.
[2] Matthew 22; Mark 12; Luke 20. CR Matthew 8; Luke 13.
[3] Genesis 50; Exodus 33; Deuteronomy 1, 9, 30; I Chronicles 16; Jeremiah 33.
[4] NetBible.org. Hebrew text. Yisra’el <03478> Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d <http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/3478.html>  CR Isaiah 43, 45.
[5] 2 Kings 17.  “Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Twelve-Tribes-of-Israel>  Posner, Yecheskel. “12 Tribes of Israel: The Shevatim.” n.d. <https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3798842/jewish/12-Tribes-of-Israel-The-Shevatim.htm>  “Ancient Jewish History: The Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2018. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-twelve-tribes-of-israel>
[6] Genesis 49.
[7] Gensis 49:10. Rashi commentary. The Compete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary. <https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8244#showrashi=true> Mindel, Nissan. “Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki).” <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111831/jewish/Rabbi-Shlomo-Yitzchaki-Rashi.htm>  
[8] Numbers 24:17 Rashi commentary. Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. <https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9952#showrashi=true>
[9] 2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11.  Josephus. Antiquites of the Jews. Book VII, Chapter III.2.  
[10] NASB.  CR I Chronicles 17.
[11] Isaiah 2, 9, 10, 11, 20, 44, 46, 49, 58, 59, 60. Jeremiah 23, 30, 31, 33; Zechariah 3, 6, 12. Ezekiel 39. Micah 5. Malachi 3.

Daniel, Chief of Wise Men – Was Daniel a Hebrew Magi?

Magi from the East, known by a name that is the root word for “magic, seems at complete odds with a Jewish setting in a Christian story about Jesus of Nazareth. Behind the curtains, was there a connection to these Magi through Daniel?

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had wiped out Jerusalem, raided the Temple, and ended the House of David’s succession of sitting kings. Treasures taken as spoils of war included Hebrew people with particular qualities.[1]

One such selected captive was named Daniel who, along with three other Hebrew captivities, was chosen to be educated for three years in the exclusive Babylonian school of Chaldeans in preparation for service to the King. They would become part of an eclectic group of royal wise men that included “the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans” known as the chakkiym.”[2]

Two Aramaic words exclusive in the Bible and found only in the first five chapters of the Book of Daniel are key to defining the four Hebrews, kisday and chakkiym.[3] Aramaic kisday has the same meaning as the Hebrew Kisdiy – the “Clod-breakers.” Chakkiym literally means “wise men” or simply “wise.”[4]

One day Nebuchadnezzar challenged the chakkiym to interpret his dream. Gladly, they agreed once Nebuchadnezzar revealed his dream. The king was suspicious of their dubious abilities – if they truly had mystical powers, then they should be able to know his dream and its interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar commanded that failure would result in their dismemberment and destruction of their homes.

Realizing they were backed into a corner, these royal wise men informed the King that his request was impossible because no one could do what he was asking. In a fit of rage, Nebuchadnezzar ordered all the chakkiym in the kingdom to be executed.

All this was unknown to Daniel until Arioch, captain of the King’s guard, came to arrest and execute Daniel as one of the kingdom’s chakkiym. Daniel asked Arioch for details, then convinced Arioch to allow him to approach the King. A day’s reprieve was granted by Nebuchadnezzar and that night Daniel and his friends prayed for the revelation.

Daniel approached King Nebuchadnezzar the next day saying, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men , the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets…”

God gave “Daniel understanding in all visions and dreams” and in answer to his prayers, Daniel revealed the King’s dream and its interpretation.  Nebuchadnezzar was completely humbled bowing down to Daniel, rewarding him with riches and making him head of all the kingdom’s chakkiym. In Jeremiah, the chief position of the wise men was called a Rab-mag.[5]

Handwriting on the wall in Belshazzar’s palace was the last time chakkiym appears in the Bible. At the urging of Belshazzar’s wife, Daniel was summoned to interpret the message which said the Medes and Persians would overthrow the Babylonian kingdom – it happened that very night.[6]

Cyrus, king of the Medes and Persians, espoused Zoroastrianism as the main religion in his Empire.[7] Zoroastrian priests known as Magi, considered to be wise men, held great royal influence.[8]

Daniel’s supernatural abilities of interpreting visions and prophecies valued by kings continued under Cyrus and Darius.[9] Chaldean wise men’s mystical abilities meshed well with the mystic aptitudes of the Magi.

Authors and teachers of the Hellenistic age produced many writings by noted Greek historians and philosophers giving additional insights to these mysterious wise men.[10] Accounts about the Chaldeans and the Magi reveal striking similarities.

Herodotus (c. 484-420) identified the Magi as one of the six Median tribes who had the ability to interpret dreams.[11] Two of his stories demonstrate the considerable political influences of the Magi.

Median King Astyages, who reigned during the same years of the Babylonian Empire, consulted Magi to interpret dreams about his daughter. Their interpretation said the King’s newborn grandson would rise to rule the kingdom. Alarmed, Astyages tried to thwart this fate by commanding his grandson to be secretly killed…but he didn’t want to know any of the details.

Years later in a strange coincidence of events, the boy was surprisingly discovered to be alive by Astyages who then proudly named his grandson Cyrus. At the urging of his Magi advisors, the King sent the young Cyrus away to be raised by his father, Cambyses, in Persia. The fascinating story ends when the Persian Cyrus rose up to overthrow his Median grandfather, but not before Astyages had the Magi impaled who had advised him to send away his grandson to Persia.

Pythagoras (c. 570-499 BC), who wanted to learn their ways, “journeyed among the Chaldaeans and Magi,” a period before Cyrus took Babylon. Democritus (c. 460-370 BC) “was a pupil of certain Magians and Chaldaeans” from whom “he learned theology and astronomy.”[12]

Xenophon (c. 430-350 BC) wrote that under Cyrus, “…the first time the college of magi was instituted…” and that the influences of the Magi “continued in force with each successive king even to this day.” Cyrus is quoted, “set apart for the gods whatever the magi direct, as they interpret the will of the gods.”[13]

Cicero (106-43 BC), famed Roman orator and lawyer, referenced “Dinon’s Persian annals the dreams of that famous prince, Cyrus, and their interpretations by the magi…who are classed as wise and learned men among the Persians…”[14]

Daniel, the Hebrew wise man of Babylon, was assigned by Darius as one of three top government positions over the satraps – province governors and chiefs.[15] His two Median-Persian counterparts conspired to have Daniel eliminated, pretext for the famous story, Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Unscathed, Daniel survived; his two rivals met the terrifying fate intended for Daniel.

In another account about Magi, Herodotus wrote of a pair of Magi who attempted a silent coup of the kingdom through trickery of an imposter king who was a Magus. After 7 months, the Magus imposter was eventually discovered by seven men including Darius who ended up being the one who killed the Magus. The assignation inciting the “massacre of the Magi.” Darius was chosen among the seven to become King.[16]

Magians, according to Diogenes (412-320 BC), came from a long line of succession from Zoroaster “down to the conquest of Persia by Alexander.”[17] Making reference to historian Clitarchus, he said, “the Chaldaeans apply themselves to astronomy and forecasting the future; while the Magi spend their time in the worship of the gods, in sacrifices and in prayers…”

Chaldeans were skilled in the science of astronomy, said Diodorus (c. 75-20 BC). They had an extraordinary ability saying, “the Chaldeans in Babylon and the other astrologers succeed in making accurate prophecies.”[18]

Plato (circa 428-347 BC) wrote that Magi were “king-makers,” that a king’s son at the age of 14 is taught “the magian lore of Zoroaster, son of Horomazes; and that is the worship of the gods…”[19]

Parthian Empire, considered by some to be the second Persian Empire, followed the Greek Empire in world history. It coexisted with the Roman Empire at the end of the millennium, though not without wars and confrontations.[20]

Strabo (c. 64 BC-21 AD) wrote “the Council of the Parthians, according to Poseidonius, consists of two groups, one that of kinsmen, and the other that of wise men and Magi, from both of which groups the kings were appointed.”[21] He said:[22]

“And the priests of the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and Magi, distinguished for their wisdom above those around them, obtained from our predecessors honour and authority…” – Strabo

Magi, renowned for their ability to read the stars, make accurate predictions and reputed for being king-makers, came to the palace of King Herod asking “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”[23] Without hesitation, Herod gave them immediate access to his palace and did not question their quest.

Historically, the presence of the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel is not at all unusual, but what is unusual is Magi seeking out a baby King of the Jews to worship him. Was Daniel an original Magi, “distinguished for their wisdom above those around them, obtained from our predecessors honour and authority,” whose dream and vision interpretations influenced the quest of these Magi?

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:
[1] Daniel 1.
[2] NKJV
[3] Guisepi, Robert. “The Chaldeans, The Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonian) Empire.” International World History Project. Ed. Robert A. Guisepi. 2007. <http://history-world.org/chaldeans.htm> “Chaldea.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Chaldea>
[4] Net.bible.org. Daniel 2. Hebrew text. “kasdiy <03779>;” “kasday <3779>;” “chakkiym <02445><http://lexiconcordance.com>
[5] Jeremiah 39:3, 13.
[6] Daniel 5.  Herodotus. The Histories. 1.191-193; 4.1. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D1>
[7] “Zoroastrianism.”  ReligionFacts.com. 2018. <http://www.religionfacts.com/zoroastrianism/index.htm> “Zoroastrianism.” PersianEmpire.info. 2007. <http://persianempire.info/zoro.htm>  Hooker, Richard. “Mesopotamia: The Persians.” Washington State University. 1996. <http://web.archive.org/web/20110514001358/http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/PERSIANS.HTM> “Zoroaster.” Encyclopædia.com. 2016. <https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/philosophy-and-religion/ancient-religion-biographies/zoroaster> Gascoigne, Bamber.  “History of Zoroastrianism.”  HistoryWorld.net. n.d. <http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab71>  “Zoroastrianism.”  BBC|The British Broadcasting Corporation. 2009. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian> Eduljee, K. E. “Greek Perceptions of Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism & the Magi.” Zoroastrian Heritage. 2011. <http://zoroastrianheritage.blogspot.com/2011/04/greek-perceptions-of-zoroaster.html>  “Zoroastrianism.” BBC|The British Broadcasting Corporation. 2009. “The Archaemenian.”<http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian> Jafarey, Ali Akbar.  “The Achaemenians, Zoroastrians in Transition.”  CAIS|The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. 1998.  <http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Religions/iranian/Zarathushtrian/achaemenian_zarathushtrian.htm> Soules, Jeremiah. “For the Glory of Ahuramazda:  The Political Effects of Zoroastrianism on Early Achaemenid Persia.” University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. 2010. pp. 18-21. <http://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/60912?show=full>
[8] Herodotus, The Histories. 3.152. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D1>
[9] Daniel 6, 9, 10.
[10] Gascoigne, Bamber.   “Iran (Persia) timeline.” HistoryWorld.net. n.d. <http://www.historyworld.net/timesearch/default.asp?conid=static_timeline&timelineid=759&page=1&keywords=Iran+%28Persia%29+timeline> Eduljee. “Greek Perceptions of Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism & the Magi.”
[11] “Herodotus.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Herodotus-Greek-historian> Herodotus. The Histories.
[12] Diogenes Laertius. Lives of Eminent Philosophers. 8.1; 9/7. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0258:book=9:chapter=7&highlight=Magians%2C> “Pythagoras.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pythagoras>  “Cyrus takes Babylon.” Livius.org. Ed. Jona Lendering. 2018. <http://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/cyrus-takes-babylon> “Democritus.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Democritus> Diogenes. Lives. 9.7.
[13] Xenophon. Cyropaedia. Walter Miller, Ed. c.370 BC. 4.5; .8.1. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Xen.+Cyrop.+1.1&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0204>   “Xenophon.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Xenophon>
[14] Cicero, M. Tullius. Divination. Trans. William Armistead Falconer. 44 BC. 1.46. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Cic.+Div.+1.1&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2007.01.0043>
[15] Daniel 6. Herodotus. Histories. 3.90. Xenophon. Cyropaedia. 4.5.
[16] Herodotus. Histories. Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. n.d, Book XI, Chapter III. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[17] Diogenes. Lives. Prologue.  “Cleitarchus.” Livius.org. Ed. Jona Lendering. 2018. <http://www.livius.org/articles/person/cleitarchus>
[18] Diodorus. Library. Prologue; 15.50. “Diodorus Siculus.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Diodorus-Siculus>
[19] Plato. Republic. Trans.Paul Shorey. 9.572e. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0168%3Abook%3D9%3Asection%3D572e>  Plato. Alcibiades 1. Trans. W.R.M. Lamb. c. 390 AD. 1 121e-1232. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0176%3Atext%3DAlc.%201%3Asection%3D122a>  “Plato.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Plato>
[20] Lendering, Jona. History of Iran – Parthian Empire. 2018. <http://www.iranchamber.com/history/parthians/parthians.php>
[21] Strabo. The Geography of Strabo. 17-23 AD.  H. L. Jones, ed. 11.9. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0198%3Abook%3D6%3Achapter%3D1%3Asection%3D1>
[22] Strabo. The Geography of Strabo. 17-23 AD.  H. L. Jones, ed. 1.2. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0239:book=1:chapter=2&highlight=magi>
[23] NASB, NKJV.