Modern Judaism as expressed by the State of Israel, is a European creation. It carries many of the same brutal elements of European Culture – like an air of superiority (European snobbishness), moral and economic justification for colonization, ruthless mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and blatant state sponsored theft. I don’t need to remind readers of European extermination of Incas for land and gold, or killings of millions of Africans for land and resources, or indeed Hitler’s genocide. Ironically, Israel was founded by European Jews, escaping the very brutality they now practice in Israel and the region.
The truth is – if the Jews wanted to return to their homeland – more rightfully, they would claim what is modern day Iran. That is where their roots are. That is where they belong.
Most ancient temples in Israel are of Greek origin. The term synagogue is a Greek word that means literally ‘assembly’. There are Greek inscriptions in all ancient Jewish temples, indicating who was there before the Jews relocated there. In fact, Jews adopted Israel. Israel is NOT in fact their homeland. Jewish claim to Israel, is based on false pretexts.
Real Judaism is Persian. Jews are historically associated with the Persian Empire; whose successor state is Iran. Judaism is the second-oldest religion still practiced in Iran (after Zoroastrianism). The Biblical Book of Esther contains references to the experiences of the Jews in Persia. Jews have had a continuous presence in Iran since the time of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus invaded Babylon and freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity. The history of Jews in Iran goes back more than 3,000 years, during which time they were part of a multi-confessional society which included adherents of several other religions.
Declaring Israel for as the ancestral soil of the Jews by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is another Netanyahu lie. As the “Onion” reported this week, it would be more truthful if he said: “The land of Iran has long been part of our heritage, and we implore the international community to work with us to ensure its return as the independent Jewish state!!”
And in this way, Netanyahu would provide Israel with the correct pretext to conduct war against Iran. Israel could more appropriately reoccupy all 636,400 square miles of present-day Iran and include it as part of the promised land bestowed upon the Jewish people by its biblical mandate.
The beginnings of Jewish history in Persia date back to well before biblical times. And by biblical, I’m talking about the Old Testament (which is essentially verbatim Torah, the Jewish Holy book).
The biblical books of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, and Esther contain references to the life and experiences of Jews in Persia. In the book of Ezra, the Persian kings are credited with permitting and enabling the Jews to go to Jerusalem and ‘rebuild’ their Temple; its reconstruction was affected “according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia” (Ezra 6:14). This great event in Jewish history took place in the late sixth century BCE, by which time there was a well-established and influential Jewish community across Persia.
Jews in ancient Persia mostly lived in their own communities. Jews lived in the ancient (and until the mid-20th century still extant) communities not only of Iran, but also in the Armenian, Georgian, Iraqi, Bukharan, and Mountain Jewish communities all of which were part of the Persian empire.
According to Encyclopædia Britannica: “The Jews trace their heritage to the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century BC and, like the Armenians, have retained their ethnic, linguistic, and religious identity.”
According to the Bible, three times during the 6th century BCE, Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Jews (Hebrews) of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon. (Note there were Jews living elsewhere in the region too, but it was just the Jews of Judah that were exiled). These three separate occasions are mentioned in Jeremiah (52:28–30). The first exile was in the time of Jehoiachin in 597 BCE, when the Temple of Jerusalem was partially despoiled, and several of the leading citizens were removed. After eleven years (during the reign of Zedekiah), a fresh rising of the Judaeans occurred. Jerusalem was razed to the ground, and deportation ensued. Finally, five years later, Jeremiah recorded a third captivity.
After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persian (Iranian) Achaemenid Empire, Cyrus the Great is said by the Bible to have allowed the Jews to return to their native land (537 BCE). More than forty thousand were said to have done so, (See Jehoiakim; Ezra; Nehemiah and Jews). The decree in Ezra has to be authentic especially when taken along with the Cylinder that Cyrus, produced. Clearly appeals to Marduk in the cylinder and to Yahweh in the biblical decree demonstrate the Persian tendency to co-opt local religious and political traditions in the interest of imperial control.
Cyrus then ordered the rebuilding of the Second Temple in the same place as the first; however, he died before it was completed. Darius the Great, his successor to power in the Persian empire, ordered the completion of the temple. According to the Bible, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah urged this work. The temple was ready for consecration in the spring of 515 BCE.
Persians called Cyrus “Father”, in Greek “Lord” or “Master”, and “Law-Giver”, and Jews called him “Messiah”. Greek writers like Aeschylus depict the Persian king as a god, but Persian kings did not claim to be gods, but they did like to depict themselves as god-like. They had a doctrine equivalent to the divine right of kings: to be king by virtue of God’s will. Cyrus was interested in persuading people that the true god was universal in outlook. His purpose seems to have been practical and political rather than religious, but it was a policy that led to the creation of all the main patriarchal religions of today. Cyrus was the founder of the modern great religions!Cyrus claimed to have been visited in a dream by Yehouah, a god of the Hebrews, the people who lived in “Beyond the River”, the Assyrian province of “Eber-niri” (Persian “Abarnahara”). Here is the map of Eber-niri and you note that it is NOT synonymous with Israel – in fact its closer to Jordan and Syria (combined). The Jews therefore lived invariably between Babylon and Eber-niri – historically. ISRAEL IS NOT their ancestral home or land. ISRAEL was merely, available, after the first world war, because of the retreat by the Ottomans. But Israel is NOT properly their homeland, several provinces within the Persian Empire is their proper homes.
His novel and clever policy of conquest was to be generous to defeated people. In his propaganda he painted himself as the savior and legitimate ruler of a conquered country. This must have been such a shock to people who expected to be massacred by conquerors that they could only conclude it was true.
Cyrus’s religious policy was an extension of this practical policy—to make it seem to be God’s will, whoever the local god was. To do so, he “restored” the local gods, but the restoration was in a mold that suited a universal king. The “restored” god was willing to look beyond his traditional worshippers to a world scale to recognize a righteous king when it saw one and approve of him in the appropriate way.
He got people to believe his propaganda by transporting them to a country that he declared was their proper homeland, where they had to start anew from the facts the Persians provided. Cyrus was their savior, so-and-so was their rightful god, the god recognized Cyrus as the savior—“Go thee and do likewise” and we Persians will help you.
Cyrus “restored” Yehouah to Jerusalem and supposedly 40,000 worshippers of Yehouah—Jews, for that is the name of people who worship Yehouah wherever they come from —“returned” to Jerusalem. The truth seems to be that very few did. Into the third generation of captivity and having the privileges of a deported class, the Judeans are unlikely to have wanted to return.
In the Jewish scriptures, Cyrus is presented as a savior and an agent of God—the Jewish god, Yehouah—and is even described as the messiah (the anointed). Yehouah had used the righteous but foreign king, Cyrus, to avenge the Jews against Babylon. We even find Yehouah shaking Cyrus by the hand (Isa 45:1) just as Bel had done:
Thus, saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him.
Two separate gods, Marduk and Yehouah, of people who were enemies, Babylonians and Jews, saying kind things about a foreign prince, choosing him as a deliverer and taking him by the hand in proof. It all begins to look suspicious—like pro-Cyrus propaganda. Cyrus depicted himself as the benefactor of conquered peoples and the “restorer” of gods to their rightful place.
The leaders of the “returners” was Zerubabel, supposedly a member of the Jewish royal family, and Joshua, supposedly the descendant of a dynasty of High Priests. The name Joshua means “saviour!” They were accompanied by an assortment of Persian officials.
Is it not curious that Zerubabel, a Jewish leader, should have a distinctly Babylonian sounding name, and one that in “Zeru” suggests “Zara” (Zoro), the beginning of Zoroaster’s name, the latter part simply meaning Babylon? Zara pertains to the sun and seems to have connotations of “power” or “strength” and so “protecting” or “saving”. Zerubabel is the “saviour from Babylon”. The same is true of a later and more famous Jewish leader to “return”, Ezra, where again we have the characteristic consonants “ZR” appearing in a language which did not write vowels, so that it could equally be rendered as Zara—another saviour!
In fact, Zerubabel was the Tirshatha, the Persian governor, whose duty was to act on behalf of the king, Cyrus, and whose bogus Jewish royalty was to give him authority over the skeptical natives of Judah. He is also called Sheshbazzar which seems to mean “mighty power of the king” or “citadel of the king”.
The society of Jerusalem was a feudal class system based on aristocracies called “houses” of princes and nobles, rulers and elders. The Persian governor was the top official but then came the priestly houses, led by the High Priest, a hereditary position. Sacred objects supposedly stolen by Nebuchadnezzer from the temple in Jerusalem were returned by Cyrus, but Nebuchadnezzer would have melted down or broken up any valuables to make them easier to transport, and so these were new items given by Cyrus to furnish the new temple.
The Jewish scriptures have a remarkable clue that the Yehudim were not natives of the hill country but were from Babylon. It is the story of Abraham, supposedly the father of the Jewish race who in the legend travelled from Ur “of the Chaldees” to Judaea. Abraham was allegedly travelling about 2000 BC but the Chaldees did not exist then, it was the name of the neo-Babylonian empire at the time of the “exile” so Abraham is simply a symbolic “returner” shoved into the past anachronistically.
Historians, believing the bible rather than their inspection of the relevant documents, have said that Cyrus was kind to Jews because he found the Jewish God so impressive and akin to his own god, Ahuramazda.
Cyrus was killed on the eastern front in 530 BC and his body was laid embalmed in a tomb with a pitched roof typical of ancient Indo-European tombs. He was still there 200 years later and was seen by Alexander the Great.
The son of Cyrus, Cambyses, a more ruthless man than his father completed the conquest of Egypt, ending traditional pharaonic rule for good. Following standard policy, Cambyses transported the ruling class of the Egyptians, including Pharaoh and his family, to Susa, but legitimized his rule by paying homage to the Egyptian gods. Then, so as to appear to the common people as a deliverer, he ordered the administration to introduce reforms to benefit them. While conquering Egypt he incidentally made several north African Greek colonies, like Libya and Cyrenaica to submit, thus bringing more of the Greek world into the Persian ambit.
In Egypt, Cambyses set up or sponsored a garrison of Jewish soldiers at Elephantine. According to a later letter, a temple to Yehouah had been set up here before the Persians came, and the polytheistic nature of the gods worshipped there besides Yehouah serves to confirm the idea. The name of Yehouah or Yeho as a god appears all over the Levant, not just in the Judaean hills, and even as far south as the Sinai, which is where Yehouah first appeared to Moses in the biblical myth. So the Semitic people of the Levant had Yehouah among their other gods and expatriate Semites in Egypt had apparently set up a temple for their devotional purposes. Perhaps, though, Cambyses tried to help the “returners” to Jerusalem by conscripting leaders of the Am ha-Eretz opponents of the new Yehouah temple and deporting them to Egypt where he allowed them to set up a temple to the traditional Yehouah and his heavenly court.
A cousin of Cambyses, Darius, one of the seven Persian princes, seized power and, though faced with considerable opposition eventually put down the rebellions and re-united the vast Empire.
The propagandizing inclination of the Persian rulers is well illustrated by Darius, who claims he defeated an impersonator of Cambyses’ brother to take the throne. The tale does not hold water. It is propaganda to cover his own murder of his cousin. The whole tale is written for everyone to read on the great monumant he erected at Behistun. It was also circulated widely in the regions.
Darius had six princes helping him in his plot and he set up them all as special advisers with great privileges. This by accident, or more likely intent, matched the six Amesha Spentas of Ahuramazda, showing again that the Shahanshah was the reflexion of God on earth. The kings from Darius were depicted on royal tombs supported by these six nobles, three on each side, and slightly to the back but looking toward the king.
The winged figure of Ahuramazda does not represent the god, but his grace or blessing, responsible for wealth and success. The figure in the winged ring often looks like a miniature of the king, often wearing the same kind of crown as Darius on his monuments, though sometimes it has an Assyrian crown. In the Avesta, god’s grace is called “khvarenah” (Median, farnah) and manifests itself as a falcon, just as Horus, also represented by a winged disc did in Egypt. The word for the sun, “hvar”, can be seen in khvarenah so presumably it was the benign warmth of the sun (showing perhaps the origins of the Iranians in colder climates). Plutarch says the Persian king by custom was “the image of God and preserver of all things”.
The question that this use of prophecy to influence events raises is whether the prophets of the Jewish scriptures served the same role. Widespread activities of Cyrus’s agents who were “gifted as well as bold men”, and it appears that similar religious propaganda appears in the bible, citing Isaiah 40-48. To this striking usage, Second Isaiah joins startlingly original theological utterances… markedly Zoroastrian in character. This originality in Judaism is what makes Isaiah such a notable prophet for Jews and Christians.
The people were being “returned” to a land that they had never known and were being told legends they had never heard but had to accept were those of their ancestors who had been unjustly deported. So, the stories had to be presented as the ancient legacy of the people. In Yasna 44, Zoroaster asks Ahuramazda questions to which the god replies simply such as “I am” or “I do”. Isaiah only differs in that the talking is done by Yehouah rather than the prophet.
Tell me truly Lord, who in the beginning, at the creation was the father of Justice? GY 44.3.1-2
Rain justice you heavens… this I, Yehouah, have created. Isa 45:8
Who established the course of the sun and the stars? Through whom does the moon wax and wane? GY 44.3.3-5
Lift up your eyes to the heavens. Consider who created it all, led out the host one by one. Isa 40:26
What craftsman made light and darkness? GY 45:5.1-3
I am Yehouah. There is no other. I make the light. I create darkness. Isa 45:7
The passages in Isaiah are not merely translations of the Avesta but their relationship is too close to be coincidence. Someone has paraphrased the content of the Yasna for a different audience and purpose. Ahuramazda is the Zoroastrian creator, this being his main title, and this title is being given to the local Ahuramazda—God of the Heavens, identified with the Greek Zeus, just as Yehouah was.
The prophets Haggai and Zechariah began to urge the building of a temple in Jerusalem in the “second year of Darius”. We get the biblical story of the Edict of Cyrus being sought and found in Egbatana (Hamadan). It sounds like typical Persian cunning—an application of their popular technique of finding ancient documents that upheld their foreign policy. Whether the edict was original or not, it suited Darius to find it and uphold it. Ezra 5:1-6:10 explains that the priests were to be rewarded for offering sacrifices and praying for the life of the king and his sons. As Boyce rightly observes, “the king’s generosity had an obvious political ingredient”. Ezra 6:14-15 says the task was completed in four years. As for generosity, the cost was initially from tribute raised, a loss-leader, so to speak because when the tradition of obligatory sacrifice and tithes had been accepted, the temple became self-supporting, and indeed the centre for collecting tribute.
In 1879 AD, a cylinder was found in Akkadian script, the usual writing of Babylonia, with 45 lines of an edict of Cyrus. The initial lines berate Nabonidus, but are incomplete. They speak of a weakling, dishonour, enmity, stopping the daily offering, presumably to Marduk, and instead offered daily hostility, all the dwelling places had become ruins and the people of Sumer and Akkad were like corpses.
Cyrus’s telegrams to his empire are found in a series of cylinders found in the region over the past 100 years. We see in one the following statement:
“I am Cyrus, king of the world, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon… Eternal seed of royalty whose rule Bel and Nabu love, in whose administration they rejoice in their heart. When I made my triumphal entrance into Babylon, I took up my lordly residence in the royal palace with joy and rejoicing. Marduk, the great lord, moved the noble heart of the residents of Babylon to me, while I gave daily attention to his worship. My numerous troops marched peacefully into Babylon. In all Sumer and Akkad I permitted no enemy to enter. The needs of Babylon and of all its cities I gladly attended to… and the shameful yoke was removed from them. Their dwellings, which had fallen, I restored. I cleared out their ruins.”
Another cylinder says that:
“Cyrus rebuilt Esagila and Ezida, respectively the temples of Marduk and Nebo at Babylon and Borsippa.”
A long poem apparently by a priest of Esagila praises Cyrus and curses Nabonidus. Interestingly, the Seleucid king, Antiochus I, did exactly the same as Cyrus, restoring these two temples and making sure everyone knew about it. Cyrus told these defeated people that he ruled them through the wishes of their gods.
In the days before mass communication, it was mass communication! Few people would not go to their temple or place of worship on the prescribed occasions and hear the words of their god read out. The strategy of the Shahanshahs was to ensure that what they heard inculcated respect for the Great King, the god that had picked him out to rule the world, and the laws that they formulated and presented to the people. To be rewarded the people must be obedient, and to pay their tithes and taxes was a duty to god. People who did this were righteous. Just in case they were not and proving the practical nature of the whole policy of restoration, is the fact that “restored” temples in frontier territories nearly always had an attached fortress! —in Jerusalem, what eventually became the Antonia Tower.
The belief in the universal dominion of a supreme god, the idea that a local deity changed the formula of homage but left intact its content. A new ruler received the lordship from each universal god simultaneously and established his relations to each god separately as before.
The Persian kings paid dutiful homage to each local god as the universal god. They had control of the land in fact through conquest but sought to confirm it in law—the law of God, whatever name he had locally. So, their policy was to restore what had previously been national gods that approved local rulers, as a universal god that approved the Persian rulers. Obviously, this was a long-term policy. It was winning the hearts and minds, and simple people had to be treated differently from clever ones. That was the purpose of deportation. Clever people were removed from their power base and given a power base elsewhere that they held contrary to the local people and only with the support of the empire. They were made princes and priests in a strange country to control the local people on behalf of the Great Kings. They were privileged but precarious.
It would have been impossible for the Persians to have imposed their own religion on the numerous and diverse peoples of the ancient lands they now ruled.
Cyrus and his descendants were not so crude. They did not impose their own religion, they generously “restored” the old one, using the proven method of deportation. But curiously enough, the old one had significant features of the Persian religion once restored. The religious right in America know it still. Even liberal Presidents of the USA must end every speech with the mantric words, “God Bless America”.
Even if there had been no historical contact between Judaism and Persian religion, the closeness of these themes would demand their careful study by Christians and Jews believing their own religions to have been revealed, because we have the same revelations somewhere else too!
“If the Divine Power saw fit to make use of the Persian religious system to educate his people… this should only awaken reverential thanksgiving.”
In fact the Jews were subjects of the Persian kings for 200 years, and the Jewish scriptures declare that a Persian priest called Ezra had to give the Jews a law!
The Jewish faith is thus effectively a splinter from the Persian faith (Zoroastianism). And the Jews inhabited provinces in the Persian Empire, NOT modern-day Israel.
Jews are “Persians”, and Iran is the successor state to the Persian Empire.