Cyrus the Great was the king who conquered Babylon and acted as God’s avenger in the sixth century B.C. The prophet Isaiah told of his coming almost two centuries before his rise to power. “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;” Isaiah 45:1. He is celebrated as the first king to allow the Jews to return to the Holy Land and rebuild the temple. “Thus, saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:2-3. However, he was later killed in a war, and I believe it could have been a war with the lost tribes of Israel.
The prophet Daniel was a member of the remnant of the kingdom of Judah in Babylon. He wrote of the night when Babylon fell and the possession of it by the Medo-Persian Empire. “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:30-31. Even though Cyrus conquered the kingdom, he appointed his partner, Darius the Mede to rule it. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, who wrote around 480 B.C., Darius was married to Cyrus’ daughter Atossa. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Babylon fell in 539 B.C. The encyclopedia states, “Cyrus is the ruler that liberated the Jewish people from their Babylonian captors. Our knowledge of his reign after this point is vague, although it’s likely that he died while undertaking campaigns on his eastern frontier.” It was about ten years after he conquered Babylon that he met his death. The encyclopedia continues, “After his conquest of Babylonia, he again turned to the east, and Herodotus tells of his campaign against nomads living east of the Caspian Sea. According to the Greek historian, Cyrus was at first successful in defeating the ruler of the nomads—called the Massagetai—who was a woman, and captured her son. On the son’s committing suicide in captivity, his mother swore revenge and defeated and killed Cyrus.”
Who were these Massagetai, who supposedly killed Cyrus? I will reference the Bible Research collection put out several years ago by the British Israel World Federation to explain. Diodorus, a historian of the first century B.C. stated that the Massagetai had a common origin with the Sacae. The ethnologist Tarn stated that the term Massagetai merely means “the great Sak horde.” The Bible Research collection continues, “Although the Persian inscriptions include all the Scythian peoples under the term Saka, it is clear that this ancient Persian name was used particularly with relation to a dominant group of nations of Iranian origin. This group is usually referred to as the Sacae. Their emergence into recorded history took place during the early part of the seventh century B.C.” In the Israel Truth movement, we believe the Sacae were from the lost tribes of Israel, who emerged as a powerful force in the Medo-Persian Empire less than a century after they were conquered by the Assyrians and settled in the land of the Medes. (2 Kings 18:11). After the war with Cyrus, many of the Sacae left the Middle East, travelling through the Caucasus Mountains to become the Saxon tribes in Europe.
In the book, The Story of Celto-Saxon Israel, by W.H. Bennet, there is a chapter on the “Pass of Israel” through the Caucasus Mountains. The pass had that name in native legend and song. It was upgraded and became a highway in 1856. People of the lost tribes of Israel travelled through the pass, led by Queen Tamara, also known as Queen Thomyris, whose army defeated and killed Cyrus at Arsareth. The Apocrypha mentions Arsareth as being a habitation of the lost tribes of Israel. (2 Esdras 13:45). In the Caucasus Mountains there was a battle fought between the Sacae and Darius the Mede, who pursued them to avenge the death of Cyrus. The Sacae defeated Darius but did not kill him. He returned to later rule all the Medo-Persian Empire. The battle between his forces and the Sacae was at the “Dariel Gorge” or the Gorge of Darius. The ruins of the castle of Queen Tamara remain at the center of the Gorge. If the Sacae built a castle, it would mean they took their time in travelling through the pass. The location of the “Pass of Israel” fits with the location given in the Encyclopedia Britannica for the battle between Cyrus and the Massagetai, on the north edge of the Medo-Persian Empire east of the Caspian Sea.
The coincidences are too great to ignore. There is the fact that the Sacae rose in power in Medo-Persia less than a century after the lost tribes were settled there. They rebelled against and defeated Cyrus near the “Israel Pass” and according to legend escaped through the Caucasus Mountains. Eventually they emerged in Europe at the time the Saxon tribes appeared in Europe. A French Minister and Huguenot refugee named Jacques Abbadie wrote in 1723, “Unless the ten tribes of Israel are flown into the air, or sunk into the earth, they must be those ten Gothic tribes that entered Europe in the fifth century (B.C.) … and founded the ten nations of Modern Europe.”
In the Israel Truth movement, we do not rely only on secular history and legend, but these seem to reinforce the prophecies about Israel in the Bible. “And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.” Micah 5:8-9. This is a good description of the Saxon tribes that poured into Europe.
Cyrus was a blessing to the Jews by his edict to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, but I believe that, in his own way, he was also a blessing to the lost tribes of Israel. If he had not gone to war with them, they probably would not have tried to leave the Middle East and seek to be free of Persian domination. The Israelites were a people that valued freedom. Let us hope we can maintain that love of freedom in our generation.