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Scripture Reading for December 17

Cyrus the Great Prefigures Christ

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During the last eight days before Christmas (December 17-24), the prescribed readings include the greatest prophecies from the Book of Isaiah. Today, we read of a Christ-figure: Cyrus the Great, king of the Persians, whom God used as a protector of the Jews, even though Cyrus did not profess faith in Him. The works ascribed to Cyrus are those that are later performed by Christ.

Isaiah 45:1-13

Thus saith the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue nations before his face, and to turn the backs of kings, and to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut.

I will go before thee, and will humble the great ones of the earth: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and will burst the bars of iron. And I will give thee hidden treasures, and the concealed riches of secret places: that thou mayest know that I am the Lord who call thee by thy name, the God of Israel.

For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have made a likeness of thee, and thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else: there is no God, besides me: I girded thee, and thou hast not known me: That they may know who are from the rising of the sun, and they who are from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else: I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour: and let justice spring up together: I the Lord have created him.

Woe to him that gainsayeth his maker, a sherd of the earthen pots: shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it: What art thou making, and thy work is without hands? Woe to him that saith to his father: Why begettest thou? and to the woman: Why dost thou bring forth?

Thus saith the Lord the Holy One of Israel, his maker: Ask me of things to come, concerning my children, and concerning the work of my hands give ye charge to me. I made the earth: and I created man upon it: my hand stretched forth the heavens, and I have commanded all their host. I have raised him up to justice, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and let go my captives, not for ransom, nor for presents, saith the Lord the God of hosts.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
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