The seal reads Belonging to Jehucal son of Shelemiah son of Shovi

His father, Shelemiah, may also be the same man mentioned on another artifact known as Lachish letter IX which says: "May Yahweh cause my lord to hear tidings of peace! . . . Return word to my servant through Shelemiah giving us instructions as to what action we shall take tomorrow!"

Jeremiah's dealings with his son Jehucal are recounted in the following passages of scripture:

Seal of Jehucal, son of Shelemiah

"Now King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land gave heed to the words of the LORD which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.

And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "Pray now to the LORD our God for us." . . . Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'He who remains in this city (Jerusalem) shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; "but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.' "Thus says the LORD: 'This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it.' "

Therefore the princes said to the king, "Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm."

Then Zedekiah the king said, "Look, he is in your hand. For the king can do nothing against you."

So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king's son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire. Now Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon. When the king was sitting at the Gate of Benjamin, Ebed-Melech went out of the king's house and spoke to the king, saying: "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city."

Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, saying, "Take from here thirty men with you, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon before he dies."

Jeremiah 37:1-38:10



Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother'

"But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. "Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.

"Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen" says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 7:8-13


Tomb of Cyrus the Great

Nearly one hundred and sixty years before king Cyrus was ever born, God declared to the prophet Isaiah that he would raise up this man, His shepherd, to rebuild His city, even though at the time of Isaiah, Jerusalem was prospering and wouldn't be destroyed for another 100 years by Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.

The Lord's prophecy begins at Isaiah 44:28: 'Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." '

The Greek historian Herodotus, in Volume 1 of his histories, records the wonderful story of how Cyrus miraculously escaped death at the time of his birth and how he was brought up by a shepherd who wasn't even his father. Thus, fulfilling God's spoken word to the prophet Isaiah.

Herodotus wrote: "Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, became king. He had a fascinating dream concerning his daughter Mandane. In his dream he envisioned a stream of water flowing from her that flooded his capital as well as all of Asia. He told this vision to the Magi who had the gift of interpreting dreams, and who gave its meaning to him, whereas he became greatly terrified . . . Learning that she was now with child and her time for giving birth was near, he sent Mandane away to Persia. When she arrived there, he put a guard over her, with plans to kill the child after she gave birth (*see Isaiah 45:1013); for when the Magi had interpreted the vision they told him that the son of his daughter would reign over Asia instead of him. To keep this from happening, immediately following the birth of Cyrus, Astyages sent for Harpagus, a man of his own house and a faithful Mede, to whom he trusted all his affairs, and addressed him saying . . . "Harpagus, take the son born of my daughter Mandane, and steal him away to your house and slay him there. Then bury him as you see fit." When Harpagus had reluctantly agreed, the child was given into his hands, wrapped in the swaddling cloth of death, and he weeping went quickly to his home . . . speaking, "My hands will not carry out his will, nor do I want any part of this murder . . . After he had said this, he sent a messenger to bring back a man named Mitradates, one of the shepherds . . . Coming quickly at his request, the shepherd arrived and Harpagus said to him "Astyages commands you to take this child into the wildest part of the hills, and there abandon him, that he should die a sudden death. And he told me to tell you, that if you do not kill the boy, but allow him to escape, you will be put to the death by the most painful of methods. I myself have been given orders to make sure the child dies."

At this command the herdsman took the child into his arms, and traveled back the way he had come till he reached his flocks . . . With this the shepherd uncovered the infant, and showed him to his wife, who, when she saw how fine and beautiful the child was, broke down into tears, and falling at her husbands knees, begged him not to kill the babe; . . . so the child, whom he was commanded to destroy, was handed over to his wife . . . "

Thus, Cyrus was raised early to be a shepherd fulfilling God's word to Isaiah.

The second part of Isaiah's prophecy states that Cyrus would declare Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt. According to the Bible, King Cyrus of Persia along with his ally, Darius the Mede, invaded the Empire of Babylon bringing its downfall.

The following is an account from King Cyrus which was found inscribed on a clay barrel now on display in the British Museum. He mentions how he conquered Babylon, returned exiles to their former lands, returned the articles of worship to the sacred cities and commanded that the temples where they worshiped should be rebuilt. The Inscription reads: "The number of men in his army were so great, resembling that of water in a river, which could not be counted, marched forward, their weapons stashed away. Without engaging the enemy, he was able to enter Babylon without causing any damage to the city. Into my hands, Nabonidus was delivered, the king who did not worship him . . . "To the sacred cities located on the other side of the Tigris river, I sent back to the ruins of their holy places, the articles which were used in their sanctuaries. I also allowed to return to their homes the former citizens of the land, . . . I also made an effort to repair their dwelling places."

The next prophecy confirmed by history is found in Isaiah 44:27: "Who says to the deep. Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers.'

And Isaiah 45:1-2 which says: "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held; To subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut. 'I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze.

The fulfillment of these prophecies are confirmed by the historian Herodotus who wrote: "The land of Assyria possesses a great number of cities, the strongest and most well known being Babylon, . . . The following is a description of the place: . . . Along the edges of the top wall, they built single room structures each facing one another, leaving enough space between them to turn a four-horse chariot. A hundred gates, all of brass, with bronze lintels and side-posts make up the circuit of the wall . . . The city is divided into two sections by the river running through it. This river is known as the Euphrates, a wide, deep, and very swift stream, which begins in Armenia, and ends at the Erythraean sea . . . At the rivers entry points are low gates in the fence that flank the stream, which are similar in design to the great gates in the outer wall, made of brass, and which open toward the water . . .

Cyrus marched in the direction of Babylon and came to the banks of the Gyndes, a river which starts in the Matienian mountains and flows through the land of the Dardanians, and discharges into the Tigris river. The Tigris then continues to flow past the city of Opis, and empties into the Erythraean sea. Since the Gyndes could only be crossed by boat, Cyrus stopped at the river. One of his favorite white horses, which went along on his march, bolted off and tried to cross the river by itself, galloping into the water the horse was taken hold of by the current which swept him downstream and plunged him to his death. Cyrus became furious with rage and vowed to break the river's strength, saying that future generations would be able to cross it without getting their knees wet . . . His plans to attack Babylon were now put on hold, and He divided his troops into two regiments. With the use of ropes he began to mark off areas on each side of the Gyndes, leading off from it in all directions, one hundred and eighty planned trenches per side. He then commanded his forces to dig opposite one another on both banks. His threat to break the river soon became reality with the assistance of a great a number of workers. But it came at a cost, the whole summer season was now lost.

Having defeated the river Gyndes, by diverting it into three hundred and sixty channels, Cyrus waited for next spring to march against Babylon. A short distance outside of the city wall, the Babylonians army was waiting for him. A battle then ensued, in which the Persian king defeated the Babylonians, who then withdrew into their fortress. Here they shut themselves up, and made fun of his siege, for they had prepared against his attack by storing up food within the city that would last for many years; for when they saw Cyrus conquering nation after nation, they were convinced that he would never stop, and that sooner or later he would try to overpower them.

Now Cyrus did not know how to proceed, for many days had passed and he made little progress in conquering the city. Finally, either someone suggested a plan of action, or he himself came up with the idea, which he proceeded to follow. Placing a regiment of his troops at the spot where the river enters the city, and another group at the back where the river exits. He ordered them to march into the city as soon as the river became shallow enough for them to forge. He and his army then withdrew back to the place where Nitocris dug the lake for the river, proceeding to do exactly what she had done in the past; he diverted the Euphrates by a canal into the old lake bed, which was now a marsh. The river began to lower to such a level that it was now possible to cross. At this moment, the Persian army that was left behind at Babylon entered the stream, whose level reached midway up a man's thigh, and they marched into the city.

Had the Babylonians been aware of what Cyrus was up to, or had seen their danger, they could have kept the Persians from entering the city and would have destroyed his army; for they could have closed all the street-gates which overlooked the river, and from atop the walls along both sides of the waterway, would have caught their enemy off-guard in a trap. But fortunately for the Persians, their attack was a surprise and they were able to capture the city. Because the city was so large, the citizens located in the central part of town were not aware what had taken place, even though the outer areas of the city had already fallen, for they were engaged in a festival of dancing and revelry. This was the account of how Babylon was first conquered.

The account of Herodotus thus verifies that God allowed Cyrus to subdue many nations before him, dry up the mighty waters and enter Babylon's open gates of bronze, all while Belshazzar, their prince, was throwing what would be his last party just as recorded in Daniel chapter 5.


Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus

Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:4-5

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:11-16



Throughout history people have had a fascination with finding the ark of the covenant. Even Hollywood, with its adventure packed blockbuster "Raiders of the Lost Ark," captivated the attention of audiences everywhere. It was an exhilarating experience to be taken on a journey with Indiana Jones on his quest for the sacred relic. But unlike the movie, where the Ark was uncovered, in real life its resting place still remains a mystery.

Some believe the ark is hidden somewhere beneath the Temple Mount, in one of the rock carved tunnels that lay underneath. While others believe it was taken out of Israel and carried off to Ethiopia.

Although there are many theories behind where the ark of the covenant currently resides, one thing is certain, archaeology has already proven its existence.

In Jerusalem, the golden roof on the Muslim shrine of the "Dome of the Rock" towers over the site where the Jewish temple once stood. Its foundation is a massive rock on which archaeologists have laid out all the rooms of the old Jewish temple including the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is the room where the ark of the covenant was kept. To this very day a rectangular depression, the same size as the ark of the covenant, can be seen marking where it once stood in the Jewish Temple. The depression measures 4'-4" x 2'-7" (2 1/2 cubits x 1 1/2 cubits), the exact dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant as recorded in "Exodus 25:10". And it is located right smack dab in the middle of the Holy of Holies.

According to Hebrews 9:4, the two tablets of the Ten Commandments were housed in the ark along with a golden pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded.

The most holy place where the ark was kept was sealed from view by a veil that only the high priest could enter. Once a year he would go behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice on the mercy seat of the ark, to atone for the sins of the people. The mercy seat was located between the two Cherubim and was where the Lord of Host dwelt. (1 Samuel 4:4)

When Jesus was crucified, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies was torn in two, signifying that all people can now come freely into God's presence. No longer is there a need to make an offering for sin, for Jesus our great high priest offered his body as the perfect sacrifice for sins, once for all.

Hebrews 9:3-15: "and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna,

Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins until the time of reformation. . . .

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

Hebrews 10:18-22: "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies

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