Help From Artaxerxes

Artaxerxes was a title of a few Persian kings. It meant “ruler from truth.” One of these kings gave the Hebrew Ezra a letter that authorized him to resume the work of rebuilding the temple of Yahweh, which had been originally authorized by his predecessor Cyrus.

The work had been stopped because of the complaints of some rulers near Jerusalem who were jealous of the Jews, who were being blessed with freedom and provision to restore the temple. Artaxerxes authorized that continuation of the project would be funded by gifts from wealthy people in his kingdom and from his treasury.

Believers have had much confusion about whether to accept gifts or liberties from governments or from individuals who are unbelievers. Some of the confusion is sourced in the problems that have been created when people who ruled over the church attempted to rule over their governments, and when people who ruled in governments have attempted to rule over the church.

Only recently has the idea begun to be recognized as normal in the Kingdom of God that neither of those arrangements is proper, but that what is proper is to have individual believers to whom God has assigned the authority and gifts to rule in the affairs of humans standing in places of earthly authority.

Many times in situations described in the Bible, provision has been given to the works of the Lord by unbelievers. In this case, Artaxerxes made his authorization clear that he imposed no requirements over priests or sacrifices or the process of building or maintaining the temple. He left the leadership to those chosen by Yahweh to do His work.

When there is the witchcraft of hoping to control the work by contributing to it, the assistance should be avoided, whether the contributor is a believer or not. Otherwise, receiving benefit from any source is proper.