6a That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me.
The LORD had just declared through Isaiah that He would raise a heathen king, Cyrus, who would let the Jews (being in captivity for seventy years) return to Jerusalem to rebuild it (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-4). Cyrus was not yet even born when the LORD foretold (through Isaiah) about his rise to great power and wealth, and also how he would authorise the return of the Jews and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. It was about 150 years before Cyrus was born that those prophecies concerning him were declared by Isaiah.
Those prophecies about Cyrus were of a peculiar nature, as the LORD would use a heathen king to accomplish His purposes concerning His people, Israel. Ezra 1:1-2 records, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, … the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 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.” Thus we see God’s sovereign power over all men – even over His powerful enemies – clearly demonstrated here. No man is beyond the control of our great God.
Having declared what He would accomplish through Cyrus, the LORD mentioned as one of His purposes for using a heathen king – “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me.” People from the east (“from the rising of the sun”) and the west shall know that there is no other God except the LORD God of Israel, who has revealed Himself in His Word. Through God’s acts of chastisement, restoration and renewal of Israel, as well as through all that had happened and will happen to present-day Israel (including its wars, catastrophes and final restoration), the world would know that the LORD God of Israel alone is God and there is none else. Though the LORD was not universally acknowledged in Cyrus’ day, He will be eventually (cf. Philippians 2:10-11). Seven times in Isaiah 45 and 46, the LORD declared that “there is none beside me” (Isaiah 45:5, 6, 14, 18, 21, 22; 46:9), to drive home the point that He alone is God while all else are fictitious deities. In a world filled with idolatry and polytheism, it is truly amazing that the LORD says that the world would know that He alone is God. Let us preach the Gospel, that more and more people may know the LORD as the only God.