Has Germany’s Strongman Finally Arrived?

Has Germany’s Strongman Finally Arrived?

Trumpet/ostill/©iStock.com

We have been prophesying of this for 70 years. Crises in Germany and Europe are reaching new heights. Watch what happens next.
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Germany is facing one of the worst crises in its modern history. Refugees from the Middle East are flooding into Europe by the hundreds of thousands, and more are traveling to Germany than to any other nation—an estimated 1.5 million just this year!

This is an emergency with massive implications for Germany. First is the financial cost of assimilating all those people into German society, including the strain on public services and welfare programs. Many Germans are also troubled by the cultural and religious influence of so many Arabs and Muslims. Then there is the very real danger of violent terrorists entering in among the refugees!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been very liberal in opening Germany’s borders to this flood of foreigners, and she is quickly losing popular support as a result.

One prominent politician who has strongly criticized Chancellor Merkel for her response to the refugee crisis is Edmund Stoiber. He was once chairman of the Christian Social Union (csu), sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. “Certainly he would ask the question, how many people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds can our country accommodate?” he said, according to Germany’s Der Bayernkurier. “There are limits in transportation and hospitals and soccer stadiums. There are also limitations for our country. … How much foreignness can a country handle? What do we really mean with ‘integration’? What is the purpose of right to asylum? And how much more immigration is possible?” (September 4, Trumpet translation; emphasis mine).

Mr. Stoiber warned that all Europe faces an oncoming “era of immigration.” He said, “We have watched for too long seeing our external borders cease to exist in southern Europe.” He flatly rejects Merkel’s statement that Islam is a part of Germany. “I’m not adopting this proposal,” he said.

This crisis could alter Germany’s political landscape. It would do so even faster if one of these refugees committed a deadly terrorist attack. Chancellor Merkel already appears vulnerable on this issue and would become far more so.

And this is hardly the only crisis in Germany and Europe! The whole eurozone faces economic and financial collapse. Russia’s resurgence under Vladimir Putin is deeply troubling to Eastern Europeans in particular.

Together these crises constitute one of the most significant threats Germany and Europe have experienced since World War ii, and easily the most significant since German reunification in 1989.

Europe’s greatest need right now is leadership.


Stoiber’s Mentor

Edmund Stoiber’s criticisms are of special interest because of this man’s fascinating history.

The German-language article that reported on his comments was actually about an event Stoiber spoke at commemorating Franz Josef Strauss. Under the headline “Stoiber: Strauss Is the Father of the People’s Party,” Der Bayernkurier reported, “The csu honorary chairman and long-standing Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber describes his personal memories of Franz Josef Strauss, who would have turned 100 years old. Stoiber called Strauss ‘the father of the people’s party’ and ‘the greatest political son of Bavaria.’” In the article, Stoiber wrote, “He was a Bavarian in the heart of Germany and European in vision. The modern people’s party was embodied in Franz Josef Strauss. … For me, he remains a teacher and fatherly friend” (ibid).

Mr. Stoiber sees Strauss as a mentor, and seeks to continue his legacy. He was one of the first to support Strauss’s campaign for the chancellorship in 1980 and served as a campaign aide. Stoiber followed in Strauss’s footsteps as minister-president of Bavaria and csu chairman.

To understand the significance of this association, you must know more about Franz Josef Strauss.

Strauss is a giant in German postwar history. His remarkable political career spanned nearly four decades from the 1950s until his death in 1988. He was literally known in the press as “the strongman of Europe”—not just Germany. They called him “a man for emergencies.” He was unafraid to challenge others. When the first post-Nazi chancellor needed someone to build up West Germany’s military to help stave off Soviet Russia—even though the German military was at that time synonymous with Nazi evil—this seemingly impossible job went to someone tough enough to handle it: Franz Josef Strauss.

In 1965—just 20 years after World War ii, when few would have envisioned Germany as a re-emergent world power—Strauss wrote a book titled The Grand Design: A European Solution to German Reunification. It explained how Germany could rise to power again—as part of a federal Europe. The central idea behind Strauss’s vision was what he called “a massive drive to achieve, step by step, a European political federation.” He spoke out for the reunification of Germany, effectively preparing the nation for its unification in 1989, and was instrumental in developing the European Union as a means of achieving German ambitions.

A great deal of Strauss’s vision has since become reality. Beyond that, the strongman persona he embodied is one that could hold the key for Germany’s future!


A Prophecy About a Strongman

One man who closely watched Strauss’s political career was Herbert W. Armstrong. He was founder and editor in chief of the Plain Truth newsmagazine, forerunner of the Philadelphia Trumpet. Mr. Armstrong observed world events closely, especially in Europe. He devoted much of his work and his message—which reached millions of people worldwide—to analyzing Germany in particular. Why? Because he studied and proclaimed Bible prophecy, and Bible prophecy forecasted not only that Germany would reunite, but that it would lead Europe once again—exactly what we are seeing today.

Bible prophecy gets specific about Germany’s future. Analysts say that Europe’s political unification project is about to fall apart without really ever having gotten started. But the Bible reveals that Europe will not only unite, but that it will become a superpower! It specifies that it will consist of 10 nations, and that it will be glued together by the Vatican and powered by a political leader in Germany. A strongman.

God revealed symbols of future events to the Prophet Daniel. But interestingly, He did not explain to Daniel what those events would be. The prophecy was sealed until the “time of the end” (Daniel 8:17; 12:4, 9). Compare these events to today, however, and it is clear that these prophecies are for now! Daniel 8:23 describes a “king of fierce countenance” who rises to power not democratically, but “by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21). The Bible prophesies that this powerful leader will reign over the “king of the north” (Daniel 11:40). He will be from a war-making nation descended from ancient Assyria: Germany. Mr. Armstrong prophesied about a fierce king ruling a German-led federal European superpower—beginning in the 1930s! And even when Hitler rose to lead Germany, early on in World War ii, Mr. Armstrong said the fulfillment of this prophecy was yet future. Now we are seeing it happen! The future of Europe is tied to this king of fierce countenance. We are watching for him.

Mr. Armstrong watched Franz Josef Strauss, a powerful man and a favorite of the Vatican, to see if he would fulfill the biblically prophesied role of Europe’s strongman. In a 1983 letter, Mr. Armstrong mentioned two “outstanding political leaders.” The first was Strauss; the second was Otto von Habsburg, who led the 700-year-old house of Habsburg, a dynasty that ruled the Holy Roman Empire for centuries. It is one of the most prestigious royal families in Europe. Habsburg was a leading member of the European Parliament who devoted his life to European unification. Both of these men, Strauss and Habsburg, forged personal friendships with Mr. Armstrong (sidebar, above).

Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The world appears bereft of ‘great men.’ But a world-recognized ‘strong man’ in all probability will now very soon appear. … There will be 10 [kings], ruling 10 nations or groups of nations in the area of the once-great Holy Roman Empire. But there will be one super-king over the 10” (Plain Truth, May 1969).

Concerning that super-king, Mr. Armstrong wrote that Europe was “waiting for the confidence-inspiring leader ….” Mr. Armstrong felt Franz Josef Strauss might be that leader. Yet Strauss died in 1988. Habsburg died in 2011. German strength and the dream of European unification, however, did not die with them. When Strauss first published his ideas, he knew he might not live to see his dreams carried out. “… I am under no illusions about the length of time it will take to set this sequence of events in train,” he wrote. “It might take a generation. … If the process is to take time, then it must be time put to good use.”

During Strauss’s day, the groundwork was laid for the fulfillment of the prophecies of a Vatican-German alliance and the rise of a German strongman. Still, those prophecies have yet to be fulfilled.

Though conditions weren’t quite ready for such a strongman to emerge then, the stage is set for his appearance today. That man is out there somewhere—ready to take control of Europe and literally shock the world!


Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Now, Europe’s refugee crisis is bringing this question to the forefront, a question Herbert W. Armstrong first asked more than 80 years ago: Who will be the strongman of Europe? Europe clearly needs a leader with vision, a leader able to confront these epic problems.

Germany is the strongest, healthiest nation in Europe, and the only nation capable of addressing these crises. The German people also have a history of repeatedly turning to a strongman for leadership in an emergency. Recall Otto the Great, Charles v, Otto von Bismarck and Adolf Hitler, to name a few.

One man we have watched for some years is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, another Bavarian political leader. Guttenberg entered the scene as Stoiber was running for chancellor. (Incidentally, Stoiber nearly became German chancellor in 2002—his party lost by only the tiniest of margins to that of Gerhard Schröder. Then after the Federal elections of 2005, Stoiber turned down a cabinet post in a messy grand coalition that seemed to have been doomed before it started. The very next day, he was in Rome for an audience with then Pope Benedict xvi, who is also a Bavarian. So Stoiber has a close connection with the Vatican.)

Guttenberg is bright, young, aristocratic and popular. He is the protégé of Stoiber, who is the protégé of Strauss. He is also yet another favorite of the Vatican. Interestingly, part of his family line traces back to the House of Habsburg. Politically, he is descended from the lines of Strauss and of Habsburg.

In an August 17 article headlined, “Guttenberg, the Savior in Demand,” Germany’s Wirtschafts Woche wrote, “Germans are constantly fascinated by every new action of the former defense minister, even after he escaped to a luxury property in New York following his downfall for plagiarism in 2011. This unwavering fascination also explains why yet another traditional German organization is vigorously courting Guttenberg as their savior, the csu”—the party of Strauss and Stoiber.

When he became defense minister in 2009, Guttenberg was reportedly welcomed by the military as “one of their own,” largely thanks to his centuries-long aristocratic background. The influence of the aristocratic class in the military and elsewhere in German culture has remained strong.

If we understand Germany’s recent military history, that could be a vital piece of information! For example, that nation started World Wars i and ii. (Request The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy for more information.)

Note the full name of the aristocratic Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. Freiherr is a title of nobility (also known as reichsfreiherr) denoting a baron of the Holy Roman Empire. Do you think the man who bears that name and those centuries of heritage shares the same deep desire of Strauss, Habsburg and Stoiber? Does he want to unify Europe under the Vatican?

In 2008, Bild.de wrote, “When asked if he felt like a political grandson of Franz Josef Strauss, Guttenberg clearly avows the csu patriarch, even though he was just 16 years old as he died: ‘Strauss has influenced even me. Therefore I feel neither shame nor fear to repeatedly appeal specifically to the impressive legacy of Franz Josef Strauss.’”

Such statements powerfully recall what Mr. Armstrong said about Strauss and the prophesied emergence of a German strongman. We continue to watch Europe the same way Mr. Armstrong did and are seeing prophecies snap into place faster than ever! It is amazing how much of what we see today traces straight back to the vision and even the persons of Otto von Habsburg and especially of Franz Josef Strauss. Clearly, Strauss’s legacy continues through Edmund Stoiber and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

Given the atmosphere of crisis and the political climate in Germany today, we should watch for this prophecy to be fulfilled at any time!

Spiegel Online published an article about the crisis on August 31. Its title: “Dark Germany, Bright Germany: Which Side Will Prevail Under Strain of Refugees?” Will this nation lose control of its borders and succumb to the flood of immigrants until much of it becomes more foreign than native? That is what we are seeing in Britain and the U.S. Or will Germany find some bright, enlightened course of action to solve this crisis?

Or—will it respond with a strongman—and a dark Germany?

Biblical prophecy makes the answer clear. A strongman is on the scene, just waiting for the right moment to emerge in order to realize Strauss’s vision for Germany and for Europe!

Societywatch

From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Number of sanctuary cities rise as immigration laws go unenforced

The number of sanctuary cities across the United States is growing. There are now 340 jurisdictions that are obstructing immigration enforcement, according to a report released by the Center for Immigration Studies in October.

Another report prepared by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice) showed that each month the sanctuary cities are releasing approximately 1,000 alien offenders that ice seeks to deport. Of those released, 62 percent “had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns even before the arrest that led to a detainer.”

A San Francisco rally shows support for sanctuary city policy.

The murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco on July 1 brought sanctuary cities back on to the political scene. The man charged with her murder had been deported five times and had seven prior felony convictions. ice, which had asked to be notified of his release, was never informed.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, during a congressional hearing, accused the Republicans of “exploiting” the death of Kate Steinle for political purposes. Republicans replied that her death was easily preventable. It boiled down to one thing: following the law.

Local sanctuary cities are failing to consistently enforce federal law. Some sanctuary city sheriffs claim they should not receive the label since they participate in the administration’s new Priority Enforcement Program (pep). But the Center for Immigration Studies report explains: “pep explicitly allows jurisdictions to obstruct immigration enforcement by ignoring detainers or barring ice access to jails. Under pep, immigration officers also issue ‘requests for notification’ asking local authorities to tell them when a criminal alien in their custody will be released so ice can attempt to take custody for deportation. Local agencies are free to ignore these notifications.”

When a nation’s own law enforcement agencies pick and choose which laws to enforce, the nation is in a dangerous situation.

One in six adolescents admits to stealing within the past year

A study has found that one in six young Americans has stolen something within the past year. The study, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization in November was based on self-reported theft by 12-to-16-year-olds from 1997 to 2011.

The study found that thieves had lower earnings later in life, after most had already stopped stealing. According to another study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a history of shoplifting increased association with all antisocial behaviors measured, the strongest of which were with increased antisocial personality disorders, substance abuse, pathological gambling, and bipolar disorders. Further studies have linked stealing among adolescents to poor grades, alcohol and drug abuse, sadness and hopelessness.

The National Association of Shoplifting Prevention estimates around $13 billion worth of goods are stolen in the United States each year.

What do gamblers and compulsive texters have in common?

Compulsive texters exhibit behavior similar to gamblers, a study published October 5 says.

The authors, who surveyed over 400 eighth and 11th graders in a Midwestern town, found that many teenage texters lose sleep, have problems cutting back, and lie to cover up their habits, much like gamblers.

The research showed that compulsive texting involves more than just the frequency of texting; it has more to do with the individual’s inability to pull away from their phone.

While gamblers lose thousands of dollars due to their addiction, compulsive female student texters lose academic performance and friendships, the study showed.

The researchers cautioned that this part of the study was based on self-reporting, but said it confirmed other studies that show the correlation between lower grades and texting while doing homework.

Are You Confident in America’s Political Process?

Is American greatness just one election away?
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Polls show 71 percent of Americans are unhappy with the country’s direction; many are openly frustrated.

A year ago, Republicans gained control of the Senate and their largest majority in the House since 1928. Republicans enthused that they would reverse President Barack Obama’s unpopular policies. They promised to defund or repeal Obamacare, shrink illegal immigration, stand up to unlawful executive orders, and check America’s runaway debt.

They have done none of these things. Congressional Republicans have shown a stunning lack of will—even when it came to opposing a nuclear deal with the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. All the optimism surrounding last year’s election has proved completely ill-founded.

Now here we are in the midst of another presidential election cycle. In many ways, this wild campaign reflects Americans’ frustration.

The top Republican contender would not be considered a serious candidate under normal circumstances. But people appreciate him because he appears to be everything the Republican establishment is not: a pugnacious, unbribable, politically incorrect, tough negotiator who puts the liberal media in their place. He says he’s a winner who will strengthen the military, build a border wall, and make America respected again. This man is also arrogant, narcissistic and at times nasty, but people are so disenchanted with politics that they are willing to overlook his flaws. The next top Republican candidate is also a political outsider. After two elections lost by middle-of-the-road, mainstream Republican candidates, voters are clearly fed up.

On the Democratic side, the top two candidates are a woman whom a large majority of Americans don’t trust—thanks to years of scandals and an open fbi investigation—and an avowed socialist whose gigantic government spending plans would cost $18 trillion according to the Wall Street Journal.

Can any of these candidates actually solve America’s problems?

The debates are crowded with candidates trying to make a witty comment, giving the sound bite that will boost their poll numbers, jabbing at and accusing each other, boasting about themselves, contradicting each other over supposed facts—a bizarre mix of arrogance and distractions that do nothing to reveal leadership credentials. Yet cnn’s recent Republican debate snagged the biggest ratings in its history. And that is what cnn cares about.

“[I]f you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on Election Day is stay home,” Thomas Sowell wrote. “Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation” (September 15).

Do Americans really know how to elect a leader? Are the qualities that cause someone to stand out on a debate stage really the same qualities that qualify someone to lead?

Are arrogance and narcissism good qualities in a leader? I would argue that we have tremendous evidence to the contrary in America’s government today. Yet the polls suggest that many Americans still believe they are tremendous political virtues.

Do Americans really know anything important about their candidates? Two presidential elections ago, voters bought into an idea of hope and change; seven in 10 Americans thought the new president would improve race relations in the U.S. Meanwhile, they ignored several disturbing facts. Tom Brokaw admitted that the media didn’t vet this man. Will another election solve our problems? Another cycle of uninformed citizens voting based on a political process distorted by money, by biased media coverage, and by lies peddled by the candidates about themselves and about each other?

And in the end, even if you do get the victories you think will benefit the country, you may still end up with a feckless Congress like the one America has now.

In The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that government is often selfish, greedy, vain, ambitious men lusting for rule and operating via secret deals, graft, immorality, deception and dishonesty. They promise peace and declare war. They promise prosperity and deliver debt, taxation and poverty. “We fail to find in human government any knowledge of life’s purpose, or dissemination of the true values.”

America’s form of government is perhaps the best on Earth for constraining tyranny and corruption and maximizing freedom. However, abuses of power are undermining the benefits of America’s government and turning its political process into a farce.

In Leviticus 26:19, God said to the ancient Israelites and their descendants who sinned: “I will break the pride of your power.” America is among those descendants—it has sinned, and its power is broken. But God doesn’t blame the leaders.He says the real problem is with the people.Our sins have brought these curses! Americans want to blame our problems on politicians—but the fact is, we put them in office.

The boilerplate campaign refrain is, If we can just get these bums out, we’ll solve everything! When will we acknowledge that our problems are bigger than that? And when will we accept responsibility for our part in the problems?

America is suffering a broken will, lawless leaders, social breakdown, racial strife and economic disaster. These are curses that God is bringing upon us—not because we’ve voted for the wrong candidates, but because we have turned our backs on Him.

How well do you suppose a politician today would fare who brought a message like that?

today would fare who brought a message like that?

The Herbert W. Armstrong Connection

The Herbert W. Armstrong Connection

From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Franz Josef Strauss was a leader among world leaders. He served as premier of the prominent state of Bavaria, as West Germany’s defense minister, in three other cabinet-level ministerial posts, and as the prominent chairman of the Christian Social Union, a party he helped found, the headquarters of which is located in the Franz-Josef-Strauss-Haus in Munich.

Otto von Habsburg was head of a family that had ruled the Holy Roman Empire from the 15th century to the 19th century. He served as a member of the European Parliament, devoting his life to creating a European superstate. He authored The Social Order of Tomorrow, which espoused essentially the same ultimate vision that Strauss’s The Grand Design did: the creation of a federated United States of Europe, underpinned by Catholicism.

Herbert W. Armstrong was connected to these men in the sense that he saw in them characteristics that matched Bible prophecies about a modern German strongman. But he was also connected to them in another way: They both visited him.

Dr. Habsburg flew to California in July 1983 to meet Mr. Armstrong at the headquarters campus of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God. He addressed the students, toured Ambassador Auditorium, and dined with Mr. Armstrong and other college faculty and church officials. He had a private meeting with Mr. Armstrong and another with the head of the church’s news bureau. After delivering an address in Los Angeles, he flew with Mr. Armstrong on the church’s private jet to Washington, d.c., for another address.

In 1968, Finance Minister Strauss gave an interview to the popular radio and television programs Mr. Armstrong established: The World Tomorrow. In 1969, Strauss went to visit Mr. Armstrong at his home.

The strongman of Europe toured the award-winning buildings and grounds of the Ambassador College campus in Pasadena, which won the Professional Grounds Management Society award three times for best landscaped and best maintained campus in the United States. He met students and faculty members, delivered an address to them, toured a class, and later sat for another interview for The World Tomorrow.

The class he toured was my Comparative Religion class. It was quite an experience to see this man and his entourage come into our class. I could tell the instructor had a little difficulty getting through his lecture with Herr Strauss listening intently for a few minutes. There was a buzz all over campus that day. We didn’t know what the future held for Strauss, but we definitely felt like something unusual and significant was happening.

At the end of Strauss’s first day on campus, he made an extraordinary remark. “[H]e commented that he had just spent the happiest day of his life,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “The peace and happiness here are contagious! Dr. Strauss drank it in. Herr Strauss said, ‘We need an Ambassador College in Germany’” (co-worker letter, June 28, 1971).

After Strauss visited Pasadena, he flew to the Ambassador College campus in Big Sandy, Texas, and then on to Houston and Washington, d.c. And interestingly, he actually sent his wife back to Pasadena to enjoy one more day on that peaceful, happy, beautiful campus.

Mr. Armstrong wrote that he kept in touch with Strauss and knew him well. Ten years later, they met again—a remarkable relationship, even among the dozens of others Mr. Armstrong had with prime ministers, presidents, kings and other world leaders.

“Incidentally, Drs. Habsburg and Strauss are close friends,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “and for some reason I do not understand—but may be of God’s designing—both are very friendly to me and to Ambassador College” (member and co-worker letter, July 24, 1983).

God inspired the Bible with accurate prophecies of events that are happening now, centuries after they were written. He revealed those prophecies to Mr. Armstrong. He literally opened to him the office doors of heads of state. Is it possible that He inspired these great German men to come to Mr. Armstrong, and that He has some design for it?

Those men came to Ambassador College with an open mind and were deeply impressed. In the buildings, in the landscapes, in the students, in the faculty, they saw a way of life that worked! These were able men who devoted their dynamic lives to trying to better their country and their world—as they saw fit, using politics, strategy, economics, religion. They came to Ambassador College and saw something totally different, totally unexpected. It was real education that solved real problems. They saw a way of life that worked because it came not from politics or tradition or human reasoning but from the Bible.

When people fulfill their purpose for being created, they are joyful, and the peace and happiness is contagious. God’s way of life was rare in Mr. Armstrong’s lifetime, and it is rare today. But it does live on. It exists here, at Herbert W. Armstrong College.

The Startling Truth About One of History’s Greatest Kings

The Startling Truth About One of History’s Greatest Kings

Gary Dorning/PT

How the incredible history of a Persian king can change your view of the Bible
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Even today, more than 2,500 years after his death, Cyrus the Great of ancient Persia remains one of humanity’s most brilliant and outstanding monarchs. There is much to learn and admire about King Cyrus, and no dearth of knowledge on this subject.

But the most interesting feature about this man and his towering accomplishments is also the most obscure. It is also profoundly inspiring.


Who Was Cyrus?

Cyrus ii ruled the Persian Empire from 559 to 530 b.c. The history of his life and accomplishments is well documented by Greek and Roman historians and by archaeological evidence. Among his many feats, Cyrus conquered the invincible Babylonian-Chaldean Empire and established Persia as the world power.

Under Cyrus, the borders of the Persian Empire rapidly expanded to create the largest empire humanity had ever seen. Under his leadership, ancient Persia’s borders stretched to Central Asia (Russia’s southern border today); as far east as the Indus River (the Pakistan-India border); as far north as the Danube, including Turkey, Crete and the southern parts of Greece and Bulgaria; and as far south as Libya.

But Cyrus was much more than a prodigious conqueror. He heralded a new breed of leadership and politics. Unlike the Assyrians and others before him, he did not rule exclusively by sword and spear. Subjects were not beaten, tortured and killed into acquiescence and cooperation. In fact, many consider this king the world’s first true humanitarian.

“Cyrus was an outstanding soldier and statesman,” the Encyclopedia Britannica says. “He founded an empire that stretched from the Indus and Jazartes to the Aegean and the borders of Egypt and left behind him a reputation for justice and clemency …” (emphasis added). The Mainstream of Civilization says, “Cyrus created a new type of empire. Under the close supervision of his government, he permitted the conquered peoples to retain their own customs and religions and their own forms of government.”

In fact, many consider this king the world’s first true humanitarian.

For a world inured to cruel, forceful governance, King Cyrus’s disposition was revolutionary and much welcomed. His subjects tended not to revolt, hence the staying power of the Persian Empire.


The World’s Greatest City

In the time of Cyrus, Babylon was extraordinarily well fortified, teemed with top-notch Babylonian soldiers, and had a well-earned aura of impenetrability. It was the greatest city in the world.

Originally constructed by Nimrod soon after the Flood, the city had experienced a massive makeover by King Nebuchadnezzar ii in the late seventh and early sixth centuries b.c. Laden with materials and manpower plundered from neighbors, Nebuchadnezzar spared nothing in expanding, fortifying and beautifying his city. Babylon’s legendary hanging gardens, built for the queen who missed her lush, mountainous homeland in Media, were an engineering marvel, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Herodotus records that Babylon covered 196 square miles and was protected by an outer wall that was 311 feet high and 87 feet thick. The walls were so thick, even at the top, that chariots could be driven on them. Controlling access through this barrier were more than 100 bronze gateways.

The Euphrates River meandered through Babylon, much like the Thames through London. Inside the outer wall, the riverbanks “were lined and walled with brick. In the wall on either side of the river were 25 gates. There was a bridge 1,080 yards long and 30 feet broad across the river. At either end of this bridge was the royal palace. The more magnificent of these palaces was surrounded by three walls. The middle wall was 300 feet high, with towers 420 feet in height. The inner wall was yet higher. The two inner walls, Cterias tells us, were of colored brick. Upon them were portrayed hunting scenes—the chase of the leopard and the lion” (A Handbook of Ancient History in Bible Light).

Cyrus sought to do the impossible: to conquer this impenetrable fortress.

His strategy was brilliantly simple. First, he dug trenches upstream and diverted water from the Euphrates into a large reservoir. Once the water level had dropped, and under the cover of darkness, Persian soldiers slipped into the knee-deep water, marched up the riverbed, and snuck under Babylon’s giant gates.

Although the soldiers had infiltrated the outer gates, there were still brass and iron internal gates controlling access out of the riverbed and into the city. If they couldn’t get through the gates, the soggy riverbed would turn the Persians’ tactical advantage into a massive kill box. All the Babylonian soldiers had to do was rain spears and arrows down on them. In fact, if they could block the Persians’ retreat, the Babylonians could conceivably kill every last Persian soldier, to a man—like shooting fish in a barrel.

But strangely, on the night of the invasion, there were no soldiers, and the internal gates were wide open. King Nabonidus, his son Belshazzar, the imperial guard, the soldiers, and many of the people of Babylon were partying! Consumed with drinking and games, they had failed to close the gates and to station guards. Having quenched the Euphrates and penetrated the outer gates, the Persian soldiers were able to stroll through the internal gates, taking the city—including the shocked king—by surprise!

Belshazzar’s Feast as portrayed by Rembrandt.

It was a magnificent victory, bordering on—and crossing into—the miraculous!

Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon recorded the history-changing event. King Cyrus’s conquest of Babylon in 539 b.c. was one of his most notable accomplishments. By conquering this mighty city, he toppled the world-ruling Babylonian-Chaldean Empire.


Cyrus the Humanitarian

In 1879, British archaeologists digging in Iran discovered a barrel-shaped cylinder made out of clay. Inscribed on the cylinder in ancient cuneiform was a decree by King Cyrus of Persia. In the 40-line decree, the king recalled his defeat of Babylon and clearly outlined a number of policies designed to defend the rights of the conquered.

You can find this incredible artifact, called the Cyrus Cylinder, in the British Museum. This cylinder confirms the historical records showing that King Cyrus displayed a tremendous and heretofore unprecedented respect and tolerance for the peoples he conquered. The United Nations says the Cyrus Cylinder is the “world’s first charter of human rights” and is proof that King Cyrus was one of mankind’s first great humanitarians.

Cyrus’s governance really is remarkable. For a man with so much power, he displayed incredible tolerance and even respect for the religion, customs and politics of the people he conquered.

The United Nations says the Cyrus Cylinder is the “world’s first charter of human rights” …

His greatest and most famous humanitarian act was releasing the captive Jews in Babylon and allowing them to return to Judea to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. This decision by Cyrus is well known and well documented by Greek and Roman historians, as well as Josephus, the most recognized Jewish historian. Many believe the text on the Cyrus Cylinder alludes to the king’s decision to release the Jews.

King Cyrus issued his decree releasing the Jews in 538 b.c., about a year after he conquered Babylon. Zerubbabel, a leading Jewish figure in Babylon at the time, became responsible for mustering the party and leading it back to Jerusalem. There, they set about rebuilding Solomon’s temple. One of the most astonishing features about this decree is that there was no cost or price to the Jews. In fact, the king of Persia actually financed the Jews’ return to their homeland, their reconstruction of the temple, and their reconstruction of Jerusalem!

Any historian will agree: Such magnanimity and benevolence from a man with supreme power is extremely rare! Cyrus the Great was truly an anomaly among world leaders.


Biblical History

All of this history is well documented by secular historians and archaeological evidence. But there is another source that records these events in detail: the Bible. In Ezra 1:1-4, for example, we read of Cyrus’s decree releasing the Jews to return to Jerusalem. These scriptures in Ezra were recorded a few decades after the event. More records about King Cyrus can be found in Jeremiah 25 and 2 Chronicles 36, both of which were written after Cyrus was on the scene.

A passage in Isaiah 44 also discusses Cyrus the Great—and this is where the history gets exciting.

Isaiah 44:24 reads: “Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” Here God is establishing His supremacy, even over the daily affairs of mankind.

Isaiah continues: “[God] saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” (verse 28). Isaiah is writing about how King Cyrus would be an instrument in God’s hands—“my shepherd”—and explaining how God would inspire Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.

The thought continues in Isaiah 45:1: “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 is saying that God would empower King Cyrus, even helping him “subdue nations” and make massive territorial goals.

The narrative becomes even more specific: “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron” (verse 2). If you study this passage and Bible commentaries, you will easily see that these scriptures are specifically discussing King Cyrus’s conquest of Babylon. Notice, God says He will help Cyrus rupture the “gates of brass” and “bars of iron.”

The book of Isaiah was written about 150 years before Cyrus the Great was born!

Isaiah’s account is similar to the accounts in Ezra and 2 Chronicles. Except for one critical factor.

The book of Isaiah was written about 150 years before Cyrus the Great was born!

It’s true. King Cyrus, his rise to power, his defeat of Babylon, his humanitarian legacy, his name—even Babylon’s gates of iron and brass—were all prophesied by God about one and a half centuries before Cyrus’s birth!

Slow down and think about this. This is awesome proof of God’s existence and the veracity of the Holy Bible.

How do we know Isaiah was written before Cyrus was born? It’s not hard to prove. Isaiah 1:1 says: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”

This verse clearly says that Isaiah was alive and writing during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Biblical history, as well as Jewish history and established historical record, clearly show that these all reigned in the eighth century b.c. This is nowhere disputed.

Bible commentaries agree that Isaiah was on the scene for about 50 years, roughly between 760 and 710 b.c. For example, Isaiah 38:3-8 show that he prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah.

Critics of the Bible despise Isaiah 44 and 45. Over the last century or so, numerous theories have emerged to explain how this passage of scripture was written after King Cyrus. The most prominent theory says that the book of Isaiah has multiple authors, and that some parts of the book, mainly the latter chapters, were written at a different time and much later than the first part of the book. According to this theory, the book of Isaiah was compiled into a single book around 70 b.c.

But this theory has been proven false. A copy of the entire book of Isaiah was discovered as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls on which the text of Isaiah was discovered were dated to around 200 b.c., proving that the entire book of Isaiah was completed well before 70 b.c.!

Consider too: Josephus recorded that King Cyrus actually read this prophecy about himself in the book of Isaiah! If the prophecy in Isaiah 44-45 was written after Cyrus lived and by another author, how could King Cyrus have read about it himself?

Perhaps this explains why Cyrus was so benevolent and so enthusiastic about releasing the Jews. After reading Isaiah’s prophecy, he realized that he was predestined to make this wondrous decision!

But how did Cyrus gain access to Isaiah’s prophecy? We don’t know the specifics, but we do know that King Cyrus knew the Prophet Daniel well. Daniel was well versed in Isaiah’s prophecies and probably owned a copy of Isaiah’s text. Daniel lived in Babylon. After Cyrus took Babylon and toppled the Babylonian Empire, Daniel became a high-ranking official in Cyrus’s Medo-Persian Empire.


All Hail King Cyrus

Take some time to really think on this, and to study Isaiah 44 and 45. The evidence is irrefutable.

First, it is obvious that Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-4 are talking about King Cyrus. He is mentioned by name!

Next, consider Cyrus’s relationship with Jerusalem. Isaiah 44:28 records Cyrus “even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” The temple in Jerusalem hadn’t even been destroyed—and here was God prophesying that it would be rebuilt!

Verse 28 also explains the origins of Cyrus’s humanitarianism. Cyrus treated all his conquered peoples much the same way as he treated the Jews. Cyrus didn’t just allow the Jews to practice their religion: He released them from captivity, loaded them up with wealth and treasures, gave them letters of endorsement, and sent them home to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem!

The temple in Jerusalem hadn’t even been destroyed—and here was God prophesying that it would be rebuilt!
The temple in Jerusalem hadn’t even been destroyed—and here was God prophesying that it would be rebuilt!

Surely this is one of the greatest humanitarian acts in history.

And to think, it was prophesied to happen 150 years before it actually did!

Isaiah 45:1 says Cyrus would “subdue nations before him.” Study the history books: Cyrus conquered more than 15 different peoples—all the way from Egypt in the south to Turkey to Central Asia to the Indus River.

Verse 1 also says God would “loose the loins of kings” before Cyrus. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states: “The loose outer robe of the [kings], when girt fast around the loins, was the emblem of strength and preparedness for action; ungirt was indication of feebleness [and weakness].” This is a perfect description of Belshazzar the night of Babylon’s fall!

In addition, verse 1 says God would “open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” The history of Babylon’s destruction shows that the king of Babylon left some of the internal gates of the city open that night! “In the revelry in Babylon on the night of its capture, the inner gates, leading from the streets to the river, were left open … which, had they been kept shut, would have hemmed the invading hosts in the bed of the river, where the Babylonians could have easily destroyed them. Also, the gates of the palace were left open, so that there was access to every part of the city” (ibid).

Look how specific God is—even prophesying the exact gates that would be left open in Babylon the night of its capture!

In verse 2, God says, “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” The strongest doors in Babylon were not able to withstand the army of Cyrus that night. Again, God prophesied the exact material that the gates of Babylon would be made of! Herodotus recorded that the gates of the inner walls were made of brass and some were reinforced with iron!

This is some of the most moving and powerful history you can study. Why? Because it proves the existence of God and the veracity of His Word!


God Reigns Supreme

Why would God prophesy the life and accomplishments of a Persian king 150 years before his birth? The answer to that question is the theme of Isaiah 44-46. In Isaiah 45:3, God says, “And I will give thee [Cyrus] the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”

God makes the purpose of this prophecy abundantly clear: The life and work of King Cyrus prove the existence of God!

Cyrus himself understood this. “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” (Ezra 1:2). This great king knew God existed, and he knew that God reigns supreme in the world of man.

The history of Cyrus the Great is interesting and inspiring—but it is also much more. This history proves the authority of the Holy Bible! It shows that this Book of books is true and accurate. It shows that it is authored by an omnipotent God who can prophesy what He will do and bring it to pass!

For anyone willing to study and prove it, this history shows that the Holy Bible is the true Word of God!

Is It Too Dangerous to Send Your Kid to College?

Is It Too Dangerous to Send Your Kid to College?

Melissa Barreiro/The Trumpet

Parents are relieved when they get their child through high school and into college. But is campus living safe?
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

What type of environment do you picture college to be? Especially if you are planning to send your child to one, you need to make sure that picture matches reality.

Of the 52 school shootings that took place in 2015 before mid-October, 21 occurred at colleges and universities. The bloodiest took place at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1. The statistics are chilling: nine people murdered at point blank range; nine others seriously injured. The shooter, also a student, committed suicide. This was the first campus mass shooting to take place in one classroom.

Attending her first week of college, Sarah Cobb, 17, was in the classroom next to the murders. Familiar with hunting, she fully understood what was happening inside the classroom next to hers. She ran through the rest of the building telling others to run from the tragic trouble. “I don’t even know what to think,” she said when asked about surviving the mass shooting. “I’m terrified. I don’t want to go back there for a long time.”

No one living in Roseburg would have believed that something so devastating could happen in their community. But it did!

Within days of the Umpqua killings, two more campus shootings took place. The shooting at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff left one freshman dead and three other young students injured. At Texas Southern University in Houston, two students were shot, one fatally.

Mass shootings at college campuses make big news. However, there are other life-threatening risks your teen must escape to survive college. Here are several that you should be preparing your son or daughter to avoid.


Binge Drinking

College students have come to believe that partying, which often means excessive drinking and dangerous drugs, is an essential part of their higher-education experience. The Princeton Review publishes an annual list of the top party schools in America based on student surveys.

College administrators are not thrilled to have their institution win the top spot. Why? Each year, an estimated 1,825 college students die from alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injuries; the majority are freshmen. The number one cause is binge drinking. Besides the deaths from alcohol abuse, another 590,000 students are injured each year from alcohol-related accidents, including automobile wrecks and falls from high-elevation balconies.

While some new college students are experienced with drinking alcohol, many are not. It is the young freshman who refrained from alcohol and drug use in high school who is the most vulnerable to the peer pressure to party up. “At least eight freshmen at U.S. colleges have died the first few weeks of this school year,” reported Inside Higher Ed in September 2014. At Texas Tech University, a freshman died of alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party 24 hours before his first day at school. At Michigan State University, an international student died after a night of drinking during the university’s “move-in weekend.” At Towson University, a freshman died after falling into a glass door at a party. These were terrible tragedies for the families, friends, college administrators and other students.

Each year, an estimated 1,825 college students die from alcohol poisoning and alcohol-related injuries.

American colleges and universities tout themselves as bastions of personal freedom for young college students. They can be overwhelming places for students who lived a structured and safe life at home. There is only so much that college or university administrators can say or do to warn your child. All wise parents need to make time to educate their college student about the choices he will be forced to make while living on his own.


Rape and Sexual Assault

At many college parties, illegal drugs are often consumed with alcohol. Besides being potentially fatal, experts know that drug abuse is a main factor leading to college campus rape and sexual assault. “The majority of safety-related incidents … occur when students are under the influence,” warns Connors State College’s eight-page student safety manual. “Many victims and perpetrators of sexual assault are under the influence when an incident occurs. Make smart choices so that your judgment and your safety aren’t compromised by alcohol or other drug abuse.”

The manual makes a few more statements about the dangers of mixing “legal” prescription drugs with alcohol, showing that such behavior often leads to overdose, which can also lead to death. Then, regarding the most dangerous illegal drugs in use on college campuses, the manual says, “If you choose to take Ecstasy, ghb, Special K, lsd, Meth or another drug, you may not know what’s mixed into it. … [I]t can do a number on your body and brain.” College administrators take it for granted that students are regularly using harmful illegal drugs.

Honest administrators know they can do little to stop illegal drug use. The decision to use or not use a harmful illegal drug lies squarely on the shoulders of your child—well, almost. The drug Ecstasy is tasteless and is often slipped into a person’s drink unknowingly. If you send your son or daughter to college, educate them about date-rape drugs. Recognize that both female and male college students are victims of sexual assault and rape.


Consider This

It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 suicides on American college campuses per year. Experts attribute student stress over the need to achieve to be the leading factor of suicide.

Educators and parents put a lot of pressure on students to be the best and the brightest. In some colleges and universities, the competition to be the best is vicious. At most colleges and universities, academic achievement is all that matters—although “liberating” yourself sexually, narcotically and intellectually would be a close second.

So, what is the real source of all the life-threatening, personally injurious problems taking place on our college campuses? Few would suspect that it could be our education system. But modern education has done little to solve the world’s problems that are ever growing worse. And we are seeing some very ugly sides to what are supposed to be enlightened centers of learning.

Something is missing in our education system. You can see it in the materialistic emphasis. You can see it in the prevalence of drug use and the epidemic of rape. The missing dimension is instruction in character—how to live the right way: morally, cleanly, at peace with others. This is the greatest danger on college and university campuses. Our lofty educational institutions fail to teach our young people about God and the productive, successful life that can only be gained by living by His Ten Commandments. These eternal laws teach young people how to make right choices in life (Deuteronomy 30:19).

There is a way you can protect your college-age student from the dangers of campus life. Provide him with right education. Please request a free to you copy of our booklet Education With Vision. It is one of the best sources you can read to help your child attain life-building academic success.