Analyzing Forbes ‘Most Powerful People’—and Prophecy

Analyzing Forbes ‘Most Powerful People’—and Prophecy Commons, Armin Linnartz/Creative Commons, Commons, Pete Souza/Creative Commons, Nicolas Asouri-Pool/Getty Images

The popular ranking that is more than meets the eye

Just who are the world’s most powerful people? Perhaps several names come to mind—politicians, financiers, religious leaders, etc. The human fascination with sheer power runs deep in our psyche. Knowing and understanding the power players in our modern world helps us identify historic trends and chart future scenarios. And it is just downright interesting. As such, wouldn’t it be helpful to have some sort of global ranking of the most powerful leaders? That’s what the Forbes “Most Powerful People” list has done every year since 2009.

Forbes is a highly respected organization specializing in business and financial news, with a popular “list” series, ranking the most powerful, the richest, the best companies, colleges, places, etc. The Forbes “Most Powerful People” ranking is carefully calculated. Forbes analyzes an individual’s “power” using four factors: general power over people (e.g., the size of a person’s political, employment or religious following); financial resources at disposal; power across multiple spheres of influence (not just in a niche sector); and active use of power. A panel of editors ranks each individual according to these prerequisites before averaging them into a composite scoring. Forbes is the first to admit that its lists will be disputed. As its 2016 summary article states, “It’s meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word.” Whatever the differing opinions, Forbes certainly gives a good idea of not only real power but perceived power around the world.

This article will examine Forbes’s top five world players since the list began in 2009, up to its recently released 2016 list. The rankings are very revealing.


2009: First position goes to newly sworn-in United States President Barack Obama; second to Chinese President Hu Jintao; and third to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank), places fourth. Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page share fifth.


2010: Hu takes first; Obama falls to second. Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich King Abdullah takes third, with Putin slipping to fourth. Pope Benedict xvi makes it to fifth. (German Chancellor Angela Merkel follows in sixth place.)


2011: Obama retakes first position; Putin rises to second; and Hu Jintao drops to third. Merkel jumps up to fourth place, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates makes an appearance in fifth.


2012: President Obama retains his number one spot, yet incredibly it is Merkel who makes it to second place, followed by Putin at third, Bill Gates at fourth, and Benedict at fifth. (After Hu’s retirement, new Chinese President Xi Jinping starts off at ninth.)


2013: Russia’s Putin claws his way into first position, pushing Obama to second. Jinping rockets from ninth to third place, with the newly appointed Pope Francis claiming fourth. Angela Merkel drops to fifth.


2014: The top five remain exactly the same as the previous year.


2015: Putin claims the top spot for the third year running. Second place amazingly goes to Germany’s Merkel, above President Obama, who places third. Pope Francis retains fourth, while Xi drops to fifth.


2016: Putin retains the top spot for the fourth year in a row. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump sits in second place (with outgoing President Obama falling to 48th). Angela Merkel continues to remain in the top three, followed by Xi Jinping at fourth and Pope Francis at fifth.

It is important to remember that these lists reflect the power of individuals, rather than entire countries themselves. Yet a country’s power is very much based on the power of the leader. The two are indelibly connected.


The progression of Forbes’s most powerful people over the past eight years tells a fascinating story. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s climb to first place in 2013 is remarkable. For four straight years to the present day, he has held the title of world’s “most powerful” man. What makes this even more remarkable is that during the 2009–2012 rankings, Putin wasn’t even the leader of Russia. From 2008–2012, Putin had taken a step back into the prime minister position, while fellow compatriot Dmitry Medvedev took the presidential office. Even still, Putin remained through those years variably within Forbes’s top four, showing how much he remained the real power behind Russia. As soon as his first full year of presidency rolled around, 2013, Putin went straight to the number one spot, and he hasn’t moved since. His strong hand in the world is undisputed, as a man of heavy action and influence. While much of his activities are criticized by the international community—such as his military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as his annexation of Crimea and incursions into mainland Ukraine—the fact that he has been largely successful and “gets what he wants” cements his place as the leading power player in the world.

President Obama joined the fray from the first year of his inauguration in the classic power toss-up between America and Russia. Three times within his first four-year term, he managed to take the position perhaps most expected of an American leader on Forbes’s rankings—the top. The U.S. has, throughout most of the past century, been the most powerful single nation in the world in terms of wealth, technology and military might. However, by the time Obama’s second term rolled around (and Putin regained the presidency of Russia), the best he managed was second place, before falling to third, and then rounding out his final year at 48th in the shadow of incoming President-elect Trump. Presumably Obama’s strong words yet weak action in countries like Syria and Ukraine played a major role in his slipped ranking.

China’s leader will always feature highly on this list, especially due to an influence over a population that exceeds 1 billion. No one today questions the skyrocketing power of the nation (whose economy really took off in the 1990s). In the last two decades especially, China has pushed a heavy expansion of national interests and foreign investment within other nations. While its foreign-policy power plays in the South China Sea—building and militarizing artificial islands in disputed waters—have been much protested, China has largely had its way. Embracing warm relations with Russia, as well as seeing much closer ties especially between Malaysia and the Philippines, China continues to grow stronger. Its booming population has been given a further boost with the annulment of the “one-child policy,” meaning that the nation will be looking to further expand its influence and to draw resources from other countries around the world to supply its growing numbers.

Yet surely the most interesting person graphed by Forbes over the past eight years has been Germany’s Angela Merkel. Starting off in 2009 at 15th, she skyrocketed into second place in both 2012 and 2015—in the latter, surpassing the president of the United States. This is a sign of how much the world has changed since a pulverized Germany lay defeated after World War ii. Few would have thought that within less than a lifetime, Germany’s chancellor would be ranked as the second-most powerful leader in the world, above the United States. Even after Trump swept into second place for 2016, Merkel held on to third place. This is a remarkable achievement, considering that the next European national leader on the list for 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May, ranked 13th.

Forbes has joined a growing number of commentators and analysts documenting Germany’s incredible rise to power in the world.

The German Ascent

Germany’s meteoric rise to power has become plainly evident around the world. In 2016, Germany had the fourth-largest gross domestic product in the world (behind the U.S., China and Japan). It is the second-largest global export market, after the U.S., according to the UK’s Department for International Trade. Thus, with all of its consolidated power, the real heart of Europe is not Brussels but Berlin.

Commentators have picked up on Germany’s ascent, with articles even referring to a “Fourth Reich.” Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer wrote a piece titled “The Fourth Reich Is Here—Without a Shot Being Fired.” The Guardian featured “Resurgent Germany Overtakes Britain and U.S.” and “How Angela Merkel Became Europe’s Undisputed Leader.” Business Insider wrote “There’s No Getting Around It—Germany Is Taking Over Europe.” Spiegel published “The Fourth Reich: What Some Europeans See When They Look at Germany.” The Belfast Telegraph analyzed Germany’s rise in “Germany Trying to Take Over Europe Again.” Chris Carter wrote “Germany: The Dominating Puppet-master of Europe” for the Commentator. YouGov ran a pre-Brexit poll titled “Germans: We Run Europe. Brits: We Don’t.” And finally, RT wrote “nato Fears Resurgent Germany, Russia.” These are just a small array of examples.

Yet and its predecessor have been predicting Germany’s rise to power for over 80 years. While the nation lay flattened after World War ii, physically divided between other countries, our founder, the late philanthropist and religious teacher Herbert W. Armstrong, declared in 1954 that “Germany inevitably [will] emerge as the leader of a united Europe.” In 1967, under his direction, the Plain Truth magazine (forerunner to the Trumpet magazine) forecast:

[There is] one thing you can count on. In fact, it is so sure you can bank on it: The cry of a political union in Europe will get louder, and before long, we will see the Common Market develop into a United States of Europe.

We now have a form of a United States of Europe in the European Union. Mr. Armstrong also specified that the union would require a common currency; just as predicted, the euro was launched in 1999, with EU countries adopting it in place of their own currencies in 2002.

In 1979, Mr. Armstrong wrote:

I have been proclaiming and writing, ever since 1935, that … the Holy Roman Empire is coming in our generation—a “United States of Europe,” combining 10 nations or groups of nations in Europe—with a union of church and state!The nations of Europe have been striving to become reunited …. Yet, on a purely political basis, they have been totally unable to unite. …This new united Europe will be, militarily and economically, as strong, or even more powerful, than either the United States or the ussr. It will be a third gigantic world power!

At the time of Mr. Armstrong’s forecast (a full decade before the Berlin Wall fell), a united Germany and Europe, more powerful than the United States or ussr, seemed ludicrous.

Fast-forward to 2012, and we see Germany’s leader—essentially Europe’s leader—ranked more powerful than Russia’s. Fast-forward to 2015, and she is ranked more powerful than that of the United States!

How could we know this would happen?

These declarations were based on Bible prophecy. Prophecies that speak of the “time of the end” describe a powerful union in Europe made up of 10 countries, joined ideologically with the Roman Catholic Church to create a final resurrected phase of the Holy Roman Empire. For the details of this prophesied German-led superpower, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.

And the leader of Germany’s rise is not all that Mr. Armstrong—and now the Trumpet—has forecast. The Bible also contains prophecies about all the major nations represented by individuals within Forbes’s “Most Powerful” top five.

It declares an end-time alliance between superpowers Russia and China (among other Asian nations), led by a powerful man known as the “prince of Rosh.” Rosh is a biblical term for Russia. Request our free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’ for a full explanation.

The Bible further prophesies the decline in power of the United States, as well as Britain and the British Commonwealth. Forbes picked up on this decline with its ranking of America’s leadership tailing off in the last four years especially. And that once-great British Empire, which in living memory controlled about one third of the Earth’s landmass, these days only occasionally makes a peep near the bottom of Forbes’s top 10. Mr. Armstrong forecast all of this in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy (request your free copy). He also specifically prophesied that Britain would either leave or be ejected from the European Union. The Brexit vote determining to leave the EU is now yesterday’s news.

Even other nations whose leaders are ranked highly by Forbes, such as Saudi Arabia, are not overlooked by end-time Bible prophecy (request your free copy of Gerald Flurry’s booklet The King of the South). The fact is that the Bible is not an “outdated” book. The accounts within its pages are not just legends written for “old times.” Its prophecies are not “vague.” The Bible is incredibly specific, and it is the most up-to-date book in the world! It is the reader’s responsibility to prove that for himself.

Mr. Armstrong certainly had his scoffers back in the late 1940s and ’50s, while he was writing and broadcasting that the smashed, divided Germany would rise again as head of a “United States of Europe” to be one of the most powerful blocs in the world. What was once ridiculed as outlandish prophecy is now being widely reported on as common news. And as Mr. Armstrong forecast, Europe will continue to grow even more powerful, consolidating into a group of the prophesied “10 kings” (or 10 nations) led by Germany in a modern, resurrected Holy Roman Empire.

The Forbes “Most Powerful People” list is an impressive appraisal of sheer individual—and by direct association national—power. Yet for this website, its assessment is entirely unsurprising. In many ways, it is “old news”—broadcast up to 80 years ago by our predecessor. Or further, as much as 2,500 years ago in the Bible. Forbes has simply highlighted the rising power of leaders and nations as they have been prophesied for decades.

One final note. Jesus Christ spoke to our terrifyingly destructive nuclear age today when He said in Matthew 24:21-22, 30:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. … And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

These nations whose leaders are featured on Forbes’s list are about to engage in the most brutal conflict of human history (see also Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:7). We’ve already seen it on a smaller scale twice in the past century. There’s no doubt it can and will happen again. Yet there is coming a leader to end this conflict and finally take control of this embittered world. He will take the undisputed top spot of the “World’s Most Powerful” list. His name is Jesus Christ.

Transition Week: Obama Rushes to Regulate as Trump Slams the EU and Reaches Out to Britain

Transition Week: Obama Rushes to Regulate as Trump Slams the EU and Reaches Out to Britain

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on January 16, 2017.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised to curb the power of the executive branch in the United States government. He’s now down to his last week in office and, contrary to his campaign promise, he’s exercising all the executive powers he can in order to protect his legacy.

Meanwhile, incoming President-elect Donald Trump is severing relations with the European Union and embracing Britain. On today’s show, Stephen Flurry explains what Bible prophecy says about the significance of these trends.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

The Republic of Miracles

The Republic of Miracles

PhotoQuest/Getty Images

America’s improbable victory in the War of Independence

The cause of freedom almost perished on the banks of the East River in 1776. Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army were caught in a trap on Long Island, New York. Surrounded on three sides by the British Army, their only escape route was across the treacherous East River. British gunboats sought to tighten the noose around the exhausted, outnumbered American troops. They should have succeeded.

What happened next defied all probability. For three days, a strong northeasterly wind prevented British ships from sailing up the East River. For three long days, the Continental Army shivered in ferocious rain with no tents and watched its rations disappear. Despite Washington’s instincts to stand and fight, retreat was the only possible solution. If Washington and the 9,000-soldier Continental Army were captured or destroyed, all hope for American independence would be lost.

Washington gave orders for as many boats as possible to be secretly gathered along the East River for evacuation. The Americans needed to escape before the British front lines realized the sudden retreat and before British ships could block their only avenue of escape. The retreat would occur under the cover of darkness.

This was George Washington’s first battle as commander in chief, and he had performed poorly. Yet in the face of disaster, his character and leadership rose to the occasion. For almost two days, he had been in the saddle constantly encouraging his men. Now, he meticulously directed the evacuation. The plan was executed flawlessly until around 10 p.m. The strong northeasterly wind resumed and prevented the boats from crossing the river. Delay would endanger the men still on Long Island. Suddenly, the wind shifted to blow to the southwest, which was the most favorable direction. The evacuation resumed with great fervor.

As dawn approached, it was clear that not all the men would escape before daylight revealed their perilous positions. Unexpectedly, salvation came in the form of a dense fog. According to firsthand accounts, visibility was reduced to six yards or less. This spontaneous fog sheltered the American troops until every single soldier was safely across the East River. Washington stayed until every man was safely on a boat, as Col. Benjamin Tallmadge recalls:

When we reached Brooklyn Ferry, the boats had not returned from their last trip, but they very soon appeared and took the whole regiment over to New York; and I think I saw General Washington on the ferry stairs when I stepped into one of the last boats that received the troops.

As David McCullough put it, the “Dunkirk of the American Revolution” succeeded. The Continental Army survived to fight another day. So did George Washington, who, as events would demonstrate, was the only man with the necessary leadership to weather the War of Independence. The American republic would have been stillborn on the banks of the East River if not for the miraculous weather. This was not the first nor the last time providence intervened for the Revolutionaries.

America should have lost the War of Independence. If not for a series of unpredictable and timely interventions, the British would have retained control over all of North America. No other nation has had a more unlikely birth.

As America enters an uncertain future in 2017, we should reflect on our history as the republic of miracles.

First Step to Freedom

When the Founding Fathers signed he Declaration of Independence on Aug. 8, 1776, in Philadelphia, they had all deliberately decided to defy the world’s greatest empire. The British Empire spanned across North America, into the Caribbean, and across to India and the Pacific islands. The British boasted one of the best-trained armies on Earth and were invigorated by their victory over archrival France in the Seven Years’ War. Despite the odds, the American colonists were fighting for the same rights that the English had fought for in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

It was not a rebellion against the rule of law, but rather a revolution to create a better rule of law. The American colonists had every right to the same freedoms of representative taxation and self-government. The British would learn some painful lessons in colonial administration through their experience with the stubborn colonists. But we will always be indebted to the 56 men who took the fateful and perilous first step of founding a nation based upon “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The next seven years were to contain some of the most monumental trials in American history.

Spark of Revolution

Boston, Massachusetts, saw the spark of the revolution. Samuel Adams, the second cousin of John Adams, was the chief agitator and most extreme of all the revolutionary leaders. He had incited the “Boston Massacre” on March 5, 1770, and had organized the Boston Tea Party on Dec. 16, 1773. Both these events helped galvanize the colonial population to support the movement toward revolution. However, it also provoked King George iii to send troops to quell the civil rebellion.

Gen. Thomas Gage was appointed governor of Massachusetts in 1774. He was able to concentrate 4,000 British troops in Boston. On April 19, 1775, Gage sent 700 troops to Concord and Lexington to confiscate gunpowder being amassed by the rebels. The first shot of the Revolution was fired in Concord.

The British responded by sending an additional 4,500 men to North America under the command of Gen. Sir Henry Clinton and Gen. William Howe. They sought to destroy the rebellious militias in Boston by capturing the fort on Breed’s Hill and encircling them on the Charlestown peninsula. The Battle of Bunker Hill ensued.

General Howe planned a flanking maneuver on the right flank along Mystic Beach. He would use this undefended beach to lead the British Light Infantry to the rear of the rebel lines and trap them, forcing them to surrender. Before Howe could execute this plan, however, American Col. John Stark, from a New Hampshire regiment, noticed the vulnerable spot and deployed 200 of his best marksmen there. The British Light Infantry was repulsed, and the American troops were saved from certain destruction. Howe was forced into a bloody frontal assault.

The Americans withdrew when their ammunition stores expired—they only lost 450 men. The British attained a Pyrrhic victory at the cost of half their men. Shortly afterward, the British retreated to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Battle of Bunker Hill became a moment of self-realization for many American colonists. It proved that the untrained American militias could stand and fight against the British regulars. Few realized, however, that Colonel Stark’s providential foresight prevented total defeat and probably the collapse of the revolutionary cause.

1776: A Year of Retreat

In August 1776, Britain returned to subdue its rebellious colonies with the largest armada the Americas had seen: 400 ships in total. The armada—carrying 32,000 troops composed of British regiments and German mercenaries, the best Europe had to offer—landed on Staten Island, New York, unopposed.

The Declaration of Independence, signed only days before the British flotilla arrived, had completely changed the conflict. No longer was there any doubt of the colonists’ intentions; they were fighting for independence. However, the British legions were a sober reminder of the great odds facing the revolutionaries.

On June 19, the Continental Congress had appointed George Washington as the commander in chief of the Continental Army. In mid-August 1776, Washington watched the vast British force pour onto Staten Island. Knowing that battle was imminent, he wrote: “The day of the trial, which will in some measure decide the fate of America, is near at hand.”

On August 22, the British began ferrying troops across to Long Island, where Washington had unwisely divided his men into two groups. What transpired was the largest battle of the Revolutionary War and nearly the most disastrous. The American troops lost approximately 20 percent of their men through casualties or capture. As explained earlier, Washington was able to conduct a brilliant retreat, but brilliant retreats do not deliver victory.

The ill-trained and ill-equipped Continental Army fought a month later at the Battle of White Plains but was forced to retreat west across the Hudson River, giving the British full control of New York. The British strategy was to capture the Hudson Valley and the string of forts spanning the defensive line. This would divide the colonies, separating New England from the southern colonies. With New York captured, the British cautiously pursued Washington across New Jersey before settling into winter quarters.

This was the most pivotal moment of the entire war. The Continental Army was one only in name. With the harsh northeast winter bearing down on them, most of Washington’s troops lacked boots, coats and warm clothes. Food was becoming scarce, and so was pay. Washington’s army was quickly wasting away. The British propaganda campaign did not help as it lured many militia recruits away from the Continental Army. On December 18, Washington wrote his brother John in a confidential letter:

I think the game is pretty near up …. You can form no idea of the perplexity of my situation. No man, I believe, ever had a greater choice of difficulties and less means to extricate himself from them.

When Thomas Paine visited the army in Morristown, he found them in such a poor state that he wrote The American Crisis, which includes the immortal line: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Washington had the entire essay read aloud before each soldier. With time running out to save the cause of freedom, Washington planned a daring night attack.

The British had ceased pursuing the Continental Army and had erroneously scattered their outposts throughout New Jersey. Trenton and Bordentown were manned by a few thousand Hessians. Washington planned an attack for Christmas Day, 1776. The Hessians were famous for their Christmas parties and would be ineffectual fighters in a drunken state.

As Christmas Day came to a close, Washington led his winter soldiers through the freezing cold and strong winds to cross the Delaware River. Some men froze to death on the way to the boats. Men had to break through ice to get to the boats. Some did not have boots. Others suffered as the winter storm refroze their soaking wet clothes. Despite the terrible conditions, the weather was their greatest ally. Under the cover of darkness, three columns attacked the two outposts in Trenton and Bordentown. The Hessians were taken by complete surprise. Washington had a victory.

A few nights later, on Jan. 3, 1777, Washington made a daring night march around the left flank of Gen. Charles Cornwallis’s army at Princeton, only a few miles away from Trenton. The British were routed; they were forced to retreat to Brunswick and abandon most of New Jersey.

Washington’s small band of freezing, starving winter soldiers had ended 1776 and started 1777 with miraculous victories. Had either attempt failed, it is likely the middle colonies would have surrendered. Thanks to British arrogance and timidity, and Hessian indulgences, the American War of Independence continued.

Disaster at Saratoga

Even with these defeats, the British still held a massive advantage. An ill-fated American attack on Canada led by Gen. Benedict Arnold had been repulsed with heavy losses, and the British prepared to advance from the north. Gen. John Burgoyne planned to capture Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and march south along the Hudson valley to meet General Howe. The bulk of the British Army would remain at West Point, the main fort still under American control. It was a sound plan, having the approval of London and King George iii.

But British incompetence once again intervened in the conflict. Sir Winston Churchill wrote in A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol. 3:

Rarely has British strategy fallen into such a multitude of errors. Every maxim and principle of war was either violated or disregarded. “Seek out and destroy the enemy” is a sound rule. “Concentrate your force” is a sound method. “Maintain your objective” is common sense. The enemy was Washington’s army. The force consisted of Howe’s troops in New York and Burgoyne’s columns now assembled in Montreal. The objective was to destroy Washington’s army and kill or capture Washington. If he could be brought to battle and every man and gun turned against him, a British victory was almost certain. But these obvious truths were befogged and bedeviled by multiplicity of counsel.

General Howe, Burgoyne’s superior, had no intention of complying with this strategy. Instead of marching north to meet Burgoyne, Howe attacked Philadelphia and captured the de-facto capital. However, it was an empty victory since the real objective was the destruction of the Continental Army. Burgoyne left Montreal under the assumption that Howe would assist him at a crucial juncture. Instead Burgoyne and his 9,000 men were left stranded.

This miraculous incompetence of the British military opened the door for the revolutionaries. Congress sent Horatio Gates to oppose the British, and Washington sent Benedict Arnold to bolster his forces. Gates’s cautiousness was a stark contrast to Arnold’s impetuous bravery. The clash of personalities would almost cost the Americans as much as the British.

As Burgoyne’s column advanced, Gates entrenched in Bemis Heights and awaited the attack. Burgoyne tried to flank the position, but Arnold, seeing the danger, suggested an attack on the British in the woods near Freeman’s Farm. After an ear-splitting argument, Arnold attacked the British and repulsed them with heavy losses. Burgoyne still had the advantage but began to wonder when Howe would rendezvous with him.

Three weeks later, Burgoyne’s army, starving and desperate, still awaited reinforcements. Gates, a clever egoist, had not given credit to Arnold for the Battle of Freeman’s Farm; after an exchange of unpleasantries, he confined Arnold to his tent and relieved him of his duties. The armies clashed in a desperate struggle for victory. The British regulars began to turn the tide of battle against the revolutionaries until Arnold rallied the troops and led them to capture a key British position. If Arnold had not disobeyed orders when he heard the sounds of battle, Burgoyne probably would have smashed Gates’s army. Instead, the British were forced to retreat. American historian Thomas Fleming wrote:

The following night, the British tried to retreat. But swarming militia cut them off, and Burgoyne surrendered his army to Gates on Oct. 17, 1777, an event of earthshaking importance in both the military and diplomatic history of the Revolution. In France, Louis xvi’s advisers decided the Americans could win the war and began backing them with desperately needed money and guns.

The American victory at Saratoga fundamentally transformed the war. France became involved in the war and divided Britain’s attention with battles in India and the West Indies.

But the victory could hardly be credited to American arms. If the British had been united in command and converged on the Hudson Valley, they could have destroyed Gates’s and Washington’s forces. Without French help, the Revolution would have collapsed. Even Arnold’s disobedience changed the course of the battle. Greater forces were influencing the outcome of the war.

Victory by Endurance

While disaster overtook the British in western New York, Howe was quickly advancing to seize the capital at Philadelphia. Washington unsuccessfully fought at Brandywine and Germantown to stop the British, and Howe moved into the colonies’ largest city. As winter descended on Pennsylvania, Washington and the Continental Army retreated to Valley Forge.

During the Battle of Brandywine, Washington was reconnoitering a position with an aide. The two crossed paths with a British captain named Patrick Ferguson (inventor of the breech-loading rifle). Captain Ferguson had Washington in his sights, but refused to shoot a man in the back. Ferguson was also impressed by the indifference Washington showed toward danger.

While the Continental Army clung to survival, General Howe resigned from command, and Sir Henry Clinton became commander. The entry of the French into the war gave the Americans some sea power, and Clinton scrambled to cover his base at New York when the first French troops arrived in the summer of 1778. Clinton also resolved a shift in strategy. Instead of focusing on New England, he wanted to subdue the South. Most of the loyalists were in the South; if the rebels felt the scourge of war, Clinton was sure the cause would collapse.

The war in the South opened a violent and tragic page in American history. The most gruesome crimes of the war were committed by American colonists against other American colonists. Patriots murdered Loyalists, which spawned revenge killings. It was a turbulent backdrop for the final act of the American Revolution.

As all this was happening, Benedict Arnold was making his own plans. After the Battle at Saratoga, he had become embittered. A mixed desire for wealth and the need to pay off debts led Arnold to betray the American cause. He began negotiating with the British to surrender West Point, the major hinge of American control in the Hudson Valley. The plans were moving forward until a random patrol intercepted the disguised British officer carrying papers with details of the betrayal. What is even more miraculous is that these men were intent on robbing the officer when they found the papers in his boots; they quickly realized they had stumbled onto something of great importance. The plan was foiled, but only by some well-timed looting.

As the British invaded Charleston in 1780 to establish their new base of operations, the war had become a test of endurance. It was clear that victory would be determined by which army could withstand the elements and win the most battles.

Tightening the Noose

On Aug. 16, 1780, British Gen. Charles Cornwallis smashed the southern army under Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden. South Carolina was effectively under British control, but British error once again saved the Revolution. Riding the high of victory, Cornwallis believed he could subdue North Carolina and Virginia. The British Army left its sanctuary around Charleston and marched north, certain of an easy victory.

Instead, Cornwallis’s column became embroiled in a quagmire of guerrilla warfare led by Nathaniel Greene and Daniel Morgan. At the Battle of Cowpens on Jan. 17, 1781, Morgan and his sharpshooters defeated a small army under British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton after some subtle feints and misperceptions. The British, exhausted from a night march and not allowed to eat breakfast, were too weak to fight effectively. If Tarleton had let them eat breakfast, they may have overcome the sharpshooters. This turned the tide of the war in the South and forced Cornwallis, after a few costly battles, to head for the coast.

With the Americans and French approaching war weariness, the stand at Cowpens by Morgan’s men had reinvigorated the war effort in France and gave the Americans a chance to end the war. With Cornwallis marching toward Yorktown in Virginia, Washington was poised to attack New York. But his French comrade, the Count de Rochambeau, changed his mind, and Washington closed the noose around Yorktown, which was put under siege.

The British planned to evacuate Cornwallis from Yorktown, however, storms stopped them from leaving New York for two days. Then the French fleet gave the revolutionaries a brief window of sea power dominance by defeating the British Navy in a short battle. This resulted in Cornwallis’s surrender on Oct. 19, 1781. This was the finale of a war fraught with danger and unlikely successes. A few years later, the republic of miracles was born on Sept. 17, 1787, when the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia.

Divine Providence

Thomas Fleming wrote in an essay titled 13 Ways America Could Have Lost the American Revolution:

When a historian ponders the what-ifs of the American Revolution, chills run up and down and around the cerebellum. There were almost too many moments when the Patriot cause teetered on the brink of disaster, to be retrieved by the most unlikely accidents or coincidences or choices made by harried men in the heat of conflict.

Imagine if the idea of American liberty were smothered in the cradle. Some of the greatest achievements in the past 200 years, and some of the greatest victories over evil would have never happened. It is easy to take for granted the superpower prosperity of America, but events nearly took a drastically different course.

The victories at Bunker Hill and Trenton, the endurance of the Continental Army under Washington, and the vain blunders of the British did not happen by chance. There were no coincidences or accidents that decided such an important outcome. The only explanation for the American victory in the War of Independence was that the great God intervened. Fleming ended his essay with what George Washington thought was the real cause of victory:

Many years later, George Washington reportedly corresponded with Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, about writing their memoirs. Thomson had been present at virtually every session of the Congress, from its inception in 1774 to its dissolution in 1788. Between them the two men probably knew more secrets than the entire Congress and Continental Army combined. They decided that memoirs were a bad idea. It would be too disillusioning if the American people discovered how often the glorious cause came close to disaster. They jointly agreed that the real secret of America’s final victory in the eight-year struggle could be summed up in two words: divine providence.”

It is clear when reviewing this history that no single man, or group of men, could claim the credit for victory. Even the Founding Fathers themselves readily admitted that a heavenly power aided the establishment of the American Republic. Men far more brilliant than we are humbly gave God credit for the victory. This lesson is especially prescient for us today.

2017 promises to be a watershed year. Whether it is because Donald Trump will assume the office of U.S. president or the status of the world order, many anticipate disaster. If the republic of miracles is to survive, we must again look to the source of our strength. No man, political party nor ideology can save America from disaster. We must look to the God of miracles to make America great again. That is the choice facing each individual. The choice we make will set the course for our freedom in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Raising the Ruins

What ever happened to Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy?

Listen to the Trumpet Daily live each day at 7:00 am (CST) on Trumpet Radio.

Week in Review: Pope Meets Abbas, America’s Vulnerable Military, Calling on Germany, and Much More

Week in Review: Pope Meets Abbas, America’s Vulnerable Military, Calling on Germany, and Much More

Thaer Ghanaim/PPO/Getty Images, Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images, DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images,

All you need to know about everything in the news this week

Get all the important news from January 7-13 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.


Pope Francis’s meeting with Mahmoud Abbas

  • For the fifth time since assuming office, Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on January 14.
  • The meeting in Rome comes three weeks after the December 23 United Nations Security Council resolution, which declared Israeli settlements illegal.
  • It also comes one day before the Paris Peace Conference, which traditionally bashes the state of Israel.
  • In light of the Vatican’s track record on Israel and Jerusalem, the pope’s meeting with Abbas does not bode well for the future of the Jewish nation.
  • America’s military invincible?

  • Is the American military machine too big to fail?
  • Does outspending the combined budgets of the next seven biggest militaries around the globe guarantee American invincibility?
  • According to a report by The Week, the notion of “America’s invincible military” is just a myth.
  • According to the Bible, the United States may have near-invincible military power, but “the pride of [that] power” is broken.
  • A call for Germany

  • The favorite to win France’s next presidential election said he wants to “remobilize the European Union around strategic priorities: our collective security, defense, innovation and the retightening of the eurozone.”
  • François Fillon declared that the Berlin attack and Donald Trump’s election were a “game changer” after which Germany can no longer play the role of a pacifist.
  • Russia at a crossroads?

  • With United States President-elect Donald Trump having promised both to stand up against China and improve U.S. cooperation with Russia, Vladimir Putin stands at a crossroads.
  • Will the Russian president choose to repair Moscow’s ties with Washington, or will it continue its partnership with China?
  • Dr. Subhash Kapila discussed this dilemma in the Eurasia Review. The Trumpet staff discussed it in this week’s “Week in Review” program.
  • America is losing the cyberwar

  • According to an article by Matthew Schofield in The News and Observer, “officials have noted that the new cyberwar field is cheap to enter, relatively easy to work in, and doesn’t necessarily favor the massive advantages the United States has maintained in conventional security.”
  • In 1995, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry highlighted and expanded on Joseph de Courcy’s 1992 warning: “Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles’ heel, and within a few years, this weakness could be tested to the full.”
  • The alleged Russian hack of the Democratic National Convention is but the most recent demonstration that the U.S. is falling behind in one of the world’s most dangerous arenas.
  • Other news:

  • A Palestinian resident of Jerusalem killed four people and wounded 17 others on January 8, when he hit a group of unsuspecting Israeli soldiers with a large truck.
  • On January 10, news broke that Thailand is buying a sizable quantity of tanks VT-4 tanks from China. It’s a clear move away from U.S.-Thai relations.
  • Get the details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    Book of Ruth Pictures Pentecost

    The book of Ruth is a love story that focuses on this virtuous woman’s attitude. But it’s more than that. Learn how Ruth’s marriage represents the greatest marriage in the universe.