Shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote a watershed article in which he revealed that America’s president fulfills the prophecy in Amos 7 and is a modern-day fulfillment of King Jeroboam ii.
Jeroboam ii ruled the kingdom of Israel in the eighth century b.c. Over his 41-year reign, the kingdom experienced an incredible resurgence, enlarging its territory, increasing its military strength, enhancing its political power, and expanding its material prosperity (2 Kings 14:25-28).
Today, the United States is experiencing a similar resurgence. Its economy is booming, its “deep state” is being confronted, and its friends and foes alike are showing more respect. And, like King Jeroboam ii, President Donald Trump is taking all the credit.
The parallels between ancient Israel and America today are truly stunning. They show that you can’t understand current events without Bible prophecy. Mr. Flurry’s explanation of Jeroboam ii also lays the groundwork for understanding another important historical parallel.
The prophets Amos, Hosea and Jonah all delivered their messages during the reign of Jeroboam ii. All three of their messages were miraculously preserved for more than 2,800 years and apply today to the descendants of Israel (America and Britain) and the kingdom of Judah (the Jewish state). But these prophets all have much to say about another major power. These books all discuss the kingdom of Assyria, which was a major power at the time of Jeroboam ii.
What was Assyria doing when Israel was experiencing its resurgence? More importantly, does that history also contain lessons for today about the descendants of the Assyrians (modern Germany)?
(Prove Germany’s identity by reading The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.)
Assyria’s history is well documented and aligns beautifully with the biblical record. It begins with Asshur, Noah’s great-grandson. The Assyrians inhabited the land in the upper delta of the Tigris River. The Assyrian civilization blossomed from 911 b.c. to 609 b.c., during what is called the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The empire reached its apex between 744 and 727 b.c., under the reign of Tiglath-Pileser iii.
The Neo-Assyrian period was a time of prolonged expansion, except for a few decades during the reign of Jeroboam ii. This period of Assyria’s history is fascinating, not the least because it contains remarkable parallels with Germany today.
Assyria’s decline began in 797 b.c., just after King Adad-nirari iii had conquered Damascus and the Aramaeans (modern Syria). Instead of launching further invasions into the Levant, the Assyrian king was forced to return to Nineveh to deal with domestic problems and political unrest. The Assyrian army abandoned Damascus, leaving the newly conquered city and its residents exposed like sitting ducks.
Seeing the opportunity, Israel’s king pounced. 2 Kings 14:25 and 28 say that Jeroboam ii restored Israel’s borders and “recovered Damascus, and Hamath.” Israel’s expansion was largely due to Assyria’s retreat from the region and its descent into political malaise.
The esv Bible Atlas states, “During the first half of the eighth century b.c., Assyria was ruled by a series of weak monarchs.” William Martin wrote in These Were God’s People—A Bible History that Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. “had lost her northern provinces to Urartu and was in the throes of a serious civil war.”
Two observations are particularly interesting, especially compared to the state of Germany today. First, Assyria’s weakened central leadership provided opportunity to local leaders and the nobility to seize power and begin to agitate. “Some Assyrian nobles became extremely powerful and behaved in some respects as warlords, ruling vast territories and conducting private campaigns as powers responsible only to themselves” (Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations).
Second, Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. struggled with the presence and influence of a huge number of foreigners. “Ethnically Assyria was undergoing a major change during this period in that the Aramaic [Syrian] element in the population was increasing dramatically” (ibid). By the middle of the eighth century b.c., the number of foreigners in Assyria was so high, “the Aramaic language had virtually replaced Assyrian as the everyday tongue” (ibid).
In short, Assyria’s problems were caused largely by a dysfunctional federal government (which allowed the rise of upstart revolutionary forces) and disruption and tension caused by the presence of a huge number of migrants, most of whom came from Syria. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Even though Assyria had serious issues politically, the kingdom remained powerful. Its control of important trade routes gave it enormous economic leverage. And its military remained potent. “Assyrians, indeed, attracted attention,” Lange’s Commentary states, but due to their domestic issues, “there was no probability that they would endanger the kingdom [Israel].”
Assyria was a major regional power during the time of Jeroboam ii, but it was a headless power. It was a tank without a driver.
Those who follow Germany today will easily see the parallels. Germany is an industrial and financial giant. Together with China and America, it dominates global trade. Inside Europe and the European Union, nothing significant happens without Germany’s approval. Internationally, Germany takes part in every major conversation. Germany is a power player in world politics. But it doesn’t have a strong head.
Angela Merkel is a lame-duck chancellor in every way imaginable. National and local elections in 2018 were an absolute disaster. Following the September election, it took Merkel four months to form a government. Now that coalition is on the verge of collapse. The German tank has a driver, but she’s a terrible driver who has lost control of the machine.
Earlier this month, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, a key partner in Merkel’s coalition government, suddenly resigned. She hasn’t yet been replaced because the Social Democrats can’t decide on her replacement. Support for the spd, formerly one of Germany’s top two political parties, is at a record low.
Germany’s most popular party right now is the Green Party, which did very well in recent European elections. But the Green Party has traditionally been a minor party and has little experience leading a coalition government and running the nation. It’s not even certain who the Greens would put forward as chancellor, since the party has two leaders, one man and one woman.
Meanwhile, Germany’s far-right parties are alarmingly popular. The far-right Alternative für Deutschland, even though it has experienced a small drop in support recently, still polls at over 13 percent. The Left Party is polling at 7 percent. Roughly one fifth of Germans now support a radical political party. In some parts of East Germany, the AfD is now the most popular political party. In these states, around a third of voters prefer extreme parties, either the AfD or the Left.
One recent poll indicates that the Alternative für Deutschland is actually more popular than the Social Democrats, and there were rumors this week that Merkel is contemplating bringing it into the ruling coalition government.
In January, Stephen F. Szabo, senior fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, drew attention to the rise of Germany’s far-right party and the effect it is having on Germany’s entire political system. He wrote, “The rise of the Alternative für Germany (AfD) has created a more unstable and less governable party system with, for the first time, a significant far-right nationalist party present both in the Bundestag and in all but two of the regional parliaments.”
Germany today is in a remarkably similar state to Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. It is clearly a major power, but it has some serious problems, including the many issues that come with accepting hundreds of thousands of foreign migrants. Angela Merkel right now is a 21st-century version of Ashur-dan iii or Ashur-nirari v, two early-eighth-century b.c. Assyrian kings who spent their time dealing with internal disputes, quelling rebellions, and brokering political alliances to save their skin.
Meanwhile, to the west, the modern Jeroboam ii and Israel bask in peace and wealth (at least for now).
As one considers this remarkable history and parallel, an obvious question comes to mind. Did ancient Assyria solve these issues? If so, how?
This is when Tiglath-Pileser iii enters the scene. His Babylonian name was Pulu; he was governor of the northern Assyrian city of Calah and a general in the Assyrian army. Pulu exploited the enfeebled central government and the chaos of the civil war and plotted a coup d’état. In 745 b.c., he slaughtered Assyria’s royal family, installed himself as king, and changed his name to Tiglath-Pileser iii.
His impact was dramatic and immediate. The new king had grand ambitions, and he pursued them with ruthless passion. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations describes Tiglath-Pileser iii as a “vigorous campaigner in the true tradition of the Assyrian royal line …. [T]he king restored internal order and then proceeded to deal effectively with external enemies.”
Pileser’s immediate focus was transforming Assyria’s military, which quickly turned into his most effective tool and the source of his power. He “rebuilt Assyria with 19 years of successful war” (esv Atlas). The army was a formidable force when Tiglath-Pileser iii took over, but it had become bureaucratic and inefficient. The newly installed king quickly did away with conscription and made the army a permanent force—giving the strongman control of the world’s first professional army.
Under Tiglath-Pileser iii, “the picture changed dramatically,” wrote William Martin. He first united Assyria, then, “with the nation solidly behind him, he inaugurated the most amazing program of conquest and rule the world had ever seen” (emphasis added).
Within two years of taking the throne, Tiglath-Pileser iii fired up the Assyrian tank and plowed into military campaigns against Syria, Babylon and Armenia. Nation after nation was forced to pay tribute or conquered outright. By the end of his roughly 20-year reign, he had conquered virtually the entire Middle East.
In the mid-to-late 730s b.c., Tiglath-Pileser iii invaded the kingdom of Israel. “And Pul, king of the Assyrians, came into the land” (2 Kings 15:19; New International Version). Assyria’s king wiped out thousands of Israelites and took thousands more as slaves back to Assyria (verse 29). Israel’s capital, Samaria, was unmolested, and its monarchy was allowed to remain in power. But only after Israel’s king agreed to pay a massive tribute. Israel spent the ensuing years, prior to its complete subjugation in 721 b.c., at the mercy of Nineveh.
Tiglath-Pileser iii’s sudden arrival in 745 b.c. was a pivotal moment. Not just for Assyria, but for the entire region—and especially the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam ii’s death and Pileser’s advent marked a sudden and stunning reversal of roles. Assyria became a dominant and terrifying superpower; Israel collapsed into ruin, depression and slavery.
This history screams a powerful warning message. For almost 30 years, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has explained the biblical prophecies that tell us that God will once again use Assyria to punish the nations of Israel. Before Mr. Flurry, the late Herbert W. Armstrong delivered the same warning.
For decades now, both men have explained prophecies like Isaiah 10:5-6, which says that God will use Assyria to correct Israel in this end time the same way He used Assyria to correct Israel in the eighth century b.c. “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.”
Mr. Flurry has pointed to scriptures in Daniel 8 and 11, Habakkuk 1 and Revelation 17 (among others) that prophesy about the emergence of an end-time German strongman, a 21st-century Tiglath-Pileser iii.
Daniel 8:23, for example, describes the character of this coming German strongman: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” Notice, God calls this leader “a king.”
This modern-day Tiglath-Pileser iii is also discussed in Daniel 11:21: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
Mr. Flurry explained these verses in his November 2018 article “Germany—A New King Is Imminent,” writing:
Notice how this man is characterized. He has a “fierce countenance,” meaning he’s mighty, powerful and cruel. He has an “understanding [of] dark sentences.” Clarke’s Commentary says he’s “very learned and skillful in all things relating to government and its intrigues”—a cunning politician. He inherits the throne of Europe “peaceably,” obtaining his kingdom by “flatteries.” He is crafty and sly, with a brilliant mind and an engaging, attractive personality. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says “the nation shall not, by a public act, confer the kingdom on him, but he shall obtain it by artifice, ‘flattering.’” In other words, a deceived public, or a group of European leaders, likely invites this man into power.
Bible prophecy tells us that the history of the eighth century b.c. is about to be repeated!
In his article, Mr. Flurry wrote: “Every reader should closely watch Germany. This nation is experiencing changes that will reshape the country and the whole of Europe. Yet, remarkably, most of the world is asleep to these dramatic developments.”
Israel was asleep during the time of Jeroboam ii, too. Notice how the King James Study Bible describes the kingdom of Israel in the early eighth century b.c. “Both kingdoms [Israel and Judah] were enjoying great prosperity and had reached new political and military heights. It was also a time of idolatry, extravagant indulgence in luxurious living, immorality, corruption of judicial procedures, and oppression of the poor. As a consequence, God would soon bring about the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom” (emphasis added).
Absorbed in sin, Jeroboam ii and the people of Israel paid no attention to Assyria.
And they didn’t give serious attention to the warnings of Hosea and Amos, both of whom warned relentlessly that Assyria was about to invade. Assyria was leaderless and inward-focused, and Israel was wealthy, powerful and stable. A pall of arrogance sat over the kingdom of Israel and neither Jeroboam nor the people saw the need to listen.
Still, God’s prophets continued to warn. How could they not? These men understood Assyria’s history. They saw that Assyria was a superpower in need of a leader, a tank in search of a driver. Most importantly, they believed God when He said that He would use Assyria to punish Israel. For years these men were mocked and scorned. People said their warnings were sensationalist and unsubstantiated. They were told to go prophesy elsewhere.
And then Tiglath-Pileser iii arrived.