Where Did Music Come From?

Learn what musicologists have never taught.
From the December 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Is music a happy accident? Is this glorious organization of sounds the product of millennia of chance discoveries, trial and error, and so-called evolutionary development? Did vocal music originate from prolonged grunts of early human-like beings? Did instrumental music develop accidentally from a prehistoric hunter becoming fascinated with how his bow twanged after an arrow was unleashed?

The greatest human minds in musicology cannot answer this most basic question: What is the origin of music?

The answer is as inspiring as it is little understood.

Most music historians begin their study of music around the third century a.d. at the earliest, overlooking four millennia of music history—and completely ignoring music’s origin.

The history of “ancient” music needs rewriting, because the greatest source available has been rejected: the Word of God.

Even many professed Bible scholars, though they may reject evolutionists’ happy-accident theory, believe music originated with a descendent of Cain named Jubal (Genesis 4:21). Because they view the Bible as a valid yet flawed historical resource that is not superior or more special than any other historical text, they lend no special credence to what the Bible (and its supposedly biased Jewish authors) says over any other historian’s work.

But if we proclaim to follow Christ, we should—as He said—live by “every word … of God” (Matthew 4:4). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God …” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible actually indicates that the first man knew and practiced music. What’s more, music existed long before Adam.

Music Before Man

When God was talking to Job, putting this wise man in his place in comparison to the creative feats of God Almighty, He asked a question that gives insight into history before Earth’s creation. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” God asked, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7).

This reveals that God created angels before He created Earth, that they witnessed this magnificent moment, that they shouted for joy, and that they were singing!

Consider how sound exists in this spirit realm. Ezekiel heard the “noise” of the great cherubim (Ezekiel 1:24). The book of Revelation records the lyrics of the angels’ shouting and singing around God’s heavenly throne, not to mention that they are playing instruments in this spiritual dimension.

The Bible reveals that God sings (Zephaniah 3:17). He has always existed—without beginning of days or end of life (Hebrews 7:3). The question then arises, since God has always existed, wouldn’t His attributes—His eyes, hair, hands and voice—have always existed, as well as His infinite wisdom? (see Proverbs 8:22). Surely, therefore, music—or at the very least, the capacity for music—has always existed.

Now, there was a moment when music took on a more institutionalized form. That was with the creation of angels. In them, God created innate musical ability. The chief of this angelic (and musical) creation was the archangel Lucifer.

Lucifer’s Music

Ezekiel 28:12-13 relate: “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”

This is not a physical king, or else the notion of musical instruments being created “in” him makes no sense. This refers to a magnificent, beautiful, wise spirit being, an angel, who was in Eden.

This being’s “tabret” is very similar to a timbrel, or percussion instrument of the Hebrews (the tabret). The phrase “thy pipes” comes from a root meaning something “hollow,” but it is not the word used to describe the typical Hebrew pipes. In fact, the word neqeb is used only here in the Hebrew Bible. It appears this was a unique spirit instrument that required a unique Hebrew word, though similar to the pipes.

The great cherub Lucifer was endowed with musical talents beyond human capability. God told Job the morning stars “sang together.” This means there was ensemble, community and cooperation in music, and Lucifer was of course included. How this must have changed, though, when he rebelled! Imagine how distorted and warped Lucifer’s music became when he turned from God’s way. Just before the description of Lucifer’s fall, Isaiah 14:11 talks about the “noise” of his neballim—another instrument, perhaps like bagpipes—being brought to the ground.

Harmony of the Spheres

After God created angels, He created the material universe. Did you know that music was built into this physical realm? The Hebrews have long understood the idea of the “harmony of the spheres.” This harmony refers to the planets actually being analogous to each other as musical pitches—philosophically in the sense that their distances held the same ratios as between pleasing musical intervals, and literally in the sense that the planets, or spheres, resounded in actual tones.

This belief is now attributed to Pythagoras. Aristotle said that, to the Pythagoreans, “the whole heaven [was] a musical scale and a number.”

In his book Music of the Spheres, science writer Jamie James explained, “Here, in our first encounter with the concept of the musical universe, it is clear that the Pythagoreans did not simply discern congruities among number and music and the cosmos: They identified them. Music was number, and the cosmos was music. … The Pythagoreans conceived of the cosmos as a vast lyre, with crystal spheres in the place of strings.” The spheres were known to be spaced according to the same ratios that existed between frequencies in the musical scale.

King David had this understanding. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork,” he wrote. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (Psalm 19:1-4). The word for line in verse 4 can mean rope or musical string. In fact, when the Apostle Paul quoted this verse to the Romans, he used a Greek word for “line” that actually translates into “musical sound.” “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).

The ancient Hebrews, who were well aware of this astronomical reality, undoubtedly applied it to their understanding of music theory. Man did not start with a one-, three- or five-note scale and slowly decide that seven tones work better together mathematically. God gave His people understanding in science, astronomy and the use of stringed instruments—and a seven-tone scale whose relationships parallel the solar system!

In addition, the Hebrews believed, as the Bible indicates, that the movement of these celestial bodies produces certain sounds.

Aristotle believed this as well. James continued, “[T]he motion of bodies of that size must produce a noise, since on our Earth the motion of bodies far inferior in size and speed of movement has that effect. Also, when the sun and the moon, they say, and all the stars, so great in number and in size, are moving with so rapid a motion, how should they not produce a sound immensely great? Starting from this argument, and the observation that their speeds, as measured by their distances, are in the same ratios as musical concordances, they assert that the sound given forth by the circular movement of the stars is a harmony.” Plato believed that “the celestial logic, once it was understood, would be reconcilable with a sublime system of mathematical harmony.”

Now modern science is supporting what the Hebrews believed. Sound can occur anywhere pressure waves can travel, meaning that sound waves can echo through the atmospheres of the planets and even the gas surrounding an enlarging black hole. The universe contains the equivalent of rhythmic pulses, like a percussion section, as well as low drones, like a bass section.

Science has also discovered “heavenly music bellowed out by the sun’s atmosphere” (Space.com, April 18, 2007). These frequencies, at a thousandth of a hertz, are too low for human ears to hear (we can hear between 20 and 20,000 Hz). The sun’s corona carry magnetic sound waves similar to those of musical instruments. “[E]xplosive events at the sun’s surface appear to trigger acoustic waves that bounce back and forth between both ends of the loops, a phenomenon known as a standing wave,” the Space.com article stated. Standing waves are “exactly the same waves you see on a guitar string,” said Robertus von Fay-Siebenburgen of the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Center at the University of Sheffield (ibid.).

By flying through space, celestial bodies are emitting sound. Deeper study of the heavens indicates that those sounds are working together much like a musical composition.

The Bible indicates that God created sound waves to emanate from all creation in an organized fashion to make a certain music—perceptible at least to Him. 1 Chronicles 16:33 states that “the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord.” Isaiah 44:23 reads: “Sing, O ye heavens … shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein ….” Isaiah 55:12 says, “[T]he mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” The other obvious natural music would be that of the animals, which also sing (Song of Solomon 2:12; Ecclesiastes 12:4; Psalm 104:12).

God sees His creation as a musical composition. And perhaps even the smallest particles are vibrating and resounding in lovely music that God can hear and enjoy.

Music in Eden

Now we come to the first man and the Garden of Eden. Surely the Almighty Creator and Musical Expert would have wanted to instruct His creation in the science of sound and how it could be managed and organized for such magnificent purposes! After all, God enjoys music and possesses great capacity for it. He created innate musical ability in His angelic handiwork, the chief of which was a musical genius.

A glance through the Bible—the Psalms in particular—shows that music is vital in the proper worship of our Creator. God in fact commands the use of music as part of the worship act, especially on the weekly Sabbaths and annual festivals. God then would have instructed the first man in the basic principles of music, or at least have guided him in finding the fundamental facts in this field for himself.

Since God created man on the sixth day and used the seventh day to teach him these essential spiritual truths, would this first “worship service” have been without worship music? Or would it have been the ideal time to show man that it is “a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High”? (Psalm 92:1).

Consider that Psalm just quoted. The inscription—part of the original divinely inspired Hebrew text—reads: “A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day.” The title occurs in the Jewish Targum as “A Psalm and song which Adam uttered on the Sabbath day.”

The Jews teach that Adam “uttered” it on the Sabbath. That doesn’t mean he composed it, but rather that he sang it. Perhaps the Creator God—ready to instruct Adam on that first Sabbath day—had a hymn for the first man and woman to sing. How appropriate this hymn would be, which actually teaches that it is a “good thing” to give thanks and sing praise to the Lord and the Most High.

If Psalm 92 is, in fact, that first hymn for the first man and woman, then we have some incredible insight into Eden!

Verses 2-3 read, “To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings [literally: “the tenth”], and upon the psaltery [Hebrew nebel]; upon the harp [Hebrew kinnor] with a solemn sound.” The term “solemn sound” is from a Hebrew word that implies meditating or musing. Music—singing hymns especially—was given to humans largely to draw our minds closer to God, especially on the day He has set aside for special worship of Him.

Consider, though, how musical instruments are named in this ancient psalm—what’s more, stringed instruments, which are more complex in design than simple wind or percussion instruments.

Could musical instruments have been in Eden? God had just created much more complex creations—for example, the human body. And God designed the garden to be where His presence was. God’s heavenly presence is surrounded by music—not just vocal but instrumental as well (see Revelation 5:8). Would God not have created or revealed the design for physical manifestations of these heavenly instruments?

In the 1920s, excavations in Megiddo uncovered approximately 20 floor stones dating to 3,300-3,000 b.c. The carvings on one of them depicted a female harpist with a triangular shaped instrument having eight or nine strings—quite an advanced instrument.

Archaeologically, this harp appears out of nowhere, especially if it had to evolve from a one-stringed instrument. It is possible that mankind’s musical and instrumental advancements were washed away in the Flood. But God could have revealed the fundamentals of sound science to man, just as He revealed the fundamental principles of farming. Adam could have started with a multi-string harp. If God patterned Eden after the heavenly design, then why not?

Clearly Eden’s garden pictured God’s presence. The Bible reveals that, wherever God’s presence is, there is music: the heavenly throne room, the ark of the covenant, the first and second temples (which housed the ark), and the area in question here—the Garden of Eden.

Isaiah 51 contains a prophecy of how the world will look upon the Messiah’s return in power and glory: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (verse 3).

This verse is about Earth being restored to the way things were in Eden. So it supplies clues of what life was like for Adam and Eve before their expulsion from the Garden! There was, in fact, music: “the voice of melody.” The Hebrew for melody means psalm, and comes from the root “to pluck.” Again, would God not have given Adam a psalm to sing on the first Sabbath day? Could God have given him an instrument and taught him how to pluck it as he and his wife sang praises?

Music did not originate clumsily and serendipitously from prehistoric brutes. Nor did it originate nine centuries into the biblical record with Jubal, who fathered the mishandling of music. The capacity for music had no beginning—like the God who is surrounded by it, who created it in His angelic creation, the physical universe, and into the garden sanctuary where He planted the first human beings.

By being given the ability to understand, appreciate, enjoy and produce music, mankind can partake of something with an eternal past—the very mind and greatness of the Creator God!

Don’t Even Think About It

Don’t Even Think About It

Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

The wretched world of werewolves, vampires and zombies
From the January 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Think positive. This world is ugly—but don’t become a cynic or a brooder. That’s brilliant advice from one of history’s spiritual giants, the Apostle Paul. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” he wrote (Philippians 4:8; Revised Standard Version). It’s one of the most helpful admonitions in Scripture about maintaining mental and spiritual health.

Take a glance around, and you see a world dead set on thinking the polar opposite. Whatever is foul or crooked, whatever is unjust and impure, whatever is grotesque, whatever is hateful, if there is any degeneracy, anything barbaric and evil, anything worthy of condemnation, that is what people tend to think on.

The other night, after putting the kids to bed, I turned on the television. I walked to an adjoining room, which put the remote out of reach. Suddenly—at the same time one of my daughters emerged from her bedroom asking for a glass of water—an ad came on that showed four grotesque murders in about 10 seconds. “Do not look at the television!” I said, scrambling for the remote.

This repulsive nightmare was meant to attract viewers to an upcoming program. Shows about bizarre, deviant acts and morbidly violent crimes dominate the airwaves.

That schlock fittingly symbolizes the terminal condition of our culture. As this sick world rots, people are increasingly fascinated with all things dead—and undead.

You’ve heard of Twilight, the series of books and movies about a love affair between a glamorous vampire and a gorgeous woman he must protect from a hunky werewolf. The books have sold over 100 million copies and been translated into 38 languages; the three films have raked in over $2 billion. “Box office gross” indeed.

Adding in popular tv shows like hbo’s True Blood and the cw Network’s The Vampire Diaries, all told, vampire entertainment is now a $7 billion industry and growing. It’s a world of glamor, romance and sex mingled with blood, violence and occultism. Millions of minds are marinating in this lurid material. Harmless escapism, most people say. I disagree. But no one can argue that in some few, it’s having truly bizarre effects.

A subculture of people who consider themselves real vampires is taking root and spreading. Joseph Laycock, author of Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism, says these wackos either consume blood or believe they absorb life energy from people around them—and most think their physical, mental and emotional health will fade if they don’t feed. Somebody please slap them.

Stupid teenagers are reportedly biting each other and licking or sucking each other’s blood. “These are kids who think they are real vampires,” Dr. Orly Avitzur of the Consumers Union told an msnbc reporter. One teen wrote on a vampire-themed website, “Having that thick, warm copper-tasting blood in my mouth is the best thing I can think of! Sometimes my boyfriend lets me feed off him. I let him feed off me as well.”

This passes for a hobby these days? Aside from it being sick, painful and disgusting, health officials say these kids are asking for nasty, even dangerous infections, and are liable to give each other blood-borne diseases like hepatitis and hiv. C’mon folks. Do you really have to be told not to do this?

Another mind-boggling trend coming to an urban center near you is zombie walking. It started in California nine years ago and has spread, virus-like, to cities across America, Britain and Australia. Feeding off a booming film and television trend, multitudes—sometimes thousands strong—dress up like ghoulish reanimated corpses, spattered with blood, for a few hours of public moaning and foot-dragging, pretending to be on the hunt for human flesh. Parents bring their children and make it a family affair, and police close streets and provide escort.

There is an explanation for all this nonsense. These modern amusements actually have evil roots that go back millennia.

God has seen it all. He knows the way to happiness. He is full of joy; He is love (Psalm 16:11; 1 John 4:8). He is light, and there is no hint of darkness in Him (1 John 1:5). He doesn’t find wickedness the least entertaining, and He doesn’t dismiss evil as harmless fun (e.g. Psalm 11:5; Proverbs 14:9).

God forbids us to consume blood (e.g. Leviticus 17:10; Acts 15:20), or to practice occultism and witchcraft, with which it is often paired, as in vampire lore (Leviticus 19:26).

He is a God of life. “[T]o be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). In ancient priestly law, God forbade even touching a dead body. “I have set before you life and death,” He says in Deuteronomy 30:19—“therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

But there is another spirit being that Scripture calls the “god of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” He is the antithesis of everything God is. He propagandizes and peddles evil by any and every means—making it alluring and glamorous, making it light and funny. He promotes the perverse. He exalts death. And he’s dangerously good at what he does. Scripture also calls him “the great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”

The only blood God tells us to “drink,” symbolically, is that of Jesus Christ, which was spilled to pay for our sins. Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). Is it any wonder the prince of the power of the air has inspired a twisted yet seductive counterfeit about immortals who must drink human blood to sustain their existence?

Evil is a drug. It gets its hooks into you. Paul compared it to slavery. It leads to death (Romans 6:16). Our society is saturated with it, obsessed with it. No shock, then, that it’s increasingly obsessed with death. They go together.

That’s why God warns us not to even start down that road. Abhor what is evil—cleave to what is good, He tells us. Shun twisted death mythology. Think up, think positive. Whatever is true, think about that. Whatever is honorable, just, pure, lovely. If there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about that.

Britain Buddies With France. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Britain Buddies With France. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Facing a budget pinch, the UK stakes its fortunes on an alliance with a longtime European foe.
From the January 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

What an odd turn of events! Suddenly the leaders of Britain and France are fawning over each other as they join in a military alliance supposedly to last 50 years!

What is going on here? For the better part of the previous six centuries, these two have been bitter enemies. For the past century they’ve been grudging partners at best.

Their national interests have gone in opposite directions far more often than they’ve lined up. As recently as the Iraq War in 2003, Britain sent 45,000 troops while France actively worked to keep Saddam Hussein in power.

Now the leaders are instant buddies. In early November, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron signed up for their nations to share aircraft carriers; collaborate on technology for nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines; work together on cyberwarfare; and commit troops to a joint rapid reaction unit, among other things. And they act like anyone who doesn’t embrace the agreement for its innate logic and “perfect sense” is crazy.

“From a purely practical military perspective,” explained the head of Britain’s Armed Forces, Gen. Sir David Richards, “we have been working very closely with the French ever since the First World War, but particularly in nato.”

Uh … not quite. As historian Andrew Roberts responded, “If filling in the gaps on the Western front after the French Army mutinied in 1917, sinking the French fleet at Oran in 1940 and being bombed in Gibraltar by the Vichy air force in retaliation, capturing Lebanon and Syria from the French in 1941, invading French North Africa and Madagascar in 1942, opposing French policy toward Bosnia, Rwanda and latterly Iraq, while watching General de Gaulle expel all nato forces from France, can possibly be described as ‘working very closely with the French ever since the First World War,’ then General Richards is right. If not, then it is—like the defense pact itself—merely wishful thinking” (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 5, 2010).

What are France and Britain thinking? Even if Sarkozy and Cameron see eye to eye, what could possess them to believe their successors will—until 2060, no less?

In reality, it isn’t fellow feeling or shared interests driving these nations into each other’s arms. It’s beggary. Both Britain and France are strapped for cash and desperate. Though their militaries are Europe’s two largest, they’re shrinking and falling apart, getting slammed by budget cuts. This awkward alliance is their effort to maintain some semblance of power. Britain in particular is looking for ways to strengthen its military on the cheap.

But those budget cuts, and this pact, are based on a dangerous miscalculation. They reflect terrible weakness—and remarkable lack of vision. They expose Britain’s foolish overdependence on nations it considers allies, and reveal the steep decline in what even a few generations ago was history’s greatest empire.

Anyone who has followed the prophetic warnings of Herbert Armstrong or the Trumpet over the years knows this story won’t have a good ending. The Bible specifically prophesies of this problem—and reveals its devastating conclusion.

The Aircraft Carriers With No Planes

In mid-October, just a couple of weeks before signing the agreement with France, the British government released its Strategic Defense and Security Review, detailing how it will shrink its military budget 8 percent over the next four years. The cuts include 17,000 personnel. The army, after already being reduced by one third since the end of the Cold War, will lose 7,000 more soldiers; 40 percent of its tanks and 35 percent of its artillery will go. The 20,000 British troops in Germany will come home. (Compare the 95,000 troops Britain will have by 2015 with the 690,000 it had in 1957.)

Britain’s navy—the greatest symbol of the global power it once wielded—will suffer some of the worst embarrassment. The navy’s aging Ark Royal aircraft carrier will go out of service. The navy’s fleet of destroyers and frigates will shrink to 19. (In World War i Britain had over 300 destroyers alone, out of a fleet of nearly 600. After these cuts, the fleet will be smaller than it has been since the days of Henry viii.)

The most bizarre turn of events surrounds two new 60,000-ton aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy—the largest, most expensive ships in Britain’s illustrious naval history. Britain can’t afford them, but contractual obligations actually make it cheaper to finish the mammoth projects than to stop them. Thus, as soon as possible after the first one is completed in 2016, it will be mothballed or even sold.

It gets worse. The government also decided to scrap the navy’s 80-strong fleet of Harrier jump jets within a year. This means the aircraft carriers will have—of all things—no jets to carry. New fighters won’t be available until 2020. Thus, these floating airbases will only be able to serve as helicopter pads and assist with humanitarian missions.

In the words of one serving navy commander, “How can you send an aircraft carrier to sea without aircraft? I think that future history will show the rashness of this decision.” Indeed it will.

Worse still, navy insiders told the Telegraph that, because of the intricacies of carrier landing, even after new planes come along it will take many more years to bring the navy’s Fleet Air Arm—the world’s oldest air force—back to full strength. “Once these carrier skills have gone they will take at least 16 years to build back up,” said Commodore Steve Jermy, who once headed the Fleet Air Arm (Oct. 18, 2010). Now we’re talking about 2036. In effect, this marks the death of Britain’s ability to project air power.

Britain’s defense secretary, Liam Fox, said that Britain not having planes to put on the carrier won’t be a problem, since it can just use American and French planes.

Further underscoring this trend of dependency is the fact that the Royal Air Force’s Nimrod spy planes will also be cut. These nine planes were built for patrolling the waters around Britain and intercepting unwelcome foreign submarines and other ships. Now, reported The Sun, Britain “will have to depend on the French to stave off a naval attack” (Oct. 22, 2010). “French Atlantique planes operating from UK bases will monitor and intercept unauthorized ships and submarines,” it said.

Essentially, in order to cover its defense budget gaps, Britain is banking on its European neighbors—France in particular. This ignores the yawning historical, cultural and political gaps between the English-speaking Brits and Europhile French.

Can Britain Really Trust France?

President Sarkozy says—with a straight face—that it’s impossible to imagine a scenario where Britain’s and France’s interests would diverge. Impossible to imagine? For whom, pray tell?

But he couldn’t even make it through a press conference without raising eyebrows about France’s dependability. When a bbc reporter asked if Britain could borrow France’s aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, in case of a crisis in the Falklands, the president responded, “It would take a h—- of a crisis.” Then he dodged and went political: “Do you imagine our British friends facing a crisis and France folds its arms and does nothing?” Again, how much imagination does it take?

Well, maybe that was a trick question. After all, in 1982, Britain faced a crisis in the Falklands and France didn’t do nothing: It actually supplied the Argentineans with missiles to use against Britain!

The notion that these two countries would actually be able to agree on just where and for what to deploy their joint forces is difficult to swallow.

Even since the split over the Gulf War, French leaders have repeatedly voiced their contempt for the UK. They have snootily derided Britain for its incessant niggling over regulations and procedures, for dragging its feet on European integration, for slowing the EU’s progress. Their disdain only intensified when the global economy tanked: They looked down their noses and blamed London for its loose fiscal practices. They dropped the regulatory boom in punishment. Britain’s relationship with Europe, always prickly, has looked wobblier than ever—even up to quite recently.

It all makes the sudden camaraderie, the handshakes and grins, a bit surreal.

For Britain, this pact represents a lurch away from the United States in favor of Europe. American insiders are warning that U.S. cooperation and intelligence sharing with Britain is going to be curtailed out of fear of the wrong information reaching France and spreading from there. David Campbell Bannerman of the UK Independence Party concurred: “In a nutshell, the closer we get to France, the more we risk losing the support of the biggest military power in the world—the usa.”

If history is any guide, this portends disaster for Britain.

As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wisely said in 1989, “In my lifetime all our problems have come from mainland Europe, and all the solutions have come from the English-speaking nations who have kept law-abiding liberty for the future.”

Swallowed by Europe

Viewed shallowly, the British move is unsurprising, considering the poor treatment Britain has received from the current American administration, not to mention the declining trajectory of American power. Nevertheless, France is hardly a prize substitute.

Leave aside the decrepitude of its present defense capabilities (the French government has admitted that “most” of its tanks, helicopters and jets are unusable; the Charles de Gaulle, its sole carrier—upon which Britain will solely rely in a few years—has had an almost comically bad maintenance record). Just judging by France’s uneven history as an ally and as a military power, this seems a very shortsighted decision indeed. There is a reason this modern nation is described in biblical prophecy—after its patriarch, Jacob’s son Reuben—as being “unstable as water” (Genesis 49:4).

The biggest issue, though, is how this deal casts Britain’s fortunes together with those of the Continent.

In a sense, one can view the deal as an extension of the Entente Cordiale, the agreement Britain and France forged in 1904 in response to Germany’s burgeoning power potential. Today, once again, Germany is clearly the strongest nation in Europe, and one could view this alliance as France trying to establish its military leadership to counterbalance Germany’s power. That’s the view of the analysts at Stratfor. And apparently, despite widespread mistrust of the EU within the UK, some Euroskeptics are hoping the bilateral pact “distracts France from pursuing military cooperation at an EU level” (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 3, 2010).

But such thinking only goes so far before its smacks into the reality of today’s European Union. The simple fact is, no independent alliance between EU states will remain beyond the purview of Germany and the EU for long.

Look again at how Britain ended up trapped in that ridiculous unaffordable aircraft carrier venture. This folly sprang from Britain’s misguided efforts to link itself with Europe and contribute to building a single EU defense force—via a defense agreement with France. Back in 1998, Prime Minister Tony Blair and France’s Jacques Chirac pledged that their countries would begin cooperating toward that end. The next year, aiming at establishing a European Rapid Reaction Force, Britain agreed to contribute two large aircraft carriers. In 2006, it was determined that these carriers would be a joint project between Britain’s bae Systems and the French firm Thales.

“In effect, when built, they will be operated jointly with the French, with French pilots flying French aircraft,” explained Christopher Booker in the Telegraph. “So little money is left to buy the escorts needed by a carrier group that these will have to be provided by other EU navies, such as those of Spain or Italy” (Oct. 23, 2010; emphasis mine).

The inevitable outcome of the whole deal is not at all difficult to predict. Once these jointly built Anglo-French carriers are operational, and are escorted by Spanish or Italian vessels, whose flag do you suppose they will be flying? The White Ensign of the Royal Navy? The Tricolor flag of France?

It will just eliminate a lot of hassle, won’t it, to just hoist the EU ring of stars.

“Thus,” wrote Booker, “after 600 years, will the Royal Navy merge its identity with that of the new EU Navy.”

Britain’s leaders may naively view this latest defense pact purely as an agreement with France. They have bristled at any suggestion that it will require giving up even a smidgen of British independence or sovereignty.

But let’s open our eyes. France is inseparably entangled with Germany in the European project. And as much as France has tried to fight this reality, Germany is the senior partner. France has already sacrificed its sovereignty for the sake of the EU collective; it simply is no longer free to act purely as a sovereign military power.

Does anyone really believe Germany will be content to allow France and Britain to seize the initiative on European defense?

Just watch! Like everything else happening in Europe, Anglo-French military cooperation is certain to become prey to encroaching EU regulation and bureaucratization, and eventually subsumed wholly into the common European defense.

“From now on, neither [Britain nor France] has any independent defense policy. Both have handed it to the EU,” wrote Peter Hitchens. This alliance “is intended as the beginning of federal European armed forces. These will be controlled by the new post-Lisbon ‘legal personality,’ the European Superstate they keep telling us doesn’t exist” (Mail Online, Nov. 9, 2010).

Britain allowing its military to become swallowed by a European empire is of enormous prophetic significance. For not only does Scripture foretell Britain’s loss of prestige and power and the severing of its relationship with America, it also tells of its foolishly seeking salvation from its false European allies—and of the shocking double-cross it will then suffer at their hand!

Where It Will End

In biblical prophecy, Britain is called by the name of the tribe of ancient Israel from which it descended, Ephraim. Detailed proof of this can be found in Herbert Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

“Ephraim [Britain] also is like a silly dove, without sense,” wrote the Prophet Hosea (Hosea 7:11; New King James Version). Silly means simple, easily fooled. And the dove perfectly symbolizes the senseless, toothless and naive nation Britain has become.

As the Trumpet’s editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, no “silly dove” nation can endure in a world full of hawks and tigers.

Hosea’s prophecy continues by saying of Britain, “[T]hey go to Assyria.” Assyria, as we explained in our October/November 2010 article on the subject, is the prophetic name for Germany. This is one of several prophecies that describe a weakened Britain looking for help from its neighbors in Europe.

But in prophecy after prophecy, the result of this dangerous gamble is revealed. God says through His prophet, “When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me” (verses 12-13).

God recorded these prophecies to serve as a warning to modern Britain!—a warning the British people will soon regret having ignored. The fact that this and many other specific prophecies are rapidly becoming present reality is sure and convicting proof of their reliability—and of the active existence of the Creator God who is bringing them to pass!

Wikileak: Canadians Have ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Worldview

Wikileak: Canadians Have ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Worldview

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The Wikileak scandal has splashed into Canada—dousing Canadians with a dose of big brother reality. Officials at Canada’s top intelligence agency say the country is living in a make-believe wonderland where everyone is your friend and nobody would ever dream of harming you—even as Hezbollah has been allowed to set up camp in the country!

According to leaked reports, Canada’s top spy told U.S. officials that Canadian courts were severely hampering efforts to stop terrorists from turning Canada into an international terror planning center. Courts and Islamist-employed lawyers have tied intelligence agents in knots as they fight Islamist terror plots in Canada and abroad, he said. In general, Canadians and Canadian courts have an “Alice in Wonderland” mentality, he said.

This blunt assessment came from Jim Judd, the former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (csis), and was made in 2008 and 2009, and reported by then U.S. Counselor of the State Department Eliot Cohen.

Several Canadian Islamist terrorists have been an ongoing source of legal headaches for the csis, including Momin Khawaja (the fertilizer bomb plotter), the Toronto 18 (a network of Islamists who planned multiple attacks throughout Ontario) and Said Namouh (who threatened to ignite car bombs in Germany and Austria if they did not remove troops from Afghanistan).

The leak also reveals that Canada has active Iranian-backed Hezbollah operatives living within its borders. Judd told Cohen that the csis responded to possible terror operations by “vigorously harassing” known members of the banned terrorist group.

Judd also told U.S. counterparts that “he and his colleagues are ‘very, very worried’ about Iran.” Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security agency requested its own backdoor private “channel of communication to Canada,” he said. The Iranians had proposed to “help” on Afghan issues, including terror plots, but Judd said the csis had “not figured out what they are up to.” He did say it was obvious that Iran wanted nato to slowly “bleed” in Afghanistan.

In response to the court-ordered release of a video showing Canadian terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr being interrogated, “He observed that the images would no doubt trigger ‘knee-jerk anti-Americanism’ and ‘paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty,’ as well as lead to a new round of heightened pressure on the government to press for Khadr’s return to Canada.”

Canadian officials say the leaked documents will not have an effect on Canada’s relationship with the U.S.

But this may be wishful thinking. So far just a few of the over 2,400 leaked U.S. documents concerning Canada have been released. If Canadian officials feel the same way after all 2,400 are exposed to the world, then that will be either a grand accomplishment—or more proof of Canada’s “Alice in Wonderland” worldview.

The Bible predicts a growing rift between Canada and the United States. For proof, read “The Tie That Binds America, Britain and Israel” and The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

On the Edge of Tyranny

Within barely nine months of the Lisbon Treaty coming into effect, EU elites have moved to consolidate their imperial power.
From the December 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Eastern Europeans are starting to get edgy. Having lived for five years under the boot heel of Nazi terror barely 70 years ago, followed by crushing Soviet Communist dictatorships lasting over 40 years, they fear that by joining the European Union, their nations may have leaped from the frying pan into the fire.

They have reason to be concerned.

It has taken less than one year since the enacting of the Lisbon Treaty for EU elites to move to establish the world’s largest diplomatic force and a consolidated European police force, and to commence moves to develop a combined European army and implement a pan-European spy network.

Through the implementation of treaties, the European combine has evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community, comprising just six nations, to a 27-nation monolith comprising a single imperial political entity. To astute observers of this process, the EU’s moves over the past year are proof positive of EU elites’ imperialist intentions.

The sharpest minds now fear that these latest moves may recreate the very tyranny that European elites duped the public into believing the EU was set up to prevent.

Let’s Form an Army

Herbert Armstrong said often during the early postwar years that the German Nazi elites had gone underground during the last stages of World War ii, to reemerge to revive their imperialist vision within new Europe. Many other authors at the time agreed.

Recently I spoke with a former British Army colonel who was an aide to Germany’s first postwar chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. He confirmed that Adenauer oversaw the careful placement of ex-Nazis back into positions of influence in education, the judiciary, commerce, banking, business and industry after the war.

The result has been the education of an upper stratum within the German social order that is pursuing the old vision of German hegemony. Of this the German public is largely innocently ignorant.

Having successfully moved to establish an EU diplomatic force—intended to subsume the once-sovereign diplomatic corps of the once-independent nations that have since handed over their sovereignty to Brussels/Berlin—senior German political leaders want to take the next step. On the sidelines of a meeting of the EU’s defense ministers in Ghent, Belgium, in September, Christian Schmidt, parliamentary secretary at the German Defense Ministry, said, in relation to national defense, that the pressure on governments to cut costs had “led to the realization that we have a lot of common interests in Europe.”

Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the liberal grouping in the European Parliament, argued, “We have now a diplomatic service, which is very important, but we also need the other instrument—a common European defense, a common European army. And certainly, at a time when every European country has to make savings, maybe it’s the right time to build up this common European army” (emphasis mine throughout).

The best observers know that since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which established the foundation for European unity, a pan-European military force was inevitable.

Even before World War ii, Herbert Armstrong prophesied this when it was on nobody else’s mind. From the earliest edition of the Plain Truth magazine in 1934, he was writing that Europe would become a united superpower.

Soon after presenting a number of options to refine Germany’s military force into a high-tech, professional rapid-response machine, on September 2 Germany’s Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg unveiled the latest initiative for the development of a pan-European military: the European Air Transport Command (eatc).

This joint military air transport command “is to be prepared to conduct future war missions of the German military (Bundeswehr) and other European states in a far more efficient and cost-effective way,” German-Foreign-Policy.com reported (September 2; our translation).

Just what does this mean for Germany, for Europe, and for the rest of the world? It means that the nation that gave the world two global wars in the space of just two decades of the 20th century is gearing for war once again! Read it for yourself: This force “is to be prepared to conduct future war missions of the German military.” The German military figures as first priority. “[O]ther European states” tag along, but Germany calls the tune!

So there ought to be no real surprise that the new head of this joint European air command is, you guessed it, a German senior military officer. The same source states, “The first commander is a major general of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe).”

The following sentence reads like it could have been taken right out of one of Herbert Armstrong’s extremely prescient prophetic descriptions of the foreordained future of Germany. It is certainly in line with the detailed prophetic articles penned by the editor in chief of the Trumpet magazine, even as it is in very direct alignment with the detailed prophecies in your Bible for the Germany of today.

“The eatcwill place in true perspective the politics of war of the EU states and create further steps towards the development of an EU army. The joining together of the EU national military forces serves especially the state that has the most political influence in the EUGermany” (ibid.).

Well, you certainly can’t say we didn’t warn you. For over 50 years under the administration of Herbert Armstrong, the Plain Truth magazine hammered away at the inevitability of what has now become a current-day reality!

Now, if you can just grasp that reality, then prepare for the double whammy: “Further on, the military explain, they also want, with the help of eatc, to extend the European influence within nato. With this the intent is to gear against any U.S. reaction to being rivaled by a newly dominant world political rival in Berlin.”

Isn’t it about time that you really educated yourself in just what is going on in Berlin for the third time in less than a century? The above quotes are thrown into even starker light when it is realized that they come from German minds that really understand the motive and intent behind these moves by the German Defense Ministry!

Expanding Police Powers

Two years ago, clandestine EU plans for the creation of a European police force to overarch and inevitably supersede all the national police forces of EU member nations were exposed. As the Express reported at the time, “[P]lans for the study will fuel fears that Brussels is planning a fresh power grab once the EU constitution process is completed at the end of this year” (express.co.uk, May 25, 2008).

Those plans have since morphed into reality.

Speaking in September at the UK Independence Party’s annual conference in Torquay, ukip’s London Member of the European Parliament Gerard Batten declared that “the European Union is creating its own system of criminal law. The EU is in the process of creating its own police state. … Our current situation is of course that over 80 percent of our new laws now originate in the institutions of the EU, it controls most of the major areas of policy, and Britain is well on the way to its intended status of a mere region of the European Union. … [O]ur armed forces are being gradually subsumed into what is eventually intended to become common European armed forces under the direction of the Lisbon Treaty’s Common Foreign Security and Defense Policy. … [O]urancient and precious freedoms and protections under English law are being destroyed.”

This is the current reality of a once great Great Britain that has become but a lackey to Brussels/Berlin. The teeth of the old lion have been drawn. The once proudly regal beast mutely faces caging by the EU monolith.

Batten continued: “Under a European Arrest Warrant, the extradition of a British subject has been reduced to a mere bureaucratic formality.” This has already been implemented, with British subjects incarcerated in foreign jails in the EU. “[E]ven the home secretary has no power to intervene, as they once had, even if it is glaringly obvious that a grave injustice is being done. Extradition has been reduced to the mere export of the carcasses of accused persons.”

The reality of this latest step toward EU tyranny is that British courts no longer have legal power to act in the ultimate interests of British Crown subjects or of Britain itself!

Perhaps the gravest injustice built into the EU system is that of Trials in Absentia. As Batten described this massive abuse of the rights of British subjects of the Crown, “Under an EU Framework Decision, Trials in Absentia must be transposed into UK law by 2011, or 2014 at the latest. This will mean that a British citizen can be tried in their absence in another EU country and if found guilty the British police will have to arrest them so they can be dispatched to the member state concerned!

“The convicted person cannot argue that they did not return to the relevant country because they did not trust the legal system …. The British court will have no power to protect them.”

Already advanced, the machinery has been created and is largely in place to establish the European Union as a vast continental police state. The system as Batten describes it is founded upon the following institutions: “a European Public Prosecutor; Europol, its own police force; the Euro Gendarmerie, its own paramilitary police force; the European Investigation Order compelling British police to investigate their own citizens on behalf of foreign states; the European Arrest Warrant enabling citizens to be transported across borders with the minimum of fuss; and the ability of one state to collect fines and confiscate assets across borders” (ibid.).

With its own massive diplomatic service, its own legal and policing systems, and a European army in the making, one wonders how much further this movement toward consolidating tyrannical government has to go! Well, wonder no more, for the EU elites have also announced their pièce de résistance: a pan-European spy force!

Europe’s CIA

German-Foreign-Policy.com reported on this remarkable development. “With the cooperation of the German Foreign Intelligence Service, Brussels is proceeding with the creation of an intelligence service for the EU,” it wrote on September 27. “The new body, which is to be integrated into the EU’s External Affairs Services (eas) by December 1, will be derived through the expansion of the EU’s currently existing Joint Situation Center (SitCen). The SitCen, which is outside of any parliamentary control, maintains a cell of intelligence services, including the German Federal Intelligence Service (bnd).”

The British organization Open Europe is warning that this will turn into a “European cia.”

The article continued, “In the mid-’90s the discussion … began in Germany. According to the unofficial periodical Internationale Politik in 1996, ‘in the course of the development of a security and defense policy, Europe will need a common intelligence service with capacities yet to be structured to ensure a higher efficiency.’ This has become a necessity because of the ‘growing number of military operations’ often carried out ‘in little-known environments.’”

Germany’s conservative European Parliamentarian Elmar Brok boasted that because of the new spy force, “In one or two years, the dependence on national information will be reduced.” German-Foreign-Policy wrote, “SitCen’s foreseeable expansion to become a regular European intelligence service is only the logical consequence of the systematic German-European quest for powerful influence on a global scale, to be achieved through a combat-ready foreign and military policy with reliance on espionage.”

Surely that places the seal on the European Union’s imperialist agenda. Since the Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution was implemented at the beginning of this year, Europe has rapidly consolidated a tyrannical power of amazing force.

The great prophecies of Daniel and Revelation that have waited for two millennia to be fulfilled are now breaking out into terrible fulfillment!

In our February edition, our editor in chief confidently announced the reality that the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire had indeed arisen!

Most are blind indeed to this great reality! But they are destined to soon feel its effect! Very personally! Believe it or not, your Bible says so! The glaring reality to those whose minds are open to see is that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Read our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. Read and come to grips with the reality of today’s Germany, which is about to—once more, finally and for the last time—powerfully affect the social and political order of this planet. Read—watch, pray and prepare! For there is a way to escape the forthcoming devastating effects that this pan-European army will have on the Anglo-Saxon nations. But it is born of a real diligence in heeding Jesus Christ’s command to “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

If you are one who heeds that command, then you will be looking forward with real anticipation to the grand hope that lies beyond the greatest trial this planet will ever have to endure. For as Jesus Christ Himself prophesied of events such as are happening now in Berlin, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (verse 28).

The History Iran Forgot

The History Iran Forgot

AFP/Getty Images

An inspiring look back at when the Islamic Republic’s forefathers were friends and champions of … the Jews
From the January 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

In 1971, Iran threw a party. A big one.

It took 10 years to plan and lasted five days. The Guinness Book of World Records recorded it as the most “well-attended” international gathering in history. More than 600 foreign dignitaries, including some 65 heads of state, abandoned their presidential palaces and braved the Iranian desert—on sand dunes on the outskirts of Persepolis, capital of the ancient Persian Empire.

The shah was a gracious host and spared no expense to ensure their comfort. Two hundred and fifty custom-built red Mercedes-Benzes zipped across the desert carrying foreign diplomats. Hairdressers and make-up artists were flown in from Paris; drapes and flowers were imported from Italy. Guests stayed in gigantic air-conditioned tents, constructed in traditional Persian style. They ate the finest food, catered by Maxim’s de Paris, which closed its Paris location for nearly two weeks to prepare for the banquet. Around 150 chefs, bakers and waiters were imported. The world’s master hotelier, a Frenchman, was brought out of retirement to manage the waitstaff. Attendees dined on fine china and drank from goblets made from Baccarat crystal.

There were fireworks displays, performances from some of the world’s finest musicians and spectacularly choreographed parades by Iranian soldiers, all dressed in traditional Persian garb. The price tag of the grand affair, according to the Telegraph, was $100 million.

Why such a spectacular celebration? What was so important that the shah felt compelled to transform the Iranian desert into an exquisite tent city so he could celebrate with hundreds of the world’s most powerful leaders?

It was the 2,500-year anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire!

In the sixth century, King Cyrus the Great displayed unmatched and unique skills of leadership to forge the disparate peoples of Mesopotamia into one of the mightiest civilizations in mankind’s history. In 1971, the shah of Iran celebrated this history with such grandeur in an attempt to “reawaken the people of Iran to their past and reawaken the world to Iran.

The shah had his critics for this giant celebration—but we need to think about the history he was trying to invoke. His desire to showcase the legacy of Cyrus the Great and ancient Persia was praiseworthy. He was absolutely right: Iran boasts one of the most unique and majestic histories of all countries on the planet.

Moreover, the history of King Cyrus and ancient Persia is more vital, more illustrious, more inspiring, more hope-filled, more faith-building than the shah of Iran ever knew! The shah could have spent $2 trillion on his celebration and still not have properly showcased the importance of this history.

The Origins of Persia

Before the 1930s, today’s Iran went by the name Persia. Today the names Iran and Persia remain interchangeable. Historians agree that the Persians are an Indo-European people, meaning they can trace their heritage back to Shem, the Caucasian son of Noah. The Jewish historian Josephus records the Persians as being descendants of Shem’s son Elam (Genesis 10:22).

For about 1,500 years after the Flood, the Persians herded sheep and raised horses on the plains of Mesopotamia, mostly in the region just north of the Tigris River and the sea known today as the Persian Gulf. In the mid-sixth century b.c., however, the Persian lifestyle experienced an upheaval.

Under the leadership of Cyrus the Great, the Persians began conquering surrounding city-states. First, they conquered the Medes, who in defeat accepted an invitation from Cyrus to join forces with the Persian army. Within 10 years, King Cyrus was ruling over a kingdom of then unprecedented proportions, one stretching from Thrace in the west to Egypt in the south to the Indus River in the east.

Politically, the Persians were very different from the Assyrians before them. After Cyrus conquered the gargantuan Assyrian/Babylonian-Chaldean empires and fused the disparate peoples and cultures into a single kingdom, succeeding monarchs managed to keep the kingdom united and strong for some 250 years. It wasn’t till Alexander the Great barreled eastward in 333 b.c. that Persia was knocked from its perch above the civilized world.

Historians agree on and admire the fundamental reason Cyrus and his successors were able to maintain such an enormous kingdom: The Persian monarchs were terrific humanitarians. They had tremendous respect and tolerance for the customs and traditions of the people they ruled over.

“Under the close supervision of his government, [Cyrus] permitted the conquered peoples to retain their own customs and religions and their own forms of government,” explains Stanley Chodorow in The Mainstream of Civilization. As an example, he cites the history of King Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem around 535 b.c.

By not forcing his religion or creed on the people he conquered, Cyrus gained their respect and loyalty. The result? Many willingly submitted to Persian rule!

In 1879, British archeologists digging in Iran discovered a barrel-shaped cylinder made out of clay. They called it the Cyrus Cylinder because inscribed on the cylinder in ancient cuneiform is a decree by King Cyrus. In the 40-line decree, the king recalls his defeat of Babylon and outlines a number of policies designed to defend the rights of the conquered. The Cyrus Cylinder confirms King Cyrus’s reputation as a great humanitarian, and is, according to the United Nations, the “world’s first charter of human rights.”

Historians recognize that the governance of Cyrus the Great was profoundly unique. History does not overflow with examples of powerful men mercifully allowing the peoples they conquer to keep their religions, customs and traditions. In fact, it’s full of individuals doing the opposite.

Really, when it came to ruling the people he conquered, Cyrus displayed characteristics that simply don’t spring from the natural human mind, which is inherently selfish (Jeremiah 17:9).

Where did this admirable and heretofore unrepeated character trait come from? Where did Cyrus come from, and why did he suddenly emerge in the sixth century? You won’t find the answers in your encyclopedia or via a Google search. We’ll have to look into the world’s most neglected and underrated history book.

Cyrus the Prophecy

As you might expect, Cyrus is mentioned a lot in the Bible. Chronologically, the first author to discuss Cyrus in the Bible is the Prophet Isaiah. Chapter 44 reveals that God “says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’” (verse 28, Revised Standard Version).

Here, the Bible recalls the decree by King Cyrus in 539 b.c. commissioning the Jews to leave Babylon and return to Judea. In this decree Cyrus told the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, which had been sacked by the Babylonians about 45 years earlier. Isaiah’s account gels perfectly with archeological evidence such as the Cyrus Cylinder, as well as the works of historians such as Herodotus and Xenophon.

Here’s the thing: Isaiah wrote his book in the latter half of the eighth century b.c.—more than 150 years before King Cyrus commissioned the Jews to return to Jerusalem!

Think on this! Cyrus, Persia’s greatest king, was prophesied by namemore than a hundred years before he was even born!

Not only that, God, through Isaiah, prophesied specifically that He would inspire Cyrus to dispatch the Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple! Remember, Isaiah wrote this before Persia existed as an empire, before the Chaldeans had conquered Jerusalem and taken the Jews back to Babylon, and long before King Cyrus ever conquered the Chaldeans and gained control of Mesopotamia.

Surely, among all his terrific accomplishments, Cyrus’s greatest accomplishment was being the living, breathing fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy!

Cyrus the Humanitarian

It is clear that credit for the timing of Cyrus the Great’s emergence belongs to God. But what about his profound and intriguing tolerance and respect for the culture and traditions of other races and peoples?

Let’s pick up the history in Ezra 1: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia …” (verse 1). Ezra here is recording the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 44, where God said He would use Cyrus as a “shepherd” and that through him He would “fulfill my purpose.”

God was working with the mind of this great Persian king!

Ezra also records that under God’s inspiration, Cyrus “made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom … saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel … ” (verses 1-3).

This passage is key to understanding the unique character, as well as the accomplishments, of Cyrus the Great—but you never see it mentioned in history books.

Here, we see that it was the God of the Israelites who “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” to display matchless fondness toward the Jews. Historians, and even Iran’s current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recognize that Cyrus had exemplary respect and tolerance for human values, and for the culture and traditions of all people. Many would agree that this humanitarian tendency was his defining quality.

Ezra 1 reveals its origin: King Cyrus’s respect for humanity—for the Jews certainly, but even for all the people he conquered—was the direct result of a miracle God caused in the king’s mind!

Sure, you have the prerogative to discard that as claptrap. Before you do, read again what Cyrus himself said about God’s presence in his life and work: “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth.”

Further evidence of God’s hand in the life and work of Cyrus can be found in the book of Daniel, particularly chapter 6. In verse 25, the Persian king promoted Daniel, a Jewish man, to a position of great power within the mighty Persian Empire. During Daniel’s public promotion, the king of Persia issued a decree to “all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth,” demanding “that in all my royal dominion men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”

Now that is thrilling history! Persia’s greatest king not only recognized God’s presence in his life, but he also encouraged his subjects to “tremble and fear” before the God of Israel!

No wonder the Persian Empire reached the height of its power under Cyrus the Great!

Cyrus the “Zionist”

Historians widely accept that Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Judea. But none has ever investigated the depth of his affection for the Jews. When you read the Bible, especially Ezra 1, it’s clear that there were no bounds to the favor Cyrus showed toward the Jews.

In Ezra 1:2, Cyrus says openly that the God of Israel had personally “charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem.” He was king of the mightiest empire on Earth,and one of his driving goals was to help the Jews rebuild Jerusalem!

Verses 3-6 show Cyrus giving the Jews a key to the treasury of the Persian Empire. Whatever the Jews wanted, they got, including gold, silver, precious stones, building utensils, lumber, and animals and crops for food. When they finally started building the temple around 535 b.c., they imported cedar trees from Lebanon and tradesmen from Phoenicia, all thanks to the “grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 3:7).

Verse 7 recounts Cyrus being so thrilled by the building project in Judea, he had his men fetch from the treasury the “vessels of the house of the Lord” that had been taken when the temple was sacked by Babylonians in 585 b.c.

History is clear on this point: King Cyrus of Persia was a patron of the Jews, and a willing facilitator of those of them inhabiting Jerusalem. He was, in a real sense, a wholehearted “Zionist”!

The more you think about this history, the clearer it becomes that outside of the Jews themselves, Cyrus the Great was one of the loudest advocates in history of Jewish statehood in Judea!

This is the reason the Persian Empire thrived as the world’s greatest power during the sixth and fifth centuries b.c.: God used ancient Persia as a tool in His work with the Jews and Jerusalem!

As incredible as Cyrus’s moral and material support for the Jews was, that wasn’t even his greatest gesture. His greatest achievement was institutionalizing his affection for the Jews, and establishing a legacy of pro-Jewish policy within the Persian monarchy.

Study the history of Cyrus’s successors. Ezra 5 and 6 record the work of the Jews in Jerusalem about 20 years after the first wave returned to Judea in 535 b.c. Cyrus was dead and Darius i was king of Persia.

With Cyrus gone, leaders from nearby cities had begun persecuting the Jews in Jerusalem. In response, the Jews sent a letter to Darius reminding him of Cyrus’s decree and asking that he issue a similar mandate. “If it seem good to the king,” they implored, “let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter” (Ezra 5:17).

Darius initiated a search, found and studied the original decree, then issued one of his own: “Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place” (Ezra 6:7). The legacy of Cyrus lived on!

This God-inspired favor for the Jews was still alive and still shaping Persian policy during the kingship of Artaxerxes i, who reigned from 465-423 b.c. You can read the history in Nehemiah 1 and 2. Here, 20 years into the reign of Artaxerxes (around 445 b.c.), Nehemiah, the king’s Jewish cupbearer, besought the king to allow him to return to Jerusalem and build a wall of defense around the city. Artaxerxes didn’t begrudgingly grant the leave of absence. He issued a royal decree giving official sanction to Nehemiah’s work and installing the prophet as governor of Jerusalem! Beyond the official order, the king provided Nehemiah with materials, as well as an official letter instructing the “keeper of the king’s forest” to give Nehemiah the timber he needed for his wall!

Nearly a century had passed since Cyrus had issued the original decree, and protecting the presence and work of the Jews in Jerusalem remained a key pillar in the foreign policy of the Persian Empire!

Condemned by History

Five years ago, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “Some historians believe that the shah’s costly and elaborate anniversary celebration, which overlooked the Islamic religion, was the spark that lit the fire that ended up seeing the country hijacked by radicals in 1979, just a few years later” (Royal Vision, September/October 2005).

Think about that. Iran’s radical Islamists despise their history so vehemently that in 1979 they overthrew the Iranian leader who deeply valued that history, and was engaged in a national—even global—campaign to revive and recreate it.

When you understand the history of King Cyrus of Persia and what he did for the Jews, you can begin to understand the hatred of Iran’s radical Islamists for the shah!

Radical Islam lives to destroy the Jews and conquer Jerusalem. The shah of Iran deeply revered the Persian king who showed deep favor to the Jews, and who devoted his empire to supporting the Jews as they returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the city and the temple!

Radical Islamists hate this history because it so powerfully condemns them and undermines their fundamental cause!

In Tehran this past October, President Ahmadinejad gave a speech in which he recalled some of the achievements of Cyrus the Great, and stated that Iran today remains committed to “culture, human values, justice, love and sacrifice.” He delivered this speech at a ceremony unveiling the Cyrus Cylinder, which is currently in Tehran on loan from the British Museum.

Politically and ideologically, Iran’s president and King Cyrus are polar opposites. So why would Ahmadinejad invoke the history of ancient Persia and a king whose accomplishments, if he understood them, he would find repulsive? It’s simple. Millions of Iranians today continue to cherish the history of King Cyrus: Ahmadinejad is identifying himself with the upright character and accomplishments of Cyrus the Great in an attempt to cover his own hate-filled fanaticism.

It won’t work—it can’t. The life and accomplishments of Cyrus the Great are bright and radiant, while those of Ahmadinejad are dark and black. Invoking the awesome works of King Cyrus only exposes the evil in his own works all the more.

That is exactly why the Iranian people and the world need to be reminded of Iran’s rich and glorious history!

Our Candelabra

More than 40 years ago, when the shah of Iran was making preparations for his spectacular celebration, he commissioned the construction of two candelabra. During the weeklong celebration, the 7-foot brightly lit giants, each weighing 650 pounds and decked with 802 pieces of Baccarat crystal, stood in the midst of the royal tent where all the world leaders gathered to dine.

Together, these shimmering beauties, and the history of King Cyrus and ancient Persia that they embodied, dazzled the kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers at that royal banquet.

Today, those candelabra stand tall and bright in the grand lobby of Armstrong Auditorium, our breathtaking new concert hall here in Oklahoma.

Just as they did to the world’s royalty and upper echelon nearly 40 years ago, those same candelabra dazzle the concertgoers and artists that enter our auditorium today!

They really are stunning. But as breathtaking as they are in appearance, it’s the story behind them we most cherish. Our candelabra were part of the celebration of the 2,500-year anniversary of Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire. The shah intended that these candelabra awaken the Iranian people and the world to Iran’s majestic history!

Sadly, the hope emanating from Iran was extinguished in 1979, when the shah was violently overthrown and Iran’s government was replaced by an Islamic theocracy. Since then, very few people have revisited the history of Cyrus the Great and Persia.

Until now!

These two candelabra standing in Armstrong Auditorium recall that history to us today in a beautiful, majestic way. They remind us of the glorious reign of Cyrus the Great—the Persian king whose life, from beginning to end, was shaped by God.

This was the king who guaranteed the Jews’ presence in Jerusalem, the king whose mind God inspired to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem—a temple designed to point people toward God’s future temple in new Jerusalem!

If you haven’t done so yet, make it a goal to come visit Armstrong Auditorium. When you enter the grand lobby of the auditorium, stop a moment to look at these candelabra. As you do, let your mind hearken back to the glorious and spiritually uplifting history of ancient Persia, of Cyrus the Great, a patron of the Jews—and a man whose life and work prove the existence of an all-powerful God!