Thursday, March 08, 2018

Netanyahu: "Trump Like King Cyrus"

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has likened President Trump to King Cyrus---the Persian king who rescued the Jewish people from Babylonian captivity.

Some evangelicals have made the same comparison.

In a White House meeting last Monday, Netanyahu thanked President Trump for the close relationship between the United States and Israel, saying it has "never been stronger."

The Prime Minister said:

Thank you. Mr. President, Donald, Melania: Sara and I want to thank you for your extraordinary friendship and hospitality. It’s always a pleasure to see you, both but this is the first time we meet in Washington — America’s capital — after you declared, Mr. President, Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And this was a historic proclamation followed by your bold decision to move the embassy by our upcoming National Independence Day.
I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory. So we remember the proclamation of the great King Cyrus the Great — Persian King. Twenty-five hundred years ago, he proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem. We remember, 100 years ago, Lord Balfour, who issued the Balfour Proclamation that recognized the rights of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.

And he remembered President Harry Truman as our first leader to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

Netanyahu's reference to King Cyrus certainly got people's attention.

Writing in Vox, Tara Isabella Burton explained that the "Christian appropriation of a pagan Old Testament king chosen by God to accomplish His sovereign purposes fits neatly with the Trump supporting evangelical narrative."

She said, "While Cyrus is not Jewish and does not worship the God of Israel, he is never-the-less portrayed in Isaiah as an instrument of God---an unwitting conduit through which God effects His divine plan for history. Cyrus is, therefore, the archetype of the 'unlikely vessel'; someone God has chosen for an important historical purpose, despite not looking like---or having the religious character of---an obvious man of God."

And she notes, "For believers who subscribe to this account, Cyrus is the perfect historical antecedent to explain Trump's presidency; a non-believer who never-the-less served as a vessel for divine interest."

Evangelicals Mike Evans and Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis have recently spoken openly on this theme.

Evans has said after Trump's announcement to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thus affirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, that he, when he has the opportunity, will tell President Trump, "Cyrus, you're Cyrus."

Ken Ham told the Mormon Deseret News three days before Trump's inauguration that in regard to Trump's political rise, he was reminded of the fact that "God makes clear in Scripture that: He raises up kings and destroys kingdoms. He even calls a pagan king, Cyrus, His anointed, or His servant to do the things that He wants him to do."

Evangelical Author Lance Wallnau, author of "God's Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and The American Unraveling," has been very outspoken about this matter. He repeatedly tells audiences that the prophecy in Isaiah, chapter 45, about Cyrus delivering God's people from captivity is a parallel to our 45th President doing the same for American Christians.

Wallnau notes that Cyrus is the only Gentile in the Old Testament who is called "anointed" by God.

Other evangelicals are approaching this similarity more carefully.

Michael Brown, a Messianic Jewish scholar and author, says evangelicals should be careful with the analogies. Certainly, Trump may well be used by God to help turn the tide in America, the comparison with Cyrus eventually breaks down, he says. But he does not discount the fact that Trump could be like Cyrus.

Cyrus was a heathen. He did not worship the God of Israel. While Trump's life does not reflect Christian virtue or Christian discipleship, men in whom I personally have a great deal of confidence-- James Dobson and others, have said that Donald Trump has prayed the prayer to receive Christ as his personal Savior.

I do believe that something spiritually significant is happening in our country. I also believe Trump is being used for God's purposes, including in his choice of Mike Pence for vice president.

Is he a modern-day Cyrus?

Some personal thoughts:

God's ways are always higher than our ways. Think about the account of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. And Gideon. And Jonah.

America is an exceptional nation, birthed out of a deep desire to freely worship God.

Divine miracles mark America's historical path, including winning the Revolutionary War.

America is the only nation in the history of the world that was formed as a result of a belief---not ancient borders and bloodlines.

We must let God be God. He will do as He Wills. And He has used some very imperfect people to accomplish His purposes.

Consider this:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:8-11 New King James Version

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.