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Is It Really Fair To Compare President Donald Trump To King Cyrus?

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Published on: November 25, 2020

Many have tried to compare President Donald Trump to King Cyrus in the Bible.  Some have even gone far away from Scripture and lauded Trump as the “King of the Jews,” the “King of Israel,” and the “Second Coming of God,” even claiming that he is a messiah.  None of those things are true.  However, the Cyrus parallel was attempted to be justified by Dr. Michael Brown in July of this year.

Brown wrote:

In my last article, I asked whether Trump could be reelected without divine intervention, as many have alleged divine intervention in his 2016 election. That’s also why I devoted a chapter in my book to the question, “Did God Uniquely Raise Up President Trump?”

Specifically, some time before the 2016 elections, there were Christian leaders who felt that God showed them that, just as He had raised up Cyrus, an idol-worshiping, foreign king, to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, so he would raise up Donald Trump. Not only so, but in the book of Isaiah, the Lord called Cyrus His anointed one (Hebrew, mashiach).

Does that mean that Trump is anointed by God? Does that make him some kind of savior figure?

Not surprisingly, these claims were widely mocked, especially before Trump’s election.

And to this day, the idea of Trump being a Cyrus figure, let alone anointed by God, is considered a travesty, as in, “You must be out of your mind to claim that Donald Trump, with all his failings, is called and anointed by God. Preachers of the gospel are called and anointed by God, not carnal political leaders like Donald Trump.”

But to say that is to miss the whole point of the Cyrus connection, which was meant as a parallel rather than a direct prophecy.

In other words, these Christian leaders were not saying, “The Bible contains a prophecy about Donald Trump! Trump is in the Bible!”  (If that’s how you took it, I strongly encourage you to read the Scriptures more carefully.)

Instead, they were saying, “Look at this parallel. God used King Cyrus, an unlikely vessel who didn’t even know who Yahweh really was, to bless His people Israel. We believe God is going to use Trump to do good things for God’s people too, even though there’s no evidence he has a personal relationship with the Lord.”

Sixty years earlier, during the founding of the modern state of Israel, Harry Truman realized the significance of America’s standing with the Jewish nation, seeing himself as a Cyrus-type figure. (For a fascinating book-length study, see here. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu actually compared both Truman and Trump to Cyrus.)

And, ironically, just as Cyrus was commissioned to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:24-26), so Trump was the president who moved our embassy to Jerusalem.

But, to understand the Cyrus prophecy, it’s important to hear from Cyrus himself. His words have been preserved in what is called the Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879 and written in 539 BC. (For more details and further quotes, see my book.)

This is what the Lord had said about Cyrus in Isaiah: “For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge [or, know] me.” (Isaiah 45:4)

What did Cyrus say of himself?

“I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world, son of Cambyses, the great king, king of the city of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, the great king, ki[ng of the ci]ty of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, the great king, king of the city of Anshan, the perpetual seed of kingship, whose reign Bel (Marduk) and Nabu love, and with whose kingship, to their joy, they concern themselves.” (Bel, Marduk, and Nabu were the names of some of the key gods in the Babylonian pantheon.)

It sounds like Cyrus was a bit full of himself. There is no king on earth like me! (In reality, at that time, it was true.)

And to whom does Cyrus give credit for raising him up? To Marduk! “[Marduk] searched everywhere and then he took a righteous king, his favorite, by the hand, he called out his name: Cyrus, king of Anshan; he pronounced his name to be king all over the world.”

Isn’t this remarkable? The prophecy in Isaiah uses similar wording, except there it is Yahweh who called and raised up Cyrus. Here, credit is given to Marduk!

But, in keeping with the policy of Cyrus, rather than subjugate the exiled peoples, as a foreign king would normally do, he restored them to their homelands and even funded the rebuilding of their temples. This way, he could rule over them more peacefully, extract taxes and revenues, and keep his trade routes open without continual warfare.

And so, when it was time to release the Jewish exiles, Cyrus wrote this (as recorded in the Bible): “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.’” (2 Chronicles 36:23)

So, when it came time to speak to Israel, he talked like a true believer (presumably with the help of one of the Jewish exiles), giving credit to “Yahweh, the God of heaven.” But when he wrote for the Babylonians, he gave credit to their chief god, Marduk, ascribing might and power to him.

Now, I think Dr. Brown, no relation by the way, lays out perfectly what many point to, only they continue to hold to the idea that Cyrus was and continued to be a pagan.

For the record, numerous Scriptures speak about God being sovereign in the matters of men and of turning the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1).  In fact, since nothing and no one nor any authority exists apart from God’s decree (John 19:11), we know that if anything happens or if anyone is exalted (Daniel 2:21), God has a purpose (Romans 8:28) in their exaltation or whatever takes place.  Otherwise, it can have no purpose and is merely random chance.

While we have no biblical prophecies of Donald Trump, we do have them for Cyrus, even him being called by name hundreds of years before he was even born!

However, what else do we know about Cyrus?

Flavius Josephus wrote in his Antiquities of the Jews the following about Cyrus:

1. In the first year of the reign of Cyrus [1] which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city, that after they had served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity. And these things God did afford them; for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia: “Thus saith Cyrus the king: Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets, and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”

2. This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: “My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple.” This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, [2] and the temple of God, for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, beasts for their sacrifices.

3. When Cyrus had said this to the Israelites, the rulers of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with the Levites and priests, went in haste to Jerusalem; yet did many of them stay at Babylon, as not willing to leave their possessions; and when they were come thither, all the king’s friends assisted them, and brought in, for the building of the temple, some gold, and some silver, and some a great many cattle and horses. So they performed their vows to God, and offered the sacrifices that had been accustomed of old time; I mean this upon the rebuilding of their city, and the revival of the ancient practices relating to their worship. Cyrus also sent back to them the vessels of God which king Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple, and had carried to Babylon. So he committed these things to Mithridates, the treasurer, to be sent away, with an order to give them to Sanabassar, that he might keep them till the temple was built; and when it was finished, he might deliver them to the priests and rulers of the multitude, in order to their being restored to the temple. Cyrus also sent an epistle to the governors that were in Syria, the contents whereof here follow:

“King Cyrus To Sisinnes And Sathrabuzanes Sendeth Greeting.

“I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem on the same place where it was before. I have also sent my treasurer Mithridates, and Zorobabel, the governor of the Jews, that they may lay the foundations of the temple, and may build it sixty cubits high, and of the same latitude, making three edifices of polished stones, and one of the wood of the country, and the same order extends to the altar whereon they offer sacrifices to God. I require also that the expenses for these things may be given out of my revenues. Moreover, I have also sent the vessels which king Nebuchadnezzar pillaged out of the temple, and have given them to Mithridates the treasurer, and to Zorobabel the governor of the Jews, that they may have them carried to Jerusalem, and may restore them to the temple of God. Now their number is as follows: Fifty chargers of gold, and five hundred of silver; forty Thericlean cups of gold, and five hundred of silver; fifty basons of gold, and five hundred of silver; thirty vessels for pouring [the drink-offerings], and three hundred of silver; thirty vials of gold, and two thousand four hundred of silver; with a thousand other large vessels. [3] I permit them to have the same honor which they were used to have from their forefathers, as also for their small cattle, and for wine and oil, two hundred and five thousand and five hundred drachme; and for wheat flour, twenty thousand and five hundred artabae; and I give order that these expenses shall be given them out of the tributes due from Samaria. The priests shall also offer these sacrifices according to the laws of Moses in Jerusalem; and when they offer them, they shall pray to God for the preservation of the king and of his family, that the kingdom of Persia may continue. But my will is, that those who disobey these injunctions, and make them void, shall be hung upon a cross, and their substance brought into the king’s treasury.” And such was the import of this epistle. Now the number of those that came out of captivity to Jerusalem, were forty-two thousand four hundred and sixty-two.

Compare a stark contrast from the beginning of Cyrus’ conquering to the culmination of him freeing the Israelites from their bondage just as God had said after 70 years in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11; Daniel 9:2) and what took place concerning Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar was a wicked, prideful king, and yet, God brought him low in order to one day exalt him (Daniel 4).

Both men seem to have had a major conversion towards the one true God.

Could this happen with President Trump?  Of course!  In fact, we hope it does, but as of now, that really does not seem to be the case.  Plus, it would take someone confronting his sin (1 John 3:4) with the true Gospel that saves from sin (Galatians 1:1-9).

Consider that Cyrus set the people free, openly acknowledged only one real God and contributed to the worship of that God.  While President Trump has said the name of Jesus, allowed others to pray for him and held up a Bible, which he has not been able to actually quote a single verse from, he has remained as one continuing to merely offer words against the corrupt in government without justice, signing bills that infringe on the people’s liberties such as the PATRIOT Act and the USA Freedom Act, selling out American sovereignty in the USMCA, spending us into a monstrous debt oblivion, funding the murder of the unborn through Planned Parenthood and aiding in the very wealth redistribution and corporate and banker bailouts that so many of his supporters opposed under the Obama administration.  In other words, for the most part, Trump has helped to enslave not just the people of God, but all Americans rather than free them.

These are not insignificant transgressions, America!  Sure, a Biden administration would probably be far worse, but that is not an excuse to allow such things to continue under a Trump administration, draped in the curtains of Christianity while engaging in lawlessness (Matthew 7:15-23).

I honestly do not understand the similarities of Cyrus and Trump at all except maybe in the early days of Cyrus’ conquests.  Could God change Trump’s heart?  One can hope, but until then, he remains a reflection of the modern church that claims to be Christian while ignoring the power of the Gospel, the law of God and the justice needed in the position that he holds.

2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Should we pray for President Trump?  We are commanded to do so, but make no mistake about it, he is no Cyrus and his own crimes should be dealt with, not supported or justified, according to the Constitution.

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