Fool’s Gold – Not a Judgement, Just a Few Lessons-Learned from a Battle-Brother
There is enough to write here that this could easily become a book or an article series. Israel declaring Donald Trump as “Cyrus” has a very different context than the American evangelical community claiming the same. In some cases, I would submit that it was and still is a form of idolatry. In many other cases, I would counsel that this claim is ignorance and lacks wisdom for the New Testament Church. Willful idolatry – no. But a willingness to grasp onto a “vision” of “hope” that trusts more in might and power, than in the Spirit of the Lord, Who has given us all we need in Jesus Christ. Please allow me to explain. I think you might find hope and a path ahead that doesn’t have to look so dark.
Plain and simple, life just isn’t easy sometimes. I think many thousands in the church have come to realize that the “name it – claim it” gospel hasn’t worked. Oh yes, it worked for the few who designed it and who “lead” it. But, for the masses, those of us who follow Jesus day after day – we’ve come to realize that when Jesus told his disciples that in this life, there will be trouble – and that we have an enemy who is daily battling for the souls of men – he actually meant it! But there’s hope Believer! He also said that he has given us power over the devil and the world.
Yes, we need strong leaders in the Church. What we do not need are Church leaders communicating to the flock that our hope is in any one man, except for Jesus Himself. I know many of these men (and a few women) both professionally and some personally. Some I have known for a good number of years. Some of them used to follow Jesus – but many of them have compromised to a lesser-gospel of entertainment, masquerading as, “vision.”
Sometimes when you know that God has spoken to you about a matter, you must learn to be patient – and wait. I waited for four years to write this article. I watched as so many in Church leadership have fallen by the wayside… So many from the Prophetic Community have gone out on a limb with “prophesies” that have never manifested… In the days of old, these brothers would be stoned to death for their claims – for they would have been branded as “false prophets” and fakes. I don’t believe that is the case here – and I don’t believe most of them have deliberately deceived others. I do however believe that the Church at large has become much too casual with the power of God’s Word and dangerously cavalier when we say or claim “Thus Sayeth the Lord.”
All of this makes me sad as it was in the days when I was in “full-time ministry.” My eyes were wide opened when I realized what was going on behind the curtain of so many “ministries.” It was then that I came to realize what was meant by the “priesthood of the believer.” Listen Christian, God has empowered us all to do His work and to carry out our callings. We need good shepherds who lead by the Spirit of God and who are committed to giving it all for the sake of the Gospel and the flock of Jesus in our time.
In a culture that drives Churches (the local church) to put on a production-quality show each Sunday morning and fill the cracks of the week with broadcast quality video, podcasts, radio and other forms of media, it was inevitable. I suppose the part that bothers me most now as a member of both the clergy and law enforcement is that we have wandered our way right into enemy occupied territory. Yes, I have been sounding that alarm now for years. It has fallen on deaf ears from the very top offices of Church leadership, to the “average Joe” who gets up each morning, goes to work and lives his/her life the best they can to represent Jesus in a lost and dying world.
I voted for far different reasons than many of my brothers and sisters who claimed so aggressively that Mr. Trump was “God’s anointed” (in the context of Cyrus the Great). Those words – those specific words in that context are very significant, and to glaze over the use of such terminology while wielding it in the context of Old Testament history (and God’s will), is very dangerous. So, I must ask you if you are one of those Christians who believe(d) this… please allow me to challenge your thinking and let’s talk about a possibly different way to consider Cyrus in our times.
I do not believe we are done yet. I do not believe the battle is over. But, as any great adversary knows, deception is key in warfare. I think like Israel in the days of King Saul, and then King David, the local Church, especially in the United States lost its way over the days since the Civil War was fought. Transparently, it is my professional opinion that the United States never got it right – from the very signing of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the declarations of our present day.
Yes, there were many Christians and “believers” in the gatherings of the founding fathers. I strongly recognize and believe that our nation was founded on strong Christian ideals and principles.
However, I think what we see emerging today (not to be confused with the Emerging Church) is a dividing line that exists between American Cultural Christianity – and being or becoming a “follower of Jesus.” There is power in the latter, and there is social power and gain in the other (cultural). It is my belief that the enemy of our souls has cast a great deception over the land, and many have fallen prey to believing the very stories and fairy tales that Peter and Paul both warned would become rampant in the “last days.” (Hmmm… Now I think that might also preach!)
Let’s take a step back to 2016 and re-think the first blog. It was titled “Do We Need a King?” (Here’s a link if you missed it.) I also want to share with you some observations about the way the “Trump Prophecy” and the coining of “Cyrus Trump” came into focus in a large swath of the Christian community. The effects of this without doubt had a very significant impact on the elections of 2016 – but it might be worth re-thinking God’s part in all of it. Now that we have retrospect to work into our evaluation, hindsight still is not 20/20, but it helps with perspective and context.
So, Do We Need a King? How’d That Work Out for Us?
In 2016, I posted a blog that would remain virtually unnoticed. I really didn’t write it to be noticed. I wrote it to put a stake in the ground so that my position on this life-critical matter would later be documented and available as we [now] pick up the pieces. Looking at the “thumbnail” sketch of how President Trump became surrounded with evangelical Christian support is interesting to say the least. In general, it began with a fireman who retired early from his job with a PTSD diagnosis. He had recorded in his journal in 2011 that Donald Trump would become to the United States what Benjamin Netanyahu was to Israel.” Or something very close to this message. He believed this message was from God.
A few years later as Trump began to make headlines, this fireman, having made progress with his emotional condition shared the journal with his therapist. That M.D. shared it with his wife, who initiated a very aggressive and widespread prayer chain effort. A major university became involved and helped to spread the word. The movement became known as the “Trump Prophecy,” and some began to refer to Donald Trump as “Cyrus,” a reference to Cyrus the Great, of Persia.
Over the months, and as the word spread, it still didn’t look like Mr. Trump had much a of a chance to win against Hillary Clinton. However, he did win, and after the fact, the Christian community, many from both charismatic and evangelical communities began swarming the White House with support and prayer. I know – no really, I know… That sounds great and it lends to the credibility of a “prophecy” from God having come to pass. Yet, as I stated before the election, I really think that the contemporary Christian Church needs to be very careful, as it appeared and still very much appears to be a trap and a place of pride.
Let’s explore why I have shared this with you, both then – and now.
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.2 Chronicles 7: 14, The Bible, NKJV
We Christians love to quote 2 Chronicles 7: 14, because it gives us hope. We teach it in our schools, our churches, our universities and in our seminaries. Here’s why: Fundamentally, we all believe that our nation has lost its moral compass and we all believe that the United States is in serious trouble. We believe that our loss of morality in America will contribute to the downfall of the nation, just as it did in so many cases in ancient and recent-past history. So, we quote this scripture, and we feel better. Moreover, we believe we can help, and we believe that if we can move the Church to a place of repentance, then our communities, that we will see the largest revival in history. This very well may be true. However, America is a LONG way from that level and place of repentance and renewal. I share this from a position of having seen first-hand the underbelly of our society at both the bottom and top of the social status barrels.
Social media has taught us about “going viral,” and it has taught us that we can change hearts and minds with what we now label as “movements” or “causes.” It has given us a false sense of control of our on-line lives and allowed us to believe that what happens on-line is somehow in-line with the actual world we live in each day.
It is not unheard-of for a movement to go viral and for millions, literally millions of people to jump on an emotional bandwagon that influences and results in change – sometimes immediate change. As I have shared with you in other writings, I believe that social media is the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction (WMD) of our time. Ironically to me, and professionally, although I have warned and warned about this dynamic and the long-reaching effects of social engagement, both government and faith-based organizations have jumped in the deep end of the pool with both feet. They have taken the bait, hook line and sinker – and now, many of them have been burned or worse as they try to figure out how to unhook their wagons from the very people and organizations that hate them and that daily work to unravel, unhinge and undo their very existence.
With that in mind, let’s examine the scripture and why trajectory and context were off from the very origin of this “movement.” As we move along this ridgeline and looking down into the valley with the advantage of hind-sight, please consider that I am not saying that the Christian community should not have supported the White House, or that we should not be fighting both politically and spiritually every single day we get out of bed. Our enemies do… To do anything less would be naïve and foolish.
As we examine the scriptures, specifically 2 Chronicles 7 in this case, we must realize that all scripture is given by God… yet, so many believe that scripture is open to “interpretation,” and that most people really don’t understand it anyway. Would you agree with me here?
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17, The Bible, NKJV
Let me challenge that notion so we can frame where this “prophecy” was fallible from the beginning. When I was ordained in 2001, I was charged with this scripture from 2 Timothy. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” I was told to know the scriptures and to study them daily. I have… and I do. As Ravi Zacharias used to say, “Think!”
The inference here is simple when you think about it. If scripture can be used and is “profitable” for “doctrine, reproof and correction,” then this must conclude that CONTEXT of scripture is critical, and that it is NOT open to interpretation. It must indeed have context and clarity. I have found over the years that understanding the historical roots of when, and by whom, specific scriptures were written is a good starting place. The Holy Spirit certainly has His own way of helping us understand and many times brings along another believer, a book, reference, or paper that addresses a specific matter. So, in short, scripture can be understood and accurately interpreted to a near exactness to its original intent.
In doing this, the reader must seek the context of the scripture and seek to understand it as a whole – rather than to take a “verse” and sling it at your target so that it delivers maximum impact in emphasizing your “point’ or position. That is pretty much what was done with 2 Chronicles 7: 14, to start a “movement,” by developing “prayer chains” and “social engagement.”
It is not for this article, but there are elements of science and psychology behind what happened. I am convinced that Mr. Trump knew this and understood it. I am further convinced that this is why he continued to rail uncontrolled on Twitter and other social platforms – even against the advice of his advisors. Eventually this tactic backfired and now an unprecedented (but predicted – not prophesied) maneuver on the part of social media moguls has resulted in a global conflict over free-speech and a battle between corporations and governments. Many of the dynamics of what is happening in our elections today can be replicated and seen in other social movements around the world. It certainly does lend to one’s thinking about the “end times.”
2 Chronicles 7: 14, Digging a Little Deeper
Historically, it is critical to understand this scripture. In context, it is only half of the verse itself – but the context of the verse is equally important. A little irony that stands out as I think about this matter as a whole (The Trump Prophecy – and, the “vision” of “Cyrus-Trump”) and in historical context, is the fact that Solomon had just completed the first temple in Jerusalem – that same temple that would be destroyed by the Babylonians and then years later, reconstructed – beginning with Cyrus the Great, King of Persia and ending with Darius II, King of Persia (Book of Ezra, the Bible).
So, let’s dig a little deeper. This is important to understand if we are to understand why God spoke specifically to Zerubbabel years later, and during the reconstruction of the second temple (under Darius). God said, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” Wait a second! Bible “scholars” and “prophets” are mixing historical references here. Take a look as we wander through the crooked streets of these scriptures (in historical context). First, the writer used the name of God, Lord of Hosts… This is a definite connotation and inference to warfare. That is very interesting, but not something that we’ll delve into in this article. You will see that everything is not as it seems and the “prophetic” nature of what was painted over a man running for president, did indeed have contextual bearing to today’s climate and culture in the United States. What it did not have was a direct reference to refer to a man as “Cyrus,” or a prophetic utterance to encourage the church of America in the year 2016.
Rather, if we read these scriptures for what they are, we may perhaps see the enemy of our souls gloating over history and pointing forward to his knowledge of a WARNING that took place in the days of Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes. Stay with me! This is like walking along an ancient cobblestone or brick road. Have you ever done that? It is not easy to walk as your feet or vehicle hit the ruts and cuts and rising stones pushed up and down by years of erosion and traffic. This investigation of the past, as well as the calling to order the inappropriate use of ancient history is not a railing judgement against my contemporary brothers and sisters.
It is purely this – from a “watchman” standing on the wall, attempting to cry out another warning for our time and for the Church in America and around the world. I believe we may be at the last tower of defense. Some say we are on the eve of the greatest revival we have ever known. While this may be true, I would caution, that we may also be on the eve of the greatest defeat the United States has ever known. Our nation is only 200, and then some years “old.” In other words, the U.S. has not been around long enough to matter in the scheme of things in history. Yes, we have changed the world. But we have also started down the path of national decline and non-relevance.
So, here is the irony:
While 2 Chronicles 7: 14 is greatly encouraging when it stands alone, it is also greatly alarming when it is read in context of the scripture that surrounds it and the rest of the verse itself. Walk with me down this rough road and then you tell me if either the prophecy or the call to prayer make sense – or if there may have been a much better way to support the election, the White House and the years that followed the election. I submit to you openly, that the prediction I shared in the first article (2016) is equally valid today and that the price the Church will pay for misdirected prayers and some for idolatry may be more than we intended. Just as God told Israel clearly when they demanded a king (King Saul), that they would benefit for a time, there was a cost that their decision to do things their own way would cost. Eventually, those decisions resulted in Babylon destroying Jerusalem, the Temple and all of their lives. It resulted in their captivity and enslavement. Eventually, God gave them a “second chance.”
The first temple was built through forced labor – did you know this? Did you know that Israel turned to idols and other gods? Ironically, God had warned them, through the very scripture reference used to identify and support the “prayer chains” supporting the then incoming president, Donald Trump. I wonder sometimes if those that led this prayer effort and those that pushed the Cyrus agenda ever considered these scriptures and the stark warnings they carry with them. I wonder if they ever considered that God might just indeed answer their prayers and give them what they requested – but never took the time to consider the consequences. Today, I think the United States is looking at perhaps the worst threat to ever come ashore and across our borders. It is a threat from within – a threat that promises to undo everything that the Founding Fathers attempted to build. You see for yourself if the scripture read in whole sounds like a warning – or a blessing.
First, here is a little runway to give some historical perspective. Solomon has begun the dedication of the Temple. It is a huge feast and celebration. It is kind of neat to read this, as it sounds a little like some of our modern-day celebrations – minus the sacrifices. But look at the sheer magnitude of the events, the numbers of sacrifices and the unity and joy of the people. Check this out!
“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. 3 When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying:
“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever.”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 And the priests attended to their services; the Levites also with instruments of the music of the Lord, which King David had made to praise the Lord, saying, “For His mercy endures forever,” whenever David offered praise by their ministry. The priests sounded trumpets opposite them, while all Israel stood.
7 Furthermore Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was in front of the house of the Lord; for there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat.
8 At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the[c] Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the Lord had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel. 11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house.” (2 Chronicles 7, The Bible, NKJV)
Pretty amazing, eh! Wow! Can you imagine such an event? But, then, God appeared to Solomon in a dream in his sleep…
“12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’” (2 Chronicles 7, The Bible, NKJV)
God is clear with Solomon… I suspect God is very clearly letting Solomon know and understand that historical events, like those in the days of Elijah and Moses are over – for now. He is trying a “new thing” with his people. Well, we know the rest of that story… Babylon. Captivity. Israel is no more…
So, here is the rest of the scripture where God told Solomon clearly what would happen IF they chose not to follow His ways:
19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’ ”
In short, the first and the second temple were a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus, His redemptive sacrifice for sin, and our filling with God’s Holy Spirit as God’s faithful people. The word as a whole, that came to Solomon through a dream, but from God directly was not just a “how to” in restoring the nation and the land. It was a warning on what would happen IF these things did not happen and what would happen to God’s people if they failed to follow Him – His way.
To close this part of our discussion, may I submit this for your consideration? Think on this… Today, Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States. The first version of this article, President Biden had not yet taken office. But now, he is not only the President of the United States, he is also systematically unravelling much of the “progress” that has been accomplished. It is my professional, personal, and spiritual position that we (the Church) failed not only to appropriately support the prayed-for leader, but we failed the country at the local level through our lack of self-control and selfish motives on social media all the way to the outreach (or lack of) of the local church.
This is gravely serious for the American Church. It appears to me in clear contrast that we (the American Church), much like Israel jumped right into the “victory” of President Trump with both feet. I am literally ashamed of much of the social media behavior exhibited by the Church over the last four years. The combative nature of Christians and conservatives toward those with different positions and positions is literally embarrassing. There is no model in all of the Bible to support how the Church responded to the rest of the unsaved nation after Donald Trump became president. It appears that this prideful behavior most likely delighted the devil and his following. We did his work for him in setting up the “next phase” of his Satanic operation to destroy the only nation in history to support and protect Israel. We missed the whole “Jesus-part of the story.” Professionally, I think the “prophets” who started the Cyrus movement also missed the Jesus part of the story. The rest of this article is my attempt to share with you “why?”
Today, I have been asked to speak several times concerning these matters and have enjoyed fellowship with numerous Christ-followers, and secular people, who all equally believe that President Trump is “God’s man in the White House.” While the scriptures are pretty clear that rulers don’t take office without God allowing it, or even ordaining them, it is still yet different to claim that Donald Trump is God’s Cyrus – or His Nehemiah (probably should choose one, as these are VERY different roles). Claiming such a thing also in a sense places trust in “might and power” or in “horses and chariots.” Take your pick. Christians with a general knowledge of scripture will definitely understand this. If not, reach out to me and I’ll be glad to elaborate. But let’s move on.
In the U.S., we are a culture that lives on sensationalism and just like in the days of Rome, we must be entertained. My objective here is not to insult or push up or pull down anyone’s candidate for president. My goal here is to illuminate where the enemy of God has crept in and where many have been deceived by what sounded like “truth.” Let me ask you that question: If President Trump were God’s “anointed” and God chose President Trump to deliver a nation – like Cyrus the Great – then, what happened? Was God bested in the joust that ended last November? Did Satan rise up against God in the U.S. and win the election? Hardly… But… I am standing here, just like you are and the dust is settling. I do not believe that God’s anointed would be in such a place in such a time as this – do you?
Follow me and I’ll share with you over forty years of walking with God. It’s not always easy and sometimes, it just plain feels like God has abandoned us. Well… He hasn’t. He’s still with us and He is still fully in control. But, when you think you can put God in a box, slap a label on Him and call it “prophecy,” I would caution that you have been deceived and walked clearly into a spiritual minefield. Then, like some today, you’ll have to explain that you didn’t really mean it the way it sounded – or somebody changed the context of the book or article you wrote… I guess you get what I’m inferring.
There’s a couple of caveats I’d like to reference from the first article (2016) before we move on to shedding some light on why referring to Donald Trump as “Cyrus” is short-sighted for a New Testament Kingdom people. Can we learn from the history? Yes, of course! However, I’d like to show you how this “prophecy” may have been misinterpreted (or perhaps better said), how we can use this Old Testament history to better understand the spiritual war that is now upon us. It is my opinion that our American Church, especially our current generation, have fallen into a trap that has emerged as a result of social media and movie culture.
The optics of our current culture have captured minds and emotions and we overlay the scriptures with these intense images and overwhelming media experiences, instead of listening for that “still small voice,” that He (Jesus) promised us. Obviously, I am referring to God speaking to Elijah, and to Jesus telling his disciples that he would send us a teacher – His Spirit.
I am trying to share with you, from years of walking with the Lord, that we need to be much more careful how we handle God’s Word and how we wield the “sword” of His Word. Yes, the Old Testament is relevant, and it is fresh, even for today. But, when it supersedes the words and direction – or even how Jesus modeled life and battled with evil – then, we need to be careful and vigilant. Let’s look at a little history to see how the Cyrus model might impact our lives and times if viewed through a filter or lens of Jesus.
God provided Israel a king (Saul) – even as the Lord Himself counseled against Israel’s request. The people’s unbelief hurt the heart of the Lord – yet, He granted them what they demanded. In the end, their unbelief would cost them greatly.1 Samuel, Chapter 8, The Bible, NKJV
What do you believe? I shared some of my thoughts, that generally have not changed since 2016. However, my attention was captured, and interest peaked, as I listened to numerous Christians and leaders referring to President Trump as “Cyrus-Trump.” I needed to know more, so I did some research, talked to friends and foes, and compiled what I think to be a reasonable and rational position on the matter. Interestingly, the scripture I quoted after the one about Saul actually came from Zechariah (4:6). “not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” You may not realize it, but that scripture reference is referring back to the time and reign of Cyrus the Great, whom God did anoint and lead. But wait! There is more… a lot more…
Check out Part III to this series! Let me know if you have any questions or just want to discuss all of this.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.Numbers 6: 24 – 25, The Bible, NKJV