Why America Needs to Beware Modern Assyria
Just as it did anciently, Germany will soon shock America and the world.
FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2019 TRUMPET PRINT EDITION
Shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote a watershed article showing how America’s president fulfills a prophecy in Amos 7 and is a modern-day fulfillment of King Jeroboam ii.
Jeroboam ii ruled the kingdom of Israel in the eighth century b.c. Over his 41-year reign, the kingdom experienced an incredible resurgence, enlarging its territory, increasing its military strength, enhancing its political power, and expanding its material prosperity (2 Kings 14:25-28).
Today, the United States is experiencing a similar resurgence. Its economy is booming, its “deep state” is being exposed and confronted, and its friends and foes alike are showing more respect. America’s economic expansion has continued unabated more than 120 months since June 2009, the longest in the nation’s history.
Like King Jeroboam anciently, Donald Trump is taking all the credit for America’s impressive resurgence. This is a big mistake. 2 Kings 14:27 says that God “saved them [Israel] by the hand of Jeroboam.” It is the same today. “This resurgence was not because of any personal greatness or leadership skill by Jeroboam,” Mr. Flurry wrote in the May-June 2018 Trumpet. “It was because God took pity on Israel in its affliction. It was because Goddid not want the name of Israel blotted out. It was because God saved Israel!”
As America (and even Britain and the Jewish state) enjoy a modern-day resurgence, it is important to note that ancient Israel’s resurgence was only temporary. It was followed by rapid collapse and horrible suffering! When the resurgence ended, “Israel was conquered and its people dispersed in captivity to the Assyrians,” wrote Mr. Flurry.
The prophets Amos, Hosea and Jonah delivered their warning messages during the reign of Jeroboam ii. All three of their messages were miraculously preserved for more than 2,800 years, and they apply today to the descendants of Israel (America and Britain) and the kingdom of Judah (the Jewish state). But these prophets also have much to say about another major power. Their books all discuss the kingdom of Assyria, which existed at the time of Jeroboam ii.
Modern Germans are descendants of the ancient Assyrians. (You can prove this by reading The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong. Request a copy and we’ll send you one at no charge.) Clearly there are profound parallels between modern America under Donald Trump and ancient Israel under King Jeroboam ii. Are there also parallels between ancient Assyria during the time of Jeroboam ii and Germany today?
What was happening in Assyria when Israel was thriving under Jeroboam ii?
Assyria’s history is well documented in both the Bible and secular sources. It begins with Asshur, Noah’s grandson. The Assyrians inhabited the land in the upper delta of the Tigris River. Assyrian civilization blossomed from 911 to 609 b.c., during what is called the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The empire reached its apex between 744 and 727 b.c. under the reign of Tiglath-Pileser iii.
The Neo-Assyrian period was a time of prolonged expansion, except for a few decades in the first half of the eighth century b.c., during the reign of Jeroboam ii in Israel. This fascinating chapter in Assyria’s history contains remarkable parallels with Germany today.
Assyria’s temporary decline began in 797 b.c., just after King Adad-nirari iii had conquered Damascus and the Aramaeans (modern Syria). Instead of launching further invasions into the Levant, the Assyrian king was forced to return to Nineveh to deal with domestic problems and political unrest. The Assyrian army abandoned Damascus, leaving the newly conquered city and its residents exposed and vulnerable.
Seeing the opportunity, Israel’s king pounced. 2 Kings 14:25 and 28 say that Jeroboam iirestored Israel’s borders and “recovered Damascus, and Hamath.” Israel’s expansion was largely due to Assyria’s retreat from the region and its fall into political malaise and civil unrest.
The esv Bible Atlas states, “During the first half of the eighth century b.c., Assyria was ruled by a series of weak monarchs.” William Martin wrote in These Were God’s People—A Bible History that Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. “had lost her northern provinces to Urartu and was in the throes of a serious civil war.”
These events in ancient Assyria are particularly interesting when compared to the state of Germany today.
Assyrian history books record that the kingdom’s weakened central leadership in the eighth century b.c. provided opportunity for local leaders and the nobility to seize power and begin to agitate. Because Assyria was split between various competing regional powers, it was unable to act as a united powerful entity in the region. “Some Assyrian nobles became extremely powerful and behaved in some respects as warlords, ruling vast territories and conducting private campaigns as powers responsible only to themselves” (Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations).
Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. also struggled with the presence and influence of a huge number of foreigners. “Ethnically Assyria was undergoing a major change during this period in that the Aramaic [Syrian] element in the population was increasing dramatically” (ibid). By the middle of the eighth century b.c., the number of foreigners in Assyria was so high, “the Aramaic language had virtually replaced Assyrian as the everyday tongue.”
In short, Assyria’s problems were caused largely by a dysfunctional federal government, which allowed the rise of upstart revolutionary forces, and by disruption and tension caused by a huge number of migrants, mostly from Syria.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Even though Assyria had serious issues politically, the kingdom remained powerful. Its control of important trade routes gave it enormous economic leverage. And its military remained potent.
“Assyrians, indeed, attracted attention,” Lange’s Commentary states, but due to their domestic issues, “there was no probability that they would endanger the kingdom [Israel].”
Assyria was a major regional power during the time of Jeroboam ii, but it was a headless power. It was a tank without a driver.
Those who follow Germany today will easily see the parallels. The nation is an industrial and financial giant. Along with China and America, it dominates global trade. Inside Europe and the European Union, nothing significant happens without Germany’s approval. Internationally, Berlin is a power player in world politics. But its strength is limited because it lacks a strong head.
Germany’s federal government is weak. Angela Merkel is a lame-duck chancellor in every way. National and local elections in 2018 were a disaster for her; afterward it took Merkel four months to form a government, and now, that coalition is nearing collapse. The German tank has a driver, but she’s a terrible driver who has lost control of the machine.
Berlin is a power player in world politics. But its strength is limited because it lacks a strong head.
In June, the leader of the Social Democratic Party—a key partner in Merkel’s coalition government—suddenly resigned. She hasn’t yet been replaced because the Social Democrats can’t decide on her successor. Support for the spd, formerly one of Germany’s top two political parties, is at a record low.
Germany’s most popular party right now is the Green Party. But the Greens have traditionally been a minor party; it has little experience leading a coalition government and running the nation. It’s not even certain who the Greens would put forward as chancellor, since the party has two leaders, one man and one woman.
Meanwhile, Germany’s far-right parties are alarmingly popular. The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), though it has experienced a small dip in support recently, still polls at over 13 percent. The Left Party is polling at 7 percent. Roughly one fifth of Germans now support a radical political party. In some parts of East Germany, the AfD is now the most popular party. In these states, around a third of voters prefer extreme parties, either the AfD or the Left. One recent poll indicated the AfD is actually more popular than the Social Democrats.
Germany today is in a remarkably similar state to Assyria in the early eighth century b.c. Though clearly a major power, it has some serious problems, including the many issues that come with accepting hundreds of thousands of foreign migrants. Politically, Germany’s federal government and its mainstream political parties face tremendous pressure from populist figures and smaller yet influential parties and movements.
Angela Merkel right now is a 21st- century version of Ashur-dan iii or Ashur-nirari v, two early-eighth-century b.c. Assyrian kings whose energies were consumed by dealing with internal disputes, quelling rebellions, and brokering political alliances to cling to power. The result? Germany today is an inward superpower, just as Assyria was during the time of Jeroboam ii.
Meanwhile, to the west, Donald Trump and America bask in peace and prosperity—at least for now.
Considering these remarkable parallels, the question arises, did ancient Assyria solve these issues? If so, how?
A Fierce New King
Assyria’s period of malaise changed with the arrival of King Pulu (his Babylonian name) in the mid-eighth century b.c. Pulu was governor of the northern Assyrian city of Calah and a general in the Assyrian army. He exploited the enfeebled central government and the chaos of the civil war and plotted a coup d’état. In 745 b.c., he slaughtered Assyria’s royal family, installed himself as king, and changed his name to Tiglath-Pileser iii.
His impact was dramatic and immediate. The new king had grand ambitions, and he pursued them with ruthless passion. Pilser eliminated any leader or party capable of competing with him and installed loyal administrators who reported directly to him. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations describes Tiglath-Pileser iii as a “vigorous campaigner in the true tradition of the Assyrian royal line …. [T]his king restored internal order and then proceeded to deal effectively with external enemies.”
Pileser immediately focused on transforming Assyria’s military, which, though formidable, had grown bureaucratic and inefficient. The new king did away with conscription and made the army a permanent force, giving him control of the world’s first professional army. He quickly turned it into his most effective tool and the source of his power. He used war and military campaigns to unite and revive the floundering Assyria Empire. The esv Bible Atlas says he “rebuilt Assyria with 19 years of successful warfare.”
Under Tiglath-Pileser iii, “the picture changed dramatically,” wrote William Martin. He first united Assyria, then, “with the nation solidly behind him, he inaugurated the most amazing program of conquest and rule the world had ever seen” (emphasis added throughout).
Within two years of taking the throne, Pileser launched military campaigns against Syria, Babylon and Armenia. Nation after nation was conquered outright or forced to pay tribute. By the end of his roughly 20-year reign, he had conquered virtually the entire Middle East, and made the Assyrian Empire incredibly wealthy.
Tiglath-Pileser iii and the Assyrian army conducted a series of invasions of the kingdom of Israel in the 730s b.c. “Then Pul king of Assyria invaded the land …” (2 Kings 15:19; New International Version). Assyria’s king killed thousands of Israelites and took thousands more as slaves back to Assyria (verse 29). Israel’s capital, Samaria, remained intact, and its monarchy was allowed to continue in power—but only after the king agreed to pay a massive tribute. Israel spent the ensuing years at Nineveh’s mercy, before its complete subjugation in 721 b.c.
The sudden arrival of Tiglath-Pileser iii in 745 b.c. was a pivotal moment—not just for Assyria, but for the entire region, especially Israel. It marked a stunning and sudden reversal of roles. Virtually overnight, Assyria became a dominant and terrifying superpower, while Israel collapsed into depression, ruin and slavery.
This history screams a powerful warning message.
The Warning of Prophecy
For almost 30 years, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has explained the biblical prophecies warning that God will again use Assyria to punish the nations of Israel (America and Britain today). Before Mr. Flurry, the late Herbert W. Armstrong delivered the same warning.
For decades now, both men have explained prophecies like Isaiah 10:5-6, which says that God will use Assyria as a rod of correction. “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.”
As He did anciently, God will use the Assyrians in the end time to correct modern-day Israel. This is why all this ancient history is so important: It is not just history, it is prophecy about America, Britain and Germany today!
Mr. Flurry and Mr. Armstrong have pointed to scriptures in Daniel 8 and 11, Habakkuk 1 and Revelation 17 (among others) that prophesy about the emergence of an end-time German strongman. Daniel 8:23, for example, describes the character of this tyrant: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”
Notice, God calls this leader a “king.” He is a 21st-century Tiglath-Pileser iii! And he too will arrive on the scene suddenly and dramatically!
Guttenberg has all the ingredients: he is aristocratic, rich and powerful. He has charisma and communicates with conviction, candor and power.
This man is also discussed in Daniel 11:21: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Mr. Flurry explained these verses in his January 2019 article “Germany—A New King Is Imminent,” writing: “Notice how this man is characterized. He has a ‘fierce countenance,’ meaning he’s mighty, powerful and cruel. He has an ‘understanding [of] dark sentences.’ Clarke’s Commentary says he’s ‘very learned and skillful in all things relating to government and its intrigues’—a cunning politician. He inherits the throne of Europe ‘peaceably,’ obtaining his kingdom by ‘flatteries.’ He is crafty and sly, with a brilliant mind and an engaging, attractive personality. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says ‘the nation shall not, by a public act, confer the kingdom on him, but he shall obtain it by artifice, “flattering.”‘ In other words, a deceived public, or a group of European leaders, likely invites this man into power” (emphasis his).
Who is this modern Tiglath-Pileser iii? We can’t say for certain, but for more than 12 years now we have considered former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg a potential candidate. Guttenberg has all the ingredients; he is aristocratic, rich and powerful. He has charisma and communicates with conviction, candor and power. Guttenberg isn’t popular with Germany’s elites or the mainstream media, but many regular Germans adore him.
Watch Guttenberg: He could be Germany’s end-time Tiglath-Pileser iii!
In his article, Mr. Flurry wrote: “Every reader should closely watch Germany. This nation is experiencing changes that will reshape the country and the whole of Europe. Yet, remarkably, most of the world is asleep to these dramatic developments.”
It was exactly the same during the time of Jeroboam ii. Notice how the King James Study Bible describes the kingdom of Israel in the early eighth century b.c.: “Both kingdoms [Israel and Judah] were enjoying great prosperity and had reached new political and military heights. It was also a time of idolatry, extravagant indulgence in luxurious living, immorality, corruption of judicial procedures, and oppression of the poor. As a consequence, God would soon bring about the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom.”
Absorbed in sin, Jeroboam ii and the people of Israel paid no attention to Assyria. And they gave little attention to Hosea and Amos, both of whom warned relentlessly that Assyria was about to invade. Can you see the parallels with modern America and Germany? Like Germany today, ancient Assyria was leaderless and inward-focused; and like America today, ancient Israel was wealthy, powerful and stable. A pall of arrogance spread over Israel, and neither Jeroboam nor the people saw the need to listen.
Though Israel’s king and most of his people rejected their warnings, the prophets Amos and Hosea continued to warn. The Bible records that some of Israel’s citizens listened to God’s prophets and actually relocated to the kingdom of Judah. Those who listened and acted on God’s warning through His prophets were saved.
We need to be more like Amos and Hosea. These men understood Assyria’s history. They saw that Assyria was a superpower in need of a leader, a tank in search of a driver. Most importantly, they believed God when He said that He would use Assyria to punish Israel. For years these men were mocked and scorned. People said their warnings were sensationalist and unsubstantiated. They were told to go prophesy elsewhere.
Then Tiglath-Pileser iii arrived.