Is President Trump the ‘Lord’s Anointed’?

I don’t know what your social media feed looks like, but mine is crowded with a confusing stream of conversations about Trump’s rise to the White House. The Christian church it seems, is deeply divided, particularly inside the US. For the 80 or so percent of white American evangelicals who voted for him, Trump is an answer to prayer and the fulfilment of God’s plan to address the immorality in the USA.1 At the other end of the spectrum, he’s seen as a misogynistic and unethical bigot; his win a shame on American Christians who care more about preserving their privilege than protecting the marginalized.2

The majority of these statements are presented as mere opinion, so we know there’s plenty of room for them to be flawed. But among them, there’s also a number of ministries who claim to be hearing God’s voice directly on the matter3: So, Trump is “God’s anointed man to turn America around”4 and, Trump is “like the Cyrus of old who will be used as God’s instrument to lead the nation back to him.5 These voices make confident appeals to divine origin. But what do we make of them? How do we know if what they’re saying is – or isn’t – from God?

Test “Against the Scriptures?”

We know that we can hear God’s voice, but we also know that we can get it wrong and therefore every revelation must be tested (1 John 4:1). One of the most common ways we’re told to do this is to test what we hear “against the Scriptures.” The Scriptures are the foundational authority for our faith, so everything must be held up against this standard. In fact you’ll notice many of the prophetic words that have been published over the election period reference the Scriptures in their claims6: Trump is the 45th president just as Cyrus’ is prophesied in Isaiah chapter 45; as Cyrus authorized the Jews to rebuild their temple, the modern-day Trump will assist the Jews to build the third temple; Trump will lead the nation, invoke fear from other nations and take the world into a new day7, and so on.

But the careful thinker will see that the call to test revelation “against the Scriptures” can be problematic. Under this schema, someone could make a claim that “God told them” to sacrifice their child (see Genesis 22), commit genocide (see Deuteronomy 8) or divorce their spouse on the basis of race (see Ezra 10). Such a statement is over-simplified and can even be unhelpful. It can tend towards proof-texting and pulling verses out of context to make them fit what we want them to say.

What most people actually mean when they say to test revelation “against the Scriptures” is to test it against God’s character and nature as depicted in the Scriptures. Since God’s nature is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), anything he says to us today will be in line with who he has shown himself to be. We would know for example, that a ‘prophetic word’ that tells me to rob a bank is not from God since he’s already said “don’t steal” in the eighth commandment. So the question at the heart of every claim to revelation is; is this consistent with God’s character and nature?

And how do we know God’s character and nature?

This question is precisely why God sent his son Jesus to earth. Jesus came to show us what God is like. He is the living, breathing demonstration of God’s nature; God’s word in the flesh (John 1:1,14) and the perfect image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). That means that not only everything Jesus said revealed God’s heart, but also everything he did. We see his compassion when he healed the sick, his grace when he set the captive free and his love when he forgave his executor. Jesus is the clearest, most perfect representation of who God is; “If you have seen me, you have seen the father,” he said (John 14:9). This means that whenever we make a claim to a message from God, it must be filtered first and foremost through the person of Jesus. We must ask; Would Jesus say this?

So while we may use the Old Testament to help us assess our prophetic experiences, we also need to understand the limitations of using it on its own. In the Old Testament period, the Spirit ministered in ‘shadows’ and ‘types’ – the faces of the people were ‘veiled’ because they couldn’t see the fullness of God’s nature (Hebrews 10:1,11-14). The prophets themselves knew this and looked forward to our time, knowing it would be an improvement on theirs (Numbers 11:29, Jeremiah 31:33-34, see also 2 Corinthians 3:7-18). The author of Hebrews puts it this way: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son… The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” (Hebrews 1:1-3). Ultimately this means that today we’re in a better position to recognise the Spirit because we have seen Jesus and we know that his voice and the voice of the Spirit are one and the same.

The Problem of Context

The other problem is of course, that when we judge contemporary prophecy solely against the backdrop of the Old Testament, we encounter the problem of context. Today’s political scene is radically different to the world of the Ancient Near East. Most of Old Testament history is Israel’s history – a theocracy founded under the call of one man, Abraham. Today (in the west), we live in democratic nations where leaders are elected by the people. Today there is no such thing as ‘a Christian nation’. The Reformation of the 16th Century took great pains to remind us that it’s as individuals that we make a choice to follow Christ when we confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9), not when we’re born into a certain political region. Our times are radically different to the Scriptures. That in itself should be enough to give us pause when it comes to discerning God’s voice in our day.

It’s also why when Jesus left the planet, he sent us his Spirit. The Spirit would remind us of the things that have already been said, but would also speak of things to come (John 16:12-13). The Spirit would be the one who helps to express the purpose and nature of God against the backdrop of our time. He would speak to us about the issues concerning our lives, applying his will to our context. That’s why he said it would be better if he left (John 16:7). But in hearing his voice today, we must remember the voice of the Spirit and Jesus are one and the same. What he says today must be consistent with what he has already said.

Would Jesus Say This?

So back to those prophetic words about Donald Trump. How do we test the prophetic words we’re hearing across media outlets today?

Ultimately we must ask, would Jesus say this?

And more specifically, when Jesus was on earth, what view did he take on the reigning powers that governed his world?

Oddly enough, Jesus rarely spoke about politics – and it was not as though there wasn’t plenty to say. In his day, God’s people groaned heavily under the weight of Roman leadership and longed for a messiah who would establish sovereign rule to Israel once again. Some of them – the Zealots8 – favoured armed rebellion, believing that God would deliver them with the sword just as he had done in David’s time.

Yet in this politically charged atmosphere, Jesus made very few political statements, with only made one or two references to Herod and Caesar – mostly about the need to keep civic responsibilities and pay taxes (Matthew 22:15-22). His other comments about powers and authorities had more to do with an invisible kingdom that operated apart from platforms and positions – a kingdom that operated in hidden places when one chose to love their enemies, forgave after being wronged, and showed mercy to those who were suffering (See Matthew 5). In this system, love, joy and peace were the policies of the day. Jesus’ entire attention was given to building a spiritual kingdom not an earthly one – one that started small as a mustard seed, that grew within hearts rather than being imposed from without (See Matthew 13), that ultimately conquered as a slain lamb rather than an armed soldier (Revelation 5). In short, Jesus completely redirected the people’s attention away from politics as a tool for change, instead calling for a revolution of people’s hearts.

Citizens of a Democracy

Jesus’ obvious disinterest in political matters doesn’t mean that today we shouldn’t have an opinion, share informed ideas or debate about policies and who we should vote for. These are all responsibilities of what it means to be a good citizen of a democracy. The Apostle Paul reminded us that it is beholden on Christians to serve their country well, honour their leaders and pray for those in charge, regardless of the who is in power (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:2). And we also know that ultimately God is sovereign over and above the powers of this world.

So, the question becomes, would God speak about current political leadership? Certainly God has something to say in the midst of the global turmoil surrounding us today. Certainly he is not silent in the face of power and corruption, issues of character and integrity and the fate of his people living in a tumultuous world. But would he say Trump is the Lord’s anointed?

First ask yourself, would God say this? 

Then let your answer be consistent with the character of the One who is most perfectly revealed in Jesus.

Comments

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Please keep them thoughtful, civil and free of personal attack.

Notes

  1. http://www.globalchristiannews.org/article/trump-victory-dawns-on-the-world-reaction-of-christian-leaders/, cited 13/2/17.
  2. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/november-web-only/trump-won-how-evangelical-leaders-feel.html, cited 13/2/17.
  3. www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/62574-a-major-prophetic-sign-appeared-the-moment-donald-trump-stepped-to-the-inauguration-platform, cited 13/2/17.
  4. www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/62577-what-the-lord-is-saying-about-president-trump, cited 13/2/17.
  5. www.christiantoday.com/article/donald.trump.gets.prophetic.prayer.from.christian.teacher.who.likens.him.to.cyrus.gods.anointed.leader/69775.htm, cited 13/2/17.
  6. www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/60378-why-i-believe-trump-is-the-prophesied-president, cited 13/2/17.
  7. www.charismanews.com/politics/opinion/62577-what-the-lord-is-saying-about-president-trump, cited 13/2/17.
  8. Note that Jesus chose a Zealot, Simon to be one of his disciples (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13).

 

  • axab43

    In this day and age, Trump is consistently standing up for Israel and standing up for the rights of Christians. Jesus was not polite. He said MANY things that religious people were outraged at. Trump says things that people are shocked at because he says them openly. Others who we would consider “Godly” probably say equally bad things behind closed doors.

    And to compare Trump to Hitler is an insult to every Jew every where and it is about time so called Christians STOPPED doing this!! It is insulting to the memory of the Holocaust.

    Again, it is in putting Jesus first that I would vote for Trump, because Jesus spoke the truth, no matter what people would think of Him. If Jesus did the same things, and said the same things, a lot of us would be pointing the finger at Him. He dares to let a woman touch his feet, one of “ill repute”!!! He saves a woman caught in adultery. Jesus was never polite, never did what religious people wanted Him too. He was a radical and again would upset many of us today, if we were not so used to everything He said.

    People should get to know the REAL radical Jesus, sometimes rude, sometimes very controversial, and hated by the religious people. The media would blow up everything He did and all the Christians who are against Trump now would probably be against Jesus today, once the media had twisted everything He did and said.

    • Hi axab43, What are your thoughts on Jesus’ emphasis on a spiritual kingdom that has love, joy and peace as its emphasis?

  • esarbee

    Hi Tania, I love your post “Is Trump the Lord’s Anointed”. President Donald J. Trump I believe is a type of the Lord’s anointed, which was Cyrus, as you have mentioned. I have read other articles and carefully viewed some of the YouTube videos and have had a range of crazy and genuinely good views. It is clear that God is using Donald Trump to reset the state of America and this will in turn affect the nations of the world. I don’t think it is any surprise to God that President Donald Trump is in power. In scripture God shows that a nations attitude will determine what type of leader they have. An example of this was that the people of Israel wanted a king, not Samuel who was their prophet and priest. So God gave them what they wanted and the first king of Israel was Saul, who started of well, but never finished well. When Saul’s life went downhill, through blatant disobedience, God then chose a king who had His heart, which we find in King David. This is an example of a reset of Israel from one king to another.

    Only time will tell if President Donald Trump will have a positive influence on Israel, as he has declared his support of Israel. President Obama, was totally against Israel. We can only pray and trust God to guide President Donald Trump and bring him to his knees to fully acknowledge the Saviour. His wife does!

    I was reading your website that you love Kayaking. I was also reading am email from another person by the name of Helen Calder, who has her own website, (Enliven Prophetic – http://www.enlivenpublishing.com/blog/ ) had a picture of a person kayaking in New Zealand. Just wondered whether you know her. She may be able to give you further insight on this topic.
    Looking forward to reading what you share in the weeks and months ahead. God Bless you ministry.

    • Hi Esarbee, thankyou for your thoughts! The challenge is that most of the commentary around today references OT settings exclusively – a time when Israel was a theocracy – and kings, priests and kings were the only ‘anointed ones’. Jesus consistently pointed people away from putting their hope in a Messiah who would come like a Davidic king. Much of today’s commentary ignores this. What do you think Jesus would say – in light of how he spoke about the human kingdom of his own day?

      • Shane Bekker

        It is interesting that Jesus said many times that ‘the kingdom of Heaven is like’, and then gave a parable to explain it. We all want a perfect kingdom. Jesus was the perfect answer for a perfect kingdom. Jesus was showing how things could really be organised if we payed attention to Him. We will have a new Heaven and a new earth which will be governed by God. That perfect leadership we are after is Jesus himself.

  • caitlyn johnson

    Thank you for bringing everything back to putting Jesus first and hearing his voice in absolutely every area of our lives and our world. This is a great article!

    • You’re so welcome Caitlyn! Thanks for your comments

  • Janine Scott

    Great article Tania. I love that you reflect and deflect back to Jesus and his character. Also noting the differences in the time period we live in is important–while reminding ourselves that God remains the same. I think there’s a constant battle among Christians when it comes to remembering and recognizing that we are living in end times. There is no ‘taking back’ any nation. We as Christ followers are called to share the Gospel to a hurting world–not necessarily cure or redeem the hurting world. This is not our home, and we must remember that things will get much worse before they get better. Sounds a bit dismal but truth can be sobering.

    • Thanks Janine – yes Jesus’ has to be central to this entire discussion and tragically, his focus has been entirely overlooked. :-( Ultimately, redemption comes through transformation of human hearts! Blessings to you!

  • Arul John

    Thanks for this clear, balanced and dispassionate sharing Tania. I agree that all comments and ‘words of God’ should be checked and rechecked against God’s Word. We should be diligent and discerning like the Bereans and the sons of Issachar, who “knew the times”. But there are a lot of comments and while some of it is insightful, a lot of it is outrage and ‘noise’ that serves no clear purpose.
    it can be hard to discern about what Donald Trump is all about. The only thing that makes sense is that “God is up to something” as my pastor told the congregation several Sundays ago. For now, I prefer to take a wait-and-see approach, recognise that President Trump has feet of clay, and continue to pray for the US, and the rest of the world, including my homeland Singapore. Thanks again for sharing this Tania!

    • You’re so welcome Arul – I appreciate the encouragement! The key purpose of the article is to call people to not put their hope in governments or presidents, but to understand that God’s work is most effectively accomplished in human hearts. Who is in power has absolutely no bearing on that!

  • jim

    Hi Tania,

    Thanks for the article. I am reminded of Hebrews 4ish, “let us be diligent to enter that rest”. One needs to read all of chapter 4 to get the vibe. But we know that God has encouraged, or commanded to enter His rest.

    When our knickers get in a knot, especially over political issues, it might be worthwhile asking ourselves those deep questions like “why does this tick me off”?

    Could it be that we are volitionally choosing not to enter into a resting relationship with the finished work of Jesus. Rest sounds so much better than being haywire.

    Peace,

    Jim

    • Hi Jim, Yes what a beautiful rest we have in Jesus! You are right that people can get very heated up about political issues. That’s why Jesus redirected our attention to building a spiritual kingdom where love, joy and peace are the policies of the day rather than placing our hope in human governments. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Bev Murrill

    Tania, i couldn’t agree more. I have been aghast to hear people I have respected in the past, and people I know and love, speak that Trump is the instrument of God, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten into power. Would they say the same of Pol Pot, or Idi Amin, Hitler, or any of a myriad of options. God is sovereign, that’s true, but He chooses to allow humanity to walk in free will. If that were not the case, there would be no despots, no trafficking, no abuse or ugliness. The fact that there is makes it very clear that God isn’t the source of the leader, or the leadership choice.

    I love that you have pointed out that Jesus almost never addressed politics. I don’t take that to mean Christians shouldn’t take their place in politics; of course they should, just as they should be in every aspect of society. However, just because they are Christian does not mean they are living in a Christian way, making decisions that Christ would make… and then we come to the situation where someone espouses Christianity in order to get the Christian vote… and my heart is astonished and devastated to think that there are Christians that believe that person, regardless of the fact that they don’t see any evidence of any conversion in any way.

    Honestly, I’m gutted at the state of the Church, and I believe there is a Church within the Church. We are not called to be Liberal or Labour, Republican or Democrat. That’s just our political persuasion. We are called to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with our heart, soul, money, actions and should our political persuasion differ from our stance as a Christian, our only choice should be to shed the political persuasion.

    There’s a lot to say on this, but that’s probably enough.

    • Agreed Bev, I think many Christians have a skewed concept of sovereignty. People think it means that God controls everything we do – which is actually a Islamic worldview, not a Christian one. Yes, we need to have Christians in politics, but we are also misguided if we think changing a law is going to change a person’s heart. That’s why the New covenant is so much better than the old! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • axab43

      Again, to compare Trump to Hitler is just… unbelievable. The one main difference?? Trump defends and fights for Israel! And if you are saying that Trump “became” a Christian to get votes, I would be very careful!! He is not perfect, but he is standing up for Christian faith and for God’s people a lot more than most politicians of his day. And if you believe everything the media blows up against Trump, you should exercise more discernment!

  • Dear Tania: I have been blogging on Trump for the last few months – initially because people kept asking me about him wherever I went. The answer to your leading question may not be so apparent now – but what I can say is that there was a lot of prayer over this election – more than usual, I think. Second, regardless of what we think of Trump, we are to pray for him and all that are in authority (I Timothy 2:1-2). Our prayers should be over political leaders, whether we voted for them or not. Third, we all have a vested interest in Trump’s success – much hinges on for America and the world. Finally, God sovereignty means, among other things, He can use anyone, at anytime. In any case, glad to see you continue to be involved in the Lord’s work.

    • Thanks so much Kameel! Yes we do have a vested interest in the direction of the US – I guess in the same way that the prophets spoke of seeking the prosperity of Babylon since they would be directly effected by it. Any thoughts on the heart of Jesus in the midst of all of this?