Defeated Dictators

Scripture: Daniel 2:
Over the last 100 years there have been many political leaders who have attempted to conquer the world. But they have all collapsed. Will there ever be one world government that rules the world? What does the Bible teach on this subject? Daniel 2 gives us an answer in a dream that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar.
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We are all aware that in our century many would-be world rulers have risen up. Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and a veritable rogues gallery of petty dictators have had inflated dreams of self-aggrandizement by which they hoped to bring the masses under their ruthless control.

These autocrats have uniformly failed in their attempts to gain power over the world. Ever since the collapse of the Roman Empire, men's dreams of world domination have resoundingly failed. Charlamagne, Charles the 5th, Louis the 14th, and Napoleon are some of the more notable examples of despots whose dreams ended in defeat.

Many today fear that some alliance of communist powers will eventually take over the world. Ultimately, neither capitalism nor communism is going to win in this deadly struggle for supremacy. In fact, every corrupt system of government is destined to crumble and vanish away.

Most people don't realize that God's word has decreed defeat for every man or nation who would seek for dominion over the earth. The fascinating record of that decree is found in the second chapter of Daniel where we read an actual brief history of world events to the end of time.

The story is told here of King Nebuchadnezzar who was the ruler of the first world empire known as the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar was concerned about his kingdom's future, and one night the Lord gave him a very unusual dream. The king awoke from this dream in a troubled state of mind. He realized that he had seen something of great significance, but he could not recall what it was.

Nebuchadnezzar immediately sent his soldiers to bring in the astrologers, the magicians, and the wise men in an endeavor to discover, if he could, what he had dreamed. The king soon learned that the so-called wise men were fakers; they could not tell him a thing. There are many people today who make the same mistake that Nebuchadnezzar made. And when they are endeavoring to find out something about the future, they resort to astrology and fortune tellers. The only way we can find out about things that pertain to the future is by consulting the Word of God.

When Nebuchadnezzar realized that he had been duped by these parasites, he "was angry and furious,and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon." Daniel 2:12. He then dispatched Arioch, who was the chief of the king's guard, to gather in all of the wise men from all over his kingdom so that the order to kill could be carried out.

There were some young Hebrew captives in Babylon at this time. Daniel and his three companions were among them, and they were attending the king's school, and therefore, were considered to be among the wise men. Arioch ordered them to be taken in, and Daniel asked for time to consult his God regarding the king's dream, and the time was granted. After Daniel and his three companions had prayed earnestly to the Lord, the dream was revealed to Daniel. Then he went before the king and said, "There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."

Notice that Daniel said that God was revealing something to Nebuchadnezzar that pertained to the latter days. Daniel now unfolded the king's dream to him. He said, "Thou, 0 king, sawest, and behold a great image." Daniel then described the awesome scene of a giant image of a man, which had a head of gold, and breast and arms of silver, and thighs of brass, and legs of iron, with feet part of iron and part of clay. Daniel then described how a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that this stone rolled down upon the image and crushed it to dust. Finally the wind came and blew away the dust, leaving nothing but the great stone which Daniel said grew and grew until it filled the entire earth. King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed. He recognized that this was his dream all right. His cynicism was gone. He listened intently as Daniel told him what the dream meant.

Daniel first told him that the head of gold represented his kingdom. "Thou art this head of gold." Gold was a fitting symbol of the beauty and wealth of the Babylonian Empire. But then, Daniel told the king that there would be a second kingdom that would rule the world, and that it would be inferior to Babylon. Then he said that there would be a third kingdom, represented by the thighs of brass, which would rule the world also. And a fourth kingdom was then predicted before the king, strong as iron, as represented by the legs of iron in the image of a man. The kingdom of Rome was to be divided into ten divisions, as symbolized by the ten toes in the feet. Daniel revealed to the king that the iron and clay in the feet and toes indicated that the kingdoms of divided Rome would never be united again, as iron and clay cannot be welded together.

Just as God predicted to Nebuchadnezzar in this marvelous dream, the Babylonian Empire finally fell to the second world power called the Persian Empire. This is recorded in the history books. The chest and arms of silver represented the Persian Empire, and as silver is inferior to gold, so the Persian Empire was not as wealthy nor as luxurious as was the Babylonian.

When the Medes and Persians laid siege to Babylon, they were scoffed at by the Babylonians. History tells us that they threw tons of food over their walls to show the Persians that they had plenty and to spare, and that they could withstand a siege for any period of time. However, under Cyrus the Great, the Medes and Persians finally got through into the city, and Babylon fell. The night of Belshazzar's memorable feast was the time of the downfall of Babylon.

The third kingdom of brass symbolized the Grecian Empire which was led by Alexander the Great in the conquest of the world. Alexander's army used more modern tactics, and although his numbers were not so great, they soon conquered the Medes and Persians. Alexander died at an early age as a result of a drunken debauch.

The fourth kingdom, as strong as iron, symbolized by the iron legs in the image, arose to rule the world. This was the iron rule of Rome. Under the mighty Caesars, they soon conquered all the world. The course of history had reached the legs of iron when Jesus was born in the earth. We read in Luke 2:1 that Caesar Augustus, the emperor of Rome, decreed that all the world should be taxed, and this was the reason why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

The Romans ruled the world with great power until they began living in luxury, drunkenness and licentiousness. They then lost their character and their strength. They were broken up into ten divisions by the invasions of barbarian tribes from the north. By the year 476 A.D., Rome was divided. Seven of those ten divisions are still on the maps of Europe to this day. They grew into the modern nations of England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.

The feet and ten toes in the image were of iron and clay. That meant that some would be strong and some weak, but God predicted that the kingdoms symbolized by the ten toes would never be united. We read in Daniel 2:43 and 44 as follows, "Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." Notice that God says, "they shall not cleave one to another." These are the seven words that have stopped every aspiring world ruler up to the present time.

Charlemagne tried to unite Europe, but failed. Charles the fifth, tried and failed. Louis the fourteenth, the ruler of France who was a very shrewd emperor, also tried to unite Europe into one empire, but failed. Napoleon tried it, and he came very close to succeeding. He was called "the little giant." He was considered to be a military genius. His army swept across Europe, and it appeared that nothing would be able to stop Napoleon. However, the elements entered into the picture at Waterloo, and Napoleon's artillery became waterlogged, and he was defeated. Just a simple thing like rain can defeat the mightiest conqueror.

I do not believe that it was Marshall Bleucher nor was it Lord Wellington that defeated Napoleon. I believe that it was God. Napoleon spent his last days as a prisoner on the island of St. Helena. One day his guards overheard him exclaim, "God Almighty has been too much for me."

In Daniel 2:21 it says, "He (God) changeth the times and the seasons, he removeth kings; and setteth up kings." God decided that Napoleon was getting too heavy in the balance of the world affairs and the Lord stopped him.

Then came Kaiser Wilhelm with his boasted war machine that was supposed to smash all opposition, but it fell apart at the Battle of the Marne. Later Hitler flashed across the face of Europe, and hesitated at the English Channel in the face of Churchill's courageous challenge. Then, to the amazement of the world, Hitler instead of pressing his advantage upon a people who had the will to fight, but no weapons, turned his armies north into Russia. There the coldest winter in fifty years stole away the glorious dreams of world conquest from Adolph Hitler.

Now once again the nations are anxiously charting the pattern of communist aggression, Poland, Romania, Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, China, North Korea, Viet Nam. Other countries in Asia and the Middle East, and elsewhere, are almost dominated by Russian power and influence. Where will it stop? American has practically declared that she can fight no more wars of containment. Then who or what will contain this gigantic atheistic threat to world freedom? I'll tell you who, friends. God's word says, "they shall not cleave one to another." Those seven words of Daniel forever preclude Russia from ruling either Europe or the world. The old Roman Empire territory of Western Europe will never be welded together under one head.

God revealed to Daniel in the prophecy of Daniel 2 that while no man who aspired to be a world ruler could succeed, the nations would be united some day under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophecy says, "In the days of these kings (the kingdoms of Europe) shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed." Daniel next reveals that that great rock that broke the image in pieces represents Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages. "It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever." Daniel 2:44,45.

The man who is coming from the East to rule the United Nations under one flag is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who is coming as King of kings and Lord of lords to set up His kingdom of glory. All the world will then be under the banner of love. What a wonderful day that will be!

We are living today down in the toes of the prophetic image. History has run its course. Thomas E. Murray of the Atomic Energy Commission made the statement, "For all we know it may be the incomprehensible and inscrutable will of God to make the twentieth century ‘closing time' for the human race." When you look a man over from head to toe, you have gone as far as you can go. The history of our world had gone about as far as it can go. The next great glorious drama will be Christ and His coming and eternity. The Bible predicts that we are living in the day of our Lord's return. Thoughtful men everywhere are increasingly convinced that the return of Christ is near at hand.

Men have tried to unite the nations. They have tried to make peace. But men cannot solve the problems of our world. Christ's coming is the answer to our needs. Truly He is coming soon, and the greatest question of all is whether you are ready for it.

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