Photo by: Ambenalain
Nebuchadnazzar was King of ancient Babylon. At that time, Babylon was the world’s dominant kingdom. It’s realm covered most of the known world.
One night, the king had a dream from God. He dreamed of a large statue made up of different metals. The head was gold, the chest silver, the thighs bronze, the legs iron and the feet were made of iron and clay together.
The story of this dream, and the prophet Daniel to whom God gave the interpretation, is found in Daniel chapter 2 of the Bible. Daniel told the king God had sent the dream to show the future. God used Nebuchadnazzar to proclaim to the nations that the God of the Hebrews was the true God. He did this through two proclamations that were sent throughout the kingdom.
Depiction of statue.
God showed the rise and fall of kingdoms through this statue. Daniel told the king that he himself was the head of gold.
Head of gold: Babylon
Chest of silver: Persians/Medes
Thighs of bronze: Greece (Alexander the Great)
Legs of iron: Rome
Feet of iron and clay: Nations of the world. No one nation would rule the world again.
While gazing at the statue, Nebuchadnezzar saw a rock cut out, but not by human hands, strike the iron and clay and smash them to pieces. This rock was God, who will set up his universal kingdom at the end of time.
We are living in the time of iron and clay. There have been mighty nations after the Roman Empire, but none that ruled the entire world. Britain was powerful, Germany tried to rule the world, and now the strongest nation on earth is the United States, with Russia coming in second and China third. They all have the power to destroy the world with their bombs, if they so desire.
Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. These kingdoms will also fall one day like all others, and the way the world looks right now it could be soon. But God has told us not to fear what nations do. He says he is the one who sets them up and pulls them down.
The night Babylon fell, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, was king. He gave a large party, inviting all the important people and his wives. As they drank, the king sent for the golden goblets that the Babylonians had taken from the temple of God at Jerusalem. They poured wine in them and then gave toasts to their own gods.
All of a sudden, a hand came into the room and began writing on the wall.
“Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.” Daniel 5:5,6
No one could understand the writing. The king sent for Daniel and he interpreted the words for the king.
“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
“This is the inscription that was written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN
“Here is what these words mean:
Mene : God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel : You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.i Daniel 5:18-30
I believe God weighs each nation on the scales of justice. When evil is rampant, as it was in Sodom, as it was at the flood, then God will act to put a stop to it. God had shown the Babylonians over and over again how powerful and loving he was. Now a new nation would take over, and God would work with them through Daniel to show himself to these new people.
I see the United States as coming into judgement. For many years, morality has been cast to the ground. Not only cast down, but laughed at. This has become especially apparent when it comes to sex.
Then there is the opposite side of the pendulum. People who say they are Christians, yet act like they hate those who don’t agree with them. There is a middle group. These people go quietly through life believing in God and doing good for others. If they are persecuted, they don’t get angry and strike back. They just keep working for the Lord and waiting for his coming.
Some Christians, want to unite Church and State. They think this will mend the country. They think God will be pleased with this and I can understand that. Unfortunately, every time Church and State are united there is persecution of those who don’t believe the same. This will happen in the United States if they amend the Constitution in order to pass religious laws.
I’m not sure if there is anything worse than persecuting good people for their religion. That is what they did to Jesus. The church leaders joined with a Roman Governor and nailed him to a cross. He was teaching things the leaders thought were blasphemy, things that put them in a bad light.
After Jesus, they started killing more believers. This happened again in the Dark Ages with the Catholic Church that tortured and burned those who believed differently. Then the Protestants persecuted the Catholics. Quakers were persecuted by other churches. Mormons were persecuted. Now ISIS is killing everyone who won’t join their brand of Islam.
What can we do when it feels like the world is falling apart? Trust in God and do good. That’s what Jesus did.
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.