World History is heavily marked with the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms. There is, however, one king that uniquely captures the attention of the history student: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, enthroned late 7th Century BC.
King Nebuchadnezzar, like all men, had a passion for tomorrow, the result of which was one of the most remarkable experiences of any monarch. It happened as he lay on his bed and wondered about “what should come to pass hereafter” (Daniel 2:29). It opened up before him and he saw, in dramatic fashion, all that was to transpire on the world political scene – right from his day, cruising through ours, and all the way into the end of time!
This privileged preview of the world’s greatest political episodes was in the form of a dream in which the king saw a “great image, whose brightness was excellent.” The image’s head was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, and its feet partly iron and partly clay. The dream unfolded to where “a stone” was cut out of a mountain “without hands” and launched by some mysterious means. The stone smote the image at its feet, breaking the whole thing into pieces. Then the stone grew into “a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:31-45).
According to the dreams vindicated interpretation, the head of gold of the image was symbolic of the splendour and majesty of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign from Babylon. After him was to rise another power represented in the breast and arms of silver – fulfilled in the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. Thereafter came Alexander the Great, charging out of the west like a leopard. He dashed into the Medes and Persians, toppled their dominion and created another shift in the centre of world political power. The kingdom over which he ruled from ancient Greece was the one represented in the brazen belly and thighs of the image. In no time Alexander wasted himself in riotous living.
Then came the ruthless, iron-fisted Romans from further westwards. They overthrew the divided kingdom that precipitated from Alexander’s exit and established their own, symbolised in the legs of iron of the image Nebuchadnezzar saw. True to form, however, they could wield the iron rod for only so long. With the passage of their dominion, we entered our day, represented in the feet of iron and clay.
This odd combination of iron and clay is an apt representation of the political order of our day. What with nations and global powerbrokers with hugely contrasting worldviews and aspirations coming together to forge a common cause – a “New World Order”!
The idea of a New World Order was perhaps most famously captured in the January 1991 State of the Union address of former United States president George H.W. Bush. An excerpt (with added emphasis): “Halfway around the world, we are engaged in a great struggle in the skies and on the seas and sands. We know why we’re there. We are Americans – part of something larger than ourselves. For two centuries we’ve done the hard work of freedom. And tonight we lead the world in facing down a threat to decency and humanity. What is at stake is more than one small country [Kuwait, which had been invaded by Iraq, the target of the “Operation Desert Storm” in focus], it is a big idea – a New World Order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law. Such is a world worthy of our struggle, and worthy of our children’s future.”
Good talk, you say? And ambitious indeed, I add. It’s all about stabilising the world, putting things under control and making them more predictable. Not a bad idea in itself. Really, they are aspiring to that same “golden future time” that we have been previewing on this site. Yes, this bold ambition of our political leaders is one fulfilment of the prediction of the prophet, that some will “exalt themselves to establish the vision”! (Daniel 11:14.) See it? But he also declared: “They shall fail.”
Yes, with the way this New World Order thing is being pursued, I care to say that it will not turn out as envisioned. The quest is for peace, but if any peace would result from the racket, it would be the type you find in the graveyard, the kind that can only be disturbed to the eruption of the most dreadful sights! That’s the divine decree: “And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end [of the present world system] shall be at the time appointed” (Daniel 11:27). The “accords” and “resolutions” of their many “talks” and “negotiations” just won’t last, for they are founded on “lies.” As the famous poet William Butler Yeats predicted in his poem The Second Coming, the time would come when “things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” The whole idea of a “New World Order” is hopelessly doomed.
There’s only one provided way to lasting “peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law,” and that’s what we have been discussing on this site. As our present leaders continue their pursuit of a New World Order, we have been looking ahead at another. For when you stand on the shores of the turbulent sea, beholding the surge and retreat of the violent waves; when you lift up your eyes to survey the palms, swaying and struggling with the howling wind; when with a pained heart you watch the terrified birds flying swiftly for refuge – you can hear a small, still voice saying, “There is another place where it is not like this.”
Yes, there is coming another world order that will be spearheaded by the Armies of Heaven. As Daniel announced to King Nebuchadnezzar at the outset: “And in the days of these kings [the drivers of the proposed New World Order, or whatever is eventually put in place] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure (Daniel 2:44-45).
So keep the faith and remain posted.
God bless you always.