Sermons

Summary: He did not say bow down to God or die, but look here at the marvelous power and love of the God who saved me. We have a picture here of a converted monarch who went from insane to humane.

It is surprising, and even shocking, that the greatest hero of

Saddam Hussain, the ruler of Iraq, was one who wrote part of the

Bible. Nebuchadnezzar is a familiar name to students of the Bible,

but few realize that he was one of the authors of the Bible. Here in

chapter 4 of Daniel we see clearly that this is one of his letters and his

personal testimony. Someone had to write it down for him, but these

are his words. Nebuchadnezzar is the most prominent heathen monarch

referred to the Bible, and the most important. The prophecies of

Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and the last chapters of Kings and

Chronicles center around the life of this great man. There are many

of the great people of God who do not get a fraction of the coverage

that he gets in the Bible. He is named 86 times in the Bible. He

reigned for 43 years and died in 594 B.C. at the age of 84. His capital

was Babylon just about 100 miles from Baghdad, the present capital

of Iraq.

This area of the world seems like an insignificant place to us in

the West, but there are few places on earth with such a rich heritage

of history. The area of Iraq where the Tigris and the Euphrates

rivers come together is considered the most likely place where man

began his history, for this is where the Garden of Eden was

according to the best guesses. The oldest organized states are to be

found in this area, and it was not far from this area that Abraham

was called to become the father of God's people. He is the most

honored man in all of history, and he came from this area.

This area was called Messopotamia, and some of the world's

most famous people ruled here. Hammurabi, the great ancient

lawgiver, ruled here in 1700 B. C. When Nebuchadnezzar came to

power in the 600's he was used of God to punish His people. He

came to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, and he carried Israel

into captivity to Babylon. There was no help for Israel, for

Nebuchadnezzar had defeated all his foes, and even Syria and Egypt

came under his power. With relative peace he gave himself to

become a great builder in beautifying his capital of Babylon. His

hanging gardens were one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

Daniel was taken captive along with most of Israel, and they

lived for 70 years in Babylon until the Persians conquered Babylon

and Cyrus the Great let the Jews go back to Israel. A lot of what we

have seen in our day is due to the heritage of Iran and Iraq. The

leaders of these nations have a noble heritage, and in their pride they

feel they can recapture the glory of Bible days, and again be world

powers. Saddam Hussain is rebuilding Babylon and trying to make

his nation the center of power, glory and luxury. Every year he

stages a festival in Babylon. He mints a special gold coin with face on

one side and that of Nebuchadnezzar on the other.

The study of Babylon is fascinating, for there are hundreds of

references to Babylon in the Bible. Peter even refers to a church

there in I Peter 5:13. The tomb of the prophet Ezekiel is not far

outside of Babylon. But in the book of Revelation it becomes a

symbol of the evil power of the world that is judged by God.

Babylon The Great is fallen, and it represents the lost just as

Jerusalem represents the redeemed. I do not pretend to be a

prophecy expert, but the fact is, if a war breaks out in the cities of

Babylon and Jerusalem it could be a rehearsal for the final battle.

But we want to focus on the record of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned

over ancient Babylon.

All of the bricks dug up from the ruins of ancient Babylon, and a

hundred other towns in the neighborhood of Bagdad have no other

name on them but that of Nebuchadnezzar. Here in 4:30

Nebuchadnezzar says, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as

the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my

majesty?" The Jewish and Greek historians agree that he was more

celebrated then was Hercules among the Greeks. He was brilliant,

powerful, and very religious. He built more temples than any other

ruler.

He was the king who built the 90-foot image of gold, and he

threw Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego into the fiery furnace for

not bowing to it. He is one of the few kings who saw a miracle of God

when a fourth man appeared in the fire and the 3 came out without a

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