The Unrealized Lesson of Saddam's Fall and Capture What Is It

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The Unrealized Lesson of Saddam's Fall and Capture What Is It

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The dramatic scenes of jubiliant Iraqis hanging a noose around the neck of the statue were a dramatic symbol of a repressive, dictatorial reign coming to an end."

Now Saddam himself has been captured in the most humbling of circumstances—his appearance a far cry from the swaggering poses of his dictatorial rule. Images of "the mother of all mugshots" are on most front pages of daily newspapers around the globe. But he is not the first ruler to suffer abject humiliation.

Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar had also walked in pride, and wound up being reduced to living with animals, cut off from human contact, for seven years as a direct punishment for his arrogance. The important difference is that this ancient king, who lived during the time of Daniel the prophet, learned the lesson—and at least acknowledged the sovereignty and supremacy of the Creator God.

This ruler of Babylon was moved to say: "His [God's] kingdom is an eternal kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation" (Daniel 4:3 Daniel 4:3How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
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, New International Version throughout unless otherwise stated). God has seen it all, having endured man's incredible ego since his creation on earth.

But before Nebuchadnezzar's humiliating exile from power, he had arrogantly asked: "Is not this great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power, and for the glory of my majesty?" (verse 30, emphasis added throughout).

Seven years of massively embarrassing humiliation immediately followed, after which he learned his lesson: "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble" (verse 37).

In stark contrast, although initially bewildered and disoriented after his capture—early media reports indicated that Saddam Hussein soon returned to form, becoming "unrepentant and defiant" and showing "no remorse." The Evening Standard's (London) correspondent in Baghdad reported: "Dictator rants in defiance as [Iraq's] new ruling council confronts him over his years of crime."

Out of control, man's ego is one of the most debilitating aspects of our human nature. Yet we often acclaim it as a vital ingredient for success.

Once two very famous tennis players discussed being the top player in the world. One said to the other: "You know it as well as I do. If you're number two, you might as well be number three or number four—you're nobody." The other one also stated that ego gets you to the top and ego keeps you there. That's the way this world looks at success. But God has an altogether different point of view. True and unfeigned humility must accompany our human efforts.

Men and women have always been very slow to acknowledge the supreme authority of the eternal God. Many mainstream Christians refuse to be ruled by this God, preferring to "worship the little Lord Jesus away in a manger" instead of the living Christ in heaven. Often worship is without obedience (Luke 6:46 Luke 6:46And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
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).

Jesus Christ had no problem in expressing both adoration and obedience toward God the Father. He said: "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (Matthew 11:25 Matthew 11:25At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes.
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) and "I have kept My Father's commandments" (John 15:10 John 15:10If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
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, NKJV). The apostle Paul followed Christ's example by saying to the Athenian philosophers: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth" (Acts 17:24 Acts 17:24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;
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). Over many generations the Creator has patiently endured the actions of a succession of human dictators.

Saddam Hussein certainly will not be the last dictator to fulfill this proverb: "Like a roaring lion and a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people" (Proverbs 28:15 Proverbs 28:15As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
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, NKJV). Others will follow until finally a powerful, end-time, charismatic ruler the Bible calls "the beast" bestrides the world in association with a false religious leader. Ultimately, together they will suffer the worst humiliation of all (Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
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).

Daniel, however, prophesied of Christ's glorious millennial reign to follow. He saw in vision "One like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days [God the Father], and was led into His presence" (Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
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). No physical human being can enter God's presence in heaven. This passage refers to the living Christ.

Notice to whom God chooses to give rulership in the age to come. "He [the Son of Man] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed" (verse 14).

Once Jesus Christ assumes the mantle of world leadership, He will rule in loving authority for all eternity. But notice that despite His greatness, Christ humbled Himself by becoming a human being to die for the sins of the world (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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; Philippians 2:7-9 Philippians 2:7-9 [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. [9] Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
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).

For a much more complete understanding, please request our free booklets The Gospel of the Kingdom and Who Is God? You may download or request them online.