Many reports have confirmed that Saddam Hussein maintained his reign of terror through torture, murder and even the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi citizens.
In a startling piece in the April 11 New York Times, a CNN news executive admitted that he knew of a number of brutal murders of innocent Iraqis and the torture of others, and even the planned assassination of a neighboring head of state, but his network had refrained from reporting on them.
The coalition forces' destruction of many of Saddam's presidential palaces and compounds—lavish edifices constructed even as thousands of Iraqi citizens went hungry or died for lack of needed medicines—emphasized how much he had put his own interests ahead of those of his country. Shortly before the war, Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at $2 billion, most of it amassed through illegal sales of Iraqi oil and kickbacks on legal transactions. Other estimates put it even higher. As one of a number of the world's dictators-for-life, he considered himself accountable to no one.
The brutality through which Saddam Hussein maintained power is legendary. A pre-war report by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office titled "Saddam Hussein: Crimes and Human Rights Abuses" described Iraq as "a terrifying place to live," noting that 3 to 4 million Iraqis, some 15 percent of the population, had "fled their homeland rather than live under Saddam Hussein's regime."
The report recounted testimony from Iraqi exiles of many forms of punishment without trial—including systematic torture, rape and beheadings. It also noted that the penalty for "slander or abusive remarks" about Saddam Hussein or his family was amputation of the offender's tongue, with the punishment broadcast on TV as a warning to others.
One eyewitness account of government-sanctioned murders, relayed by a member of the British parliament in The Times (London) shortly before the war, described how people were fed into a machine used for shredding plastic. "Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly," said the witness. "Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming . . . I saw 30 people die like this."
Sadly, these are but a few of the tens of millions of men, women and children who have lost their lives at the hands of such despots as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-tung, and now Saddam Hussein.
A new dictator to arise
What is it about the human lust for power that brings out such indescribable brutality? What does this tell us about the human condition and what might lie ahead?
The Bible reveals that the time of human dictatorships is far from over. In fact, it will get worse. Bible prophecy foretells the rise to power of a coming dictator who will plunge the world into a crisis that will make the Iraqi conflict pale by comparison. This threat will be so great that humanity will be faced with extinction!
We find this end-time dictator described in Revelation 17, where he is called "the beast." We also see here that an alliance of 10 rulers, apparently in the territory of the former Roman Empire, will cede to him their power and authority, making him the most powerful human being on the planet.
"The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast . . . For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled" (verses 12-13, 17, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
It's not coincidental that in recent years many European countries in the heart of the ancient Roman Empire (symbolized by another "beast" in Daniel 7:7 Daniel 7:7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
American King James Version×and Revelation 13:1-3 Revelation 13:1-3  And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy.  And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
American King James Version×) have made great strides at unity—first economic, and now being followed by political and military unification. It appears that this end-time alliance will have its roots in the current European Union (to learn more, request or download our free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled).
Daniel 11:40-45 Daniel 11:40-45  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
 He shall stretch forth his hand also on the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
American King James Version×tells us more about this coming evil ruler, that he will eventually invade North Africa and the Middle East, setting up his headquarters in Israel. "He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown . . . And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain [Jerusalem] . . ." (King James Version).
The next verse, Daniel 12:1 Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
American King James Version×, tells us that the world will then experience "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time."
The power behind the throne
One reason that this end-time dictator will be able to consolidate power is his unseen allies—spirit beings the Bible calls demons (Revelation 16:13-14 Revelation 16:13-14  And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
American King James Version×). This end-time dictator will be extra-powerful and persuasive because he will have supernatural, demonic help!
He will be assisted in his manipulation and deception of the world by an individual the Bible calls "the false prophet" (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.
American King James Version×). In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul refers to this individual as "the man of sin" and "the lawless one" (verses 3, 9). Paul reveals that the power behind him is none other than Satan himself: "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing" (verses 9-10, NIV).
Here we see a crucial factor in world affairs that few can understand: The entire world is in the grip of an evil force every bit as dangerous, cruel and remorseless as Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler or any other tyrant you might name—only worse.
Our secularly oriented society and educational system has convinced most people that there is no spirit world, no God and no devil. And even among those who believe God exists, most naively assume this is His world. But the Bible reveals something very different: The present world isn't God's world—it's Satan's. The devil is the one running the show for the time being, as God has allowed the world to choose its own ways and do its own thing apart from Him.
Notice that Paul refers to this era not as God's, but as "this present evil age" (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×). Paul even calls Satan "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×). This evil spirit being is the one most people unknowingly worship and follow! Of course, he isn't worshiped as Satan. Instead, presenting himself as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14 2 Corinthians 11:14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
American King James Version×), he deceives people with "another Jesus" and "a different gospel" (verse 4) proclaimed by his own ministers who appear to represent Christ (verses 13-15; compare Matthew 24:24 Matthew 24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
American King James Version×).
The apostle John tells us that "the whole world is under the control of the evil one" (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×, NIV). But how is this possible? In fact, it's quite easy. Like any effective dictator, Satan knows that he must manipulate all the information that goes out to those under his control.
And this he has done quite masterfully. Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×tells us that the "serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan . . . deceives the whole world." He does it by controlling and manipulating most of the information we receive while at the same time suppressing God's truth. As Paul put it, God's truth "is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded . . ." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 2 Corinthians 4:3-4  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×).
In its place Satan pushes people to adopt his evil, selfish and self-serving ways and attitudes—attitudes that are cruelly exemplified in brutal despots like Saddam Hussein, North Korea's Kim Jong Il and others. It's little wonder the Bible refers to the coming end-time dictator as "the beast"—his true nature will be more like an animal than a human being.
Just as dictators care little for their subjects, Satan cares little for the human beings trapped in his domain, the earth. Jesus Christ describes him as "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31 John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
American King James Version×), but a ruler who lies to and murders his subjects (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×). Because of his lies, deceptions and attitudes, our world is filled with violence, hatred, misery and suffering of every kind.
The end of tyranny
The incredible scene that aired worldwide of Iraqis trying to topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad is a hopeful foretaste of what the entirety of humanity will eventually experience. Why? Because Bible prophecy reveals very good news about a coming liberation of the entire world!
The coming end-time dictator described earlier will meet his match—and much more (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.
American King James Version×). The armies that support him will meet their end, too, vanquished by overwhelming divine power (verses 11-21; Zechariah 14:12 Zechariah 14:12And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
American King James Version×).
Mankind will never experience true freedom until its spiritual oppressor, Satan the devil, is removed from power. In Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×Christ revealed to John how this will come about: "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more . . ."
Only when this world's true ruler, Satan the devil, is removed will men, women, boys and girls everywhere learn what true freedom really means.
Many prophecies describe this time. Micah 4:3-5 Micah 4:3-5  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
American King James Version×is one of the most striking: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken . . . [and] we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever." GN