Iraq's Liberation: A Foretaste for the Entire World

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Iraq's Liberation

A Foretaste for the Entire World

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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 and Revelation 13:1-3) 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 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, 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). 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). 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). Paul even calls Satan "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4). 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), 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).

The apostle John tells us that "the whole world is under the control of the evil one" (1 John 5:19, 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 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).

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), but a ruler who lies to and murders his subjects (John 8:44). 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). The armies that support him will meet their end, too, vanquished by overwhelming divine power (verses 11-21; Zechariah 14:12).

Mankind will never experience true freedom until its spiritual oppressor, Satan the devil, is removed from power. In Revelation 20:1-3 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 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