Mon. May 23rd, 2022

There are many kings in the Old Testament who seem to be like the coming antichrist. Is Nebuchadnezzar one of them?

Yes, that is a question mark after his name. He meets many of the requirements for an antichrist, for sure, but he leaves us wondering in some other areas of his life. I cannot with confidence call him “number 5”.

Nebuchadnezzar is fairly well known to students of the Bible. His name is associated with the destruction of Jerusalem and all that led up to it. It was a sad day for the southern Kingdom called Judah, when it seemed that God’s program for the Promised Land was finished. It wasn’t finished at all, but sorrow gripped the Jews who were carried away to Babylon, then transferred to the Kingdom of Persia, possibly to waste away as other nations of antiquity and be forgotten.

Judah was not the only target of the world conqueror. We read in the last candidate’s bio that Tyre also was on Nebuchadnezzar’s list. This new rise of Babylonia was largely due to the ambition of this one man. Certainly he meets the requirement of world emperor. One true God There is no question also of his devotion to false gods, and his arrogance, for which, you will recall, God brought him to such a lowly place personally that he was out in his backyard eating grass as an animal.

Arrogance, anti-Semitism, idolatry, conquest, these shall forever be the characteristics of Satan’s men on the planet. He had all of this and more.

And we cannot forget his modern counterpart, who certainly had the antichrist people talking. Yes, Saddam Hussein believed he was the new Nebuchadnezzar, and like the ancient king, Hussein actually built structures using bricks engraved with his own name. We all know what that came to, but there was at least a remembrance that something regarding Babylon is not yet finished.

But there are issues – and positive ones – about this man.

1. When God wanted to give to His people an outline of history via a staggering dream, he chose this pagan Emperor (Daniel 2).

2. In response to the correct interpretation of his dream by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar rightly praised the true God! “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets… ” It is hard to imagine how a Satan-possessed man could even begin to utter such words. (Daniel 2:47.)

3. When the king is lured into throwing Daniel’s friends into a fiery furnace, and it backfires, Nebuchadnezzar immediately realizes his mistake and says “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego,” then goes on to say that anyone who dares speak against Israel’s God is to be cut in pieces. Emotional response, but sincere, it seems. (Daniel 3:26-30.)

4. Then comes Nebuchadnezzar’s pride, and his humiliation, afore-mentioned. But when it is all over, such praise to God as we seldom hear from even church members today. In his own accounting of it: (Daniel 4:34-37) “… I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation… Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice… ” Oh, amen! To hear such things from the head of the government!

5. And, Nebuchadnezzar did not die a violent death at all, but as an old man he was enjoying his retirement years in the magnificent city he had built.

With all of this going for him, why even list Nebuchadnezzar at all as a type of antichrist? For the answer to this we must move to Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 14. The words are addressed to the “King of Babylon.”

You may recall that Isaiah’s main work was to deal with the Assyrian Empire that carried away Israel, and seriously threatened Judah. Babylon had not even come to power when Isaiah prophesied. When it finally came to power, there was one king who embodied its greatness, and its oppression against Israel, culminating in Jerusalem’s destruction, 586 BC. It is only “natural” to point the finger at Nebuchadnezzar when dealing with Isaiah 14.

And we must deal with Isaiah 14 because it is one of two passages in the prophetic writings that clearly addresses Satan while it is addressing an earthly king. In Ezekiel 28 we could see Ethbaal being used. Now, a king of Babylon.

But it may be unfair to jump from “a” king of Babylon to the great Nebuchadnezzar, especially since he is not named in Isaiah 14. Let’s take a closer look at this mysterious chapter. An antichrist figure is certainly there, but have we properly identified him?

First to notice in the chapter is the introduction to this prophecy. It is to take place at a time when God has mercy on Jacob, and once more chooses Israel, settling them in their own land. Gentiles are to be joined with Jews, even clinging to them. The Jewish people will be ruling over all who have oppressed them. In that day a recitation is to be spoken against the king who had brought them bondage.

More about this time period is brought out in verse 7. “The whole earth is at rest.” It seems that all are rejoicing over the downfall of this evil one. His entrance into awful judgment is reviewed.

Strange. This does not seem to match what we know of the last days of Babylon, or the last days of Nebuchadnezzar, who as we reported above, died in peace.

Then the King of Babylon must be Belshazzar, as recorded in Daniel? But was he the one for whom the entire world was shaking? Was there a world upheaval when the Persians took Babylon? Something does not compute. Yet the Word of God cannot be wrong.

If this were not curious enough, the next part of Isaiah 14 begins to chronicle the one who was inhabiting this “King of Babylon.”

Here was the true ruler of the nations. Lucifer! The one who wanted to exalt his throne above the heavens and be as the Most High!

In fact he would be brought to the lowest depths of the Pit, a fate that reminds us of words in the Book of Revelation.

See the intertwining of spirit and man in 16-17. Seeing Satan, but really a Satan-filled man, the earth marvels at the easy judgment of the one who seemed so all-powerful. Compare the judgment of Babylon in Revelation 17-18, the Babylon that is to come, and the man who will rule it.

I personally believe that the final antichrist is here being described, the ultimate one, “number eight” in Revelation 17 terms.

But a resurrected Nebuchadnezzar? Maybe. Hussein thought so. I’m not sure.

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