Restore >> Study the Bible online! >> NWO contents >> Lesson 1 ..
New World Order Series
Information Brochure No. 1
In this series of information folders, we take a fascinating look at certain aspects of history which will help us to understand the events which are transpiring before us. We begin with the kingdom of Babylon, the ancient seat of civilization as we know it.
The kingdom of Babylon was founded by Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah, more than two thousand years before Christ. In this empire our attention is drawn to the first recorded attempt to establish a world system of government. Although unsuccessful at first, it was finally realized centuries later under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.
It was during Nebuchadnezzar's monarchy that the prophet Daniel is introduced. At the king's request, Daniel is brought into the royal courts to give the interpretation of a dream which the king had had during the night. The interpretation of that dream, as recorded in the Bible through the writings of Daniel, reveals to us the principles of world government.
The book of Daniel records for our benefit the rise and fall of the great world empires which were to shape the world from the time of Nebuchadnezzar through to our day. As we trace the history of these empires, we shall become acquainted with the principles upon which their respective governments were established.
With this in mind, we shall readily see that it is not so much the individual monarchies, but the principles upon which their empires are founded, which are vital for us to understand, for when these principles of legislature are enshrined in government, the result will be the loss of freedom and lasting democracy followed by tyranny and persecution.
Millions today are in doubt, disoriented, off course, not sure where they are going or why, and uncertain morally and spiritually. Many feel that they are caught up in some bewildering conflict, almost as though rebellion were in the very air they breathed. But what is the conflict all about? How did it begin and where? Who is responsible?
QUESTION 1: What is the purpose of prophecy?
"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe." John 14:29.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
Prophecies were not written merely as milestones to the Kingdom of God. While we may find joy in measuring the distance still to travel on the highway of time, it should be emphasized that this is not their greatest purpose.
QUESTION 2: What was the nature of the secrets revealed by God to Daniel relating to King Nebuchadnezzar's dream?
"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." Daniel 2:19-22.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
The prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 was given to teach that the rise and fall of empires is not due to the fluctuating fortunes of monarchs and dictators, but to the over-ruling providence of God. The prophecy also reveals that nations are overthrown when they oppose and hinder God's moral purpose in the earth, and that because men are selfish they cannot build a lasting empire.
Nebuchadnezzar believed that Babylon would stand forever. However, by the prophet Daniel, God gave to the king the interpretation of the dream that he might know that Babylon would not stand forever, and that the king might learn that truth was mightier than the ambitions of imperialism.
The interpretation was given not alone that the Babylonian king might know, but that every king who followed him might know, that earthly kingdoms are all temporal, at best, and must pass away. Here it is shown that the strength of nations, as of individuals, is not found in the opportunities or facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. It is measured by the fidelity with which they fulfill God's purpose. It was fitting that the revelation and warning from God should be given to that great world-molding empire, but Babylonia passed away under weak rulers.
QUESTION 3: What did Nebuchadnezzar see in his dream?
"Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay." Daniel 2:31-33.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
The history of antiquity unfolds through an impressive dream of the Babylonian king. This dream showed a great image composed of different metals representing the various world empires which would arise from Nebuchadnezzar's day until the end of this world's history.
The character of the Babylonian Empire was indicated by the head of gold. It was the golden kingdom of a golden age. Babylon, its metropolis, towered to a height never reached by any of its successors.
The whole image of a man represented the kingdom of man, but the divisions of the image, the metallic symbols, represent the four great world-molding empires which from Daniel's time and onward, would prevail upon the earth.
These empires began with Babylonia, then at the height of its glory under Nebuchadnezzar. This kingdom which was largely responsible for molding the customs and religions of the world, was the center and starting point of civilization as we know it. No capital in the world has ever been the center of so much power, wealth and culture for a period as long as Babylon.
The deterioration of the value of the metals in the image revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, while representing the deterioration of the kingdoms of the earth in power and glory, also fitly represents the deterioration of religion and morality among the people of these kingdoms. As nations forget God, in like proportion they become weak morally.
QUESTION 4: (a) Who is represented by the head of gold and of what empire was he ruler?
"And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold." Daniel 2:38.
"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it." Daniel 1:1 (last part).
(b) What do the four different metals of the great image in the king's dream represent?
"And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron:" Daniel 2:39-40.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
Here opens one of the most comprehensive of the histories of world empires. In just a few short verses of inspired record the whole story is told, yet that story embraces all the history of this world's pomp and power.
The period that it covers, beginning more than twenty-five centuries ago, reaches from that far distant point past the rise and fall of kingdoms, past the setting up and casting down of empires, past our own day to the eternal state. Human wisdom never devised so brief a record that embraced so much. The finger of God is here: let us heed the lesson well.
QUESTION 5: What world empire is represented by the legs of iron, and what is the significance of the iron being the last metal mentioned in the image?
"And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise." Daniel 2:40
NOTE AND ANSWER:
After the Grecian empire had been divided, it became weakened, becoming a prey to the rising power of the emperor on the Tiber River. Rome conquered the Syrian division of that formerly powerful Greek empire in 190 B.C. and the Macedonian division in 168 B.C., while Egypt acknowledged the authority of the iron monarchy of Rome in the same year. Rome was a united republic in the beginning. Later she became an empire.
The legs of iron represented the fourth successive world empires. Beginning with Babylonia, we pass to the Medo-Persian, then to the Grecian and finally to the Roman Empire. We must note that the Roman Empire is never succeeded by any other world empire. Once Rome is introduced into the prophecy, she remains the center of attention until the end of time. She is never succeeded by any other earthly empire.
QUESTION 6: In Daniel 2:38-44, four successive world empires are brought to view. What is the significance of the mixing of iron and clay?
"And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the Kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." Daniel 2:41-43.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
Our position in the image of Nebuchadnezzar is represented by the toes, in a divided state among the nations of the earth, and of a crumbling material, that will not hold together.
Besides refering to the divided state of the nations, in another sense, the mingling of church teaching and state power is represented by the iron and clay. This union of church and state whereby the teachings of the church are enforced by the power of the state is weakening the moral authority of the churches. Investing churches with the power of the state brings evil results.
QUESTION 7: (a) What did King Nebuchadnezzar do after he had learned the meaning of the dream?
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up." Daniel 3:1-3.
(b) After the king had built his image what decree did he make?
"That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up. And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." Daniel 3:5, 6.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
Pleased with the interpretation that he was the head of gold, Nebuchadnezzar's counsellors suggested that he erect an image similar to the one seen in his dream. He was determined to carry it out and to go even further. Instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it, he would excel the original. His image should not deteriorate in value from head to feet, but should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever.
Daniel's interpretation was to be rejected and forgotten; truth was to be misinterpreted and misapplied. The symbol, designed by heaven to unfold to the minds of men important events of the future, was to be used to hinder the spread of the knowledge that God desired the world to receive. Thus, through the devisings of ambitious men, Satan was seeking to thwart the divine purpose for the human race. The enemy of mankind knows that truth, when used to exalt self and to further the projects of men, becomes a power for evil.
After building his glorious golden image, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that it should receive universal homage from all both great and small, high and low, rich and poor. Worship soon became the central issue, and all the citizens of the empire were required to participate in this false system of religion.
QUESTION 8: What was the response to the king from those who were to be cast into the fiery furnace?
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Daniel 3:16-18.
NOTE AND ANSWER:
The story of the three Hebrew youth who were thrown into the fiery furnace is full of important lessons for us today. In this our day, many people from the Christian Church, though innocent of wrong doing, will be given over to suffer humiliation and abuse at the hands of those who, inspired by Satan, are filled with envy and religious bigotry.
The season of distress before the Christian Church will call for a faith that will not falter. Christians must make it manifest that God is the only object of their worship and that no consideration, not even life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to false worship.
To be indifferent to the meaning of this great prophecy, or to consider that it is unnecessary to understand the prophecies, is to blind oneself to one of the most revealing prophecies of the Bible. While men struggle with one another for earthly power, behind the scenes and hidden from human eyes, an even greater struggle is going on.
The whole book of Daniel was written in order to outline the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Much of its significance is lost if we do not consider this aspect when reading it. Nimrod, the founder of Babel, rebelled against God (as the meaning of his name, "rebellious," indicates). The builders of the Tower of Babel did so contrary to God's explicit command (Genesis 10:8-10, 11:1-9). Here, Satan endeavored to establish a centralized system of government that would dominate the world to his glory.
In Daniel chapter 2, we are given a skeleton view of the four successive universal empires. However, this prophecy is not given merely to present milestones to the everlasting Kingdom. As the prophet steps back into history, he provides us with a glimpse of a mighty struggle going on between the forces of good and the forces of evil.
The prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 was given to teach that the rise and fall of empires is not due to the fluctuating fortunes of monarchs and dictators, but to the over-ruling providence of God, that nations are overthrown when they oppose and hinder God's moral purpose in the earth and that because men are selfish, they cannot build a lasting empire. When God pulls back the curtain which veils the future, we see what the great men of this world cannot see.
The nature of the Babylonian empire is indicated by the head of gold. It was the golden kingdom of a golden age. Babylon, its metropolis, towered to a height never reached by any of its successors.
Situated in the garden of the east, it was laid out in a perfect square said to be 14.5 miles (24 kilometers) on each side. Surrounded by a wall estimated to have been more than 197 feet (60 meters) high and 85 feet (26 meters) thick, it had a moat or ditch around it of equal cubic capacity to the wall itself. The city was divided into squares by its main streets, each 148 feet in width, crossing at right angles, every one of them straight and level. Its 207 square miles of enclosed surface were laid out in luxuriant pleasure grounds and gardens interspersed with magnificent dwellings.
This city had 57 miles of moat, 57 miles of outer wall, 29 miles of river wall through its center, gates of solid brass, hanging gardens rising terrace above terrace till they equalled in height the walls themselves. It had a temple to Belas which was nearly 3 miles in perimeter and two royal palaces, one 3.3 and the other 7.5 miles in perimeter. Its subterranean tunnel under the river Euphrates connected these two palaces.
It was a perfect arrangement for convenience, ornament and defence. The city seemed to have unlimited resources. Babylon, containing many things which were themselves wonders of the world, was itself another and still mightier wonder. This city, with the whole earth prostrate at her feet, sat like a queen in peerless grandeur.
Such was Babylon, with Nebuchadnezzar in the prime of life, bold, vigorous and accomplished. Seated upon its throne, Babylon, he thought, would stand forever.
The Christian life is very real and God desires to help His children to grasp its realities. Rightly understood, the apocalypse provides prophetic pictures which enable the Christian to visualize the actualities of the spiritual conflict. Could our spiritual vision be quickened, we should see people bowed under oppression and burdened with grief, we should see angels flying quickly to the aid of these tempted ones, forcing back the hosts of evil that encompass them, and placing their feet on a firm foundation.
The battles waging between these two unseen armies are as real as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict, eternal destinies depend. The more the Christian remembers that this conflict is constantly being waged, the more he realizes what is transpiring around him in connection with his own salvation, the more alert, watchful and prepared he will be. The apostle Paul declared: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18.
While men struggle with one another for earthly power, behind the scenes and hidden from human eyes, an even greater struggle is going on, of which the ebb and flow of earthly affairs is but a reflection.
That gigantic system of false religion as symbolized in the book of Daniel, chapter 3:1-6, is a masterpiece of Satan's power, a monument to his efforts to seat himself upon the throne of the world to rule the earth according to his will. Satan's last opportunity to gain control of the world is now before him. Every person who does not fully understand this aspect of the prophecies of Daniel, and is not kept by divine power, will form an alliance with Satan against Heaven and join in the battle against the Ruler of the universe.
The image revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, while representing the deterioration of the kingdoms of the earth in power and glory, also fitly represents the deterioration of religion and morality among the people of these kingdoms. As nations forget God, in like proportion they become weak morally. Babylon passed away because in her prosperity she forgot God, ascribing the glory of her prosperity to human achievement.
The kingdoms which followed Babylonia were even more base and corrupt. They deteriorated because they cast off their allegiance to God. As they forgot Him, they sank lower and still lower in the scale of moral value.
Now we come to the time when God's sacred work is represented by the feet of the image in which the iron was mixed with miry clay. God has a people, a chosen people, whose discernment must be clear. If the governments of the world would honor God, they would stand in the strength of God. But vote-hungry statesmen will mingle their religious faith with the power of the state.
In addition to representing the union of the nations of the earth, the mingling of churchcraft and statecraft is also represented by the iron and clay. This union is weakening all the power of the churches. Investing the church with the power of the state will bring evil results. Men have almost passed the point of God's forbearance. They have invested their strength in politics. However, the time will come when God will punish them and their evil work will recoil upon themselves.
After King Nebuchadnezzar had built his gigantic golden image, he commanded that it should receive universal homage from all, both great and small, high and low, rich and poor. Worship was the key issue, joy and happiness for those who followed the command, sorrow and misery for those who did not. As it was in the days of those three Hebrew youth, recorded in the book of Daniel, chapter 3, so it will be in the days just before us. In the closing period of earth's history, God will work mightily in behalf of those who stand steadfastly for the right.
Dear reader, are you prepared for such a conflict? Something unmatched in history is taking place. Let us continue the study of these vital subjects until the day dawns and the Day Star (2 Peter 1:19) arises never more to go down.
If you would like to review your understanding of the material presented in this electronic information brochure and interact with the providers, you may respond to the quiz questions below and send the completed quiz sheet for correction to see how you did. If you leave your e-mail address, we will try to respond (usually within a day or two). We encourage you to do this.
Special note on 9/3/02: The quiz sheet below is not working, in that when you click on "send" it does not send the quiz sheet in for "grading" and comment. We will be working on this problem. In the meantime, if you desire a response, please answer the questions by putting a check in the appropriate boxes, then copy and paste the quiz sheet into an e-mail and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience.
Return to Project Restore home page.
Return to study guide titles page.
Created: 7/17/97 Updated: 07/15/2007