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Nebuchadnezzar Alive and Well?

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honour the King of Heaven.  All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”

Have you been following the rise of Xi Jinping?  He is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.  He is also known as the Paramount Leader, or the Core Leader of China.  As has been said many times, he is the most powerful leader of China since Chairman Mao.

The New Zealand Herald explained, “China’s Communist Party doesn’t like difference. So it has set about eradicating any trace of it among its 1.38 billion population.

“First they moved on Tibet. Its ancient spirituality and unique identity has been suppressed for decades. Its remaining leadership has long since been co-opted by the Party.

“China’s Christian community has also long been a source of embarrassment. The Bible has been banned. Crosses must not be displayed in public. Its leadership must be approved by the Communist Party. Its teachings must now conform to Party ideals, news.com.au reports.

“ But, for the moment, Beijing has another ancient community in its sights: the Uighurs. China invaded the East Turkestan Republic in 1949. It’s now named Xinjiang province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Several other media outlets have reported that up to a million Uighurs are in prison camps, primarily because they practice Islam.

Sometimes we think Christians are the only ones being persecuted for their faith, but the Chinese Communist Party does not limit its restrictions to Christians.  They are out to eradicate all faith.  President Xi has made it very clear that no Communist Party member can practice any religion.

I have had the opportunity recently to ask several Chinese citizens about these developments and it seems clear to them that their President wants absolute loyalty to himself.  Shades of Caesar, or Kim Jong-un!

What do we make of this aspiration to be venerated as a God?  For ordinary people like me—or you, I assume—the idea of wanting to be worshipped is preposterous.  But I suppose that is because we have never been even close to enough power to awaken that ambition.  But a quick over-view of history confirms that powerful men (not usually women) often want more and more loyalty, then adulation, then worship.  It illustrates that human pride knows no bounds.

Or perhaps it illustrates that recognition by others or even their worship can never satisfy the hunger for assurance that we are significant.  We could call it the Nebuchadnezzar syndrome.

You can read the first 6 chapters of the book of Daniel, in the Bible, in less than 30 minutes and it provides a fascinating study into the search for power and then worship.  Variations on the theme have been played out countless times in human history.  In some cases, the stage has been huge—as with Caesar, or Nebuchadnezzar, but it happens in smaller circles as well.  It takes the form of leaders who will not stand for any criticism or variance from their views.

In the end though, the over-riding truth was declared by Nebuchadnezzar himself in Daniel 4:37.  He had just recovered from God’s judgment on his pride: seven years of insanity, living as an animal.  What had he learned?

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honour the King of Heaven.  All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”

May all who exercise any authority over others TAKE NOTE!

Lynn Green.

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