Tyranny’s Final Stand
By David White
All Scripture references are New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated.
“I will halt the arrogance of the proud and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11).
History is full of accounts of tyrants, dictators, wicked leaders, evil emperors, and their regimes that were ruthless in their lack of respect for the value of life. Yet the Scriptures confirm that tyrannical leaders will continue to play a significant role as events unfold until the end of this age.
Around A.D. 64, one such tyrant in history was Nero who either created or took advantage of the crisis when a great fire engulfed Rome. Nero’s hatred for God and those who worshipped Him led him to blame Christians for setting the city on fire. This ignited a deeper hatred for the followers of Jesus and opened a door for some of history’s cruelest treatment of any people who ever lived on the earth.
These men and women were among those whose faith, love for their Lord, and adamant refusal to deny Him is highlighted in Hebrews: “and all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith” (see Hebrews 11:39). The Bible describes how they “were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection” (see Hebrews 11:35). They understood that if they denied Christ, they might be granted a few more days or years on earth. However, they were living for far more than what this life had to offer while remembering, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).
These believed that suffering the consequences for confessing their Lord was nothing compared to living forever with the One they refused to deny. Death only meant they had gained what they had lived for.
Tyrants in History
Vladimir Lenin, a Marxist revolutionary, introduced the one-party state, secret police, concentration camps for his own citizens and intolerance for any disagreement. Lenin believed capitalism must be replaced with socialism, but it would subsequently be followed by communism. Lenin should be remembered along side another communist leader, Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 predicted how communism would take America from within without firing a shot.
Then there was Adolf Hitler. In addition to being a strong charismatic leader, he was also a skilled communicator who won the hearts of most in Germany, even many pastors and churches. It was his National Socialist German Workers Party that paved the way for the genocide of six million Jews and others from war.
History further records the deeds of Joseph Stalin. He believed for people to be enlightened and progressive, they must embrace and work towards the ideals of socialism. Some say that his policies, introduced during the initial advancement of socialism, were responsible for creating the famine which led to the deaths of up to five million people in Ukraine alone. Millions of other men, women, and children were tortured, murdered, sent to concentration camps and labor colonies never to be seen again.
History’s long list of tyrants left their mark of terror and prepared the way for others. Now a new generation of tyrants “having been taken captive by him (Satan) to do his will” (see II Timothy 2:26) may prove to be the ultimate enemies of the cross as this age comes to a close. These will claim to have answers to the world’s most pressing needs and the people’s best interest at heart. Yet a hidden agenda will capture the hearts, minds, and lives of people from every nation.
Although tyranny will have a limited time to globally advance its deception, once again and once and for all, it will be destroyed by the King whose kingdom will never end. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8).
Eleventh Hour Prophets
Isaiah was one of four major prophets who were given an eleventh-hour ministry. Their commission was to call the nation of Israel to repentance and back to their God before it was too late. They were to warn the people of the consequences of their refusing to return to Him.
Isaiah, like Jeremiah, faithfully and passionately reminded the people that God often uses wicked nations as His rod of chastening for His people. These were God’s instruments intended to get the people’s attention with the hope that they would return to Him. Then, if necessary, these prophets comforted and reassured the remnant that remained that God loved them and still promised a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29).
Isaiah also reminded the wicked who were used for God’s purposes that their own destruction was on the horizon. He reminds them of how God promised to “halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low (bring down) the haughtiness of the terrible” (see Isaiah 13:11).
The word translated “terrible” in this text comes from a Hebrew word that means “the fearful, the powerful, the tyrant or tyrannical.” Here, the prophet is speaking specifically about ancient Babylon. Yet prophetically he looks ahead many years to the climax of Babylon’s opposition to God and those who know Him.
Through Isaiah, God reminds Babylon that the time will come when He will put an end to their reign of terror and will ultimately bring about their final fall and destruction. All tyrants and tyrannical regimes will ultimately come face to face with God Himself. All tyranny and any future Babylonian replica will eventually vanish from the earth.
The Message Contemporary Version of the Bible translates Isaiah 13:11 as “I'll put a full stop to the evil on earth and terminate the dark acts of the wicked. I'll gag all braggarts and boasters—not a peep anymore from them—and trip strutting tyrants, leave them flat on their faces.”
Global Government and the End of the Age
The Book of Revelation is an “uncovering” or “revealing” of Jesus Christ throughout history but especially at the end of the age. It reveals all that Jesus has overcome as well as all who know and follow Him.
Revelation confirms that a world government will emerge and gain global control economically and militarily over the earth. Tyrannical leaders or kings will be granted an authority and power from the beast that comes out of the sea of humanity (see Revelation 13).
Whether a man or a system, the beast will obtain its power and authority from the dragon clearly revealed as “Satan” (see Revelation 12:9). However, these kings will only have their authority for a short time. “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast” (Revelation 17:12).
In addition to both economic and military control, this world government will lead the way for the ultimate deception where everyone who does not know the Lord will worship the beast. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
Regarding this global government, we discover that these earthly leaders or tyrants will give the authority granted to them from the beast back to the beast. Their devotion will not be to any nation or any people on earth. These will have been taken captive by Satan to do his will (see II Timothy 2:26) and their allegiance belongs to him.
Next we see that the coming together of a world government is part of God’s overall plan at the end of age. “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17). It is not the words or the will of man that will ultimately be fulfilled but the will and words of God!
Finally, we discover that the emerging global government will be enraged and filled with hatred against God and all who worship Him. “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:6). War will be waged against the saints of the Most High throughout every nation on earth and for a limited time overcome them. “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over ever tribe, tongue, and nation” (Revelation 13:7). Yet this assault against the saints will only serve God’s ultimate purposes at the end of this age and the dawn of the one to come. The Scriptures confirm that the beast and his dreams of global government will be overcome by the Lord Jesus and all who know and follow Him.
“These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 17:14).