King Nebuchadnezzar's Monument To Self and Selfishness- The Ishtar Gate
|The Ishtar Gate to Destruction
by Kim Freeman
King Nebuchadnezzar built a colorful and massive gate in 575 BC.
It was dedicated to the fictional godess Ishtar. She was the patron
goddess of sex, romantic love, and war. Ishtar was said to be extremely
tempermental, hard-hearted, stubborn, and jealous. The Ishtar gate built
as a tribute to the imaginary goddess was adorned in golden serpents and bulls.
The serpent represents treachery and evil, the bull represents stubborness.
Ishtar's myth was one of dysfunction. She was said to have had many lovers
and husbands and killed several of them. She was said to have entered the
underworld to rescue one of her departed lovers but she came back
empty-handed. This was the goddess that King Nebuchadnezzar built his
faith on for a time. A fictional character brought forth from the evil imaginings
of mortal man. She was all selfishness. It was "all about her" according to her
The suffix "ish", means "self-based", and "about self". Is it any wonder that
Nebuchadnezzar lost his marbles completely when he claimed he himself was
responsible for all events in his own life and worshipped a false god who
represented a self-centered existance? The Bible states in Daniel 4:33 that
Nebuchadnezzar recieved a prophesy of what would befall him, "Immediately the
word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate
grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long
as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.".
Jesus Christ is the exact opposite of the self-centered mentality that is running rampant
in the world. "He made himself of no reputation" and humbled himself in order that
God be exalted and his plan for salvation be carried out. The temptation of Christ
involved Satan asking Jesus to turn stones into bread if he really was the son of god.
But in order to do that he would have to exhalt himself and it was supposed to be a
time of humility and taking on suffering flesh. Jesus had to lay aside his self, his power,
his glory, to be our example, and most importantly, our sin sacrifice.
Hebrews 12:2 states,
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the
right hand of the throne of God." Jesus could never have accomplished God's plan for
salvation if he was insecure about his position and who he was. Jesus became our
prime example of how to practice faith. Christ saw us as perfected and saved before
he went to the cross, he just had to accomplish it so we could become saved.
Jesus focused not on himself, but on God the Father always. Everything he did was
to glorify God. He was selfless, the complete opposite of the Ishtar mentality that
was being worshipped in Babylon. What is sobering is that King Nebuchadnezzar
forgot God and wandered into selfishness and sin. We must be careful to remember
that just because we are now the seed of Abraham that we can't give birth to another
Ishmael. It is in ignoring the self and being humble to the Holy Spirit that we can live
freely as joint heirs with Jesus Christ to the kingdom of God.
Until we lose our bodies of flesh and shed the sin nature,
we must seek to have the mind of Christ or we will not make it. If we want to make
our ministry and witness effective for Christ, we must yield to Jesus and the cross.
The hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", exemplifies this beautifully. Part of it says,
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Look full, in his wonderful face And the things of earth
will grow strangely dim In the light of his glory and grace."
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by
Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV
So we have choice, to be like Ishtar, the selfish, imgaginary goddess of Babylon, or...
to be like Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads
to destruction, and many enter through it." The gate of Ishtar was easy to spot. It was
electric blue and gilded. And the gate was monstrously wide. But the gate to heaven
is through Jesus. There is no other way.
But where do we look for Jesus? In the secret place, the mind of Jesus.
Through prayer and seeking him daily, it's not a one time fix.. And take
on all of him to transform your mind and heart. Collossians 2:9,10- "9-For in Christ
all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10-and you have been given fullness
in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." We can claim the mind of
Jesus over every power and authority, even our own selfish nature