The Man Who Tried to Conquer the World
From chapter 22 of book Tales From India; Truth From Heaven by Dr. William Jeffcoat
Alexander the Great went forth with his great armies in hopes of conquering the world. Some claim that he did. One kingdom after another fell into his grasp. Yet it was the kingdoms of India which finally convinced first those who followed him and finally the great leader himself that such a dream of world dominion had come to its end.
During his long journey home, the disillusioned conqueror of kingdoms fell ill in Babylon. He realized then that his might and his wealth were but passing fancies. As he prepared to depart from this world, he began to loosen his grasp on earthly vanities.
Legend tells us that he gathered his generals around him and told them, “I will depart from this world soon… I have three wishes… please carry them out without fail.” He continued by saying, “My first desire is that my physicians alone must carry my coffin. Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones that I have collected in my treasury. My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin.”
Those who stood nearby assured their great leader that his wishes would be followed with utmost care but then inquired as to the reasons for such desires. He replied by explaining each request. He wished for his physicians to carry his coffin so that all might realize that no man can prevent death. His own physicians were powerless to prevent this moment. The path to the grave was to be strewn with wealth as a reminder that he would take neither gold nor silver with him beyond this life. He had spent his life pursuing riches but would soon leave his treasures to other men. His hands were to extend from the coffin that he might even in his death say to all, “I came empty handed into this world, and empty handed I go out.”
The first time that physicians are mentioned in the Bible, they are being instructed to embalm a dead man (Genesis 50:2). No man can prevent this moment that is faced by all men. Neither can the dead take a single coin beyond this life. The Scriptures tell us plainly, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).