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The Writing on the Wall

A Research of Daniel 5

If you’re fed up with information about Afghanistan, politics, unbiblical racial theories, Chinese language oppression, North Korean craziness, and all the remainder of it, so am I. Let’s spend a while in Daniel 5—the story of the handwriting on the wall. As we research this chapter, I need to present you three classes that basically quantity to the identical factor—three in a single.

1. The Lord’s Bible is True

Within the 1700s and 1800s, liberal students who didn’t absolutely consider within the reality of the Bible started taking on lots of the Bible Faculties and seminaries in Europe and in america. When real Christians enrolled in these colleges, they had been ridiculed. Their religion and their perception within the Bible was attacked. Daniel 5 is a passage within the Bible that was usually used to undermine the religion of many ministerial college students.

Discover the primary two phrases: King Belshazzar….

In line with this chapter, a person named Belshazzar was the king of Babylon when that nice empire fell to the Persians. The liberals mentioned, “There by no means was a Belshazzar. We now have contemporaneous information from antiquity. We now have the names of the Babylonian kings. The king at the moment was a person named Nabonidus. This chapter is fiction. It might have an ethical lesson, however it doesn’t have historic accuracy.”

The critics maintain burying the Bible and the archaeologists maintain digging it up. Some years in the past, an historic inscription was discovered bearing the identify Belshazzar, after which one other and one other. His identify has been discovered on quite a few cuneiform paperwork and tablets. Right this moment, we’ve thirty-seven completely different archival texts that talk of Belshazzar.

In truth, we all know the time, the very 12 months and month and day through which this occasion in Daniel 5 befell. It was October 12, 539 B.C.

We all know the very room the place this occurred. Excavations in Babylon have uncovered the palace of Belshazzar together with an enormous room the place a dinner like this might have taken place.

And we all know the circumstances. King Nebuchadnezzar was the founder and the best king of Babylon. When he died, there was a succession of kings, most of whom had been assassinated. Lastly a person named Nabonidus grew to become king, and he was a comparatively competent man. He was focused on archaeology. He was focused on touring throughout the empire looking for information from antiquity. He had little curiosity in governing, and so he appointed his son, Belshazzar, to sit down on the throne in Babylon. Belshazzar was the de facto king.

In the meantime the Persian Empire had invaded Babylon. Right this moment it could be like Iran invading Iraq. Geographically, historic Babylon was Iraq and historic Persia was Iran. And Nabonidus had left his excavations to attempt to lead the Babylonian armies in opposition to Persia, however he was being defeated.

Again within the metropolis of Babylon, Persian forces surrounded the town, however they might not conquer the town of Babylon. Its partitions had been impregnable. In line with the historian Herodotus, the partitions had been 56 miles across the metropolis, 80 ft thick, and 320 ft excessive. They had been topped with 250 defensive towers.

Moreover, the Euphrates River flowed by the town, giving it a relentless supply of water; and there have been provisions within the metropolis to final a minimum of 20 years. So it was on this evening, October 12, 539 B.C. within the banquet corridor of the Babylonian Palace, whereas the town was surrounded however seemingly secure, that Belshazzar threw an incredible banquet.

Now, let’s proceed our story: King Belshazzar gave an incredible banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.

Whereas Belshazzar was ingesting his wine, he gave orders to herald the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, in order that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines would possibly drink from them.

The king and everybody else was intoxicated, and the banquet had grow to be a drunken orgy. What was taking place on this room was X-rated. It was vile. In his intoxicated state, the king’s inhibitions had been lowered and he impulsively determined to commit an act of sacrilege in opposition to the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar had taken holy vessels from Jerusalem fifty years earlier than, and so they had remained within the royal museum or treasury. In his drunkenness and conceitedness, Belshazzar made sacrilege in opposition to the holiness of God.

What’s it about human society that spirals downward? There’s a ethical gravity that has characterised human historical past from the very starting.

  • Consider Sodom. It grew to become nothing however a spot of ethical decadence.
  • Consider the era of Noah. They tumbled downward till each considered the intents of their coronary heart was solely evil on a regular basis.
  • Consider all the traditional empires, those we’re learning within the e-book of Daniel. All of them collapsed inwardly.
  • Have you learnt that Alexander the Nice died, most likely in a drunken orgy, on this exact same palace in Babylon about 200 years after Belshazzar?
  • Consider Rome. And consider America.

In order that they introduced within the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wooden and stone.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, close to the lampstand within the royal palace.

To whom did this hand belong? It was only a hand, simply fingers. It may need been the identical hand that wrote the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai—Almighty God. It may need been the identical hand that wrote within the filth in John 8—the Son of God. It may need been the hand of an angel or an archangel. However it will need to have appeared with such drive and ominous drama that immediately the room grew to become as nonetheless as loss of life.

The king watched the hand because it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs grew to become weak and his knees had been knocking.

What this most likely means is that he stood to see what was taking place and his legs gave method and he fell to the ground.

The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he mentioned to those clever males of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means shall be clothed in purple and have a gold chain positioned round his neck, and he shall be made the third highest ruler within the kingdom.”

Why the third highest? Nabonidus was the excessive king; Belshazzar was the de facto king. That left the third place, the place of Prime Minister, obtainable to anybody who may interpret the writing.

Then all of the king’s clever males got here in, however they might not learn the writing or inform the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar grew to become much more terrified and his face grew extra pale. His nobles had been baffled.

The queen, listening to the voices of the king and his nobles, got here into the banquet corridor. “Could the king stay ceaselessly!” she mentioned.

Commentators and historians from the time of Josephus assume this was the Queen Mom—the king’s mom or grandmother. She remembered a person who had served Nebuchadnezzar, the person Daniel. She mentioned:

“Don’t be alarmed. Don’t look so pale! There’s a man in your kingdom who had the spirit of the holy gods in him. Within the time of your father he was discovered to have perception and intelligence and knowledge like that of the gods. Your father, king Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners. He did this as a result of Daniel, whom the king referred to as Belteshazzar, was discovered to have a eager thoughts and data and understanding, and in addition the power to interpret desires, clarify riddles and clear up tough issues. Name for Daniel, and he’ll let you know what the writing means.”

2. The Lord’s Servants Are Assured

Daniel was about 80 years previous, maybe 85 or so, and doubtless retired. He had little interest in this social gathering. He had his personal residence the place he nonetheless studied the Scriptures and prayed thrice a day with the home windows open towards Jerusalem. However he rapidly got here when summoned.

So Daniel was introduced earlier than the king, and the king mentioned to him, “Are you Daniel, one of many exiles my father the king introduced from Judah? …Now I’ve heard that you’ll be able to give interpretations and to unravel tough issues. Should you can learn this writing and inform me what it means, you may be clothed in purple and have a gold chain positioned round your neck, and you may be made the third highest ruler within the kingdom.”

Then Daniel answered the king, “Chances are you’ll maintain your items for your self and provides your rewards to another person. However, I’ll learn the writing for the king and inform him what it means.”

Earlier than studying and deciphering the phrases, Daniel reprimanded the king. He might have spoken with gracious braveness, however he was blunt and plain-spoken. He spoke reality to energy and reality to tradition. He was uncompromising. And he condemned the king.

We’d like the quiet braveness of Daniel in the present day as we face our society. Hearken to what he mentioned. In entrance of all the federal government officers, he denounced and condemned this profligate king. He mentioned:

“Your Majesty, the Most Excessive God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Due to the excessive place he gave him, all of the nations and peoples of each language dreaded and feared him. These the king needed to place to loss of life, he put to loss of life; these he needed to spare, he spared; these he needed to advertise, he promoted; and people he needed to humble, he humbled. However when his coronary heart grew to become boastful and hardened with satisfaction, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was pushed away from folks and given the thoughts of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass just like the ox; and his physique was drenched with the dew of heaven, till he acknowledged that the Most Excessive God is sovereign over all kingdoms of earth and units over them anybody He needs.”

“However you, Belshazzar, his son, haven’t humbled your self, although you knew all this. As an alternative you’ve got set your self up in opposition to the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from His temple dropped at you, and also you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the golds of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wooden, and stone, which can not see or hear or perceive. However you didn’t honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all of your methods.”

Daniel was blunt. However he was additionally calm and assured. That’s, he’s merely telling the reality and letting his phrases do the work. He isn’t uncontrolled. He isn’t frantic. He’s calm, however he’s as blunt as an anvil.

Generally as we search to carry God’s mild to the sinful patterns of our day, we’re so cautious to not offend anybody that we understate the severity of the scenario.

Daniel had the precise steadiness: Blunt phrases however a relaxed spirit.

3. The Lord’s Agenda is Mounted and His Kingdom is Coming

Daniel mentioned: The Most Excessive God is sovereign over all kingdoms of earth and units over them anybody He needs.

That is the nice theme of chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of Daniel. We now have 5 superb tales—5 of the best tales within the Bible—however all of them finish on the similar place: The Most Excessive is sovereign over the kings and kingdoms of the earth.

There are solely three decisions on the subject of historical past.

First, historical past is unintentional. Nobody is accountable for it. It’s random, canine eat canine. A madman with a gun can change all the course of historical past in a single second, as we noticed in Sarajevo firstly of World Warfare I and in Dallas in 1963.

Second, historical past is within the arms of a handful of highly effective women and men. When World Warfare I ended, Woodrow Wilson went to Europe to barter with the Allies about what to do with the world. The First Woman entered the room and noticed these nice leaders on their knees. They weren’t praying. That they had a map of the Center East and so they had been carving it up into completely different nations. The Ottoman Empire was gone, so out of this got here Iraq and Iran and Syria—and we’ve been reaping the results for properly over 100 years.

Third, historical past is within the management of Almighty God. He permits evil to occur. He permits sin to happen. However behind the scenes He’s accountable for the method and is bringing every little thing to His pre-ordained and decreed conclusions. The message of the e-book of Daniel is that that is the one affordable possibility. The Most Excessive is sovereign over the kings and kingdoms of earth.

Belshazzar had lastly crammed himself as much as the brim with sinfulness and sensuality and evil, and now God was going to cope with him in entrance of his total authorities. Daniel mentioned:

Subsequently he despatched the hand that wrote the inscription.

That is the inscription that was written:


“Here’s what these phrases imply:

Mene: God has numbered the times of your reign and introduced it to an finish.

Tekel: You might have been weighed on the scales and located wanting.

Peres: Your kingdom is split and given to the Medes and Persians.

These had been Aramaic phrases. The phrase Mene was a phrase that meant to quantity. The time period Tekel meant to weigh. The phrase Parsin conveyed the thought of breaking in two.

Numbered, weighed, and damaged in two.

Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a very good chain was positioned round his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler within the kingdom.

That very evening, Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the dominion on the age of sixty-two.

Some historians consider the Persian solders entered the town by the sluice gates that allowed the Euphrates River to run by the center of the town from North to South. However whereas Belshazzar and his leaders had been insulting the God of Heaven, the Persians had been massing on the northern and southern partitions the place the Euphrates flowed underneath the partitions. Different Persian troopers had been digging a canal to divert the water of the Euphrates into a close-by lake. When the water dried up, the armies entered the town by going underneath the sluice gate, and the Persians took the town and not using a struggle.

Some historians consider the Persians bribed the troopers on the gates. Maybe each issues occurred.

However because the aged Daniel returned to his residence on October 12, 539 B.C., King Belshazzar was being lower down with a sword and the empire of Babylon ceased to exist.


Now, have you ever ever heard the phrase: “Historical past repeats itself?” The e-book of Daniel is the place God first begins to systematically lay what can be the sample of world historical past. To noticeably research the e-book of Daniel is to find the way forward for our planet. Sooner or later, the spirit of Babylon goes to be resurrected. The longer term king would be the Antichrist, and he shall be second within the kingdom. Over him would be the satan. All of the evils of Babylon shall be revived, and this nation will as soon as once more wage battle in opposition to the Jewish folks—the Jewish state. However take a look at Revelation 18:

After this I noticed one other angel coming down from heaven. He had nice authority, and the earth was illumined by his splendor. With a mighty voice, he shouted, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Nice! She has grow to be a dwelling for demons and a hang-out for each impure spirit…. Then I heard one other voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my folks, in order that you’ll not share in her sins or obtain any of her plagues, for her sins are piled as much as heaven.”

Shortly after this within the e-book of Revelation, within the very subsequent chapter, the longer term Babylon—the empire of the Antichrist—falls as Jesus returns to earth in splendor.

Historical past isn’t uncontrolled. The empires and nations—together with the USA—might come and go. Rulers will rise and fall. However what unfolds isn’t unintentional.

It’s judgmental. God is judging the nations. And it’s incremental. One factor is progressively main to a different.

And it’s instrumental. It’s the instrument by which God is bringing in regards to the consummation of the ages—His wonderful kingdom.

To evaluate:

The Lord’s Bible is True. His Servants are Assured. His Agenda is Established. His kingdom is coming. And figuring out all of that makes us very completely different folks than everybody else.

A few years in the past—over a half-century in the past—the Lord used a person named Stuart Briscoe in a robust method in my life. Stuart continues to be alive, however fairly previous. Final week after I was in Wisconsin somebody gave me a duplicate of his memoirs, which I didn’t find out about. I can’t put them down. On one event, Stuart mentioned, within the days of the Soviet Union and the Chilly Warfare, he was invited to come back to Poland to show the Bible. It was a bit harmful and intimidating due to the Communists, and it was bitterly chilly.

“One night I used to be put in a ricket automobile and pushed alongside poorly lit streets till they weren’t lit in any respect, after which they ceased to be streets, and we bumped and swerved alongside darkish trails by dense pine forests. As I didn’t know the individuals who had picked me up, this was fascinating to say the least. About an hour later, we arrived at a big, remoted constructing shrouded in darkness. We struggled by deep snow to a door that was opened in response to our knocking, and we had been ushered into a big, sparsely furnished room that was packed—and I imply packed—with younger folks. I used to be advised I used to be in a Bible faculty and the younger folks needed me to talk to them. Duly bidden, I wasted no time speaking to them by an interpreter in regards to the Vine and the branches.

Partway into the speak, to which they had been listening avidly and taking notes busily, the sunshine immediately went out. Being in the course of the forest, we had been plunged into the darkest of darkness. A loud, deep voice by the gloom mentioned, ‘Preserve talking!’ So I did. Simply as I completed, the lights got here on once more. Everybody within the room was kneeling. In the course of the speak that they had spontaneously began to wish about what I used to be instructing. I used to be later advised by considered one of their lecturers, “They advised me that they had by no means heard about abiding in Christ, and so they needed to verify earlier than the Lord that they understood what Jesus meant when he advised His disciples to abide in Him.”[i]

That image has stayed with me. It appears to me that you just and I are Christ’s ambassadors in a hostile and really chilly land. As we converse of Him, we really feel like we’re being plunged into darkness, as a result of this world may be very darkish proper now. However when the sunshine comes on, I believe we’ll be amazed at how many individuals have realized to abide in Christ due to our testimony and due to our instructing.

So bear in mind: God’s Bible true. His servants are assured. His agenda is established. His kingdom is coming.

[i] Stuart Briscoe: Flowing Streams (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 102-103.

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