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Wednesday, December 16 2015

Daniel 5: The Hand Writing On The Wall

"In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote"

Belshazzar (reigned about 550-539 BC) was a successor of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon - the empire that the LORD used to destroy the corrupted Kingdom of Judah (see Why Did Judah Fall To Babylon?). At the end of Belshazzar's reign - the event that brought about the end of his reign - Belshazzar held "a great feast" in which the sacred vessels that had been looted from the Temple in Jerusalem (see alsoThe Temple Vessel Prophecies Today) were brought out and used for drunken, heathen revelry. That same night, Belshazzar was killed and the Babylonian kingdom fell to the Medo-Persians under Darius - exactly as the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) declared would happen (see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Of The World To Come).

The night began when "Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand."

"5:1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 5:2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 5:3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 5:4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone." (Daniel 5:1-4 KJV)

Although it's popularly known, and has been made into a saying ever since, as "the writing on the wall," which it was, it was actually a hand writing on the wall, not just handwriting on the wall.

The Writing On The Wall

"5:5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 5:6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

5:7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

5:8 Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. 5:9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied." (Daniel 5:5-9 KJV)

The prophet Daniel had risen to a high position in the regime (a word that simply means government - of any kind; see Solomon's Regime) of King Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel's Knowledge Of Wisdom And Science and Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Of The World To Come), but in the time of Belshazzar, Daniel was reduced to a royal unknown. That changed when the queen informed the king that "There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him." Belshazzar then sent for Daniel.

"5:10 Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: 5:11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; 5:12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

5:13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? 5:14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. 5:15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: 5:16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom." (Daniel 5:10-16 KJV)

Daniel then reminded Belshazzar ("Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this") how the LORD had broken Nebuchadnezzar's foolish arrogance (see What Part Of The Bible Was Written By A Babylonian King?) - and now the LORD was about to bring Belshazzar down from his narcissism too. Daniel then informed Belshazzar the meaning of the words that the hand had written on the wall, to which Belshazzar restored Daniel to his position. But the prophecy wasn't about glorifying a prophet of the LORD; it was about destroying an arrogant heathen who was blaspheming what was holy to the LORD.

A Persian gold Daric coin

"5:17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

5:18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 5:19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 5:21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.

5:22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; 5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: 5:24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

5:25 And this is the writing that was written,

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

5:26 This is the interpretation of the thing:

MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

5:27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

5:28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

5:29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom." (Daniel 5:17-29 KJV)

That very night, the prophecy of imperial succession that was given to King Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled (see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Of The World To Come and The Medes And Chaldees Prophecies; also the Fact Finder question below).

"5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

5:31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old." (Daniel 5:30-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who were Cyrus and Darius?
See The Prophecies Of Cyrus of Persia and The Decree Of Darius


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This Day In History, December 16

755: The An Shi Rebellion began during the Tang Dynasty of China (see also The Origin Of Gog And Magog and End-Time Gog And Magog).

Declaration of Right 1431: During the Hundred Years' War (actually about 116 years, from 1337 to 1453), Henry VI of England was crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.

1485: Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England, was born. Henry divorced her without Papal approval, starting the English Reformation.

1497: Vasco da Gama cleared the Cape of Good Hope, in the area where Bartolomeu Dias had earlier turned back to Portugal.

1653: During England's Interregnum (the time between two reigns; "when there is no king, the people do mischief"), the Protectorate was established; Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. He went on to establish religious tolerance and allied England with France against Spain.

1631: Mount Vesuvious in Italy erupted, killing over 4,000 people.

1689: During the Convention Parliament, the Declaration of Right was embodied in the English Bill of Rights. Although others claimed to be the originators of such rights in their later-created nations, the English Bill of Rights, along with the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right and the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 were the inspiration for all of them.

1707: The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji occurred in Japan.

1740: The War(s) of the Spanish Succession began when Frederick of Prussia invaded Silesia, one of the richest Hapsburg provinces. His victory encouraged other Hapsburg adversaries and thus insured that the war would become generalized.

1761: During the Seven Years' War, the Russian forces under Pyotr Rumyantsev captured the Prussian fortress of Kolobrzeg after a four-month siege.

1811: A powerful earthquake changed the course of the Mississippi River near New Madrid, Missouri.

1835: A fire in New York City destroyed property estimated to be worth $20,000,000. Beginning in a store at Pearl and Merchant (Hanover) Streets, it lasted two days, ravaged 17 blocks (52 acres), and destroyed 674 buildings including the Stock Exchange, Merchants' Exchange, Post Office, and the South Dutch Church.

1914: During the First World War (1914-1918), German battleships under the command of Franz von Hipper bombarded the English ports of Hartlepool and Scarborough.

1916: The infamous Russian monk Grigori Rasputin was murdered. "Rasputin" wielded powerful influence over Alexandra, wife of Czar Nicholas of Russia; he was murdered by members of the royal family and the Duma.

1920: One of the worst earthquakes of all time occurred in Kansu province, China, killing 180,000 people.

1944: German forces launched a major offensive in Belgium's Ardennes Forest. It became known as the Battle of the Bulge.

1950: During the Korean War, Chinese troops began supporting North Korea.

1965: During the Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people caused by the division of their country by France in the 1940s), U.S. General William Westmoreland requested that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara send 243,000 more U.S. troops into the colonial conflict.

1969: The British House of Commons voted by 343-185 to approve the permanent abolition of the death penalty.

1991: The United Nations reversed its earlier declaration that "Zionism is racism" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Zion).


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