February 17, 2019
“Handwriting on the Wall”
Daniel 5:1-9 & 24-30
Today’s message is “The Handwriting on the Wall.”
The first part of our message is an historical backdrop and buildup to the night of this story.
After the reign of David and Solomon the Nation of Israel’s division brought it to Civil War. The nation was divided into two states. The northern kingdom retained the name of Israel and the Southern new title of Judah.
The northern kingdom disobeyed God in everyway and after 08 years in 723BC the wrath of God came hammering down and he used the Assyrian King Shalmaneser to conquer them and destroy the kingdom and take people into captivity.
The southern kingdom lasted for 26 more years and after 334 years they to had brought the anger of God and in 587 or 586 BC he again used a pagan king to punish God’s people for their adultery.
The nation was Babylon and the king was the famous Nebuchadnezzar.
The last king of Judah was a Vassal King named Zedekiah. Placed by Nebuchadnezzar in 598 or 597 BC.
He had a Godly Counselor in the prophet Jeremiah, but he ignored his advice.
Jeremiah wrote in his writings that Zedekiah “Did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
The lead up to Judah’s captivity began in 608BC.
Babylon was pressuring Assyria for regional supremacy.
Egypt was allied with Assyria. Pharaoh Necho marched north to meet Assyria against Babylon.
The then king of Judah, Josiah attempted to block that and advance. He failed. Josiah fell in the Battle of Megiddo.
His youngest song Jehoahaz was chosen to succeed him. He reigned three months. On Nechos return south from his march north he deposed Jehoahaz with his older brother Jehoakim.
So Jehoakim was a vassal king.
Three years later in an epic battle the Babylonians defeated the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish.
Nebuchadnezzar the besieged Jerusalem.
To avoid the destruction of Jerusalem Jehoakim changed allegiances and began to pay tribute to Babylon.
In a failed invasion Egypt stopped Babylon and Jehoakim started to pay tribute to Egypt.
In 599 BC Nebuchadnezzar invaded again and laid siege again. During that time Jehoakim died and his son Jeconiah was his replacement but three months later Jerusalem fell.
Jeconiah was deposed and the a fore-mentioned Zedekiah was placed as vassal king. He was Jeconiah’s uncle.
The last kings of Judah were slow learners.
Zedekiah thought he would have better fortunes with Egypt, so he swore allegiance to them.
So once again Nebuchadnezzar invaded and besieged Jerusalem again in 589BC.
The siege lasted 2.5 years. The hardship on Jerusalem was brutal.
2nd Kings relates “Every worst woe befell the city, which drank the cup of God’s fury to the dregs.”
Jerusalem fell. In an attempt to save himself and his family Zedekiah and his family escaped, but they were caught in the open plains of Jericho.
His sons were killed before his eyes. Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out, he was placed in chains and he along with nearly all the Judeans were carried away into captivity to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered the razing and destruction of Jerusalem including Solomon’s temple.
Just prior to the fall, Zedekiah had placed Jeremiah in prison because the prophet predicted their demise, defeat and 70 yr. captivity.
Nebuchadnezzar knew of Jeremiah fame and directed his commanding general to release Jeremiah, he along with the biblical herds of Daniel, Hananiah, Michael and Azariah princes of Judah went to captivity too
During the years of captivity, a new regional power was on the rise “the Persians.”
Nebuchadnezzar continued to reign until his death minus the seven years of judgement when he became a beast in the field.
He was succeeded by his song Nabonidus and it is believed that his son Belshazzar was co-regent with his father.
As second in power Belshazzar called for a feast to celebrate what is believed to have been a Babylonian Festival.
He was succeeded by his son Nabonidus and it is believed that his son Belshazzar was coregent with his father.
He called for 1000 of his lords and vassals to join him.
As this was happening the Persian king Cyrus was besieging the city.
Belshazzar must have felt insecure.
The river Euphrates acted as a moat around the city and he had a 20-year supply of food and supplies.
Belshazzar was a fool. He was hosting debauchery and orgies.
At some point he called for the vessels of gold and silver that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Solomon’s temple to Babylon.
He used them as wine containers that added to this demonic celebration.
While using them he and his guests were praising their gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone.
Belshazzar challenged to the God of Israel and he son discovered that was a foolish act.
At the height of the party something supernatural occurred.
The fingers of a man’s hand appeared along a plastered wall and it began to write something.
In his inebriated state Belshazzar may have thought he was seeing things, but he wan’t it was real.
He came unglued. He was so scared he urinated in his pants and he was shaking so badly his knees were knocking together.
He called out and demanded his spiritual advisers interpret the words.
They could not. The queen mother came in and suggested years ago your grandfather had a counselor who could interpret dreams and visions named Daniel or Belteshazzar.
At 9- years old Daniel was brought into the hall. He had most likely been retired by Nabonidus.
Belshazzar told Daniel he would receive a royal garment of scarlet, a gold chain and become the third most powerful person in Babylon.
Therefore, I believe that Nabonidus was still living. He was King, Belshazzar was co-reign or second in command. That’s why he offered the third person in the kingdom.
Daniel told the king keep your reward.
I’m going to interrupt this.
The words in Calderon and there were about four.
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin
God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end.
Notice how this was re-iterated again.
I was to bring attention to it.
Like when Jesus would say verily, verily.
Tekel – you have been weighed and forum wanting.
In other words, God has judged you on the scales of justice and you are fallen short.
Peres – a derivative of Upharsin
Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians
They also have been doing something else.
They had dug a canal diverting the river from around the city and they got to the gates and took the city.
But, back to the text. Belshazzar insisted that Daniel accept the rewards.
So, Daniel was Belshazzar’s prime minister several hours.
Belshazzar was killed and the “Handwriting on the wall” was true.
The kingdom of Babylon was o more.
Cyrus the Persian and Parius was the Mede
They became the legendary kings that God used to end Jeremiah’s prophesized 70-year captivity and God also wed them to bring about the Jew return to their beloved Jerusalem.
Thru their disobedience the “Handwriting on the Wall” had been spiritually written for Israel and Judah.
The Prophecies of Jeremiah in a sense were “Handwriting on the wall” for his people’s demise.
Yet, they were also words of hope that Judah captivity would be short.
The inspired word of God is a “Handwriting on the wall” for all of us.
We need to become saved or we will be judged and condemned we need to be obedient or God will chastise us.
We need to be who we say we are, or the world will call us out.
As a nation, America is seeing the fingers of God writing his judgement.
If we do not change our wicked ways and seek repentance then I believe that God’s words Mene, Mene, Tekel Peres will be ours to bear.
Has God numbered our days as a nation and as free people?
Has God weighed our obedience against our iniquities on the balance scales of his judgement? If he has there is no doubt in my mind, we have been found waiting. Gods handwriting is on the wall if we don’t repent.
Has God already rose up a nation or nations to divide our kingdom and for others to take it?
I do not know, but if he has, we are in big trouble.
Has he weighed you one his scales of his judging? Will you be judged, will your day end in defeat?
That is all up to you, the handwriting is on the wall for everyone of us.