A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts: Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions: | Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
The Handwriting on the Wall
Daniel 5:5 – 9
In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
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.
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 show 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.
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.
Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
What would you have done if you’d come to the king’s palace for a night of revelry and debauchery and all of a sudden God crashed your party? I have a feeling that most of the guests were so blitzed that they may have thought they were seeing things. Some probably thought, “This is cool.., look. . . a hand writing on the wall. This Belshazzar guy really knows how to promote magical entertainment. Wow, we didn’t know we were going to have a night of illusions to accompany the wine.”
But Belshazzar had not arranged this particular distraction, and, apparently, he had enough of his wits about him to call the party to an unceremonious halt as the disembodied hand appeared and began writing a message on the plaster wall. The message was clearly written-a warning of the judgment to come because of the desecration of the temple utensils designed to honor Yahweh, the God of heaven.
The King James version says that “his knees smote one against another” (Daniel 5:6). That means Belshazzar was so scared that his knees were knocking. The party was now history, and Belshazzar probably wasn’t the only one who wished it had ended an hour earlier. The passage says he was pale. I imagine that you and I would have turned a strong shade of white also.
So once again, the wise men were summoned. This time, not to interpret a dream, but to attempt to analyze this disembodied hand writing on the wall. I imagine the sorcerers and magicians may have said among themselves, “Belshazzar’s drunk again and is only hallucinating.” However, as the soothsayers entered the dining hall, they were stumped because the handwritten message was inscribed indelibly on the wall. Furthermore, they didn’t know how to interpret what they were seeing. That’s when panic set in, that is, until the queen mother, the wife of Nebuchadnezzar stepped forward and reminded Belshazzar about a man named Daniel in the kingdom who was pretty good at figuring out this sort of thing.
The Queen Mother Remembers Daniel
Daniel 5:10 – 12
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:
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;
Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing 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 show the interpretation.
The queen mother is basically saying, “You’d better listen to Daniel because your grandfather really lifted him up, respected him, and used him on more than one occasion to handle situations like this.” She knew that Daniel had “the spirit of the holy gods” in and upon him and because of it had the answers. Daniel was around seventeen years old when he was first brought to Babylon from Jerusalem, and now he was approaching his mid-eighties.
During this entire time in captivity he kept the power of the Holy Spirit on him-and the queen mother knew it. How did Daniel keep this power upon him during his years of service in Babylon? By spending time in God’s precious Book. Daniel knew the Scriptures, and remained profoundly touched by God’s Word in the pagan land to which he had been brought so many years earlier. Later, Peter would write in 1 Peter 2:2,
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.”
That was Daniel’s secret then, and it is the source of our strength today as we move swiftly to the end of the age and to the final unsealing of the end-time mysteries. Daniel lived on his knees before God, and when one lives like that-from teenage years to becoming a senior citizen-that person will be such a Spirit-filled being that even the enemies of God will sit up and take notice. Daniel understood the secret of life, and therefore, whenever called on to speak God’s truth to a perverse generation of Babylonians, he was ready with a fitting-and correct-word from God. Is Daniel your model today?
Daniel Comes before Belshazzar
Daniel 5:13 – 16
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?
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.
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 show the interpretation of the thing:
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.
By now, I’m sure the party had come to a screeching halt- and I would think more than a few of the guests had sobered up rather quickly. Who wouldn’t-a disembodied hand writing on a plaster wall has that effect on party animals. They probably called him killjoy Daniel. But this senior citizen was just as sharp and alert as the day he was spirited away from Jerusalem to Babylon with the other Jewish captives. He knew who he was and Whose he was. He could not have cared less about the king’s offer of a purple robe and a gold chain. What value were such temporal rewards to him?
As modern Christians, it seems that we often get confused on this issue. We all like to be rewarded for the good things we do, often asking, How much am I going to get for doing this? Who’s going to notice me if I do this good deed? But this is not the way of Christ. Hebrews 13:5 says,
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
This is the spirit we must maintain during this end-time hour, but it is not the present spirit of Christendom. If one were to study any Bible concordance on adultery, fornication, or licentiousness, and then look up the word covetousness-he would discover that immorality and materialism run neck and neck. They are that close in God’s sight. God hates the sin of loving money and an obsession with material possessions as much as He hates the sin of immorality.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE