The Handwriting on the Wall #12

Monday, October 12, 2020

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 (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

People often inadvertently quote Scripture when they say, “the handwriting on the wall.” The English phrase refers to a bad omen, an indication that something terrible will happen. Indeed, just as the fifth chapter of Daniel shows, JEHOVAH God was offended when King Belshazzar used His holy vessels for a pagan, drunken orgy! Having been God’s instrument in judging sinful and idolatrous Judah, now Babylon’s fate was sealed… and God certified that doom with a cryptic inscription. As someone once aptly stated, “Daniel chapter 5 is a picture of the world’s last Saturday night!” (The heathen party literally died thereafter.) Eventually, sin will have its payday: God is not mocked. That is the first chief fact to grasp from this passage.

Belshazzar sought illumination and peace in religion and education, but these spiritualists and intellectuals could not help him see or comprehend God’s Word. The LORD’S prophet, Daniel, had to intercede. Religious scholarship and secular education are no (!) substitutes for God the Holy Spirit. Hence, so many “good, knowledgeable men” are of no (!) use understanding and interpreting the Holy Bible. If they lack the indwelling Holy Spirit, they are not qualified to be Bible teachers and expositors. It is that simple. They would be far better saying nothing! Here is the second major fact we can ascertain from these verses.

Before we close, let us consider a third and final point. Looking into the future, we see old Babylon’s fall in Daniel chapter 5 anticipates the day when new Babylon under the Antichrist falls (Revelation chapters 17–18; Jeremiah chapters 50–51). Historical Babylon being overthrown previews its permanent destruction at Christ’s Second Coming. The Lord Jesus will allow Israel to return to the Promised Land, just as Cyrus King of Persia (conqueror of ancient Babylon) commissioned their regathering in the land of Canaan five centuries before Christ’s earthly ministry. As the handwriting on the wall demonstrates, Babylon still awaits a more terrible fate!

The Handwriting on the Wall #11

Sunday, October 11, 2020

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 (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

Quite rarely is it ever understood that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is underscored throughout this chapter. For example, the “fingers of a man’s hand” refers to the Holy Spirit, who is called “the finger of God.” “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28). “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11:20). The emphasis is on the power of God (Exodus 8:19) and the inspiration of God (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture provides the layout of the room as the LORD God wrote His words on the palace wall of Babylon. This too reflects the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Daniel’s description affirms a wall made of “plaister” (lime, chalk) is opposite a “candlestick” (lampstand, chandelier). God the Holy Spirit chooses to write His communication on the wall. The writing itself symbolizes the Holy Bible—Divine revelation given directly to King Belshazzar.

Recall the candlestick situated opposite the wall bearing God’s Word. This is reminiscent of the design of the Tabernacle: the lampstand (the light of the Holy Spirit) was on the side opposite the table of shewbread (shewbread representing God’s Word—Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4). “And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway” (Exodus 25:30). “And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against [opposite] the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side” (Exodus 26:35).

It takes the Prophet Daniel’s ministry to interpret God’s words to Belshazzar because the Holy Spirit is in Daniel. Daniel is made “third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:7,16,29)—not only because Belshazzar is co-reigning with his father Nobannaid, but also because the Holy Spirit is the third Member of the Godhead. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Handwriting on the Wall #10

Saturday, October 10, 2020

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 (Daniel 5:5 KJV).

What great Bible truths can we learn from Daniel chapter 5?

Chapter 5 of Daniel closes, “And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old” (verse 31). Chapter 6, verse 28, adds: “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Here is Cyrus King of Persia, which chapter 9 of Daniel mentions by yet another name: “[1] In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; [2] In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” With Media-Persia conquering Babylon, the 70 years of Judah’s Babylonian captivity are over. The Prophet Daniel witnessed all seven decades firsthand—from the first invasion of Jerusalem to the fall of Babylon.

The Jews’ return from Babylon to the land of Israel is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:22,23: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up” (cf. Ezra 1:1,2).

With the historical context better understood, we can go back to Daniel chapter 5 and fill in more details as touching the nature of the handwriting on the wall itself….

Praise and Thanks to the LORD

Thursday, June 30, 2016

“And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid” (Ezra 3:11 KJV).

Just imagine Israel’s joy as the Temple is being reconstructed!

The Babylonian armies had come many decades earlier and destroyed Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple, the house of the LORD, the magnificent center of Israel’s religious life, was burned to the ground! The Jews of the southern kingdom (Judah) were violently carried away to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chronicles 36:14-21).

JEHOVAH God commissioned Persian King Cyrus the Great to rebuild His Temple (Isaiah 44:28—written nearly two centuries previous to Cyrus!). Obeying Cyrus’ decree, Zerubbabel leads some of his Jewish brethren from Babylon back to Jerusalem to begin the construction (2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-11). These Jews have given of their material riches to construct the Temple. As chapter 2 of Ezra says: “[68] And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: [69] They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.”

In today’s Scripture, they are excited that they have now laid the foundation for this new Temple. Literally, they are “re-laying the groundwork” for their Mosaic religion. They want JEHOVAH’S presence to return to them. They desire for Him to dwell in Jerusalem with them as He did before their Babylonian captivity/exile. It is a very emotional time. The older men, those who had seen Solomon’s Temple before it was destroyed over 50 years earlier, observe the construction of this new Temple’s foundation and they “wept with a loud voice” (verse 12)! They recognize that they had sinned (leading to their punishment in the captivity) but their God has been faithful in bringing them back into the Promised Land. Not because of their faithfulness, but because of His!