In our series under the above heading, we have now reached the final article that I have been called upon to write for this rubric. And, therefore, that means that we will finish this series with the powerful Word of God as that is set forth for us in the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel.
From the point of view of history, approximately seventy years have gone by from the beginning of chapter one up until the beginning of chapter five. We have noticed many things that have happened during those seventy years. Daniel and his three friends were taken into Nebuchadnezzar’s court and were subjected to a horrible plot. Daniel by an act of faith refused to eat of the king’s meat. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream of a great image which was crushed by a little stone. Daniel’s three friends were cast into a fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to a great image. God brought upon Nebuchadnezzar a horrible insanity as punishment for his horrible pride.
And all the while God’s people sat by Babel’s streams and wept. They wept! Why did they weep? They wept because for seventy long years they had been in Babylon’s land. For seventy long years they had been subjected to fierce opposition and hatred. But most of all they wept because for seventy long years they had been separated from the land of Canaan and from the House of God. Oh, how they longed for that House of God and for the fellowship of God that that House provided. For that reason God’s people wept.
But now their tears are all wiped away. God hath wiped away all tears from their eyes, for the Word of God to His people, as that is expressed in this fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel is, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen! God reigns over the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will. The victory is of the Lord and of His Christ. Hence, no more tears need God’s people, who are in Babylon’s land, shed.
And that, esteemed reader, is also the Word of God to you and to me in these last times. The Lord our God has also wiped away all tears from our eyes as we live in the midst of this world, Babylon’s land. He has! He has exactly because this powerful word has proceeded from the mouth of Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come. Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!
What a horrible sin was and is Babylon’s sin. This chapter brings us before a great banquet hall wherein are gathered King Belshazzar, his wives and concubines, and no fewer than one thousand of his lords, his mighty men. In this banquet hall a great: feast is in progress. Food in abundance is brought out. The wine is flowing freely. The king, his women, and his lords are making merry. Everyone is having a good time. And sin is being committed! The horrible sin that is being committed consisted in the first place in this, that all those who were gathered in that banquet hall were thoroughly drunk. They were stone drunk. Belshazzar, his women, and his lords had been tasting the wine for some time, and the wine was now beginning to taste good. In the very drunken state of everyone concerned, that sin of drunkennes led to another sin: the sin of the most horrible and basest degeneracy. The king’s women were at that feast. They were not there because they were expected to be there! On the contrary, the very opposite is true. The king’s women were simply not allowed at such royal festivities such as were in progress in the king’s banquet hall. Such a thing was totally unheard of. But at this festivity, at this king’s feast, they were there. And they were there because King Belshazzar had wanted them there. And he had wanted them there in order to please the king’s drunken men! But such was not the end of it. For in the midst of their drunken state, and in the midst of their horrible lust, the king utters a command. A command which ordered his servants to do something which was also unheard of or allowed,namely, a command to bring in the vessels of the House of God, in order that the king and his lords and his women might drink there from! We must understand that also that sort of thing was totally unheard of. Oh, the wicked nations of Babylon’s day had no qualms about seizing the vessels out of a given temple. But it was simply forbidden on the part of those wicked nations of Babylon’s day to use those vessels for any purpose. But Belshazzar did not give a snap about that. He did not care in the least about that which was ordinarily forbidden or unheard of. He had already brought in the women, and now he had brought in the vessels of the House of God. From those vessels which had been dedicated to the service of Jehovah God, the king drank. And having drunk from those vessels, the king “praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Notice that. He praised the gods of gold and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone!
And that was his horrible sin. At that feast Belshazzar praised gods that are no gods. He praised them, that is, he worshipped them. He bowed down to them. He extolled them as being the cause of all of Babylon’s greatness. And in so doing he mocked the living God. He mocked Jehovah of hosts, the One only true God Who lives and reigns forever. He mocked the one God Who reigns over the kingdoms of men and giveth them to whomsoever He will. And he did that, mind you, with God’s own vessels! That is the point. The king used the very vessels which had been dedicated to the service of Jehovah God to mock God! By his action whereby he brought the vessels of the House of God to his feast, and by his action whereby he drank wine from those vessels, his word was, my gods are great. My gods of wood and stone are powerful. And who is Jehovah Whose vessels these are? Jehovah is nothing. All that Jehovah is good for is to provide vessels from which I might drink wine. In utter contempt and derision did the king hold Jehovah.
That was Babylon’s sin. And that is Babylon’s sin still today. Still today Babylon, this world, never ceases to mock our God. Still today this wicked world glories in all its greatness. Still today this wicked world glories in all that it has done. Still today this wicked world gathers at its great feasts, becomes drunk on its wine, commits horrible fornication as a result of its great lust. And, in the midst of its horrible degeneracy and baseness, still today this wicked world dares to mock God! The world today, as it did in the past, has no use for God. We live in a thoroughly wicked and godless world. And, indeed, the most striking reality of it all is that the world today still uses the same means that it has always used to show that it has no use for God. By that I mean simply this, that the world still today uses the very vessels of the House of God which have been dedicated to the service of God in order to mock God! What are those vessels, those vessels, which have been dedicated to the service of God? Unmistakably those vessels are you and me. Those vessels are the very Church of Jesus Christ. We are God’s chosen vessels whom He has dedicated unto His service. And the world today looks at us, God’s chosen vessels; its looks at us who are so very small and insignificant as far as the world is concerned, and it says to us, if you are any indication of the greatness and the powerfulness of your God, then your God is not much! Look at you. You are small. You are insignificant. You are nothing. And because you are small and insignificant and nothing, your God must be small and insignificant and nothing. And because your God is small and insignificant and nothing, He deserves to be mocked!
But you cannot mock God! I know that we emphasized that in our last article. But we must emphasize that once again. You cannot mock God. God will have those who hold Him in derision, in derision. And that He will is vividly manifest in this chapter. In the midst of Babylon the great’s mockery of God, God sends a finger. A finger which writes a message on a wall. A message which declares to all the world, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen! God did that with Babylon of old. Belshazzar, his women, and his lords were busy mocking God. And then all of a sudden it happened! Fingers of a man’s hand came forth. And having come forth, those fingers wrote three words on the wall of that banquet hall: Mene, Tekel, and Upharsin. Oh what an awesome frightening thing that must have been to see those fingers writing those words on that wall. And it was! Belshazzar was frightened. At the sight of those fingers Belshazzar was literally terrified! The joints of his loins became loosed. His knees began to shake. And we read that at the sight of those fingers his “countenance was changed.” His face became pale. At the sight of those fingers all the color drained from his face. He was terrified. And in his terrified state he calls upon his wise men to interpret those words. But as so often before, the wise men can not interpret those words. Finally he calls upon Daniel. He attempts to give Daniel a gift if Daniel will only tell him what those words mean. That gift Daniel refuses. He says to Belshazzar, your gift I do not want. I will have nothing of it. And I will have nothing of it because you have mocked God. You have mocked God even as your father, Nebuchadnezzar, mocked God. Do you not remember that? Your father mocked God. And, too, do you not remember what happened to your father exactly because he mocked God? This is what happened. He was driven from among men. He ate grass as the oxen. The dew of heaven fell upon him. All of that happened to your father because he mocked God. And now you also and this great Babylon which dare to mock God shall experience the just condemnation of God. You, O king, land this great Babylon shall fall! “Mene: God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it.” That is, God hath set the limits of the kingdom of Babylon, and this Babylon has come to an end. “Tekel: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” That is, God hath placed you on His balance scale, and you have not measured up. You have not measured up on the scale of God’s righteousness. You are found wanting. “Upharsin: The kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” That is, your kingdom, Babylon the great, is divided, all broken up. Babylon the great, which you thought was so invincible is all broken up. It is fallen, O king, by the hand of the God Whom you mocked!
Indeed, those were Daniel’s words. No, they were the very words of Jehovah, the living God Himself, to the Babylon of long ago. And they are the words of Jehovah, the living God Himself, to the Babylon of this world. To the Babylon of this world which dares to mock God, God says, you are numbered. You are weighed and found wanting. You are broken. And you are fallen. Numbered, weighed, broken, and fallen by My Son! Yes, esteemed reader, those are God’s words to the Babylon of this world. Through Jesus Who died upon the cross, God crushed the horrible mockery of this world. Through Jesus Who died upon the cross, God brought His condemnation and just judgment upon this world. Through Jesus Who died upon the cross, the world is numbered and weighed and broken and fallen! It is fallen utterly to its everlasting ruin! But through Jesus the Church is saved. It is saved through the very blood of the Lamb by Whom God crushed this world, and by Whom God brought His just judgment upon this world.
And for us who live in these last times, that is the Word; of God which we must never forget. Our tears that we shed as we walk in these last times through Babylon’s land are all wiped away. They are wiped away by Jehovah the God of our salvation, Who livesand Who reigns eternally. Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. But we are risen: risen through Christ Jesus, risen to stand with Christ Jesus forever!
That to be sure is the Word of God to Babylon. And that to be sure is the Word of God to us who live in these last times. Be comforted with that Word. Are you? Do you live with that comfort? Remember these are the last times. But the question is: how are we living?