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"The Handwriting of God"

Daniel 5:1-9, 13-31

Quick Facts:

Daniel – one of the Major Prophets written during the time of Judah’s captivity to the Babylonian Empire. The events of the book span approximately 70 years (605 – 530 B.C.) … from Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) to Cyrus (Persia).

Daniel was a part of the first deportation (605 B.C.) while Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Jehoiakim, was a wicked king who rejected the Word of the Lord as spoken by Jeremiah sealing the fate of the Southern Kingdom (Judah).

There were three deportations: 605 B.C., 597 B.C., and 586 B.C.

The first six chapters are primarily (not entirely), historical, while the last six are prophetical, revealing the progression, rise and fall, of world empires (Babylonian, Medo/Persian, Grecian and Roman), and ultimately the Kingdom of God.

The events of Daniel take place in ancient Babylon, located in modern in Iraq, near the city of Baghdad.

Daniel may have been 20 years of age at the time of his deportation, and 90 years old during the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia.

Daniel (God is my Judge) to Belteshazzar (Refers to the Babylon god, Bel and means “May Bel protect his life.”)

Hananiah (The Lord is gracious) to Shadrach (Sumerian moon god).

Mishael (Who is like God) to Meshach (Who is like Aku, moon god).

Azariah (The Lord helps) to Abednego (may mean “salvation of Aku, or servant of Nebo).

Babylonian Kings (during the time of Daniel): Nebuchnezzar (605-562 BC), Amel Marduk (562-560 BC), Neriglissar (560-556 BC), Labashi-Marduk (556 BC) Nabonidus (556-539 BC) Belshazzar (556-539 BC). Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, ruled as co-regent of Babylon along with his father.

Pastor’s Notes:

Chapter five brings an end to the Babylonian Empire and the start of the Medo-Persian Empire. The events in chapter five are recorded in the writings of the Greek historians, Herodotus and Xenophon.

God warns us not to trust in the security of earthly kingdoms (Daniel 5:1-9).

One might question why such a feast during a time of war (the approaching armies of Cyrus)? Answer: 1) To invoke the favor of the gods 2) believed the massive walls around Babylon would hold out any invading forces.

The King set the example of utter folly “drank wine in their presence.”

These banquets usually devolved into drunken orgies..

Their debauchery led to blasphemy, idolatry, and utter disrespect of the God of the Hebrews (5:2-4).

God’s PowerPoint presentation – “writing on the wall.”

Belshazzar looked for answers in all the wrong places (5:5-9)

Note (5:10-12) The queen, who may have been the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, encouraged Belshazzar to call Daniel, who had proven himself capable of discerning dreams and vision. She called him by both his Hebrew and Babylonian names showing her familiarity with Daniel.

God warns us not to exalt ourselves against Him (Daniel 5:13-24)

The real problem Belshazzar’s unwillingness to recognize God as the sole ruler of the universe; the One Who has the power to establish or take down kings and kingdoms.

Daniel reminded Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation and then identified Belshazzar’s issue, “have no humbled your heart” but have “exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven.”

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall.”

How do we sometime show our confidence in what we can do for ourselves rather than trust God?

God warns us of the consequences of unrepentant sin (Daniel 5:25-31).

Daniel rejected the offered reward (the reward offered would be none existent with the fall of the Kingdom the following day, something Daniel knew).

What we view as historical reality, was in that moment, prophetic utterance. Daniel foretold the what, the why and the who.

This was not a warning that offered hope of reversal, but a response by God to Babylon’s sin, without remedy.

New Testament application to the warning: “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), and “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).

5:31 “Darius” Little historical documentation for Darius. He may have been Gobryas, the General who conquered Babylon, or it may be a reference to Cyrus, who enter Babylon 17 days after its fall and began reigning over the Kingdom.

Theological Theme: Unrepentant sin brings the judgment of God.

Christological Theme: While sin brings the judgment of God, God, Who is rich in mercy, has place His judgment of His Son, Jesus, Who died on the cross for man’s sin, so that sinful man may be forgiven and restored in his relationship with God.

Missional Theme: Heed the warnings of God, repent, and share God’s warnings, out of compassion and concern, to the guilty world.

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