Friday, July 7, 2017

Belshazzar's feast

Daniel 1Daniel 12Daniel 3

Daniel 1
Long ago there was a beautiful city called Babylon. It was the capital of one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. More than a million people lived behind its towering walls and gates of polished brass.
Daniel 2
The Babylonians were pagans who worshipped great idols of gold, silver, wood and stone.
Daniel 3
And they were a war-like people – during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, his cruel, fierce Babylonian armies conquered the surrounding nations.

Daniel 4Daniel 5Daniel 6

Daniel 4
They took captive the strong young men and women to be their servants. Some of these were from the land of Israel.
Daniel 5
And among them was a young man named Daniel.
Daniel 6
In the court of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel soon became a trusted adviser and was made chief of the wise men. Through Daniel, the King came to know that there is only one God, the Lord of heaven and earth.

Daniel 17Daniel 8Daniel 9

Daniel 7
But the man-made idols were still worshipped by most of the people, and as the years passed God and His prophet Daniel were forgotten.
Daniel 8
Eventually, Belshazzar became king. He was a cruel, selfish man who thought only about having a good time. Although he was Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar did not believe in God and under his rule the city of Babylon was full of wickedness and sin.
Daniel 9
As Daniel saw the foolishness of the people, his heart was sad and so he prayed and quietly waited for the time when he could again be of special service to the Lord. And that time was soon to come.

Daniel 10Daniel 11Daniel 12

Daniel 10
For outside the walls of Babylon was the mighty army of Medes and Persians led by Cyrus, King of Persia. But Belshazzar just laughed at them – unafraid. Were not the walls of Babylon 300 feet (92 meters) high and 80 feet (25 meters) thick? Cyrus could never conquer this city.
Daniel 11
But Belshazzar didn’t know just how powerful the enemy was, nor how clever their plan to capture Babylon.
Daniel 12
Feeling safe inside the strong walls of the city, a great feast was given to honor the evil idols the people worshipped. A thousand lords and ladies were summoned to attend the great banquet.

Daniel 13Daniel 14Daniel 15

Daniel 13
Shouts of acclamation arose from the crowd when the king came into the banquet hall. ‘O King, live forever!’ they cried, certain that the great Babylonian Empire would never end.
Daniel 14
As the king took his place at the table, servants brought in huge platters heaped with food. They filled the goblets with wine again and again... and the noise and shouts of revelry increased.
Daniel 15
Suddenly Belshazzar had an idea. He remembered the cups made of gold and silver that had been stolen years before from the temple of God at Jerusalem. ‘Bring the golden goblets here!’ he ordered.

Daniel 16Daniel 17Daniel 18

Daniel 16
When the temple goblets were brought, the king filled them with wine. He would show that he didn’t believe in the God of Israel, even if his grandfather had worshipped Him.
Daniel 17
He held his cup aloft. ‘Let us drink to our gods of gold, silver, brass, wood and stone!’ he cried
Daniel 18
But just as Belshazzar lifted the cup to his lips...a strange thing happened.

Daniel 19Daniel 20Daniel 21

Daniel 19
The goblet dropped from the king’s fingers. He stared at the wall before him.
Daniel 20
For a strange hand had suddenly appeared above the light of the candlestick. There were shrieks and screams of fear. Then...
Daniel 21
The hand began to write words on the palace wall: Mene... Mene... Tekel... Upharsin.

Daniel 32Daniel 23Daniel 24

Daniel 22
An unearthly silence gripped the banquet hall as the people stared at the mysterious words spelling out a message no one could understand.
Daniel 23
The king’s face paled. ‘Send for the wise men! Find someone who can tell me the meaning of the writing on the wall.’
Daniel 24
But none of the fortune tellers, magicians, astrologers or soothsayers, could explain the meaning of the strange symbols written on the wall of the palace.

Daniel 25Daniel 26Daniel 27

Daniel 25
Still shaking, the king sat down at the long table. Surely someone could tell him where the message came from... and what it meant!
Daniel 26
Then the queen mother came hurrying into the banquet hall. She reminded the king of Daniel, the man of wisdom and understanding, who years before had been able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.
Daniel 27
When Daniel was hastily brought to the king, he refused the great honour and wealth Belshazzar promised him if he could read the writing.

Daniel 28Daniel 29Daniel 30

Daniel 28
Instead, he reminded the king of his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, who had come to realise that his great wealth and kingdoms were given to him by God... and who had worshipped the Lord in humility.
Daniel 29
‘But you, Belshazzar, you are proud and vain. You have not humbled yourself before the God of heaven, but have defied Him!
Daniel 30
‘You have taken sacred vessels from God’s temple, drinking wine from them and praising your dead idols!’ Daniel told the king that the message on the wall came from God.

Daniel 31Daniel 32Daniel 33

Daniel 31
‘And this is what God says to you, Belshazzar. God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it. You are weighed in the balances and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.’
Daniel 32
And outside something was happening. The great enemy army of Cyrus which had been camped outside the city for two years quietly began to move.
Daniel 33
Soldiers crept into the city and opened gates. Soon the army swept down the streets. Guards were slain. But no sound of warning reached the banquet hall.

Daniel 34Daniel 35Daniel 36

Daniel 34
Suddenly a terror-stricken guard appeared on the steps. ‘The enemy! The enemy is in the city!’
Daniel 35
Belshazzar fled in terror before the first wave of soldiers, who were already within the palace looking for him. For they knew that once the king was slain, the city would soon surrender.
Daniel 36
As Belshazzar glanced behind him he could see he didn’t have a chance. The Medes were gaining on him.

Daniel 37Daniel 38Daniel 39

Daniel 37
Cruel eyes glittered mercilessly into his own. Harsh hands gripped him. And perhaps then Belshazzar realised that his life was being cut short and his kingdom finished because he had dared to mock God.
Daniel 38
Long before that day, Belshazzar had made his choice to live for the pleasures of this world. He had turned away from God to worship idols of wood and stone.
Daniel 39
As Daniel reminded him, Belshazzar knew that God ruled over all, but the king had dared to defy the Lord. So the proud and beautiful city of Babylon was destroyed, and the king and people with it, for they had despised God. ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows’ (Galatians 6:7).

Belshazzar's feast
When Belshazzar uses the cups from the Temple at his drunken feast the writing is on the wall.
Daniel 5:1-31

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