Book of daniel chapter 5 belshazzar s feast the fall of babylon
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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5) Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon". A Historical Reconciliation with the Biblical Account -Daniel moves from Nebuchadnezzer’s testimony in Chapter 4 directly to an account in the reign of Nebuchadnezzer’s grandson Belshazzar two generations later.

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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5) Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

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Book of daniel chapter 5 belshazzar s feast the fall of babylon

BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

A Historical Reconciliation with the Biblical Account

-Daniel moves from Nebuchadnezzer’s testimony in Chapter 4 directly to an account in the reign of Nebuchadnezzer’s grandson Belshazzar two generations later.

-Over 30 years had passed since King Nebuchadnezzar's period of insanity. Daniel was now more than eighty years old and virtually forgotten by the current Babylonian leaders.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

A Historical Reconciliation with the Bible

-Historians typically list Nabonidus as the last King of Babylon not Belshazzar. Nabonidus is not even mentioned in the Book of Daniel.

-The heathen historian Berosus, who lived about 250 years after Daniel, in his list of the kings of Babylon, omits the name of Belshazzar, and gives the name Nabonnaid as the last king of Babylon. Because of this the critics attacked the truthfulness of the Book of Daniel. But the truthfulness has been vindicated by the discovery and deciphering of a number of clay tablets taken from the ruins of Babylonia, on which the name of Belshazzar frequently appears as the son of Nabonnaid, and as sharing the government with him as co-regent.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

A Historical Reconciliation with the Bible

The city of Babylon was a formidable fortress.

  • Its was an entirely walled city 15 miles square!

  • Its walls were no less than thirty feet high

  • The walls were an incredible 87 feet wide (a 4-horse chariot could be turned easily on them according to the historian Herodotus!)

  • The Euphrates River ran through the heart of the city and served both as a water supply and as a protective moat.

  • Inside the outer wall was an inner wall with a protective moat between them and it had over 250 watchtowers!

  • Its hanging gardens were considered one of the eight wonders of the world.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

A Historical Reconciliation with the Bible

- In September, 539 B.C. the Persian armies of Cyrus, under the command of Ugbaru, district governor of Gutium, attached Opis on the Tigris River and defeated the Babylonians (probably under the command of Nabonidus).

  • This gave the Persians control of the vast canal system of Babylon!

  • On October 10, the Persians took Sipar without a battle and Nabonidus fled leaving the city of Babylon without a protective army!

  • With control of the waterways, Ugbaru’s troops dammed the river, lowered the water level and were able to march into the city under the gates and took the city itself without a battle.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast

-It occurred in the great banquet hall, 56x173 feet (which was reconstructed by Saddam Hussein for affairs of state as early as 1987).

-The feast of Belshazzar was given in a spirit of contempt and defiance-- The armies of the Medo-Persians were encamped outside its walls.

-Belshazzar felt secure, for the walls of the city were impregnable, the brazen gates barred, and the drawbridge drawn up.

-Belshazzar had stockpiled enough food within the walls to last for twenty years.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast

He invited over 1,000 of his lords to the feast.

  • The feast became a drunken orgy, and in his pride, arrogance, and contempt of all decency, Belshazzar asked for the Sacred Vessels of the Temple of Israel's God, (which had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar when he set siege to Jerusalem,) to be used to drink from in this drunken orgy!

  • Even though Nebuchadnezzar had confiscated them at the time of the siege of Jerusalem, he had never dishonored them, but had kept them as treasures in a pagan temple in Babylon. Obviously, Belshazzar was attempting to eliminate any glory and honor that his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had given to the one true God!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast

  • These things which had been given by God, consecrated by God for a very definite purpose, this wicked heathen king desecrated, and as a result, God pronounces dire judgment upon him! When he desecrated God's Holy set apart things, his cup of iniquity became full, and as a result, judgment fell!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast - What does this say to us today as Christians who misuse the Holy vessels of God?

  • Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are! 1 Cor. 3:16,17.

  • I beseech ye therefore brethren that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God! Roms. 12:2.

  • Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; Psalms 24:3,4a.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL

-Following this wicked desecration, the fingers of a man's hand appeared out of nowhere, and began writing upon the wall of the great banquet hall.

  • The writing was in an unknown language (interesting how often God uses confusion of language to confound the "wise", isn't it)

  • The king was unable to interpret, and frantically calls for all his soothsayers, astrologers, and magicians to try to learn what is going on.

  • Of course, they were unable to help (Spiritual things are only understood by those who know God) 1 Corinthians 2: 14


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast – The Handwriting on the Wall

-In verse 10, the Queen mother (probably a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) hears all the commotion comes to the banquet hall. She immediately tells Belshazzar about Daniel and the service he rendered to King Nebuchadnezzar, and immediately Daniel was sent for.

  • Daniel was now well in his eighties, and obviously still full of the Spirit of God and of wisdom. In desperation, Belshazzar offers Daniel gifts and rewards including being placed as third in rulership of the kingdom. Daniel knew how empty these promises were, for he saw "the handwriting on the wall.”

  • Because of the message on the wall, Daniel knew that the Empire of Babylon was doomed, and that King Belshazzar would be powerless to fulfill his promises which mean nothing to Daniel.


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast – The Handwriting on the Wall

Verses 17 through 28: The Interpretation of the words:

MENE: God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. (Literally your reign is over and God has brought it to an end.) America take warning!

TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting. (Literally, judgment has fallen and you fall short!) America take warning!

UPHARSIN (PERES): Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Literally, everything that was yours is now given to your enemies). America take warning!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Belshazzar’s Feast – The Handwriting on the Wall

  • That very night, Nebonidus is defeated and fleeing, and Belshazzar slain, and Darius (age 62) the Mede took over the kingdom.

  • Belshazzar (who does not realize the Nebonidus has fled) robed Daniel in the royal scarlet and the royal signet around his neck, and a royal proclamation that he is now the third co-regent of Babylon.

  • Belshazzar is then slain leaving Daniel as the only other leader of Babylon!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Incredible Aftermath

  • Darius (Mede) and Cyrus (Persia) are now the co-regents of the Medo-Persian Empire (many times referred to as simply the Persian Empire).

  • Daniel has been uniquely positioned to eyewitness the fulfillment of prophecy given 70 years earlier to Nebuchanezzer in interpretation of Nebuchanezzer’s dream! (Babylon would fall to an inferior kingdom – the Medo)

  • Daniel is now positioned to personally deliver a letter to Cyrus (co-regent of the Persian Empire) written by God specifically to Cyrus 150 years earlier!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

God’s letter to Cyrus!

Isaiah 45:1-7

  • Cyrus is called by name

  • “Loose the loins of kings” compare to Daniel 5:5-6

  • Open the “two leaved gates” referring to the bronze gates of Babylon – “leave” perhaps tied to the hanging gardens!

  • God did this for the sake of the nation of Israel (v. 4)

  • Tells Cyrus that He did this even though Cyrus does not know God!


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BOOK OF DANIEL (Chapter 5)Belshazzar's Feast - "The Fall of Babylon"

Incredible Aftermath

  • Cyrus encouraged the Jews to return to Jerusalem

    • 2 Chron. 36:22

    • Ezra 1:1-4

  • Cyrus took up an offering to rebuild the temple (v. 4)

  • He returned the vessels belonging in the temple (that Belshazzar had attempted to defile!)

  • The Jews commenced their return to Jerusalem under Zerrubbabel exactly 70 years after the captivity began, exactly as prophesied by Jeremiah!


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