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Daniel 5—The Fall of Babylon

Norman McNulty


Part 4 of 11 in Daniel Prophecy Series given at Maraval, Trinidad SDA church.


Norman McNulty

Neurologist at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Lawrenceburg, TN



  • August 13, 2011
    11:00 AM
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Happy Sabbath to each one of you, and it’s great to be here at the Maraval Seventh-day Adventist Church on this beautiful Sabbath morning. And I have also been blessed by being here throughout the week. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you as this week as progressed, and I’m glad we still have two more weeks as we go through the book of Daniel. And I’m glad, as my wife was introduced, I’m glad that she’s here today as well. This is her first time at this church and my daughter as well, Saralyn. And as I had mentioned last night, my wife and I celebrated our four-year anniversary yesterday, so God has been good, and we’re glad to be here in Trinidad, and we’re glad to be here at Maraval, and I’m thankful to be part of this prophecy series on the book of Daniel.


Before we get into the message, I would like to offer a word of prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank You for the message in Scripture, the message that points to the signs of Your coming again with Jesus coming in the clouds of Heaven. And I pray that the message today would uplift Jesus Christ, that I would be lost sight of, that Jesus would be lifted up, and that we would gain a greater sense for the message of our time that will prepare us for the coming of Jesus. So, be with us now. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


So, I was very blessed by the summary of what we’ve talked about thus far. We had a very good summary presentation this morning. And, you know, repetition deepens impression, so it’s good to go over what we’ve been talking about and to not just hear it one time and then never think about it again. But one of the things I’m going to try to do as we go through is to connect things to what we’ve already heard so that you will learn it better.


Now, our title for today’s presentation is “The Fall of Babylon,” and this is based on Daniel, chapter 5, and, of course, this is speaking of the fall of the ancient kingdom of Babylon, and we know the story of Belshazzar, and we’re going to go through that today. And I would invite you to turn to Daniel, chapter 5, and we’re going to start by reading verses 1 through 4.


Daniel, chapter 5, reading verses 1 through 4, here we read, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords,” so this is a big event, right? You invite 1,000 of your lords, these are the political leaders of the nation of Babylon. Now, we’ve seen this before, haven’t we? Daniel, chapter 3, we just talked about it last night. So, here we see a great feast to a thousand of his lords “and drank wine before the thousand.”


Then verse 2, “Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem,” so this is interesting. The vessels from the temple in Jerusalem were not at this feast originally; did you notice that? But Belshazzar, he asked for these vessels after something happened, and what happened? It says after he drank the wine.


Now, we talked about this a little bit in Daniel, chapter 1. Remember, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king’s meat nor with the wine that he drank because Daniel understood that when you drink wine, it intoxicates the mind. You don’t think as clearly. And Belshazzar, as he drinks the wine at this feast, gets this idea in his mind as he becomes intoxicated, “Hey, why don’t we take the vessels that were intended to only be used in the worship of the true God of Heaven and bring them to our feast so that we can mock the God of Heaven? We will show that we are the great, mighty kingdom of Babylon and that we can use God’s vessels that have been set aside for holy use and use them the way we want to use them.”


It makes you wonder if he knew anything about history. Continuing on, so it says, we saw that he “commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.” And then notice verses 3 and 4, “Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine,” and notice this, “and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.”


So, here you have a feast, but not only is it a feast. You see that at this feast the political leaders again of Babylon, the lords of the kingdom of Babylon, have come to this feast, and they become intoxicated with wine, or another way you could say it, they became intoxicated with the wine of Babylon. And in this feast they conducted a religious worship service in which they worshiped gods that do not exist.


And here is what we learn from this story, and we’re going to make the application at the end of the story, but when you drink wine, it intoxicates your mind so that you start to believe things, and you start to worship things that aren’t true. And that’s why we believe from the Bible that wine represents false doctrine, because in a literal sense, when you drink wine, it intoxicates you, and it causes you to start to do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do and to believe things that in your right mind you wouldn’t think to do.


And in this feast, we see once again a union of church and state. Just as we did in Daniel, chapter 3, when Nebuchadnezzar called the political leaders throughout his kingdom to come and bow before an image under the threat of death, here we see Belshazzar calling another worship service with his political leaders, and in this service they are openly mocking the God of Heaven by using the vessels that have been intended only for the worship of the true God.


And, it’s interesting, if you look at the elements that they worshiped, notice, the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone. Have we seen those metals before? The only thing that’s added here is the wood. Everything else you see in Daniel, chapter 2. So, in a sense you could make an application that they were praising the gods of the kingdoms of this world, and they had placed the God of Heaven out of their mind.


And, you know, it’s so easy for us, even those of us who profess to know God, and, Belshazzar, he should have known the stories from his past. Those of us, we’ve seen God work in our lives, and yet, when the rubber meets the road, and we come to our day-to-day experience, rather than placing our focus and our worship and our priority on the true God of Heaven, we spend our time, our energy, and our resources on the things of this world, and in essence our lives declare that we praise the gods of this world. And we have something to learn from this story, from the fall of Babylon.


Now, notice what happens. We’re going to continue now. Daniel, chapter 5, verses 5 through 9, so here you have this religious feast, worship service, the worship of false gods, and notice what happens in verse 5. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Can you imagine that?


I mean, let’s just imagine right now, I’m speaking, and you’re listening, and all of a sudden, a hand shows up on the wall and starts writing fiery letters on the wall, and none of us know the language that the hand is writing in. I mean, that would scare us out of our minds, wouldn’t it? And, you know, you’ve heard the phrase, “The handwriting’s on the wall”? I mean, everybody knows when you say, “The handwriting is on the wall,” that’s a bad thing.


And Belshazzar and everybody who was there, they didn’t know what the handwriting said, but they knew it was bad because that just doesn’t happen. I mean, you’re having this fun time at this feast. You’re getting intoxicated with wine, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, a hand starts writing on the wall. You know that that’s not just an ordinary human experience. You know that something supernatural is taking place, and you know that you have been mocking the God of Heaven because you’re using the vessels that were set aside only for the use of God’s worship, so Belshazzar had to know that something has gone bad.


Notice verse 6, “Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Now, how often do you see someone who’s so scared that his knees are knocking against each other? I mean, this guy was scared out of his mind. This is a bad situation.


Continuing on, verse 7, “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.” Now, he hasn’t learned the first lesson, because in the history of the book of Daniel, every time there’s been a problem, whenever the king of Babylon calls for the wise men of Babylon, they haven’t been able to help out. But once again, old habits die hard, Belshazzar turns to what he knows best, the wise men of Babylon.


Continuing on, “And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, ‘Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.’” Now, notice, when Belshazzar offers someone who can interpret the writing the third ruler in the kingdom, that was the highest position he could offer. The reason why is that Belshazzar is what we call a co-region of the kingdom of Babylon with his father, Nabonidus, and Nabonidus is not mentioned in the book of Daniel, but scholars and historians have discovered this.


You have Nebuchadnezzar, who was the first king that we study about. His son was Nabonidus, and Nabonidus’ son was Belshazzar, and Nabonidus and Belshazzar were like two kings ruling at the same time, and we believe Nabonidus was off in a different part of the kingdom during this time. So, Belshazzar couldn’t say, “I’ll make you second in the kingdom because that would be displacing his father,” so the best he could do is say, “I’ll make you next in line to my father and me.” So, he’s offering the highest position in the kingdom below himself and his father. So, this is a high honor that he’s willing to give.


This shows you that he’s desperate. He’s going from having a great time to offering anybody who can interpret the writing, it could be just some common guy off the street, you could be next in line to the king of Babylon. He’s desperate. And, you know, when we put ourselves in situations where we forget about God, we go out and we just say, “You know what, I know what the Bible says, but I’m just going to go out and have a great time and party and hang out with my friends,” suddenly when something goes wrong, desperation sets in. But if we follow the true God, we don’t have to put ourselves in these kinds of situations. We don’t have to put ourself in a situation where we’re willing to basically give away a lot of what we have gained through our hard-working life because of a foolish decision of a moment.


And, you know, sometimes as young people, if you would just think about what you were doing before you’re with that person of the opposite gender and to just think about Daniel and his three friends, and say, “You know what, I will be faithful and a person of integrity no matter what. I’m not going to do something foolish. I’m not going to do something under the influence of being intoxicated. I won’t even try a sip because I know if I do I might do something that I will regret for the rest of my life.” Belshazzar was in this situation.


Notice verse 8, “Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation,” and why are we not surprised? The wise men, this is the third time now. We didn’t talk about chapter 4, but in Daniel 2 they couldn’t help Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 4, they couldn’t help Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had to help both times. Here again in chapter 5, the wise men could not read the writing.


And then verse 9, “Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonished.” So, the party’s over at this point. The party is over; the fun is gone. The drinking, the revelry, the pleasures that they had for a short period of time, it was gone. And, you know, there’s a lesson for us in this because the Bible talks about how there are pleasures in sin for a season. And Moses chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; that’s in Hebrews 11. There is pleasure in sin for a season, but there will come a time when the party is over, and when it’s over the pain is far worse than the pleasure you ever had. And here the party is over.


Let’s continue, verse 10, “Now the queen,” we believe this was probably the mother of Belshazzar, “Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, ‘O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.’” And, you know what, God is looking for people today in this world to still be people of integrity, so that when the rest of the world is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, there will be people on this earth whom the world can look to and say, “You know what, there are people who follow the true and living God, and we have gotten into a bind. Let’s turn to them and seek help from them because they know the true and living God.” And we should be those people. Amen?



“‘There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father,’” and that’s referring to Nebuchadnezzar, “‘light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.’” So, Belshazzar’s getting a history lesson, and the queen is saying, “You know, Nebuchadnezzar, your grandfather, he made this man the master over all the wise men who couldn’t read the writing right now,” so he’s above all of them.


Verse 12, “‘Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.’” Now, that’s fascinating. The queen of Babylon has faith in Daniel.


Now, here’s another interesting point. Do you remember in Daniel, chapter 1, how you had Daniel and his three friends and how the king changed all of their names? What does the queen call Daniel? Does she call him by his Babylon name of Belteshazzar, or does she primarily refer to him by his original name? You know, the point about this, it’s a small point, the point is that in Daniel, chapter 1, Nebuchadnezzar tried to change the name of Daniel and his three friends because he was trying to change their identity, but by the time you come years later, and Ellen White tells us it was 50 years from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 to this incident in Daniel 5, 50 years later what you see throughout those 50 years is that Daniel preserved his identity and his integrity, and thus his mission of being a messenger for God was preserved all those years despite the kingdom of Babylon trying to change his identity. By the end of the kingdom of Babylon, Babylon acknowledges him by his real name, the name that his godly parents had given him. He preserved his identity.


And, we, in this day as the end-time Babylon is striving so hard to try to change the identity of God’s people and to say, “It’s okay, just come out and party with us. Drink our wine. Sing our songs. Be like us,” God is looking for people like Daniel who will preserve their integrity and will preserve their identity and continue the mission that God has designed for us to give here on this earth.


And so, Belshazzar decides to call in Daniel. Starting in verse 13, “Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, ‘Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?’” Now, this is, in my mind, actually quite pathetic. The queen has said, “Daniel has the spirit of the holy Gods. He was the master of the wise men,” and Belshazzar’s like, “Hey, just so you know, I’m still the king here, Daniel. Are you that guy who came from those captives all those years ago? You’re one of the slaves from Jerusalem? Is that who you are?”


Verse 14, “‘I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing.’” Verse 16, “‘And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.’”


So, Belshazzar is basically saying, “Okay, you’re a captive, right, but you know what, my wise men can’t help me out, so if you can help me out, I will make you, a captive from Judah, the third ruler in the kingdom.” He’s desperate.


Now, Daniel, he had to have seen this coming because, remember, Daniel is the one who told Nebuchadnezzar that, “Your kingdom will be replaced.” So, notice what he says in verse 17, “Then Daniel answered and said before the king, ‘Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.’” Notice this, Daniel, in his service for God, was not concerned about promotion. His purpose was simply to do what God called him to do. He was not coming into the banquet hall and saying, “Man, this is the moment and opportunity of a lifetime. I’m finally going to get a breakthrough with Belshazzar. You know, Nebuchadnezzar listened to me; now Belshazzar is going to listen to me, and I might get a promotion to go back to where I used to be. That will show everyone that they never should have cast me off in the first place.”


He’s saying, “No, you can keep your gifts for yourself. I don’t need them, but I’ll let you know. I’ll do what you’re asking me to do. I will give you the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall.”


Verse 18, and this is where Daniel gives Belshazzar a history lesson and in a sense you could call this the straight testimony to Belshazzar because Daniel is not going to mince words here. Notice what Daniel says, “‘O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor.’” In other words, “Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. He was the preeminent kingdom of the kingdoms that would come throughout this world.”


Verse 19, “‘And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.’” But notice verse 20, “‘But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.’”


Now, don’t you think Belshazzar would have heard the story of how his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, had gone mad for seven years? That Nebuchadnezzar lifted up his heart in pride and said, “Is this not great Babylon that I have built. I am the greatest of all time. I have the greatest kingdom. I am the best king ever,” and then he got struck down and he became a wild man like an animal for seven years? Don’t you think Belshazzar should have known that? I mean, if my grandfather had had a medical history like that, of becoming insane for seven years, I guarantee you I would know. And, as I became an adult, if I hadn’t asked as a kid, and as a kid I probably would have asked, how come he lost his mind for seven years? And surely someone would have told Belshazzar, “Well, because he went against the God of Heaven, the God of Daniel.” So, Daniel’s giving Belshazzar a history lesson.


Notice verse 22, “‘And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this.’” You know what? God, in His great mercy, has given each one of us enough of an opportunity to know what we need to know to receive salvation. We all know that Jesus came to this earth because God loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son. We know that! We know that. How could we despise such great salvation?


And that is exactly what Belshazzar was doing. God, in His great mercy, allowed His chosen people to be taken captive into the nation of Babylon. He worked in a miraculous way to save Nebuchadnezzar, and yet Belshazzar chose to neglect that knowledge and to continue to lift up his heart and pride as the spirit of Babylon, as it is, the spirit of pride.


Verse 23, “‘But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.’”


“You’ve been praising gods that see not, that hear not. They know nothing. They are not gods. But the true and living God who has sustained your life all these years, you have not glorified Him.” You know, Belshazzar didn’t ask for that part of the story from Daniel, did he? But God told Daniel, as His prophet, to give Belshazzar that message, and Daniel obeyed and told it to Belshazzar straight.


Notice verse 24, “‘Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.’” Now, we come to the interpretation. Verses 25 through 28, and this is the part that Belshazzar has been waiting for. So far, he’s like, “Oh, yeah, I know, oh, yeah…God, my grandfather eventually decided to follow Him, but I didn’t want that, and you’re just telling me what I don’t really want to hear. Let’s get to the main point. Let’s get to the interpretation, but at this point he has to know the interpretation can’t be good because Daniel is saying, “You know what, you should have known all these things, but you’ve chosen to ignore the true and living God.”


So, here’s the interpretation, verse 25, “‘And this is the writing that was written,’” and you can see it on the screen, “‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.’” Verse 26, “‘This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.’” Oh, no. Game over. Party over. “Your kingdom is finished.”


Verse 27, “‘TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.,’” And then verse 28, “‘PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.’”


Here is the first fulfillment of prophecy from the image in Daniel, chapter 2, because in Daniel, chapter 2, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that another kingdom inferior to the head of gold would follow. And, here in Daniel, chapter 5, at this feast, Daniel is telling Belshazzar, “Your kingdom is done, and it’s being taken over by the Medes and the Persians.” So, here we see the fall of ancient Babylon. Babylon fell because it lifted up its heart against God. It worshiped false gods that do not exist. It was intoxicated with wine. It was worshiping in a combination of church and state, and they neglected the worship of the true God, and this led to their fall as a kingdom, and so, we see the fall of Babylon.


Now, the story goes, and history tells, that Darius the Mede worked to divert the river Euphrates, which flowed through the river of Babylon, and they had gates that were at the river, but the river was so deep no one could come through the gates, but what happened was, when they diverted the river Euphrates, then the army was able to walk right through and storm the city.


Now, the reason why Belshazzar thought he could be so confident in throwing such a decadent party is they had enough food to last for years in the city. So, even if they got surrounded, they felt that they could outlast any attacking army. The walls were too thick. There were, like, two walls you would have to get through, and they were very thick. There’s no way you could break them down with a battering ram, and the river wouldn’t allow you to get through because it was so deep. So, they were like, we’ll never be destroyed; we will never fall. And yet the ingenuity of the Medes and Persians, they diverted the river, and they stormed the gates.


So, notice verses 29 through 31, “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old,” or 62 years old.


And so, you know, it’s a sad story that didn’t need to happen. Belshazzar didn’t need to turn against the true and living God. If he had paid attention to history, he would have followed the true and living God, and Babylon need not have fallen during his time.


Let’s make some end-time applications because this story is pregnant with meaning for the time in which we live today, and you’re going to see that as we make these applications.


Point number one: Belshazzar and the political leaders of Babylon, or his lords, had a feast in which they worshiped gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone, and they drank wine out of the sacred vessels from the temple in Jerusalem. So, here’s what they did in this service, they profaned the holy vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, and they were using them as if they were common vessels, even though they were sacred. And they worshiped common things as if they were gods.


Now, what’s the application? End-Time Babylon intoxicates the world with its wine, which is its false doctrine, causing the world to worship on a common day because Sunday is a common day. The Bible does not say anywhere in Scripture that the first day of the week is a holy day. Throughout Scripture you consistently find that God set aside the seventh day as a holy day, and that is the day that we are to worship Him, which is why we are here today.


But, Babylon, at the end of the world, says, “No! You are to worship on a common day, and to desecrate the day that God says is holy.” This is what will cause the final fall of Babylon. So, just as ancient Babylon fell by worshiping that which was common and desecrating that which is holy, end-time Babylon will be worshiping on a day that is common and desecrating a day that is holy. And this will lead to its final downfall.


Next application: God used Daniel from His chosen people to give the message to Belshazzar that Babylon had reached its end or that it was fallen. Daniel was able to give this message because his life demonstrated God’s character. And Ellen White says in Sanctified Life, pages 21 and 23, number one, “The character of Daniel is presented to the world as a striking example of what God’s grace can make of men fallen by nature and corrupted by sin.” And she goes on to say, “The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character.” So, if you want to know what a sanctified life looks like, look to the inspired illustration of Daniel.


And because of that, God could use him to speak to Belshazzar. Now, again, if Daniel had been drinking the wine from the king’s table, could God have used him to come into Belshazzar and say, “You know what, you’re intoxicated with wine, and you’ve lost your mind, and your kingdom has come to its end,” no. But because Daniel was faithful, God could speak through him.


What’s the application for us? God will use messengers from His last-day church, and that is this church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to proclaim that Babylon is fallen. As they give this last message, God’s character or his glory will illuminate the entire world, and only those who demonstrate Christ’s character will be entrusted with this final message of the fall of Babylon as seen in Revelation 18. And you know what, if Daniel was alive in our time, God could entrust him with that final message to the world. Do you believe that? Because Daniel’s life is an inspired illustration of a sanctified life, even though he was born with a fallen nature, even though, like every other human being, he sinned and came short of the glory of God, by the grace of God, God took his life and used his life and sanctified him so that he demonstrated a sanctified Christ-like character. And that is the thing that He wants to do with each one of us, so that just as He could use Daniel in the courts of Babylon to give straight messages to identify what was happening at that point in Earth’s history, He wants to use people like us to work in a similar way for our time.


Another application: Ancient Babylon received a three-part judgment message. Notice this, the first part of this three-part judgment message: “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” To “number” comes from the Hebrew word “menah,” or it’s actually the Chaldean word “menah,” which means “to weigh out,” or it could also mean “to investigate,” which means God went through a process of investigation to come to the conclusion that Babylon was fallen. So, that’s the first part of this three-part judgment message.


The second part, we find that Daniel reads the message, and it says, “Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.” This is the verdict of the investigation. So, you have an investigation, you weigh out the evidence, you investigate the evidence, and the verdict is, “You are weighed in the balances and found wanting.” And once you have a verdict in a court of law, it’s always followed by the sentence, and here is the sentence, “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians.”


So, here is the three-part judgment message to ancient Babylon as it fell. Daniel tells Belshazzar, “God has numbered your kingdom. He has weighed it out. He has investigated it, and based on His investigation, the verdict is that you are weighed in the balances and found wanting. And because of this verdict, the sentence is that your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”


Now, what’s the end-time application? Do you realize that modern Babylon has also received a three-part judgment message? Do you know what that three-part judgment message is? Have you ever heard of the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14? I know you have.


Revelation 14, verses 6 and 7, the first angel’s message says, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come,” because in this judgment hour, God is weighing out, He’s numbering, He’s investigating to see if you stand on His side or on the side of Babylon. And at this very moment, we are living in the judgment hour, and when we come to Daniel 7 and Daniel 8, we are going to see when exactly in the history of this earth that judgment process began.


So, the first part, again, the process of investigation, and I might add that, by God’s grace, and I praise Him for this, that part of that first angel’s judgment hour message is the everlasting gospel to be given to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, that we have a message of good news that God has provided a means of salvation so that we do not have to be deceived by the end-time Babylon. God has provided a way of escape.


Now, what’s the second part of this three-part judgment message? So, you have the investigation. Here is the verdict. The verdict is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” so just as Daniel told Belshazzar, “You are weighed in the balances and found wanting,” here the verdict is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”


And then the third part, we see the sentence, that those who receive the mark of the beast, and the beast is Babylon, they will receive the wrath of God as poured out in the seven last plagues. And part of that message is, well, we see the contrast, those who keep the Commandments of God, the faith of Jesus and have the patience of the saints.


Isn’t this fascinating, that when you look at Daniel 5, you see this three-part judgment message. You know, you grew up as a kid, and you hear “the handwriting on the wall,” and how Belshazzar died, and the kingdom was taken away. But you see that in reality, when you study the story carefully, there is the application for the time in which we live. And just as God sent a three-part judgment message to announce that Babylon was fallen in the time of Daniel, He has sent a three-part judgment message in our day, the Three Angels’ Messages, and He wants us to be the messengers to proclaim that message to the world around us.


And, you know, Ellen White says in Testimonies, volume 9, page [19], that there is no other work of so great importance as the proclamation of the Three Angels’ Messages, that we are to allow nothing else to absorb our attention. That is the message for our time. That is the message in which, by the grace of God, we can share the everlasting gospel with a people out in the world, in Babylon, so that they can come out and receive the salvation of God.


Now, some more applications. Daniel 5, verse 5, this is interesting. If you go back to Daniel 5, verse 5, it says, “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall.” So, notice this, when the handwriting was on the wall, there was a candlestick that gave light to the message. So, they were able to see this message, this three-part judgment message that was announcing their fall because there was a candlestick that was giving light to that three-part judgment message. Now, what’s the application for us?


You know what, a candlestick in the Bible and Bible prophecy represents a church. You remember in Revelation 2 and 3, there are the seven candlesticks, and each candlestick represents a church. Now, the last candlestick, the seventh candlestick, represents the Laodicean Church. Now, do you know what the word “Laodicea” means? Laodicea means “a judged people.” And with their seventh candlestick, God has ordained that Laodicea, the church of the judgment hour, should be shining light on the three-part judgment message announcing that Babylon is fallen. It is through His church that light is cast on this three-part judgment message, the Three Angels’ Messages, so that the world out there will be able to see what the handwriting on the wall means. And that is why we exist as a people.


So, just as a candlestick gave light to the three-part judgment message announcing the fall of ancient Babylon, God’s last-day church, the seventh candlestick, the Laodicean Church, or the Seventh-day Adventist Church, gives light to the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14 which announce the fall of Babylon.


Okay, another application, Daniel was God’s true prophet who was able to interpret the three-part judgment message announcing the fall of Babylon. Now, if God used a prophet to interpret the three-part judgment message to ancient Babylon, do you think that God will have a prophet in His last-day church to help us have an understanding of the three-part judgment message just before Jesus comes the second time? Absolutely. And in God’s last-day church, He raised up a prophet, Ellen G. White. If you’ve never heard of her before, talk to some of the leaders of this church. We will be glad to study with you to give you literature about her, the writings that she gives that uplifts the Bible, that uplifts Christ and gives a clear delineation of the Three Angels’ Messages announcing the fall of Babylon.


Okay, so let’s look briefly at these messages one more time. Revelation 14, verse 8, says, “And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’” That is the message for our time. This is the second angel’s message of the three angels. Now, Ellen White says in the book The Great Controversy, pages 389–390, she says, “Not yet, however, can it be said that…she,” Babylon, ‘made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ She has not yet made all nations do this…Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished, throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.”


Now, continuing, in Testimonies, volume 8, page 94, and I think I read this in our second presentation, “‘She made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ How is this done? By forcing men to accept a spurious sabbath.” And, again, you see how Babylon in ancient days, they were worshiping false gods that didn’t exist, elevating common things to sacred levels, and taking sacred things down to common levels. This is what Babylon is doing through the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And then Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893, “When do her sins reach unto heaven? When the law of God is finally made void by legislation.”


I want to close with Revelation 18 and one final quote because this is the message that is coming to this world one final time. This is the message for our time, which will crescendo to a climax just before Jesus comes, just before that stone strikes the image that we talked about. When this message will announce the final fall of Babylon, and just as Daniel, with unswerving faithfulness and without any fear, marched in to the king of Babylon and gave him a three-part judgment message and said, “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 the Persians,” Daniel wasn’t afraid that he would lose his life or not. He just gave it to Babylon straight with the love of God. This will be the final message to the world just before Jesus comes.


Revelation 18, starting in verse 1, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power.” You know, I am looking forward to that day when great power from Heaven attends the message here on this earth. And it says, “The earth was lightened with his glory.” This represents the earth being filled with the glory of God or being filled with a demonstration of the character of God so that the world not only hears the messages, they see the message, because, you see, when you study the Three Angels’ Messages in Revelation, chapter 14, what you see described is the angel speaks, and you hear the angel speak with a loud voice.


But in Revelation 18, John goes from hearing the message to seeing the message, and there’s a big difference because we can teach the message but not be living it. We cannot be demonstrating it, but at least we’re giving it, and at least that’s good. But there is coming a day when the earth will be filled with the glory of God because this three-part judgment message will be a living demonstration in the lives of those who proclaim it, and because of that, God’s character will be seen clearly as a witness to the world. That’s why Jesus says, “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world,” not just to be heard but “for a witness” because it will be seen, not just preached.


And notice the message, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.’” This is the last fall. Daniel was the first one to announce it in Daniel 5. That was ancient Babylon, but end-time Babylon will also fall, and notice “is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.” Notice again the union of church and state, drinking the wine of Babylon, unlawful union.


And then verse 4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people.’” Do you realize God has His people in Babylon? And God wants us to be like Daniel, to call His people out! God used Daniel to save Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and if Nebuchadnezzar could be saved, surely there are others in Babylon today whom God will save through His Last-Day people as we give the message.


We come out of her, “that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” You know, Babylon is not the place to be when Jesus comes. It’s not okay to just say, “You know what, if we all love Jesus, we can just all stay wherever we want, and God will save everybody, no matter where they are at the end of time,” because that’s not what the Bible says.


The Bible says, in order to be saved when Jesus comes, “You must come out of Babylon,” because if you stay in Babylon, you will receive her plagues. But God loves us so much, He says, “Come out of her, My people. I love you too much.” This is the last warning message of mercy. It’s a message of mercy; it’s not a message of hate. It’s a message of love because God loves His people so much He knows that if they stay in Babylon, they will be lost.


And so, a closing quote, this is from The Great Controversy, and I think it’s 491; sorry, I didn’t put the page number with it, but I believe it’s 491 of Great Controversy. Here Ellen White says, “Watch ye therefore...lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping” [Mark 13:35, 36]. You know, Belshazzar, spiritually speaking, was sound asleep at that feast, and it was if the Lord came as a thief in the night for him that night. “Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world.”


You know, it can become easy for God’s people to say, “You know what, I’ve heard that Jesus has been coming my whole life. My parents talked about it; my grandparents talked about it,” and some of you may have even had great-grandparents that have said, “Jesus is coming soon,” and you’re saying, “You know what, life is too short. I’ve got to have a little bit of fun before Jesus comes. I’ve got to see what it’s really like out there, and then before I die, I’ll come back.”


And, you know what, maybe that’s the way Belshazzar thought. He’s like, “Yeah, I know Nebuchadnezzar, my grandfather, served the true God, but I want to have some fun now. And maybe before I die, God will save me the way He saved my grandfather.”


But notice, “Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure-lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,—it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’”


You know what? It doesn’t have to be that way, does it? Because God has made things so clear in His Scripture. He has shown us from history what happened to ancient Babylon, what led to its downfall. Babylon was so proud that it thought it could defy the true and living God and play with time and that they would never be destroyed. But they met their day of judgment because they presumed upon the mercy and the grace of God.


And Daniel and his three friends showed, “We don’t presume upon the grace of God. We choose to always be faithful. We choose to follow God and say, ‘We’re not asking, “Okay, will I lose my salvation if I decide to drink this wine? Will I lose my salvation if I bow down to the image?”’” That wasn’t their mentality. Their mentality was, “No, I love God because He is sending His Son to die for me so that I can receive salvation, and the choice that I will make in this situation will be a choice that will bring honor and glory to God’s name.”


Babylon wasn’t concerned about the honor and glory of God’s name. They were concerned about just having a good time, lifting themselves up in pride and saying, “We have the greatest kingdom on this world.” But God’s people will say, “We aren’t living for this world. We are living for the heavenly kingdom. The choices that we make reflect that we are pilgrims and strangers passing through this earth. We’re not here to take part of the pleasures of sin for a season. We are in the world but not of the world. Yes, we are useful. Yes, we may have jobs where we do our jobs the best that we can, just as Daniel was better than all the wise men, just as he functioned well in the society of Babylon. Yes, we function well in this world, but we do not participate in the spirit of this world. We live for a different kingdom, the heavenly kingdom.”


And I just want to make an appeal at this time. There may be someone here today who realizes that their life has been such that, yes, God spoke to you in the past, but you have allowed the pleasures of this world, the pursuits of this world, to grab your attention. And your attention has not been as it should have been, as how Daniel was focused on his heavenly Father’s business. You’ve been focusing on the things of this world, the pleasures of this world, and you realize that now is the time to come back to God and to say, “From this day forward, my focus will be on the things of Heaven, not on the things of this earth.”


If you want to make that decision, I would invite you to stand at this time. You’re saying, “I will be living for God and not for the Babylon of this world, not for the things of this world. I will be faithful. I will turn from the pleasures of this world, and I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I will be like a Daniel. I will be faithful to giving the three-part judgment message, the Three Angels’ Messages, by the grace and mercy of God.”


Let’s bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, You see all those who are standing, and I thank You for how You are working through the messages in the book of Daniel, how You have made it so clear to us that the stories from the past have relevance for the present day. And, Lord, we pray that we would be like Daniel. Forgive us for where we have turned to the pleasures of this world rather than focusing on the work for our time. Forgive us for losing our focus. Help us to keep focused on You. Help us to do the work that You have given us to do by proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages to a lost and dying world, of pointing the world to a merciful God who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we could receive salvation, so that when Jesus comes back the second time, we will not be those running for the rocks and the mountains to fall on us, but we will be saying, “Lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us.”


We thank You for Your love, too. And I pray, as we continue this series, that You will continue to bring us out to the meetings and that we will continue to learn things that will prepare us for Your soon coming. This is my prayer in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.


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