“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. 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.” Daniel 5:25-31 (KJV)
THE MESSAGE OF THE HANDWRITING AND ITS INTERPRETATION (vv. 25-28). The message of the handwriting was in Aramaic which the people could read, but did not understand. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin”. ‘Mene’, being mentioned twice means you better pay attention – Daniel said, “This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” The double “Mene” means the judgment is stacked up on you and is doubled. “Tekel”, was ‘You have come up short’. No one even had taken heed to the message from years before when Nebuchadnezzar had the dream of the statue with the golden head. They were pompous, proud, sanctimonious and secure, and God said, “You are done”. “Upharsin” or “Peres”, the kingdom is given to others – in particular to the Medes and Persians. Daniel knew this partially due to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which he told him and interpreted.
The city of Babylon is about to fall and it is as though Belshazzar does not hear, and awards Daniel all these things of wealth. How foolish the heart of a king, or any leader who takes the Word of God so carelessly, haphazardly, and does not fall on his face before Holy God. The very act of awarding these to Daniel was an act of arrogance, and a lack of repentance.
It is not kings who set up kingdoms, or rule. It is the Almighty God. That is visually apparent, and easily seen when one has a heart for God, His Word, and His rule. Daniel would receive awards, but not from the hand of a fallen evil king.
PROMISES ARE CARRIED OUT JUST AS THEY WERE SPOKEN (vv. 29-31). That same night that Belshazzar awarded the one who interpreted the writing, Belshazzar was also given what God had promised. He was killed. God’s judgment is sure, and sometimes without delay.
Darius the Mede took the kingdom, to rule, and he was a man of 62 years of age. God would use Darius to give to Daniel what Belshazzar had given, and even more. Darius loved Daniel, which becomes apparent in the next chapter.
Where do you fit into God’s plan? Are you living for yourself, gaining all you can in this life? Do you believe your life to be all one big party? Are you flaunting yourself against the truths of God Almighty? Do you believe yourself to have your life fully in hand? Let me urge you to rethink those thoughts. You do not. Just as the kingdom can be taken from a king in one night, so can your life be taken in one night, then; what is your destiny?
When you see THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL it just may be too late.
There is only one hope for all mankind; and that is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Calling on His name, believing in Him (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13), is the only way of escaping eternal damnation. That is today’s “Handwriting on the wall”.