The Kingdom’s of Men and Bible Prophecy

 “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:1-8 (KJV)

 Also read Daniel 8:1-8, 15-22, 26-27, include the whole chapter.

The ram with two horns is the Medo-Persian empire (vv. 3-4, 20).

The he-goat with the great horn is Alexander the Great (vv. 5-8, 21).

The broken horn with the four new horns is the death of Alexander and his four generals taking power of four kingdoms after his death at 33 years of age.

There are five amazing prophecies:

1. Greece conquers Persia;

2. The great ‘notable horn’ Alexander the Great;

3. The ruin of the Medo-Persian empire;

4. The broken horn the death of Alexander the Great;

5. Alexander’s kingdom is divided.

From one of these come a ruler who surpasses all others in cruelty and hatred for the Jewish people.

This prophecy has a dual meaning and fulfillment 175 B.C. – 165 B.C. and a time that is yet to be.

Chapters 1 – 7 were originally written in Aramaic, because of the emphasis on worldly Gentile kingdoms. Chapters 8 – 12 were written in Hebrew, because they are for the people of God – Israel and the Church.

A LOOK A THE FIVE PERSONAGES IN THIS PROPHECY —

DANIEL, THE BELOVED OF GOD (1-2, 15-19, 26-27; also see 10:11). In this vision Daniel is in Suza (Shushan) the new capital city of the Persian empire. He is by the river of Ulai. It seems God has taken him there. “When I saw that I was in Shushan” seems to be that God transported him there.

Upon seeing the vision he is shocked by it. Thus, he asked God for its meaning. Notice also when he recieves the meaning he does not go out telling everyone about it.

CYRUS, KING OF PERSIA (vv. 3-4, 20). Isaiah mentions Cyrus one hundred and some years earlier; by his work in Isaiah 41, “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.” (v. 2), “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.” (v. 25). By his name in Isaiah 44, “ That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (v. 28).

Cyrus is named again in Isaiah 45:1-4, “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me”.

Our sovereign Lord can use even a pagan king to accomplish His purposes. He [Cyrus] allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. He allowed them to take the sacred vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chron. 36:22-23.

Also in Ezra we read, “ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” Ezra 1:1-3.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT (vv. 5-8, 21-22). In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream Greece was depicted as the belly and thigh of brass. Daniel’s vision of chapter 7 saw it as a beast ‘leopard’ with ‘four wings of fowl’ and ‘four heads’. Daniel now sees it as an angry goat.

Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four kingdoms – led by four leaders of his army. Alexander was accomplishing God’s purposes. What Alexander began the Romans completed – preparing the ancient world for the coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, this was unknown to these pagan kings.

Truly, God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He rules and reigns in the hearts of men; good and evil. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will” Proverbs 21:1; and that means the rulers of Korea, Iran, ISUS, and our own President Donald Trump as well. No world leader, or leader of any nation is outside the purview of God’s rule.

Always remember that God is still on His throne, and rules in the hearts of men.  As Christians we are redeemed. You can be by coming to Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.  He is returning someday, and will set up an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace.  Believe Him.

The Preacher Speaks – The Handwriting on the Wall

 Daniel 5:13-24

“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. O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 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 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. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; 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: then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written.” Daniel 5:17-24 (KJV)

THE PROPHET OF GOD IS CALLED WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AND HE GIVES GOD’S MESSAGE (vv. 13-24). Unknown to Belshazzar was the fact that outside the city walls the Median empire was planning an assault this very night. It seems only logical to assume that the guards were not posted around the critical areas of Babylon. It could also be that the people had become so comfortable, and secure that they never posted guards, or maybe the guards were sleeping.

The Euphrates River flowed through the center of the city. To the Medes this was a weak point. The Medianites channeled the river away from the city, lowering the level of the wathe, where they could enter under the wall at that point. They had troops at both sides of the city waiting to enter, and do war against Babylon.

When all else fails call for the preacher. He followed his grandfather’s actions of his earlier years. Belshazzar’s actions do seem to be more reasonable – because he does seem to be completely ignorant of who Daniel is; though I would think it is willful ignorance, where he has merely chosen to remain ignorant of one of there countries, and cities most notable people. Let is be said, and noted that ignorance is no excuse, neither is “Ignorance bliss”.

Daniel is uninterested in the wealth that Belshazzar offers him. What good is it when everything around you is about to come tumbling down. Daniel was more interested in carrying out God’s mission for himself. Now, that is not meant as a selfish enterprise on Daniel’s part, but is meant of showing where Daniel’s heart lay with God – The Holy One.

Daniel tells Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences. His pride was his downfall and he became as a brute beast, even to the point of living and eating like them, and with them. Belshazzar was to learn, that, unlike Nebuchadnezzar he would not be returning to the kingdom, nor would there even be a Babylonian kingdom. Belshazzar knew all the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences with God, but he refused to change his way.

God’s message to and against Belshazzar was that, he had exalted himself against God. Now he would be no more. Herein, lies the tragedy of so many in all ages even in and, maybe especially in this, the Twenty first century. The pride of the human heart is so exalted in the exploits we do. Technology is fastly becoming the arrogance of mind. Money is becoming the arrogance of power, and politics. The thought of many is the earthly golden rule, “He who has the gold makes the rules”. Do not live in your arrogance and one day find yourself on the wrong side of God and His justice. He has given us one way to Himself, and that is through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection. If you think you can get to God your way your arrogance is still in the way.

A Hand, The Writing on the Wall, and A Frightened King,

Daniel 5:1 – 12

“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 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. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. 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. Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” Daniel 5:5-9 (KJV)

 Belshazzar was most likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, and was the ruler of the city of Babylon, not the Babylonian empire. His father would have been ruler of the empire – he second in command under his father.

At this time, it has been estimated that Daniel was 82 years of age. Since Belshazzar does not know who Daniel it seems to indicate two things 1) Belshazzar’s ignorance or uncaring about the things that have happened in the past, and/or 2) Daniel had had not recent use in the kingdom.

THE PARTY THAT ENDED THE LIFE OF A KINGDOM AND A KING (vv. 1-4). There was a whole lot of riotous living going on in the palace on this night. It is said that when kings of this period had a drinking going on they left the women out of it. At this party, however, there were wives, concubines, and various kinds of women; which made this a party of debauchery .

It seemed to get so out of hand the king [Belshazzar] elevated the gods of Babylon over the God of all things. This was when he called for the vessels of God’s temple which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar many years before. Nebuchadnezzar had also proclaimed that the people of Babylon was to respect, and revere the God of Israel. “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Daniel 3:29 (KJV).

The thing that had taken place on this vital evening was blasphemy and idolatry which was the ‘last straw’ with God. God’s purpose for Babylon had reached its peak, now they would be brought to their knees, and Belshazzar would die.

Playing with the things of God which are holy will bring judgment. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). There is an terrible lot of playing around with godly things, and making what is holy vile and ugly. An example of that is the attempt to legally marry people of the same gender. Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God. It is a party of the vile, godless, and unholy seeking to make it approved by God and man. It will never be approved by God, but will bring down judgment. Do not mess around with the holy things of God.

GOD’S WARNING, A FRIGHTENED KING, AND HIS SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (vv. 5-12). Even in a kingdom such as Babylon and its chief city the LORD gives warning, but the ‘king’ is completely ignorant of the God of Israel; most likely willfully so. The prophet Amos wrote, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7), but Belshazzar knew no prophet.

A hand appears and is writing on the wall during the party – at least the party that use to be – which, of course, causes great alarm in the heart of the king. It would probably seem that there was an emergency sobering effect upon the thousand or so who were in attendance. All attention went to the wall where the hand with no body was writing; the playing, drinking, the noise all ceased. You could probably hear the proverbial pin drop. It got really quiet.

Belshazzar’s knees “smote one against the other” he was terribly frightened – he surely must have known his time was up. His rule was over. His life was over. He then calls the most spiritually inept people there were in the kingdom – the same ones his grandfather called upon many years ago before he humbled himself to the God of all gods. He receives a recommendation from his mother – she remembers the history of Nebuchadnezzar.

The handwriting on the wall is there for us to see. It is there and should strike fear into the hearts of all who make a mock at sin, and those who love the Lord and His Word. It is written in the pages of the ages, “Be sure your sin will find you out”, and that is God’s handwriting on the wall for all to see. THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL today is the pages of holy writ, the Bible, the Word of God. You can read it, accept it, believe it, and live by it trusting the Lord of the Word and His finished work on Calvary’s cross, or you can reject it and die.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred and Sixteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want any pride or arrogance in me to yield allegiance, faith and life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and that I might never forget that the Almighty GOD is the One who holds my life’s breath in His hand.

“…But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified…” Daniel 5:22-23 (NKJV)

Taking a Measure

This week’s being the celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, as a recognized nation among the United Nations, this is a fitting reminder of God’s hand on the nation that will one day rise up as the one, to whom all nations will go.  God’s richest blessings on Israel, and may they hear and receive their Messiah Jesus.

Taking a Measure

In the book of Daniel the false king Belshazzar saw “handwriting on the wall”. It was interpreted by Daniel as meaning, “You have been weighed in the balances and found lacking”. Belshazzar had blasphemed the LORD God by desecrating the articles of the LORD’s Jerusalem temple.

Some could look at this measuring line and possibly see a means of judgment, but when you look at the context of the message it is not of judgment, but a word of future glory for the city.

Hear the Word of the Lord through Zechariah the prophet:

“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’” Zechariah 2:1-2 (NKJV).

According to some this man, the surveyor, could be the Angel of the LORD, which in most scholar’s understanding means, that this “Angel of the LORD” is a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ (pre-incarnate). The measuring is evidence of the Lord’s heart for the city of Jerusalem and the people of the city.

Just ask any builder; any responsible, accurate, careful builder will take measurements before they begin the actual building process. It would be quite foolish to measure as this gives us the picture, without an intent and purpose for building. It is sure evidence that God’s plan; and it is plan A, for He has no plan B; is to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, its temple, and recall His people – the Hebrews to this glorious place. It will see a glory even greater than that of Solomon; because a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12:42).

The city and the temple which God has designed for the reign of His Son will be the most glorious of cities and temples. Nothing will compare to it.

Who is the man with the measuring line? It would appear to be the pre-incarnate Christ giving hope, guidance, and assurance to the prophet and his people. We are not given the dimensions, but we can know that it will be practically immeasurable.

Surely this must be a word telling us of the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.

-Tim A. Blankenship