Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 80
DANIEL – PART III – 2
Daniel 4:26 – 7:8
Okay, good to have everybody in this afternoon, again, and back from your coffee break. Once again we want to welcome our television audience wherever you are. It’s so thrilling to get our mail—I think from every state in the Union now, as well as various places around world. It’s just amazing how the internet, for one thing, covers all the world. We were just told in Branson the other day that we’re on a European system that I didn’t even know we are on. We’re not paying for it, but it covers a hundred million households. So pray for that. You just trust we’ll fill up the Body of Christ and we’ll be out of here!
All right, let’s get back to where we left off in the last half hour. We just got started in chapter 5, in case somebody out there missed it. We’ve now gone beyond King Nebuchadnezzar. He’s faded off the scene. He goes into the dustbin of history. His son Nabonidus took over in the meantime. Now in the break time, a lot of you were asking me what the guy’s name was, and I hope you can catch it. N-a-b-o-n-i-d-u-s—Nabonidus—and he was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. But in chapter 5 we’re already into the next generation. Time keeps going, you know. Belshazzar, then, is the son of Nabonidus. He’s the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.
All right, now that’s history. Now, I know a lot of people don’t like history, but if you’re going to appreciate this Book, you’d better learn to love history, because this is what it is. It’s God’s Story. And He’s the One that’s in total control.
All right, we were introduced in chapter 5, in the first four verses of our last program, to this King Belshazzar who is blaspheming by using the utensils that were brought back from Jerusalem. They literally stole them from the Temple. But at least Nebuchadnezzar and his son did not commit the blasphemy of using those holy vessels of silver and gold for their drunken banquets. But Belshazzar does. And he’s going to pay royally for doing so.
All right, so he brings out all the vessels that had been brought from Jerusalem and uses them in their drunken banqueting. Verse 4:
“They drank wine, and praised the gods (the pagan gods which were made) of gold, and of silver, (there’s two products and) of brass, of iron, (there’s four) of wood, and of stone (six).” And as I mentioned in the closing remarks last time, six is the number of man. So this was something that was totally absent of anything of God’s power.
All right, now then verse 5. You’ve all heard the story of the “handwriting on the wall.” This is how it all came about. We’re going to take it verse by verse; otherwise, you’ll miss something.
“In the same hour (while they’re banqueting) 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.” That’s all that was visible, was the part of a man’s hand.
“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.” Honey! Do you remember? The one and only time that she got up to do something in public, she was glad she was behind something because she said her knees were knocking!
And you’ve probably all experienced it. You know, polls have been taken—really. What is the most frightening thing that people can think could happen? To speak to a public audience. Well, when I was looking this up—I didn’t say anything to her until now. But she had an experience, and she said never again. But her knees knocked. And she said, “You didn’t hear them?”
But see, this is nothing new. This is way back in antiquity. You didn’t know that did you, Honey? Even old Belshazzar’s knees were knocking. All right, verse 7:
“The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans,…” Now remember, we covered all that in chapter 1. These were all segments of the magicians and soothsayers, but they had their rank. And the Chaldeans, of course, were supposedly the most intelligent and the most gifted of all these others.
“…the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon,…” Now you’ve got to remember that these pagans did not depend on anything of the God of Scripture. All they knew were the pagan gods and goddesses of all the way back to the Tower of Babel. See, that’s when they really began. All right, so he says to these wise men.
“…Whosoever shall read this writing, and show 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. 8. Then came in all the king’s wise men:…” Now, I hope you’ve got enough imagination to picture all this—how that all these astrologers and these soothsayers and these guys that were drawing on demonic power are coming together to try to interpret this handwriting on the wall. But they could not.
“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. 9. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, (In other words, he starts to show his worry.) and his lords (his underlings) were astonished.” Verse 10:
“Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spoke and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: 11. There is a man in thy kingdom,…”
Now stop and think. When something like this happened, who should have been the first person to come to Belshazzar’s mind? Well, Daniel! These people were human. They knew what had been taking place in the past. Don’t think that they didn’t talk about things and discuss things like we would. Don’t you suppose that old Nebuchadnezzar shared with his son, and maybe even this grandson, how Daniel had interpreted his dream? And how the three little Hebrew boys were cast into the fiery furnace and never got touched. That was all rehearsed. They knew that. And yet, the last thing they think of is anything that pertains to the God of Heaven. All right, but the queen evidently did. So she said:
“There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods;…” You see how deep that paganism goes? Even though Daniel had proved over and over—and the other three young Hebrew lads—how the God of Israel was superior over all the pagan gods, yet they try to connect it, if anything, to their own gods. All right, so verse 11 again.
“There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father (Grandfather, again, we’re going back to Nebuchadnezzar.) light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, (small g—their pagan gods) was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy (grand) father, the king, I say, thy (grand) father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;” In other words, Daniel just put them to shame with his God-given wisdom.
“Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing 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 show the interpretation.” Verse 13:
“Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, who art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king, my (grand) father brought out of Jewry? (Or out of Jerusalem.) 14. I have even heard of thee, (Well, I would think so!) that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.”
But see, who’s he leaving out? The True God of Israel. The Most High. They’re still leaning on the gods of paganism. It’s just unbelievable, and yet it isn’t. We’re no different today. The world is no different today. All right verse 15:
“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 show the interpretation of the thing: 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 (same thing as he said before to the Babylonians) about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Now Daniel comes forth. Now, how old is he? Have you been keeping track? He’s up in his sixties, maybe even seventies. Remember, he was twelve when they took them from Jerusalem to Babylon. But Daniel has stayed in the high echelons of the Babylonian government all through Nebuchadnezzar’s rule and all through Nabonidus’ rule. And he’s still there with the third one now, Belshazzar. And then, if you want to see something interesting, let’s just jump all the way over, I hope I can find it, to chapter 10. Now this is just to wet your appetite.
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (Now that’s the king of the next empire!) a thing was revealed unto (Who?) Daniel,…”
Well, I figured it up the other night. He is now 80-some years old—which makes sense. Because how long was the captivity? Seventy years. Well, we know he lived beyond the captivity. How young was he when he went down? Twelve or fourteen. So, twelve plus seventy in my arithmetic is 82. But he’s already going on into the Mede and Persian Empire. And from what I gather, he probably lived to about 93 or 94 years of age, which in antiquity was quite a while.
Okay, coming back to chapter 5, again, Daniel is coming along in years. He’s certainly not at the end of it, but he’s probably in his late 60’s or 70’s. Verse 17:
“Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, (You can have your gold and your silver, because you’re not going to be around to give it to me anyway. It’s kind of a clue right here.) and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.” Verse 18, here it comes.
“O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy (grand) father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor: 19. And for the majesty that he gave him, all people,…” That is for the then-known world, remember—which is only that area out in the Middle East and up to the Mediterranean., as that was about it at that time.
“And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: (Because don’t forget, now, that head of gold was absolute.) whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; (He was absolute in his power.) and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 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: (that is the wild animals of the forest) they fed him with grass like oxen,….”
Now I’ve got to stop a minute. Do you think old Belshazzar knew that? Of course he would have, because he knew Grandpa had been out there in the world with animals. Why, of course he knew. Well, what’s Daniel doing? I think Daniel is just pushing the dagger into the very spiritual heart of this wicked king. He’s reminding him of the power of Daniel’s God. All right, verse 22:
“And thou his (grand) son, (Now, I’m making the correction as we go. I trust that you’re seeing that.) O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;”
They knew it. They knew what kind of a God they were dealing with in reality. But, I can’t help it. Are men any different today? Not one whit. They have no concept of the power of the God of this Book. I doubt if there’s hardly anybody in Washington D. C. anymore that has a true understanding of the God of this Book. Oh, they may give Him some point of a reference, but to really know that He’s in control? I have to doubt it. All right, so it’s no different back here in 500 and some B.C.
“But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house (that is the Temple) 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, (all those pagan worthless gods of idols, and you know that they–) which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the (True) God (capital G) the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose (in other words, who owns) are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:”
“Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. (Now here’s the part I know you all know. This, everybody, I think, realizes—how Daniel came down on him with all the force of the God of Glory.) 25. 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.” But how many times is the word spoken? Twice. Emphasis. That’s what you’ve got to look for in Scripture. That wasn’t an accident. God is emphasizing that very statement. God has numbered your kingdom. God has numbered your kingdom. And what did he find. “And finished it.”
“TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Now, I read sometime back, that in antiquity almost the heart of their world was the balances.
Everything was established by balances, whether it was trade or buying commodities and everything. It was all on the basis of the balances. You know how they are. All right, so God used that as an illustration that he and his behavior and his absolute rejection of the God of Daniel—because of that the balances were completely against him.
“…weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Belshazzar, you don’t stand a chance. Now it’s rather interesting that Daniel makes no effort to help this man spiritually. Nebuchadnezzar he did. But this man, he makes no indication. All he’s giving him is his judgment. Which, of course, will fall before the next morning.
All right, So “MENE, MENE—God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” Belshazzar you’ve had it! It’s over. “TEKEL—You’ve been weighed in the balances and you don’t measure up.”
“PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians.” Now, I don’t know if you know history well enough. While they were sitting in this huge banquet hall there in Babylon; where, of course, the Euphrates River flowed right through the center of the city. Unbeknown to the Babylonians, what had the Medes and Persians done? They had diverted the water away so that the Euphrates going under the wall dried up, and they walked in on dry ground and completely surprised the Babylonians. They were defeated before sunrise.
Okay, now that’s the history. All right, the kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians, which were indicated by the silver of Nebuchadnezzar’s image back there in chapter 2. All right, so verse 29:
“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. 30. In that night (Not the next one. That same night.) was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.”
“And Darius (The next emperor of the combination of the Medes and the Persians. Now you see, that whole Middle East is so closely connected. The Medes and the Persians were just off to the northeast of Babylon. And a lot of their government people were intermarried. They were cousins and so forth. So this was all pretty much a family thing, really.) And Darius, the Median took the kingdom, being about sixty two years old.”
All right, now then, Daniel moves right on from this Babylonian palace over to the palace of the Medes and the Persians. He continues to be a high government official even in the next empire. Now we come into chapter 6, and we’re going to be dealing primarily with this next kingdom, the Medes and the Persians. It’s this kingdom that will give the Jews permission to go back and rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem. But it will not be under Darius, it will be under Cyrus. And like I’ve already shown you, by the time Cyrus becomes the king, Daniel will be up in his 80’s, and on up into his 90’s before he evidently passes off the scene.
Okay, so let’s keep moving verse by verse, because there’s no chapter breaks in the original. Chapter 6 verse 1, the Medes and the Persians are now the ruling empire with the capital over in Shushan.
“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over (or they will rule as authority) the whole (Mede and Persian empire) kingdom;” Which would cover that whole part of the Euphrates Valley and all the way on over to Israel and even down into Egypt.
“And over these (would rule) three presidents; of whom Daniel was first:…” Now, you see, this is amazing. I mean, this is, again, the miracle working of God. That here this little fellow Daniel—kidnapped, really, at the age of twelve and taken from Jerusalem to Babylon—becomes from almost the age of 15 a ruling entity throughout the Babylonian Empire, and just moves on over a hundred miles or so to the next capital, or the next empire, in Shushan. Just unbelievable. And he becomes a leader of the empire. All right, so Daniel is the first of the three presidents who gave account, of course, to the hundred and twenty.
Now what are you seeing governmentally? Well, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t report to anybody. He did not have a congress. He did not have a cabinet. If he needed help, he called in the astrologers, and so forth, but he had no political organization to which he reported. All right, now you see, by the time we get to the next empire, the Medes and the Persians—you remember when we described the image, the head of gold was totally a singular head. Then we come to the Medes and Persians. It’s down to two. But even the two heads of the Persian Empire have these 120 princes to whom they would report, and then the three presidents. So what have you got? Well, you’ve got the beginning of republic or democracy type of government.
It’s no longer an absolute monarch. Remember, that was the whole idea of Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold, silver, and so forth. All right, so then verse 3:
“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit (in other words, the Spirit of the God of Israel) was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel is coming close to being the king of the whole Mede and Persian Empire. Verse 4:
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom;…” What was their number one reason? He’s a Jew! That’s what the Gentile world can’t handle. A Jew in our Gentile Empire, with this kind of power? It just ate at them like a cancer.
“…sought to find occasion against Daniel…(Because they could see that since God’s power was within him and directed him…)…they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. (In other words, he had no scandal. He had no dishonesty. He was what a political leader should be.) 5. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
Now here it comes. The Satanic power was, again, trying to pin Daniel to the wall with regard to his worship of the true God. Verse 6:
Daniel 6:6 -7
“Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. (That was an oriental greeting that was pretty much used commonly.) 7. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.”
What are they doing? They’re setting him up. You’ve heard of conspiracies, haven’t you? Well, this is a total conspiracy in order to trap Daniel. And the main reason was their jealousy because he was a good Jew.