By Dr. Terry Kirby
Senior Pastor, Alpha Baptist Church, Morristown
As October fades into November so ends another season of Halloween. Halloween is big business. Hollywood has made countless movies designed to scare even the bravest of the brave. The movies that are the most effective in trying to frighten their audiences are the ones that seem real. Also, farmers turn their fields into haunted mazes. Stores fill their shelves with candy, costumes, and decorations that can turn the average home into a haunted house. Halloween also turns many people into fanatics about the celebration of all things evil. Sadly many Christians join in these festivities honoring and celebrating rituals that border on satanic worship. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should never mingle the sacred and the satanic. This action dishonors the temple of God. Believer, you are the temple of God.
The events of Daniel chapter five record a frightening story of the appearance of the fingers of a man’s hand that wrote a warning for the king on a wall. This horrifying event interrupted a party that the king was hosting and caused his knees to knock together. These events took place two decades after the events of chapter four. Daniel was still serving God, but there was a new king in Babylon. The new king is Belshazzar. He shared the kingdom with his father, Nabonidus. Belshazzar lived in Babylon while his father lived 500 miles south of Babylon.
Decades earlier, when Nebu-chadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, he removed all of the sacred vessels from Solomon’s temple. These items were made following the precise instructions that had been given to Moses by God Himself for worship in the temple. These pieces were made out of gold and other valuable materials and were considered holy. King Belshazzar ordered that these vessels be used at his party.
God confronted this sin with four powerful words written on a wall by this mysterious and frightening hand.
The king did not know the meaning of these words and told Daniel that he would pay him to read the words. In Daniel 5:17-21, the text records Daniel’s response to the king. Daniel tells the king the story of how God removed Nebuchadnezzar from power until he humbled himself and acknowledged that God was all-powerful. After seven long years of living with and like animals, Belshazzar’s predecessor finally repented of his sin of pride (see Daniel 4).
The story continues to unfold in Daniel 5:22-23 when Daniel boldly confronts the king concerning his sin of pride. Sadly, Daniel declared that the king knew the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and he still refused to be humble before the only true and living God. A second and more egregious sin of the king was his use of the vessels from the temple of God at his unholy party. God would not sit idly by while this sin was being committed.
Daniel 5:24-28 records the mysterious words written by the hand from heaven. These words were the concern of the king and Daniel had no problem telling the king their condemning meaning. The phrase, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin,” related to the judgment of the king because of his pride and sacrilege. “Mene” means “to number.” “Tekel” means “to weigh out.” “Parsin” means “to divide.” God was clearly telling the king, through Daniel, that He had numbered the days of his kingdom and they were over. God had also weighed the king and he was found deficient. Finally, God divided Belshazzar’s kingdom and gave it to the Medes and the Persians.That very night, the hand writing on the wall was fulfilled. May all people remember the message on the wall.