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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Seventy-Eighth (The Wall)

If you haven't already, please say a prayer for those in Ukraine. Remember, this is all part of Yehovah's plan, but even Jesus said to pray for a certain aspect of an outcome even for an event God was certainly going to carry out (Matthew 24:20). So we definitely should pray for protection and help to those innocents caught in the Russian invasion, despite the fact that the invasion is His will. I believe this is all a direct precursor to end time events, but time will tell.

This week we're going to take a look at the writing on the wall. A commonly used idiom meaning impending doom, this phrase comes from the account of the fall of Babylon as recorded in Daniel 5. Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, was king and hosting a party with the main goal of excess and debauchery. It was the end of his kingship, as decided by Yehovah Himself, and He provided a warning.

Fingers appeared out of thin air and wrote upon the wall in the king's palace. This frightened the king so much his knees were knocking together! (Daniel 5:6) No one could read the writing until Daniel was called. Daniel's reputation of interpreting dreams for the king's father, Nebuchadnezzar, came to the queen's mind and she convinced Belshazzar to call him in.

Belshazzar, much like his father, did not honor or worship Yehovah. In fact, that night Belshazzar was feasting with the vessels his father removed from the temple in Jerusalem. Mind you, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the might and power of God for short periods of time when He gave Nebuchadnezzar lessons, but Nebuchadnezzar's son would not be given a similar opportunity. Daniel gave the interpretation of the writing and later that night Belshazzar's kingdom was conquered by the Medo-Persian army.

There is not much in this record to explain the timeline of these things except that we know the same night Daniel interpreted is the night Babylon was conquered and Belshazzar executed. We don't know what time the writing appeared or how long it took for all the wise men and soothsayers to fail in their attempt to interpret, and furthermore how long it took the queen to come in and suggest Daniel finally for him to be retrieved and brought to the palace. I imagine with how shook up the king was that this all likely was within the same night.

The interesting part is that these events were already prophesied and recorded earlier. Yehovah gave Isaiah the exact method and name of the individual that would take Babylon that night. During the course of Nebuchadnezzar's reign some construction took place on the city of Babylon. You see, the Euphrates river flowed through Babylon, which required ferrying people across in order to get to the other side of the city. The queen, Belshazzar's mom, had a bridge built so people could cross without requiring a ferry.

In order for the bridge to be built properly, the river was diverted so stones could be set in the riverbed. This diversion was through a hand dug canal and into a basin. While the bridge was all built and the river restored to normal flow before the Medo-Persian army showed up, they used the same method, with the already pre-dug basin, to divert the river and walk into the "impenetrable" city on the riverbed.

This was all prophesied in Isaiah (Isaiah 44:27-45:1), so the writing was on the scroll before it was on the wall! But what was written mere hours before it was to come to pass? "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." You got that, right? You don't need Daniel! Just kidding! Mene means numbered, Tekel means weighed and found wanting, and Upharsin is the active form of the verb "to divide."

A couple questions though, right? Why is Mene written twice? And why does Daniel say Peres instead of Upharsin? The number two in scripture can mean union or division, depending on the context. For instance, when man and woman marry they are in union and become one flesh (Matthew 19:5-6). On the other hand, we see the verification of facts divided between two individuals (Matthew 18:16), and at the end all nations will be divided into two groups: sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-33). In this case, two Menes means division, since ultimately Babylon would fall to the Median and Persian kingdoms working together to conquer lands throughout the area.

So what about Upharsin? Why did Daniel use the word Peres when interpreting the writing? My belief is that when the writing was being written, the city of Babylon was actively being broken into. By the time Daniel came along to read it, I believe the army was already marching through the streets toward the palace. Peres, as Daniel says, is the past tense form of the verb. So, he was saying it was already over for Belshazzar and his kingdom.

There are a couple things we can learn from this record of the fall of Babylon. First, when Yehovah sends prophecy through His prophets that prophecy will come to pass unless He decides it shouldn't. Obviously, He decided the prophecy in Isaiah should come to pass and thus Babylon fell. For Ninevah however, God gave mercy from His prophecy because of their repentance (Jonah 3). As a side note, check out Jonah 4 and read Jonah's reaction to this. He was a bit miffed! I mean, wouldn't you be? You told God you didn't want to go, even got swallowed by a giant fish, and then the prophecy you were sent to give didn't come to pass?! Remember, God has a purpose for everything! Don't get frustrated if you did what He sent you to do and it seemed pointless!

The second thing we can learn from Babylon is when it comes to God's plan He will reveal it before it comes to pass. This truth is recorded elsewhere as well (Amos 3:7). And you must remember that we serve a living God, one that is still involved in our lives today and still gives prophecies to this day. Yes, there are many false prophets out there just as Jesus warned (Matthew 24:11), so prayer and careful discernment is required. Maybe you will be called to prophesy! Paul did say to be eager for that gift! (1 Corinthians 14:39)

So, pray that you will be given the warnings you need to take action. Action to move to safety, action to warn others, or action to fight against evil in this spiritual battle we are in. As you can see in the world, things are only going to get more intense, and we want to be ready to act when He calls! Yehovah bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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