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Summary: As we study Daniel 5, you are reading an eyewitness account of the fall of the Babylonian Empire by one who was a prime minister of that very empire itself.

Divine Graffiti

Date: February 19th, 2012

Scripture: Daniel 5

Introduction

As we study Daniel 5, you are reading an eyewitness account of the fall of the Babylonian Empire by one who was a prime minister of that very empire itself.

 Daniel was a prime minister in a pagan culture

 in a pagan society, in a palace of Babylonian monarchs

 But he never compromised his faith in the true God.

And thus, every time he appears on the scene, we find him somehow unrelated to everybody else that's there.

 He always makes a grand entrance alone

 Never with/magicians/soothsayers/Chaldeans who come to give their human wisdom.

 He is set apart as God's man and the record he has given us is wonderfully true.

As we come to Daniel 5, these 31 amazing/marvelous, insightful verses, we see the end of an empire.

 We see/movement/head of gold as the image in chapter 2

 to the breast and the arms of silver

 Remember/Medo-Persians who followed the Babylonians.

 This great transition takes place at the close of this, the fifth chapter.

As we begin our study, let me remind you of a verse in Ezekiel 18:20. "The soul who sins is the one who will die…the righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him."

 And this chapter is a vivid commentary on that verse.

 Sin brings death.

 In the life of an individual and in the life of a nation and an empire.

Sermon

Take your Bibles and turn to Daniel chapter 5 and let’s see what God has in store for us this morning.

 30yrs/passed since the end of chapter 4...

 Nebuchadnezzar finally lost his pride, gave up his worship of false gods...

 And committed to praise and serve the one true God.

 He ruled seven more years after making that all-important decision after his insanity.

 So basic math tells us, it’s been twenty-three years since he died in 562 B.C. unfortunately his religious reforms died with him.

____________________________________________________________

After Neb/dies/empire begins to decline

 Neb’s son/ Amel-Marduk

 And by the way, these kings have a couple of different names.

 They seem/change/ names according/whatever gods they identified with.

 We see him/Bible as Evil-Merodach –2kings 25 and Jer. 52

 He released Jehoiachin from prison/seat of honor in Babylon

 He only reigned 2yrs before his power-hungry brother-in-law, General Neriglissar, assassinated him and stole the crown.

He/mentioned/Jer. 39 under the name of Nergal-sharezer.

He was an official under Nebuchadnezzar who apparently was involved in helping Jeremiah be released from prison.

 After a four year reign, Neriglissar died and his son, Labashi-Marduk, stepped into power.

 Just calling him would be a linguistic problem.

 His rule only lasted a few months before he was murdered in a coup led, Nabonidus.

He/appointed the monarch/but not of royal lines

• Couldn’t become king.

• Best we could tell/married/one widows or daughter/Neb.

• This put him in royal lines to be the king

• One of these daughters/or widows/he married had son named Belshazzar.

____________________________________________________

Nabonidus spent most/reign away from Babylon

 Attempting to secure the borders and strengthen the weakening empire /never set foot in Babylon.

 So he appointed his son, Belshazzar as co-rule...

 He left him in charge/famous double-walled capital city.

Unfortunately Belshazzar received none of the benefits of his grandfather’s hard-learned spiritual truths.

 In fact, only trait he picked up/Nebuch/discarded pride

 His heart was not at all responsive to the Spirit of God.

Now—you’ll see that in Daniel 5 Nebuchadnezzar is referred to as Belshazzar’s FATHER—

 In that culture the word “father” was used interchangeably with “Grand-father” or even “great-grandfather.”

 Any male ancestor could be called your “father.”

 This is why we call Abraham, “Father Abraham.”

___________________________________________________

The Authenticity of Daniel

I must point out that for a long time there was absolutely no historical record of Belshazzar and this became the basis for many liberal attacks on the authenticity of the book of Daniel.

 1854/archeologist/J. G.Taylor/exploring some ruins in southern Iraq for the British Museum and he came across several small cylinders.

 One of them contained a prayer for the long life and good health of Nabonidus, king/Babylon and/his eldest son Belshazzar.

This find squelched these liberal attacks and helped prove the authenticity of this book of the Bible.

 Just one more example/fact/Bible becomes MORE and not LESS reliable as time passes.

 I mean, over/over again archeological finds like this have AFFIRMED the reliability of God’s written Word.

 Unearthed the plaster wall.

__________________________________________________

Nonetheless, 5th chapter opens the empire/Medes/Persians

 The “silver empire” foretold in Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream six decades earlier—is growing in power.

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