Fall of Babylon (Daniel #7)

Text: Daniel 5

The chapter records the fall of Babylon and the rise of Media-Persia: from gold to silver in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2.

Pride before the destruction (vss 1-4)

  • Belshazzar brings out the vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem and begins to mock God in his drunkenness.  See Daniel 5:23 when Daniel makes him understand the judgment.
  • Babylonian nation not at the height of its power, but at the height of its corruption and pride
    • When pride reaches heaven, God takes note and destroys the thing.
      • Genesis 6:5
      • Genesis 18:20-21 – Ezekiel 16:49
      • Hosea 7:2
      • Revelation 18:5
    • Satan, by pride cast down – Ezekiel 28:15-17
    • Christian at the height of his pride – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
  • At the highest level in the nation you have a culture of:
    • Drunkenness and Debauchery
      • Alcohol never has a spiritual benefit in the Bible
      • No, Jesus did not drink alcohol.
      • No, Jesus did not make alcohol.
      • There is a difference between fresh, clean, juice squeezed from the cluster – Isaiah 65:8 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
      • There is a difference between that new wine in the cluster and fermented alcohol – Proverbs 23:29-35
    • Fornication & Adultery
    • Blasphemy
    • Idolatry

Handwriting on the wall (vss 5-9)

  • The world has no idea what to do with the information it has, because the world refuses to turn to the Lord
    • vs 6 is the end of wicked men: sudden, without remedy, and full of terror
  • Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
  • Proverbs 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. – Daniel is not afraid in this moment though the nation he resides in is about to collapse and be overtaken because Daniel knows who holds the reigns of the judgment.
  • Proverbs 11:5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.


An excellent spirit (vss 10-16)

  • People will live their lives without God, but when the trouble comes and the end looks near, suddenly they want to talk to the preacher and the family wants the preacher to be there.  Daniel is about to preside of Beltashazzar’s funeral.
  • Daniel is characterized by an excellent spirit.  It is said again in Daniel 6:3.
  • Proverbs 17:27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
    • Understanding is given as inspiration in Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
    • 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God
    • 1 Peter 1:11 tells you it was the Holy Spirit that was in Daniel
    • Queen says the spirit is holy as opposed to unholy (verse 11)
    • But the Holy Spirit didn’t stay in Old Testament saints like He does in New Testament saints – 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:13-14

Preach the word (vss 17-24)

  • Daniel takes some time to preach here.  He reminds Belshazzar of his history
  • verse 23 …and the God in whose hand thy breath is… is the one you should be concerned about, but you’ve spent all your time fooling around with gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know

Do not interpretations belong to God? (vss 25-29)

  • The word interpretation shows up 26 times in Daniel.
  • Interpretation is by the Spirit of God
    • 2 Peter 1:20 – the Author interprets.  None of this, “I think it means this.  I think it means that.”
    • not higher learning or textual criticism
    • Genesis 40:8

Shall suddenly be destroyed (vss 30-31)

  • Proverbs 6:14-15 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
  • Proverbs 29:1 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
  • God keeps records.  Several times in the Bible He says that someone’s wickedness reached heaven and so God brought judgment
    • Sodom & Gomorrah
    • Babylon the Great