I imagine that most people have heard this term, "I can read the writing on the wall" or a variation at one time or another and understand that in our modern culture it distills down to the ability to recognize and understand a given situation; as you’ll see; it certainly applies to the state of America and the West.
What a lot of people probably don’t realize is the origin of it. The term comes from the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible. Before I describe the scene that was taking place, I’ll offer a little background.
Daniel, a Jew, was a very well-known and well respected man in Babylon, and had been for decades since the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. If you’re familiar with the Book of Daniel, you’ll remember that in chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and wanted it interpreted; he also wanted the interpreter to tell about the dream. None of his wise men or mystics, and no one in his court had a clue; however Daniel did and was able to not only tell him exactly what he’d dreamed, he told him what it meant. Everything Daniel said about the dream was true, and everything he said would happen to the king did in fact come to pass. To make a long story short, that is how Daniel earned his respect and position in Babylon. Daniel’s God given ability is also why King Nebuchadnezzar came to believe in God in a big way.
Now that I’ve laid that brief ground work on Daniel, we can visit the scene in Chapter five that I mentioned above. Nebuchadnezzar had long since passed away, however the story of what had happened to him and the role Daniel played was the stuff of legend in Babylon; however the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, by the name of name of Belshazzar, like many of our leaders, was very full of himself and wasn’t real interested in any of that history and pretty much lived a lot like we in America do; and he threw a really big party to boast his and Babylon’s 'invincibility.’
In the meantime, similar to the current state of America and the West as a whole via our enemies, Babylon had been under a long term and growing siege from the Medes and Persians and the city was completely surrounded. Unlike us, Babylon had very high and wide walls so there was no chance for any invader to scale them; however there was an ‘Achilles Heel’ to the city. Back to that in a moment to tie it all together.
The only real difference between ancient Babylon and America and the West is our advanced technologies. They had the same sort of corrupt politicians, bankers, rebellious children, and all the rest. Just like America has turned away from our founding principles, they also, after the time of Nebuchadnezzar, had fallen away from the course he set them on; had returned to their wicked ways, and just like us, had begun worshipping false idols. Many of their idols were the same as ours; money, possessions, pride, status, sexual immorality, however they also had some made of wood, stone, iron, gold, and the like. The bottom line is, like us, they worshipped anything and everything except God.
Back to the big party; so the city is surrounded, the leaders are ineffective, and the people are worried…sound familiar? In the middle of the party, Belshazzar decided to make a mockery of all the captured idols from conquered nations; however since the Jews didn’t have any idols, he decided that the gold and silver cups the Jews had used in ceremonies would suffice, and he decided to drink from them and have others do the same.
And that is when as we would say, everything hit the fan. To the horror and amazement of everyone in attendance, something very other worldly happened for all eyes to see; some very 'creepy’ fingers appeared and started writing a brief message on the wall in a language that no one understood; that is except Daniel who was called upon to see if he could once again interpret something. And he did in fact interpret the writing on the wall. It told of the end of Belshazzar’s reign and that he would perish that very night, which he did.
Remember those Medes and Persians that were besieging the city and that "Achilles Heel?” Well, they knew that the Euphrates River flowed right through the middle of the city under those “very high and wide” walls, so they dammed the river several miles upstream and waited for the water level to lower under the walls, and it just so happened that the level was low enough right about the time that Daniel read the writing on the wall, that they were able to simply march in and take the city.
By now, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking "so what?”Add a comment