Kingdom Down #5 – Party Like It’s 539 (B.C.)

In Daniel 5, the same family continues to do the same evil and God shows up in a powerful way while Daniel once again interprets a prophecy that God will ultimately get the last word.

Party Like It’s 539 (B.C.): Daniel Chapter 5 

Roughly 70 years have passed since ch 1, Daniel in 80’s, retired? Mundane decades

God Will Not Be Mocked

5:1 King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

=Counterfeit feasts – a king/kingdom, eating/drinking to worship

  • Nebuchadnezzar’s son Nabonidus was away, this is his grandson
  • Brutal – Nebuchadnezzar successor killed by brother, another killed in battle
  • 1,000 lords = 15,000 people
  • Hall unearthed 52X170 – main section White House

1.    Deviancy: Wives, concubines, servant girls (trafficking) vs women separate (Esther)

2.    Drunkenness: Vessels 5,000 taken (Ezra 1:11; Dan 1:2); Dad gone – house party

3.    Dishonor: e.g. baptismal hot tub, smoking Bible joints, drinking communion wine

=Daily we see a few things happening in world & get sickened. Imagine Gods view


God Has a Line You Don’t Want to Find

Daniel 5:Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed. 10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”

When God shows up, people sober up

God shows up – “hand” of God is invisible most of the time (anthropomorphism)

·         OT – Finger God broke Egypt Ex 8:19; wrote 10 Commandments 31:18

·         Jesus – Finger God – cast out demons Luke 11:20; wrote on ground Jn 8:9

People sober up – color changed, knees knocked, yelling, party stopped

  • This is Nebuchadnezzar’s wife, the queen mother (wives already present 5:2)
  • Spirt of Elohim in “Daniel” not Belteshazzar– 4:8,4:9,4:18,5:11

= Character counts.


We All Have a Day of Judgment

Daniel 5:13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.


  1. Don’t get caught up in power, praise, possessions, or pleasure
  2. Conquer fear of man w/fear of God
  3. Because he knelt before God, he could stand before kings
  4. Does not write or edit the mail, just delivers the mail
  5. If the issue is between someone and God stay out of the middle


  1. Unless God is not your Father, it’s always like father like son
  2. Pride is a problem
  3. If you don’t worship the Creator, you wind up worship the created
  4. Don’t misuse God’s holy vessels

2 Tim. 2:20-21 in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.


You Never Know How Much Time You Have

Daniel 5:24 “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; 28 Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

(150 years before Daniel) Isaiah 13:1, 17-19 “The oracle concerning Babylon… Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold. Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them… its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.


(50 years before Daniel) Jeremiah 27:4-7 ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.


Counterfeit Heaven

·         City fortified w/walls & moat, food, gardens, river flowed in

·         Medes/Persians outside city whole party

·         Oct 11 539 BC – Herododus reports Medes/Persians joined forces, encircled city, drained Ephrates River, dropped water level, passed under wall into Babylon (White House Down)

·         Prophecy fulfilled same night spoken (no 1-year warning like ch 4)

·         Prophecy of Daniel in chapter 2 came to pass (60 years prior)

= God is the only secure fortress (Daniel walked away)

= Just because you’re old does not mean you’re done.


Jesus came as the greater Daniel

1.    Daniel watched Babylon fall, Jesus will make the Spirit of Babylon fall forever (Rev 18:2-4,8)

1.    Daniel and Jesus were filled w/Holy Spirit

2.    Daniel and Jesus lived far away from home in a hostile nation

3.    Daniel and Jesus travelled through the world with a few faithful friends

4.    Daniel and Jesus never got to enjoy marriage or parenting

5.    Daniel and Jesus loved and served their enemies

6.    Daniel saw the hand of God write on a wall, Jesus felt the hand of God nailed on a cross

7.    Daniel saw a king drink from a cup in sin, King Jesus drank our cup of sin

8.    Daniel saw a king endure the wrath of God for his sin, King Jesus endured the wrath of God for our sin


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Mark Driscoll

It's all about Jesus! Read More