Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 5

Outline and Background of Daniel 5

Sacrilege of Belshazzar - Daniel 5:1-4

Shock of Belshazzar - Daniel 5:5-6

Summons of the Wise Men and Solution of the Queen - Daniel 5:7-17

Sermon from Daniel - Daniel 5:18-25

Significance of the Handwriting - Daniel 5:26-28

Sequel of Events - Daniel 5:29-31

Applications and Typical Prophecies - Daniel 5

Shock of Belshazzar - Daniel 5:5-6

The Bible teaches that God’s judgment may come with the unexpected suddenness of a thief in the night.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The
king watched the hand as it wrote.

If not the actual fingers of the hand of God, they certainly represent His fingers. Earlier, in the miracles of Moses, the finger of God was
recognized by the Egyptians (Exodus 8:19); the Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God (Exodus 31:8); and Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you” (Luke 11:20).

Excavations of this palace corroborated that its large hall (173 by 56 feet) was covered with white plaster. The walls were beautifully decorated with painted stucco designs, to which God adds His own sketch of the immediate future.

It is likely that “the lampstand” came from the Holy Place of God’s Temple. Among other things, this article typifies judgment, which is symbolic of God’s light exposing good and evil. In the NT, there are “the seven golden lampstands” that appear in the midst of the seven churches of Asia Minor. The lampstands symbolize the scrutiny of Christ as He reveals His commendations and condemnations of the seven churches (Revelation 2-3). Here the light from the lampstand illuminated the king’s face, the writing hand, and the writing on the wall. “His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.”

God’s dreams and visions had terrified Nebuchadnezzar, but nothing like what the writing hand did to Belshazzar. Definitely, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Belshazzar’s reactions are a vivid description of terror.

1. His face turned pale.
2. He was so frightened.
3. His knees knocked together.
4. His legs gave way.
5. He called out in distress.

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