THE BOOK OF DANIEL is quoted often in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Daniel ch. 5 we see the Fall of Babylon. A verse by verse study. In many ways, the two books need to be read and studied together. Daniel lived at an important time of ancient history and his story is critical to our understanding of what is happening today. His visions speak powerfully of the end times, and his writing continues to exalt the “Most High God.” The accuracy and reliability of his remarks concerning future events have caused many to question his authorship of this book. However we have complete confidence that he not only wrote the book, but that God used him powerfully to bring His message to His people about what is about to happen in our time.
The Fall of Babylon
Daniel Chapter 5 Expositional Study Video
The Fall of Babylon
• The Fall of Babylon Daniel Session 5
– Not to be confused with
• The Doom of Babylon Daniel Session 6
– Prophesied in Isaiah 13,14 Jeremiah 50, 51 Revelation 17, 18
– Babylon Today (& Tomorrow)
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Soon after his election, Nabonidus led the army to Palestine and Northern Arabia, leaving his son Belshazzar as co-regent in Babylon. Nabonidus’ decision to stay in Arabia resulted from his unpopularity at home as much as from his desire to found a settlement there with exiles from Palestine Even priests of Marduk, the national deity of Babylon, became alienated. All this gives Cyrus the Great a pretext for invading the lowlands…
1] Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2] Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. “…father”: rather, grandfather.
3] Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4] They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Are There Hidden Codes in the Bible?
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2
5] In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6] Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
7] The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
8] Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
The First Cryptologist
Interpreting the “Handwriting on the Wall”
9] Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
10] Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
11] There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
Note Daniel’s exalted position…
12] Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
She also uses Daniel’s Hebrew name…
13] Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?
14] I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and
understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
15] And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:
16] And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
17] Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
18] O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
19] And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.
20] But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
21] And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
22] And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
23] But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of Heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:
24] Then was the part of the hand sent from him, and this writing was written.
25] And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. “Upharsin”: conjunction + Aramaic plural of Peres.
26] This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27] TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28] PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
The Handwriting on the Wall
Talmudic assertion: written vertically and backwards…Other ancient traditions assume Atbash encryption…
(Assuming atbash encryption)
Mene: Numbered, Reckoned. “God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it.” Your number is up.
Tekel: Weighed. “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”
Peres: Broken, Divided. “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians.”
(By implying a different vowel, “paras” rather than “peres.” It also becomes a play on words: paras was the word for Persia.)
29] Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
30] In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31] And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old. Cyrus the Great & the Achaemenid Empire Cyrus the Great was more than a great man who founded an empire (Agean Sea to the Indus River). He is seen as the epitome of a great leader: brave and daring, yet tolerant and magnanimous. In 1971, Iran celebrated the 2500th anniversary of his monarchy.
Cyrus II (“The Great”)
Cryus II (“the Great,” 559-530 B.C.) was the founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Cyrus’ father, Cambyses I (600-559 B.C.), was king of Anshan, a region in eastern Elam (Persia). His mother was Mandane, a daughter of Astyages, king of Media (585-550 B.C.). When Cambyses died in 559 B.C., Cyrus inherited the throne of Anshan and, after unifying the Persian people, attacked his father-in-law, the weak and corrupt Astyages. (The Median general Harpagus, whom Astyages had previously wronged, deserted the king and brought his army to the side of the young Cyrus.) Astyages was soon captured and the Persians took the capital city of Ecbatana in 550 B.C. without a battle. (This was also to be the result at Babylon 11 years later.)
Cyrus succeeded in welding the Medes and Persians into a unified nation that continued for two centuries, until the time of Alexander the Great (331 B.C.).
The Conquest of Babylon
On October 12, 539 B.C., Cyrus’ general captured Babylon without a battle. The Persians diverted the River Euphrates into a canal upriver so that the water level dropped “to the height of the middle of a man’s thigh,” which thus rendered the flood defenses useless and enabled the invaders to march through the river bed to enter by night.
The Letter to Cyrus
When Cyrus made his grand entrance, Daniel presented him with an ancient scroll of Isaiah, which contained a personal letter addressing him by name [Josephus, Antiquities, XI, I, 2].
Isaiah had died 150 years before Cyrus was born!
That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Isaiah 44:27,28
Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: Isaiah 45:1-5
Cyrus’ Response to Isaiah’s Prophecy
Cyrus was duly impressed. He freed the captives and returned the vessels that had been plundered from the Temple 70 years earlier. He even gave them incentives to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple (2 Chr 36:22; Ezra 1:1-4). [Only about 50,000 Jews responded to this royal proclamation and returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel.]
The Stele of Cyrus
This cylinder, discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the 19th century, can presently be seen in the British Museum in London. “…without any battle, he entered the town, sparing any calamity; … I returned to sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time… and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations.” British Museum, London
Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, “The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:2-3
The Decline of Persia “King of Babylon”
Cyrus claimed the title “King of Babylon.” He made his son Cambyses as his viceroy in Babylon in 538 B.C. Things remained peaceful until his death in 522 B.C. In the reign of Darius II (521-486 B.C.) a further return of exiles to Jerusalem was allowed. His rule did not go unchallenged and several local Babylonians controlled the city for varying periods, usually taking the throne-name of “Nebuchadnezzar” to bolster their claims—Nidintu-Bel (Nebuchadnezzar III”) 522 B.C. and Araka (“Nebuchadnezzar IV”) 521 B.C.
In the fourth year of Xerxes (485-465 B.C.) the Babylonians made another attempt to gain their independence. Bel-shimanni and Shamash-eriba claimed the throne in 482 B.C. and this revolt was suppressed with much cruelty and damage to Babylon. On his visit in 460 B.C., Herodotus reported that the city was virtually intact, however.
Xerxes and his successors (Artaxerxes I – Darius III, 464-332 B.C.) had little to spare for Babylon amid their lengthy and expensive wars with Greece. Irrigation work was neglected and the diversion of trade to the main Persian road from Sardis to Susa aided the decline of the city’s influence.
The Rise of Greece & Alexander The Great
On October 1, 331 B.C. Alexander (III, “the Great”) was welcomed by the Babylonians when he entered the city after his victory over the Medes at Gaugamela. He was acclaimed king and on his return from the east nine years later he planned extensive renovations including the creation of a port for the city large enough for 1000 warships.
Though the site of Esagila was cleared, work ceased on Alexander’s ambitious plans at his death in Babylon on June 13, 323 B.C. The career of Alexander is detailed in Daniel 8. His successors, in Daniel 11. Alexander died at age of 32; the Greek Empire took 22 years to divide. The “silent years” (between the testaments) is profiled in advance in Dan 11:5-35.
The Greek Empire
Alexander is succeeded by his four generals:
– Cassander Macedonia & Greece
– Lysimacus Thrace, Bithynia, most of Asia Minor
– Ptolemy Egypt, Cyrene, Arabia
Sponsored the Septuagint Translation: LXX (270 B.C.)
– Seleucus Syria and East to India
Antiochus Epiphanes (The “Little Horn” of Dan 8)
Atrophy & Decay
The foundation of a new rival capital city, Selucia, on the River Tigris expedited the decline of the ancient metropolis. The dispersal of Jews from Babylon is reported by Josephus (Antiq. XVIII, ix 6-9). The city subsequently underwent a gradual decay, even though the ruins remained occupied. Documents on clay from a school for priests in the city continued at least until A.D. 100.
Early in the first century
A.D. a colony of merchants from Palmyra brought brief prosperity, but they left about A.D. 75 (Garner, p 7-8). The city was visited by Trajan in A.D. 115. Babylon was first reported deserted by Septimus Severus 84 years later. As recently as the 1800s the village of Hillah, containing over 10,000 inhabitants, stood on the site of ancient Babylon (Rich, p. 157). In the late nineteenth century, the German archeologist Robert Koldewey conducted extensive studies at Babylon and the four Arab villages situated on the site. Babylon had been inhabited for some time even before his arrival.
Next Session: What about Babylon today? Will it be the capital of the final world dictator? Are there specifics we should be watching for? (Most prophecy books have overlooked some startling passages that will affect each of us over the months and years ahead.)
We are being plunged into a period of time about which the Bible says more than it does about any other period of time in history, including the time that Jesus walked the shores of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea.
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Chuck Missler Bio
Recruited into senior management at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, Chuck established the first international computer network in 1966. He left Ford to start his own company, a computer network firm that was subsequently acquired by Automatic Data Processing (listed on the New York Stock Exchange) to become its Network Services Division.
Returning to California, Chuck found himself consulting, organizing corporate development deals, serving on the board of directors at several firms, and specializing in the rescuing of financially troubled technology companies. He brought several companies out of Chapter 11 and into profitable operation. Chuck thrived on this type of work.
As Chuck notes, his day of reckoning came several years ago when — as the result of a merger — he found himself the chairman and a major shareholder of a small, publicly owned development company known as Phoenix Group International. The firm established an $8 billion joint venture with the Soviet Union to supply personal computers to their 143,000 schools. Due to several unforeseen circumstances, the venture failed. The Misslers lost everything, including their home, automobiles and insurance.
It was during this difficult time that Chuck turned to God and the Bible. As a child he developed an intense interest in the Bible; studying it became a favorite pastime. In the 1970s, while still in the corporate world, Chuck began leading weekly Bible studies at the 30,000-member Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in California. He and Nancy established Koinonia House in 1973.
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