Old Testament: Daniel 5:1-31
Chapter 5 The Handwriting On The Wall
Belshazzar was now king. There had been several kings since Nebuchadnezzar (the term “father” can mean any predecessor that is in the line of fathers, cf. v. 2, 11). The king threw a party in honor of his idolatrous gods. He and his nobles were getting pretty soused drinking out of vessels taken from the Temple in Judah after the siege. All of a sudden a hand appeared writing on a wall (hence the expression “the handwriting on the wall”). The blood drained out of the king’s face and his knees started knocking. He called in his wise guys to interpret the markings but they struck out. It was the third time they had taken a crack at interpreting things for the kings.
The queen could see that even more blood had drained from the king’s face. So she suggested that he bring in Daniel who had had a pretty good record with deciphering various enigmas. The king offered Daniel a purple robe, a really nice necklace and a position as number three in the kingdom. Daniel told the king he could keep his gifts but that the Almighty God would be able to explain the writing. He reminded Belshazzar of the story of Nebuchadnezzar and how he was humbled and then lived to serve Yahweh.
Daniel told Belshazzar that even though he knew how Nebuchadnezzar had gone cuckoo and then submitted himself to the Almighty God, he still insulted Him by desecrating the vessels from the Temple.
Here was the interpretation of the four words on the wall:
1) MENE: “mene” means numbered, the king’s days were numbered and, in fact, had ended
2) MENE: see above
3) TEKEL: “weighed,” the king had been weighed in the balance and had failed the test
4) PERES: “divided” means that Belshazzar’s kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Upharsin in v. 25, U = “and,” “Pharsin” is the singular of Peres)
So Daniel was given the purple robe, the necklace, and was made No. 3 man in the kingdom. That night, Belshazzar was offed and Darius, the Mede, took over at 62 years old.
New Testament: 2 Peter 2:1-22
2 Peter 2:1-22 Being Piggy
Peter warned that false teachers would rise up and they should be on the alert (v. 1a). He knew that Satan would try to destroy the infant church by bringing bad teaching into the fellowships. They would even deny the doctrines concerning Christ (v. 1b). They will be sensual and greedy in their approach (vv. 2-3).
The Lord will rescue those who trust Him (v. 9a). He also will punish those who oppose Him. In history, God has punished the angels who rebelled against Him, all the sinners in the time of Noah, the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, and those who opposed Lot (vv. 4-8). God has a special distaste of those who indulge their bodies and rebel against authority (v. 10a). The false teachers go where good angels fear to tread, they insult demons (vv. 10b-11, cf. Jude 8-9). (Have you ever seen prosperity preachers command demons and tell them what to do?)
Balaam was the model for the false teachers (cf. Num. 22-24). He was driven by his greed and used sexual immorality to taint the people of Abraham (cf. Num. 31:16; 25:1-3; Rev. 2:14). They act like animals and no smarter than Balaam who was taught by his own donkey (v. 12, 16a; cf. Num. 22:28-30). Balaam went mad (v. 16b) as do all who continually sin. Compulsive liars, for example, usually get to the point where they believe their own lies.
The poor uneducated fisherman had a way with words. He called the false prophets “springs without water and mists driven by a storm.” In other words, they were full of hot air and dried up ponds (v. 17a). They are going to H – E double hockey sticks (v. 17b). They seduce others by promising liberty though they themselves are slaves to their own flesh (v. 19, cf. Rom. 6:119).6-
They know about the freedom that comes from knowing the Lord but despite that they slip back into a state even worse than where they began (v. 20). It would have been better if they had just stayed as perverted as they were initially (v. 21). They are like the proverb circulating about in Peter’s time about a dog returning to its own puke (22a) or the one about a pig taking a bath and then plunging back into the mud (v. 22b).