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  • Dan. 5:1-31; 9:1-27

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Another 7 years has passed since Daniel saw the two visions of the future kingdoms. Belshazzar king of Babylon hosted a great banquet feast for 1,000 nobles and they drank wine. While drinking, Belshazzar ordered for the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the LORD's temple in Jerusalem be brought for them to drink from. As the king, his nobles, his wives and concubines drank, they praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

In the midst of this, a human hand appeared and began to write upon the palace wall in front of the king. The king was so afraid that his knees knocked together and his legs buckled. Belshazzar summoned all the wise men, astrologers and diviners to determine what the writing meant, but none could do so. The queen told Belshazzar that Daniel could read the writing, so he was brought in. Before explaining the meaning of the writing on the wall, Daniel rebuked the king for his failure to honor GOD as Nebuchadnezzar had finally done after GOD humbled him.

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet 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 a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. 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 rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house 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, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.

25 “And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEK: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
(Dan. 5:17-29 NKJV)

That very night Belshazzar was killed by Darius the Mede. Darius took over reign of the kingdom at the age of 62.

The Seventy "Sevens"

During the first year of Darius, Daniel was reading Jeremiah's writings when he saw that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years. At that moment, Daniel turned to GOD and pleaded with Him in prayer, fasting in sackcloth and ashes. While Daniel was praying and confessing his sin and that of Israel, the angel Gabriel whom Daniel had seen in the earlier visions of the future kingdoms, came to him in swift flight. He told Daniel that at the very moment he began to pray, GOD gave an answer to Daniel's prayer, and sent Gabriel with the message for Daniel, because he was "greatly beloved". Gabriel said:

24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
(Dan. 9:24-27 NKJV)

As with Daniel's previous visions, this message of Gabriel is crucial to properly understand—and there is much disagreement about this passage. Obviously the weeks here are figurative and not literally seven day periods. It is my strong belief that the period of "seven weeks" in verse 25 is referring to the time it will take to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which would happen under the leadership of Nehemiah. Then the 62 weeks Gabriel mentioned are the period of time before the Romans would destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple for good. These events would occur in 70 A.D., approximately 40 years after Jesus ascended to heaven.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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