Handwriting on the Wall

Curt Wagoner warns us that the time is short and challenges God’s people to lift up a standard of holiness while living like pilgrims in a modern day Babylon.

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Would you open your Bibles with me tonight to the fifth chapter of Daniel? Daniel chapter 5. Verse one, Daniel 5.

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. 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. 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…

Daniel 5:1-6

The setting here is that Babylon—that great, magnificent heathen capital—was under seige by the Medes and Persians. And during this time of beseigment, the king, as he was engaged in this season of merriment, called for the vessels that were stolen out of the temple of God, and they were brought to him, and they began to drink and make merry from those sacred vessels. God, of course, was very displeased with this. And so the Bible tells us, in this account, that there were fingers of a man’s hand that were seen, and they wrote upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace. Something happened when those fingers wrote upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace.

We recognize tonight that the message was enscribed upon the wall, but, more than that, the message was also enscribed upon the will, upon the will of the king. And this king reacted. The Bible tells us about Belshazzar’s reaction. It says in verse six that he had troubled thoughts. It says he had a changed countenance, and it says he had loosened loins. In verse seven, the Bible goes on to say that Belshazzar engaged in cries and bribes as he sought for someone to read and to explain the handwriting on the wall.

Now living in Babylon—if you wonder tonight what living in Babylon was like, I that believe all you need to do is just to look around you and you’ll see what it was like to live in Babylon. Just think about the events that are transpiring in this land in which we live as pilgrims and strangers. You recall with me, just a few weeks ago on June the twenty-sixth, the Supreme Court of this land declared that homosexual marriage was legal in all fifty states. You might not know some other events that happened about a month after that. But in the space of three days time, there were several things that happened. One thing that happened was that the Supreme Court of the state of Oklahoma made a ruling that the monument—the Ten Commandments Monument in the state capital of Oklahoma must be removed. Another thing that happened, in the state of Kentucky, a pastor who had been credentialed to consult and to counsel juveniles who were imprisoned or who were detained—that individual, though he had ten years of experience, was forced to step down because he would not promise not to counsel against homosexuality. In the state of Mississippi, a school district was fined several thousand dollars because they opened an assembly with prayer. Just a day previous to that, in Detroit, MI, Satan’s statue was erected there amid much pomp and circumstance late one night as it neared midnight. Those are some of the things that happened in the space of three days time in this country in which we live.

And I suppose I don’t need to tell you about what happened in Ottawa, Canada just a week ago today, when a young man, a young Christian brother, was stabbed by an angry individual. Nor should I need to tell you that in the last 42 years since the Supreme Court in this nation legalized abortion, there have been fifty-five million or more babies who have been murdered by the abortionists’ murderous scalpels. I don’t suppose I need to tell you that this nation in recent years has turned her back upon God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. The Abrahamic coventant still speaks tonight, and God is not pleased when people refuse to bless His people, when nations no longer bless His people. And God has promised a consequence to that. And so tonight the handwriting is on the wall. We’re living in Babylon. All we’ve got to do is look at the plaster and see the handwriting that God has placed there.

Now, Belshazzar—as he reacted, as he had troubled thoughts, as he had a changed countenance, as he had loosened loins, as he cried and tried to bribe someone to come and tell him, read the writing, and explain the writing to him—Belshazzar wanted someone so badly to just read that handwriting on the wall. Let’s read verses 25 through 29 in this fifth chapter of Daniel. Daniel was selected to come and to read the handwriting on the wall. Daniel came and read like this.

25 This [is] the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 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. 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.

Daniel 5:25-29

Notice the things that are said here. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. Three things that Daniel explained. Two of them had to do with the kingdom, and the third had to do with the individual who was enthroned there in that kingdom. First of all the bible says that the kingdom was numbered. that means that his days were finished. The kingdom was numbered. The sceond thing is that the person was weighed, the person was weighed. And thirldy the Bible says the kingdom was to be divided. As we come here tonight in Jesus’ name to worship and to pray together and to fellowship together, if we think about the earlthy kingdom in which we live, you and I have very little opportunity to impact that in lasting ways. There are some things we can do, but very little opportunity to impact it in lasting ways. But dear brother and sister tonight, we do have an opportunity to do something about the weighing of a person. We have the opportunity to look within our own hearts. We have the opportunity to meet God in dynamic manner this weekend. We are, we are in control of this thing, to a degree at least. The person was weighed. God is weighing, God is sorting, God is measuring us, and we want to be sure that we have the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, as God measures us, as God weighs us. We personally can really only, in significant ways at least, impact the weighing. It’s not a time to be careless. We’re living in precarious times. There is no time to be careless.

The Bible says concerning these three words—MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN—that the kingdom was numbered, that the individual was weighed, and the kingdom was to be divided. That speaks to us about death. Our days are numbered. We’re dying individuals. And death is coming. But praise God tonight, those who have confessed Jesus Christ, those who are living in Him, those who are walking in victory, we recognize that death is only a portal. It’s only a gateway to the entrance of glorious and eternal day. “Numbered” speaks of death.  “Weighed” speaks of judgment. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27 that “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.” “Divided” speaks about hell. It speaks about the time when all nations are going to stand before the Judge of the earth. Matthew chapter 25 portrays the scene when the sheep are ushered to the right hand. The goats are sent to the left hand. The nations are divided—the righteous, the unrighteous, the holy and profane. MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. Death, Judgment, Hell. I insist tonight, and I know that you believe it, that we are living in the last days. The handwriting is on the wall. These are the last days. Paul describes it this way: he says, “These are perilous times.” Second Timothy chapter three verse 1.

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce,… 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:

2 Timothy 3:1-5

I ask us tonight, do those nineteen descriptors describe the day in which we’re living? And I say, certainly they do, amen, they do.

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: [they are] men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

2 Timothy 3:4-8

That’s the apostle Paul’s description of the last days. The handwriting is on the wall. Peter says it this way. He says there are going to be scoffers. There are going to be lust-driven individuals in the last days. Second Peter three verse three.

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this [Peter says] they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire…  

2 Peter 3:3-7

That’s a reservation that no one will ever be late for. That’s a reservation that will be filled.

Reserved unto fire against the day of against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Dears ones tonight, brother and sister, my unconverted friend tonight, the handwriting is on the wall. There’s a great day of God’s wrath coming. You can just count on it. It’s as sure as sure can be. It’s as sure as the eternity of God. The Bible says in Revelation chapter six verse twelve.

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree… is shaken of a mighty wind.

Revelation 6:12-13

And the revelator goes on to say what he saw:

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man… [fled out of their places and they went unto the dens and to the rocks of the mountains, and they cried to the] …mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Revelation 6:14-17

The handwriting is on the wall. The time is short, my dear friends tonight. The time is short, brother, sister. It’s not a time for the faint of heart. The time is short. The question is, what will you do? What will you do? The handwriting is on the wall. One of things that we want to do is we want to lift a standard. We want to lift a standard. The Bible says in Isaiah chapter fifty-nine—you all have looked at this verse in the past several days, or past several weeks. But the Bible says, when the enemy of the Lord,

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Now notice, that speaks about what God is going to do in lifting up the standard when the enemy comes in a like a flood God is going to lift up a standard. It will happen. The Holy Spirit will see to that. But let me ask you to consider another verse. Turn over to Isaiah chapter sixty-one–sixty-two. And I want you to think about this verse in connection with Isaiah 59:19. and I want you to think about what the prophet is saying here. He says, Isaiah sixty-two verse ten. 

10 Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

Isaiah 62:10

Now, God is going to do his part. He is going to do his part. The Bible says in clear unmistakable tones, “The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against” the enemy. But the question tonight is, are we, are you, am I going to do my part, our part? Are we going to do what we should do to lift up a standard? We have the opportunity, for just a couple of days, to be engaged in this standard-lifting work, in this ministry, that Babylon of our age so desparately needs as the handwriting is on the wall. Lift up a standard. Isaiah says it in verse ten of chapter sixty-two. He says there’s four things to do. The first of those is to penetrate. Go through, go through the gates. Get out there. Speak the message, penetrate, give testimony of what Jesus Christ has done for us. And speak of God’s impending judgment upon this earth. Penetrate. The second is to prepare. Prepare ye the way of the people. Get them ready. Make it so they understand. Prepare the way. More than that, the third thing is, we’re to cast up, cast up the highway. That means to promote, lift it up, let people see the highway of salvation. The salvation of Jesus Christ. Promote. And finally, there’s some purging work that must be done. It must be done. Gather out the stones. Gather them out. Get rid of it. Remove the hindances. As we think about God’s work, and our work tonight, it ought to bring a very sober, sober time of reflection in our hearts. Now, the concluding thought that I’d like to share with you tonight is, that every one of us has been created by our wonderful God. And more than that, we’ve been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are His people. The Bible says that we are His vessels. We are His vessels. We want to be used in the service of the Master. We want Him to have free acccess to us. We are His vessels. And so many individuals, in the day and time in which we live, they want to grab the vessels out of the hand of the God who created us, out of the God who redeemed us, and they want to pour their sacrilegious juices into that thing, and they want to make merriment out of stolen vessels. We are God’s vessels, we are chosen vessels, we are sanctified, we are to be sanctified in the service of the Master. Don’t try to steal the vessel of God. Don’t let anyone else steal the vessel that God has created and entrusted into your care. Dear brother, dear sister, tonight, the handwriting is on the wall. What are we going to do?