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The writing on the wall

A message for a proud king who mocked God.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish
Belshazzar was the proud king of the Babylonian Empire. He thought his kingdom would last for ever.<br/>He believed he was so powerful that no-one could defeat him. His city was the best defended in the world. He was unbeatable. And he wanted to celebrate how great he was. – Slide 1
So he decided to have a big party to celebrate how successful he was. One thousand very important people would be invited. – Slide 2
His servants looked at the long list of guests. ‘The king has invited one thousand guests – that means at least a thousand of everything. Masses of food!’ – Slide 3
Vast amounts of food and wine were delivered to the King’s palace. – Slide 4
All the guests arrived and the King began to show off how great he was. – Slide 5
Everyone drunk lots of wine. Then the king had a wicked thought. ‘Bring in the sacred cups we took from the Temple in Jerusalem.’ – Slide 6
The servants rushed to bring in the gold and silver cups robbed from God’s temple in Jerusalem when the Babylonians had captured the city. – Slide 7
The king, his wives, his princes and the guests filled the Temple cups with wine and started drinking from them. They celebrated and became more and more drunk. They mocked God. – Slide 8
They began to praise their false gods made of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone. – Slide 9
King Belshazzar showed total disrespect to the One True God. – Slide 10
Suddenly a light shone brightly on one of the walls. <br/>‘What is that?’ the King asked. ‘Where did that light come from?’ He began to tremble. – Slide 11
Then a hand appeared and began to write something on the wall. The king was terrified. – Slide 12
The finger wrote some very strange words, ‘Mene, mene, tekel upharsin.’ – Slide 13
‘What does this mean?’ the king fretted. ‘Someone tell me what this means. Call my clever men.’ – Slide 14
The astrologers and soothsayers looked at the strange words and had no idea what they meant. – Slide 15
‘So, not one of you can explain these words,’ the king muttered. ‘Bring in my wise men.’ But the wise men had no idea what the words meant. – Slide 16
The King became annoyed. ‘I pay you to work these things out. And I will reward the person who tells me what these words mean.’ – Slide 17
The wise men stared at the mysterious words. They had no idea where the hand had come from. They were completely baffled. – Slide 18
By now the king was getting very scared. ‘No-one knows what these words mean. Help!’ – Slide 19
But then the queen had a good idea. ‘Don’t worry. I know someone who worked for your Father King Nebuchadnezzar who was very, very wise. He could help you.’ – Slide 20
‘His name is Daniel. He is a Jew that was captured when we invaded Jerusalem.’ <br/>‘Sent for Daniel at once,’ the King ordered. – Slide 21
A servant rushed to find Daniel and bring him to the palace. – Slide 22
‘Are you the Daniel my father captured and brought to Babylon?’ the king asked. ‘I’ve heard your God can help you interpret mysterious things.’ – Slide 23
‘God can help me tell you the meaning of these words,’ Daniel replied. ‘Menu means “numbered” so the message begins “Numbered, numbered. Tekel means “weighed” and “upharsin” means divided.’ – Slide 24
‘This message means that God has numbered your days and time has run out. God has weighed your wickedness and is bringing judgement. Your kingdom is about to be divided and fall.’ – Slide 25
The king did not like the news … but he had promised to reward the person who interpreted the words. – Slide 26
Daniel was promoted and given special clothes to honour him. <br/>That very night the army of the Medes and Persians, lead by King Cyrus, diverted the river running through the might city of Babylon and invaded along the dry river bed. – Slide 27
The proud, defiant and wicked king Belshazzer was killed and his empire fell to King Cyrus. <br/>His days had been numbered and he was now facing God’s judgement. – Slide 28
Slide 29