The Writing on the Wall

The Writing on the Wall

In time, Belshazzar became the king of Babylon. One night, he invited a thousand of the most important people in the land to a feast. He ordered his servants to bring out the gold cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jehovah’s temple. Belshazzar and his guests drank from the cups and praised their gods. Suddenly, a man’s hand appeared and began to write mysterious words on the wall of the dining hall.

Belshazzar was terrified. He called in his magicians and promised them: ‘If anyone can explain these words, I will make him the third most powerful man in Babylon.’ They tried, but none of them could explain the words. The queen then came in and said: ‘There is a man named Daniel who used to explain things to Nebuchadnezzar. He can explain these words to you.’

Daniel came in to the king. Belshazzar said to him: ‘If you can read and explain these words, I will give you a gold necklace and make you the third most powerful man in Babylon.’ Daniel said: ‘I don’t want your gifts, but I will tell you what these words mean. Your father Nebuchadnezzar was proud, and Jehovah humbled him. You know everything that happened to him, but you disrespected Jehovah by drinking wine out of the gold cups from His temple. So God has written these words: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. The words mean that the Medes and the Persians will conquer Babylon, and you will not be king anymore.’

It seemed as if nobody could conquer Babylon. This city was protected by thick walls and a deep river. But that very night, the Medes and the Persians attacked. The Persian King Cyrus diverted the river so that his soldiers could march right up to the gates of the city. When they got there, the gates were open! The army stormed in, conquered the city, and killed the king. Then Cyrus became ruler of Babylon.

Within a year, Cyrus announced: ‘Jehovah has told me to rebuild his temple in Jerusalem. Any of his people who want to help are free to go.’ So just as Jehovah had promised, many of the Jews returned home 70 years after Jerusalem was destroyed. Cyrus sent back the gold and the silver cups and the utensils that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple. Can you see how Jehovah used Cyrus to help His people?

“She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, and she has become a dwelling place of demons.”​—Revelation 18:2