By Scott Johnson
Darius, the Mede, took over the rule of Babylon after Cyrus accomplished his great military victory. While Belshazzar celebrated a national feast in the Hanging Gardens with over a 1,000 nobles, Cyrus invaded the heart of Babylon that very night thru the water aqueducts and completely took over the largest kingdom of the world without "firing a shot"! God controls nations---- God sees them rise and God sees them fall. There was great abomination that night at Belshazzar's feast. He brought out the sacred vessels belonging to the God of Israel and with mockery and disdain, praised the gods of silver and gold. The abomination towards the God of all nations caused the desolation and a complete historical end to the long reign of the Babylonian empire. And God gave Babylon to Persia with the stroke of his finger!
The first commandment of the ten, written also by God's finger, has repercussions when not followed. Think of Moses before Pharaoh in Egypt. "Then they shall know I am the Lord" is an expression heard over and over at the Egyptian court. Yet, with King Pharaoh's rejection, each and every time, desolation came upon the nation of Egypt and against their Egyptian gods: The Nile is turned to blood--desolation, frogs and lice--desolation, flies and dead livestock--desolation, boils on men and hail on crops--desolation, locusts and darkness--desolation, death of the first-born--desolation! Not recognizing the God of our fathers and instead recognizing the gods of silver and wood and gold was an abomination then and this choice is an abomination now. Our nation's President, our Supreme Court, our Congress, yes our entire land is paid with currency that proclaims "In God we trust"--so the inevitable question must be asked--do we place our trust in God alone? We know in fact post-pandemic figures report less than 20% of Americans attend church. For over 200 years, Christianity has been the driving force of our country with over 70% attending church. Since 2000, the numbers have plummeted bringing us to this sad conclusion. Abomination's spirit has entered our land and the desolation has begun.
Do Christians in America, now in the minority, find themselves in a den of lions, as Daniel did with Darius? Is "In God we trust" a meaningless deistic statement of old as the Supreme Court has written? Has God given our leaders over to a depraved mind---a statement of evaluation recently given by one of our respected Senators?
The release of the Jews in captivity for 70 years came to pass just as God decreed. Under Darius, the government officials plotted to silence and kill Daniel, but through his faith and fearless patient endurance, Daniel prevailed: "As for you Daniel, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance." (Dan 12:13 NIV)
The release of Christians will also come to pass just as God has decreed: "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (Mat 24:15-22 NIV)
John writes the conclusion, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy." "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.... And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll..... He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. (Rev 22:10-21 NIV)
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]