Ancient Words: Daniel & King Belshazzar

By Scott Johnson

Daniel serves in 4 Kingdoms and under the reign of 4 Kings, spanning over 70 years. King Belshazzar is the second King who follows King Neb. King Bel. Is connected to King Neb. either as a possible grandson or a possible son-n-law. Either way, Daniel's time spent with this King is notable and spans about 14 years.

Chapter 5 in the Book of Daniel is about the great feast for 1,000 guests which King Bel. holds at the end of his 14th year of reign. He actually is slain on that night of this feast, under the spectacular pronouncement written on the wall by the hand of God--MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN: Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 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. 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. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. 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. 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. (Dan 5:1-6 KJV-BRG)

Chapter 7 is about Daniel's dream of the 4 beasts which he had in the 1st year of King Bel's reign: In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. (Dan 7:1 KJV-BRG)

Chapter 8 is about another dream of Daniel's which he had in the 3rd year of King Bel's reign: In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. (Dan 8:1-2 KJV-BRG)

In Daniel's account of his first dream (Chapter 7), he sees 4 great beasts, a lion, a bear, a leopard, and the 4th described as dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong. Later Daniel says these 4 great beasts are 4 Kings (or Kingdoms) which shall rise out of the earth. The good part of the dream, however, was that a 5th Kingdom comes forward and defeats all 4 beasts: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Dan 7:9-14 KJV-BRG)

Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]