Belshazzar

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MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN — The Writing’s on the Wall,

 According to Biblical history in the Book of Daniel, the Babylonian King Belshazzar once hosted a large feast while the city of Babylon was under siege by the Medes and Persians in 539 BC. The Babylonian Empire had previously conquered the Kingdom of Judah and Israel, and the Hebrew people were in exile.  During the feast, King Belshazzar and his court were using treasures taken from the Hebrew Temple as decorations, drinking vessels, and dinnerware.  Suddenly, in the midst of the feasting, the hand God appeared from the sky, and wrote in large Hebrew letters upon the wall, “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN”. Belshazzar has his diviners and magicians attempt to read and interpret the writing, but they cannot.  So Belshazzar sends for the Prophet Daniel.

Daniel interprets the writing, “Number, number, weighed, and divided”. While cryptic, the meaning of it is simple.  Belshazzar’s days are numbered, the Babylonian Empire has been weighed and found wanting, and the empire will be divided among the invaders.  The next day the Medes and Persians breeched the walls of Babylon, Belshazzar is killed, and the empire fell.  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

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John Martin (1789–1854, England)

Dramatic landscapes 1

John Martin was an English Romantic painter and one of the most popular artists of his day. He was celebrated for his typically vast and melodramatic paintings of religious subjects and fantastic compositions, populated with minute figures placed in imposing landscapes. His dramatic and subjective style of composition was in stark contrast to the emerging schools of naturalism and realism, which led his work to fall out of critical favour soon after his death, however a revival in interest has occured towards the end of the 20th century, and now his major works are popular pieces of many museum’s collections.

Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin!

And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

~ Daniel 5:24-28

Society and morals in present age are very similar to those of Rome before its infamous fall. And they were similar to those of Babylon in days of Belshazzar king. History tends to be very repetitive:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

~ Ecclestiastes 1:9

And so we can see that this spirit of Babylon always starts to show itself when people become more and more immoral. Incredible amount of earthly riches, incredible arrogance, incredible immorality. All of these happened in Babylon’s final days. All of these happened in Rome in its final and not-so-glorious days:

What has become of those laws which checked extravagance and ostentation? those which ordered that not more than a hundred pence should be allowed for a dinner, that not more than one fowl and that not specially fattened should be served, which removed a patrician from the senate, because he had ten pounds weight of wrought silver, on the ground that this was a notable proof of ostentation, which proceeded at once to destroy theatres as they rose for the corruption of morals, which did not allow the badges of office or noble birth to be employed lightly or with impunity? (I ask these questions) for I see dinners, which can only be called centuries from the 100,000 sesterces they cost, and whole mines of silver worked out into plates, a small thing if they were the property of senators only and not of freedmen or of those who are still liable to be flogged. I see too that one theatre, or a theatre open to the sky, is not enough for each town; for doubtless it was to prevent their immodest pleasure from being too cold in winter, that the Spartans first invented their cloak for the sports. I see too that there is no difference left between the dress of matrons and that of prostitutes.

~ Apologeticum, Tertullian

And we see that God, after a time, weighted Rome and saw it wanting, unworthy, lacking. It was destroyed. 

We should wary. “Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin!” This is a warning, a message God is now speaking to this morally depraved, ungodly world! He is coming again, Christians! And when He comes, will He find us holy or wanting?

“…Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

~ Revelation 22:11-13

how late for one

creator shall love that she must be
can such still
and immortality
their frenzied hair
that suns alone
belshazzar had he was far goes down the skies
coach it held but myself to deem ourself concealed
and thrum upon the tapestries of a night was of triumph
cautious hint to meet the sea
angels when cancelled
his furthest off
in the place