Handwriting on The Wall at Belshazzar's Banquet (Bible Facts) - CD Brooks online Sermon Transcript

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(from the Breath of Life Series by C. D. Brooks)
transcribed and edited by Derek Morris

Ladies and Gentlemen, we thank you for the warm welcome. We believe that as we fellowship together with the Lord and with each other great blessings will accrue to our hearts. We welcome you to this place and I challenge you to join with us in a study of the Word of God and see if something doesn’t happen to your soul. These are trying times in which we live and your coming here tonight should be the beginning of an experience that will help to fortify you to stand in these last days of earth’s history.

Before we go any further, we want to make some promises to you. As we study together I promise you that this book, this Bible, will be our text. We will not talk to you from out of our pamphlets and denominational traditions; we will speak to you from the Word of God. I believe as long as we do that we will be safe, don’t you?

I’d like to promise you something else. I’d like to promise you that we have not come here to see how much money we can carry away. Obviously the expenses are great in putting on a seminar of this nature. If you would like to help defray the cost, you will have an opportunity to give an offering. If you don’t want to, or you’re not able, that’s fine too. We’re not here to beg, or to make you embarrassed about money, and I make that promise to you tonight.
CD Brooks

There’s something else I promise you: while we’re here and as we study together, we will not preach denominationalism, and we will not deceive you. If you ask us a question that can be answered from the Word of God, we’ll give you the answer. If we don’t know it, we’ll tell you. We promise to be honest with you.

And then one last promise I’d like to make. God has given us the capacity to love people, so we of the Prophecy Seminar team promise to love you, and we want you to love us. And so with an atmosphere like this, I believe that God is going to give us a profitable time together. Don’t you believe that?

THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL-- God’s Warning to a Doomed Generation
Our subject tonight is “The Handwriting on the Wall”--God’s Warning to a Doomed Generation, and it’s intricately linked with tomorrow night’s topic, “The Greatest Prophecy in the Bible”--soon to be fulfilled. Just before Jesus ascended back to His Father, after His resurrection, He had these words of comfort for His troubled disciples. Please write this text down. John 14:1-3. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you”--does anyone know what Jesus promised? “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also.”

Jesus made a promise. He said, “I will come again,” and I believe we can trust the words of Jesus, don’t you? Then the question is: when will He come? How can we know when His coming is near? One thing is certain: Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man; not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” So anyone who starts setting dates is a false prophet. No man knows the day or the hour. But we can know when the end is near. Jesus said in Matthew 13:17, “For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see and have not seen them; and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Jesus gave signs concerning His coming. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are seeing those things and hearing those things today. Whole chapters of God’s Holy Word deal almost exclusively with signs regarding the end of time. Matthew 24 is one of those; Revelation 6 is another; Luke 21 is another.

“Ah,” you say. “People have been talking about the coming of Jesus for generation after generation after generation. If it’s really going to happen, why hasn’t He already come?”

I’ll tell you why. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” You see, God is so merciful and so good, and He loves us so desperately that He refuses to punish the guilty without giving them sufficient warning and offering them an alternative, a way out of damnation.

The Lord has always sent a warning message to each doomed generation. When you look back in your Bible you will see that there was a time when the whole earth was going to be destroyed by water. God sent a preacher who preached his heart out for one hundred and twenty years. His name was Noah. In spite of all his preaching, only eight people were saved. You know, it’s amazing that people seem bent on going to hell. It amazes me that people will not be saved though salvation is free! There’s something else that is amazing: the majority never seem willing to do God’s will. Only a few. Eight people out of a whole generation were saved in the ark by faith.

Then there were the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God said to Abraham, “I`m going to destroy those cities.

And Abraham pleaded with God and said, “Lord, if I find fifty people, would You spare it?”

And the Lord said, “Yes.”

And when he couldn’t find them he said, “Lord, if I could find...” and he came all the way down to ten! But he couldn’t even find ten people in two whole cities who were willing to do God’s will, and pure in heart. That ought to startle us, Ladies and Gentlemen. For the Bible records that only four people left those two wicked cities before God’s judgment fell, and one of those left her affections there, turned back, and became a pillar of salt. Only three people lived out of two whole cities! The rest thought they could live on in their wickedness, and their immorality and their decadence, and ignore the warning message of God. But the time of judgment came. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, and as it was in the days of Lot, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37, Luke 17:26-28). People ignore the Word of God and the will of God, but I tell you this evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, we had better listen to the warning message of God before it is eternally too late.

But where do I get the idea of the handwriting on the wall? All of you who study your Bibles know of that story in the book of Daniel the prophet about the destruction of Babylon, which was preceded by the handwriting of God’s judgment on the wall. That story is found in Daniel 5. It is the story of a king whose name was Belshazzar. I want to talk to you for a little while about Belshazzar and his kingdom. Let me read to you from Daniel 5, and maybe we can get an idea why God brought severe judgment upon the great nation of Babylon.

In Daniel 5:1 the Bible says, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords and drank wine before a thousand.” Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is the first key why God moved with such exacting judgment against Belshazzar and the great kingdom of Babylon. The Bible tells us something about him in the very first verse where he is introduced. He decided to have a feast. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a feast. It’s when men go to excesses that they dishonor the Lord. The excess of verse 1 is that of intemperance.

Eating and drinking--and he was not drinking water. He was drinking intoxicating beverages. His kingdom was given over to drunkenness. Nearly every politician, every army officer, every navy officer, everybody that was anybody in the kingdom of Babylon was at the palace that night to get drunk, and to live it up. It sounds a little like our day, doesn’t it? We talk about drug abuse, but the drug most abused today is alcohol, and not heroine. Did you know that over fifty thousand people die on the highways every year whose deaths are directly traceable to drunkenness? And the tragedy is that often it’s the sober person who dies, the little child who dies, the old lady who dies, and the drunk walks away without a scratch. What can we do in a society that demands its drink? Frankly, I don’t know. Passing laws won’t straighten people out. The only thing that will straighten people out is the grace of God. Did you know that last year in America alone $8 billion was spent on liquor; $8 billion in the United States alone, in one year. How can men and women respect God and respond to God when their minds are deadened by alcohol? Now, if you think that the Devil has no purpose in making it pretty and making it popular and making society feel that it’s got to have a drink in order to have fun; if you think the Devil is a shrewd operator; he wants our minds cloudy and fuzzy and profane so we won’t know how to think about God. I personally do not believe that it is possible for a man who is drunk to relate to God or to receive the unction of the Holy Spirit. The Devil understands that, and that’s why he’s made liquor so popular in these last days. Then you add to that the abuse of other drugs, and where we live and in some cases right in our very homes. This is a sign that God will soon move in judgment.

Then in verse 2 of Daniel 5 the Bible says, “Belshazzar, when 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.” So the second major sin of Babylon, added to the sin of intemperance, was the sin of no respect for sacred things. Nebuchadnezzar had conquered God’s people. He had overthrown Jerusalem. When he got to the Temple, which was God’s house, he took the gold and silver vessels with him as the bounty of war. But through the interposition of God, Nebuchadnezzar became acquainted with the true God, and he eventually committed his life to the God of heaven, and when we get to heaven, I expect to see him there. But Nebuchadnezzar had a grandson who was vice-regent with his father Nabonidus. Since his father was gone on expeditions and exploits, Belshazzar sat at home holding the scepter of the kingdom and indulged his passion and his pride by doing whatever he wanted to do. He belonged to the jet set of Babylon, and his principle activity was having a good time. So he decided to have a great feast and to invite everybody who was anybody. They were all there. He had the rock and roll bands. He had the dancing girls, in their scanty costumes. He said, “Folks, we’re going to have a good time tonight.”

And the Bible says, “When he had tasted the wine,” he remembered those vessels from the Lord’s house. Now, I don’t know if it caught your attention, but Daniel used a particular phrase, and there must be a reason. Daniel said, “When he had tasted the wine…” In other words, he wasn’t drunk. Had he been drunk he might have had an excuse, because drunkards don’t know what they’re doing. But this fellow had just begun to taste the wine. He knew what he was doing. He knew that his grandfather respected God. He also knew that the God of heaven had manifested Himself in Babylon. He had knowledge, and when you know better, you’re without excuse to do wrong. Would you say Amen?

He just wanted to put on a big show. After all, his old grand-daddy was not modern. His old grand-daddy was a square. He didn’t know how to live it up. I’m going to go beyond him. I’m going to do the things he was afraid to do. I’m not afraid of the God of Heaven. And the vessels from the Lord’s house were placed on the table at that banquet, and highly painted men and women picked them up and flirted over them with their eyes. They left on the glasses of gold from the Lord’s house the paint from their lips and the spit of their mouths. The principle sin was one of defiance: No respect for sacred things.

Whenever a nation turns drunk and whenever a nation turns its back on God and loses respect for sacred things, that nation is headed for a downfall. History declares it so. There are only a few things that are called sacred, and today sacred things are under attack. You know God is sacred. When you call His name it ought to be with reverence. You ought never to use God’s name or the name of Jesus carelessly or in trifling statements, for God is a holy God and who are we to trifle with Him when angels fall down and cover their faces, crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” And yet we use His name in jest. We use His name in cursing. We use His name in slang. We use His name when we are surprised. We use His name cheaply and disgracefully. And we lose our respect for Him Who is sacred. We portray Him as a silly old man pottering around with a cigar in his mouth. I tell you, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a disgrace. Let us never forget that God is holy and His name is sacred. Would you say Amen?

But men have lost their respect for God. Today many laugh at you if you believe in Him. Then they have lost their respect for the Word of God. People like to joke about it and belittle it. They seem to know everything about everything except the Word of God, and yet that’s the very thing they put down. Well, I’ve got a word for you. People are down on what they’re not up on, and folks who kick the Bible have never read it. If you don’t believe it, ask them a few well-placed questions and see what they know. Yet they are always fighting the Word of God and belittling it. But the Word of God has never been proved a lie. This Word of God has turned head-hunters into Bible preachers. This Word of God has brought a song in the night to those who were heart-broken. This Word of God has crushed rulers and dynasties. This Word of God has transformed jungles into peaceful villages. The Word of God has brought peace to men’s lives. When folks belittle the Word of God they don’t embarrass me. Anybody that does that is a fool. When a fool tells me that I’m stupid for believing in the Word of God then I ask that fool to explain why I’m not what I used to be. Before you throw away the Word of God you’ve got to explain the miracle of conversion. You’ve got to explain why a young man who once walked the streets of London is now a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ve got to explain why I don’t do what I used to do, and not only that, I don’t want to do it.

But men and women have lost respect for the Word of God, which is sacred. And marriage, the Bible says, is sacred, but today people laugh at virtue and extol filth. A faithful marriage is out of style, and people think it’s perfectly fine to just live together or play the field. We ought to remind ourselves that it was not man who decided that marriage was good. It was God Himself. He instituted it in the Garden of Eden after He had declared, “It is not good that man should be alone,” and therefore made a helpmeet for him. At the marriage feast in Cana, Jesus Christ performed his very first miracle. Yet we have come to the place where marriage is no longer considered sacred. I want to tell you this evening, when men and women start to throw away that which is holy and sacred, and cling to that which is profane and cheap, that society is in trouble. The judgment of God will soon be unfolded. They will see the handwriting on the wall.

In Daniel 5:3 the Bible says, “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 from them.” And so we have the third reason why God brought judgment upon the kingdom of Babylon: Immorality had become the order of the day. This man had not only become intemperate, he had not only lost respect for sacred things, but he had wives and concubines (those are girlfriends on the side), and not only did he have them, but all his princes had them. It was the way life was lived.

“Ah,” but you say, “Isn’t that amazing!”

I want to tell you what’s more amazing: we’ve almost come to that today. Don’t you know a man is considered a misfit if he doesn’t have a wife at home and a girlfriend at the office? Don’t you know that a man is considered unusual if he doesn’t cheat on his wife? And yet those who know God must realize that God will bring man into judgment for that kind of conduct. And the filth that is shown on cable TV and HBO, and published in our magazines--immorality is rampant! Whenever a society mocks God in this way, the time of reckoning is near.

Then in Daniel 5:4, we see the last thing I have time to mention. The Bible says, “They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, of stone.” They worshipped material things. They became so materialistic that God didn’t matter, friends didn’t matter, marriages didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except money and things. And how familiar that sounds today! A hundred years ago there were only about three hundred things you could buy, no matter how much money you had. Today there are more than three hundred thousand things you can buy and some people are in a fit to own all of them! They’re so busy trying to buy this and that, they don’t have time to enjoy what they already have. They are working day and night. They make the wife go out to work while the children go to the Devil. There is no sacredness anywhere. The only thing that seems important is money and things until they become the richest body in the cemetery. And when we put money and things before god, we are in trouble. In fact, our whole society is in trouble--deep trouble. Intemperance, loss of respect for sacred things, immorality, materialism--the handwriting of God’s judgment is on the wall.

Belshazzar had a feast. And while they were drinking, and carousing, and dancing, and enjoying their wives and their concubines, there came a bloodless hand out of the sleeve of darkness and wrote God’s judgment on the white plaster wall of that banqueting hall: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. “God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Belshazzar saw it, and the Bible says he was so scared, his knees smote together. But praying time was over. That night the Medo-Persian army marched up the river bed of the Euphrates and through the open river gates into the city, and blood flowed in the streets. The great kingdom of Babylon fell and King Belshazzar died. The handwriting on the wall was the writing of God’s judgment against a society filled with intemperance, lack of respect for sacred things, immorality, and materialism.

The handwriting of God is on the wall tonight. That’s why we’re holding this Prophecy Seminar. That’s why you need to be here from night to night. The Bible says, “Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). He came to Sodom and Gomorrah when the people did not expect Him. He came in the days of Noah when they didn’t think He would come. And it happened in Babylon, when they were having a good time. They didn’t think it would happen.

For us today, the handwriting is on the wall. The Word of God says, “Be ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.” We’re going to study tomorrow night “The Greatest Prophecy of the Bible”--soon to be fulfilled; how you can know from God’s Word exactly what’s going to happen, and how you can be ready. Don’t let anything keep you from being here.

Some years ago they built a ship which they called indestructible. It was the Titanic. They said it couldn’t sink. On its maiden voyage only the rich and privileged were able to get on board. The idea was not to do business; it was to celebrate. The people were on that ship, and they were drinking, and they were partying, and they were dancing, and they were watching the theater--they were just like people in our town tonight--when suddenly an iceberg ripped open the side of the vessel. They tried in vain to save her. When they knew she would be lost, the signal was given: man the lifeboats. Women and children! Women and children! They were so self-secure, they didn’t even have enough life boats for everybody. So now, women and children. Husbands had to bid goodbye to their wives and children. They tell me that a very rich man stood on the listing deck of the Titanic and shouted out into the night, “All of my millions would I gladly give for another chance to live.” A few minutes before he wasn’t thinking about it. They got into those vessels and shoved off, women and children, women and children into the icy waters of the Atlantic. The men stayed on board. The crew stayed on board. Then the Captain called the band; the band that had just a few moments before been playing their hot jazz, Alexander’s ragtime; that band that had set everybody’s feet tapping; that band that was causing thrills and exhilaration on every deck; that band was called by the Captain. He said to them, “Would you play a few bars of Nearer my God to Thee?” And those cold trumpet notes could be heard by those in the lifeboats out over the slashing waves:
Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee,
E’en though it be a cross that liftest me
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer my God to Thee.

I tell you, my friends, everybody is going to repent someday. This society that laughs in the face of God; this society filled with intemperance, and lack of respect for sacred things, and immorality and materialism. Many are going to wait until the ship is going down, until it’s too late to pray. They’re going to cry out to God, “I’m sorry,” but they shall cry too late.

Now is praying time. Now is the time to get right with God. Now is the time to realize that somebody died in your stead. On an old rugged cross the Son of God was lifted up. His blood drenched down through the cracks and splinters of that cross. With the gold of His blood and the silver of His tears, He paid for your redemption and mine. I want you to look at Him on that cross in your imagination. See that crown of thorns smashed down on His brow. See those huge metal spikes in His hands and feet. Jesus died there for you. He died to rescue you from an eternal death and offer you the gift of an eternal life. Don’t let Him die in vain.

Tonight, Jesus says, if you hear My voice, harden not your hearts. Make the decision tonight that you are going to attend the Prophecy Seminar so you can understand the great prophecies of God’s Word, know what the future holds, and draw closer to God and to His will for your life than ever before.

I’ve only got a few minutes to finish this meeting. But I want to ask you to think about what you’ve heard, and what’s going on in the world. Use your head, and know that time can’t last much longer. It’s high time to get right with God, to come over to the Lord’s side. The handwriting is on the wall, and Jesus is soon to return. Bible prophecy tells us that there will only be two groups at that time. One group will cry for the rocks to fall on them and destroy them; they are not ready. The other group will look up with joy and say, “Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him and He will save us” (Isaiah 25:9). They are ready. I want to be part of that group that’s ready when Jesus comes. How about you? If you want to say tonight, Lord lead me; help me to see the handwriting on the wall, and help me to be ready when Jesus comes, I invite you all to stand up right now and bow your heads as we pray.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank You for this service tonight. In these closing moments we stand. It’s our simple way of saying, Lord have mercy on us. We’re not what we ought to be, but we want to begin with You tonight in our hearts. Turn our attention toward spiritual things. We believe Your Word that the end is coming soon, and we ask You to lead us and guide us that we might be ready for that great day. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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