The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. L. Bynum
From the Plains Baptist Challenger, February 2014
In Daniel 5 we see the decline and destruction of the great empire of Babylon, and in many ways we see a parallel in our own United States of America. This nation may very well be on the road from a great nation to a nation headed for decay and destruction.
Under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon became the greatest kingdom in the world at that time. It is true that it started out as a pagan kingdom and remained so for a number of years. Under the influence of Daniel the course of the empire changed a great deal, and became more favorable to the God of the Bible.
Nebuchadnezzar in his great pride said, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" (Dan. 4:30)
After he had been humbled by God, in the last chapter that chronicles his life and reign, he proclaims a great truth, "Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." (Dan. 4:37) At least outwardly he seems to have been completely changed.
To get some idea of the splendor of this city, it was fifteen miles square and had brick walls, three hundred feet high. The walls were so thick that three chariots could race around the top aide by side. It was considered impregnable, and it was thought to be safe from all invaders.
A number of years had passed when Belshazzar came to the throne of Babylon and immediately the country began a tragic decline into sin and debauchery. This was to bring tragic events to the country and a rapid decline and an unhappy end to Babylon.
Our own country has had a glorious history of splendor and glory. We have become the richest and most powerful nation in the world with our great armed forces we have dominated the world in many respects. But many of us think that we are in a serious decline that will prove tragic in a short time.
We too had a great spiritual heritage, beginning with men that honored the God of the Bible, and considered His Word to be sacred. Much of the foundation of our country was built with a firm belief that, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psa. 127:1) Our founders were men of faith, and publicly said so. We have been blessed by presidents and leaders who have acknowledged God.
Our nation's capital is a testimony to a forgotten God and His Word. The buildings of Washington, D.C., are a public testimony to the Bible as many of them are adorned with Scripture verses which tell of a faith once held by this nation. I wonder how the atheist lawyers can argue before the Supreme Court against Christianity and ignore the handwriting of God on the walls and ceilings.
Everywhere in our land there is an outright war against God, His Word and His people. The ungodly, relentless foe is marching us toward a godlessness society where anything goes, except a resolute faith in God. Yes, our nation is in decline, and only a blind man could possibly miss seeing that this is so.
"Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand." (Dan. 5:1) As the context will show, a wild drinking orgy was taking place. It was a party that had no place for God or His Word. All limits were off as the drunken licentious crowd went deeper and deeper into their drunken stupor. No doubt this was at government expense. The King and all his officers were confident that their city was impregnable. They had enough grain and foodstuff stored up to last them through years of enemy siege. And with an abundance of fresh water flowing through the city, they felt perfectly safe to delve into the depths of sin.
The State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor just before the recent shutdown. While our government was fighting to stay in operation, they had enough money to buy thousands of dollars' worth of liquor. The liquor bill, split among purchase orders placed at embassies around the world, included some major last-minute pre-shutdown splurges:
• $5,625 in "gratuity wine" at the embassy in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 29, followed by $5,925 in "gratuity whiskey" on the day the shutdown began.
• $22,416 in wine at the embassy in Tokyo.
• $15,900 in bourbon and whiskey in Moscow.
“U.S. embassies have long served alcohol at diplomatic events under Democratic and Republican administrations alike—and in good economic times as well as bad. But the booze bill has risen sharply each year since 2008, according to the federal government's procurement database, which includes a specific code enabling the public to track alcoholic beverage purchase orders. Those records show the State Department bought $415,000 worth of alcohol in fiscal 2012, which was 25 percent more than the $331,000 spent in 2011 and more than triple the $118,000 spent in 2008.” –Washington Times
Washington is swarming with lobbyists who spend millions of dollars on liquor to grease the skid for favors they are seeking from Congressional members, their aids, and other government officials.
“Expenditures on Nancy Pelosi-led CODELs, the group's report shows, include thousands for liquor, beer and wine. Receipts show purchase of Johnny Walker, Grey Goose, Beefeater, Maker's Mark, Courvoisier, Dewars, Bombay Sapphire and more, all courtesy of the American tax payer.” –Washington Times
This does not cover all the expense of liquor by the Federal Government, but suffice to say that it is awash in liquor. How many important decisions that are being made under the influence of liquor in the Capitol of our country, we have no way of knowing. I am not saying that everyone in the government drinks, but I am saying that too many of them do. That is one reason George W. Bush was unpopular, because he would not give the wine and dine crowd a big party, and he announced that he did not drink.
A Personal Proposal: We need to stop the government from buying liquor. Let the people who want to drink pay their own expense out of their own salary. Then make every congressman take a Breathalyzer-test every time before any deliberations in the chambers of the House and Senate. I'm convinced that many bad decisions are made in backrooms while under the influence of drink. Of course this is never going to happen, but it's sure on my wish list.
There is no doubt that our country is on the road to destruction, unless we repent and turn back to God. Multitudes are drunk and smoking pot or sniffing drugs. School children are being recruited into drugs and liquor users. We are losing the next generation to lust and addiction.
Immorality, lust and licentiousness must have run rampant through that great banquet hall that night. Think of it if you will, as a thousand lords and their wives and concubines drank wine and reveled in their lust. Marriage meant nothing to this crowd, they were there for a good time and they were going to make the most of it. I doubt that any semblance of modesty or purity crossed the minds of these besotted revelers. Concubines were competing with wives over who could be the most vile and sensual. Consumed by lust and drink, the city was ripe for the taking.
Sin and open debauchery are running wild in our country. Every once in a while, a government official is caught in some wrongdoing or immorality, but I fear that much is never exposed.
Marriage is no longer the preferred way of finding love, but now it is popular to live together for a trial or a way of life. Extramarital affairs are open and avoid all punishment. Homosexuality, an abomination in the sight of God, is prevalent. Bestiality is gaining followers, and so is man-boy love. We are truly marching toward the sins of Sodom. Homosexuality has the protection of the government and the courts. It is coming to the time when we feel like crying out "How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:10)
"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." (Dan. 5:2-3)
Those golden vessels were made for the worship and praise of God in the temple at Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had taken them in the battle for Jerusalem. As far as we know, they had never been used for a drunken party before, but had been stored in some safe place in Babylon. Now at this drunken banquet, they were boldly brought forth and used in such a degrading manner. As far as Belshazzar was concerned, they held no special significance. But they were sacred blessings from God.
In America the sacred things of God are spurned, abused and misused. God's Holy Word is no longer the beacon of life, but is ignored and ridiculed by multitudes of people. Many of the leaders in Washington really would like to get rid of the Bible thumpers in this country. We can see it clearly by oppression of Christians in the military. There is plenty of toleration for homosexuals, Moslems, atheist and the godless in our armed forces, but there's no place for practicing Christians.
Denying & Deifying
"They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone." (Dan. 5:4) In this one act, they were denying the true God and deifying the false gods of Babylon. God will tolerate so much and then His fury will be unleashed on sin.
No one can say for sure how long God will let our own nation continue in defiling His Name, but one thing for sure, we are moving toward that line from which we cannot return.
"There is a time, we know not when, that marks the destiny of men, to glory or despair." As the words of that hymn sink into your heart, we should all ponder the path our nation is on. If it were not for the faith of God's Churches and the work that they are doing in winning the lost, I believe God would have already sent His mighty judgment on this land. He has sent us warning after warning, but most people have ignored His words of judgment for sin, and gone on with their own way.
The message written on the wall was a complete mystery, as for as the King and his counselors were concerned.
"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. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spoke, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof" (Dan. 5:5-8)
Of course none of them knew as they peered through sodden eyes at the fingers and what they wrote. Word of the great event rapidly spread through the city, and so the Queen came to the banquet hall. (It was not likely the king's wife, but the Queen Mother.)
Daniel had long before fallen out of favor in the land, and most likely retired. The Queen quickly revealed her mission by saying, "There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods... "(Dan. 5:11) "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." (Ezek. 22:30) I believe God is searching for a man today, which will stand up against sin and ungodliness and who will proclaim the truth to this generation.
Of course Daniel could read the message; it was a message of total destruction which Daniel would escape, but Belshazzar and his minions would meet their doom. God's message was brief and to the point. "TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." (Dan. 5:27-28)
"In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom... "(Dan. 5:30-31) Death came upon the wicked king, but Daniel was spared by Darius and made a powerful man in his kingdom.
I certainly am not a prophet and cannot tell you where we are on the road to the deadline. God will not put up with the lust, immorality, perversion, drunkenness, and sin that is going on in our nation forever. He did not withhold the fury of His judgment during the flood of Noah's day. He did not put up with it in the days of Sodom.
The saddest day for Israel came when God said,
“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand." (2 Chron. 36:15-17)