Saturday, June 25, 2016

Daniel 8

Daniel 8 is a "zoom in" of Daniel 7, focusing on two of the kingdoms that rose out of the water like beasts in the former chapter.  In this case, we have the Persian empire as the ram, and then we have Greece as the goat, the single horn as Alexander the Great, who utterly destroys the ram, but then he suddenly dies and his kingdom is divided into four.  From the horn of Syria, an arrogant, boasting horn comes forth, which is even worse than the little horn in chapter seven.  This horn is Antiochus Epiphanus, who attacked and slaughtered the Jews in Jerusalem when he reigned.  All of these things are prophesied to Daniel in a vision, interpreted by the angel Gabriel, and yet the history is there to point to some essential truths that we can apply to our Christian walks.

1) When we parallel the time of Antiochus Epiphanus with our own (with recurring periods of history, even) we see that the evil of the world will always seem to get the best of the saints. Just as the Jews were persecuted and over 40,000 of them killed, today we have great persecution of the Christian church, by thought word and deed, by the ungodly.  Churches are overrun, the word is not preached, the sacraments are defiled, even today, even by the ungodly who pretend to Christianity.  Remember from revelation, the true church is attacked on two fronts, from the unbelieving world, and from within the church by those who profess Christianity but preach falsely. (See the two beasts of Revelation 14)

2) God is in control. We can see this by verse 24: "His power shall be great--but not by his own power."  God sets up earthly kings and brings them down again, all for his own glory.  This gives us great comfort, because we know that no matter what happens to us on this earthly plane, God has the best prepared for his saints.  Also, the nature of prophecy itself is such that it demonstrates that God is in control.  Only he knows what is to come, and he reveals it to us, so we can know that he is great.  The earthly leaders who conquer have no idea what is to happen next in life, but God does.  Belshazzar had no idea that his life was expected of him when the writing appeared on the wall, but God did.  Persia had no idea it was going to be defeated by Alexander, but God knew.  Alexander didn't know that his life was going to be very short, but God knew.

3) The last verse of the chapter reveals not only how Daniel responds to all of this, but how Christ responds to his role as savior of the world, and how we are to respond as saved children of God.

a) Daniel was overcome and lay sick for some days.  The vision, even though it was going to happen to other people in the future (he was going to be dead by then), made him physically ill.  Likewise, even though we aren't directly affected by the trials of other Christians in the world, we are to be broken by their plight, as if we were living through it with them.  We don't blow the persecutions of others off because they are not happening to us.  We pray deeply for their struggles, knowing that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and God sees them as closely knit to us.  Christ wept over the death of Lazarus, even though he knew that Lazarus would live again.  He was grieved at the future fall of Jerusalem, even though he knew that the fate was inevitable, and that the Jews would be responsible for their own demise.

b) Daniel continues about the king's business, despite the horrors of the vision.  Jesus says to the Father, "not my will but thy will be done," in the garden of Gethsemane.  Both had a job to do, and they persevered through the most debilitating of struggles.  So, we, to get through the earthly struggles we undertake, don't try to overpower our surroundings, but we go about the king's business, focusing on the kingdom of God, doing the works he has given us to do, and concentrating on his glory.  As a result, we find that our spiritual decays reverse.

c) Although appalled by the vision, Daniel still doesn't understand it.  There are many mysteries of the universe that are just unattainable by our minds.  Likewise, there are mysteries of God that are withheld from us.  Even Christ does not know the hour of his return.  That is why we have faith, because it's what we have when we don't understand what is going on.  Even when we are to intellectually grasp something, faith must precede understanding, or we will never truly understand. Most of the time, faith is all we have, and when we put our full faith in the Jesus Christ of scripture, no matter what tragedies befall us in our lives, we will be spiritually safe and made eternally alive.

So, we see in Daniel, and of course Christ, qualities that keep us in the kingdom: a contrite heart for others, a dutiful passion for God's work, and a saving, penitent faith in Christ for everlasting life. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Sovereign God

In Daniel 7, Daniel dreams of four beasts; ten horns; a little, boasting horn; the Ancient of Days; and the Son of Man.  Scholars are continually trying to find out which figures in history the creatures represent.  Many have settled on the first beast being Babylon, the second Persia, the third Greece (specifically Alexander the Great), and the fourth Rome.  The horns then get debated, but the details aren't really important.  The whole number 10 probably represents a completeness of earthly rulers.  The final, boasting horn is probably meant to represent the final, worst ruler that is in place as the apocalypse happens.

More important in this vision are the details about the Ancient of Days (God) and the Son of Man (Christ).  These details are what we need to concern ourselves with, and they begin from the beginning of the vision.

Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea" (7:2). This first descriptor gives us a clue as to the absolute sovereignty of God.  We tend to put evil and good on equal footing, but good has substance, whereas evil is a shadow.  Evil needs Good to survive.  Evil may be considered the absence of good by some.  Others, like C.S. Lewis consider it a parasite that feeds on good.  Whatever the illustration you use, good is way up here, and evil is way down there.  The scariest evil is but a speck of dust to the greatest good, and God himself is the greatest good.  Nothing can stand up to him and live.  His goodness is just too great.  That's why this first descriptor about the winds of heaven stirring up the great sea is so important.  God is in control of even the chaos.  The chaos is not some rogue element that God has to figure out what to do with, as if saying to himself, "What is my plan against this?"  God allows chaos to exist.  He allows evil to come forth.  Why?  So that when he crushes it, he will get the glory.  In fact, the scarier the evil, the greater God's glory when he crushes it.

The first [beast] was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it (7:4). The focus is not to be on the lion or the eagle attributes but the verbs themselves. "Were plucked" is passive.  "Was lifted up" is passive.  "Made to stand" and "was given" complete the point.  All of these things are being done to the beast.  Who is the one doing these things?  God.  The first creature is plucked, lifted up, made to stand, and given a mind by the sovereign Lord.  When our attention turns from the beast to the one who is acting on the beast, the creature no longer seems scary.

The second beast "was raised up" on one side, and it "was told" to arise.  Once again, God is in control even of a flesh-devouring beast.  The third beast: "dominion was given to it."  If that represents Alexander, who conquered the known world at the time, and yet all of that dominion WAS GIVEN to him, what does that say about God?  Even the most powerful of men are given that power from the Almighty. The fourth beast, representing Rome, is not given passive verbs, but as we see, all the rulers in subsequent history come from that beast, up until the final boasting horn, and that is when the Ancient of Days reveals himself to the world, showing that all things concerning this fourth beast are of no consequence, no matter how "terrifying and dreadful" it is.  This fourth beast and all its horns represent "the world's kingdoms" and we can see what happens to the world in the book of Revelation.  This vision also shows us another aspect of the world's destruction.

See how calm, cool, and collected God is.  Starting at verse 9: thrones are placed, he takes his seat.  Nothing haphazardly thrown together, but calmly, peacefully assembled.  The whiteness of his garment and his hair shows his purity and goodness, and yet the fire demonstrates his power.  He has thousands upon thousands who serve him, whereas the worldly beasts all seem alone.  His is not boasting, like the final horn, but he calmly opens the books and sits in judgment.  Books are patiently written, unlike boasting words that come from our mouths flippantly or callously without thought.  One has to think before writing.  See the juxtaposition?  See how grand and beautiful our God is in comparison to the four beasts and the horns?

In an instant, the beast is destroyed and burned.  How powerful is that?  But next comes the part that we need to be the most concerned with.  This isn't a battle of good v. evil.  God wins, no problem.  This isn't an issue of "which side are you on?"  Will you choose the light side or the dark?  Like when the last Star Wars movie came out and Google created an ad asking you to choose wisely.  There is no wisdom.  There is no choice.  We are all on the dark side, and yet there is no dark SIDE.  There is only the outside.  We are outside of God's kingdom, and we cannot choose to get INSIDE.  Here is why the final part of the vision is important:

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. (7:13-14)

There is no dark side and light side.  There is only God's kingdom and the world.  If you want to call those two things the light side and dark side, you are missing the point.  Did you see how quickly the fourth beast and all the horns were wiped out?  The world is going bye-bye, like as when the flood waters came forth and deluged the whole earth in the time of Noah.  There is no contest.  The beasts are mere puppets, set up by God to be knocked down.  There's only one place we need to be, and that is in his Kingdom, because the alternative isn't just another SIDE or aspect.  It's a shadow, an illusion.  It's going to fade away.  This world is passing away, Jesus told us.  There will be nothing left.  A new heaven and a new earth will be set but INSIDE GOD'S KINGDOM.  The old stuff won't be there anymore.

Well, how do I get on board God's kingdom?  This is the obvious question that follows.  The answer is Christ.  Christ alone is given the kingdom.  You enter the kingdom through Christ.  You don't take sides.  You don't try to be a good person, thinking, "If I'm a good person, then I must be on the 'good' side."  There is no good side.  There is only God's Kingdom and everything else is a shadow, a blip outside.  When it goes away, you go too, unless you are IN CHRIST, for it is HIS kingdom.  It will never pass away (like the world) and it will never be destroyed (like the world).

Even Daniel was alarmed at this vision, because the beasts looked so violent and dreadful.  The interpreter of the dream, however, allays his fear immediately, telling him what I just told you: Don't concern yourself with the beasts.  They are going away.  "But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever" (7:18). Notice the passive verb "shall receive."  There's nothing you do to inherit this kingdom.  God actually gives it to you.  And you will possess it forever and ever.

However, Daniel is still concerned with the fourth beast, the horns, and especially the braggart horn, even though Daniel acknowledges that even though this final horn wages war against the saints, the Ancient of Days comes and immediately fixes everything in judgment, defeating the horn and giving the kingdom to the saints (see all of Revelation).  The interpreter answers with more detail, but here are the two important aspects that we need to keep in mind.

1) This last kingdom will attempt to alter reality.  This last horn "shall think to change the times and the law" (7:25).  Think of our post-modern culture, where truth is individualistic, and we can make our own reality.  We can murder millions of babies a year and deny that it is murder.  We can abuse each other and ourselves and deny that it is adultery.  We can doublespeak our way out of sticky situations and deny we are lying.  Reality is what we make it.  There is no truth.  Everything can be seen from certain "points of view."  We are changing God's laws, God's ETERNAL laws, to suit our fancies.  But we aren't really changing the laws. Just like we can't choose a dark side or light side.  Truth is solid, immovable, and we can pretend to alter it, but in the end, all of our man-made constructions are dust that blow away.  They are shadows and fade quickly.  God's truth is the only truth.  It stands forever.

2) The court shall sit in judgment (7:26).  Notice again the patience.  God SITS in judgment.  He props the beasts up, and they look terrifying, flopping around on the earth, bellowing, boasting, and raging.  See Psalm 2.  But God sits patiently and watches with amusement.  He laughs at this demonstration.  He sits, opens his books, having patiently written down the judgments that are in them.  He has all the time in the world.  Fire emanates from him and his throne, naturally.  In other words, he doesn't have to lift a finger to cause fire to come from him.  He is an all-consuming God.  He does not TRY to defeat evil.  He does not exert himself. Evil merely cannot stand in his presence.  He only allows evil AT ALL, if it will demonstrate his glory.

Let's look at Psalm 2.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Notice there is no "choose a side" in this Psalm.  The nations rage, saying, "we are the best!"  God merely laughs.  He does not ask us to choose a side.  He merely says, "I've set up my king already.  He's over here, on Zion, my holy hill."  He's the true king.  He's the only real king.  His is the only real kingdom.  All of the others are just play-acting.  In fact, I set their false kingdoms up, so that when I knock them down, it will look really cool.  You don't want to be in those false kingdoms.  There's only one real kingdom.  you want to be there, and it can only be found in Jesus Christ.  What's more: I'm totally giving you the real kingdom as a free gift. That kingdom will be yours forever and ever.  There's no choice, it just IS.

So, which kingdom are you in?  The false one or the real one?  If, like Daniel your thoughts greatly alarm you (7:28), you are in Christ's kingdom.  The ungodly do not concern themselves with these things.  They see the beasts rise and fall and think nothing of it.  It's just life.  If you can see that the earthly kingdoms are false, that God's kingdom is the only true kingdom, and that Christ is the only entrance, you are numbered among the saints.  Only those with the Holy Spirit can see the truth to the end.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Easiest Sermon Ever Written

Daniel 6:

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:47-48)
 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. (John 11:49-53)

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:1-5)

Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 18:28-32)

Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (John 19:12-16)

Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:41-42)

Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:4-7)

And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:13-15)

Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 21:12-17)

So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar

This sermon is going to compare Daniel chapter 4 to chapter 5.  Specifically, I want to look at the difference between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, and how God responds to them.  Here is Daniel chapter 5:

King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.

Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar handled God's vessels improperly.  The former king stole them from the temple in Jerusalem and put them into his own.  The latter king actually used them--defiled them.  Although these are real vessels in history, they also represent God's children.  We are called vessels in many places in the Bible.  All people are called vessels, and many are for unrighteous use, to be destroyed afterward, and many are to be used righteously, and saved.  Was Belshazzar's handling of God's vessels worse than Nebuchadnezzar's stealing them in the first place?  Both are sinful, but as we shall see, Belshazzar is an unrepentant sinner, whereas Nebuchadnezzar repents.  The desecration of God's vessels in Belshazzar's case is a last straw of an unrepentant man, whereas Nebuchadnezzar's stealing the vessels was before the gospel had been shared with him.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king's color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.

Notice that Belshazzar has no idea what to do, only to be frightened.  This is not a fear of God, but just an outright fear for himself.  Notice that knowledge of Daniel has been lost. The king doesn't know what to do or to whom to turn. He does not know God or Daniel.  Now, if we are looking for Christ in this passage, as we should look for Christ in every passage, we find that Daniel is stepping into the role of Christ in this chapter.  Indeed, when he talks with Daniel later, the prophet does not share the gospel with him.  He is standing in for Jesus, not as savior, but as judge.  Now, look at this:

The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”

The queen herself does know Daniel.  She brings Daniel to Belshazzar.  Is she saved?  We don't know, but we do know that where the king and his wise men failed to call upon the one, true God's help, she knew where to find him.

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Remember, Daniel is not stepping into the role of Christ for the purpose of saving Belshazzar, like he did Nebuchadnezzar.  Remember, Daniel had a heart for the former king.  He desired his well-being.  When the last discipline came down on the king, Daniel said that he would rather it happen to Nebuchadnezzar's enemies.  The same situation is not taking place here.  Daniel has no heart for Belshazzar.  He is not afraid.  He knows he is there to declare judgment, not salvation.  This is because Belshazzar does not know God, and God does not know him.  Nebuchadnezzar, didn't know God either, but God knew him and had declared him to be among his children from the foundation of the world.

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

Here is the crux of the judgment: not only has Belshazzar placed the last straw on the camel's back by desecrating God's sacred vessels (remember that in the book of Revelation, God's people are desecrated right before the judgment of the world), but Belshazzar KNEW his father's testimony.  Remember, from Romans 1, when judgment comes, the world will have no excuse.  They won't be able to talk their way out of death, because God has given them all the information they need to soften their hearts.  Belshazzar knew his father's story, and yet he continued on in his practice of sin without his own repentance.
“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 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.”

This is not a gospel message.  Again, this is a message of judgment.  Christ is not in the message.  He is the messenger, in Daniel.

Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Too little, too late.

That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

That very night he was destroyed.  God did not preserve his stump, as he had with Nebuchadnezzar.  This was because the former king was known by God, who had always planned his preservation and salvation, even in the midst of deep discipline.  God never knew Belshazzar, and so the judgment comes swiftly, with no chance of repentance.

Salvation is of the Lord, and yet we are responsible for ourselves. Were it not for God's grace, none of us would be saved.  Let us thank God that he has given us the grace to hear his word and keep the truth of his Christ in our hearts.