Rembrandt lived in the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam and derived the form of Hebrew inscription for this painting of Behshazzar’s Feast from a book by his friend, the learned Rabbi and printer, Menasseh ben Israel.
Yet the famous artist mistranscribed one of the characters and arranged the letters in columns, rather than right to left, as Hebrew is written. Perhaps this was due to a Jewish tradition that the words were unintelligible to any but the prophet Daniel because the letters were written vertically by the hand of God. Other explanations have also been offered as to why the Babylonians were unable to interpret the message.
Today we are concerned that the West is failing to read the “writing on the wall.”
Yoram Ettinger, writing in “Israel Hayom,” (Israel Today), asserted with great clarity this week that the West has blindly failed to see the handwriting.
We need to know the Bible to understand the idiom about the handwriting on the wall.
In Daniel Chapter 5 is the extraordinary story of King Belshazzar’s Feast in Babylon, and the so-called “handwriting on the wall” miracle. “Reading the handwriting on the wall” has become a proverbial saying to describe imminent danger or a last warning.
Belshazzar indulged in drunken revelry, and he debased Jerusalem’s sacred temple vessels that had been captured by bringing them out of storage and brazenly using them for profane service as common wine goblets.
Suddenly, a disembodied hand began to write on the wall of the banquet room.
It was supernatural and alarming. The king was terrified.
The prophet Daniel was summoned for the interpretation.
The language of a man of God will always be diametically opposed to the language of politicians and commentators.
Daniel translated the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
And here is what these words mean:
“Mene.” The word literally means to number, or be numbered. But who has numbered? “God hath numbered.” Indeed all our days are numbered in the decrees of Heaven.
“Tekel.” To weigh, or be weighed. The interpretation, “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
“Peres.” To divide, or be divided. “Pharsin” is the plural. The interpretation: “Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Worldly spoils shall be given to whomever God pleases.
Yoram Ettinger wrote yesterday, “In 539 BCE, Babylonian King Belshazzar ignored the writing on the wall – as interpreted by the Prophet Daniel – and was, therefore, annihilated by the Persians (Book of Daniel, Chapter 5).
“In 2015, Western civilizations must read the writing on the wall, desist from ambiguity, denial and political correctness and embrace clarity, realism and political incorrectness, in order to survive and overcome the clear and present lethal threat of Islamic takeover. . . .
“When it comes to reading the writing on the wall, Western eyesight has been far from 20:20, dominated by modern day Belshazzars, ignoring modern day Prophet Daniels.”
~British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signing the Munich Pact on September 30, 1938, declaring “Peace for our time,” a “peace accord” which triggered the “war of all wars.”
~Furthermore, during 1977-79, President Carter didn’t read the writing on the wall, and supported the Ayatollah Khomeini’s battle against the Shah of Iran: “Thus, the US betrayal of the Shah eliminated a most effective and loyal strategic partner, gave rise to the most lethal, conventional and non-conventional threat to vital US interests in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and beyond and generated a robust tailwind to Islamic terrorism.”
Western democracies have refrained from reading the writing on the Palestinian wall: hate education in grades K-12; unprecedented terrorism; systematic non-compliance with agreements; naming squares, streets and tournaments after terrorists; monthly allowances for families of terrorists; responding to Israeli retreats with intensified terror.
In the West we have become a culture that does not want to admit that evil exists. The evil of our time will inevitably fall. All evil regimes do eventually. There came a day when the Nazis were defeated. Repressive Communist regimes have come and gone. Some day North Korea will be freed. Boko Haram and ISIS will have their day. But only when we recognise the urgent need to confront and defeat evil will truth triumph and prevail.
But how? Governments must take strong stands. As individuals, we must not remain silent. And from a Christian perspective, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s statement today is very helpful. He wrote, “Christian truth is not a series of statements, or a code of ethics, or a program of religious observances. Jesus is the truth. . . . There is no need to attack any other religion. There is no need to attack anybody’s way of life either in the west or east or north or south. All we need to do is simply to let them see for themselves what Jesus really is. ”
Yet Jews and Christians must of necessity be increasingly on the alert and prepared to defend our religious freedoms against the tyranny of Islam. Some believers look upon Jesus as a mere pacifist, but the Scriptures actually show that Jesus did encourage self defence. Meanwhile, the Jihad of the Sword is intrinsic to the belief system of Islam. The House of Peace (Islam) cannot live in perpetual peace with the House of War (Jews, Christians, and everyone else). The Q’uran (Koran) has not one, but many verses that command mujahidden (holy warriors) to slay the infidel. Following are examples:
“Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God’s entirely.” – 2:193 and 8:39
“O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people.” – 5:54
Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme – 8:39
It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. – 8:67
Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. – 9:2-3
When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. – 9:5
“O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.” – 9:73
Allah has purchased of their faithful lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, kill and be killed. – 9:111
“As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the Paradise He has made known to them.” – 10:4-15
“Allah has cursed the unbelievers and proposed for them a blazing hell.” – 33:60
“Unbelievers are enemies of Allah and they will roast in hell.” – 41:14
“When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens.” – 47:4
(different translation: ) When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.
Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate. – 66:9
The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. – 98:51
To verify these verses: http://quran.com/48/29, http://quran.com/