“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.”
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.
That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old. Daniel 5:24-31 ESV
[Jesus said:] “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” John 5:24-25 ESV
There was once a doctor who knew the secrets of Death, and because he did he was able to prevent his patients from dying. After he had done this a couple of times, the grim old man named Death was angry, and brought him into a dark and spooky cave. Inside the cave there were thousands of burning candles. Death told the man that these candles were the life-lights of all the people on earth. Each person would live as long as his or her candle burned. The children’s candles were the tallest, and adults had medium-sized candles, while old people had very short candles. Some children and adults had very short candles, though, if they were going to die soon. The doctor asked if he could see his own life-light, and he was horrified to find that it was very short and almost burned out. Death was going to take him soon because he was angry with the doctor for cheating him.
When Daniel read the writing on the wall and told King Belshazzar what it meant, he had a similar horrifying message. God was pronouncing judgment on Belshazzar for his sins. He had been weighed and found to come up short of God’s standards, so the days of his kingdom were numbered. His kingdom would be divided between the Medes and the Persians very soon. In fact, that very night Belshazzar was killed, and a new king named Darius took the throne. God’s judgment fell swiftly after the message of doom was heard.
We were also doomed because of our sins. If our lives were weighed on the Lord’s scales, we would come up very short of God’s laws. We deserve God’s judgment for our sins, but God sent Jesus to tip the scales in our favor. Jesus died to pay for all our sins on the cross, and because of him all our sins our forgiven. We don’t have to worry about death or judgment, because we have gone from death into life. Jesus promises us that some wonderful day in the future we will come out of our graves and live forever with him in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Jesus, thank you for paying for our sins and bringing us from the judgment of sin and death to life forever with you. Amen.