Oct 27: 2Chr 24 | Dan 5 | Acts 3-4

Updated: Oct 26, 2021


Reading 1 - 2Ch 24

2Ch 24: A summary of some elements of the life of Jehoash is instructive:


  1. 2Ki 12:1,2: Reigned 40 years -- from 7 years old. Was good all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

  2. 2Ch 24:3: Jehoiada takes Jehoash two wives.

  3. 2Ch 24:15: Jehoiada the priest dies, 130 years old.

  4. 2Ch 24:17,18: false worship.

  5. 2Ch 24:19-21: ...so God sends prophets, including Jehoiada's son, whom they stoned. Jehoash did not remember the kindness of Jehoiada.

  6. 2Ki 12:17,18: Hazael (of Syria) takes Gath and comes against Jerusalem. Jehoash gives riches from temple to Hazael who departs.

  7. 2Ch 24:24: Syrians debased Judah because Jehoash forsook the Lord.

  8. 2Ch 24:25 Jehoash was diseased and was slain by his servants. He was buried in city of David, but not in the "sepulchres of the kings."

Thus we can see that, when the good influence of Jehoiada ceased. so did Jehoash's goodness.


Reading 2 - Dan 5

"It had been the great centre of the universe for over 70 years. It was home to some of the most incredible architecture seen in the world to that time; it was lined with famous streets such as the processional; great edifices dedicated to the worship of multitudes of pagan deities were everywhere to be found. It housed the beautiful summer palace, and the hanging gardens, one of the wonders of the ancient world. An enormous wall surrounded it all. This was the city of Babylon.


"No one could ever have imagined that this city would fall; and yet, the great Creator had this city and its people marked out for destruction even before it had gained the ascendancy on the world political stage.


"So confident was Belshazzar in his impregnable position behind the walls of Babylon, that the presence of Cyrus the conquering Persian outside caused him no alarm. So unperturbed was Belshazzar in fact, that he felt quite justified in organizing an enormous drunken feast! He knew not that, very soon, the writing would be on the wall.


"Cyrus found a way into Babylon. The great river Euphrates which coursed through the centre of Babylon was diverted, and the water level of the river began to sink.


"The citizens (and certainly the nobility) of Babylon did not notice what was happening to the river, but rather, kept on with their drunken revelry. They were unaware of the signs of the times. Meanwhile, Cyrus was assembling his troops to march under the wall! The writing on the wall appeared! King Belshazzer was suddenly sober! His face was deathly white: 'Mene Mene tekel upharsin!' Thou art weighed in the balances, Belshazzar, and found wanting! Your kingdom is finished, and so are you!


"Not long after, Persian troops entered into the great hall, and Belshazzar was killed. Babylon had fallen. The Great God in the heavens who sets up whomsoever He will had handed the empire to Cyrus.


"It was a black night for Babylon. The world rejoiced at the coming of their Saviour. Cyrus had kind policies, unlike the Babylonian oppressor. Many returned to their homes. A new era began.


"In our day, 'Belshazzar's feast' still rocks on. Fornication, drunkenness, blasphemy and materialism are the hallmarks of this age. The writing is on the wall! And a great king waits in the wings. The water level is sinking. When Cyrus entered Babylon, he was surrounded by his bodyguard, his elite troops. They were a band of fierce fighting men, world famous for their loyalty, skill and bravery. Cyrus called them: his Immortals!


"When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to rid this world of Babylon, as he soon will, he will have with him those appointed to aid him to do so. They will be the immortals. The Saints. Us? Yes, if we heed the lesson, read the writing on the wall, and follow the example of Daniel, remaining separate from Babylon's black night of revelry.


" 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof' (Rom 13:12-14)" (Josh Wallace).


*****


"The symbolism of the 6th and 7th vials is based upon the historical conquest of Babylon by Cyrus and his army (significantly, the elite of the Persian army was given the title of The Immortals because when one was slain in battle, his place was instantly filled by another). The River Euphrates ran under the protective walls of the city and through its centre, and its fortifications were considered to be of such strength as to defy the might of any conqueror (Dan 4:30). However, Cyrus diverted the water of the river which dried up the channel that flowed through the city, and along the dry bed his forces were led to dramatically occupy and overthrow it. The fall of Babylon was unexpected, and its citizens were engaged in 'a night of pleasure' which, however, turned into fear" (John Thomas, "Eureka").


*****


As to Belshazzar: "For a long time there were two points of view about this. Some said: 'History knows nothing of King Belshazzar... Therefore the writers of the Bible must have been writing fiction, not history.' Others said: 'Not so fast. History isn't complete yet. New facts may come to light one day that will show the Bible was right after all'... Now we can see the wisdom of the second approach. All these names appear in the history books today.


"Belshazzar is described by the Bible as the last king of Babylon, who was slain by the Persians when they captured the city. But the ancient historians Berosus, Megasthenes, and Herodotus agreed that the last king of Babylon was called Nabonidus (or something like it). No historian ever mentioned Belshazzar. Something was wrong, somewhere.


"In 1882 the explanation came to light. The archaeologist TG Pinches told the world of the discovery of what is called the Nabonidus Chronicle. This recorded on baked clay that Nabonidus had a son Bel-shar-usur (Belshazzar to his pals). Moreover, it made it clear that Nabonidus had a habit of saying to Belshazzar, 'I'm off to the wars for a while, son. Just you run the kingdom till I get back.' Nabonidus was unlucky. The clay tablets tell us that the last time he did this Belshazzar lost his kingdom for him to the Persians, just as the Book of Daniel said. The Persian conquerors arrested Nabonidus as soon as he returned home" (Alan Hayward, "God's Truth", ch 18).


*****


"At the time that Dan 5 begins, Nabonidus was with his army out in the country, either hoping to stop Persian invasion or else anxious not to get shut up in an indefensible city. So his son Belshazzar was acting king in Babylon and inclined to enjoy the opportunities that were now his! Legal documents of the 12th and 13th years of Nabonidus mention Belshazzar as crown-prince" (HA Whittaker, "Daniel").


Reading 3 - Acts 4:23,24

"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them' " (Acts 4:23,24).

The apostles saw clearly that the God of the original creation was continuing His work in a new spiritual "creation"! This was a quotation from Psa 146:6, a psalm which speaks also of prisoners being set free (Psa 146:7) and the way of the wicked being frustrated (Psa 146:9)!

 

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