The Fall of Babylon Index
God is patient with people and nations. This is clear from His dealings with Nebuchadnezzar. Yet there comes a time when God must ring down the curtain if there is no response. It happens to individuals; it happens to cities; it happens to nations. God bore long with ancient Babylon, giving revelation after revelation of Himself. Nebuchadnezzar responded, but his successors did not. Daniel 5 portrays the final night of ancient Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar is dead. Belshazzar, the successor of Nebuchadnezzar, sits upon the throne, co-regent with Nabonidus, his father. In this lesson we will observe the events surrounding the last night of Babylon. We will notice how the New Testament takes these events and applies them to what is called "modern Babylon," or "spiritual Babylon," and predicts a similar fall for it. Revelation warns that what happened 2500 years ago in ancient Babylon will be repeated in the last days.

 

The Last Night of Babylon
1. List five things that Belshazzar did that def lied the God of heaven.

Daniel 5:1 "Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand."

Daniel 5:2 "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 wives, and his concubines, might drink therein."

Daniel 5:3 "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."

Daniel 5:4 "They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone."

 

Belshazzar must have had some knowledge of the true God. Certainly he heard the stories of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity, the fiery furnace, and the great image. But although he mush have known these things, he did not acknowledge the true God.

The Bible describes all of the leaders of Babylon as participating in Belshazzar's drunken feast. While in this drunken state, Belshazzar called for the vessels which had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem. In defiance of the God of heaven the rulers of Babylon drank intoxicating liquor from them. Using the very vessels consecrated to the worship of the true God, they offered praise to the gods of gold and silver. Here we see an attempt to mix elements of the worship of the true God with the worship of pagan deities. This was the act that brought down the wrath of God and resulted in the fall of ancient Babylon.

2. In the midst of their blasphemy against God, what suddenly appeared and startled the entire assembly?

Daniel 5:5 "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the pilaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote."

Daniel 5:6 "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."

Fear enveloped the entire assembly as they saw the fingers of a man's hand suddenly appear and write a mysterious language on the wall of the king's palace. Belshazzar had every reason to shake and quake. The day of reckoning had come.
3. Who did the king call to interpret the writing? Daniel 5:7 "The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, 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.'" Belshazzar had not learned Nebuchadnezzar's lesson. He called the same group of wise men that had failed to adequately interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dreams.
4. Were the wise men able to interpret the writing? Daniel 5:8 "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." Notice the progression in the discrediting of the wise men of Babylon. In Daniel 2 they couldn't reveal the king's dream, but Daniel could. In Daniel 4 they couldn't interpret the dream, but Daniel could. Now, to their total discredit, they could not even red the writing on the wall, but we will soon see that Daniel could."
Daniel Interprets the Writing
5. Who suggested to the king that he call in Daniel? Daniel 5:10-12 "Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, 'O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: there is a man in thy kingdom, in who is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; who the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.'" For some reason the queen was not in the room when the writing appeared. She was apparently related to Nebuchadnezzar, and probably was acquainted with the true God. Perhaps she was a converted person, which would explain the reason why she was not present for the scenes of debauchery in the king's palace that night. But as soon as she heard of the terror in the ballroom, she immediately made her presence known and suggested to Belshazzar that he call in Daniel, whom she knew would be able to interpret the writing.
6. What position did Belshazzar offer to Daniel if he read and interpreted the writing? Daniel 5:13-16 "Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, 'Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: and I have heart of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: no if thou canst rad the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about they neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.'" There were already two rulers in Babylon, Nabonidus and Belshazzar. That is why Daniel would be the third ruler.
7. Before interpreting the writing, Daniel fearlessly reminds Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity because he failed to recognize and honor the God of heaven, Did Belshazzar already know this? Daniel 5:17-22 "The Daniel answered and said before the king,'Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;'" Daniel makes it very clear that Belshazzar already knew the reason fro Nebuchadnezzar's insanity and evidently was well acquainted with the true God. But in spite of all this, he had failed to humble himself and follow in the footsteps of Nebuchadnezzar.
8. What had Belshazzar done that had invoked the wrath of God? Daniel 5:23 "'But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:'" It is this defiling act of taking the vessels that were consecrated to the worship of the true God and mixing them with pagan worship that brought the wrath of God upon Belshazzar.
9. Give the meaning of the words written on the wall. Daniel 5:25-28 "'And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE,TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.'" God was announcing the fall of Babylon. That very night, October 12, 538 B.C., Babylon fell.
10.a How soon was the prophecy fulfilled? Daniel 5:30 "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain." Even while the feast was going on, the fall of Babylon had begun. The Babylonians had felt safe in their city. The River Euphrates, which ran through the city, provided a constant source of eater. The walls were impregnable. There was plenty of food stored up for a long siege. The Babylonians knew that the army of the Medes and Persians was on the outside, but they felt secure. However, Cyrus, the commander of the Medes and Persians, performed an ingenious engineering feat. He had his soldiers divert the River Euphrates. Then he marched his army through the river bed underneath the wall of the city and through the inside gates, which had been left open by the drunken Babylonians. Thus mighty Babylon fell.
10.b Who became the new ruler of Babylon? Daniel 5:31 "And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old."  
11.How does the book of Revelation describe the fall of modern Babylon at the end time?

Revelation 16:12 "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."

Revelation 16:13 "An I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."

Revelation 16:14 "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

Revelation 16:15 "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, least he walk naked, and they see his shame."

Revelation 16:16 "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

The same conditions that existed at the fall of ancient Babylon will exist again at the end time. The drying up of the ancient Rover Euphrates prepared the way for Cyrus and his armies who came from the east. Having conquered Babylon, Cyrus eventually allowed God's people to go back to Palestine from the captivity. Thus he is seen as the deliverer of God's people. Once more in the book of Revelation the Rive Euphrates is dried up. That which supports spiritual Babylon is dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east, the mighty deliverer of God's people. (This amazing prophecy will be studied in detail in Lesson 25.)
12. What happens when the kings of the east come to deliver God's people? Revelation 16: 18,19 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty as earthquake, and so great. And the city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." The same events that caused the fall of ancient Babylon will cause the fall of Babylon at the time of the end.
Characteristics of Modern Babylon
13. What does the Bible call Babylon? Revelation 17:1, 2 "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me saying unto me, 'Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with wine of her fornaication.'"

Revelation makes it very clear that there will be another Babylon at the time of the end. The Babylon spoken of in Revelation is not the same as the Babylon of Daniel's day. When Cyrus and Darius conquered Babylon it became a heap of ruins and has remained so to the present day. The Bible foretells the rise of another Babylon which will do the same to God's people as did ancient Babylon. Modern Babylon, according to the book of Revelation , is the final great oppressor of the people of God.

14. What do waters that the whore sits on represent? Revelation 17:15 "And he saith unto me, 'The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.'" The waters represent all the people over which Babylon has control. Babylon is called a "whore," or "harlot." because of her illicit relationship.
15. What is the great sin of Babylon? Revelation 17:2 "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Babylon's great sin is fornication, or adultery. Adultery is an illicit relationship. Obviously in this case it is not physical adultery, but spiritual adultery. Spiritual adultery is an illicit relationship that combines the worship of God with false worship. In Daniel 5 we saw that ancient Babylon acted defiantly against God with an illicit relationship mixing elements of the worship of god with the worship of pagan deities. Spiritual Babylon's fornication, or adultery, likewise is an illicit relationship that mixes elements of the worship of God with pagan practice. There is nothing that brings down the wrath of God more than an illicit relationship of truth and error. Babylon purports to worship God, but has mixed truth with error, paganism with Christianity. This can only invite the wrath of God.
16. What does God call this harlot who defies God by mixing paganism and Christianity? Revelation 17:5 "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

In Revelation God is warning us against an apostate system of religion that mixes paganism with Christianity and yet claims to worship God. We must be vividly aware that both Daniel and Revelation are warning us against a false religious system in the last days that will attempt to force people to worship God falsely by mixing paganism and Christianity, just as ancient Babylon defied God by mixing elements of the worship of God with the worship of pagan deities. How important it is that we be as faithful as Daniel, so that we are not corrupted by modern Babylon.

17. What message does God proclaim about modern Babylon? Revelation 18:2 "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and cage of very unclean and hateful bird.'" Just as ancient Babylon fell when it defied God by mixing the worship of God with paganism, so mighty spiritual Babylon falls whenever it mixes paganism and Christianity. When it has committed this defiling act-mixing paganism and Christianity-the Bible indicates it has become the place where devils dwell.
18. How widespread will be the influence of mighty spiritual Babylon in the last days? Revelation 18:3 "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." Babylon the great is a worldwide spiritual apostasy from truth. Her adultery is worldwide and nearly all people are deceived by her.
19. What loving message does God send to His people who are in Babylon? Revelation 18:4, 5 "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 'Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquties.'" Interestingly, God states that He has people who are still in Babylon. Just as some people in ancient Babylon were faithful to God, so today some of God's people are in modern spiritual Babylon. But God is calling His people to come out of spiritual Babylon before his final wrath is poured out upon her. Spiritual apostasy may be in the very air we breathe in the last scenes of earth's history. How important that we remain loyal and true to the Scriptures. That is our only safety from the snares of the final great apostasy. Chapter 7 of Daniel adds significant details as to the identity of this false religious system which will seek to envelop the whole world in the Last days (see Lesson 9). God clearly warns us so that we will not be deceived by the apostasy of the end time. In love, God warns those entrapped by modern spiritual Babylon to get out as soon as possible, before the final wrath of God is poured out upon Babylon.