Daniel 5:27 Index
"TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."
Research Material

BACKGROUND:

  • The fall of Babylon is of great importance to our understanding of the overall message of Daniel and Revelation. Two aspects in particular demand our attention: (1) the fall of symbolic Babylon is one of the leading themes in the book of Revelation. It is associated there with soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies strikingly parallel to prophecies about the fall of literal Babylon. (2) The perfect fulfillment of the prophecies about the fall of literal Babylon helps confirm our confidence in the prophecies about the imminent fall of symbolic Babylon. (MM 81)
  • PARALLELS:
  • Let's take a moment and glance at the "parallels" between the fall of "literal" Babylon and "symbolic" Babylon found in Isaiah 41, 46, and 47; Jeremiah 50 and 51 compared with Revelation 16, 17, 18, and 19. The following chart illustrates numerous parallels:
    • Ancient: Literal Babylon Symbolic Babylon
      1. "You who dwell by many waters."Jeremiah 51:13 1. "Seated upon many waters." Revelation 17:1
      2. "A golden cup in the Lord's hand." Jeremiah 51:7 2. Holds "a golden cup." Revelation 17:4
      3. "Babylon has fallen." Jeremiah 51:8 3. "Fallen, fallen is Babylon."Revelation 14:8
      4. "I shall be mistress forever... I shall not sit as a widow." Isaiah 47:7, 8 4. "A queen I sit. I am no widow." Revelation 18:7
      5. "Go out of the midst of her, my people." Jeremiah 51:45 5. "Come out of her, my people." Revelation 18:4
      6. At her fall "the heavens and the earth... shall sing for joy." Jeremiah 51:48 6. "At her fall, "heaven... saints and apostles and prophets" rejoice. Revelation 18:20
      7. As a stone, "shall Babylon sink, and rise no more." Jeremiah 51:59-64 7. "Like a great millstone (thrown)... into the sea... so shall Babylon... be thrown down." Revelation 18:21
      8. Ruin of Babylon "Heavens and earth... shall sing for joy." Jeremiah 51:48 8. Fall of Babylon "Rejoice over her, O Heaven." Revelation 18:20

"TEKEL..."

  • Tekel is related to a verb meaning "to weigh" and the consonantal Aramaic term may be translated "weighed." (KC 66)
  • Belshazzar was found lacking in moral worth. (4BC 805)
  • It is for the eternal interest of every one to search his own heart, and to improve every God-given faculty. Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result. We need a connection with divine power, that we may have an increase of clear light and an understanding of how to reason from cause to effect. We need to have the powers of the understanding cultivated, by our being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let each one consider carefully the solemn truth, God in heaven is true, and there is not a design, however intricate, nor a motive, however carefully hidden, that he does not clearly understand. He reads the secret devisings of every heart. Men may plan out crooked actions for the future, thinking that God does not understand; but in that great day when the books are opened, and every man is judged by the things written in the books, those actions will appear as they are.... David in the Psalms writes:
    • O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me." (Psalm 139:1-5)
    • If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” (Psalm 139:11-12)
  • The Lord sees and understands all dishonesty in planning, all unlawful appropriation in any degree of property or means, all injustice in man's dealing with his fellow men.... There are many who need now to consider the words, “Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” God's holy, everlasting, immutable law is the standard by which man is to be tried. This law defines what we shall do and what we shall not do, saying, Thou shalt, and, Thou shalt not. This law is summed up in the two great principles, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” (Luke 10:27). (The Review and Herald article "A God of Knowledge, by Whom Actions are Weighed," March 8, 1906)

"...Thou art weighed in the balances..."

  • In dealing with men God always uses a language which appeals forcibly to their understanding. This is illustrated in the handwriting on the wall. It is a common belief among idolaters that the gods weight deeds in balances, and that if the good deeds outweigh the evil, the individual enters into his reward; if the opposite result is obtained, punishment follows. The language, therefore, was familiar to King Belshazzar.... To the magicians who stood within hearing, as Daniel gave the interpretation, the words came with peculiar force because of their familiarity with religious customs. (SNH 83)
  • To the one who knows God, the attitude of the Lord toward the sinner is very different, and still the symbol of the weights and balances is applicable. That this subject might be understood, God had sent an explanation by the prophet Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 13:10-16). When a man sins and dies without repentance, he is cut off from God, because his iniquities separate between him and God, and he cannot be saved. If a man loves Christ and accepts Him and His righteousness, Christ's character is written opposite the name of that man in the books of heaven, and so long as a love of the truth is cherished, the man hides in Christ and is known by the character of Christ. God deals with men in the present. We may have been the worst of sinners, but if to-day we are hidden in Christ, heaven takes into account only our present position. (SNH 83)
  • So it was that God dealt with the nations, and this answers the question why Nebuchadnezzar might one day be in favor with God and the next day be in condemnation; why Zedekiah's course of action was condemned once, and then again he was told that it lay in his power to save Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 18:7-10). (SNH 83-84)
  • God is represented as weighing all men, their words, their deeds, their motives, that which determines character. “The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3). “Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity” (Psalms 62:9). “Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just” (Isaiah 26:7). “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits” (Proverbs 16:2). Important lessons are suggested to us in these scriptures. There is not a thought or motive in the heart that God is not acquainted with. He sees all as clearly as if it stood out registered in living characters, and He weighs individual motives and actions. (TM 438)
  • One who is unerring in judgment, who understands the weakness of our fallen, corrupt natures, holds the standard Himself. He weighs in the balances of the sanctuary, and His just measure we shall all accept. (2T 439)
  • God judges every man according to his work. Not only does he judge, but he sums up, day by day and hour by hour, our progress in well-doing. Should not this constrain us no longer to be children, but men, who are learning of Christ? Shall we not create such an atmosphere about our souls, through the grace given us by Christ, that we shall constantly advance heavenward? As the people of God, shall we not unite in seeking him with humble and contrite hearts? The Lord said to Jacob, “Let me go, for the day breaketh” (Genesis 32:26). But Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). And there and then he was blessed. “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel,” God declared; “for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:28). Even so will God's children be blessed if they wrestle with him for his Spirit. (The Review and Herald article "Not by Might, Nor by Power," May 16, 1899)
  • Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. (GC 482)
  • I have seen an angel standing with scales in his hands weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God, especially the young. In one scale were the thoughts and interest tending heavenward; in the other were the thoughts and interest tending to earth. And in this scale were thrown all the reading of storybooks, thoughts of dress and show, vanity, pride, etc. Oh, what a solemn moment! the angels of God standing with scales, weighing the thoughts of His professed children—those who claim to be dead to the world and alive to God. The scale filled with thoughts of earth, vanity, and pride quickly went down, notwithstanding weight after weight rolled from the scale. The one with the thoughts and interest tending to heaven went quickly up as the other went down, and oh, how light it was! I can relate this as I saw it; but never can I give the solemn and vivid impression stamped upon my mind, as I saw the angel with the scales weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God. Said the angel: “Can such enter heaven? No, no, never. Tell them the hope they now possess is vain, and unless they speedily repent, and obtain salvation, they must perish.” (1T 124-125)
  • Has your character been transformed? Has darkness been exchanged for light, the love of sin for the love of purity and holiness? Have you been converted, who are engaged in teaching the truth to others? Has there been in you a thorough, radical change? Have you woven Christ into your character? You need not be in uncertainty in this matter. Has the Sun of Righteousness risen and been shining in your soul? If so, you know it; and if you do not know whether you are converted or not, never preach another discourse from the pulpit until you do. How can you lead souls to the fountain of life of which you have not drunk yourself? Are you a sham, or are you really a son of God? Are you serving God, or are you serving idols? Are you transformed by the Spirit of God, or are you yet dead in your trespasses and sins? To be sons of God means more than many dream of, because they have not been converted. Men are weighed in the balance and found wanting when they are living in the practice of any known sin. It is the privilege of every son of God to be a true Christian moment by moment; then he has all heaven enlisted on his side. He has Christ abiding in his heart by faith. (TM 440-441)
  • Christian physicians need to pray—to watch unto prayer. Before them is opened a door for many temptations, and they need to be awakened to a lively sense that there is a Watcher by their side, as surely as there was a Watcher at that sacrilegious feast of Belshazzar, when men praised the gods of silver and gold and drank from the sacred vessels of the temple of God. When men take honor to themselves, they are dishonoring God.
    • Whenever one by any action leads men to be forgetful of God, or to neglect the plain injunctions of His word, the unseen Witness testifies, as in the writing on the walls of the palace, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (MM 151)
  • Here many who profess to be Christians will not bear the measurement of God; when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, they will be found wanting. Dear brother, “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17), and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). What a promise is this! But we are not to lose sight of the fact that it is based upon obedience to the command. God calls you to separate from the world. You are not to follow their practices, nor conform to them in your course of action in any respect. “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).
    • God calls for separation from the world. Will you obey? Will you come out from among them, and remain separate and distinct from them? “For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). You cannot mingle with worldlings, and partake of their spirit, and follow their example, and be at the same time a child of God. The Creator of the universe addresses you as an affectionate Father. If you separate from the world in your affections, and remain free from its contamination, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust, God will be your Father, He will adopt you into His family, and you will be His heir. In place of the world, He will give you, for a life of obedience, the kingdom under the whole heavens. He will give you an eternal weight of glory and a life that is as enduring as eternity. (2T 43-44)
  • Warnings and reproofs are not given to the erring among Seventh-day Adventists because their lives are more blameworthy than are the lives of professed Christians of the nominal churches, nor because their example or their acts are worse than those of the Adventists who will not yield obedience to the claims of God's law, but because they have great light, and have by their profession taken their position as God's special, chosen people, having the law of God written in their hearts. They signify their loyalty to the God of heaven by yielding obedience to the laws of His government. They are God's representatives upon the earth. Any sin in them separates them from God and, in a special manner, dishonors His name by giving the enemies of His holy law occasion to reproach His cause and His people, whom He has called “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9), that they should show forth the praises of Him that hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.
    • The people who are at war with the law of the great Jehovah, who consider it a special virtue to talk, write, and act the most bitter and hateful things to show their contempt of that law, may make exalted profession of love to God, and apparently have much religious zeal, as did the Jewish chief priests and elders; yet, in the day of God, “Found wanting” will be said of them by the Majesty of heaven. “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The mirror which would discover to them the defects in their characters, they are infuriated against, because it points out their sins. Leading Adventists who have rejected the light are fired with madness against God's holy law, as the Jewish nation were against the Son of God. They are in a terrible deception, deceiving others and being deceived themselves. They will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved. Such will not be taught. But the Lord reproves and corrects the people who profess to keep His law. He points out their sins and lays open their iniquity because He wishes to separate all sin and wickedness from them, that they may perfect holiness in His fear and be prepared to die in the Lord or to be translated to heaven. God rebukes, reproves, and corrects them, that they may be refined, sanctified, elevated, and finally exalted to His own throne. (2T 452-453)

"...found wanting."

  • These fearful words of doom, addressed to the profligate king of Babylon, condemn all who, like Belshazzar, neglect their God-given opportunities. In the investigative judgment now in progress men are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary to see whether their moral character and spiritual state correspond with the benefits and blessings God has conferred upon them. There is no appeal from the decisions of that court. In view of the solemnity of the hour, all must watch lest the decisive moment that forever fixes everyman's destiny finds them unprepared and "wanting." (4BC 805)
  • God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him. God has bestowed upon us great and precious gifts. He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected. (3T 370)
  • Are we Christians in deed and in truth? or are we such in name only? Christians are those who are growing up into a holy temple in the Lord. But “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16).This represents a constant growth in Christian character, growth in spiritual - mindedness. The church of Christ in the world is to be a great power, and a name and praise in all the earth. Jesus has done everything to accomplish this. Now there is need of earnest, deep, sincere efforts to redeem the past unfaithfulness. Time, precious time, has been lost in wanderings and backslidings from God. Every character is to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary; if the moral character and spiritual advancement do not correspond with the opportunities and blessings, “wanting” is written against the name. (The Review and Herald article "Recount God's Dealings," March 19, 1895)
  • Weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Man, weighed against God's holy law, is found wanting. We are enlightened by the precepts of the law, but no man can by them be justified. Weighed and found wanting is our inscription by nature. But Christ is our Mediator, and accepting him as our Saviour, we may claim the promise, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1). (The Review and Herald article "A God of Knowledge, by Whom Actions Are Weighed," March 8, 1906)
  • I saw that many would have to learn what it is to be a Christian—that it is not in name; but it is having the mind of Christ, submitting to the will of God in all things. Especially will the young who have never known what privations or hardships are, who have a set will, and do not bend that will to the glory of God, have a great work to do. They go along very smoothly until their will is crossed, and then they have no control over themselves. They have not the will of God before them. They do not study how they can best glorify God, or advance His cause, or do good to others. But it is self, self, how can it be gratified? Such religion is not worth a straw. Those who possess it will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. (1T 152)
  • When Christ gave the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, there were many in the Jewish nation in the pitiable condition of the rich man, using the Lord's goods for selfish gratification, preparing themselves to hear the sentence, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (Daniel 5:27). The rich man was favored with every temporal and spiritual blessing, but he refused to cooperate with God in the use of these blessings. Thus it was with the Jewish nation. The Lord had made the Jews the depositaries of sacred truth. He had appointed them stewards of His grace. He had given them every spiritual and temporal advantage, and He called upon them to impart these blessings. Special instruction had been given them in regard to their treatment of their brethren who had fallen into decay, of the stranger within their gates, and of the poor among them. They were not to seek to gain everything for their own advantage, but were to remember those in need and share with them. And God promised to bless them in accordance with their deeds of love and mercy. But like the rich man, they put forth no helping hand to relieve the temporal or spiritual necessities of suffering humanity. Filled with pride, they regarded themselves as the chosen and favored people of God; yet they did not serve or worship God. They put their dependence in the fact that they were children of Abraham. “We be Abraham's seed,” they said proudly. (John 8:33). When the crisis came, it was revealed that they had divorced themselves from God, and had placed their trust in Abraham, as if he were God. (COL 267-268)
  • The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state—men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the Flood, after Noah entered the ark, God shut him in and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. “So,” says the Saviour, “shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:39). Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man's destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy's offer to guilty men.
    • Watch ye therefore: ... lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.” (Mark 13:35, 36). Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments—it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (Daniel 5:27). (GC 491)
  • I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus’ work was done in the sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgments of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, “Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” I asked who this company were. The angel said, “These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.” I heard them cry with a loud voice, “We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.” And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. (EW 36-37)
  • When you stand before the great white throne, then your work will appear as it is. The books are opened, the record of every life made known. Many in that vast company are unprepared for the revelations made. Upon the ears of some the words will fall with startling distinctness, “Weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” To many parents the Judge will say in that day, “You had My Word, plainly setting forth your duty. Why have you not obeyed its teachings? Knew ye not that it was the voice of God? Did I not bid you search the Scriptures, that you might not go astray? You have not only ruined your own souls, but by your pretensions to godliness you have misled many others. You have no part with Me. Depart; depart.”
    • Another class stand pale and trembling, trusting in Christ, and yet oppressed with a sense of their own unworthiness. They hear with tears of joy and gratitude the Master's commendation. The days of incessant toil, of burden bearing, and of fear and anguish are forgotten as that voice, sweeter than the music of angel harps, pronounces the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant... enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:23). There stand the host of the redeemed, the palm branch of victory in their hand, the crown upon their head. These are the ones who by faithful, earnest labor have obtained a fitness for heaven. The lifework performed on earth is acknowledged in the heavenly courts as a work well done. (CG 568-569)
  • Those who are unfaithful to the work of God are lacking in principle; their motives are not of a character to lead them to choose the right under all circumstances. The servants of God are to feel at all times that they are under the eye of their employer. He who watched the sacrilegious feast of Belshazzar is present in all our institutions, in the counting-room of the merchant, in the private workshop; and the bloodless hand is as surely recording your neglect as it recorded the awful judgment of the blasphemous king. Belshazzar's condemnation was written in words of fire, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”; and if you fail to fulfill your God-given obligations your condemnation will be the same. (MYP 229)
  • He who feels that it is of no consequence how he performs the smaller tasks proves himself unfit for a more honored position. He may think himself fully competent to take up the larger duties; but God looks deeper than the surface. After test and trial, there is written against him the sentence, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” His unfaithfulness reacts upon himself. He fails of gaining the grace, the power, the force of character, which is received through unreserved surrender.
    • Because they are not connected with some directly religious work, many feel that their lives are useless, that they are doing nothing for the advancement of God's kingdom. If they could do some great thing how gladly they would undertake it! But because they can serve only in little things, they think themselves justified in doing nothing. In this they err. A man may be in the active service of God while engaged in the ordinary, everyday duties—while felling trees, clearing the ground, or following the plow. The mother who trains her children for Christ is as truly working for God as is the minister in the pulpit. (PK 218-219)
  • All who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin, and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged in by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another.... Every one must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
    • Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above.... In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review....
    • When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven.... Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure-lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,—it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence, “Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting” (Daniel 5:27).
    • Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man's destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy's offer to guilty men. “Watch ye therefore (Luke 21:36)... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (Mark 13:36). (The Review and Herald article "Lessons From the Life of Solomon - No.9," November 9, 1905)