但以理书 5

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1 伯沙撒王为他的一千大臣设摆盛筵,与这一千人对面饮酒。

2 伯沙撒欢饮之间,吩咐人将他父(或译:祖;下同)尼布甲尼撒耶路撒冷殿中所掠的金银器皿拿来,王与大臣、皇后、妃嫔好用这器皿饮酒。

3 於是他们把耶路撒冷神殿库房中所掠的金器皿拿来,王和大臣、皇后、妃嫔就用这器皿饮酒。

4 他们饮酒,赞美金、银、铜、铁、木、石所造的神。

5 当时,忽有人的指头显出,在王宫与?相对的粉上写字。王看见写字的指头

6 就变了脸色,心意惊惶,腰骨好像脱节,双膝彼此相碰,

7 大声吩咐将用法术的和迦勒底人并观兆的领进来,对巴比伦的哲士,谁能读这文字,把讲解告诉我,他必身穿紫袍,项带金炼,在我国中位列第

8 於是王的一切哲士都进来,却不能读那文字,也不能把讲解告诉王。

9 伯沙撒王就甚惊惶,脸色改变,他的大臣也都惊奇。

10 太后(或译:皇后;下同)因王和他大臣所的话,就进入宴宫,:愿王万岁!你心意不要惊惶,脸面不要变色。

11 在你国中有一人,他里头有圣神的灵,你父在世的日子,这人心中光明,又有聪明智慧,好像神的智慧。你父尼布甲尼撒王,就是王的父,立他为术士、用法术的,和迦勒底人,并观兆的领袖。

12 在他里头有美好的灵性,又有知识聪明,能圆梦,释谜语,解疑惑。这人名叫但以理,尼布甲尼撒王又称他为伯提沙撒,现在可以召他来,他必解明这意思。

13 但以理就被领到王前。王问但以理:你是被掳之犹大人中的但以理麽?就是我父王从犹大掳来的麽?

14 说你里头有神的灵,心中光明,又有聪明和美好的智慧。

15 现在哲士和用法术的都领到我面前,为叫他们读这文字,把讲解告诉我,无奈他们都不能把讲解说出来。

16 说你善於讲解,能解疑惑;现在你若能读这文字,把讲解告诉我,就必身穿紫袍,项戴金炼,在我国中位列第

17 但以理在王面前回答:你的赠品可以归你自己,你的赏赐可以归给别人;我却要为王读这文字,把讲解告诉王。

18 王啊,至的神曾将国位、大权、荣耀、威严赐与你父尼布甲尼撒

19 因神所赐他的大权,各方、各国、各族的人都在他面前战兢恐惧。他可以随意生杀,随意升降。

20 但他心气傲,灵也刚愎,甚至行事狂傲,就被革去王位,夺去荣耀。

21 他被赶出离开世人,他的心变如兽心,与野驴同居,吃草如牛,身被天露滴湿,等他知道至的神在人的国中掌权,凭自己的意旨立人治国。

22 伯沙撒啊,你是他的儿子(或译:孙子),你虽知道这一切,你心仍不自卑,

23 竟向天上的主自高,使人将他殿中的器皿拿到你面前,你和大臣、皇后、妃嫔用这器皿饮酒。你又赞美那不能看、不能、无知无识、金、银、铜、铁、木、石所造的神,却没有将荣耀归与那手中有你气息,管理你一切行动的神。

24 因此从神那里显出指头来这文字。

25 的文字是:弥尼,弥尼,提客勒,乌法珥新。

26 讲解是这样:弥尼,就是神已经数算你国的年日到此完毕。

27 提客勒,就是你被称在天平里,显出你的亏欠。

28 毗勒斯(与乌法珥新同义),就是你的国分裂,归与玛代人和波斯人。

29 伯沙撒下令,人就把紫袍给但以理穿上,把金炼给他戴在颈项上,又传令使他在国中位列第

30 当夜,迦勒底王伯沙撒被杀。

31 玛代人大利乌年六十二岁,取了迦勒底国。

  
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The Feast of Belshazzar      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Belshazzar's Feast, by Rembrandt, showing the handwriting on the wall

This chapter begins with Belshazzar's feast for his friends. Belshazzar is presented in this chapter as the son of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. His name tells us something about him, for Belshazzar in the original Chaldean language means 'Bel Protect the King.' 'Bel' was a Babylonian god, so this name is about the relationship of the kingly, or ruling loves in a person, and the love of selfishness and dominion from that described by the god of the Babylonians.

Belshazzar has a similar spiritual relationship to Nebuchadnezzar as the Lord Jesus Christ had to the Father. In the case of the Lord, His human set forth the Divine, making it present for all people to see. In the case of Belshazzar, he set forth the love of selfishness, Nebuchadnezzar, for all the world to see. Belshazzar represents the external manifestation of the deepest feelings of selfishness, translated first into thoughts, then actions.

The story of Daniel is about the power of truth changing us from being self-centered to being regenerated. Each person has a Nebuchadnezzar side, and also a Daniel side. In previous chapters, we see Daniel's impact on Nebuchadnezzar. So truth impacts our lives. When we begin the process of change, we follow the order given in chapters two, three, four, and five. Truth is first an intellectual idea which, in time, affects our will. To change, we must be willing to undergo the temptations described in chapter four, but for this to happen, we need to judge our behavior. This is the feast, where actions are judged and those incompatible with conscience are cast out.

Belshazzar commanded the vessels brought so that the guests could drink from them. To drink wine from them means drawing teachings from the Word that one needs to live properly (Apocalypse Explained 376). Before our minds are clear of selfishness, we may go to the Word for guidance. But we are not looking to be lead to the good of life, but to support the selfishness within. This is not unusual with people first introduced to the truths of the Word: as they learn, they may find that the teachings seem to support some of their attitudes, rather than undermine faults. We can see this in Belshazzar's use of the vessels: he did not treat them with respect, but profaned them. Sharing the vessels with his lords, his wives, and concubines shows the various thoughts and affections still tied to selfishness which guided him.

As the king and his guests drank from the holy vessels, they showed their true allegiance: they worshiped gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, compounding their profanation. Profanation is when the sacred and profane are brought together. One cannot believe the Word is holy, and mock it at the same time. No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).

For a complete explanation of the different materials of the profane idols, see the explanation of the statue from Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2. The differences between the two rests in materials of the legs and feet, but in the internal sense, these differences disappear.

Amid this debauchery, a vision took place: the fingers of a man's hand appeared on the wall and wrote words in an unknown language. Belshazzar's fear reflects our own when it suddenly dawns on us that the activities of our life are in conflict with the very things we hold to be true. The conflict between good and evil within us is brought down to the level of our daily lives. The effect can be frightening: it is the realization of our shortcomings. Yet often, before the issues become clear, we feel a sense of unease, a feeling of dissatisfaction at the way our lives are going.

This vague feeling is Belshazzar's inability to read the words written upon the wall. They frightened him, but he did not know what they meant. Like us, he turned to the familiar, comforting voices which usually explained the unknown to him: the astrologers, the soothsayers, and the Chaldeans. These 'wise men' represent the thought patterns we have when our lives are disturbed: we look inwards to our usual justifications. Thus we blame others for our state of mind, or credit it to misfortune, without ever really going to the source of what is bothering us.

Belshazzar promised his soothsayers three distinct things:

"Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom."

The angels of the celestial heaven wear crimson clothes (Divine Love and Wisdom 380, True Christian Religion 686) as an expression of their love to the Lord. Clothing signifies knowledge (Heaven and Hell 179, Arcana Coelestia 1073, 2576, 5319, 9212, 9216, 9952, 10536) so 'clothing of purple' represents knowledges about love to the Lord. But because Belshazzar is selfishness, the knowledge he offered represents re-establishing selfish love as the ruling principle in our minds. In addition to the purple garments, he offered chains of gold. As we have seen before, gold represents goodness from the Lord. But in this case, the 'goodness' originates in selfishness. The final promise is power. The characteristic of the love of self is the lust for power. Nebuchadnezzar extended his natural kingdom across the earth, as selfishness extends its power throughout our lives.

Unsurprisingly, the 'wise men' could not read the writing on the wall. When we are unhappy because of our selfishness, no thoughts from selfishness will set us straight. If we know that what we are doing is wrong, and yet make excuses for our behavior, we will find little or no comfort in these justifications—they are a part of the problem.

So the queen suggested to Belshazzar that he call Daniel. To convince him of Daniel's worth, she uses terms that describe the quality of a conscience formed from the truths of the Word. 'The Spirit of the Holy God' is the truth from the Lord (Apocalypse Explained 183), where conscience is formed. Divine truth in the mind brings spiritual light (True Christian Religion 40) giving first understanding, and then wisdom. Conscience draws its being from the Divine truths from the Lord. The Babylonian 'wise men' all represent the various thoughts of a selfish mind. As the conscience is formed, it begins to take precedence over these thoughts, until it rules. So a person regenerating intellectually thinks from truth, but may still act from selfishness.

The queen's pleas made an impact on Belshazzar, and Daniel was brought before him. The king offered Daniel the same gifts he offered his wise men and astrologers. Daniel, of course, could not accept these, in much the same way, years before, he had been unable to accept food from Nebuchadnezzar's table. To accept the garments of purple, chains of gold, and a position of power in the kingdom was meaningless to Daniel. He was already, after all, in a position of power. Conscience does not need to be bribed: it stands firm and alone in our minds.

Daniel began his interpretation of the Writing on the Wall with a brief history of Nebuchadnezzar, as a summary of the progression of selfishness. He began with the fact that Nebuchadnezzar received his kingdom of from God. In chapter 1, we are told that 'the Lord gave Jehoiakim into his hand.' This implies that not only was the Lord responsible for the siege of Jerusalem, but for all of Nebuchadnezzar's other victories. This verse reinforces that concept: Nebuchadnezzar's success was because of the Lord.

Daniel voiced the words of judgment eloquently: Belshazzar had not humbled his heart, he had lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven. He used the vessels of the Lord's temple to worship gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, yet he does not know that the Lord holds his life in His hand.

These well-spoken words of judgment are as much an indictment on us as they were on Belshazzar. Often we know the truths of the Word, we wrestle with them in our minds, we allow them to direct our feelings, and yet we do nothing about them. Spiritual procrastination is one of life's greatest dangers. As long as we put off spiritual progress, and wallow in the comfort of selfishness, as long as we hang onto old prejudices and attitudes, and habitual thinking, we are using the Lord's Word as a way of worshiping false idols. What needs to change in us are our loves, our attitudes. As these change, our external behavior must be brought into alignment with them.

Having chastised Belshazzar, Daniel began to explain the writing on the wall. He began by stressing that the fingers that wrote 'were sent by Him,' meaning the 'Most High God' who gave Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom, majesty and glory. While Nebuchadnezzar had humbled himself before the Lord, Belshazzar had not. In the historical sense, it was important for Daniel to stress the relationship between what happened to Nebuchadnezzar and what would happen to Belshazzar.

The judgment, from the power of the Lord, lay in the words written on the wall: 'mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.' Four words in an unknown language that could only be interpreted by Daniel. Thus we see how our conscience, drawn as it is from the teachings of the Word, is the root of our resistance to evil.

Daniel begins by explaining 'mene' saying: 'God has numbered your kingdom and found it wanting.' To number means to know the quality of something. This is why Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem 'in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim,' and dreamed of the great statue 'in the second year' of his own reign.

The word 'mene' means the process of self-examination. There is no indication why the word is repeated twice; perhaps it indicates the need for an examination of acts flowing from both our will and our understanding—our actions from an inner love for them, and actions from a sense of duty.

The third word on the wall is 'Tekel,' which Daniel told Belshazzar means: 'You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.' When we examine ourselves, it is from truth: we judge how we compare to the truth. The next step is to assess our feelings. Thus 'one should be found wanting.'

Daniel interprets the final word of the four to mean 'your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.' This literally happened to Belshazzar, but in the internal sense, to divide means to disperse and expel (Apocalypse Explained 373, Arcana Coelestia 9093). This is the third stage of repentance: when a person has examined self, found one's self wanting, and is willing to change, the next step is to separate the evil from ourselves, and to expel it from our lives. It is only in this way that we can be cleansed of evil.

This is an indication of how our lives should progress: no man can serve two masters, the Lord said, we cannot serve God and mammon. We cannot serve self and be ruled by the conscience at the same time. One must increase and the other decrease. By giving Daniel these gifts in the face of the imminent end of his kingdom, Belshazzar shows us how the conscience must increase, while selfishness as the root of our evil must decrease.

Thus it happened that on that very night, Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain, and Darius the Mede received the throne, being about sixty-two years old.

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

属天的奥秘 1326

Apocalypse Explained 587, 1029

揭秘启示录 717

最后的审判 54

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 176

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

属天的奥秘 1183, 3079, 3104, 5223, 8932, 9093, 9818, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 313, 316, 364, 459, 913

Divine Love and Wisdom 383

Doctrine of the Lord 48

天堂与地狱 365

True Christian Religion 156, 754


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 183, 220, 242, 373, 376, 453

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 Belshazzar's Feast
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Belshazzar’s Feast
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Belshazzar’s Feast (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Belshazzar’s Feast (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Belshazzar’s Feast (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
Overview of a series of scripted lessons for the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. Suitable for Sunday schools, families and classrooms. Levels A, B and C provide materials for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14


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