Whom he would he slew - The genuine character of a despot, whose will is the only rule of his conduct.
Belshazzar, while engaged in his sacrilegious feast, was not aware that he had guests he had not invited. The God of heaven heard the praises bestowed upon vessels of gold and silver. He saw the desecration of that which had been dedicated to Him by holy consecration applied to profane and licentious purposes. It is a truth which should make every one of us weep, that those living in these last days, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are far more guilty than was Belshazzar. This is possible in many ways. When men have taken upon themselves the vows of consecration, to devote all their powers to the sacred service of God; when they occupy the position of expositors of Bible truth, and have received the solemn charge; when God and angels are summoned as witnesses to the solemn dedication of soul, body, and spirit to God's service—then shall these men who minister in a most holy office desecrate their God-given powers to unholy purposes? Shall the sacred vessel, whom God is to use for a high and holy work, be dragged from its lofty, controlling sphere to administer to debasing lust? Is not this idol worship of the most degrading kind?—the lips uttering praises and adoring a sinful human being, pouring forth expressions of ravishing tenderness and adulation which belong alone to God—the powers given to God in solemn consecration administering to a harlot; for any woman who will allow the addresses of another man than her husband, who will listen to his advances, and whose ears will be pleased with the outpouring of lavish words of affection, of adoration, of endearment, is an adulteress and a harlot. TM 434.1
No misfortune is so great as to become the worshiper of a false god. No man is in such miserable darkness as he who has lost his way to heaven. It seems that an infatuation is upon him, for he has a false god. To turn this worship of the human, fallen, corrupt beings of earth to the only true object of worship seems a hopeless task. There are in our time continual repetitions of Belshazzar's feast and Belshazzar's worship; and Belshazzar's sin is repeated when the heart, which God requires to be given to Him in pure and holy devotion, is turned away from Him to worship a human being, and the lips are made to utter words of praise and adoration which belong alone to the Lord God of heaven. When the affections God claims to cluster about Him are made to center upon earthly objects,—a woman, a man, or any earthly things,—God is superseded by the object which enchains the senses and affections, and the powers which were solemnly dedicated to God are bestowed upon a human being who is defiled with sin. Men and women who once bore the image of God, but are lost by disobedience and sin, He means to restore again through their becoming partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. And when men and women devote their God-given powers to unholy purposes, to minister to lust, God is dishonored, and the actors are ruined. TM 435.1Read in context »
At Belshazzar's Feast—Little did Belshazzar think on that night of that sacrilegious feast that there was a messenger from heaven watching his every movement; and that night the performance in that palace brought the figures of his evil works to their full measure. He was no longer to be protected and shielded by God. The restraining power was no longer to ward off the evil; he was to fall, his kingdom was to pass into other hands, and his body was to be slain. TSB 139.3Read in context »
The Saviour bids us: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). 2SM 135.1
Many are laying up their treasure in these secret societies, and can we not see that their heart is there? However powerful may be the evidences of truth, little by little it loses its brightness, loses its force, heaven fades from the mind, the eternal weight of glory, the gift of God for a life of obedience, appears a matter unworthy of notice in comparison with the supposed benefits to be realized in laying up earthly treasure. Souls are starving for the bread and water of life; but what is that to him whose heart is set on this world? Many a man is saying by his actions, if not in words, “I cannot let go my interest in these earthly treasures, to secure that which is eternal. The life to come is too remote for me to count upon. I choose the earthly goods, and I will run the risk of the future. God is good and merciful.” Slothful servant! your portion is just as surely appointed with hypocrites and unbelievers as you continue to pursue this course. The fascination of the club room, the suppers, and the world-loving associates, has led, as did Belshazzar's feast, to forgetfulness of God and dishonoring of His name. 2SM 135.2Read in context »
In these societies what are the favorite subjects of conversation? What are the themes that excite interest and give pleasure? Are they not the gratification of the senses—eating and drinking and pleasure seeking? The presence of Christ is unknown in these gatherings. No reference is made to Him. His companionship is not desired. Where and when is God honored by such associations? Wherein is the soul in the least benefited? If you do not influence your companions for good, are they not influencing you for evil? Will it do to lay aside the lamp of life, God's Word, and mingle freely with this class of associates, and come to their level? Do you think you can find something to satisfy the hunger of the soul apart from truth and the favor of God? Shall those who profess to believe the truth for this time be at home in such scenes, when God is not in all their thoughts? 2SM 126.1
In the same room where these societies have had their gatherings, the congregations have met to worship God. Can you during the sacred hour of divine service forget the scenes of merriment and feasting, and indulgence in the wine cup? All this God writes in His book as intemperance. How does it blend with eternal realities? Do you forget that at all these pleasure gatherings there is a Witness present, as at the feast of Belshazzar? Could the curtain that separates us from the invisible world be rolled back, you would behold the Saviour grieved to see men absorbed in the pleasures of the table, in hilarity and witticism, that put Christ, the center of the world's hope, out of their thoughts. 2SM 126.2
Those who cannot discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not, may be charmed with these societies that have no connection with God, but no earnest Christian can prosper in such an atmosphere. The vital air of heaven is not there. His soul is barren, and he feels as destitute of the refreshing of the Holy Spirit as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. 2SM 126.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on Daniel 5.
Toward the close of Daniel's life great changes were taking place in the land to which, over threescore years before, he and his Hebrew companions had been carried captive. Nebuchadnezzar, “the terrible of the nations” (Ezekiel 28:7), had died, and Babylon, “the praise of the whole earth” (Jeremiah 51:41), had passed under the unwise rule of his successors, and gradual but sure dissolution was resulting. PK 522.1Read in context »
Indulgence Robs Brain of Its Power—The same Witness that recorded the profanity of Belshazzar is present with us wherever we go. Young man, young woman, you may not realize that God is looking upon you; you may feel that you are at liberty to act out the impulses of the natural heart, that you may indulge in lightness and trifling, but for all these things you must give an account. As you sow, you will reap, and if you are taking the foundation from your house, robbing your brain of its nutriment and your nerves of their power by dissipation and indulgence of appetite and passion, you will have an account to render to Him who says, “I know thy works.”—The Review and Herald, March 29, 1892. 1MCP 316.1Read in context »