Citizens of the Better Kingdom

This from a piece I wrote for Tabletalk magazine about Daniel 5:

One of the most memorable events from the book of Daniel—a book with no shortage of memorable events—is Belshazzar’s feast in chapter 5. The potency of the entire empire, its nobility, sexuality, and wealth, is on display in garish fashion—until everyone’s merriment is brought to a sudden end by a vision of a heavenly hand. Talk about awkward.

The hand appears immediately and disrupts the hapless, reckless celebration initiated by the drunken regent Belshazzar. Contrary to some interpretations, the vision seems to be literal and apparent to everyone. The image of the appendage is so disturbing that it has a physical effect on the king, causing the color to drain from his face and making his knees buckle (v. 6).

We should also notice that no one in the room can understand the message. It may be in a script that appeared illegible. Perhaps the letters are visible, but the significance of them is not. Whatever the case, no one—not the king, the lords, or even the wisest men in his kingdom—can interpret the writing (vv. 7–8).

Read the rest here.