Spiritual Training

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August 29 - Evening

"King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem…
... Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote …The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners…but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant…The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall…she said.
‘Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.
He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.’ ”

- Daniel 5:1-2, 5, 7-8, 10-12

Belshazzar's Final Party

Belshazzar is not recorded in history. Herodotus (400's BC) and Xenophon (300's BC) knew nothing of Belshazzar. If the book of Daniel had been written in the 200's BC then Nabonidus would be recorded as the last king instead of Belshazzar. Multiple sources in archaeology have now confirmed Belshazzar's existence and his position as king of Babylon along with his father. So, Daniel’s written account that we have today was written by an eyewitness of these events.

"Great Banquet" - Persian kings are recorded as entertaining 15,000, Alexander had 10,000 guests at a wedding, Xerxes had a large gathering from his empire for 180 days (6 months). Both Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon write about this same party the night Babylon fell.

The date is October 12, 539 BC according to the "Nabonidus Chronicle.” This Nabonidus Chronicle (Details 1, 2. Photo 1, 2) records the Babylonians had suffered a major defeat a few days before this party of October 12, 539 BC. One of the statements says, “The king (Nabonidus) was in Tema; the king’s son (Belshazzar), courtiers and army were in Babylonia.” The Nabonidus Cylinder also records King Nabonidus in these words: “Belshazzar the firstborn son, the offspring of my heart.”

The reason for the feast appears to be an annual celebration of the Babylonians/Chaldeans. While Belshezzar used this event to boost morale, the Persians took advantage of the opportunity to enter a city distracted by the celebration of a holiday. The city was protected by water which gave them a vast supply. Heroditus says they had enough stored food to last for several years.

Belshazzar’s command "to bring the gold . . . .from the temple in Jerusalem" would have been taboo in this culture because it violated holy things from another religion. Belshazzar was drunk.

The women were present and were being encouraged to drink. The holy vessels were used to toast the pagan gods. The king was showing his superiority over the gods (which included YHWH) whom Babylon had conquered.

Belshazzar may have been mocking:
            a. Daniel's prophecy of Babylon's fall to Persia in 8:1-4 and 8:15-20
            b. Isaiah prophecy of Cyrus' coming in Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1

The word translated "hand" refers to the palm of the hand. The wall was "plaster" made of chalk or lime. Excavations of the throne room in 1899 revealed that the walls were washed over with white gypsum. This banquet room has possibly been located and excavated.

Mene - Numbered - Belshazzar's evil life and rule would soon be over

Tekel - Weighed - "wanting" or "lacking, deficient" in moral worth

Parsin - Divided - his kingdom would be divided into pieces or destroyed, dissolved

Herodotus and Xenophon tell us that the two sets of double walls extending for 17 miles and 40 feet high, but the water was diverted into a swamp and the soldiers waded through the river under the walls. The ancient historians also record that Gobryas, Cyrus' commander, led soldiers into the palace where they found the king (Belshazzar) holding a dagger to kill himself. The king and attendants were overpowered and killed. King Nabonidus was later captured and deported.
Phulake (Gr) – prison (Eng) – the Greek word phulake is translated as “prison” or “Imprisonment.” Phulake is used in these verses:
Matthew 14:10
Acts 5:19
2 Corinthians 11:23
Hebrews 11:36
Revelation 2:10
Revelation 20:7
I will be a honest friend, faithful citizen and a helpful neighbor.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

Nehemiah 4 (445 BC)




Experience God's presense

Crushed pavement along the Western Wall. The falling stones from the Temple Mount above in the 70 AD broke through this pavement that covers a gutter below. The curb of the street and the shops along the street can be seen in the top left corner. (More details and photos of the street and of the 70 AD destruction.)
Details of Monday of Jesus' Last Week on a map of Jerusalem of 30 AD. (More teaching.)

Someone to Quote

“Carnal weapons such as tradition, philosophy, mysticism, ritual and entertainment will not penetrate the fortress of false reality barricading the human soul.” - Galyn Wiemers

Something to Ponder

These are some of the issues mentioned in Scripture that require church involvement:

1. Sinning against another member of the church
(Matthew 18:15-20)

2. Divisiveness
(Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10)

3. Open sexual immorality
(1 Corinthians 5:1-13)

4. Teaching false doctrine
(Romans 16:17; Galatians 1:8, 9; 2:11-14; 1 Timothy 1:20; 6:3-5; 2 John 9-11; Revelation 2:14-16)

Here’s a Fact

The Gold of Ophir is not only mentioned in the Bible (Isaiah 13:12), but a Philistine inscription from Tell Qasil (modern Tel Aviv) records the following: “Gold of Ophir, for Beth-Horon, 30 shekels.”
(1, 2, 3)


"When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall."
- Proverbs 29:16

Coach’s Corner

The greatest miracle is salvation. The godliest spiritual manifestation is the transformed soul.

Nehemiah 4 New International Version (NIV)
Opposition to the Rebuilding
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Ezekiel 11-12New International Version (NIV)
God’s Sure Judgment on Jerusalem
11 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.”
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: “This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead.
“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. 10 You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 11 This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. 12 And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.”
13 Now as I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell facedown and cried out in a loud voice, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?”
The Promise of Israel’s Return
14 The word of the Lord came to me: 15 “Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’
16 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’
17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’
18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
22 Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. 24 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God.
Then the vision I had seen went up from me,
25 and I told the exiles everything the Lord had shown me.
The Exile Symbolized
12 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
“Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people. During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the Israelites.”
So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’
10 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’ 11 Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’
“As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.
12 “The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land. 13 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die. 14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.
15 “They will know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water. 19 Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there. 20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
There Will Be No Delay
21 The word of the Lord came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? 23 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled. 24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. 25 But I the Lord will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
26 The word of the Lord came to me: 27 “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’
28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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