Lesson 51

The Fall of Babylon

"So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire."
Isaiah 55:11 (New American Standard Bible)

King Nebuchadnezzar became full of pride—he had a great statue erected of himself as earth’s ruler. Then he made a law that all the people had to bow down and worship it. The penalty for those who would not kneel to the statue was to be thrown into a burning fiery furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar had been very pleased with Daniel’s three Hebrew friends for they were excellent servants in the Babylonian kingdom. He did not expect their absolute refusal to worship the statue, but they loved God and were loyal to him. The king was furious and had the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and the three Hebrews were cast into it. Even the soldiers who bound them and threw them into the furnace were killed by the extreme heat (Daniel 3:20-22).

The king and his lords were amazed when another person was seen with the Hebrews walking around in the furnace—one "like unto the Son of God." None of them was hurt or even singed! Nebuchadnezzar realized that their God was very powerful and commanded the people to worship him.

But Nebuchadnezzar was still full of pride because of his riches and power as the king of Babylon. He became insane and acted as though he were a beast. He lived with the animals in the fields and ate grass like cows. He remained that way for seven years before his reason returned.

Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, became king of Babylon. He was also full of pride and arrogance. The kingdom was very rich and there was much idleness. All these things helped to bring about the fall of Babylon.

Belshazzar had a splendid feast for a thousand of his officers, which boasted of the greatness of Babylon. But while they were eating and drinking to Bel, the god of Babylon, the fingers of a man’s hand were seen writing upon the wall of the palace in letters of fire: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin." The king asked Daniel for an interpretation and what he heard was a crushing blow to him: "God has numbered your kingdom and brought it to an end. You are weighed in the balances and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians" (Daniel 5:26-28 Lamsa).

That very night Cyrus the Mede and his army marched into Babylon through the dried-up river bed and captured the city which the Babylonians thought was too strong to ever be taken. King Belshazzar was put to death and Cyrus became king!

| next | index |