“But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription. This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin. This is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
(from Daniel 5:22–28, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Those with any religious upbringing at all will likely be familiar with this text. This King (Belshazzar) knew his father’s (Nebuchadnezzar) history with respect to lack of humility and its consequences. How could he have missed what his father had to say? “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37, NIV 1984). The text says he had not missed it — “though [he] knew all this,” he did not humble himself and went as far as to set himself up “against the Lord of Heaven.“
Today is not much different. It’s a pretty safe bet that a majority of the people in the western world are familiar with the message of Christ and the cross. By the end of the the tribulation the whole world will know. Yet many reject the message now, and many will reject it then. They will be unable to say they never knew. Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, goes as far as to say “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19–20, NIV 1984).
So the message to the world today is the same:
Mene: God has numbered our days and will someday bring it to an end. “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV 1984). No claiming they did not know (“God has made it plain”). No making excuses (“men are without excuse”). No second chances. How many opportunities were squandered in their lifetime?
Tekel: God has weighed us on His scales. Many think that on balance the good in their life will outweigh the bad. How hard could it be if a passing grade was 51%. Taken many tests like that in your life? Not hardly. That fact is 99% won’t even cut it, for “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10, NIV 1984). These are His scales not ours and apart from Christ we will all be “found wanting.” “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NIV 1984). By our own efforts we will fall short in tipping the scales. But, in Christ, all “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24, NIV 1984).
Peres: Our souls are divided (separated) from God and we are given over (condemned) to eternal damnation. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46, NIV 1984).
My Advice – “But the righteous to eternal life.” That’s the group you want to be in. You cannot earn it. It’s a gift. You cannot buy it. It’s free. But like any gift, it’s not yours until you accept it. If you have not done so, do not delay any longer. You never know when your number will come up.