Daniel Chapter 5 begins with the name Belshazzar:
1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
Critics found a case against the mention of this name. It was in 1850 when a German scholar by the name Ferdinand Hitzig confidently argued that the name appeared nowhere in secular history and therefore was a figment of the writer’s imagination; whilst the Bible shows Belshazzar as the last king of Babylon, all known ancient historical records showed Nabonidus! Now, if the Bible is truly inspired as it claims – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:16) – then here its integrity was at great stake! However, it was merely after four years when a rebuttal came, not from theologians but elsewhere quite unexpected.
The stones cry out
The book of Daniel has been a marvel. Critics have wondered how its prophecies could be so precise and accurate as though the seer was actually reporting what had already fulfilled. To the so-called rational mind, the supernatural doesn’t exist and so there had to be a trick at play around what we know as prophecies. At least that’s what the materialist or atheist would presume.
The beginning of attacks on the book of Daniel can be found in that famous Roman philosopher, Porphyry. He lived from around 234 to 305 AD. During that time there was a fierce persecution against Christians by Romans. The Christians held to the book of Daniel for their consolation, believing that the Roman Empire was the fulfilment of Daniel’s vision of the fourth empire which persecuted the saints but would ultimately be destroyed by God. Looking at how the prophecies for the previous three empires had accurately fulfilled, these believers had a good reason to hope in what the book foretold further. However, Porphyry rose to denounce the book as a forgery.
Porphyry’s criticisms are found in his work titled, Against the Christians, where he explained that the book of Daniel must have been written at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucid dynasty. At the time of Antiochus three of the four foretold empires had already fulfilled. Thus, when Daniel prophesies, with astounding precision, the rise and demise of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece, he is actually describing what already occurred in history.
Porphyry had also attacked various narratives and doctrinal aspects and interpretations of Scripture. For example, he picked on Genesis and argued:
The world, according to Moses, was created at a certain time, and has from its commencement existed from a period far short of ten thousand years. The world, however, is without a beginning, in consequence of which there have been from all eternity, many configurations…
But just as modern science has revealed that the Universe did have a beginning, so archaeology has disapproved assertions raised against the book of Daniel. We will deal with the other issues raised by Porphyry in latter chapters but for now let us look at the case against the name “Belshazzar.” The criticism of Hitzig, strong and loud as it was, was silenced by writings on a Babylonian clay tablet which was unearthed in 1854 in the ancient city of Babylon, Ur, which is in southern Iraq today. The words written on the stone are a prayer of King Nabonidus for his son Belshazzar. Thus, the discovered clay tablet was named Nabonidus Cylinder. It has been put in the British Museum.
The Nabonidus Cylinder on display in the British Museum
Part of the words on the cylinder read:
As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a lifelong of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son – my offspring – instil reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude.
Well, just like the Lord had one time said, if people be quiet, the stones will cry out – “if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luk.19:40), and indeed, great was the cry of the Nabonidus Cylinder, declaring the existence of the name Belshazzar! One important thing the event teaches us is this: there are so many other things that could be silent before the eyes and ears of a critic but that doesn’t mean the “things” don’t exist. Even so, no matter how loud an evidence can proclaim itself, if an ear is set to hear what it wants to hear, it won’t hear. Likewise, no matter how much visible, if an eye doesn’t want to see it won’t see! This is exactly what happened after the discovery of the Nabonidus Cylinder: critics contrived rebuttals, quite ridiculous rebuttals which clearly only served to save face.
After the discovery of the Nabonidus cylinder, a British scientist, inventor and photography pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot, argued that the name Belshazzar on the cylinder proved nothing. According to Talbot, the Belshazzar mentioned on the cylinder was likely just a child and not a king as stated by Daniel. Interestingly however, more stones discovered in Iraq revealed that Belshazzar was actually a coregent king at a time when Nabonidus had gone away from Babylon for some time. Would the critic now concede with all these evidences? Not so. Some critics argued further that the clay cylinders stated that Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, and not Nebuchadnezzar as the record of Daniel shows. Strangely, as though history and the stones were conspiring against the critics it turned out that Nabonidus actually married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, and his son Belshazzar was thus a grandson to Nebuchadnezzar! Another important to be aware of here is that Aramaic and Hebrew languages do not have the words “grandson” or “grandfather” and hence the reason why Daniel wrote Belshazzar as a son (instead of grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar.
Testimony of other Scriptures
It is interesting to note the ridiculous inconsistency of critics who accept other books of the Bible to be authentic historical records and yet reject the book of Daniel which is acknowledged by the writers of those accepted books! For example the book of Ezekiel and the Gospels are accepted to be genuine historical records. These books of the Bible speak about the prophet Daniel. So, how can we denounce the book of Daniel as a forgery and yet accept the books which accept him as authentic? Furthermore, it is very important to know that when Ezekiel wrote about Daniel he was not referring to an ancient historical figure but a man who was his contemporary. Ezekiel and Daniel lived about the same time!
Let us now look at Ezekiel’s words on Daniel.
“Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Eze.14:14, 20). An argument against this verse alleges that “Noah” and “Job” were ancient historical figures which could not be placed in the same time context with Daniel, a relatively recent figure! This is a worst case of straw men. It should be clearly seen that the subject of the verse is not about when the men lived but about their life of righteousness which could not be emulated by the people living in Jerusalem. This matter (of the Daniel mentioned by Ezekiel being the usual Biblical one) is immediately settled elsewhere in Ezekiel when he prophesied about a King of Tyre saying to him, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee” (Eze.28:3). This is clearly Daniel the prophet who is repeatedly said to have been wise and able to interpret secrets in Scripture! (Read Dan.1:17, 2:47, 5:12).
Another important historical reference about the authenticity of Daniel comes from the Gospel of Matthew, a well-respected historical record. Matthew writes about what Jesus said about Daniel: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Mat.24:15). Here we see the Lord Jesus Christ not only acknowledging the existence of Daniel but reaffirming his prophecies.
Belshazzar desecrates vessels of God’s temple
During the time of Jehoiachin king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. He “carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD” (2 Kin.24:13). Jeremiah had prophesied, “gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple” (Jer.51:11).
Nebuchadnezzar had kept the vessels of the temple aside in the treasure house of his god. With time he learnt to revere the God of the Jews. It was not so with Belshazzar. He despised Yahweh and desecrated the vessels of His temple. By this act He provoked God to take vengeance over his temple as had been prophesied by Jeremiah.
It all began when Belshazzar became drunk with that thing which is not meant for kings – “It is not for kings…it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and …pervert the judgment” (Pro.31:4). In his drunken stupor he ordered for the golden and silver vessels of the Jewish temple to be brought out so that together with his wives and concubines he could drink in them.
2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
An important thing to observe here is that although the children of Israel had been in the wrong and God punished them by bringing them into the hands of the Babylonians, that didn’t give the right to the Babylonians to abuse them or to misuse their temple vessels. There is an important lesson here: when someone is being chastised by God for a wrong they committed, it is not our portion to take pleasure in their chastisement. Like the Scripture says, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him” (Pro.24:17-18). As for Belshazzar, he not only despised the Jews; he went further to desecrate the vessels of their temple, and it was that incident that brought judgement on him.
Sitting on the throne, every man revered him as a king. But then he glimpsed into the supernatural and his heart could not hold itself as his body vigorously shivered. Despite having all the great protection of his body guards, the simple experience made the king feel as vulnerable as any other mortal. He saw fingers of a man’s hand writing something on the wall!
5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Note that the fingers did not just write anywhere, but…
Over against the Candlestick
Where there is a flame of a “candlestick” there is light to illuminate, and being written on the “plaster of the wall” words should be visible enough to be read and understood. However, it was not so with Belshazzar. He could not understand the strange language of the writing. Even so, the strange appearance of the hand terrified the king and he became aware that the writing carried a message which he urgently needed to know. It had to take a spiritual man to interpret the message to him. Isn’t this what has happened to humanity today: so much has gone wrong morally, politically, socially, and climate-wise. Scientists are presenting a terrifying picture of the future of the planet Earth due to the destructive works of mankind. This, with the ever unstable political situations of the world, has made people become fearful and anxious, but yet being so unable to perceive the handwriting of judgement on the wall! Many look at the events of the world but fail to see the warning writing of God. However, from the time of the early church to this day, God has had seven golden candlesticks, to give light in every age. The purpose of the Light from the candlestick has been to give illumination for eyes which can see to read the handwriting on the wall for their age.
It is important to note that although other people saw the writing, only Belshazzar had seen the vision of a man’s hand writing. When God wants to speak to (or judge) a man He will direct the message to him. This may be through a circumstance or situation which will get the person’s attention but yet to other people may go unnoticed or appear irrelevant.
The incidence of seeing a man’s hand writing on the wall so terrified the Babylonian king that his jovial mood immediately disappeared.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
This was great fear. But, fear of what?
The King cries
What happened to the king was unbecoming of a mighty ruler of a great nation.
7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.
9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.
The mighty king cried? The man had his bodyguards in place. The man had an invincible army – horses and mighty chariots which left a story of conquests on pages of our history books. Babylon subdued and conquered, becoming a mighty empire over the world. Being a king of such an empire one enjoyed the glamour and splendour of coveted greatness. But how could such power fear an appearance, not of a sword or noise of chariots of enemies but, of a hand?
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Kingdoms of the world thrive and triumph on the basis of possessions called wealth. The more one possesses the greater his power over others. This also happens in people’s personal and social lives. There are those who have accumulated so much and thus have increased their power.
When a person is born he comes into this world with nothing but simply as single as the letter “I”. Then a name is given so that one says “I am John Phiri.” After years of schooling John becomes “the accountant” or “pharmacist” or “doctor”. Later on his name gets a string of more letters following it – John Phiri, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. These accumulations in life are surely useful and good for society. However, when they begin to shroud a person so much that his true identity (“I”) gets lost, an illusion is created in a person’s mind so that he thinks, walks, and lives as though there is literally more weight of luggage to his beingness than what actually is. The illusion of power and greatness may so much obsess a person that he thinks he is more than other people around him. The person may forget that he is also a mere pint of blood. Beneath his skin are piles of flesh beneath which are bones common with every mortal.
But blessed are those who despite whatever they can accumulate in life still don’t lose their true identity. Like Job they know that they came naked into this world and they shall leave it the same way (Job 1:21). The confidence of believers is not of the flesh; they “worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phi.3:3). They realise that their spirit, concealed by the flesh, is their true identity. In that spiritual state they are not identified as accountant or doctor. In that spiritual state everything physical is nothing but a momental piece of matter that will soon or later decay into oblivion. As far as physical possessions are concerned, although believers may have them, they are actually poor! Poor, not because of their lack of them but, because they don’t get attached to them.
“Let thy gifts be to thyself”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” the Lord Jesus taught (Mat.5:3). The richness of a believer is in his or her connection to the great Fount of Life, the father of all spirits – God! It is for this reason that Daniel, even after being promised gifts and riches if he would interpret the dream, could say to the king, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another” (Dan.5:17). This was not so with Belshazzar. What he said after seeing the vision of the hand shows a man whose mind was completely obsessed with carnal identity, wealth, and power. These are three things carnal people of the world pursue. And they are things Belshazzar promised Daniel – “Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom” (v.7). But Daniel being a true believer could not be deceived by covetousness or desire for power. He looked at Belshazzar and could see the fear in him.
Belshazzar had only glimpsed into reality for a little moment and his identity, wealth, and power could not offer him the strength and protection he now needed. Chariots could not protect him from that fear. Power and possessions could not give him the confidence. There was a large crowd around him but only him saw what had happened. At that moment he felt alone as the dreadful fear gripped his soul. In the presence of the supernatural one no longer feels the crowd. The power of the supernatural is all searching and penetrating. One realises that his breath is dependent on that power!
Daniel brought before the King
During the time of Belshazzar, Daniel was no longer a prominent figure in the administration of the Babylonian government. However, his testimonies still lingered on in the minds of some people, including the then queen of the land. When Belshazzar panicked to find a man with divine powers to decipher the handwriting on the wall the queen advised for Daniel to be brought in.
10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.
13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?
14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not show the interpretation of the thing.
The king then promised a reward to Daniel if he managed to interpret the writing:
16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.
Clearly, modern ‘Men of Gold’ would have been quick to receive the rewards of the king. Furthermore, they would not even have truly understood the message of the writing. Prophecies of blessings upon Belshazzar and other lies would have been spoken. But Daniel was a true servant of God. He could only speak what God had declared, no matter how unpleasant the message was.
17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
Daniel began by first admonishing Belshazzar of how he could not learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s life.
“Though thou knewest all this”
It is important to note that the fundamental sin of Belshazzar was not learning from the life and events of his father’s life!
18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.
20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this.
This man Belshazzar was aware of the decree of King Nebuchadnezzar – “I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything against the God of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Dan.3:29). At another time again, after recovering from his mental illness, Nebuchadnezzar declared, “I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgement, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Dan.4:37). Belshazzar should have learned something from all these things which happened to Nebuchadnezzar but he did not.
In life God speaks to us through many ways: through what happens to us, what happens to other people, and also what happens in our environments. One ought to have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to him or her. Remember Peter and how the Lord Jesus called him. He was only told to cast his net into the water and when he saw the unusual catch of fish, that event was enough to convict his heart as he confessed “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luk.5:8). If it was another person or a modern so-called Christian, he would have rejoiced for God’s blessing upon the business. But as for Peter, the strange occurrence pierced to his heart and spoke a message to him which made him realise his unworthiness to stand in the presence of that holy man. Notice that Peter only saw and was able to discern God’s voice in what happened that day.
On the Pages of Time, Our breath is in His hand!
Notice what Daniel said just before he explained the meaning of the mysterious writing:
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.
We are on a journey through time. On this journey we have found ourselves equipped with the ink of blood and pen of life and are to write a story on the pages of time.
This moment you are reading these words, think about how far you have come in life. How old are you? What story have you been writing this far? What’s been the theme of your story? How many pages do you think are remaining before your covers close? If today your covers close, what will the owner of the ink and pages say about your story – “a waste”, “meaningless”, or “well done, my good and faithful servant”?
One thing is certain, one day you will put a final stroke on your last page, the covers will close and you will be shelved away from the land of the living. But…“the books were opened”… the eyes of Saint John saw the vision: “and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Rev.20:12-13).
Surely a day of reckoning is coming when you will have to account for how you used the ‘ink’ of life and ‘pages’ of your earthly days. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” prayed the Psalmist. (Psa.90:12). The ink of blood and pages of time are not our resources and it isn’t just a wise thing to get started with a life story for which we don’t know the purpose or destination. Prudence requires that we ask ourselves, Why am I here? What story am I supposed to write?
“Thou art weighed in the Balances and art found wanting”
Daniel read and interpreted the writing succinctly:
25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
It is one thing to read about Belshazzar and how he was found wanting by the scales of God’s justice, but quiet another when we look into the mirror of God’s word and reflect about our lives. Just how far are we from living a life that He desires of us? Are we given to His perfect will or are still laden with cares of this life like that young rich man who approached the Lord.
In Mark 10:17-23 we read that the rich young ruler came “running”. This tells us of his zeal in meeting the Lord. Then he “kneeled” before the Lord. This was supposed to be a show of humility. And he “asked” his question to the Lord. That was prayer, so to speak: “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Like this rich young man, we often have zeal, a show of humility, and are full of prayers to God but yet lacking the revelation of God’s will. Did this young man understand what eternal life was? What was his motivation to want life without death? Well, he had accumulated so much wealth in life, and was he troubled by the thought of “so when I die, I shall lose all this?” He needed eternal life but with a carnal motivation. He wasn’t a spiritual man to discern spiritual things. He was an earthly man bound by carnal things. He had the zeal to keep the commandments but without revelation. When he explained to the Lord that he had kept all the commandments, the Lord looked at him, discerned his condition and said to him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” The young man could not stand to this test. “He was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.” Now, that was his true identity, not the physical show of humility of kneeling down he had portrayed. He was a believer in word and prayer but not in deed. But to those who have been enlightened by the Word of Truth, they are dead to the carnal things of this world – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col.3:1-4).
Every person should know that possessions of this life are only temporal. We own nothing in this world. Our very breath is not under our control. Whatever God has allowed to come in the control of our hands should be handled with a sober mind. A sober mind is one which acknowledges the sovereignty of God, and thereby lives wisely. Belshazzar, upon hearing the words of Daniel realised the danger that awaited him. After hearing the piercing words of the prophet Daniel, he commanded for him to be clothed in scarlet, with a golden chain around his neck and proclaimed him the third ruler in the kingdom. However, that very night he was killed by the Medes and thus was the end of Babylon.
29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
It was the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, that of the Medes and Persians. It may have been a sudden and unexpected change of events where the once mighty Babylon was no longer the almighty empire. However, Daniel had already seen all these events right from the first year of Belshazzar. In the first year of Belshazzar he had a vision of four beasts (Daniel Chapter 7), and in the third year, he had seen the vision of the Ram and Goat which detailed how the Medo-Persian empire would become great but would later be overcome by another kingdom with a notable and great ruler but who would later die and four new rulers arise in his place (see Daniel Chapter 8).
 There are more interesting things to be explained about Antiochus Epiphanes and how he fulfilled prophecy in the latter chapters of this book.
 To explore this subject further read Defending Old Testament Authorship by Edward D. Andrews.
 The prophecy was proclaiming that the righteousness of Noah, Daniel or Job would not save the people. The people had to work out their own salvation, so to speak, by not depending on another person’s or a forefather’s righteousness – “they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Eze.14:14).
 A similar thing happened to Daniel one day when he was seated with some people: a quaking took place and other people ran away to hide. To them it was an earth quake, but to Daniel his eyes could see an angel coming down to give him a message!