The Writing Is on the Wall

A message from Martyn Iles, AiG’s Chief Ministry Officer

by Ken Ham on November 18, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

As you likely know, God has led a dynamic young leader to our ministry, Martyn Iles from Australia. He was recently promoted to Executive CEO (don’t worry—I’m not retiring. I will continue serving as Founder CEO) and is working alongside me in the Executive department as we do our best to carry out the vision for this ministry God has laid on our hearts. Martyn has a real burden to equip people to be able to stand in this increasingly secularized anti-Christian culture.

Just as I was writing this item, I was listening to a podcast by a prominent conservative evangelical leader who said that America is drifting quickly to the left, and it looks like biblical Christians are just going to have to be prepared to know how to live in a very dark culture. Martyn has explained this is already the state in Australia. I believe God has brought Martyn to be a leader in helping drive this ministry in the direction we need to go so we can better equip God’s people and raise up generations to know how to stand for the Lord as our culture becomes more like pagan Babylon every day.

I thought you’d enjoy this message he recently sent to our supporters.

From Martyn

As you know, an important focus at Answers in Genesis is on raising up a new generation of Daniels, who will stand firm for God in an increasingly uncertain and anti-God era.

As you know, an important focus at Answers in Genesis is on raising up a new generation of Daniels, who will stand firm for God in an increasingly uncertain and anti-God era. This phrase conveys wisdom for us as we discern where we should focus our energies and our funds.

“The writing is on the wall.” It’s a phrase that has gone down in history in the Western world. It means that the end of something is guaranteed, although it hasn’t happened yet.

Babylonian empire map

It was a terrifying moment for King Belshazzar, to not only find that Babylon’s end was guaranteed, but also his own end.

He had crossed a line, and God had decided it was all over.

I once met a former mercenary and hit man from Africa. He was paid to assassinate people. As he told me this, I realized it was totally believable. Although in his 60s, he was the toughest-looking guy I’d met in a long time—incredibly strong and with a piercing look in his eye.

He was telling me his testimony, how he had been saved after wandering into a church service one evening.

There was a point in his account where he became very sober, his voice betraying some emotion. “For a long time, I struggled with doubt because I wondered whether someone as evil as me could truly be saved. Nobody I met had done the things I’d done. I was the worst man I knew.”

Those doubts persisted until he read the Apostle Paul’s own words of testimony in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

My former hit-man friend realized that Paul was a man like him, and even the worst sinner on planet earth was not beyond the salvation work of Jesus Christ.

Despite the size of my friend’s sin, he was never beyond redemption. The size of his sin was never sufficient to put him beyond God’s grace.

So, how did Belshazzar manage it? How did he cross the line of no return?

The key is found in Daniel’s words of accusation, from verses 22 and 23, “[you] have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven.”

See, Belshazzar was not only a big sinner. He was a hardened, grace-resisting sinner.

His grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, was also a very big sinner. But like my hit-man friend, he had encountered the living God and been brought to faith in him after many humbling experiences. Daniel and his friends had been used by God as a testimony and a mouthpiece to Nebuchadnezzar. They were one of God’s instruments in his conversion.

Daniel in the lions den
Statue Dream

There had been a shadow of grace over Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar’s day. God had performed wonders. His servants among the Hebrew exiles were his witnesses in that generation. The grace of God was abundant.

Daniel points the finger at Belshazzar, saying, “You knew all this.”

Given the way Belshazzar had been behaving, that’s very sobering.

Belshazzar had knowingly resisted the testimony of his grandfather. He had deliberately chosen the vessels from the temple in Jerusalem to drink from as he blasphemed the God he knew to be real.

That would explain why he—to put it mildly—freaked out when the writing appeared on the wall. He knew what he had done.

So, Belshazzar crossed the line of doom by finally resisting the grace of God.

But if Belshazzar and Babylon knew better . . . then so do we.

There has been a shadow of grace on the Western world like no other nation or empire in history, except for Israel.

The gospel has informed the fabric of nearly every institution we have. God raised up preachers, prophets, statesmen, missionaries, philanthropists, and more in numbers unknown in world history. They took the gospel to the four corners of the earth.

But we are throwing it away, trampling it underfoot, and ignoring its voice from the past.

Like Belshazzar’s Babylon, we know better.

But more than that, Daniel reveals that Belshazzar was judged for raising himself up against God. He hadn’t just ignored God’s voice from the past; he was openly defying it.

I have just finished writing an article for Answers magazine in which I point out that many of the ideologies that are rising in the West could be described as “lifting ourselves up” against God.

These are the things championed by governments, intellectuals, pop culture, and activists. Things like queer sexuality, transgenderism, race politics, abortion, climate doom-ism, same-sex marriage, and so on. They are all things that take what God has defined in his authority as Creator and redefined them according to our own authority. They all lift up mere humans to the status of gods.

As human beings, made from the dust of the ground, we were never meant to have the authority to define marriage, gender, sex, life, race, or when the planet will end. This is pure arrogance.

We may read Daniel 5 and gasp at Belshazzar’s arrogance, taking God’s vessels and using them to praise false gods. But it’s the same today: we’ve taken God’s good things in creation and used them to serve our own idols. The main idol in our day is identity, the idol of self.

That very night, Belshazzar the king was killed, and the mighty empire of Babylon the great fell.

A line had been crossed, and it was all over.

It is impossible not to reflect on the sobering lessons for our day. I marvel at God’s grace in withholding his hand of judgment on us for so long. He truly is longsuffering, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

While this day of grace persists, we must continue to take the gospel to a rebellious world. Is there anything more urgent?

How long can we resist God’s grace? How long can we raise ourselves up against God?

Capitol protest
Protest in front of burning Arby’s

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know this: our “Babylon” will also pass away one day, with all its man-made glory.

It is a vital lesson from history that empires rise and fall, that earthly kingdoms come and go, and that wealth and power are fleeting. Those who place their ultimate values in these things will one day lose everything.

But Daniel himself is a metaphor of what lasts beyond the fleeting glory of nations. It is remarkable to note that while Belshazzar dies and Babylon falls, Daniel continues. He serves until the days of the Persian King Cyrus. Indeed, he has been in this position before. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, Daniel survived that too. He is the ultimate survivor.

God is teaching us something through the endurance of Daniel’s life and work, despite the rise and fall of everything around him. He is teaching us about what matters ultimately and what survives eternally.

“The writing is on the wall” for so many things we see around us. But not for the eternal souls of God’s people. They last forever, and what’s invested in them today is of eternal value.

From Daniel’s final chapter we read, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2–3).

Are you investing in a new generation of Daniels, whose God-honoring work on earth will blaze with eternal glory and whose souls will last forever?

Are you investing in a new generation of Daniels, whose God-honoring work on earth will blaze with eternal glory and whose souls will last forever?

At Answers in Genesis, this is one of our key goals. This ministry has impacted millions of Christians across the world, including children and families. I was one of those children.

As we create books, curricula, digital platforms, church resources, animations, video content, and more, we equip a new generation with truth and establish them to stand like Daniels in a world that’s in urgent need of their testimony.

Our 2023 End-of-Year giving campaign with a 100% matching gift challenge will fund several impactful ministry projects to help raise up a generation of Daniels. These include projects such as a biblical identity exhibit at the Creation Museum that will deal with the gender issues bombarding our youth today.

Your gift of any size made today will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year up to $8 million! You may donate and can see the progress toward taking full advantage of this generous matching gift opportunity online at

Thank you for prayerfully considering how you might be able to support us with a gift today. Your prayers and support are vital to help us to impact coming generations with the truth of God’s Word and the saving gospel.

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