Writing is on the wall
A metaphor for a sign or clear indication of imminent failure or disaster. The original writing on the wall comes from the Bible, Daniel 5:22, and was written on the wall of King Belshazzar’s palace in Babylon. Belshazzar’s father, Nebuchadnezzar, had looted sacred vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem and Belshazzar made the mistake of using them in drunken debauchery. A disembodied, ghostly hand, then wrote the words, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN on one of the walls in the palace. None of the king’s retinue or advisers could decipher the message, which was said to be part Aramaic, part Hebrew and written in code. So Belshazzar sent for Daniel who confirmed that the writing on the wall was forecasting the death of Belshazzar and the loss of his kingdom to the Medes and Persians, who struck that very night and fulfilled what had been written. The expression began to be used figuratively, as we now use it, from the early 1700s and the metaphor no doubt exists in many different cultures and languages.