While 2 years elapsed between the visions of Daniel 9 and Daniel 10-12, it seems that the visions were connected. Recall that Daniel concluded his prayer by petitioning the Lord to hear and forgive, “because Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (Daniel 9.19). The Lord responded by sending Gabriel to communicate the “70 sevens” prophecy to the prophet. “70 sevens” were decreed for Daniel’s people and his city (vs. 24), but within the last seven the city would be destroyed (vs. 26). God’s message to Daniel was one of hope but also of concern: yes, God had heard and He was going to restore His people, but the city Daniel loved would be destroyed and the his countrymen would undergo tribulation.
Daniel 10-12 elaborates on the “70 sevens” prophecy, giving more details about how Daniel’s people would suffer and the destruction that would come upon Jerusalem. Just as the “70 sevens” prophecy terminated with what happened to the Jews during Roman rule, so it would also seem that the vision of Daniel 10-12 shifted to Roman rule beginning in Daniel 11.36. As we begin Daniel 12, what would befall Daniel’s kinsmen during the time of Roman rule is still under consideration. Difficult days were ahead, but there was hope…
The End (Daniel 12.1-4 NASB95)
“The end” is referenced 4 times in this chapter (vss. 4,6,9,13). But, what end; does the “end of time” in vs. 4 refer to the final judgment? This is when we need to remember the scope of the book. Chapters 2 and 7 speak of God’s Kingdom being established in the days of the 4th world empire (Rome) and the “70 sevens” prophecy foretells the death of the Messiah, the destruction of Jerusalem and the punishment of Rome. The book has not looked beyond those events! Furthermore, Daniel was to be given “an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days” (Daniel 10.14). So, “the end” in this chapter is not the end of the world, but the end of what God was foretelling regarding His people (note vs. 6, “the end of these wonders”).
1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
- “Now at that time” points us back to the conclusion of chapter 11. Even though his end was decreed, the king (Rome) had come to the holy land (11.45).
- During that time there would be “a time of distress such as never occurred…”
- Ezekiel used similar language when speaking of Jerusalem’s destruction in 586 BC (Ezekiel 5.8-9).
- Of greater significance, Jesus referenced this prophecy when foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 (Matthew 24.15-21). The prophecy of Daniel was looking forward to that climatic event.
- But there was hope:
- Michael would arise. Recall that Michael was the one who aided the divine messenger in his struggle with the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece (Daniel 10.13,21). His rising indicates that God’s aid was still present during this time of great distress.
- Those “found written in the book” would be rescued. Recall that in Daniel 7.10 “the books were opened” as a prelude to the 4th beast (Rome) being judged. Now we see that God also records the names of His faithful ones. Judgment is certain for any that oppose the Lord, but salvation is assured for His people.
2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
- Jesus foretold of two resurrections in John 5: would would be a general resurrection of all, some resurrected to life while others were resurrected to judgment (John 5.28-29). I believe Jesus was speaking of the final resurrection in that passage. However, He also spoke of another resurrection: “an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” (John 5.25)
- I believe this resurrection, which occurred during the days of Jesus, is the one predicted in this verse. God’s people were downtrodden and defeated, but those who responded to the gospel of Jesus would be granted eternal life! Those who refused Him would perish.
3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
4“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”
- Daniel had been told before to keep a vision secret because it pertained “to many days in the future” (Daniel 8.26). Now Daniel is twice told to conceal and seal up this vision (Daniel 12.4,9). Why? Because these words applied to “the end”. Again, we must allow the book to define “the end” and it would seem that “the end” references the coming of Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem and the punishment of Rome, showing the eternal nature of God’s Kingdom. All of these events would occur within the next 500-700 years from when Daniel was prophesying.
- Contrast the charge to Daniel with the charge given to John in Revelation 22.10. John must not seal up the words because “the time is near”. Revelation was not a message regarding the distant future, but a message with primary application to what God’s saints were experiencing in the 1st century.
- The last phrase, “many will go back and forth” is a difficult one and my refer to how many would almost frantically try to understand the vision. They would gain some knowledge, but not complete since the vision was concealed. We are reminded of Peter’s words of how God’s prophets searched to understand the meaning of what they wrote (see 1Peter 1.10-11).
When? (Daniel 12.5-7 NASB95)
5Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.
6And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”
- The “man dressed in linen” was introduced in Daniel 10.5-6. These other two figures are now introduced, although they are not identified.
- Of greater significance is the question: “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”
7I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.
- There may be a parallel with what happened in this verse and what John saw in Revelation 10.5-7. There, an angel declared that it would soon be that “the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”
- “The Old Testament prophets never dealt with specific events beyond the coming redemption, the permanent establishment of the spiritual kingdom, the termination of the Jewish theocracy, the persecution of the saints, and the destruction of the fourth world empire (the Roman Empire – see Daniel 2,7). This point considered further in the light of Revelation 11.15-19seems clearly to establish the fact that this angel’s message looked not to the end of time but to the completion of God’s mystery, the gospel, the firm establishment of His kingdom and power, and the destruction of world powers.” (Homer Hailey)
- Returning to Daniel 12.7, it was revealed to Daniel that the shattering of the holy people would be finished after “time, times and half a time.”
- Note that the same time frame was found in Daniel 7.25 for the time when the 4th world empire would wage war against the saints.
- Furthermore, the same time frame is used in Revelation to describe the period of distress God’s people would endure (see Revelation 11.2-3; 12.6,14; 13.5).
- I believe this time frame includes not only the destruction of Jerusalem, but the period of time God’s people suffered at the hands of the Romans until He brought judgment on the empire.
- The main point: this period of tribulation was definite; it would not last forever.
Final exhortation to Daniel (Daniel 12.8-13 NASB95)
8As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?”
- “The Persian Empire was just coming into power; and Macedonia was probably in its infancy at that time. What could he understand of Alexander’s greatness, his death, and his kingdom being divided into four major powers, and two of these engaging in a long state of war? …to make a present day application to the things written by the apostles of the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the new glorified bodies of the saints, the judgment, heaven and hell, how much did the writers understand, and how much do we understand about these? Like Daniel, one can accept it all by faith and wait for its realization in its proper time.” (Homer Hailey)
9He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.
10“Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.
11“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
- We will note the charge to Daniel in vs. 9 a little later.
- Once more Daniel was told that difficult days were ahead. Now, instead of “time, times and half a time” the period of tribulation was given as 1,290 days.
- That period commenced from the days of Antiochus IV, when he abolished sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation. It would continue through the time when the 4th world empire oppressed God’s people.
12“How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!
- Again, a message of hope!
- We are not given any significance for the 1,335 days other than it’s a longer period of time than 1,290 days.
- The point is that those who endure the period of tribulation will be blessed! (see Revelation 2.10; 11.1-13)
13“But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”
- So, what was Daniel to do? He was to “go your way” (vss. 9,13). Many terrible things would occur, but Daniel would enter his rest and then receive his reward.
- What can we do in an evil world with uncertain days ahead? We should go our way, following in the ways of God. And since He rules over the realm of mankind we can be assured of rest and reward in the end.
- Don’t fret, worry or rail. Just go your way to the end…
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