Daniel 12


Chapter 12 is a continuation of eleven. Actually, this final vision begins in Daniel 10:14. The reference in these verses is to the vindication of God’s people by the angel Michael who seems to serve as a guardian over the people of God. This period is described as the worst time of trouble since Israel was a nation.

Many feel that this refers to the troubles they suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes. A full description of this period is given in Maccabees 1:10 / Maccabees 1:20 / Maccabees 1:22 / Maccabees 1:39. Also, Josephus describes this awful period.

Premillennialists think it means the “great tribulation” preceding the supposed thousand-year reign of Christ. We believe that the correct understanding is found in the fall of Jerusalem and the rejection of physical Israel as the chosen people of God with the complete eradication of Judaism as a system. This occurred in A.D. 70 when the Roman army under Titus marched against Jerusalem destroying his city and its temple.

‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.’ Daniel 12:1

“And at that time” is the time spoken of in the last verse of chapter 11. It was when Rome moved into Palestine establishing itself in complete control of the Jews. This entire vision relates to what would befall the Jewish people in the latter days, Daniel 10:14. It will be a time of great trouble such as had never been seen before.

This is exactly how Jesus described the fall of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:21 when he said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

There is consolation however in the fact that Michael will stand up for the people of God.

This does not mean no child of God will be hurt in any way but rather God will take care of His people and His cause. We know that history reveals that the faithful were delivered from the awful destruction of Jerusalem by being directed to the land of Pella where they lived in exile for a time without their lives being endangered.

‘Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2

Since this is to occur “at that time” and before the “power of the holy people is broken” Daniel 12:7, it must not be speaking of the final resurrection. It must refer to the coming of Christ which would offer spiritual resurrection to every Jew. By obedience to the gospel, they could come forth from the grave of sin and its bondage.

To some Jews, His coming would mean everlasting life while to others it would bring everlasting shame and contempt. The condition under which the Jews lived after 585 B.C. the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the people taken captive to Babylon, is called by Ezekiel “a grave.” Simeon said Jesus was set “for the rise and fall of many in Israel”, Luke 2:34.

‘Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.’ Daniel 12:3

The wise, those who would heed the words of Jesus and obey them, Matthew 7:24-25 would shine forth as lights in the sky. They will let their lights so shine that it will turn others to righteousness, Matthew 5:16.

All of this will take place when Rome has established itself in Palestine thus it would be during the time when the kingdom had been established.

‘But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.’ Daniel 12:4

Daniel is commanded to preserve the entire book of Daniel until the visions have run their course. This book is the source of true knowledge in contrast to the wisdom of men that causes men to run to and from to find knowledge.

This pursuit of human knowledge while it may be earnest, is vain, in that God is by-passed. Many have always gloried human wisdom and pride has prevented him from bowing in submission to the wisdom that is from above.

Intellectual pride keeps men from accepting the fact there is a God who is over them and requires their submission and obedience. This kind of wisdom keeps men from accepting at face value what God’s word says. They cannot conceive of divine inspiration.

Thus, many religious leaders who are called scholars will deny that the book of Daniel is inspired. Many would say it is a fraud and that Daniel is not its author. How unfortunate that human wisdom blinds men to the truth.

‘Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” I heard, but I did not understand. So, I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.’ Daniel 12:5-10

Daniel sees two people one on one side of the river bank and the other on the opposite side. One of these speaks to the angel in linen inquiring how long it would be until the end of the vision just given. The answer is “a time, times and a half” and also when an end has been made of the power of the holy people. Judaism was brought to an end in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Daniel does not understand the answer and asks what is to be the outcome of all he has seen and heard in this unusual vision. The answer seems to be: drop the subject, and go no further. This matter is in the future and beyond your time.

It will be understood by those who need it. He is told that the righteous will do righteously and the wicked will do wickedly. Each will be rewarded accordingly. Despite the great signs and wonders of our Lord, many rejected him.

‘From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.’ Daniel 12:11-12

This verse speaks of the destruction and desecration of the temple by the Romans. After this historic event, his power is said to continue for 1290 days, 3 years and 7 months. A blessing is pronounced on those who will survive this period and live beyond it. They will see an end to that power.

Those who wait through these trials and attain their victories in Christ will find the blessedness of the 1335 days, 45 days more than the earlier period. These two sums, 1290 + 1335 add up to more than seven years and are not intended to represent proportionate times in history. The first represents persecution; while the second represents victory and blessings.

‘As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.’ Daniel 11:13

Daniel is encouraged not to worry but go on his way till all these things are consummated. At that time, Daniel would stand in his lot. His lot would be the place he is given by God, that of a true and great prophet. Jesus refers to this prophet in Matthew 24:15 thus Daniel witnessed the will of God.

Daniel is truly one of the great prophets of all times. Ezekiel praised him as a righteous man of the same calibre as Noah and Job, Ezekiel 14:14.

Daniel truly was an outstanding person. From his early years, his teens, he was an example of religious consistency and firmness. While willing to serve his rulers, yet he was careful to preserve a conscience void of offence.

His enemies could find no fault against him, except for his integrity in keeping the law of God and his devotion to God in prayer. He was an example of honesty, humility, piety and courage. He would readily die for his faith.