Please take time to read Daniel 12:1-13
This chapter contains the final words of the Saviour to the prophet on the subject that He has been instructing him about—the rise of the little horn, his career and ultimate destruction.
It is also the end of the book. How fitting that a prophecy that began with what humanly speaking was a personal catastrophe—the wreckage of the kingdom of Judah—ends with a vision of the glory of the coming King Chap 10-12 and His assurance of future personal and eternal glory, v13. Even the disasters that befall us can become means of grace and glory to us.
I THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE COMES TO AN END.
1. Great tribulation. The climax of Antichrist’s career involves tremendous persecution of Israel and of the saints of God. Though Israel welcomed him as their Messiah and were permitted by him for a time to engage in the external elements of worship of God, 9:27 etc; he breaks his covenant and turns upon the nation giving vent to the hatred of Israel that he had shown signs of already, 11:24, 28, 30. The persecution rages in full force, v33-35 having as its object Jews generally and Jewish saints particularly, Rev 12:1-6, 13, 17. This is a time unprecedented in the history of the world—a time foreshadowed in the holocaust etc. The Scripture clearly teaches that Israel will go through a time of intense tribulation—Jer 30:7, Matt 24:21—the same period Daniel refers to.
2. The catalyst of persecution, v1. The time of this unprecedented trouble is occasioned by a great battle in Heaven, v1, Rev 12:7-17. This battle features Michael the archangel. The immediate result of this battle/victory is persecution yet the ultimate outcome is the restoration of a remnant in Israel. While it appears that things are getting worse, in actual fact this is the first stage of the ultimate defeat of Satan and all his forces. Cp Ex 5:20-23.
3. This trouble will end, v1. Its end is the inferred result of Michael’s action. Cp v7, 11:36, 7:25, Is 10:12. It ends right at the point when Israel is on the verge of annihilation, v7. It ends with the destruction of Antichrist and the return of the Saviour. The reference in v2 to the resurrection also dates these events.
4. God’s saving purpose in it all, v1. The assurance is given categorically here that even in that time…every one whom God purposes to save will be delivered. There will be a remnant preserved from Antichrist’s persecutions and from being snared in his evil apostacy, Rev 14:9-10, Mk 13:22. See also Zech 13:8-9, Rom 11:23-28. Here is the time of Israel’s restoration as a nation in God’s redemptive purpose. Cp Zech 12:9-13:1. God works out His redeeming purposes even when apostacy is at its height! In the midst of Hell’s most vicious activities God is preparing to save a great multitude. Cp Rev 7:1-8—a limited work in Israel; v9, 13-14—a great work among the Gentiles during this period. Cp Ezek 36:24-28, 33-35.
II THE RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS AND THEIR REWARD.
1. This is a limited resurrection, v2. Not all but many will rise ‘from among the dead’ (literal translation). Two classes are clearly distinguished in the original v2—some ‘these’ and some ‘those’. These—the saints who rise—are contrasted with those who remain under the power of death. Cp Is 26:19 (NB 25:6-9), Rev 20:4-6. The first resurrection is not a spiritual event it is a literal resurrection of the dead bodies of believers. It occurs at the same time as the deliverance of Israel in v1—11:45, Zech 112:9-10; at the return of Christ, Job 19:25-27, I Cor 15:22-26, 51-54. This must be borne in mind when looking at the statements of Scripture concerning the resurrection that imply a general resurrection at the same time. Cp John 5:28-29. Hour has various senses:
- time, Matt 20:3;
- a longer, limited time, Mk 6:35 day;
- an unspecified season, John 4:23, 5:35, 16:2, I John 2:18 X2 time = ‘hour’.
2. The resurrection of saints is a precursor to their reward, v2-3. Faithful service of God reaps a recompense. Those who taught and those who laboured to bring others to the knowledge of God’s truth are rewarded and will shine in the glory of Christ eternally. Cp 7:18, 22, 25-27, 2:45, Matt 13:40-43, 25:31ff esp. v34.
3. This is an event Daniel himself would have part in, v13. As one of the righteous dead belonging to Christ Daniel will have part in that first resurrection.
III A SEALED BOOK.
1. Daniel still had a desire to know more. There were things that he did not yet understand—particularly what the end of all this would mean for Israel. Though he has learned so much and this final vision was the means of clarification of previous obscurities, 10:1 there were still unresolved questions in his mind. He wanted to make further inquiry into the things already under review. He stirred to further inquiry by witnessing angelic curiosity, v6, 8. Cp I Pet 1:12-13.
2. He must rest content that for the time then present the book was sealed. There would be no further instruction for him in these matters, v4, 9. Cp Deut 29:29. We must be content to learn what God has revealed and not to pry into what He has not purposed to discover to us. Even what had been written was not going to be further explained at that time. A measure of obscurity remains! The chapter closes with statements that are unexplained—v11 a 30 day period; v12 a further 45 days that culminates in blessing for those who reach it. No explanation is given yet definite times are determined and revealed.
3. A promise of future revelation is given, v4. While it is true that further inspired revelation was forthcoming on this subject, Rev 22:10, the promise specifically relates to the communication of more knowledge by means of the diligent study of Scripture. It is the duty of saints to search the Scriptures in this area of revelation. The wise shall understand, v10 in the time of the end. Only those wise in the Scriptures will understand what is going on in the world. Cp Mark 13:14.
The prophecy of Daniel sets before us vital truth in relation to the times in which we live and the end of the age. It also instructs us in the manner in which this truth may be learned and understood. Daniel spent long years in prayer study and earnest desire to learn. He was taught by God and most notably, came to understand what he did at the feet of the glorious Christ.