Daniel 12

Daniel 12  •  22 min. read  •  grade level: 10
In reference to the question discussed at the close of the previous chapter as to whether or not the end of the king of the north in verse 45 is the final judgment upon the Assyrian, light is thrown upon it by the first verse of this chapter. The words, “And at that time shall Michael stand up,” will refer to the period of the events described in Daniel 11:36-4536And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. 40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 41He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. 44But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. 45And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:36‑45), because they are followed by the statement that “there shall be a time of trouble”—the period of unspeakable sorrow for the Jews in the land before the appearing of Christ. Then it is said, “At that time thy people shall be delivered,” that is, as we know from other scriptures, at the close of the tribulation, and therefore after the destruction of both Antichrist and the Assyrian. There are three important things contained in this opening verse. The first is the action of Michael. We learned from Daniel 10:2121But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. (Daniel 10:21) that this exalted intelligence had a special connection with the Jews in the ordering of God’s providential government, and that he was consequently termed by the angel, when speaking to Daniel, “Michael your prince.” Now we gather, whatever his special functions up to this period, that, at the moment indicated by the first words of Daniel 12:11And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1), he begins to act in a more energetic way, interposing with power on behalf of the nation entrusted to his care. Have we any means of discovering what the particular action was, as signified by the words, “At that time shall Michael stand up”? Turning to Revelation 12 we read, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon...was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” And thereon there was a loud outburst of joy in heaven because “the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God night and day” (Dan. 12:7-107And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:7‑10)). This we cannot doubt is the commencement of the activity of the archangel, when he shall stand up for Daniel’s people.
This conclusion is sustained by the fact that the unparalleled time of trouble follows, and this harmonizes with what we find in Revelation: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” And in the very next verse we read: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [Israel] which brought forth the man child [Christ]” (Rev. 12:12-1312Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (Revelation 12:12‑13)). Remark, moreover, as having a distinct bearing on the subject, that the woman is endowed with power to escape from his enmity, and is “nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent”; and also that, when the dragon was foiled in his attempt to destroy the woman, he was wroth with her, “and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:14-1714And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:14‑17)).
If this interpretation is correct, the next clause of the verse is at once understood. It says: “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” There are two other remarkable allusions to this same period of sorrow and tribulation. In Jeremiah we read, “For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:5-75For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:5‑7)). And the next verse describes his deliverance by the Lord Himself, just as in Daniel the time of trouble is followed by deliverance. Our Lord has also spoken of this period as follows: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:21-2221For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:21‑22)). To prevent all possibility of mistake as to the period of this tribulation, the Lord expressly connects it with the setting up of the “abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet... in the holy place.” It will be remembered, from what was said of the seventieth week, when considering Daniel 9, that this occurrence takes place in the middle of that week.
This time of trouble therefore is its last half—the time and times and the dividing of time of Daniel 7:2525And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25); the time, times, and an half of verse 7 of this chapter; and the 1,260 days, or forty-two months of Revelation. Satan is the instigator of the trouble; but his agents, as we learn elsewhere, will be the two great enemies of the faithful remnant among the Jews, the two beasts of Revelation 13, and their enemy from without, the Assyrian. But while Satan is the prime mover of all the sorrow through which Daniel’s people will have to pass, it—must be borne in mind that God uses it as His judicial rod to punish His people for their crowning sin in the rejection of their Messiah. Restored to their land, after the captivity in Babylon, Christ came in the fullness of time, and was born in Bethlehem, according to the prediction of their prophets, and His forerunner, John the Baptist, proclaimed His advent; but when He came to His own, His own received Him not; they refused and rejected Him, even going so far as to say, “We have no king but Cesar,” and to accept the guilt of His death, crying, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” God could not but chastise the guilty nation, and this “time of trouble” is the period during which His rod, whatever the instruments, will fall in successive and ever heavier strokes until “the indignation be accomplished.”
But in the midst of wrath He will remember mercy, for unless those days should be shortened, as we have seen, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened; and hence it is that we read at the close of verse 1: “And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” The period indicated is, of course, at the close of the “time of trouble.” As indeed we gather from other prophets, it will be at the moment when all hope will seem to have departed, just when the jaws of the roaring lion are about to close upon his prey, that the Lord will suddenly appear for the succor and rescue of His poor and afflicted people. (See Zech. 12-14; Isa. 25-26; and more).
It is interesting to note the distinction here made between the mass of the nation and the elect remnant. It is not all who are delivered, but “every one that shall be found written in the book.” It is very clear therefore that God has His elect amongst His earthly people, as well as that His heavenly people are the objects of His eternal choice in Christ. They are mentioned, too, in Revelation, where, after the account of the blasphemous conduct of the first beast of Revelation 13, we read, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain1 from the foundation of the world.” God therefore from the foundation of the world, not before it as in the case of the heavenly saints (Eph. 1:44According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)), had chosen this remnant, who should prove their election by refusing to worship the image of the beast (compare 1 Thess. 1:4-54Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:4‑5)); and it is of these the angel says that they shall be delivered. Some indeed may seal their fidelity with martyrdom, but, if so, they will obtain a better deliverance, for they will be reserved for heavenly blessing, participating in the first resurrection; but whether thus, or whether, like the 144000 on Mount Zion, they are brought through the time of trouble, all alike will be redeemed from the hand of their enemies through the faithfulness and power of their God.
The next verse (Dan. 12:22And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)) is more comprehensive “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” It should be borne in mind that during the “time of trouble” only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, are in the land; the remaining ten will be lost, as they are now, among the nations; and it is to these that this verse refers. After the Lord has appeared and succored the faithful remnant in Judah and Jerusalem (Zech. 12), He will establish His throne in Mount Zion, and thereafter He will recover His lost people, as we read in the prophet Ezekiel: “And I will bring you out from the people [peoples], and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered.... And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.... And I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against Me.... And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it to your fathers” (Ezek. 20:33-4233As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: 34And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. 37And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 39As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols. 40For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. 41I will accept you with your sweet savor, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. 42And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. (Ezekiel 20:33‑42)).
Now this passage treats entirely of Israel—that is, the ten tribes as distinguished from the Jews (the two tribes); and it will be seen, if it is attentively considered, that it speaks of two classes—one who will be brought back to the land for blessing, and the other who will be judged in the wilderness. It is of these same two classes that verse 2 speaks. Both alike are regarded as sleeping in the dust of the earth while lost and scattered among the nations; but when the Lord “shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet” to gather “His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:3131And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)), all alike will be awakened; some, as we here read, to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. The same contrast is found in the judgment of the living nations, of whom some shall go-away into everlasting punishment, and some into life eternal (Matt. 25:3131When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31)). This last scripture is important as showing that the saints during the millennium will enjoy eternal life, if not of the same character as that which Christians possess, yet according to the revelation God will make of Himself to His people of that dispensation. It will be the “life for evermore” of which David speaks in Psalm 133 as characterizing millennial blessedness.
Some however may inquire whether this verse (Dan. 12:22And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)) does not rather speak of resurrection. Two considerations will, we judge, show that it does not; and that the interpretation given is according to the teaching of scripture. In the first place, the figure of “awaking” is constantly employed in a moral sense in the Old Testament (see Isa. 51:17; 51:117Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. (Isaiah 51:17)
1Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. (Isaiah 51:1)
; and more); and even in the New Testament it is used in a most striking way. The apostle, for example, writing to the Ephesians, says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:1414Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Ephesians 5:14)); and no one could doubt the figurative sense in this passage. Secondly, the prophet Ezekiel uses the figure of resurrection plainly in the sense of a national revival. We say “plainly,” because the application, which the prophet himself makes, shows, beyond question, what was intended. (See Ezek. 37:1-141The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. (Ezekiel 37:1‑14)).
What we gather therefore is, that God, in some special and extraordinary way, will arouse His scattered people from the lethargy into which they have fallen, and will kindle once more within their hearts the expectation of the fulfillment of the prophetic promises concerning their restoration and blessing under their Messiah. But, together with the re-awakening of their national hopes, God will purge out the rebels from among them, preparatory to their restoration, so that it will be literally true that some will awake to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The third verse speaks of the class, we apprehend, mentioned in the previous chapter (Dan. 12:33); only here it may be that they are divided into two classes—those who are wise, and those who turn many to righteousness, or, as some prefer to render it, those who instruct the many in righteousness. Adopting this rendering, it will point back to the energetic testimony God raised up in the midst of the Jews during the last half week, when Satan’s power was demonstrated without let or hindrance. Even then there will be those, chosen and sustained by God, who, undaunted by the terrors of the times, will courageously maintain the authority of God’s word, and unweariedly seek to bring “the many” under its influence and power. In the establishment of the kingdom, whatever their sufferings, or even martyrdom, on account of their testimony, their past service will be recognized, and they will occupy a special place. Those that are wise, having possessed God’s mind, and having been endowed with divine wisdom, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; they will be conspicuously displayed as in the enjoyment of the special favor of God; and they that instruct the many in righteousness [shall shine] as the stars forever and ever; they shall be assigned a place of authority and light-giving throughout the duration of the kingdom. (Compare Luke 19:15-1915And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. (Luke 19:15‑19)).
The revelation through Daniel’s celestial visitant is now completed, and he receives the command: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:44But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4)). It has often been noticed, in contrast with this instruction to Daniel, that John, at the close of the book of Revelation, is directed not to seal “the sayings of the prophecy of this book,” and the reason given is that “the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:1010And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 22:10)). This explains the difference between the positions occupied by Daniel and John.
The time was not at hand for Daniel, and thus his book was to be sealed to the time of the end. If it is asked how it is that we possess the means for the understanding of that which was to be sealed “to the time of the end,” the answer is that this period has arrived for Christians. Paul speaks of the “last days,” and John of the “last time” (2 Tim. 3:1; 11This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1) John 2:1818Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? (John 2:18)). The death of Christ indeed, which took place “in the consummation of the ages,” inaugurated the time of the end; and hence for those who are Christians, possessing the Holy Spirit, there is nothing concealed (John 16:1313Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. (John 16:13); 1 John 2:2020But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (1 John 2:20)). Through the Spirit of God therefore, “the time of the end” having arrived, Daniel’s book is unsealed; and if we fail to apprehend what was communicated to him, it is either because we are not in the state of soul which gives the opened ear and entire subjection to the divine word (see Isa. 1:4-54Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. (Isaiah 1:4‑5)), or because we have not given serious attention to what has been revealed.
The statement that many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased, would seem to give the characteristics of the period from the days of Daniel until “the time of the end.” How true it is of the present moment; and until the Lord comes it will be ever more fully exemplified.
From verse 5 we have the conclusion of Daniel’s prophetic visions. He is still by the river Hiddekel; and he tells us, “Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (Dan. 12:5-65Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? (Daniel 12:5‑6)). The answer explains the question. The man clothed in fine linen “held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Dan. 12:77And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)). From the introduction of the familiar period, “time, times, and an half,” that is, the last half week, we understand that the question referred to the duration of the “time of trouble” mentioned in verse 1; and the answer states that it is limited to three years and a half, or 1260 days. The latter part of the answer states also, that when God has collected His scattered people, having accomplished His purposes in their dispersion,2 all these things shall be finished. Two things are thus revealed: that the period of tribulation shall not extend beyond the half-week; and that, at the close of it, having succored His people already in the land, God will assemble His outcast people from all the quarters where they have been dispersed. These two things are confirmed by a divine oath—one of the two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, for a comparison of this scripture with Revelation 10:5-75And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:5‑7) will surely lead to the conclusion that He who utters this oath is more than man.
Daniel heard, and understood not; and then said, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” He is reminded that “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end”; and then a further communication is made: “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Dan. 12:1010Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:10)). It is evident that the reference is still to the “time of trouble in the last half week; and what we learn is, that the Lord will take up the sorrows and trials of that time and use them as needful discipline for those that wait on Him—His faithful remnant amid the wickedness and apostasy by which they will be surrounded. Whatever their sufferings, therefore, “many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” It is on this principle God ever acts, even as the apostle teaches that God chastens us “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness” (Heb. 12:1010For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)). But if God thus purges His people from their dross, the wicked—the wicked, we apprehend, among the Jews “shall do wickedly.” They will, under the leadership of Antichrist, sin with a high hand, throw off all restraint, and fall into open and avowed apostasy.
The last part of the verse alludes to verse 8, where Daniel says he understood not; and in it we have a principle of abiding importance. It gives us the indispensable condition of understanding divine things as revealed in God’s word. It says, “None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” There may be the plainest of testimonies, but if the heart, alienated from God, is bent upon wickedness, it will not comprehend it. What is purest light to God’s people will be densest darkness to the sinners amongst the nation. The wise only will understand; and let it be forever remembered that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, that Christ in this present time is the only wisdom of His people. It had been well if this had been remembered, especially now, when the Scriptures of truth are being assailed with persistency, not to say virulence, by men of learning and intellectual power. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” And again, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:11-1411For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:11‑14)). None therefore but the wise, the spiritually wise, can in any dispensation enter into the mind of God, however plainly it may be revealed in His word.
It is on the basis of this principle, in answer to Daniel’s question, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Dan. 12:88And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? (Daniel 12:8)) that the “man clothed in linen” makes further revelations to the prophet. He now tells him in most express language that “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan. 12:1111And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12:11)). It is this scripture our Lord cites in Matthew 24 so far as the setting up of the abomination of desolation is concerned; and from Daniel 9:2727And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27) we have gathered that these things will take place in the middle of the seventieth week; and if so, there will remain only 1,260 days for these prophetic weeks to run their course. But here we have an addition of thirty days. Is it possible to explain the reason of this? Nothing certain can be said; only it is clear, from many references both in this book and in Revelation, that the 1,260 days fix the duration of the “time of trouble,” which will be ended by the appearing of Christ. At His coming in glory the beast and the false prophet are taken and cast alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19), and He will go forth and fight against the nations that will at that time be besieging Jerusalem. There are several great events therefore to follow the termination of the last half week preparatory to the establishment of Messiah’s throne in Zion; and it is possible that this is the reason for the additional thirty days. There is, however, in verse 12, a further forty-five days: “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” From the very form in which this extra period is introduced, it evidently points to the full establishment of blessing in the ordering of the kingdom. We may cite on this point the words of a well-known student of the Scriptures: “I have thought it possible that this computation may arise from this. An intercalary month to the 1,260 days, or three years and a half, and then 45 days, if the years were ecclesiastical years, would bring up to the feast of tabernacles but I offer no judgment on it. At any rate, the statement is clear that then the sanctuary of God is cleansed in Jerusalem.”3 If the reader will turn to Leviticus 23 he will understand the purport of the remark as to the feast of tabernacles, as he will perceive that it is the last of the cycle of feasts—a feast which was intended to celebrate Israel’s rest, and possession of the land, after their wanderings in the wilderness; a feast, therefore, which as yet, according to the teaching of Hebrews 3-4, has had no complete fulfillment. It awaits its realization, according to the thoughts of God, until the true Solomon, after He has, as the true David, executed judgment upon His enemies, shall give rest to His people, when with joy they will draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isa. 11:33And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: (Isaiah 11:3); compare John 7:3737In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37)).
But Daniel does not enter upon this scene of millennial joy. He is occupied with the times of the Gentiles up to the deliverance of his people. It was reserved for other prophets to speak of the establishment of the kingdom and of the blessings of Messiah’s reign.4
And now with one last word to the prophet the book is ended. Vessel of the divine mind as to the times of the Gentiles, and the deliverance of his people, his work is done, and he is now bidden to retire from the scene: “Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Dan. 12:1313But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13)). Rest was to follow on the completion of his labors, and he would have his own special place in the kingdom at the end of the days. Our Lord Himself said, “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:1111And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)); and Daniel will share in the glories of that day. Now one of the spirits of just men made perfect, he will then participate in the first resurrection, and, returning with all the risen saints with Christ in glory, he will stand in his lot, occupy the special place assigned him, in the kingdom of Him, whom he had seen in the night visions as the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven.
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