Daniel 12

Daniel 12  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Israel’s own history; the faithful remnant, their deliverance and reward
Chapter 12 gives us more of Israel’s own history. In the midst of all these events Michael, the archangel, stands up in behalf of the people of Daniel. There is a time of trouble, such as never has been nor will be. Nevertheless the people shall be delivered, that is to say, those who are written in the book (the remnant belonging to God). Jeremiah has already spoken to us of this period, and of the deliverance (ch. 30:7). The Lord speaks of it also in Matthew 24, drawing the attention of His disciples to the abomination of desolation here mentioned, showing clearly that He speaks of Jerusalem, the Jews, and the last days, when the Jews shall be delivered. He also points out the way in which the faithful are to escape, while the tribulation continues. Taking these passages together makes it easy to understand them both. The second verse extends beyond the land of Israel, which had been the scene of the prophecy until this. But their condition is stated in a way not to own the countries of their dispersion. Many of the race of Israel arise from their long abasement, some to everlasting life, but others to everlasting shame. They that understand shall shine as the firmament. They who have instructed the many in righteousness shall shine as the stars. (Compare the host of heaven and stars, chapter 8.) God will clothe with the brightness of His favor those who will have been faithful during this period of rebellion and distress.
The length of the tribulation
After this one of God’s messengers inquires of the man clothed in linen, who was upon the waters of the river, how long it should be to the end of the wonders (that is, of the tribulation) by the intervention of God in deliverance for Israel. The answer is, three years and a half, or 1260 days; and that, when God should have put an end to the dispersion of the holy people, all these things should be finished. Daniel asks for a fuller revelation with respect to the end; but the oracle is sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be tried and purified and made white, but the wicked shall do wickedly. Alas! this must be expected. None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand-these “maschilim,” whom the Spirit of God has mentioned.
Full blessing comes a little later, in which Daniel shall have his part
Now, from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be 1290 days. But the accomplishment of 1335 1 days has still to be waited for; there shall be full blessing to him that waits and arrives at their fulfillment. Daniel himself shall have his part in this time of glory.
(1. I have thought it possible that this computation may arise from this. An intercalary month to the 1260 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 will be cleansed in Jerusalem.)
The scope of Daniel’s prophecy
It is to be observed, that Daniel never describes the period that succeeds to the times of the Gentiles. He gives the history of those monarchies, the oppressors and seducers of the Jews in the latter days, and the deliverance of the people; but there he stops. He is the prophet of the times of the Gentiles until the deliverance.
Some striking points in Daniel; the character of the Roman empire; the “little horn” of chapter 7 and that of chapter 8; “the king” of chapter 11; the religious power leading the Jews into apostasy
One thing may here occur to the reader as desirable for the understanding of the whole, that is, to combine the agency of those instruments, which the prophecy of Daniel presents as acting in the land of Israel during the latter days, and to identify them-if it may be done-with those that are mentioned in other prophets. But this would be to make a system of prophecy, and not to explain Daniel. The Spirit of God has not done so in this prophet, which is our present subject. I will, therefore, only allude to some striking points.
Chapter 7 gives the character of the Roman empire, especially under its last head. It is the close of the history of the Gentile power. Chapter 8 (although I have often thought that the king, who is described there, might be the instrument in Israel of the western empire) gives to the horn it speaks of a different character-as it appears to me, in carefully weighing the passage-from that which constitutes the western power,2 whether as a little horn, or exercised in some local instrument. It is an eastern power arising out of one of the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire was broken up. His power, however, is derived from another; it is a separate power acting in Syria. In chapter 9 we find the one who acts among the Jews in Jerusalem itself, in connection with the Roman empire, be the instrument employed who he may. It may be “the king” of chapter 11 who finds himself between the kings of the south and of the north. But it is very possible that the little horn of chapter 7 acts itself. Still there is another power dependent upon it, who acts at least religiously upon the Jews, and leads them into apostasy-one who comes in his own name, and does not regard the God of his fathers.
(2. We may compare Psalms 74 and 83, which confirm the idea that there will be a destruction in Jerusalem, as well as the compelled cessation of the daily sacrifice accomplished in a religious way by the prince who is to come, the Roman of chapter 9, who will be among the Jews, and who had professed himself to be their friend.)
The distinguishing marks of “the King” of chapter 11; the kings of the south and north
“The king” of chapter 11 is a king in Judea, despising the religion of his fathers, and acting in that country in a way morally unbridled, reestablishing idolatry, and dividing the territory among those in favor. The kings of the south and north are Egypt and Assyria in the latter days, who attack the king who has established himself in the Holy Land.
I suppose that “the king” answers to the second beast of Revelation, though in another aspect, as the first does to the little horn of chapter 7.