National Resurrection

Daniel 12:2  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 11
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).-Many Christians, whose judgment is to be respected, apply this passage to a literal resurrection. But they are involved in difficulties, from which ingenuity essays in vain, as I think, to extricate them. Instead of commenting on what appear to me mistakes, let me state my firm conviction that a national resuscitation of Daniel's people, i. e. Israel, is in question here, as in Isa. 26 and Ezek. 37 This being understood, the entire context is plain. It is at the time of their deepest distress that Michael stands up, and not merely are all those elect Jews delivered who have been glanced at in the previous parts of this prophecy, but many who are dispersed, as it were buried, or at least slumbering, among the Gentiles, awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Compare Isa. 66 sub finem.) Then follows the peculiar blessedness of the " Maschilim," i.e. the understanding ones, that instruct the mass in righteousness, who, instead of going out like the moon, though it may appear again, shine as the stars forever and ever. This figurative application of a resurrection to Israel's circumstances at the close of the age is of course perfectly consistent with a real bodily resurrection of saints before, and of the wicked after, the millennium, as in Rev. 20:4-124And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:4‑12).
I am aware of the assertion that the phrase וְאֵלֶּה-אֵלּِِِה is never used elsewhere in Hebrew as distributive of a general class previously mentioned. But I believe it to be unfounded. The reader has only to examine Josh. 8:2222And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. (Joshua 8:22), and he will see that the pronoun is used in a similar way, Israel being the general class, and the same expression as here taking it up distributively. Accordingly, our English Bible in both cases, and in my judgment rightly, translates ".some... and some." Of course it is not denied that in certain circumstances " these" and " those " would well represent the meaning. My opinion is that the other is an equally legitimate rendering wherever required by the context, as I conceive it to be in both the texts cited. And such, I find, is the view of the Vulgate and Luther as to 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).
Again, I have no sympathy with those who apply this verse to mere temporal deliverance. But it is not a necessary inference, on the other hand, that the words " everlasting life" imply a resurrection-state. People forget that the saved Israelites in question are supposed to possess eternal life, which certainly may be before any change as to the body. It may help some readers to notice a somewhat parallel case, both in good and evil, as respects the Gentiles in Matt. 25:4646And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46). Plainly they are the nations at the beginning of the millennium discriminated as sheep and goats, and dealt with by the King without delay. " And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." So, when Israel reappears in that day, sad examples are to be there, whose " worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh;" while others are to be brought an offering to the Lord, who shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. These awake to everlasting life; the others are abandoned to shame and everlasting contempt, apart from the question of resurrection. It will be a time, not of national deliverance merely, but of signal mercy and judgment from God; and this for Israel after their long sleep among the Gentiles, as well as for such Jews as will have figured more in the previous crisis in the land. The Maschilim seem to be a special class still more distinguished (ver 3).